Face The Light

I’m in the City at a coffee shop called Farley’s.
The place is thronging with guests.
And for good reason.
The vibe and coffee are great.
At a table next to me,
Four friends are talking and laughing.
Their banter is infectious.
I listen to them.
I watch them carefully.
Then I home in on one.
She brings great energy to the scene.
Plus, she’s graced by light streaming in from the window.
One of her friends leaves the table.
I shuffle over and plop down in the empty seat.
Hi, I say, warmly.
I want to photograph you.
What for, she asked.
Because I chase good light,
And it’s transfiguring your face right now, I add, lamely.
Her friends chuckle at my remark.
But she doesn’t chuckle back.
She just looks at me, friendly and puzzled.
Sure, she says, go for it.
I smile, she smiles.
Our eyes connect, briefly.
And the camera shutters of its own volition,
Preserving 1/125 of a second in digital immortality.

If you’re looking for a Bay Area corporate or family photographer, contact me

Put a Halo on It

family portrait photography bay area san jose product halo ballet

That may look like an Escher painting.
But it’s J., our next-door neighbor of 15-plus years.
Her younger sister J2 features prominently in my photography.
J. would, too, except she trains at the New York School of American Ballet.
She’s mastering her craft on the East Coast.
And brands are taking notice.
They send her free stuff all the time.
Like Halo Top ice cream.
Isn’t ice cream on everyone’s mind?
Yep, so we put a Halo on it…

family portrait photography bay area san jose product halo

And flexed muscles in a fierce praying mantis pose…

family portrait photography bay area san jose product halo muscles

And made googly eyes at the yumminess of it all…

family portrait photography bay area san jose product halo googly eyes

And played serious with a look of mild surprise…

family portrait photography bay area san jose product halo lip spoon

And cranked up the glamour wattage, high…

family portrait photography bay area san jose product halo elegant

But mainly we played and had fun.
And even Paige jumped in on the action.

family portrait photography bay area san jose product halo piggyback

Afterwards, walking home, I saw the light in September.
I love it when that happens.
It gave our suburban street a cool industrial vibe.
One more picture, I asked.
Of course, she said.
Great, no product, just you…

family portrait photography bay area san jose product industrial rim light

…and the trees, and the wind, and the slanting light of late summer.

If you’re looking for a corporate or family photographer in the Bay Area, contact me.


Heart of Palm


Snow White and the Baby Bump were gone. A hush fell on the water. And we were quiet and still like the surface of the lake. Paige was musing on dragonflies. Terrell was alone at the water’s edge, sitting on a pile of stones jutting into the lake. Slowly, carefully, Gavin crept up behind her. Don’t scare her, I whispered to myself. Surprisingly, he didn’t scream or poke her ribs. Instead he sidled up beside her with feline grace. He placed his hand on her head, gently. And as he stood there, who knows what—if any—benediction passed through his 9-year old head. But, even if it didn’t, who cares? A child’s touch is blessing enough for a parent. And that’s what really matters in the end.

This summer’s offer is winding down. If you’re interested, contact me.

Snow White and the Baby Bump

I’m on a road trip with my family.
We’re in a remote area.
Castle Lake.
Suddenly we’re not alone.
Poof, a young woman appears.
She is sprung from the forehead of Walt Disney himself.
Snow White is pregnant.
Carefully she steps into the lake.
She arranges her dress like a blue lily pad on the surface of the water.
Satisfied, Snow White says, I’m ready.
Another young woman appears at the water’s edge.
Her bestie.
She has a mobile phone.
Bestie says, Smile.
Snow White goes timeless.
Snap goes the maternity picture.
They’re done.
But I’m not.
I obtrude, politely.
Can I photograph you, I ask.
Awkward pause.
Snow White is sizing me up, I suppose.
Creepy middle-aged man.
Middle of nowhere.
Wait, a wife.
Oh, and two kids.
I imagine all this in 1/1,000 of a second.
Snow White says, Yes.
Snap, snap, snap go the maternity pictures.
Which are now safely gifted to Snow White and her magical kingdom.

Interested in a family photo session? Let’s shoot

See the Invisible

Portrait photography Bay Area San Jose flash light study low key

That’s J.,
Our next-door neighbor,
An Icelandic gal born in California.
It’s been a pleasure watching her grow up.
My wife Terrell and I refer to her as our other daughter.
We’re the beneficiaries of that compliment, for sure.
Anyhow, how lucky am I that J. will often model at a moment’s notice.
In the image above, I was practicing with a new off-camera flash.
We were in a garage with too much ambient light.
So I dropped my ISO to 100 and stopped down to f/22 at 1/200 of a second to produce a perfectly black background.
Then I experimented with flash power to study different effects.
This image is a throw-away, an outtake, nothing more.
But there’s one thing I like about the photo a lot—
The sharp profile line that travels down Jesigga’s forehead,
Across her nose and lips and round her chin.
That line is very interesting,
An ultra-stark edge,
An abrupt demarcation between light and dark,
Between something and nothing.
I’m fascinated by that Line, always.
But there’s something else that interests me.
My outtake came to the attention of a young Bay Area artist.
His name is August Vu.
He tinkers with many mediums,
Including clay, crayons, oils, and even recyclables.
In sleepless hours, he makes art to clear his mind and think.
You won’t find him on social media.
He avoids it.
His interests are elsewhere.
But I’m delighted to share his interpretation of my photo here.

Portrait photography Bay Area San Jose flash light study low key

His rendering makes up for all the faults of the original picture.
He surfaces textures and details that were originally lost in shadows—
In her cheek, in her jaw, and especially in her hair.
Isn’t that what an artist is supposed to do,
To make invisible things, visible?
Well, I think so.
And our young Bay Area artist does just that,
All while preserving The Line.
Well done, sir!
A tip of the hat to you.

If you’re interested, check out this month’s special offer

Stand Out

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Every brand wants them.
But brands are only as successful getting them as their visual assets allow.
Strong visual content improves reach, awareness, and engagement in a big way.
And brand photography is the queen of visual content.
From portraits, groups, and events, to office spaces and products—
Brand photography helps you communicate how you’re different and why you matter.
If you’d like to learn more about my rates, I encourage you to contact me.








The Godmother

Family photography Bay Area San Jose Pacific Grove ocean beach portrait

Arm in arm, they strolled the beach.
They dug their toes into the sand.
They laughed, they hugged.
They gazed out to sea.
They were radiant.
Thinking it to myself wasn’t enough.
Holy smokes, you two look fantastic, I said.
Smiling, the Godmother touched her blue headdress.
Yes, we do, she said.
It’s a party.
We’re celebrating.
My goddaughter’s son turns one today.
Our family is beat, but we are not.
So we’re here, and they’re not.
The Godmother opened her arms to embrace the sea.
Congratulations, I said, and turned to leave.
But she glanced at me and my camera around my neck,
And I understood her meaning right away.
Yes, she said without a word.
Photograph us.
Snap away.
It’s OK.
And when the Godmother speaks—
Telepathically or otherwise—
You do as you’re asked.

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