If you ever wanted to eat great sushi and listen to an amazingly talented jazz band, you should have been at Yoshi’s in Oakland. Led by their teacher Vincent Tolliver (Mr. T) the Skyline High School Jazz Band played two shows last monday. I myself had never heard them before that night and was very impressed by the concert. It’s easy to hear “high school band” and have low expectations but these kids, though they are students play like pros. So it was no surprise to me when I learned that they took first place in their division at the Reno Jazz Festival last year. Looking back I wish I had tickets for both show so I could put down the camera and really enjoy the show.
This year the band hopes to return to Reno in April to prove their stuff and the only way they can do that is if they get some help. Right now the band is trying to raise the $7,000 needed to play at the Reno Jazz Festival. You can help by writing a check to Skyline High School Jazz Band. Prints of the show are available on my gallery and proceeds from the photos goe to the band.
A few weeks ago some friends and I took a trip to a place we had been planing to go to for months. That place was Death Valley National Park of course. To someone who has never been there you might think “it’s a desert”, and you would be right. One of the hottest, driest and lowest deserts on earth, but also one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. We happened to go at the perfect time of year. It was no hotter than 60º F in the day time. The forecast called for a chance of rain but there was none. Only clouds and 50 mph winds at night which made trying to sleep an adventure of it’s own.
The first place we went to was a large flatland known as the Racetrack. It was a most interesting place. The rocks that you see in the photos all come from the large rock formation called “The Grandstands” and they move the great distances only by the force of the high winds. The light out there made for interesting portraits. Even with a back-lit subject and direct sunlight, the shadows were not overpowering. The next day we visited the sand dunes and it was my first time walking on any dune. It was very cool and I am glad to have gotten some shots off before the winds picked up and I got a face full of the valley’s golden goodness.
In just the few day it was clear that we hardly scratched Deaths sandy surface. I can’t believe that it’s taken me this long to go and I certainly won’t let my life go by without going again.
On our way out of the valley we found that the incoming storm left a fresh layer of snow on the other side of the pass. Nothing like topping off a trip to the desert like throwing some snowballs.
Recently, on a whim, a friend and fellow photographer asked if I wanted to do some lightpainting. So I grabbed my camera and before too long we were having a blast making some great images with just a couple of iPhones. The three of us traded places being photographer, painters and models unlit we had enough. I am definitely going to do some more of this work in the future. The other photographer was Steve Babuljak and the third hand at work was Elaine Schumacher.
Face provided by Steve Babuljak
Photo and painting by Steve Babuljak
Photo and painting by Steve Babuljak
Photo by Elaine
Face provided by Elaine, painting by Steve and I
Last summer I had the honor of being apart of the photography teem for Chic 2009 in Tennessee. Chic (Covenant High In Christ) is a week long high school conference put on by the Evangelical Covenant Church every three years. It is a massive gathering of students coming from all over North America and this year featured speakers Erwin Raphael McManus, Shane Claiborne, Efrem Smith. Artists including David Crowder Band, Third Day, Flyleaf and Salvador just to name a few.
Photographing all 5,200 students with just two other photographers was a work every day for sure. Most days going on 12+ hours, taking thousands of photos a day, but never did it feel like too much work.The experience of shooting for a such an event was incredible. In the mornings we would run around the UT campus capturing the morning activities. In the afternoon shooting all the students enjoying the excursions, sometimes going as far as the North Carolina border to get shots of the white water rafting. Finally, after all that there would still be the night time event called main stage which lasted well into the night. It was an awesome feeling to be standing between the huge bands and 5000 fans. It was an event I wont forget and these are just some of my favorites from the week.
Best friends are not something I ever thought I would be taking photos of, at least not until a couple of weeks ago when these three asked for best friends photos. It might sound a little odd, but not for these girls. If anyone stands a chance of life long friendship it is they. It was a beautiful day in the Tilden Park Botanic Garden where we took the photos. I couldn’t have asked for better light as I did not bring an assistant or lighting equipment.
Last month I had the pleasure to be a groomsman in my best friend’s wedding in Williamsburg Va. I was not the photographer for the wedding, but I had my camera and took some photos of the rehearsal. It was a very chill wedding. I can’t remember ever feeling so relaxed, even when I have been just a guest.