Monthly Archives: March 2009

Lions and tigers and blogs! Oh my!!

aliens_blogWell, I’m not sure if this a a loose ends thing or just separation anxiety but I had to do it.

Yesterday was the full launch of my new website. It meant saying goodbye to my very old but much loved site… an unnerving process. It’s a little like that really soft, corduroy shirt I can’t seem to give up… it’s hanging in the back of my closet, elbows pretty thin and it certainly doesn’t fit me anymore but it’s that corduroy shirt.

The new site works well and looks pretty snazzy. Most importantly, I have the skeleton key so if I need to add or change images, I can do so and that is a real luxury. I wrote to my original designer to tell her about the switch and I could read the smiles in her reply… we had a good run. The old site was 7 years old which is like dog years in the tech world… you can look at the images and see a huge shift in quality alone. The old images were mostly film, of course, and scanned from prints which means all sorts of losses compared to today’s shoot and upload directness.

The new site will be a little sparse for a bit…I have just a few wedding galleries on there for now.  I had hoped to come out of the gate in full stride but it will take some time to do it right and that makes a difference to me. The plan is to add more weddings and rework my portrait and personal archives with new galleries for those as well. The end result should tell you that I am capable of a range of good work. 

Today, I pulled all of the old site jpgs out of their dusty folder and put them up into 3 small web galleries in case you want to see them. There is one for weddings, one for portraits and one for my personal work….the stuff I do for me. The shot above was an infrared day in Seattle with some good friends.I really miss infrared film but it’s nice to revisit it from a good scan like this one.

I hope you can see past the low resolution issue in the old site and just enjoy the content. As soon as I can get my taxes done and my other clients caught up, there will be new galleries to explore. And maybe my lawn will get mowed.

A common thread…

Opera Boy used to annoy the hell out of me at the gym. Of course, he wasn’t Opera Boy yet…. we just called him Ron. His ability to trap you on the treadmill was legendary… talk you right through your allotted time. Over the course of a few years, I got kind of used to him. His topics were fairly varied and he talked to everyone so I didn’t mind so much after a while.

One of his favorite topics was, and still is cars. He made some points early on because little foreign cars, old sexy sports cars were his thing. Now, you may need to know that my only car since 1979 has been a 1973 MGB-GT and you may need to know that my dad and I used to run rallies and autocross when I was in high school. Dad and his father used to race his ’46 MG-TC and Grandpa had a big yellow Jag when he lived in Japan.  Ron has a 1973 Alfa Romeo Spyder and a 1976 TR-7/8…. garaged and in project mode. So, naturally, Ron and I had some common ground there.

The other thing he liked to talk about was photography. What a coincidence… I do, too.

Since we became a couple in late 2005, many of our weekend outings have involved cameras and cars.opera_blog1This beautiful 1941 Packard was one of about 7 period cars at the Oregon Ballet Gala in the Spring of 2007….not a sports car per se  but very voluptuous in a Mae West sort of way.

We have made a habit of the All British Field Meets at PIR, Portland Swap Meet, and  one fabulous trip to the Concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach.

When my time frees up a little there will be a gallery on my new web site dedicated to those sleek, sexy machines.

I’ll tell you more about Opera Boy later.

No pictures in this post

Just a heartfelt thanks to a colleague who is becoming a good friend.

Randy Kepple is a fine photographer in my local circle…his work speaks for itself but I am here to talk about his willingness to help other photographers.

In terms of  professional camaraderie, Portland has been an unusually chummy town as far as I can tell. For at least 15 years, the best and brightest have been on a social cruise….yes, there are ebbs and flows within our circles, some people hang out more than others and some just skim the edges but, mostly, we all feel pretty free asking questions, sharing technological details, and just providing moral support for each other. I don’t know too many other cities with this sort of long term dynamic. One of the most important things to come out of this group is professional back up. I doubt many brides give it much thought but I always have the ‘if I get hit by a bus’ conversation with mine. The clients need to know that if something happens to me, there is a group of professionals out there who will figure out how to get her wedding covered at her original agreement without sacrificing the style of work she was hoping for.

Randy Kepple and JP of AJ’s Studio joined Craig Mitchelldyer to forge a communal blog for 24 of Portland’s best wedding photographers. I believe these guys slept standing up for at least two weeks. The result is a great blog called My Portland Photographer…. check it out.  It launched at the beginning of March and has been going gang busters ever since. We have a great pool of talent in this town! These people are passionate and professional…these are not your weekend warriors… these are not your Craig’s list newbies.

Back to Randy. I had recently taken on the task of updating my ancient web site…a daunting task especially for a non geek like myself. I was doing pretty well with my template and advice from many of my colleagues…. pretty well, that is, until I started to look at the blog set up. My brain froze. I called Randy as he is one of about 3 gurus I can ask about the complex stuff and he basically held my hand for a week and a half to get this thing set up. He was in new territory for parts of it and he just kept plowing forward. I would most certainly be blogless if he hadn’t helped. He may not realize how much help and advice he made available. I know he has a life of his own and a business to feed…if I can ever return the favor of his time, I will… no questions asked.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

morningcall1972…there lived a little girl with an old camera. Her parents had cameras, too. Her sister had a big box of paints. Off of the worn blue kitchen there was a tiny bathroom. Her father converted it into a tiny darkroom and there was magic learned.

She named the darkroom Oz.

The years pass quickly…she finds herself in the next century still working in a darkroom named Oz only this one has a big blue monitor instead of an enlarger. It seems to be chock full of images and every one can take her back in time to the day the button was pushed… a slice of life kept for later.

My camera life has been just that — a chance to bring home parts of my experiences. I can share them with others, sometimes I can make people smile. This approach seems to work well for weddings and portrait work and certainly for my personal work.  I have been a free lance professional for 22 years but photography has been my craft and my joy for about 43 years.

In this blog, I hope to share what I do and give you a good sense of who I am.

The Morning Call was a revered cafe in the French Quarter of New Orleans…I was lucky to spend some time there before they uprooted it to the suburbs. The city lost something in that move.

Leaving the Sistine Chapel…

sistinestairdetail1In the spring of 2006, I was lucky beyond measure to finally visit Italy. I am sure Ron and I took on way too much in the short time we were there but I know I have to go back.

Rome was the last leg of our 13 days and we were getting punchy. Maybe Rome should be at the beginning of a trip like this because it was overwhelming. You need to have all of your wits and senses completely tuned in. As a photographer, I can get into visual overload pretty easily but if you combine that with the huge history around every corner, it’s almost like your brain says” Oh…just another ancient temple…”.  You have to stay focused or you risk glazing over.

If you tour the Sistine Museum, the famous chapel is towards the end of the four hour trek…imagine being swept along art encrusted corridors, some light, some very dark, shoulder to shoulder with masses of visitors. Many different languages and cultural habits all thrown into this boiling crowd thing. It’s probably the closest I have come to body surfing. Somehow, I expect my art encounters to be sublime and free of this bobbing and weaving fabric. The Chapel itself should have been quiet and calm with seats for all. Instead it was a sardine can…all packed in and staring up into the rich heavens created so long ago. The guards kept yelling NO PHOTO! and each time they did some unfortunate soul would pull out their point and shoot and it would start all over again. My view of the Sistine ceiling was straight up and ringed by jostling shoulders. Not sublime.

As we left the last galleries, the crowd thinned and we started down a ramp towards the exits. The stairway that opened up in front of me took my breath away. My brain came alive and I found myself starting to frame this massive beauty before I brought the camera up to my eye. Sublime accomplished.



Built around the turn of the 16th century by Donato Bramante, the spiral staircase was part of a new entrance to the palace and was designed for riding up on horseback.

Magic in the vineyard…

mt374blogMeg and Trevor had originally planned to have their wedding at Portland’s Art Museum. They found out that the Park Blocks would be home to a huge event that day…music and food and many, many people. Decisions were made to move their wedding. Long story short, a family friend offered them his private vineyard near Dundee…a pretty space lined with trees and rimmed with lines of grapes up the slope. No electric, no bathrooms, no nothing. Oh my.

Well, you might say…that seems like a lot of work. You’d be right.

This most perfect day came  together because they hired the best of the best. Vibrant Table Catering brought in everything, including the must have checkered dance floor. Francoise Weeks was given free rein to make flower art…everywhere you turned, there was another unique floral gift. Andrea Hoyt , of August Veils was on hand to keep Meg’s dress fresh and the bridesmaids up to speed…she is wonderful to work with!  There were members  of the Portland Opera for the ceremony and Pepe & the Bottle Blondes to keep the dancers warm later. Salmon on the grill and amazing little dessert plates to go with  the rice krispies cake. Soiree did a phenomenal job of lacing together all of  the pieces…I mean this party ran like a good clock!

Take a look…at the end of the day, this is about hiring people you can trust to do what they do best.