Surge of the creative urge

About two years ago when I found myself single again, I began to crave a creative outlet and started picking up the camera to photograph things other than my adorable daughter. ¬†I was still deep in my corporate sales job at this point so photographic creativity usually happened after hours – which meant I was shooting parties again ūüôā ¬†I did a bunch of that as well as a few model shoots in my spare time throughout 2009 and 2010.

The Beats for Boobs breast cancer charity organization throws a killer fund raiser party and local designer fashion show every year in San Francisco and I had shot a couple of their events in the early part of the decade. ¬†This organization is made up of some of the finest people I know and I’m proud to work with them. ¬†So when they asked me to shoot the 2009 event, I jumped at the opportunity to participate. ¬†This really is a great party! ¬†The shot above is from the fashion show.

The 2009 Beats for Boobs event was where I met Katie briefly when I took her picture backstage.  Katie would soon get engaged and ask me to shoot her wedding.  At that point, I had turned down offers to shoot weddings because I was terrified of the huge responsibility of getting it right the first and only time the bride walks down the isle! However, I knew that I was ready now and accepted her request to shoot the wedding.  I had a great time shooting both the engagement and the wedding.  Katie and Bryan are awesome and their wedding was beautiful and so touching.  (More about the wedding in a future post)

By the end of 2009, I was really ramping up my photography by learning as much as I could online and from books and anywhere else I could find¬†nourishment. ¬†I bought a new camera at the end of 2009 after the unspeakable loss of my Nikon D700. ¬†I like to blame it on a cab driver but I think I may have left it on the roof of my car! ¬† (I haven’t drank while carrying my camera since.) ¬†I also went on a camera gear shopping spree at the end of 2009 and beginning of 2010. ¬†I knew I was going to shoot the wedding in August and that gave me all the excuse I needed to gear up like a pro!

By the beginning of 2010, I had little interest in anything other than my daughter and photography.  My day job was becoming a grind and lived my real life at night with the camera.  I shot more events and more portrait sessions to feed my creative appetite.

The Best Camera

After reading an inspiring book by Chase Jarvis called “The Best Camera is the One that’s with You“, I started taking a lot of photos with my iPhone. ¬†I was blown away at what I could do with my phone. ¬†There are amazing apps that will shoot and edit photos in a few seconds. ¬†It really can release your creativity! ¬†I’ll do a later post about iPhone photography but here are a couple of my favorites from 2009/2010.

While all of this creative energy was beginning to rise, I was becoming more and more¬†disillusioned¬†with the corporate world where growth for the sake of investors is king. ¬†I wasn’t doing anything in my day job that brought joy to anyone – especially me. ¬†I was dying to do more of what brought smiles to people’s faces and even moved them to tears. ¬†I wanted to do photography! ¬†So, I started to silently – almost subconsciously – plan my escape…

You gotta start somewhere…

I’ve been thinking about doing this blog for a long time but I kept stopping at the point where I asked myself the question, “So what are you going to write?” ¬† Well, I got tired of that question and decided to just start typing and see what came out. ¬†We’ll see how it goes.

The title of this post is suitable to both the blog and my photography career. ¬†So, what’s this blog about? ¬† I’ll tell ya. ¬†It’s my way of sharing my personality with my audience – whomever that audience turns out to be. ¬†I expect I’ll reach some photo lovers, some brides, some moms and maybe even some photographers. ¬†I welcome comments so that I can get to know you as well.

As for my photography career, I had to start somewhere so I chose to go pro when the thought of beginning another corporate job was too much for me to stomach.  But what got me into photography in the first place?

I’ve always LOVED images. ¬†There is something about photographs that captivates me – I think it must be that the photo freezes a moment in time of someone, something as it existed just then, in just that light and preserves it forever – kind of like a memory in my head – and when I see beauty in an image, I can just swim in it. ¬†I had this experience as a little kid looking at National Geographic with its amazing photographs of beautiful and strange far off places. ¬†I have always been in awe at great photography – and I’ve always believed that I could do it too someday!

My brother, George (a lifelong photographer and inspiration to me) gave me my first 35mm camera in 1979 when I was 12 years old.  I fell in love with it and learned as much about photography as I could from the little booklets he gave me with the camera.  I went all over the place taking pictures of everything trying to grasp an understanding of strange new things like depth of field, shutter speed, apertures and film speeds.  Film, unfortunately, took a long time (and some money) to process and this obstacle kept me from really developing any skill until digital came along 20 years later.

Fast forward to 1999 when I bought my first digital camera.  That little screen on the back of my new camera changed everything!  Instant gratification!  This was for me!!

One night in 2001, I was in a club in San Francisco snapping away with my little point and shoot camera and a photographer (Brandon Oelling now with the X-Equals blog) who was there to shoot the DJ and the party told me that I had a great eye and that he would pay me to shoot other parties. ¬†That just sounded too good to be true! ¬†Get paid money to take pictures at a party?? ¬†“I’m in!!”

After shooting a bunch of events at nightclubs throughout San Francisco, I had met a few models who wanted photos for their portfolio and I was happy to help them out. ¬†This was when I realized that I could create much more than snapshots and really opened my eyes to creating beautiful images of people. ¬†A gorgeous model named Nadia was my first studio shoot and I somehow pulled it off and came away with images that are still among my favorites and you’ll see her in my portfolio. ¬†Here is one of the images from that shoot.

Soon after, I shot another model and we loved the results. ¬†Other models were coming to me wanting to shoot for their portfolios. ¬†I was on a roll and nothing could stop me!!… or so I thought. ¬†To make a long story short, I soon fell in love, got married, had a baby and took pictures of my beautiful child for five years.

Professional photography would have to wait until I was single again.  And so it did.