Eliana & James' Engagement @ Castello di Amorosa

Eliana & James approached me about shooting their wedding video later this year, but first I got to shoot their engagement photos. The forecast said rain, so I had the idea of going to the Castello di Amorosa because I knew we'd be able to find a few places to shoot under cover...I've shot there before and I have a great relationship with a few of their staff members... 

We had a quick wine tasting, and the mood was perfect for some loving engagement photos. The rain never came either, so we had tons of spots to shoot. This turned out to be one of my favorite engagement sessions to date, and I'm looking forward to shooting their wedding film in a few months!

Yosemite, February 2016

My friend, Sean Ledbetter, was telling me about the beautiful phenomenon at Horsetail Falls in Yosemite National Park. If the conditions are just right, the last few minutes of light from the sunset illuminate a waterfall to make it look as though Lava is pouring down the cliff. My response to him was, "Let's go! I can put the trip on my credit card and you can pay me back!" A couple days later, we had a hotel reservation and we were going to make the trip!

Yosemite is absolutely beautiful. The two of us geeked out with our cameras and how Mother Nature was providing us with the most beautiful landscapes for us to capture for 3 days. We had each rented some lenses, and were just super excited to be out and about. 

These are my favorite photos that I shot on the trip. Enjoy!

Brit & Jen's Wedding

I had the pleasure of shooting Brit & Jen's wedding in January of this year. I know them through mutual friends, and I just think of them as really fun, outgoing party people! Brit was even an officiant at a wedding I shot last summer, so we knew it would be a good match. 

The forecast called for rain on their wedding, but it was set in a wooden lodge type of venue, and it would be perfect for a winter wedding. We lucked out, actually, and didn't get hardly any rain at all the whole day, and the sun actually burned through the clouds when I was shooting the group photos outside!

It was an incredible wedding, and everyone there had the time of their life!

Brittany & Ryan's Wedding, June 27th, 2015

I had the privilege of shooting Brittany and Ryan's wedding at the end of June, and I'm finally done editing all of their photos, so here is a gallery full of a bunch of my favorites! This was the first wedding I have ever shot all by myself, and it went really well! I think it's almost easier to just do it yourself knowing how every photo is looking throughout the day.

Baby Landon's 1st Photoshoot

I had the privilege of shooting the newborn son of a longtime childhood friend from our small local community. His younger sister grew up with my older sister, so naturally we knew each other and I was more than happy to shoot these precious photos of him. I went to their house and we shot a small variety of shots, most of which we love!

Parker's 2nd Birthday Party!

Today I shot my favorite little guy, Parker's 2nd birthday party. He is one of the smartest and happiest little kids I've ever met, and I've become really close with his family through the years. I knew today would be awesome, and the few photos I managed to snap are pretty adorable. He's a lot harder to shoot candids of these days! He's quick and he's smart! ...I'll be shooting him and his family again on Monday too, which should be an awesome little shoot.

ISM "Pony" Music Video Shoot

I had a totally new client hit me up from Oakland, CA saying he managed a younger up and coming rap group and he wanted me to shoot their music video. I think he said he saw another music video I've shot online, and he decided to give me a try. I talked to him on the phone and emailed back and forth a few times, and at first I was just going to be shooting the video, and not editing it. That sounded fine, I was just hoping the editor would be there to see the context of the shots, and make sense of everything the way we saw it when shooting. I was eventually hired to shoot and edit it, so I was excited to be able to show them what I can do A-Z. 

The shoot was on a Saturday in the Oakland Hills at a privately owned horse ranch. The song is called "Pony," so it naturally seemed appropriate. It wasn't my call, but I went along with it 100%. I got there a little bit early, and there was one person sitting on the ledge of the obvious apparent shooting location. I got out of my car and introduced myself. He didn't quite recognize me as the videographer for the shoot, but I had seen photos of him... Once the key players arrived, we had time to go over basic concepts while we waited for the extras to arrive. It seemed like that was taking longer than expected, so I was eager to get started shooting whatever we could with the duo starring in the video. Take one, scene 3 the solo takes of the song in an attic in something like a horse stable. 

I was contracted to be there for 6 hours, and by the 3 hour mark we still hadn't gotten much accomplished, getting a late start, and a slow beginning. There were still essential scenes we hadn't shot, and we needed more A & B roll. I think their manager gave them a little pep talk, but that's all they needed because the last 3 hours were extremely productive. I stayed maybe 30-45 minutes late, but I'm not sure how much of that was just friendly conversation...

Now the edit was a fun one. They had a basic concept for the opening scenes, but after that it was my call on the edits. We had shot at multiple sets at the ranch and they wanted particular parts of each, but it was very open ended. I learned something with this edit. I learned an awesome way to color correct footage... I came up with a completely absurd way that has probably never been thought of by any other person, but it'll stay my little secret. We kept it pretty subtle, but the possibilities are endless and amazing with my new technique. Videography, software, even my way of thinking has changed a lot since the time I first got into shooting videos, and I'm really impressed where things are at right now.

Check the video below & a few photos of the cast on set.

Photographing a Birth

It was Thursday, March 26th, and I had just gotten home from a long day of shooting a kid's surf camp and a horse riding ranch out in Bodega Bay, when I got a text message at 4:56PM that said, "Labor is starting wondering if you are available to come over for pictures?" I had been transferring the photos I had shot all day to my computer, so I just had to feed my dog and I was out the door in 10 minutes or less...

She only lives about 10 minutes away from me, so it wasn't long before I got to her house. On the way over, she had texted me to please just come in through the back door, so when I got there, I was able to get in the house and get right to shooting. When I entered the house, I could feel the energy, the tension. A few steps in, and I look to my left to discover Brittney in her bathroom looking as if she will be having a baby soon; maybe before the sun goes down. I quickly set my bag down, and joined the nurse(s) in the bathroom, but I stayed with the woman by the door so I wouldn't be intruding too much. I had a moment of hilarity in my head when I put my satchel down and joined the medics in the room with inferior privilege and authority. My job was nowhere near as crucial as theirs, so I wanted to stay out of their way, but I did feel wanted.

I remember starting out with a hand-held flash and popped off maybe 20-30 photos before saying something to the effect of, "Hey Brittney, you're doing great!" We both laughed at how awkward and silly that statement was, as it was obvious she knew I was there, and the late introduction was the perfect ice breaker in true "Gary" fashion.

I was quick to ditch the flash as much as possible during the birth. Each time it went off, I felt bad thinking it might bother Brittney, and I have fast enough lenses paired with high ISO capabilities good enough to hopefully get away with natural light. I knew I might run into some motion blur, but I thought it could add to the true emotions that were in the room. I was mainly shooting with a Nikkor 50mm ƒ1.8D lens, a Nikkor 85mm ƒ1.4G, and a broken Nikkor 28-70mm ƒ2.8D lens. By broken I mean it no longer does anything electronic. No autofocus or electronic aperture control, so I have to stop the lens down manually. A huge pain, but I've been getting by with it this way for at least 6 months now. I cranked up the ISO, and lowered the shutter speed and had at it.

Baby Sawyer was born almost exactly 15 minutes after I got there and shot the first photo. Amazing! Now I have never personally witnessed a birth before, and I would be watching one first hand through a 35mm viewfinder and a couple different lenses, trying to focus clearly enough as to not blow capturing this miracle. I remember feeling under pressure, I remember sweating, I remember everyone sweating. It was intense! It was amazing! Brittney handled it surprisingly well, and Sawyer came out a very healthy baby! Everyone was in tears with joy. I was overwhelmed with happiness, but I must have missed the true intensity being distracted by exposure triangles and manually focusing a broken lense. It wasn't until I was editing the photos that I was truly overtaken with emotion. The photos came out beautifully in my eyes, and I hope theirs too. So far I've heard she loves some of them, so I'm happy! 

I came back to their house a week later and shot some more photos of Sawyer with a different approach. Instead of shooting candids of whatever I could, I brought a little lighting gear over, and we had a formal portrait session. One week old and he's already living that model life. I also shot Brittney's maternity photos  and blessing way, which I'm including a few of in the photo gallery.

Oh, and I forgot to say how this happened 2 days before the one year anniversary of quitting my "real" job and pursuing photography full time. In one year on my own, and I think I can finally say I've shot it all, haha!

New Filters

I bought a set of used ND filters off of Craigslist yesterday for $20. I'm not too sure how good they actually are, but for $20 I couldn't pass them up. I got a bunch of ND filters, a few Graduated ND filters, and a few colored filters as well. I am super excited about the Grad filters and the 10-stop ND filter the most, and I went out to the coast to try them out tonight.

It was super overcast out at the coast, so right away I realized I wouldn't get to play around with my filters as much as I'd hoped. I was going to be meeting a friend out at the coast, so I was still going to drive all the way out there. At first I just shot some video footage of seagulls, but I did manage to snap two photos that I like a little bit. I'm really looking forward to putting these little filters through some more tests, but I did enjoy myself tonight..

Pizza Brigade Clothing Release Party

It was Friday the 13th, and there was a clothing line release party to attend in San Francisco. My friend Garyth and I went down there early, and decided to get a little bottle of booze, and soak in some sights before the party even started... 

So by the time we got to DSF Clothing Company on Haight Street in SF, we were feeling pretty good about the night. The place was tight, there was free Beer (Lagunitas Beer), and the clothing was dope! I love pizza, so I knew I'd like anything with "Pizza Brigade" branded on it! My old school buddy started the brand, and I hope it does well! I can even see a collaboration in our future! Peep some of the funnier party photos in the gallery...