I’ll start off by confessing that I’ve considered a few different titles to this particular post. Everything from:
“Why My Life is Never Boring”
“I Think I Need to Lay Down Now”
“For The Love of God Will Somebody Please Pass the Whiskey!”
One week ago today, I boarded a plane for Cancun Mexico to shoot for Sierra and Brian’s wedding. This was my second out of the country wedding of the year (click here to recap the first). Friday was spent traveling. Generally travel days aren’t that noteworthy, however this one was made interesting by sitting next to a woman on the plane who was probably in her mid forties with a thick southern accent and who before the plane had event taken off promptly informed me as well as the passengers around us that she hadn’t stepped foot on an airplane since she was 5 or 6 and that she was DEATHLY (I can’t stress that word enough) afraid of flying. Awwwwwesome. This was gonna be interesting. I spent the first portion of the flight showing her where the air sickness bags were (and silently praying that if she needed to use them she would position herself facing away from me.) The rest of the flight was spent convincing her that flying was in fact perfectly safe and that despite her worst fears (that she frequently throughout the flight felt the need to vocalize to all of us) there were in fact truly very very low odds of us plummeting to our deaths. So… that was Friday.
Saturday was a little more fun and involved shooting a welcoming party for the wedding guests on a catamaran. Catamarans are fun. If you get the chance to do your job while on a catamaran… don’t say no. Just bring sunscreen. :)
Sunday was the wedding. No catamarans, but as it turned out the ceremony spot wasn’t too shabby:
I’ll show more from that wedding at a later date once the images are fully edited… Suffice to say last weekend was pretty sweet. :)
Monday I spent traveling home. A shuttle ride from resort to airport. Cancun to Houston. Houston to Denver. Thankfully I sat next to people who had apparently been on many a plane ride since the Charter administration and had no fears of traveling at 35,000 feet. While Mexico was great, when I got off the plane at Denver’s International Airport at 8:45 in the evening 48 degree had never felt better in my life. :)
Tuesday I took off my wedding photographer’s hat (OK…we don’t actually really wear hats, but……come to think of it… I think it’d be kinda sweet if we did….. I’m thinking something like a big sombrero….. Interesting…… I’ll have to think about that…..hmmmm…there’s a slight chance I got a little too much sun in Mexico….) Ok, anyways I stopped being a wedding photographer and headed over to the Pepsi Center to shoot the Colorado Avalanche play the Chicago Blackhawks. While most of what I write about on this blog journals my work and adventures as a wedding and occasional portrait photographer I also freelance on the side for USA TODAY Sports Images. There was a really funny moment during this game when I was shooting through a little hole they put in the glass and the players came crashing up against the boards right at my position and ice/snow came shooting through the hole and I had to wipe it off my lens and I realized not even 48 hours ago I had been wiping the humidity off lens in Mexico in the soaring heat. I almost kinda laughed out loud realizing the irony of it all.
Semyon Varlamov (the Avalanche goalie) was ridiculously good and blocked something like 36 of 37 shots. He’s been very fun to watch and photograph this season. To see more of my photos from that game click here
On Wednesday my week continued to get even more interesting. While I was waiting to get my connection from Houston to Denver on my way home from Mexico I had gotten a phone call from the CEO of Fentress Architects, a corporate client who I’ve done some editorial portraits for in the past. She has worked with a man named Wallace Chan a jewelry designer from Hong Kong and wondered if I could do some last min portraits of him. My week was pretty slammed, but I told them I could do some photos Wednesday morning. Now when I say that he’s a jewelry designer I don’t mean the kind of jewelry you find at a shopping mall. I mean the kind of jewelry that if I saved up all the money I made for several decades I couldn’t come close to affording a bare bones down payment on. Check out his website, his work is beyond stunning and I was honored and humbled to work with him and hear his story. Much of the session I just asked him to tell me about his history, how he got started in jewelry making at the age of 16, his philosophy for design, etc etc. At certain points I had to remind myself to actually keep shooting while he was talking. Wallace is absolutely fascinating. His passion for what he does is infectious, and I could have listened to and photographed him all day.
Unfortunately, I didn’t actually have all day though… I drove home from the Wallace Chan shoot, drove home to eat a super quick lunch and pick up Katie and Vera and we headed out to Boulder where we met up with some good friends of ours, Jesse and Julie and their amazing little girl Ramona. Julie is an incredible photographer herself (she did some family photos for us a few months back) and her husband Jesse is a web guru who actually did a lot of our SEO for us. Julie and I share a VERY common philosophy when it comes to kids/family photography and that is to capture everything that is real, genuine, and authentic. You won’t find either Julie or myself putting newborn babies into cute little baskets covered in flower pedals anytime soon… or just… anytime. We both want to capture real life. Which is why I was totally not surprised in the least that when we met with Jesse and Julie we met them at a Ben and Jerry’s on Pearl Street in Boulder and that they had gotten Ramona chocolate ice cream and that they thought it was totally hilarious that before we had snapped a single photo of her she had completely covered herself and her clothes in chocolate ice cream. So. Stinking. Awesome. :) (If anyone wants to do a kid shoot at a Ben and Jerry’s hit me up. I’m more than game.) :)
I’ll show more of these images in a later blog post, but now on to Thursday…
Thursday evening I headed back over to the Pepsi Center for another assignment for USA TODAY, this time to shoot the Nuggets as they took on the Chicago Bulls on national television. I end up shooting a lot of Nuggets games (probably close to 80-90% of their home games) and to be honest the nationally televised TNT games are my least favorite. Our photo positions are down on the floor along the baseline and TNT takes up more positions than the local TV station that normally covers the games. So much of shooting basketball is getting a good position on the floor and it’s virtually impossible to get a good position for a nationally televised game. Plus the games always go super late. Rather than having a normal start time at like 6 or 7, the start of the game is dependent on when the previous game that TNT is covering ends. Last night that pushed tip off to about 9PM. Game ended around 11 and I didn’t leave Pepsi Center until midnight and then got home close to 1AM. Oh well. Whatevs.
It was somewhat surreal however shooting the Bulls. This was my first time covering shooting the Bulls and having grown up in Chicago during the 1990s I was a HUGE Bulls fan. Like huge as in my room as a little kid was covered in MJ posters and I even had Chicago Bulls wall paper that covered the lower half of the walls in my room. It was sweet… or at least any 10 year old growing up in Chicago suburbs during the 90’s would have thought so. :) Of course, guys like Jordan, Pippen, Rodmen, Armstrong, Grant, etc etc have been long gone from the 2013 team roster and I don’t have any particular affinity for the team now. Still it was kinda cool. Plus, this was the first chance I’d also had to shoot Derrick Rose so I showed a few hours early to get some shots of him warming up.
If you had a burning desire to see more of my images from the Bulls and Nuggets go ahead and click here.
So that brings us to today, Friday. No shoots scheduled. Whew. Thank the Lord. Today has been a day to sit down and breath. A day to re-charge camera batteries and back up (and then re-back up) images. A day to catch up on emails that have been piling up in my inbox all week. A day to fully realize that this week has brought an additional 7,631 images to go through (yes, I added them all up). But also a day to realize how lucky and blessed I am to live this life. Not every moment of being a full time professional photographer is fun and glamorous. Talk to any other full time professional photographer, regardless of their specialty and they’ll tell you the same. It’s a lot of work. But it’s also a blessing. In fact, being a photographer is FULL of blessings.
It’s a blessing to get to photograph professional sports. To get paid to be court side and to document tremendous athletes as they compete against each other.
It’s a blessing to document someone’s wedding, one of the happiest days of their lives. It’s also a blessing to get to travel to places like Cancun to do it.
It’s a blessing to photograph artists like Wallace Chan. To listen to them talk about their efforts to create beauty in the world, which just inspires you to further excel at your own craft so that you can do the same.
It’s a blessing to photograph friends like Jesse and Julie. And little children like Ramona. Who simply don’t care if their cute white dress is covered in chocolate ice cream for a photo shoot. They’re wise enough to know the ice cream (particularly if it’s from Ben and Jerry’s) is always worth it and that the photos will be even more cute in the long run.
Thanks to all of you for allowing me to continue to be blessed in this adventure.
Till next time.