A Blooming Fine Day

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I have a friend.
Her name is Colleen.
She shared a story with me.
The story goes something like this…

“A few years ago, a tulip bloomed in our backyard; the yard was otherwise covered by ivy. We didn’t plant the tulip; it was likely the work of an enterprising but forgetful squirrel. The best moments are always like this tulip: unexpected and perfect.”

Earlier this week, I had one of those special moments.
I was in San Francisco on a corporate shoot.
My client was unfashionably late.
I stood on Gold Street.
A picturesque alley in the Financial District.
There was no foot traffic.
I was alone.
Waiting.

Then it happened.
A stranger turned the corner.
She strode the lane toward me—
Looking the fashion equivalent of a tulip in bloom.
Finally, I blurted out in mock exasperation.
You’re here at last.
I’ve been waiting for you.
No, no, she said, politely waving her hand.
I’m not your model.
You’re not, I joked?
No.
But she slowed,
Then stopped entire,
And glinted right on frame.
I snapped at 1/200 of a second.
And every time the shutter clicked, she gracefully shifted her pose.
What an unexpected and perfect gift! Thank you.

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Simply Jack

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Meet Jack, Jack Beckwith.
He’s the Founder and Creative Director at The DataFace.
There’s one thing I enjoy most about photographing business pros.
I get to ask them any question I want—and learn just how interesting they are.

Who is your favorite writer?

I’d say Michael Lewis. As a sports nut and aspiring data scientist, Moneyball proved a perfect introduction to his work back in the mid-2000s. But what I admire most about Lewis’s writing is his ability to take a mundane subject and somehow make it captivating for the reader. His latest book, The Fifth Risk, is no exception. It’s about government bureaucracy and somehow I couldn’t put it down.

What’s one of the most beautiful places you’ve ever visited?

Bryce National Park has to be near the top of my list. I’ve been twice — once with my family in eighth grade and again with some college friends during our spring break my senior year. The hoodoos are just magical, especially in the afternoon sun. I have some wonderful memories hiking the trails there with my dad.

By this time next year, what do you want to have achieved?

I’m hoping to run a half marathon at some point in 2020. I’ve been a runner for more than a decade at this point, dating back to the days of high school cross-country. But since I tore my ACL last April, I’ve had a tough time getting back into the habit of running. So I made it a goal to train for a race this year and set a PR. And what better way to set a new PR than to run a distance I’ve never officially raced before?

Contact me for kids, teens, couples, family, and corporate photography in the Bay Area. Subscribe to my newsletter for updates, offers, and inspiration. 

The Winter of Our Content

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Ōmisoka, or Kwanzaa, I come bearing gifts for the whole lot of you!

It’s the photographic equivalent of stocking stuffers, menorahs, and Amazakes.

Skim or go slowly. But whatever you do, enjoy the photos and the blessings of the holiday season.

Travel photography

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Prophetic Blue
Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in Iceland

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Play-Dreaming
My daughter Paige found a place of her own in a birch grove in Iceland

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Alpenglow
Half Dome at twilight, where I battled other heathen photographers for room to shoot

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Fog
Sky Camp at Point Reyes National Seashore

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Topped Myself
A reflection in the Upside Down, Gamla Stan, Stockholm, Sweden

Corporate photography

Family photography

Fine art portrait photography

When you take portraits of ballerinas for use in applications to ballet companies worldwide, implied nude photography is the name of the game.

Honorable mention in the fine art photography category goes to…

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Yep, it’s a non sequitur. But it’s a warm and tasty one this holiday season.

Speaking of non sequiturs, I love you.

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Yosemite Calls

I first saw Yosemite in my early thirties. I arrived late at night with a boisterous crew. We made camp under large trees. They blocked the light from the moon and the stars. Darkness was complete. I saw nothing. I knew nothing beyond my meager cone of light. Then I slept. When I woke, I was utterly astonished. Actually, that word is too puny. It was more like rapture, except that word is too flabby. My reaction was coarse, visceral, and lightning fast. Holy fuck, I whispered. Holy fucking shit. I stopped breathing. I gazed in wonder and disbelief. I’d never seen anything like it. I won’t attempt to describe what I saw. But I will share some images I recently made while I was at Yosemite with my family on fall break.

Two Half Domes make a whole. Or, art makes the world whole. Yes, I like the sound of that, even though it’s only half true.

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Not even a language barrier got in our way. The man fussed with a tripod, then ran to his bride. He did this many times before I smiled and pointed, Here, I said without a word. They understood. They stepped where I’d pointed. They smiled back. Then I flourished my hand across my face, and the man’s hand followed suit. Her smile makes me indescribably happy.

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After the couple left, I waited for the light to mellow out. It did. And the chapel played peek-a-boo behind the trees.

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This is my wife. She has eyes like exotic insects. She’s doing what I did when I first beheld the granite walls of Yosemite. Gazing, raptly.

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Alex Honnold immortalized himself on this massive chunk of granite in Free Solo. Although the image is nice after a fashion, it’s basically false, because it doesn’t adequately communicate the sheer scale of the rock. Not even close.

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Here’s a stone bridge over the Merced river with drifting smoke from camp fires.

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Sometimes reflections are more real than the things themselves.

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I worked hard for this last image, fighting off other heathen photographers. Half Dome at twilight. It has the right balance of magic and realism that produces that holy-fucking-shit moment I had in my thirties when I woke up to a new world on the valley floor. I added a lot of grain to prevent color banding. But the high-res version of the image is fantastic and will print beautifully. If you’re interested in a copy, give me a shout. I’ll be doing a large print run soon.

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The Autumn of Our Content

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October, 2019.
McClellan Ranch, Cupertino, CA.
Autumn colors; blue sky, hazy.
Family mini sessions all day Sunday.
Too many great images to share.
But one stands out right now.
I stare and stare at it.
I know it’s not the greatest image ever taken.
But I secretly believe it is.
Photographers are strange that way.
The boys were pure energy when they arrived.
Scripted shots weren’t going to work.
So I threw mental choreography to the wind.
Instead, we walked and talked.
We laughed and poked fun at each other.
We discovered Sycamore leaves as large as Texas
And unearthed golf balls along the creek.
The shadows lengthened slowly.
My camera clicked without a set purpose in mind.
When the session was over, we walked back to the parking lot.
I said to the boys, Post up here, yeah, just like that.
Energy spent, they posted on the fence, relaxed and languid.
In that moment, I captured something real and enduring, I hope.
The image says something about the passage of time—
Of days, seasons, and childhood—
And it says something about brotherhood, too.
I hope you like the image as much as I do!
As always, thank you for visiting.

Contact me for kids, teens, couples, family, and corporate photography in the Bay Area.