October 11, 2015

Tesoro vs El Toro | Friday Night Lights

(This is my second year of documenting Friday Night Lights with the Tesoro H.S. Titans. Last year’s project resulted in a book and movie and I plan to do the same with this year’s team. As a former news photographer this is right up my alley and a project that I have wanted to do ever since Buzz Bissinger’s book “Friday Night Lights” was published in 1990. A huge thanks to Matt Poston, the coaches, players and families from this year’s team for allowing me to photograph this year’s games).

Friday Night Lights recap:
At halftime, it sure seemed dire for Tesoro.

They were down 21-0, seemed to be like a fighter on their heals and without their starting QB Devon Modster, who injured his shoulder during the previous week’s game. Not to mention El Toro was almost flawless in that first half.

But back-up QB Carter Jaenichen has what corner backs coach Sam Reed would call: “Moxie”.

Carter and the team showed incredible resiliency and fight as they came back to win 31-28 in one of the wildest comeback games that I have witnessed.

Next week will surely demand Tesoro’s best as they face nearby rival Mission Viejo on Friday.










September 9, 2015

New Camera Bags from Think Tank Photo!

For photographers:Mirrorless Mover 25i lowres

Retrospective Leather lowres

Our friends at Think Tank Photo just announced the release of two new product line extensions as well as a new “free gift” offer.

The first are the Retrospective® 5 Leather, Retrospective® 7 Leather, and Retrospective® 30 Leather. These upscale, rugged shoulder bags maintain the Retrospective’s casual, form-fitting design. A new Dual Cross buckle on the front flap provides an extra measure of security. The new shoulder bags are designed to hold tablets and laptops in dedicated zipper pockets.

The new Mirrorless® Mover 25i fits one medium to large mirrorless body, plus two to four lenses, an 8” tablet, and additional accessories. It features metal hardware, high quality fabrics, YKK® zippers and a magnetic closure.

And, through the end of September, whenever you buy an eligible backpack from Think Tank you will receive Camera Support Straps V2.0 along with a Camera Strap V2.0 free! Think Tank offers a wide variety of innovative, high quality transportation and field photography backpacks. Order one and you will get to experience something really unique, which is having the weight of your camera shifted from your neck to your backpack harness system. With the Camera Support Strap V2. no more sore shoulders or neck aches!

Please use these affiliate codes if you do chose to purchase:



September 2, 2015

New Sony Alpha Universe Website Debuts!

I’m very proud to share the news that Sony Electronics has just launched their newly designed website for all things Sony Alpha Cameras called Alpha Universe!

Here’s a look at the main home page:


Included are profiles on the 40+ members of the ever-expanding Sony Artisans of Imagery Program (of which I am proud to be a member!). You’ll find photographs, information and inspiration from the photographers in this group and you can see what this looks like here:


The new Social section includes photographs from around the web by photographers that use the #sonyalpha on their social media. It’s a great way to showcase what you’re doing using Sony Alpha Cameras!


The Calendar section allows you to connect with members of the Sony Artisan Program that are doing meet-ups, seminars and talks about the Sony Alpha Cameras! See if there’s an upcoming event soon in your area!


Finally, in the Discover section of the site, you’ll find a variety of tips and techniques that you might find helpful as you learn more about the ever-expanding Sony Alpha line of cameras.


I hope you find the work a good source of information and inspiration in your photography!

August 10, 2015

Feature of the Sony a7rII — Silent Shooting Mode!!

As a photojournalist I always wanted to be the proverbial “fly on the wall”.

It was always a bit tricky to be that invisible especially when a camera with motor drive would make a very loud and distinctive sound.

In sporting events and other loud events like NASCAR or a Metallica concert it never mattered.

But in other situations — on the set of a television show, shooting pro golf (you can’t shoot during the backswing if you want to stay on the course, or during a putt), a funeral or other religious ceremony, in a high-powered private meeting — being invisible is imperative.

All of those situations are very tricky with DSLR cameras. I’ve even tried (over the course of my career) using cameras such as a Leica, with it’s quiet shutter, but even that could be heard and there were a lot of limitations for lenses (in a courtroom you would often need a longer lens such as the ubiquitous 70-200 to adequately tell the story). Then there is the Jacobson Blimp — a staple on the soundstages of the movie business — proof that shooting quietly was not a perfect enterprise. Yes the box deadened the sound, but it was big, awkward to work with and pricey.

Soft blimps — that is fabric types of blimps — did just an okay job but were never as quiet as they needed to be and would not be considered quiet enough for work on television.

Thankfully with the advances in camera technology, there’s now a way to shoot silently with the Sony a7rII (though the Sony a7s was the first Sony mirrorless camera to incorporate this feature).

And this morning, I got to see the benefit of this technology first hand.

At the local Tesoro H.S. where I photograph the Tesoro Titans football team, they had their first day of camp and it started with a meeting. Head Coach Matt Poston addressed a packed classroom and I shot a combination of stills and video.

These three photographs were made with the camera, the 35mm f1.4 lens and the camera in Silent Shooting Mode.

Finally you can truly be that “fly on the wall” (when it comes to shutter sound) while shooting still photographs!!
ETA: You can now set the Silent Shooting Mode to a custom button! I now have the C3 button set to Silent Shooting.

July 27, 2015

UPDATED!! Sony a7rii Launch Event at Samy’s Camera LA August 22, 2015 — Third Session Added!!!

039-SDA-15_A7Rll Samys Launch Event_3 times

The Sony a7rii Launch Event on Saturday, August 22nd at Samys Camera in Los Angelesis going to be fantastic!

Here’s an update:

· First two sessions are SOLD OUT
· Sony is giving away over $2000 in ZEISS glass ( 1 Sony Zeiss lens per session) MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN
· Think Tank Photo will be giving away 1 bag per session
· Session #3 opened due to overwhelming demand of the class

To Sign Up, please go to this link

July 23, 2015

Will Your Children Be in the 2015 Kids of OC Charity Photo Book Project?


Nicki and I are proud to announce our 8th Kids of Orange County Charity Photo Book Project!

And this is the project that just keeps on going and continues to raise money for a worthy charity — in this case Children’s Hospital of Orange County.

So far, this project has raised over $60,000 for CHOC by the 100% donation of the $100/family session fee for this project.


This project is a great fit for OC families that love CHOC and wish to have wonderful portraits of their children that they’ll be able to treasure for years to come.

One portrait of each of their kids will be in the 2015 book with their first name.

Our goal for the year is to photograph children from 100 OC Families raising $10,000 for CHOC.

Please reach out to the studio by using the attached contact form and we’ll be in touch with you!

July 16, 2015

Want to See the new Sony a7rII? August 22nd, 2015 at Samy’s in LA! UPDATED!!

039-SDA-15_A7Rll Samys Launch Event_V2_Page_1

Want to see the new Sony a7rii? (and have an opportunity to win 1 of 2 Full Frame Sony lenses??

Join Samy’s and Sony for an in-depth class on the camera by Sony Senior Tech Rep Rob Shelley and live model shoot with the camera (by me), please mark your calendar for an event on Saturday, August 22nd at Samy’s Camera at 431 S. Fairfax Avenue in LA.

Times are 11-12:30 and 1-2:30.

The event is free, and seating is limited

To get your tickets go to http://samysphotoschool.com/courses/sony-a7rii-launch-event-at-samys-camera-los-angeles/

July 15, 2015

A Great Amazon Prime Day Deal on fast Sony SD cards


Today is Prime Day for Amazon and I wanted to share with you this very cool Prime Day Deal!

If you shoot SD cards like I do, then you’ll want to hop onto this deal for the fast Sony SD Cards

I recommend the 64 GB card as it is selling at a 49% discount over the regular price! I just bought 3 of them for a little over $100!

64GB is the size you’ll want to record XAVCS video with your Sony cameras that feature that (a6000, a7ii, a7s and the soon-to-be-released a7rii)

Here’s the link!

Get them while they’re hot!

July 6, 2015

A piece of gear not packed, a portrait emergency averted (whew) and the new checklist that is the result of that mistake.

Yesterday I had a family portrait session down in Carlsbad and *thought* I had everything ready to go.

About twenty miles from home and passing San Onofre, I realized that I had neglected to pack my usual 5 in 1 reflector(s) that I typically bring for portraits.

That could have been trouble for me on many days but I was lucky and dodged the proverbial bullet in this particular case.

Normally I bring two or sometimes three reflectors with me. The reason is that one is set for silver, one set for white and the other set for translucent.

On a bright sunny day I can go through all of them quickly. Having only one reflector with me and then having to change out from silver to white to translucent would be a huge pain and slow down the session…it’s simply easier to use 3 at one time all set up and ready to go.

Seeing that’s how I tend to use reflectors on a portrait shoot, you can see why I was a bit frustrated.

Luckily though the day was overcast and so I would not have to battle bright sun or even sun popping in and out of the clouds. Reflectors on this day would not even be an option — especially for the big groups.

For that, the Dyna-lite Baja 400 JR with a small softbox turned out to be the perfect light and I used it for virtually everything (save for the full speed running sequences of the little kids on the beach).

It made me realize that with all the stuff I might bring (and now with audio shoots and studio lighting shoots requiring vastly different tools) it became clear I have to create a list that covers the broad range of gear — from cameras to lenses to audio to reflectors to support (tripods, lightstands, etc.).

It can get tricky to control. And thanks to my friend Jon Streeter for pointing it out.

I created this checklist at the end of this post for the variety of gear I use and wanted to share it with you (so YOU don’t have happen what happened to me yesterday!). You’re welcome to use it as a starting point perhaps for your own equipment checklist. I hope this helps (BTW, I used Evernote to create this — love the checkboxes in that program!)

Have a great week ahead.


p.s. Here are a few of my favorites from yesterday’s portrait session at the beach — a large extended family portrait session of Fritz and Ellie from Phoenix with their kids, grand kids and GREAT grandkids!! Fritz is a WWII veteran and they have been married for 68 years!!!!




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