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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Children of the Corn(y)

I'm still in Ohio and really loving my time back here. Today I went out to lunch with my dad and then spent the afternoon hanging out at my friend Schrode's house with him and his wife, Preston. They have a big corn field back behind their house, so Michael (Schrode) and I decided to do what any two responsible 34 year old men would do and jump in it. Maybe I shoulda called this post "Corn Flakes".

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Home Sweet Home

I'm back in Ohio this week spending a couple days in Columbus, and it's always good to be back home. Maybe it's being away from it for almost 11 years now, but I really like Columbus; it has such a down home feel to it with a side of coolness. Here's a funny picture of my friend Matt from Dallas in front of this huge mural on the side of a building.

Tonight I got to meet up with one of my good HS and OSU college buddies, Jason, and his wife, Melissa. We ate a cool little place called Betty's in the Short North District. I love this area of town with all the small shops and local restaurants and galleries. I miss this place.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I wish I was cool...

Ahhh... summer in Texas. Mother nature's version of a microwave.

I came home this evening after finishing up a family photo session, opened up the front door and thought, 'Hmmm... what's wrong with this picture? Everything looks to be in order. No mysterious, unidentifiable smells. Yep, the TV works. Oh, I know what it is... it's freakin' 400 degrees in here!!'

Okay, 400 degrees is a bit of an embellishment, it's only 87... forgive me for rounding up, but when you are as hot-blooded as I seem to be, there's little distinction between the two. So the AC's out and apparently the apartment office's view is that non-working AC is only an emergency if it goes out while the sun's still up. We obviously have different views.

I hate hot. Hot and I go together like Sanjaya and American Idol, like McDonald's and "fat-free", like Bill O'Reilly and [insert any democrat here]; there's simply no room for (peaceful) coexistence.

I'll stop ranting now; I need to peel my sticky elbows off the desk and head to bed. Besides, this 30" Mac display is like a heat lamp... time to turn this puppy off, crank up every fan I own to "wind tunnel" mode and think cool thoughts.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Patel Family [slideshow!]

Check out this slideshow from a recent session with the Patel family!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

T(ackett) Time

Earlier this week my buddy Jerry (light green shirt) celebrated his forty-something birthday. (No one's really counting, Jerry... promise). Jerry's wife Tina planned a mini-surprise for him earlier this week by lining up a couple of the guys (myself, Ed and Mike) for a little guys morning out with a round of golf. Jerry was just planning on going into work for a couple hours today but found out this morning he had a tee time waiting for him... great idea, Tina. Next year could you surprise all of us with a few lessons first?

As for the golf... well, let's just say Tiger's not worried about us challenging his current PGA reign just yet. But hey, if you're gonna pay that much money to play, my theory is you should get as many strokes in as you can. Mission accomplished.

Happy birthday, Jerry.

P.S. This is one of the times I wish I had a simple point-n-shoot camera. People get a bit intimidated by all the buttons on a big camera when you ask them to take a group photo for you. Bless her heart, I framed out the picture in the camera for this sweet lady at the golf course before joining the other 3 guys, told her where to stand and asked her just to push that little shutter release button for a nice tight shot of the four of us. I had to laugh a little as we watched her keep backing up saying something about wanting to make sure we were all in the window until she finally took the picture with the four of us being very small in the lower left hand corner of the image. As you can see I just did a little cropping and it turned out fine, so thank you sweet golf course lady!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Jessica and Brett [engaged!]

Jessica and Brett recently got engaged and are taking the plunge (in matrimony and then into the ocean) in Tahiti this fall. We went down to the canal district in Las Colinas and spent a little time capturing some fun memories from this exciting time in their lives.

It's getting a bit more challenging to do outdoor photographs this time of year, but both Brett and Jessica were a ton of fun and troopers all the way to the end. Who knew it could get so muggy just standing there... in the shade?? And it's not even July yet!

Thanks so much guys, I can't wait for you to see the rest of your images. Very cool!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Extreme Image Makeovers

I am swamped today (who isn't?) with a thousand things to do and no free time. In these types of situations I do the only logical thing and - what else - take a break and play for a few minutes. Keeps me sane and sometimes even helps get the creativity flowing for the "real" work.

I decided to do a little exercise around the "one man's trash is another man's treasure" theory, so I picked 2 random images [and when I say random I mean the kind of random where people ask me 'why in the world are you taking a photo of that??'] and thought I'd see if I could turn them into something I'd hang on my own walls. The first image in each group - and hopefully this is apparent or I've failed miserably - is the 'before' image.

Here's the first series. I've tried to make the 'after' image convey a bit more of a vintage contemporary feel with a dash of nostalgia thrown in.

And here's the 2nd set. By now you're probably thinking, "Wow, Matt- a lawn mower, some tall grass and a run down house? And now old rusted barrels in a vacant parking lot? Could it get any more exciting?" Hey, this is my exercise... feel free to do this yourself, Picasso, and use something a little more interesting. Besides, taking a seemingly mundane and often overlooked scene and making it into something interesting to look at makes the challenge that much more fun.

So, I think the takeaway from this exercise is that art really is all around us. All you have to do is look for it.

Okay, back to the stuff that might actually bring in some income.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Angel Eyes (x2)

Now I've seen some cute kids, but this dynamic duo had some of the most incredible eyes you'll ever see. Mom and dad certainly passed on some good genes.

Jai was such a sweet and polite little guy. He - like many of the kiddos - wasn't quite sure about that big lens pointing at him at first, but he eventually warmed up and even decided it was time for him to dawn his proverbial cape and show us his Superman powers (with just a little help from his uncle).

Jai's little brother Rishi, on the other hand, was just glad to be at the party. He was content to take it all in and didn't care whether we were there or not; he was going to be happy and adorable either way 'cause that's just what he does. He did look a little nervous for a second, though, when I asked his big brother if I should sing him a Barney song to make him smile.

Thanks for making my job look easy, fellas.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

In Remembrance: Mac (February 2007 - June 2007)

Today is a dark day for the Mac community. Somewhere Bill Gates is smiling, but I, on the other hand, have shed a deep and soulful tear. I did a terrible, unthinkable thing today, something that may cause the faithful Macintosh cult to do the unheard of and revoke my lifetime membership. Yes, it is that serious. No, I did not buy a PC (I may be occasionally absent-minded, but I'm not that crazy and do still have some dignity).

Today, I... I ... I'm sorry, this is very difficult for me. Today I [gulp] killed my beloved Intel Duo Core MacBook Pro laptop. [insert image of tear trickling down cheek here]. Yes, I have been forever labeled a Mac murderer.

It started off like any other Friday morning... I was running a little late and trying to do too much at once. As I reached the car with my hands full and my keys buried deep in my front pocket, I realized I left my phone in the kitchen. It was then I unknowingly made a seemingly insignificant decision that would ultimately lead to the untimely death of my trusted friend and companion. I placed my titanium buddy and a couple other miscellaneous items on the top of my car while I ran back inside to grab my phone. I distinctly remember thinking as I was walking away from the car, 'Surely I'll remember to grab everything off the top of the car when I come back before driving off, right? Yeah, no problem... there's no way I can forget that. Go on, genius, go get your phone.'

Do I even need to finish this story? To spare you a drawn-out version of the obvious impending doom and to spare me from any more trauma than I've already endured, I'll give you the Cliff Notes version. So I got to my destination a little more than 10 miles down the road, got outta the car, opened the back door to a barren back seat and had an instant moment of heart-stopping, mind-numbing revelation, the same type I can only imagine Pete Best had when he quit a little-known band named the Beatles just before they became the biggest music phenomenon the world had ever seen. The crime had been committed, and all that was left to do was backtrack for a reconnaissance mission to recover the body of my fallen comrade.

Unfortunately the ending to this melancholy story comes without any sense of comforting closure that usually initiates the healing process. No body was ever found... only an envelope and a photo that was accompanying Mac on his final journey.

I miss you already, Mac, and I'm sorry I failed you. You deserved better. I will always cherish our brief $3100 friendship. You were my workhorse, my lifeline, my wizard behind the curtain. Well done my good and faithful silicon servant. Rest in pieces.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Thanks for Nothing

I had to laugh when I opened up today's mail and read this 'appreciation letter' from Atmos Energy. (click on the image to see a larger view).

So, if I've got this right, Atmos paid for a designer's time to create this mailer, paid for the card stock and printing, and paid $.26 to mail this to me... all to tell me they're rewarding me for being a good customer with nothing. Hilarious.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Image of the [Last Couple] Week[s]

Okay, so I'm a bit behind on the Image of the Week installments. Chalk it up to Microsoft. Being a Mac loyalist, I find it easy, convenient and simply comforting to make Bill's nest egg the scapegoat for all my shortcomings. I'm certain they had something to do with my tardiness.

In any case, I've been experimenting quite a bit lately with some different techniques for texturing and layering in Photoshop to create some really interesting looks that help to draw out a story in an image. This was one I created recently that I love because of it's simplicity and understated richness and the emphasis it puts on Maia's sweet and natural expression.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Brand Building

This is such a cool time in my life to be able to do something I love and feel like I'm learning and building and creating and refining something new almost every day.

It's humbling to see something you've put so much time and effort and heart into finally start to grow and take on a life of it's own. Sometimes I feel like I'm just fortunate enough to be doing everything I can to hang on and enjoy the ride.

My friend Tina - who btw was voted Dallas Art Director of the Year in '06 - has been helping me [read: doing 95% of the work] to craft new brand identity materials that align with the vision I have for my photography work and where I'd like to steer the business. I'm excited about rolling out these first pieces over the next couple months, including this new, hot-off-the-press brochure. Not only did she do the design work and coordinated the printing, she and her husband Jerry willingly offered to spend last Friday night helping me fold 750 pieces. How cool is that?!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Click for the Cause

Last night was a lot of fun and all for a good cause. The Alzheimer Junior Women's Association hosted Bright Lights Big City, a charity auction event at the Star Light Room in downtown Dallas to raise money and awareness for the Alzheimer's Association, and I was fortunate enough to be asked by my friend Amy (pictured) to do some photography. Thanks Amy!! And to top it off there were a lot of friends there I hadn't seen in awhile, so that made it that much better.

There was a ton of cool stuff up for grabs (including a couple photography packages - grin), casino tables, good food and a live band that was a lot of fun. Check out the image of the guitar player; he was walking around during a song and came over to the photography area and stepped in for a quick photo while he was playing.

Most of the photography I do is in a non-studio environment, so it was fun to break out the lighting equipment again and just play a bit. I think sometime soon I want to take a day and set it all up and invite a bunch of friends and the kids and anyone else that wants to come and just order up some pizza and have a little party where we just have fun, experiment and create some really cool images. Now, if I could just find time to make that happen...

Party of 5, please...

Okay, actually it's 7 if you count mom and dad, but when you've got that many, who's counting? Over Memorial Day weekend, Kylie and I stopped in to visit Rob and Emily Wright, a couple of friends of hers from Indiana. Rob and Emily are the proud owners of 5 brand new, shiny, beautiful babies. Yes, 5... as in quintuplets... as in ohmygosh... as in "Uh, honey, what do we do now?"

When we stopped in only 3 of the little ones, Peyton (named after who else? - a little-known Colts quarterback and Super Bowl MVP), Sydney and Ethan were at home. Landon an Jenna were still at the hospital until they get a little bigger and a little stronger, but they should be joining the rest of the party in the next couple days if they haven't already.

Now, I know plenty of families that had 5 or more kiddos, but none of them all at one time. Can you imagine? How do you even keep them all straight?? Even with just 3 of them home when we were there, it's a round-the-clock operation with volunteers coming in at all hours of the day and night to help feed, change, do laundry, bathe and just generally pacify & entertain these rookies. I was blown away by the whole scene. How cool, though, that they live in a town with so many people who are willing to help out and do whatever is needed. That's what community is all about... people helping people.

God bless and best wishes, Rob & Emily... just think of all the presents you'll have coming your way on Mother's Day and Father's Day in the years to come!