Feel free to browse my website using the menu above.

Almost all the prints on my website are available for sale, you can also e-mail me or call me in order to make special arrangements.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Lazy Summer Blog

There are times when one can feel overwhelmed with the flow of their day.

Maybe the traffic is horrible.

Maybe they had an argument with their boss, their significant other.

Maybe there is no reason to feel that way but one does anyways...

Sometimes, all one has to do, is change their perspective and look somewhere that they don't usually look.

And smile.

I took this in the middle of West Los Angeles, between jobs, when I stopped to get some water and have a break from the lovely Los Angeles Friday traffic :o)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Amy & Reid's Wedding

It is wedding season and I had the pleasure to photograph Amy and Reid's wedding last week. The ceremony and the reception took place in a fantastic mansion in Laguna Hills and the party was wild! More on that later...

First, let me share a few classic shots...

Meet Amy... Ooops, I should have knocked. Let's let her finish getting ready first...

OK, here we go... Meet Amy!

Amy and Reid are madly in love. They are both from Southern California, yet they met in Michigan, where they both moved several years ago. They have been together for 3 years and they are both working in fitness... Together... So, they are always together and they truly complete each other. Before we proceed to the ceremony, I would like to mention that all the guests received a Livestrong bracelet. Not only does this little gift fit the couple's life style, but it is also their support of a great cause.

And the lovely ceremony with the 16-person wedding party, which included all the siblings!

Please welcome the newly wed couple...

I think anybody who loves movies would guess where I got my inspiration for this shot...

Let's include the immediate families to the wedding party and let's get to the real party, shall we?

I'm going to share only a few pictures, but I can tell you that, pretty much right after the dinner and the first traditional dances, the high-heels came off and everyone was on the dance floor... Most of the girls were prepared and had their flip-flops.

These guys definitely knew how to party and it was a fantastic night for me to document.

I wish the newly-wed couple a very happy, healthy and successful life! Keep the love going guys! :D

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cirque Du Soleil: Iris

How many of you heard of Cirque Du Soleil? Almost everyone who is interested in creative shows know about this huge company that started in Canada and now have permanent and touring shows all over the world.
I saw a few spectacle of Cirque Du Soleil: Quidam was the first one and as far as the story and the music go, it still is very dear to my heart.
However the one that truly blew me away is the permanent show in Bellagio in Las Vegas: "O".

Anyways, this great group of extremely creative, talented and athletic people are gearing up for a permanent show in the heart of Hollywood, in the official home of Oscars, Kodak Theater. Guess what the show will be about?
Yes, movies.
Iris will start its preview run on July 21st and it will have its official opening in September.
Your very well connected friendly photographer here was able to get an admission for the run thru they had and I was able to see the entire show!
After the show, I had a chat with some of the cool cats on the production side of this and learned that they will change many things within two weeks as they would like the second half to be "better". These international perfectionists do realize that they have something good in their hands and they are fine-tuning it before they make it completely available to the public.

I wasn't allowed to bring any recording device, I probably could sneak something in, but I am not the kind that would betray good, giving people. I only betray the bad, selfish ones!!! :D
Although I cannot reveal much, I can tell you the following:
- The opening number is absolutely breath taking. If the order of the acts do change, I am talking about two blond men in the air (you can see teaser footage in the below video)
- There is almost a trademark of Cirque Du Soleil: extremely flexible girls, and as usual they do not disappoint.
- A number involving a group of Asian men in "bee" costumes is absolutely stunning.
- A number called Noir (The Chase) is also ridiculously fun to watch and transforms to a gorgeous romantic piece at the end.
- There is A LOT happening. As the show tackles a very visuaal medium, what you see on the Kodak Theater's stage is very rich. Performers are in front of a multi-layered screen and light, shadow and film is superposed with the entire live act.

Cirque Du Soleil also tries its hand in scripted comedy in Iris, and I thought it was slowing down the pace of the entire show. Although there were some cute elements in these scripted and spoken pieces, I didn't think it was adding much to the show.
Overall, Iris is something that every Angelino should see. The tourists will see it anyways. Cirque Du Soleil has a 10-year contract with the Kodak Theater. They will exit for 2 months to make way to the the Oscars every year, but other than that, you have a lot of time to catch it.
For more information, visit the official site of Iris.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Vivienne's First Camping Trip

Despite all the people who said that we were crazy to take a 4 month old baby camping, despite other people saying they wouldn't go camping with a baby, Jennifer, my cousin and I took our daughter Vivienne to our favorite camping spot, Big Sur this week.

We made weeks of preparation. And by "we", I mean Jen. She researched every single thing we would need, she found a big tent. OK, I found a few big tents and she chose one. And, oh boy, is it big! More on the huge tent later!

Once we settled, we immediately grabbed our beers and headed to the lovely beach. While camping in Limekiln State Park, you can set your tent under the gorgeous red woods next to the fire pit, and in a minute or two, you can just lay at the beach. You can experience two different seasons within minutes in this particular campground! You notice the colorful umbrella? More on that later!

I played with Vivienne for a while, she was on my knees, laughing, while I rocked her to sleep. In the mean time, Jen spotted an interesting looking chair, right behind me. As Vivienne was sleeping on my knees, I was trapped in that sweet spot only parents could understand. So I couldn't really see the chair. Once Vivienne woke up from her nap, I was able to move again and I took a few shots of that chair. I did not move it or rearrange its position, I shot it as it is. I most also say that the middle right picture above was shot sitting on that chair.

That was basically our first day. We chilled at the beach, my cousin slept, Jen played with Vivienne and I took pictures. After a great night of sleep, we woke up relatively late. The fact that it was cold around the campground allowed us to sleep longer. Then we decided to hike the couple of easy hikes of Limekiln State Park. The park takes "its name from its 1870-80s limekiln operations. Quarried limestone was "kilned" (smelted) in four huge wood-fired kilns. The product-powdered lime-was packed into barrels which were then attached to cable that was strung from the canyon wall down to the beach and some 50 yards out into the Pacific Ocean. Schooners slipped into tiny Rockland Cove, as the landing was known, and loaded the lime. The lime, a primary ingredient in cement, was used to construct buildings in Monterey and San Francisco.

The backwoods industry was hard on the woods. Surrounding redwoods were chopped down to fuel the limekilns and to make barrels to store the lime.

Much of Limekiln Canyon, however, escaped harm from this early industry and, after a quiet century, nature has healed most of Limekiln Canyon's wounds. Today the canyon shelters some of the oldest, healthiest, largest and southernmost redwoods in Monterey County. Some scientists speculate that these redwoods, along with those in other nearby steep canyons, may prove to be a special subspecies or variety of redwood that differs slightly from more northerly stands. "

There are two hiking trails, and they are pretty easy and short. One would take you to the above limekilns, the other one would take you to the waterfall that feeds the creek running to the ocean. It truly is one of the best campgrounds. We took both of the hikes in the second day's afternoon.

We visited our old friend's resting place as well. The followers of this blog may remember from last year, when Katie passed away, we took her ashes to our favorite place in the nature. And we were pleased to see that her resting place was untouched and we were able to introduce Vivienne to this incredible being who shared so many memories with us.

Before we get back to Vivienne, let me share a few pictures and a few memories from the trip. First the critters! The photograph below is of one of my favorite insects, a dragonfly. The blue color is gorgeous. Unfortuantely I did not have my macro lens, so this is as close as I could get to it...

Then I caught this spider devouring its victim for lunch!

I have no idea who "K" and "E" are... But there is one thing that I'm certain: Zorro separated them!!!

Now the story... You remember that colorful umbrella? As a very prepared mother, Jen bought it for Vivienne so she can hang out with us in the beach. And it really served its purpose the first day. We would never thought that it would be used for another purpose during this trip.

The meteorologists failed us and other campers big time!

On the second day, we decided to start the fire early as we had some marinated chicken and it was going to cook slowly! The fire was getting ready and the embers were bright and we were happy. Until I felt a few drops on my face. In no time, the rain started to fall pretty hard and I grabbed the umbrella and opened it on top of the fire in time to save it. As we did not have a grill, we were happy to have salvaged the situation this way. We are all grateful to Cem who stayed under the umbrella, in all the smoke to cook dinner for us!

It was raining pretty hard as I said, and I took the above picture under the cover of my car's trunk door. After that, I didn't want to deal with protecting my camera from the rain, so I put it back in its case. Unfortunately, the next chapter of the story did not get visually recorded!

Do you remember that huge tent? We had a queen air bed, a pretty decent sized pack-and-play/portable crib for Vivienne, all our bags and equipments in the tent. Once dinner was ready and as we did not want to eat getting soaked (the umbrella was not covering enough space for all three of us), we decided to go in our tent. We had a table and 3 camping chairs inside, in addition to everything else. I was feeling like we over-killed with this tent, but it proved itself incredibly convenient and useful!

OK, now it's all about Vivienne and a little bit about her parents too!

I gotta tell you, I was very proud of my daughter. She was so good and she seemed to have enjoyed every single moment of the trip. The middle photograph is depicting her regular morning routine. She wakes up and she smiles. She seems to wake up in a very good mood like her father. May she smile always like this throughout her entire life!

And the last word... While I was crossing one of the bridges on the hiking trail, I saw this frame in my mind's eye and I snapped it with my camera. No matter what happens in life, in case you hit the rock-bottom, the only way is UP. I don't know why this came up to me while I was having a great time, but it is always nice to remember that!

See you next week!