Fifty from 50 - Images from US Highway 50, from California to Maryland, second in a series of posts

Constructed in 1926, US 50 was part of the original United States highway system and extends from California to Maryland. Our recent move from Oakland, California to Silver Spring, Maryland near Washington, DC inspired me to travel on this historic byway and document my journey. All work was shot on a Mamiya 6, a film camera that creates negatives that are six centimeters square. This camera really forces me to shoot with intention. The film stock is mostly Ektar 100, for those who are curious.

AARP at the Armed Forces Retirement Home for Valentines Day

A few select pictures created for AARP Benefits, and Cheryl’s Cookies for Valentines Day. Donated cookies and roses were passed to all the residents at the home bringing them sweet and beautiful things for the holiday.

Right-wing rally at Berkeley's Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park

It was a busy weekend here in the Bay Area, ending with a sometimes violent rally held at at the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park. The event began quietly and then quickly ramped up into violence. I avoided the main scrum and stayed around the edges. However, quite a bit of activity happened where I was stationed near Allston and MLK, where I made the photos below. 13 people were arrested, but thankfully nothing happened as tragic as what took place in Charlottesville a few weeks ago. 

From the archives: Bull Riding School Student Portraits

I recently took time to reorganize some of my negative archives when I came across some portraits I took at a bull riding school in 2014. I remember my goal was to make a portrait of the students immediately following their first-ever ride on a bull. The students, to my surprise and initial disappointment, looked nonplussed. I wanted to see a modicum of vulnerability in their faces, but instead only saw pictures of teenagers in cowboy clothing. I scrapped the idea and moved on.

A second look this month, at least three years later, revealed there is an underlying tension in the images, for me at least. Whom of us as adolescents couldn't wait to grow up to be the archetype we most admired? In some of these images, I see some who easily slide into the role, and others have a long trail ahead of them.

In case you're interested, the images were shot with a Hasselblad 553ex and Tri-X film. Let me know what you think!



It's Not Like Work

I spent the last five days attending the 2011 Multimedia Immersion at Syracuse University. During the week-long program, we learned the basics of creating and producing a short video using Canon 5D Mark ii cameras and various microphones. The experience opened up a new world for me. Situations that traditionally might not make for a very good photo package of stills now have the potential to become rich narratives through the additional elements of sound and motion.

Our stories were chosen literally out of a box. I chose a character story about Ed Patterson. He owns and operates a custom golf store in Syracuse, New York. I thank him and all the great teachers and new friends I made at the workshop for making the experience so memorable.

April portraits

Hi folks,  

I have some portraits I made in the month of April, more or less, for your perusal. Thanks for looking and I hope you're enjoying the spring weather, especially in Houston.





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Basketball hotshot Jenzel Nash

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing Jenzel Nash, the nation's leading scorer at 39.9 points a game. She was great to work with and needed very little direction. As a senior, she is sure to be rocking it in the NCAA very soon. The photos were made with a single 580EX strobe and a STS transmitter. The Pocket Wizards are in the shop, so it's been a good push to try and keep things simple.[gallery orderby="rand"]

Natural light versus lit

Last month I had a couple of portrait assignments that contrasts how I work in different situations. In the first, the assignment was to photograph a long-haul trucker who was having trouble with his CDL license. Initially, I was told his truck would be at his residence. In fact, it was out at a yard that happened to be on federal property. For the moment, my lights are strictly AC powered although that is supposed to change soon. Instead, I had the blessing of a day with full sun, although clouds were slowly creeping in (at one point, we had to wait 45 minutes at a railroad crossing because his truck was just on the other side. Sometimes I really LOVE Houston...). I had him point his truck into the north so the grill would be in the shade. I then used a simple reflector to point the sun back into the shadow and photographed him with a 35mm/f1.4 lens. The next image was more controlled, but alas, the weather was crappy. I think it was Sam Abell who said bad weather makes good pictures. Because the sky was dark, it was a Saturday assignment and I had time and because I had a willing subject who was proud of his home, I was able to pull out some stops and practice my lighting. I lit the subject with a medium softbox from camera left and used a flood camera right to put a hard light on the side of his face and to also light up the house. Because I lit the scene, I was also able to create a more dramatic sky.

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A morning workout with MLB super-star Carl Crawford

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of photographing newest Boston Red Sox player Carl Crawford as he did an off-season workout session in his hometown of Houston. It's amazing to see how hard this guy works out. I suppose I would too if someone were paying me $142 million dollars to play baseball. Nonetheless, I found him to be very humble and down-to-earth. He's a natural athlete and could have been a pro in a number of sports. You can check out the story here.[gallery orderby="rand"]

Making success its business

I covered a story last week for the Houston Chronicle about a neighborhood center that is doing great things for the neighborhood - helping people learn how to file taxes, open bank accounts, and learn basic entrepreneurial skills. I spent a short time with Candelaria Galindo, who teaches a piñata-making class to others at the center. The idea was to surround her by her students' work and put her in the middle. When everything was in place, I said "Sonrisa!" The image made the front page this morning.

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Gregory E. Hall, contractor and coordinator for the rescue of 33 miners trapped in a mine in Copiapo, Chile.

I recently photographed Mr. Hall for Columbia Magazine, a publication published for members of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization. We met inside Mr. Hall's sparsely furnished office in a shopping center in Cypress, Texas, about 45 minutes outside of Houston. Not having many options as far as a storytelling environment, I decided to put the 6'8" Mr. Hall into a corner and blow out the background. He regaled us with off-the-record stories of backstage intrigue at the rescue site. It was his "Plan B" that proved successful in recovering the trapped miners. He says divine providence is what saved the men. I personally think it was because of Mr. Hall's ingenuity and vast experience that saved the 33 miners.