The Walls - Santa Clarita Family Session

"There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human, are created, strengthened and maintained."
— Winston Churchill

My favorite kind of family sessions to shoot are the ones that are laid-back and simply capture the joy in a family, especially when they have a six-month-old bundle of cuteness like Zoey here.

The best time for photos of your family is now. Let's get together.

Breathe Different Air, Feel Different Light

"We need wilderness whether or not we ever set foot in it. We need a refuge even though we may never need to set foot in it. We need the possibility of escape as surely as we need hope; without it the life of the cities would drive all men into crime or drugs or psychoanalysis.” — Edward Abbey

There is something almost indefinable about the desert. The quality of light and air, and the way it washes over you and soaks into you. The desert can be a harsh, unforgiving place, but it can also be a peaceful, rejuvenating place. 

After a busy week at the desk, pounding away at a keyboard under fluorescent lights and breathing conditioned air, it was enlivening to escape into the wild just a short drive away on Friday and soak in the golden light of the late afternoon. 

An added bonus was getting to catch up with my old friend Sarah, and shoot a few health-and-fitness themed portraits. I've done a bunch of shoots with both Sarah and her brother over the years, and they're good salt of the earth people.

If you're like me and spend too much time indoors working hard, do yourself a favor and get outside. Get out of town and breathe new air. Recharge, refresh, rejuvenate. Repeat. It's good for the body, mind, and soul.


What's Limiting You Today?

Why do we put ourselves in a box? Why do we limit ourselves to what it is we want to achieve, but tell ourselves we can’t because we aren’t properly equipped?

Any photographer (or insert any other vocation) knows this all too well.

If only I had that lens…

If only I was shooting on that camera instead…

If only, if only, if only…

At the beginning of the year, I gave myself a personal challenge to create more portraits, constantly, no matter what gear I had at hand. After all, the best camera really is the one you have with you.

Which leads me to this portrait of Mike, a case study in using what you have at hand. A fellow coffee aficionado and news junkie, we ran into each other one Saturday at my favorite local coffee spot, and I had to create a portrait of him in that light. My gear? My trusty iPhone 5, coupled with the fantastic Moment Tele lens, and, oh, the white side of a menu I was holding just out of frame to bounce a little light back onto Mike’s face. I shot it with my go-to app, VSCO Cam, in which I applied some mild post-processing.

This was one of the earliest images I shot with the Moment lens, which I received as a Christmas present. There are a lot of iPhone photography accessories on the market, but this lens is by far one of the best and worth every penny. With high-quality craftsmanship, optical-quality glass, and ease of use (it twist-locks onto a small adhesive plate you affix to the back of your phone), it’s a great way to step your game up when shooting photos with your phone.

Here’s the thing. The skill to create a strong portrait comes from being able to see a strong portrait, not because of your gear.

Our ability to achieve, to rise above, and to succeed? It’s helped by various outside influences and resources, to be sure. But do you have within you the fire and the drive to do something in spite of circumstances?

What’s limiting you today?

"I'm not going to believe that only a few people are permitted to be gatekeepers or creators or generous leaders. I have no intention of apologizing for believing in people, for insisting that we all use this moment and these assets to create some art and improve the world around us."

Hold On

For all the heartbreak dreamers waiting for the light;
Looking for just one reason to get through the night;
Every long-lost believer caught in the fight;
All the heartbreak dreamers gonna be alright.
In the past month, that verse from Mat Kearney’s latest album “Just Kids” (Go download it now. Seriously.) has been constantly playing over and over in my head. It is because I know the truth in those words. It is because I have seen over the past several years, while walking through some true valley periods in life, what it means to hold on to hope, to fight through heartbreak and disappointment, and come out the other side and see and know that it is going to be alright.
I don’t know what you are facing. I don’t know what anxieties keep you awake at night and what stresses are waiting for you in the morning. But I know you can make it. I know heartbreak may seem the thing that is going to win, but I am urging you: Hold on. I know the road seems long and with no end in sight, but there is a destination on that horizon.
I’m telling you this because I need to hear it myself. I constantly battle my own stresses, anxieties, fears, and hesitations over not being good enough, not talented enough, not driven enough, not successful enough. I haven’t done enough. I haven’t risked enough. I am not making enough of the precious time I have on this earth. And on and on it goes.
And then I am reminded of how much I have accomplished; how much I am truly blessed in life; and how, no matter how many seconds I have left on this earth, I have not reached the end of that road.

And so I hold fast to hope.

P.S. This blog has been languishing for far too long. That's changing. Because I'm tired of the regret I have every time I don't invest in what I say I care about. So, I'm focusing on breathing new life into it, sharing photos as much as I'm sharing my thoughts. I hope you enjoy reading.

The Snider Family

Better late than never. I didn't have time to blog this great session with the Snider family before my wife and I went to New Jersey for Christmas. I had a fantastic time with Andy (who just relaunched his blog!), Pam and their family capturing some images here in Santa Clarita. Here's a few of my favorites.

It's always the right time to schedule a family photoshoot.
Contact me at
You get one shot at life. Live it with vision.

The Ticas Family

I've known Sam and Dina for some time now, so it was fantastic spending some time with their family this afternoon, capturing some photos. 

Married 17 years and still rockin' the camera like newlyweds.

It's always the right time to schedule a family photoshoot.
Contact me at
You get one shot at life. Live it with vision.

Portrait of a Lady

One of the things I love about the type of work I do is the people I meet. Recently, I had the opportunity to create a quick portrait of Noelia Rodriguez. She is a gifted, inspirational speaker whose background includes having been the press secretary for First Lady Laura Bush, deputy mayor for Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, and former director of the John F. Kennedy Jr Forum at Harvard University's Institute of Politics.

Shared Moments

In addition to a restful, enjoyable few days of Thanksgiving celebration in San Francisco with Aimee and family, I had the opportunity to capture a few images of her cousin and husband's family. Thanks for having us, Keith and Kristin! 

It's always the right time to schedule a family photoshoot.
Contact me at
You get one shot at life. Live it with vision.

Family Love

I've now had the opportunity to take family photos for Maria and Tom several times. It's always a pleasure to capture families at different stages of their life. I had a great time capturing images of them, their daughter and their dog, Oz, at Mentryville, a historic oil town on the edge of the valley.


It's always the right time to schedule a family photoshoot.
Contact me at
You get one shot at life. Live it with vision.

In the time that's passed.

It's a little embarrassing how long of a gap there's been between postings here. But, in the past few months life has gotten pretty busy, between working for a great nonprofit organization, working for a marketing firm and falling head over heels in love with a great gal.

That said, here's one of my favorite portraits of late, of Bernie, a super-dedicated volunteer at the Senior Center where I work.

Probably a lot more posting come soon, with some exciting shoots on the horizon.

When the pressroom goes quiet

(Given recent developments, I felt it was a good time to share some images I captured several years ago.)

My first day on the job, a fellow reporter gave me a walk-through of the paper. Where the bathroom was, where the break room was. The tour capped off with the cavernous pressroom, that she described to me as a good place to blow off steam now and then.

Over the next few years I would blow off a lot of steam in that room. Sometimes I'd wander back there mid-day when it was quiet. It was like a hushed, industrial cathedral, the only sound my steps and breaths, inhaling the incense of ink and paper, afternoon light pouring through the windows. Sometimes I'd stalk back there late in the evening, at the tail end of a tiresome shift, when the room was alive. The hulking old machine whirring whirring whirring and pressmen shouting their conversations.

I certainly believe that newspapers must adapt. The methods of news gathering don't really change all that much, but the methods of delivering it to the public certainly do.

But I couldn't help feel a pang of nostalgia and loss when I heard of the paper's recent decision to outsource its printing to another location.

Change can certainly be a good thing. Physical newspapers will probably continue to be phased out. And that will have certain benefits. But there is nothing quite like seeing, hearing, feeling and smelling a product through from start to finish — from the haggard reporter on the phone culling facts, to papers coming off the press to be prepped for delivery, all under one roof.