Winter Love

An Italian villa. Lots of flowers and vintage details. LOTS of Dr. Who-referencing details. A grey wedding dress. A bride with pink hair. You know, just some of the standout details of Ben and Beck's fantastic wedding yesterday. I've known these two since college, and it was a pleasure and honor to be able to document their day of exchanging vows, beginning a new chapter in their life together and celebrating with their family and friends. Not to mention, Via del Sol D'oro in Sierra Madre is one of the most gorgeous venues I've shot.

Settle in, this is gonna be a long post....

I love moments like this, when the bride's father sees her in her dress for the first time.

Seriously, how elegant and rockin' does she look?

That ridiculously long scarf? One of their purely awesome Dr. Who details.

Did I mention how awesome that dress was?

I loved seeing how in love with each other these two are.

This was such a sweet tender moment between Beck and Ruth, one of her bridesmaids.

There was no shortage of simply wonderful details at the reception, from the little favor bags, to the table settings and everything else. (And not a shabby chic mason jar anywhere in sight.)

Just try to tell me this is not the cutest wedding cake ever.

As first dances go, you really can't beat a room like this.

This one's a bit out of focus, but I can't help it. I love it.

These two know how to dance.

The danced. And then they danced more. And then dashed out in a shower of rose petals and cheers.

Mr. and Mrs. Ross, thank you, so much, for giving me the gift of documenting this beautiful day. 

Voices raised as one

"Fight, fight until the end."
The voices of many, echoing in a canyon of concrete, glass and steel. Protesters crowded outside the Turkish consulate in Los Angeles this afternoon, demanding Turkey finally acknowledge the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Old and young, crying out for justice.

Have you passed through this night?

One of the great things about working in journalism is getting to meet interesting people and hear (and share) their stories. Last week, I had the honor of interviewing Renee Firestone, a Holocaust survivor who has remained tireless in sharing her story and raising awareness of ongoing oppression in the world. You can read that story here. When it came to shoot her portrait, I was working quickly, and wanted to keep the composition simple, a bit somber and with a bit of shadow. 

A fine day for a parade

I overslept a little this morning, but there was still time to hop on the Metro and head down to D.C.'s 40th annual St. Patrick's Day parade. Which was held, yes, on March 13. I suppose it's more convenient to do it on a weekend. It was an absolutely perfect day for a parade along the National Mall, with clear skies, temperatures around 62, a slight breeze and trees starting to bud.
You won't find many typical parade photos here, because...if you've seen one parade you've seen them all. I'd rather focus on the little details that make up the day.
Look closely, and this first image tells you a lot about the fact that it's a public event in Washington, D.C., both patriotic and national pride in nature.
(Side note: this firefighter was kind enough to pose for a portrait next to his engine, which I'll post once that film is developed.)

Not only was this firefighter sporting an awesome mustache, he dyed it green for the day.

There was absolutely nothing wild about this bunch.

This awesome marching band was ahead of a group of fire engines that all had their sirens blaring. Somehow, it all blended into one cacophonous, raucous unintentionally cool composition.

I mean, if you have a green Cadillac, why not bring it out to the parade?

Is this man not awesomely Irish? I dare you to disagree. (Though the conflicting "Kiss me, I'm Irish" and "Honorary Irishman" buttons seemed a bit confusing.)

As American as...

Ten years. For 10 years I'd been hearing about this tiny cafe at the small airport near my parents' house that serves up great apple pie. On my recent trip to NJ for the holidays, it was finally time to try a slice.
Jeanne Anderson has been running the Runway Cafe at Blairstown Airport since the mid-1980s, and making fresh pies ever since. The cafe dates back to around the 1940s.
Chased with a cup of hot coffee on a bitterly cold afternoon, the pie was fantastic. Sweet, juicy filling. Crumbly topping. Flaky, buttery crust. The blackboard behind the counter advertises "crummy apple pie." Indeed. The best crummy pie I've had.
In between talking about the history of the cafe and the weekend travelers it used to attract in the mid-20th century, and pulling out some aged, black-and-white photos, Jeanne was kind enough to pose for a few portraits. I worked quickly, shooting with a 50mm lens pretty wide open and, with the exception of the first image, a handheld, off-camera flash for a little fill light.
A delightfully simple little cafe. Fantastic apple pie. And a cheerful, masterful pie maker. Not a bad way to cap off my trip.

And a requisite close-up, courtesy of my Blackberry.

2010 Retrospect — Part 1

The year's almost over. Personally and professionally, 2010 was altogether challenging, rewarding, joyful, frustrating — it was another year of living life. I've done a fair amount of reflection over the past two months, but I'm more focused on looking ahead to what the future holds. That said, I wanted to share some of my favorite images from the past 12 months. I'm thankful for everything — every place, every face, every moment — I was able to see and photograph. Hopefully you enjoy some of these as much as I do. Today is a smattering of more photojournalistic images. Tomorrow, Part 2 will pull together some of my favorite images of people.

This first image in many ways encapsulates my approach to life these days: Chasing the light in the darkness.

I kicked off (yes, pun intended) getting to cover the Rose Bowl game between Oregon and Ohio for the newspaper I was with at the time. I'm not really a sports fan, but it's impossible not to feel the adrenaline pumping when you're walking the sidelines of a stadium packed full of cheering fans.

In the 5 1/2 years I spent with The Signal newspaper, the kind of stories I most enjoyed writing were those that cast a spotlight on ordinary people getting recognition. Read the story here of this Vietnam veteran who was awarded the Bronze Star more than 40 years after a battle in the Mekong Delta.

Over the past decade I've spent in California, I've always enjoyed driving through the vast expanses of desert. It's a harsh landscape, peppered with interesting landmarks. One of those is Salvation Mountain. For more than 30 years, Leonard Knight has lived without electricity or running water, east of the Salton Sea, constructing and painting a clay "mountain" adorned with flowers, rivers and Bible verses. This oasis of American folk art stands in stark contrast to the unforgiving terrain surrounding it.

A moment in time along the freeway west of Palm Springs.

Catalina Island sits just about 30 miles off the coast of San Pedro, California, but it feels a world away. It was good medicine to get away from everything for a day and wander the small harbor town of Avalon. At the top of a mountain overlooking the island is the Wrigley Memorial, in honor of William J. Wrigley who did much to develop the island.

In September, I traveled to Washington, D.C. to a help a friend photograph a wedding. It was my first time there in probably more than 15 years, and I fell in love. It's a grand, walkable city with architecture that reminds me of Europe. These were the views as I walked the National Mall one afternoon, ending up at the Washington Monument for a beautiful sunset.

It's been nearly a decade since L.A. County Sheriff's Deputy Hagop "Jake" Kuredjian was shot dead during a shootout, but he was close in memory to his brother on the anniversary of his death. Read the story here.

A few months ago, I dragged myself out of bed in the pre-dawn hours to capture some images of the community's early risers. The Way Station Coffee Shop has been a Santa Clarita Valley fixture for almost 40 years, and is a deliciously textbook example of a "greasy spoon."

That's it! Some of my favorite newsy images from 2010. Come back tomorrow for images of couples in love, bouncing babies, chic ladies and more.

Action needs an audience.

Having joined the ranks of the unemployed, now more than ever is the time to step up my photography game. I'm currently looking at a lot of possibilities in the journalism field, and also doing what I can to get my portfolio out here. I figured it was worth posting a portfolio that spotlights my photojournalistic work. So, here it is. (click image for larger view)