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Monday, July 30, 2007

Just "Photoshop It"

So funny... and (unfortunately) true.

Thanks for sending this, Tina - great way to end the day with a healthy laugh.

Friday, July 27, 2007


... an iPhone.

iKnow I don't need it. iKnow it's $600. iKnow I drop my current phone at least twice a day (subliminally wishing it would die so I could replace it). None of these things is the point. It's just so freakin' cool.

Gary had one when I was photographing his family, and he let me play with it for a bit. I called myself with his iPhone... dumb, iKnow. iThink he secretly enjoyed my envy. I can't blame him; that's what guys do... they brag when they have cooler toys than their friends.

As you can see, it also takes amazing pictures for a phone. I smell a justification here - iNeed an iPhone as a backup... you know, in case my camera malfunctions during a session.

The Boyers [slideshow!]

I just can't get enough of these kiddos. I was talking with Robyn on the phone this evening and little Emily and Luke took the phone from mom to tell me how much fun they've been having. Some day when I have kids, I hope they're half as sweet as these three.

Enjoy this slideshow from our recent session(s).

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Time to Downsize?

If you haven't checked out Escape from Cubicle Nation, give it a test drive. Pamela Slim writes some really good stuff on this blog mainly about freeing yourself from the corporate/work chains and experiencing a more meaningful life. There's lots of great resources there as well. BTW, I'm not being paid to advertise this blog (unfortunately). In fact, Pamela doesn't even know my name or that I even exist. I just think anytime someone is creating quality stuff that might benefit others, it should be passed on. You might call it sort of an unwritten civic duty.

She posted an article today on downsizing your life to get more out of it. We see so many people trying to live the "American dream" these days, and there's nothing wrong with that, but at what cost (financial and emotional) is this worth it? And is the American dream really your dream, or just what society and advertising leads us to believe we should be chasing after? Check out this latest article.

De Ja Shoot

Okay, so a couple weeks ago I experienced a 'first' in my photography business. Not my first celebrity session. Not my first $10,000 order. Not even my first [insert anything good here]. No, this isn't the kind of 'first' to be proud of. Quite contrary, it's the kind that's more likely to give me an ulcer and cause me to question - at least for a couple seconds - how (and possibly why) I ever managed to start my own business.

A couple of friends and long time clients - Robyn and Gary - had scheduled a session with me to photograph some wonderful images of their precious kiddos Emily, Shelby and little Luke. And capture some wonderful images we did. (Is it just me, or did that last sentence sound a little Yoda-ish?) I couldn't wait to get home and download the images because their family is ridiculously beautiful, and I was stoked to see all the amazing moments I remember us capturing.

As image after image came up on my screen, my excitement and anticipation quickly headed south and turned into a near panic attack as more than half the images were a little soft on the focus. To make a long story short and spare you the technical details, I think there is an issue with a lens I was using as a friend of mine has had the same issue with that particular lens when she has used it.

Well, if you're handed a bunch of lemons, you might as well make lemonade, right?... unless, of course, the lemons you've been handed are rotten in which case you should probably just throw them out or at the very least deeply discount the price of your lemonade. When I called Robyn to let her know what had happened, I could tell she was [rightfully] a little bummed, probably a little because of some of the images that didn't turn out, and I'm guessing a lot she and Gary now had to get three kids ready again, drive 30 minutes again, and basically do the same session... again.

Robyn and Gary are great, though, and they really were such good sports about the whole thing, and we made the best of the situation. On top of that, the blessing in this story is that I think we ended up with an amazing collection of images, some of which we wouldn't have gotten if the images from the first session would have turned out. Ahh... lemonade.

Emily, Shelby and Luke really are so precious... it's hard to pick favorite images from this session. Here's a couple that are near the top, though. Look for the slideshow later this week.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Need for Nostalgia

It's been a while since I've posted any "Image(s) of the Week" entries.

"A while?? Try a month!" Hey, pipe down, peanut gallery... Things have been very busy lately [good thing] which also means I've not had a chance to go out and do as much 'playing' with the camera [bad thing].

Anyway, I'm not ready to call these "Images of the Week" either as it may set expectations that I would actually follow through and post another installment next week. Besides, it feels incredibly freeing at this point to simply remove even one item from my relentless, never-ending to do list.

I love old, worn out, vintage cars. There's just something very nostalgic and cool about them, not too mention they make great subjects for art pieces for the walls. This beauty [click on images for larger views] is an old rail yard utility truck located at the Rail Road Museum down in Fair Park near downtown Dallas.

Old trains are another favorite of mine, but for some reason I didn't take many images of trains at the train museum. How does that happen?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Anchia's [slideshow!]

Here's a slideshow from a recent session with the Anchia's. I met this beautiful family at a friend's wedding back in March when I happened to have my camera on me (strange, I know) and caught a few images of little Sophia and baby Maia entertaining themselves at the reception. Marissa just finished up her MBA at SMU (congrats, mom!), so we went down to campus to celebrate with a photo session with Rafael(dad) and the rest of the girls.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Micro$oft iPod Packaging

This one's been around for a while, but even if you've seen it, it never gets old.

The Future of Computing

Funny stuff... long live Apple!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Brett and Jessica [slideshow!]

Here's the slideshow from a recent engagement session with Brett and Jessica in Las Colinas. These two were so much fun and a blessing to work with.

Check it out!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Flash! Photography

Ok, so I just got back from finishing up the 2nd session in two weeks with the Boyer family (more on that later), and I had to laugh at this gem of little Luke doing his own unprompted version of Mardi Gras. Too funny.

Robyn and Gary have three of the most beautiful kids you will ever see, and you will see them in an upcoming post. Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Stork is Circling...

Schrode and Preston are expecting their first baby in October, and I couldn't be happier for them. Both mom and dad are such solid, sweet, funny people who truly enjoy and cherish each other; little Reagan will be blessed to have them as parents.

On a whim we decided to do a 5 minute impromptu mini-session (after Schrode and I came in from play time in the corn field) and create a couple images to remember this time in their life and all the excitement and anticipation that's building. We didn't have much gear to work with (a wide angle lens, no reflectors, sun high in the sky, etc), but these two were so fun that it didn't matter. I think the simplicity of these images is what I really like about them.

Congrats again, you two. Enjoy the next couple months, and I can't wait to come back in the fall and photograph your brand new little girl. Thanks again for another great time in Ohio. Love you guys!

Dear Connie

When I was over at Schrode's house in Marion on Friday, he pulled out these 1st or 2nd grade letters (click on the images for larger views) from his Pleasant Elementary School archives. He and I - and just about every other boy in the class - had a huge crush on Connie Vanover, and we laughed so hard we had tears after reading these priceless pieces from memory lane:

Letter #1

"Dear Connie
I now you love Matthew N. I now you Don’t like me cause Matthew N. Told me. I now why you don’t like me cause I’m ugly. And you like Matthew cause you think He’s hand some. And you like his drawing I now you hate me so just spit it out. So Please will you love me to?

I now you were going to give matthew a valentine card but not me you think I’m ugly and I have not even One girlfriend cause I’m Ugly and I’m a cristin."

Letter #2
"Dear Connie
I now you love matt and I now you think I’m ugly so just spit it out. I now you and Amy wanted to skate with him and I now you want to give him a valentine’s card. And you like matt cause he’s handsome. I will do anything if you would love me. And Matt said he dose not like you. He said he like a nother girl.
[hmm... notice how Schrode's throwing me under the bus already at the tender age of 7?] Please, Write back. If you do give it to Brian Davie.
From Michael Styer"

Fast forward to my letter to Connie today:

Dear Connie,
I speak on behalf of all the boys in Mrs. Schroat's 1st grade class and Mrs. Peacock's 2nd grade class when I tell you that you unknowingly consumed our every thought and dream and even in first grade we planned our future adult lives and families around you and just knew it was meant to be. But alas, our love for you did not survive, nor did yours for us. Unfortunately yours died for us long before we hoped it would. You'll be happy to know life has somehow moved on for us since elementary school as we assume it has for you (although I myself can never know for sure as I haven't received a hand-written correspondence from you since the break-up note you asked Leigh Ann Cox to give to me in 3rd grade).

In all sincerity I would like to thank you for shaping my life even today. Because of you I asked my grandmother to teach me how to draw so I could impress you with pretty pictures. While that plan only panned out for the short term, today I am still drawing 'pretty pictures' of new products for TI and creating 'pretty pictures' for people through my photography.

Because of you I went home at the end of 4th grade and cried until my parents finally agreed to buy me a trombone just so I could be in the jr. high band and sit next to you in hopes you would like me again. While we had fun, 3 years of blowing out hideous notes from arguably the most awkward and uncool looking instrument in the band got me no closer to going out with you again. Don't feel bad, though, as I still enjoy listening to music today. Besides, the trombone section sat directly across the room from the clarinet section which came in handy and gave me a great view when I eventually transferred my crush to Kari Ihns at the end of 6th grade.

Because of you I learned how to swim so I could hang out with you all summer at Brookside pool. Well, maybe that's a stretch... I think I already knew how to swim, but I did learn how to hold my breath for 90 seconds under water hoping you would think I was cool. That skill hasn't really impacted my life to this day in any meaningful way, but hey, it helped me stay under water longer to get from base to base when we all played ball tag in the pool, and that was cool. I'm sure it somehow contributed to a happier, well-adjusted childhood.

And because of you I became interested in sports with the intent of awing you with my skills on the field and in the gym. Honestly you share credit here with all my friends and my brother since they played sports all the time and I wanted to be part of it, and I inevitably would've picked this up even if I wasn't trying to impress you, but it makes for a partially true addition to this drawn out, unnecessary letter. Anyway, sports were a huge part of my life and I still enjoy throwing the ol' pigskin around today, so... thanks for that.

Connie, thanks for helping in some small way to make me, Schrode, and doubtless several other Pleasant school system grads the men we are today. I wish you blessings and abundant prosperity in everything you do.

Matt Nicolosi

P.S. Thanks for picking me over Schrode in 1st and 2nd grade. If nothing else, I'll always have that to hang over his head.

Unwritten Laws

Unwritten laws are a fact of life. You won't find them in any law books, and any repercussions for breaking them are more likely to be social than legal. Common examples of such laws might be: You don't leave Home Depot without spending at least $100. You don't date your best friend's ex (or at least not for 6 months after the break up if you agree with the men of the square table). You don't feed any bears you might stumble upon while camping. You don't congratulate someone on their upcoming new addition to the family until you know they are for sure pregnant. You don't leave your laptop on top of your car and drive off...EVER.

Being back in Ohio, I'm reminded of one more such law. You don't grow up and/or live in Ohio (and particularly in Columbus) without being a Buckeye fan. It's hard to find anything around here that doesn't have a Block O overtly or subliminally branded in or on it. In fact, I'm certain Woody Hayes - God rest his soul - would be a shoe-in to be elected Governor of Ohio even today if only someone found a loophole that allowed his sacred name to get on the ballot.

In a sub-section of the Buckeye 'law', there is apparently an unwritten sub-law stating that if you move away from the great state of Ohio, you are required to purchase at least one form of OSU memorabilia upon every subsequent return visit. Believe it or not, I'm already running out of occasions to wear the Ohio State shirts I already have, and I couldn't bring myself to buy the Brutus the Buckeye Speedos just yet [which is to say ever], so instead this time I bought a cool Nike OSU golf shirt. Should come in handy for the 1 time a year I play golf. I've demo'd the shirt in the picture above where I'm performing another unwritten law for Ohioans... O-H-I-O!