23 September, 2013

Closing out the Summer

So we've officially crossed the threshold from summer to fall and that's a pretty good opportunity for me to finally sit down and wrap up some of the last adventures of summer. In Photo form! So, without much fanfare, here are some brief glimpses into the Celtic Harvest Festival.

There was a lot going on at the Harvest fest and instead of trying to capture the whole of it, I decided to take a look at the little things, especially the weaving tent, where I learned about looms, the Colorado Tartan, and how to hand make lace like a boss.

Now here's a quick look at the Festival Italiano! Which yes, I spent much too much time eating, and the best performance of the day had to be the Flag throwers, though the jugglers were pretty awesome as well.

So the cultural festivals are in their downward motion as warm weather transitions to cool and crisp. There's a couple left so get out there and get your learning on. These festivals are a great way to learn about other cultures, and hopefully will inspire you to head out and see them for yourselves.

26 August, 2013

Summer is Winding Down

Summer is winding down, and not only does than mean a change in the weather, but Summer Scream happens at Lakeside Amusement Park. Summer Scream is a major fundraising event for The Denver Film Society, and I have to say it is one of the better fundraisers I've ever worked on. It's managed to get bigger every year, and it has consistently drawn in a crowd, but the best part is that it really does manage to bring awareness to the Denver Film Society. I have talked to so many people that began supporting the DFS because of their attendance at Summer Scream.

I also had the wonderful opportunity to see the amazing band Tegan and Sara at one of my favorite venues, Twist and Shout  Records, who manage to put on fantastic and intimate shows in the back vinyl section. Gotta love local.

17 August, 2013

Imagination Returns

I am tempted to reshoot this so it fits the rectangular size of the the others, but I really like how this one turned out.

16 August, 2013

The Moment Decisive, or A Flight of Pigeons

Yesterday was a weird day.

To begin, as you may have seen from this blog, I have described myself as a "photojournalistic event documentary" photographer. What that means is I photograph events, but I don't ask for poses, or shenanigans, I wait and I watch and see what happens. Photographing events means there is often a lot of commotion, a lot of noise, and a lot of distraction. You can follow the distraction and get a lot of photos, but if you ignore it, and focus through the cacophony, you can get some pretty awesome stuff.

That is why I use the word "photojournalistic." I entertained the thought of being a photojournalist for a short time, until I actually had to do it. I had to find a piece of found news and I found a traffic collision. So I took photos and I took names and I watched as someone was placed into an ambulance and all the while all I could think of was how invasive I must be, how I was leeching off of their emotion and trying to make something for myself out of it. I didn't like it. Certainly, I could have found a happy moment, a joyful piece of found news, but that's what I found, and it made it clear what I wanted my photography to produce.

So back to yesterday.

The thing I will remember the most is the murmuration of  pigeons after the first loud pop. I didn't turn immediately, a bus had just passed, and noises and buses occur with such frequency around me, it didn't require any thought. But I turned as those around me, who had turned, were rapt with attention. And I saw a man, in the middle of the street, arm outstretched. And there was load pop. Whether my thoughts moved faster or the world moved slower, I immediately pulled out my dinky camera phone with the thought that "the best camera is the one you have on you." Well I had my SLR, I was photographing an event later that afternoon, but I reasoned that the camera phone would be less conspicuous, make me stand out less, be less of a target. The camera phone wouldn't switch on. Pop. Pop. Pop. I started to back away as others began to run. He started to run. I tried to dig out my SLR, the only thought being that I had the wrong lens, it wouldn't be long enough, it wouldn't be useful to the police. And then he was gone. And then  I saw the other two, running in the other direction. And then the police where there sprinting, moving on training and instinct. And I was left as so many others standing, as if nothing had happened at all. I thought about it then, about how much the lot of us were deer in the headlights, too curious for our own good, stuck in place as it happened. And so I went about my business. I gave my statement. I got lunch from a truck. I splurged and got a Mexican Pepsi. And a cupcake, though I always get a cupcake.

And the rest of the day continued as if nothing had happened. I received a text from a friend, who knew I was going to be getting lunch from a truck; who knew I would be there. We texted a little bit more, about speculation and stereotyping and came to the conclusion this was the Sharks and the Jets, if West Side Story were remade today. It's funny now because I was on the West Side of town, but only by a marginal delineation.

Regardless, the day continued. I helped at the event location a bit, setting tables and chairs. I like being helpful. I went to the record store next door and picked up a vinyl, and happened to snag the last wristband for a free show next week. We talked about film, and marriage, and whether Pluto was a planet or not and couldn't remember the words "Dwarf planet," which would have made for a some great Lord of the Rings jokes. I photographed the event, I helped clean up, and we had pizza and then I went home, and did the same stuff I do after every event: download, quick pass edit, backup.

So yesterday was weird, but normal. The normalcy of it all, the lack of panic, the lack of action could open a ton of discussion on media and desensitization of violence (I do love a good action movie), but it seems to me, looking at how I reacted and how I saw others react, we are simply curious beings and if something catches our eye, we want to see what it is, to decipher it, to understand it. Our flight or fight response has been dulled, because we are really our own enemy, and for the majority of us, we aren't hunted at all. But best to leave that discussion to another day.

 And of all the things that stand out, the flight of pigeons that followed that first pop, which isn't unusual, because I see them do that all the time without the sound.

And here are some photos for you, without the sound.

05 June, 2013

A Note on Cosplay Photography

So, as you know I had an amazing time at the Denver Comic Con. If you've looked at my photos, I tended away from the cosplay photography. That was a conscience choice, partly because focusing on it could easily overwhelm you with the sheer number of amazing and well executed costumes, and partly because as a documentary event photographer, that isn't the sole focus of the con. I did try to include them as I saw it as an interaction with everyone and everything at the convention, taking it as a piece of the whole. That's just me, big picture kinda guy and yeah I do need to work on narrowing my vision a bit and seeing the details that make up the whole, but I'm digressing on a little too much backstory.

What I really wanted to talk about was that among the costumes and the fantasy, there are whole genres that include costume weapons, from comically oversized swords and hammers, to the very real representation of guns. Now, to complete a themed costume these elements are certainly necessary and the attention to detail is much appreciated and respected, I mean what would my favorite zombie hunters be without their trusty side arms?

Well, my point is, as the abundance of the cosplay photography is now hitting the web, the amount of images of the characters aiming said sidearms directly at camera, has me a little on the fence on what is appropriate. Certainly, this is fantasy, a chance to act our your favorite character and aiming the gun at the camera makes for a very evocative image. But following on the heels of tragedies such as Sandy Hook and especially the Aurora theatre shooting, is this something that we need to encourage? Aurora Rise, a non-profit charity organization was at Denver Comic Con raising support for the families of that tragedy and here we are trying to fold our image of guns into the fantasy we so passionately gathered to celebrate.

I'll admit, I have never been that big a fan of guns, of a weapon that so easily grants power without necessarily the respect nor the responsibility that comes with them. So maybe I'm a little biased when it comes to making them the showcase of costume photography and how I don't want them to be star of the image when it's the costume as a whole that I find fascinating. This can certainly be applied to all costume weaponry, but all of this leads us down a rabbit hole of how our fantasies and fictions revolve around the idea that violence is the core value of the hero. I don't really want to open that can of worms, because yes, I do believe that a gun is a necessary tool, and the tool itself cannot be defined as good or evil, but who uses it does.

What I can say, especially as a whole picture kind of guy, I don't want to make the weapon the star of the image, especially at an event that focuses on children, an event that wants them to be brave, to follow their passions, and to not let others stop them from loving the things they love.

I know its a small point to get caught on, this is all fantasy after all, but I think that the images we make are the stories we tell, and well, I just want to tell a different story.

03 June, 2013

I'm Going Backwards through time

So I've got this backlog of images to get onto here, so I'll be brief. Way back at the beginning of May, I had the opportunity to photograph the inaugural Stanley Film Festival, a horror film festival held at the unforgettable Stanley Hotel, the hotel that Stephen King stayed at and inspired the Shining. Yeah, it was creepy, with themed parties, a zombie crawl, and awards shaped like axes.


 There was an outdoor screening of the Shining!

 Winners of the Inaugural Stanley Deans Cup Student Film Competition.

Eli Roth received the Visionary Award for his continued work in the genre.

Isreali filmakers Navot Papushado and Aharon Keshales (Left respectively) hang out before a Q&A for their film Big Bad Wolves.

Denver Comic Con and the Comic Book Classroom: A Success Story

I had the wonderful opportunity to photograph the Denver Comic Con this past weekend, which supports the Colorado based non-profit Comic Book Classroom, which provides free comic book based curriculum to improve literacy and art skills, increasing student achievement and develops personal awareness. What I like most about it this particular event is that not just the over 48,000 fans in attendance recognized the focus of support, but the special guests recognized and encouraged it as well. Actors Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day not only spoke in regards to being creative, innovating, and pursuing your goals, but also spoke on personal awareness and acceptance, imagination and innovation, and how your passions can bring families together.

Screen legends Peter Mayhew and William Shatner even took the time to read to kids in attendance in the educational center of Comic Con: The Kids Corral.

The Kids Corral itself educated kids on art, making, building, and writing through the help of convention guests like ASIFA Colorado who taught animation workshops and artist Katie Cook who led drawing classes, along with other notable guests.

And the engagement was not limited to the Kids Corral as guests such as Eddie McClintok made it a point to talk to kids during his panels about being creative and daring and doing their best.

So at the end of the day, Denver Comic Con is not just about fans and pop culture, but it's about teaching people of all ages to follow their passions no matter what and to never give up on ourselves.

The only sad thing is that we have to wait a whole year for the next Denver Comic Con.

But that doesn't mean we have to wait to continue the Comic Book Classroom's mission. So go out true believer, read, create, make art and ecourage others to do the same!

Also: Felicia Day: Swoon.

30 March, 2013

Comics Outside the Box (What?!)

For those that have been reading along for a while, you will remember that one of best lessons I learned along the way was to not think outside the box, but "Put the box around the idea" -Nick Vedros.  The basic sentiment of it is this: instead of looking at what's limiting you (or what can), just innovate. An everyday object can easily become something completely different.

That's one thing that the Denver Comic Con is doing by focusing it's mission on education and the Comic Book Classroom.  (Can you tell I'm excited?) For me personally, as much as school was awesome, I learned the most from more unconventional means. For example, I learned more about classic literature, history, because of the way these innovators included the French revolution, Homer's Odyssey, or even Shakespeare's Midsummer Nights Dream.

Denver Comic Con is bringing in some of the best innovators of the day. From amazing artists and storytellers to people redefining the media like Felcia Day who is reshaping the way media is being developed and distributed, George Takei who is changing the way creators interact with their fans and share new ideas, and even Stan Lee who arguably is one of the original comics revolutionaries, changing the way we interact with stories.

So don't just think outside the box, just innovate and if you end up with a box that looks like river delta or Pac Man, so much the better.

Also, Today is Tabletop Day. Go and play some games!

18 March, 2013

Denver Comic Con is Coming!

As a reminder to all those that follow my blog, I am a nerd, or a geek in other terms. Have you seen my toy photography? Anywho, for those in the Denver area (or therabouts), the Denver Comic Con will be making it's second appearance in the Mile High City. Don't believe me? Click on the following link Denver Comic Con and you will learn that it will be held this coming May 31-June 2 at the Colorado Convention Center.

You may be wondering what this particularly has to do with me. The short of it, this is something I enjoy and just like it says in the side bar, this blog is here so you can learn about what makes me tick and what inspires me. So what better way than to learn about one of my many passions: Comics.

The Denver Comic Con is a great opportunity to embrace passion, from storytellers to artists, to gamers to designers and ultimately to just rekindle the things that made you smile as a kid. Love Superman? They'll be celebrating Supes 75th birthday. Fan of Spiderman. Stan "The Man" Lee, creator of Spiderman, as well as a host of other of heroes that are making a resurgence of late will be there! Excited about new media and the internet? Well, new media queen of the internet Felicia Day will be there to talk about web series, acting, gaming, and all kinds of things.

Last year I went and had a blast! Not just because of comics and art and creativity and passion and community, but because not only does Denver Comic Con provide all of that, it is a production of the Comic Book Classroom, a non-profit, free after school program for fifth through eight grade students that teaches literacy and arts education through comic books. As a visual learner myself, I can not tell you how wonderful a program this is. In fact I will probably tell you more later.

So, wot wrap up cause there are a lot of words on this post and a short amount of pictures, Denver Comic Con, May 31-June 2. Hope to see you there.

17 March, 2013


It's been busy, so here you go!


Voices! Women + Film Festival!

Hey Ocean!

09 February, 2013

The Final Room

So we've found ourselves well removed from the annual photo a day, so it's a good time to take a look at what we've done. I bet when I first mentioned the concept, you were expecting something more along the lines of the above photo. Honestly, I wanted this to be the first photo, but it turned out to be the last. This year's project was all about finding inspiration in the room, not just the things you keep in the room. and even though I think we mostly went back and forth between the objects themselves and taking inspiration from them, everything worked out in the end.

And without further ado, lets take a look at the ones I thought worked out the best.

Day 15 - The series developed less into objects, but into shapes and color. This just happened to epitomize the shape and color itself. Instead of looking at the objects abstractly, you could look directly at the object and you see the shapes and the colors themselves. Also, this probably means I don't throw anything away.

Day 22 - Star Trek. The shape is Iconic, the warm color bath, the feel that you our out there with it.

Day 27 - When we started this project, it was about finding inspiration in the space you return to. For most of the project, it has meant an emphasis on color and shape, using the soft focus to take away the "thing" and leave simply the shape of it. This, in it's shape and design, combined with the color and shadow made something much more interesting than the shape alone. So yes, it stands out from the entire collection of this project, but it epitomizes what this project was meant to be. Also note, that I didn't consciously set this up. I woke up that morning looking for the days shot and there it was. Again, exactly what this project was supposed to be about.