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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Back in the Classroom...

It's that time of year again... time for reuniting with old photographer friends, making new ones, free dinners every night, free FUN every night, and learning tons of new photography 'revelations' and techniques from some of the premier photography instructors in the country. That's right, it's late April which means I'm at Texas School again here at the Texas A&M campus in College Station.

BTW, for all you Aggies out there, could someone please coherently tell me with a straight face what in the world "Gig'em" means? And while you're at it, what's with the "Whoop!" every time you mention the school name. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for school spirit, but honestly I'm confused when I'm supposed to say "gig'em", "whoop", so I find myself waffling between the two and simply mumbling "gig-a-whoop" in embarrassment.

Where was I... oh, yeah... Texas School. This really is one of my favorite times of the year. Being around and in class with fellow photographers for a week is an amazing experience. Now, I know what you're probably thinking, 'A thousand photographers hanging out for five days talking about f-stops, ISOs, Rembrandt lighting, dragging the shutter, etc... wow, must be a real party'. I'm always amazed, though, about how much fun this conference is. Think about it, a thousand people who are paid to be creative know how to have a good time.

For example, where else do you get to take part in armadillo races?

Seriously, though, this week is a blast, and these are some of the friendliest people you could ever meet. One of the things I love most about the photographers who come here is that everybody's very open and willing to share tips, tricks and strategies to help each other grow. It's not like some professions where everybody's very territorial and secretive about what they're doing. People helping people is the name of the game, and photographers - especially those at Texas School - are a picture of that (no pun intended... well, sort of).

Okay, gotta run... I'm off to meet up with my classmates for our final night of free food and good times.

Here's an image of one of the couples from the Aggie Wrangler dancers from last night's event. Amazing stuff - country dancing on steroids!

Oh, yeah... "gig-a-whoop'em". Or something like that.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Birthday, Bro!

My brother Jason's birthday is on the 24th, but since I'm going to be at Texas A&M in College Station this week for Texas School , we all got together and celebrated tonight at Big Buck's in Grapevine.

I gotta be honest... as a general rule I'm always a bit leery about eating at establishments that present you with buck antlers for door handles as you walk in the door.

Let's just say my suspicions were unfortunately justified - at least partly - by service that was a tad [read: painfully] slow and food that was so-so. Now, lemme preface that statement (can you preface a statement after you've already stated it?) by saying that we all grew up in relatively small towns in the Midwest where eating out at Applebee's was considered a special occasion, so I would say none of us are particularly picky or generally critical people. However, nearly 3 hours to get in the door, eat, reminisce about how my brother used to pin me down and slobber on me as a kid, and exit that same door is a bit much when the restaurant was only half full on a Friday night. In hindsight, maybe the half full on a Friday night thing shoulda been a clue.

In any case, I digress. It was great to get together again and be able to celebrate his birthday together. Many people live far enough away from family and friends that they don't have luxury of being together for special occasions, so I really am thankful for that.

While my brother and I are very different people (I have hair, he's losing his, etc.), it's funny how when we're together there's a banter that still exists between us that feels like we're still back in jr. high. Man, those were good times. Thanks, bro, for all those times you unknowingly let me borrow your clothes. Thanks for unwillingly chauffeuring me around before I got my license even when you had dates. Most importantly, thanks for showing me all the ways to get caught when you were doing something you weren't supposed to be doing so that I could learn from your mistakes and get away with a lot more!

Seriously, though, thanks for everything. Happy birthday, Bro!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Trusty Co-Pilot

Today is a free day for me, and I couldn't be more excited about just relaxing and doing a whole lotta nothing. A free Saturday this time of year for me is a rare thing, so I'm out cruising around town with my co-pilot, Zoe, catching up on some errands. She loves getting outta the house and doing the ride thing. Just mention the letter "R" and she goes nuts and does her obligatory 'let's go' dance until I give in and we're out the door.

Yeah, she's a smart one... she's figured out the whole spell-the-word-so-the-dog-wont-understand-what-I'm-saying game. Guess I need to come up with a new set of code words.

The weather's beautiful here in Dallas this weekend (sunny and 80), so we went for a "W" today, too. She's such a poser.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Daisy's Day Out

Mary and Daisy took an afternoon off to have some fun at a park near downtown Dallas recently. Mary wanted a few special images for mom for Mother's Day, and of course we had to include little Daisy who, by the way, had a reason of her own to celebrate as she recently turned the big 0-1!

Daisy was such a great dog... very sweet and VERY patient. By the end of our session, though, she'd had enough of the camera and was ready to get back to doing what dogs do.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Trinity at Two [ slideshow ]

Here's a slideshow of little Trinity from our recent session in Las Colinas.

Remi Hits the Big Screen [ slideshow ]

CLICK HERE to see Remi's slideshow debut from our recent session in McKinney, TX.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Trapped In The Drive-Thru

A friend forwarded this to me today, and it's hilariously scary (do those words go together?) how many timea we've all been in situations like this. I'm not typically [read: ever, until this] a fan of Weird Al's work, but the style, feel and storyline of this animated video was strangely mesmerizing. The video's 11 minutes long, which is about 9 minutes longer than my typical attention span for web videos, but I honestly (and embarrassingly) couldn't stop watching.

Trapped In The Drive-Thru

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Monday, April 9, 2007

Miss Tackett turns 2!

I can't believe baby Trinity is becoming a little lady already. Seems like just last month I was taking her baby pictures, and now she's almost 2! I'm sure she's growing way to fast for mom and dad, too.

We had originally planned to photograph Trinity in a little sun dress with a wagon and some lemons for a spring-time theme, but mother nature had other plans. After several days with sun and temps in the low 80's, the day of our session had clouds and a high in the 50's. So, mom decided to make lemonade and ditch the sun dress for a bit more western-style duds.

Tina and Jerry, I know you're good friends, so my perspective might be slightly skewed, but Trinity is so precious and sweet. I just love her like she was my own, and it's been a blessing to see her grow up into an amazing little girl. To be able to capture her milestones with a camera has just been icing on the cake.

Tell her to get that sun dress ready - 'Uncle Matt' will see her again soon.

Remi's Play Day

Little Remi just turned the big 1 recently, so we went to Towne Lake with mom and dad and the birthday girl herself for an afternoon of play time to celebrate.

Remi was all too happy to show us her Hollywood impersonation. Maybe a glimpse of things to come for this budding super star.

And of course she's got the "I'm cute, and you know it" look available on a moment's notice.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Wedding Cherubs

While at a friend's wedding last weekend (see post below), I couldn't help but photograph these two little future stars at the reception. What a fun family, and just the nicest people, too.

Meet Sophia. She's a photographer's dream. Not only is she beautiful, but she's more than willing to pose for you, too! As long as you keep showing her the images of herself on the back of the camera, she's happy to model for you all day.

This is little sister, Maia. She wasn't quite as excited about being photographed as her big sister, but she has gorgeous eyes that make any photo look good.

Poor dad... I think he was getting tired from catching Sophia as she continued to jump off the window sill into his arms over and over. Too fun.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

My Life in Pies

I saw this fun idea on Craig Robinson's Flip Flop Flyin' blog, so I thought I'd try it out myself. It basically puts given facets of your life in perspective via the use of pie charts. Fun stuff... give it a try.

Click on the pie chart images for a larger view.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Robin & Crystalyn [ married! ]

Robin and Crystalyn were married on Saturday at the historic Old Red Courthouse in downtown Dallas. The ceremony was beautiful and one of the coolest things was that both the bride and the groom shed tears during the vows. It's great to see such real, unrehearsed, raw emotions shared between two people in such a momentous time in their lives. (Sorry, Robin... I didn't mean to out you on the tears, but let's face it - you had every girl in the room sighing and crying)

One cool thing that the now-newlyweds had at their wedding was an Apache Blessing reading. I had never heard of this before, but it's applicable in many areas of our lives. The idea behind the blessing is that when making decisions, you take into account the impact of the results for the next 10 generations to follow you.

Congrats again, and have a blast in NYC!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Where in the World... [ part II ]

I finally got around to putting some of the images from my recent trip to China into a slideshow. There are a lot of images so they go by pretty quick in the slideshow. No worries, though - you can see a gallery at the end of the slideshow or you can click on the icon below the show window that looks like a grid at any time and this will take you directly to the gallery. Hope you enjoy.