Sunday, December 28, 2008

Two Passions

Freelance work has been at a bit of a lull lately, but my New Years resolution is to start taking more assignments again. I am also looking to re-discover what exactly it is I want to be shooting. I should be able to start the year off with a few weddings and various athletic events. Along with that, I should be getting more climbing in - another one of my passions. I also have a trip to Yosemite planned as well, so I hope to come back with some beautiful pictures on a classic technical climbing route up Half Dome.

Here are a few images from a recent bouldering trip to my secret stash here in North Texas. It's a beautiful area located along the Brazos River. The day started off with howling winds, rain and ominous clouds, but we still went and before we arrived the clouds had parted and it ended up being a beautiful day.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Night Light

One of the first things that drew me to photography was incredible night photography shots. I have always wanted to get a photo of the historic Courthouse in downtown Denton with the moon glowing in the background. This past Friday evening was the brightest, fullest moon in 15 years so I finally jumped at the opportunity to get the photograph. Overall I am pleased with what I came away with.

Another photo I have always wanted to create is a shot of the Dallas skyline. This past Saturday night provided just such an opportunity. The annual Texas Mountaineers Christmas party is held at one of our members house near downtown. So atop of his three story condo I was able to create this beautiful image. I am bummed that reunion tower does not appear in the shot though. The iconic building is now blocked by another building from this particular angle. But again, I am pleased with the results. (click on the image for a larger version of the images)

Friday, October 24, 2008

North Texas Gems

It's rare you find real rock in North Texas. Climbing gyms abound, but quality rock is extremely hard to find. This past weekend my friend Zack and I found two different stashes. Bellow are some bouldering pictures of Zack along the Nolan River. During our exploration we found the infamous Chisholm Wall (a.k.a. The Burn) where the first 5.13d in Texas was established. We also saw lots of other cliff lines with some potential. If we get the motivation we may end up looking into establishing some true climbing here in North Texas.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tolkien would be proud

This past weekend I finally made the journey out to Monster Rock near Austin Texas for a day of marvelous climbing. Here Neil Higa, Austin Local climbs Torture-iffic (5.11c/d), a long 16 clip traverse across the hardest face at Monster Rock.

Neil reacts to getting his finger snapped by the second quick draw on the route.

Tushar Agarwal climbs Crawling Chaos (5.10a) on the Tolkien Wall.

Tushar Agarwal climbs Crawling Chaos (5.10a) on the Tolkien Wall.

This climbing destination is a gym in the Texas Hill Country. The owner is currently working on buttering up his neighbors who also have cliff lines, into opening up their property for climbing as well. It would be cool to see more climbing open up around here. Hoping my dream of moving here will come true soon as well (but I would settle for Colorado or the North West as well).

Monday, August 25, 2008

Football is back

After a long hiatus of a photo-less photo blog I bring you photos! I was called last week to photograph the Dallas Cowboys vs. Houston Texans preseason game at Texas Stadium in Irving, TX. Here are a few of my favorites.

Dallas Cowboys running back Marion Barber (24) scores a touchdown during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at Texas Stadium in Irving, TX. Caleb Simpson-US PRESSWIRE

Aug 21, 2008; Irving,TX , USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Marion Barber (24) stiff arms Houston Texans corner back Fred Bennett (32) during the 1st quarter against the Houston Texans at Texas Stadium in Irving, TX. Caleb Simpson-US PRESSWIRE

Aug 21, 2008; Irving,TX , USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (12) during the first quarter against the Houston Texans at Texas Stadium in Irving, TX. Caleb Simpson-US PRESSWIRE

This weekend I will be climbing in Arkansas again this weekend. Hopefully I come back with some beautiful images. Hoping the rain holds out and the temperatures stay down.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Not much...

Wow, I can't believe how long it has been since my last post. I have not been too busy lately with photography assignments, thus I have not had loads of photos to post, although I have a backup of work I never even posted. Since I decided to take the business down a notch and am hoping to devote some time to updating my portfolio. Perhaps I will post some photos here during that process.

I also have a couple climbing trips coming up as well, so hopefully I will be able to photograph some of those trips and come out with some stunning images. One of those trips will definitely be to Arkansas, and I am hoping to make a second leg of that trip to Colorado. Things have yet to be determined on that front though, so we shall see.

One thing I am looking to do though is pursue more outdoor photography. I definitely want to capture people in outdoor environments though. I'm not talking landscape, although that will be a part of it, but I want to start documenting climbers; not just at the crag but at the campground and on the road. I am not sure yet what will become of this, but I do hope it goes somewhere.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day at HCR

I spent Memorial Day weekend at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch climbing with some friends from the Texas Mountaineers. Despite getting rained on, we still managed to get in a lot of climbing. Arkansas is by far one of my favorite places to climb. I just wish I had more time to take photos while I was out.

I have been so busy with the new job I haven't had time to post photos from the past two weddings I photographed, and I have two more coming up in the next month. Hopefully I will find some time to get the upcoming weddings online. I have yet to even edit any of the images from the past two weddings. Sense I shoot most of my weddings on contract I don't have to worry about the post production, which allows me time for other things.

I have also been tossing the idea around in my head about giving up wedding photography and pursuing other photographic avenues. Climbing photography is definitely a passion of mine, but with rising gas prices it will be hard to get out enough to do that, much less establish myself enough to make decent money. So for now, I think I will just lighten my load and figure out what exactly it is I want to do.

Monday, May 05, 2008


These past couple weeks have been extremely busy. I started a new full time gig, and continue to photograph on the side. I was able to spend this last weekend climbing in the Wichita Mountains. Pictured here is Phillip Snow, my roommate, on The Dihedral, a Wichita Mountains classic. This place has become my favorite climbing destination.

I also have a wedding I recently shot that I plan on posting photos from soon. There is a chance I may be covering some Dallas Stars playoffs, and Texas Rangers baseball in the next few weeks as well. I am especially looking forward to covering hockey since it is a sport I have yet to have the opportunity to photograph.

There are also more climbing trips on the horizon as well. I will likely be spending Memorial Day weekend in Arkansas, another one of my favorite climbing destinations. So, keep checking back, more content is sure to appear. Forgive me for my lack of recent posts. Life has been hectic lately, but in a good way.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Spring is in swing

Well, the wedding season is in full swing. I don't have a whole lot of bookings this season since I am making some career and life changes, but I do have a few more on the books. These images are from a Catholic Vietnamese wedding that I shot in Arlington a couple weekends ago. It was one of the most interesting weddings I have shot yet. So, here are a couple of my favorites from the day.

I also managed to squeeze a day trip in to the Wichita Mountains yesterday as well. The climber pictures is on 5.9 Frosted Flakes at Echo Dome. I think I may have also had a first ascent on a route here too (meaning I was the first to climb it, and thus get to grade and name the route).

I always have a great time climbing out at the Wichita's, but never shoot enough photos. This photo was taken with my G9. I opted to leave the big dSLR in the car this time since we didn't get to go to the original destination I hoped to get some photos in. I was fairly pleased with the quality of the images this time, although I do feel the camera lacks sharpness. I guess it just has to do with the size of the sensor; they are tiny compared to my dSLR.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Return from Red Rocks

I have been back from the 2008 Red Rocks Rendezvous for a few days now, but I am just now getting the chance to go through some photos. Funny thing is, I thought I was shooting a lot, but after dumping photos I realized I didn't take as near as many pictures as I thought.

Anyway, here are a couple photos of climber Susánica Tam at Canibal Crag in Calico Basin. Both photos were taken during the photo clinic offered by the Rendezvous. While, I did not learn anything that I considered extremely valuable, I did learn a modified system to haul up a fixed rope that is more efficient than what I currently use.

The 2008 Red Rocks Rendezvous was also my first ever climbing festival to attend. Although I didn't get as much climbing in as I wanted, I had lots of fun. It was great getting to meet other climbers, attend clinics and talk to vendors. The Climbing Community is full of great people and I am glad I'm a part of it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Red Rocks

Tomorrow I leave for a long weekend of climbing and photography in Red Rocks, Nevada. I am super excited. I will be taking a photography clinic on Saturday, and from what I hear there will be famous climbers there for us to shoot. I am hoping to learn more efficient ways to set up anchors to shoot climbing, as the time it takes to set up is what usually keeps me from taking the time to shoot. I hope this weekend will change that.

Check out more about the festival here. I arrive early as well so I will get a full day of climbing in before the festival starts. I'm pumped, and this will be my first time climbing in the desert, heck, it will be my first time to actually visit the desert as well!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Climbing has so many gray areas

This past weekend the Texas Mountaineers had it's bi-annual beginner climb in the Wichita Mountains. This was the largest group of new climbers the group has ever had. We are excited to have so many new members. Here are a few photos from the climb, presented in black and white for a change of pace.

In other news, I have a couple weddings coming up in April so I will be posting photos from those sometime in the following two weeks. I will be climbing and shooting at Red Rocks next week so I should come back with some great photos form that trip, so be sure to check back.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Golden hour

I spent about an hour yesterday during the "golden hour" photographing tennis for Denton Parks & Recreation. The photos will be used for promotional use in their catalogs, fliers, website, and other promotional materials.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Enchanted Rock

Last weekend I was out at Enchanted Rock. I didn't take as near as many pictures as I had planned, but that is usually how it goes. On top of not getting to photograph as much as I would have liked I blew the toes out of both of my climbing shoes. Hopefully a re-soul will bring them back to good health. Anyway, enjoy the pics.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Making a book

A fairly new passion of mine is rock climbing. Anybody who knows me or reads this blog will know that; and it won't take long upon meeting me to know that either. Being a photographer I almost always bring my camera with me to the crag to capture my adventures. Some days I take more photos than others, but I don't think I have taken a trip where I haven't taken at least a couple of photos.

With that said, I think I have decided to make a book. Although I have only been climbing a couple years I think it is something I would really enjoy putting together. The only downside is that I lost a lot of photos in a recent hard drive crash, so I may have to wait another couple years before I actually have enough to put a decent book together. Plus I have some cool trips coming up, such as Joshua Tree and Red Rocks. I am sure to come back from there with some amazing pictures.

Speaking of Red Rocks I will be at the 2008 Red Rocks Rendezvous. I will actually be taking the photography clinic they are offering while I am there. Although I have already learned a lot about anchor set ups for shooting photos I am pretty sure there are techniques I am unaware of and could greatly benefit from. So, I look forward to taking the class, and hopefully coming home with some awesome photos.

The above photos (one of my favorite photos) is Scott Chapman on Alamo Arete (5.11b) at Paradise on the Brazos near Graham, Texas. The crag is now closed though. It's a bummer because it was the best sport climbing crag close to my home, I was able to make it under two hours, now the closest sport crag is over three hours away. From the photo you would never guess the climb was in Texas. The background is actually a creek that feeds into the Brazos River.

Friday, February 15, 2008


I spent about an hour yesterday evening photographing a group fitness class for Denton Parks & Recreation called BODYPUMP. The class looked pretty intense. It was a combination of aerobics and weight lifting. It actually looked like something a rock climber like myself could benefit from.

I like the energy and intensity of this photo. You can tell the participants are really working hard and are focused.

Working in a cluttered gym like this I shot most of the photos with a 50mm 1.8, but since I was bouncing strobes off the ceiling at full power I had to shoot at about f/2.2. But, sense it was a prime lens the depth of field was still nice and shallow.

It has been an interesting challenge shooting these recreational activities inside dark gyms. Next week I will be shooting youth basketball in yet another dark gym. So, shooting climbing shots outdoors next weekend will be a welcomed change from having to light dungeons in order to get usable photos.

Anyway, more to come.

Monday, February 11, 2008

From Elk Slabs to Mount Scott

This past weekend was spent climbing in the Wichita Mountains. Every time I go climb my goal is to build up my stock library of climbing photos, that is of course the secondary goal, the primary goal being to enjoy the outdoors and climb.

This first photo was taken on our second day of climbing with my Canon 1D Mark II. The image makes the route look way more exposed than it actually is. But, sense the 1D is such a large camera and difficult to lug around during climbing trips I decided to take a few images with my G9 and put it to the test.

This image is Carl, my climbing partner for the day, flaking the rope before our first climb. The image was sharp and the colors as you can see are beautiful.

This image could have been better, but my flash went off and lit up the rock one the outside of the box canyon (left of frame). I snapped a few more frames after turning off the flash, but this was the only one I got of Carl looking up the canyon wall.

This image was testing out the macro capability of the camera. The image is tac sharp on the far right side of the frame, but the depth of field was extremely shallow at f/2.8, thus the left side of the frame was not tac sharp, but still a usable image for sure. I love the colors in this image.

I am fairly pleased with the colors the camera produces but the focus on the camera is either off, or I need to figure out how to use the camera correctly. I plan on experimenting more with it before I send it off to Canon, but for an all purpose, carry everywhere with me camera it is not to bad.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Rec. League Volleyball

I recently photographed a recreational league volleyball game for Denton Parks & Recreation. The purpose of the photos is to help promote the rec league volleyball games held at two different locations on the same night. The department is trying to build up a collection of stock photos for multiple programs so they can better promote what they have to offer to people in the community. Tomorrow I will be shooting a youth basketball program.

For the photographers wanting to know how:
To shoot this game I had to use strobes. Since I only own two 8oo watt Alien Bee's I decided to cross light the court and bounce the light off the ceiling. By doing this I was able to get fairly even light at 1/250th and 4/4.0 at ISO 400. Initially I tried using my sports reflectors but the light fall was to shallow and was only lighting the far sides of the court, so I opted for my 7" reflectors to toss plenty of light into the ceiling.

The down side of the cross lighting is that I could only shoot in a direction opposite of my lights. So, I was limited to which side I could shoot the net from, but I could shoot both sides at ground level in the middle half of the court easily. It was the most effective way available to shoot the game. I didn't take an ambient light reading, but I am sure it would not have been bright enough to freeze action.

Bellow is a photo of one of my light stands in the corner of the gym. I took the photo from just in front of my other light. So, you get an idea of how my setup was. Both strobes pointed up into the ceiling to the opposing side of the court.

View of one strobe on a light stand pointed into the ceiling across court. The light stands were about 10-12ft high.

This wide angle view gives you a better idea of the light coverage I got by cross lighting. Not bad eh?

As you may have noticed work has been pretty slow lately. I was talking to another photographer friend yesterday who has also had a slow start to the year. Normally he will work on about eight big shoots a month, so far he has only worked two all year. Hopefully this is not a sign of a sliding economy. I have a few weddings booked this spring, but my first one is not until March. So, things will likely stay a bit slow until then.

I am also looking at making some career changes as well. I have also been considering moving to Colorado, or maybe even Utah or Oregon. Hopefully this year will have some exciting changes in store. If anything exciting does happen I will be sure to share it here.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Corey Rich - King Lines

As a photographer or any artist, it's important to keep yourself inspired. There are numerous photographers I look to for inspiration. One of those being Corey Rich. Corey was recently featured on the Apple Pro website for his mixed media project with Josh Lowell (with Big Up Productions).

The images and video both are amazing. The focus of the project was on Climber Chris Sharma and his deep-water solo project in Spain. Not only are the videos inspiring, but it's cool to read about the project and their work flow. I am always looking to improve my work flow so articles like this are easy to enjoy. I have not purchased the King Lines video yet but plan on doing so and look forward to seeing it.

So check it out on the Apple Pro website.