Archive for the 'Personal' Category

My First “Runner-versary”

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

Warning: Long personal post that has really nothing to do with photography coming up. Bear with me. Today is a milestone day for me personally. It is my first runner-versary. A year ago I had never run for fun a day in my life. I couldn’t even run around the block without thinking I was going to die. Now that seems like forever ago. Since that first “run” I have run over 400 miles and have raced in a 5K, an 8K, a 10K, a Half of a Half Marathon and two Triathlons. it has been fun to look back on the last year and remember where I was, what I’ve become and where I still need to go.

I don’t know exactly how much I weighed a year or so ago. I never really stepped on the scale. Never really cared. Didn’t really think of myself as overweight at all. I’d eat like garbage. I’d finish working at 10 or 11pm and head to the Burger King drive thru for a couple of whoppers on my way home. I do remember one day I was playing the Wii with my kids. I stepped onto the Wii fit board and it told me in not so many words that I was too fat to use the game. I was going to break the fit board. The weight limit was 330. I was about 340-345 or so. I remember thinking holy crap, how did it come to this? At that point, I tried to start eating a little better and cutting out fast food. Almost immediately, I dropped down to 329 and could (barely) play the Wii with the kids again. My wife has always been a runner. I wanted to be able to run with her. I am around professional athletes nearly everyday. I see people running all over town and they always look like they are having a blast. I had shot some friends for a portfolio piece who are avid runners and their posts always made me want to run. I needed to lose weight. So, I thought I’d give running a shot.

I downloaded the “Couch to 5K” app and set the Cinco De Mayo 5K in Portland as my goal. I am the kind of person that once I put my mind to something, I never can half ass it. I attack it full speed and this was no different. The app is setup so that it gives you cues on when to run and walk over the course of a 30 minute workout. Starting out with 30 seconds running, 2 minutes walking, and moving up to more running and less walking as it goes on. those first couple days I thought I would never be able to run a 5K. 3 miles are you kidding me?! Then, running for 30 seconds became easier…then running 90 seconds was easy, then 2 minutes and I’ll never forget the first time I ran for 8 minutes straight. 5 weeks later I could run for a mile, walk for a 1/4 mile, run for a mile, etc and finished that first 5K in 36:18. I was hooked. Running was fun and by the end of May I had dropped to 299lbs. Under 300 for the first time in a long time. I was feeling great.

For the next couple of months, I ran 3 or 4 miles a day and was loving it. Running was getting easier and easier. One day, when at the local high school track getting my miles in, I saw a group of people in the corner doing some crazy cross training with kettlebells and running, carrying each other across the football field, just going nuts. “Those people are insane” I thought. But yet, it looked fun too. I was a little scared to give it a try, it looked super intense after all, but I kept going to the track and seeing the lunatics and was intrigued. One day I saw my friend Mandy working out with them as well and she encouraged me to give this “Warrior Room” a shot. So I went to a workout with her on a Saturday morning and met Ashley and did the hardest workout I had ever done in my life. The half mile sprint in the middle of the hour and a half class was the easiest part for me. I was drenched in sweat and every muscle in my body hurt. I couldn’t walk the next day. But I LOVED it. I was hooked. I began to go to the Warrior Room so Ashley could yell at me and make me work harder a couple of times a week and loved the outdoor “boot camps” they had at the high school track. She’s a great coach, motivator, loves 90′s rap and is not afraid to drop an F bomb. She was/is the perfect trainer for me. I was officially addicted to exercise and was feeling good.

One of the best things about the last year has been the new connections and friends I have made from regularly running and working out. The Warrior Room people are the best people in the world. Everyone is caring, supportive, has great sense of humor and are generally just fun to be around. I am so glad that they are here in Milwaukie and cannot thank Ashley enough for all she has done to motivate me in the last year. More than she even knows I am sure. Even on days when I wasn’t working out with the class and just running laps on my own when they were there, she was motivating me to run faster and try harder without even saying a word as I would run by. There is never a day I go to the Warrior Room for a workout that I don’t leave feeling like I can do anything. Kettlebells rule. You should give it a try too.

Anyway, back to the last year. Around July, my good friend and fellow photographer Tiffany Brown in Vegas called and said that she was training for a triathlon in September in San Diego and I should too. No freaking way I thought. On one hand it sounded like it would be fun and on the other, it sounded like I might drown. But she kept calling me and txting me everyday. She recruited my brother to do it. “I will if you will” kind of thing. Then another one of our photographer friends, Sandy Huffaker in San Diego said that we all couldn’t do a race in his town without him, so, suddenly this triathlon had turned into a party. Ok fine, I’ll do it. Sandy, Kevin and I all signed up and we’d meet Tiffany in SoCal in September.

My daughter and I on day 3 of running, my wife and I before the first 5K and my brother and I after finishing my first triathlon

For the next 8 weeks, I would hit the triathlon training as hard as I could. Tiffany would send me a training calendar and I would do everything it said. I knew how to swim, but not how to swim for 500 meters without stopping. So I went to a couple of master’s swim classes and got some pointers from a coach and it was super helpful. I bought a bike and quickly found that riding the bike was now my favorite part of training. I loved being on the bike. I still enjoyed running too. Triathlon training quickly became my focus, took over my life and it was so fun. I am certain people grew tired of my Facebook posts about swimming biking and running everyday, but I didn’t care. While simply running 4 miles everyday could get boring, triathlon was something different everyday. Run on Monday, swim on Tuesday, Bike on Wednesday, rinse, repeat. Something different everyday. Then I’d do workouts with two disciplines, or all three at once. This was really, really fun. What I once thought was going to be impossible was suddenly becoming not too big of a deal and by the middle of September I could not wait to get to San Diego.

That first race is something I will never forget. The butterflies in my stomach, the mass of people, jumping into the ocean at 8am, the ride, the run, the whole thing seemed to go by so fast. I was super nervous. But once I put my head in the water, everything seemed to go quiet, and it was as if I was alone training by myself. I came out of the water faster than I ever had in training and was in and out of T1 in just a couple of minutes. The bike ride took us through a Navy base and I felt like it went way too fast. The final 5K run was beautiful, running along the boardwalk to the USS Midway and back, everyone motivating each other as we ran. It all seemed to go by way too quick. I didn’t want it to end. I finished in 1:30, 15 minutes faster than my goal. After the race, I found my wife in the mass of people at the finish line and gave her the biggest hug and not going to lie, I cried. I had accomplished something I never in a million years thought I would ever be able to do. I was hooked. I signed up for my second tri as soon as we got back to the hotel.

When I got back home, it was a great feeling having accomplished that first triathlon. It felt great when people where starting to mention how skinny I was looking. Timbers players where asking me how the race went and congratulating me for finishing. That made my day. I had finally found my “sport”…I am a triathlete. I cannot thank Tiffany enough for hounding me to sign up for that first race. If not for her, I would never have found the sport which I now love so much.

Me on the Brooklyn Bridge in NYC before I started running; me running in the Shamrock 8K and Jenn and I before my first 10K in October.

In October I ran my first 10K and another sprint triathlon. In November Jenn and I went to Vegas to run in the Half of a Half Marathon down the strip and in March I ran for the first time in the Shamrock run, finishing the 8K in 49:18. I am now down to about 269lbs and would love to drop another 25 or so, but weight is no longer my main focus. My 2014 goals include 10 triathlons, including my first Olympic Distance event in July in Vancouver, BC. My daughter Jordyn is going to do her first triathlon in May as well. Every run, every bike ride, every swim I am getting better and better and faster and faster. My life pretty much revolves around when I can get my training in for the day. I have found another great set of people and friends to work out with in the Portland Triathlon club and Jenn’s cousin Sarah is my partner in crazy, doing all the races with me as well. It feels great to look back and know that a year ago I could not run for 30 seconds and now I can run for over an hour no problem. I can swim for an hour, bike for an hour and run for an hour without even blinking an eye. It’s crazy what a difference a year makes. I’m in the best shape of my life and still have a ways to go. Never say never and there really is nothing you cannot do. I cannot wait for the next 12 months!

Our 12 Favorite Portraits of 2012

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Other than Sports and Weddings we shoot a lot of portraits for various sports teams, athletic clubs, law firms, financial companies, construction firms, newspapers and magazines. Another area that is hard to choose my favorites, but here they are – Our 12 Favorite Portraits of 2012.

This photo is a fav more because of the story behind it. Danny Mwanga had just been traded to the Timbers and this was his first day with the team. After training and media interviews and what not at the training facility, we brought him to the stadium to do a photo shoot for the program cover and inside pages. He is a Portland native show we wanted to shoot him with the skyline in the background. The best place to do that at Jeld-Wen Field is on the roof. So, the first time I talked to him was to say “Hi Danny, I’m Craig, nice to meet you…you’re not afraid of heights are you?” Then we climbed up on the roof and shot this image.

This photo is of my 4 year old son Carter. Ok ok, its not a client photo, but man I love this kid. He cracks me up. This is him standing in for a test photo when I was setting up at the studio. It’s now on the wall at my house.

One of my clients is the Washington Dental Association. They put out a glossy magazine once a quarter or so and brought me up to Seattle to shoot the Dean of Dentistry at the University of Washington. I needed 4-5 different images of him so I found a location near Red Square with a lot of different options for shooting a lot of different looks without having to move too much equipment. This image was one of my favorite from the shoot.

This is an image I shot for the Milwaukie High School Wrestling team. I wanted a dingy, dirty, gritty look to the portrait and shot in the practice room.

These images are both of lawyers, but shot for different uses. The one on the left was shot for the law office in Seattle for use on the website and the image on the right was shot for Super Lawyers magazine. I shot this image with the cover in mind, but the ended up using a different photo.

These images were portrait sessions for website usage, I like them for the simplicity of the lighting and the look of the subject.

The image on the left is another one shot for the Timbers. I shot Hanyer Mosquera in the locker room and we wanted him to look sweaty. He speaks very little english and I speak even less spanish so it was a little funny when I was trying to tell him I was going to spray him down with water. The image on the right was shot for Oregon Athletic Clubs. We spent 3 days shooting in all 3 clubs in the area for their new brochures and website.

This image was shot for the USA Today. A money section story about a local company that builds ships for export to China.

I shot this image of a local realtor for OutFront Magazine in a cool penthouse condo near downtown Portland.


BONUS IMAGE:

Ok, so I know this blog is called 12 of 2012, but I wanted to include one last image that didn’t really fit into the other categories. In the fall, I was given what may have been my favorite assignment of the year. I was sent to a windmill farm in Eastern Washington to shoot a bunch of photos of windmills. Now, this is not something I ever do, but it was very fun. The only thing I had to do was drive around by myself for 2 days waiting for good light and making pretty pictures. I was a great change of pace and I shot some images I like and learned a lot of wind power.

Well, that’s it for my 12 of 2012. It was a great year for me personally and professionally. We traveled all over the place, made some nice pictures and met a lot of great people and new clients along the way. I can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store.

Our 12 Favorite Sports Action Photos of 2012

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

It’s already 2013, but we are continuing on of “12 of 2012″ theme today with our 12 favorite sports action images of 2012. I shoot a lot of sports. Sports action is probably my favorite thing to shoot. I mean, getting paid to go to sporting events? What is not to love about that?! That said, I usually shoot between 1500-2500 image per game. Take 30 soccer matches, 8-10 football games and 20-30 NBA games in a year and that’s a lot of photos. It’s tough to narrow it down to my 12 favorites but here they are. These may or may not be my “best” photos, but they are my favorites for one reason or another.

We’ll start off with my very favorite sports image of the season. And it’s not even from the field. The Timbers Army is the best. I love them for the atmosphere they create at the games and for the photo opportunities they create. For this image, I wanted to show the intensity of the crowd during a match with the Vancouver Whitecaps. I used a monopod fully extended over my head fired with a remote trigger while stading in the front row. Love this photo.

Sticking with the Timbers theme, this image is of Timber Joey after cutting a log slab after a goal against FC Dallas. I loved the lens flare from the sun and smoke and there is just a lot of energy in this image.

In rains in Portland. A lot. I spend a lot of time shooting photos in the pouring down rain. The opening night of the MLS season in 2012 was one of those nights. Timbers rookie Andrew Jean-Baptiste scored a goal and this was his reaction.

Luis Scola from the Rockets and Raymond Felton from the Blazers collide during a game in February.

More from the Timbers Army. Green smoke after scoring a goal is a good thing! To see more of my favorite Timbers photos, check out my appearance on the Timbers in 30 TV show.

I only shot the Seahawks once this year, but they are a fun team to watch. I was very impressed with Rookie Bobby Wagner who seemed to be all over the place during the win over the Patriots.

On October 6th I was crazy enough to shoot both Oregon and Oregon St. games on the same day. There was great light at the Beavers game and after leaving with about a minute left to beat traffic I arrived at Autzen Stadium just as the teams were coming out for warm-ups before beating the Huskies. Long day, but fun.

This reaction by David Horst after scoring against Seattle was as genuine as you can get. I love the reaction photos even more than the action images most of the time and Horst did not disappoint in this match.

I like to try to shoot from unconventional angles sometimes and it paid off while shooting from the stands with a 300mm lens at the Rose Garden during a game with Denver in December.

Last but not least, I covered the Stanford vs. Oregon game in November for Stanford. The Ducks were undefeated and ranked #1 in the country and just needed this one little win to clinch a trip to the Pac-12 title game and eventual National Championship showdown. The Cardinal however had a different plan and they beat the Ducks on a last minute field goal. I followed the players into the locker room after the game. The scene in there was hot, smelly and crowded, but they were very happy, climbing on lockers, yelling screaming. It was a cool scene. My cameras kept fogging up, but I knew this was a unique photo from an important moment in Cardinal Football history.

Our 12 Favorite Wedding Photos of 2012

Monday, December 31st, 2012

2012 was such a great year. Liz and I shot a ton of great events and were lucky enough to travel all over the country (and Canada!) for our clients. I shot over 160,000 photo this year. Wow, that is a huge number and that doesn’t even include the more than 5,000 I shot on my iPhone! It is always tough to narrow down our favorites from the year, but here are our favorite weddings images from 2012:

True moments are the thing I love most about wedding photography. You can’t plan for or pose a true moment. This is my favorite moment of the year. From Tony and Lindsay’s wedding on the Willamette River in June. Lindsay and her Dad as they walked down the aisle.

I also love a good, dramatic portrait. Kara and Gary’s wedding in Estacada was not your typical affair. It was a fantasy themed event and this portrait we shot in the woods is one of my all time favorites.

I had never been to the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, but wow what an amazing place. It was pouring down rain all day, but after the ceremony the sky was the perfect blue color and the Palace was lit up. I shot this image while laying on my back looking straight up into the rotunda as Eugene and Annie posed for one of the more dramatic portraits I shot this year.

Who doesn’t love a sunset on the beach? Kim and Nick’s wedding on Cannon Beach was perfect. It was July 22, but the weather had been horrible. But the weather gods were smiling down that day as the beach was perfect temperatures and gave us a great sunset.

This moment from Jeff and Maggie’s wedding was another one of my favorites. Just as Maggie’s Dad was walking her down the aisle, the sun came out and they took one step through the little shaft of light on the way into the church. As a photographer, we have to always be ready for these moments that only last a fraction of a second. Also, being a guy, I don’t usually get all into dresses and such, but her dress was probably my favorite of the year. I loved it.

Brittany and Nick’s wedding was another we shot down in San Francisco this summer. They had their ceremony at City Hall. However, San Francisco City Hall is not just any city hall. It is one of the grandest buildings in the city and a great place for a ceremony. I wanted to show the uniqueness of the location and did so with a pole cam hanging over the ledge and fired with a remote.

It was the hottest day of the year on August 4, but that didn’t stop Ryan and Heather from venturing all over Hood River County, including this Lavender Farm near Hood River. What I didn’t know about Lavendar, was that the bee’s LOVE it. Those specs in the picture, those are bees. Thousands of bees. It’s a bit of a scary sound all the humming coming from the fields, but they braved the buzz for a nice picture.

Another fun moment from Tony and Lindsay’s wedding. Her dad gave a great toast.

A fun dance photo from John and Nicole’s wedding at the Portland Racquet Club.

The Grand Lodge in Forest Grove was the perfect destination wedding location for Pam and Brent who traveled here from New Mexico for their big day. The huge trees framed them perfectly during the ceremony.

A great way to end a wedding…and this list…a bonfire on the beach with your friends. This is one of those pictures where everything just lined up with the light and the fire and the clouds and the people, sometimes its just being in the right place at the right time that makes the photo.

I hope you enjoyed looking at my favorite wedding photos from 2012. Looking forward to a great 2013! Stay tuned to this blog for my favorite portraits and sports images of the year next week!

Good Light at the Beach

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Took a little family getaway to the beach last weekend. Had some great light and shot a few photos while hunting seashells and swimming in the pool. Sometimes I can’t believe how big my kids are getting. Man I love these two!

Mt. Hood – My Paradise

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Anybody who knows me, knows I am not a huge fan of warm weather. I much prefer 55-60 degrees to 75-80 degrees. So yesterday, on the warmest day in the last 7 months in Portland (it hit 82) what did I do? I took my 7 year old daughter and 10 year old niece up to Mt. Hood to go skiing. It was warm up on the mountain too! A really great spring ski day. Mt. Hood is my little paradise. I love the snow, love the mountain and love to snowboard with my daughter. Probably my favorite thing to do in life right there. Yesterday was a perfect day indeed.

Spanish Teacher

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

This morning I went to my daughters school to shoot some photos for the school website. One was this portrait of the spanish teacher. Not sure why, but I like it.

Running

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

I wanted to shoot some interesting running photos for my portfolio. So yesterday I headed off to the Nike Employee Store and loaded up on running gear. My awesome make-up artist friend Nicole Wagner is an avid runner and brought a couple of her running partners to the shoot too. I define my style as “real and dramatic” and wanted to set that tone by using real runners as my models. Here are some of my favorite photos. Let me know what you think!

We shot them outside of the Hillsboro library. There is a really cool tunnel that goes under the main road that made for a great background. Towards the end of the shoot the sun came through the trees and looked awesome. So we packed the lights away and just shot available light. Funny how that works sometimes, the simplest light is oftentimes the best light.