A few weeks ago I was standing with a flock of warbird enthusiasts up at the Flying Heritage Collection at Pain Field in Everett, WA with my camera in hand waiting for a bf-109 & FW-190 (WW II German fighters) when I started thinking back to where the obsession with War Birds and photography met…
Set the “Way Back Machine” to 1976 when I got my first airplane book at a little book store in Encinitas, CA right after my dad took me to see Monty Python’s Holy Grail at the La Paloma Theater. I think it was the drawing of a one of the Flying Tiger’s P-40’s that fascinated me, the shark mouth just looked so cool. I started trying to copy the drawing, over and over again. I loved that book and while it’s a little worse for the wear I still have it. This was the spark that would change the rest of my life, but at 6 years old I just thought the P-40 looked really cool.
A few years later, I think it was in 6th grade I was in the school library having to find a book to read when I stumbled on a book about the Red Barron and when I went home to start reading it I was hooked. I finished the book that night and went back the next day to get more history books. I ended up reading every book the school library having anything to do with WW I & II. One of my dad’s friends, who was an warbird buff, suggested that I read a couple of other books that weren’t at my school library, so I went down to the Carlsbad City Library to pick up “Incredible Victory: The Battle of Midway” & “30 Seconds Over Tokyo”, read them and kept going back for more. Most of my interest focused on the airplanes and this interest never passed.
A couple of summers later (between Jr. High & High School) my dad’s friend, who lived in Fresno at the time, invited me to come up so I could go to a with him to the Madera Air Show. For the first time in my life I was finally going to be able to see the planes I’d been reading about for the past couple of years. It was an amazing experience and I hardly minded that it was 110 degres out on the runway! I was there seeing these planes fly for the first time in my life, experiencing the sound and power of some of the most famous aircraft in the world and there I was with my little Kodak 110 camera borrowed from my grandmother taking the photos that would start it all.
The new obsession was air shows and thankfully I lived in Southern California and was surrounded by military bases, Mirimar NAS, El Toro MCAS, March AFB, Norton AFG, Point Mugu NAS and Edwards AFB all just close enough that I could make my dad drive me and my best friend to all of them with an upgraded camera borrowed from my uncle Dan this time. I got to see some things I’d never forget. One year at Mirimar NAS (then home of Top Gun) I watched on as a low flying F-14 pushed just a little too far and broke the sound barrier and managed to shatter the windows of the radio booth that was covering the show. At Point Mugu in 1983 or ’84 I got to watch famous stunt pilot Art Scholl (who later perished while filming the movie Top Gun) fly an amazing routine in a Rockwell Shrike Commander (he finished up his routine flying w/o power, did a couple of loops, landed and taxied the plane to the centerline of the air show and made it curtsy as it came to a stop – all without the engines on)! In 1988 I was at the El Toro Air Show with my uncle when I watched an F/A-18 crash during a demonstration. The pilot was fine, by the way.
My Junior year of High School is when I finally got a camera (Pentax special that was the Price Club special as a Christmas Present) of my own and the summer between my Junior and Senior year I got to take my first photography class at a local college (the class at my High School was impossible to get into). I had an amazing teacher who was more interested in helping us develop our style of photography than doing everything exactly by the numbers and I’m SO glad she was my first photography teacher. If my second teacher may had been my first things might have ended differently for me. She was clearly checked out and didn’t know anything other than how to run us through the chapters in a book – boring exercise after boring exercise with no passion or interest in what the students were doing.
My senior year was a rough time, with some crazy family problems that I won’t bother to go into here, but I started working on the school newspaper and yearbook and really poured my energy into the photography in an effort to block out what was going on at home. I took pictures of my friends at school, my cousins on the weekends and from time to time drove down to Palomar Airport to take pictures of the random planes down there. My trusty Pentax was stolen out of my car, so I traded my mountain bike for my friends Minolta X700 that I’m now teaching my kids photography with and I bough a Yashica 124g with money earned working for my father. With my work on the yearbook and newspaper I was really starting to take more and more photos of people and was really enjoying that. I even did some head shots for a girl at my school who was on one episode of The Wonder Years and I have shots of my classmate Denise Richards (pre-Charlie Sheen drama of course).
So, how did I get from there to here? I was actually very strongly encouraged by my family to go into photography, but I at the time I felt that if I took something that I loved so much and made it a job I’d end up getting sick of doing it and I really didn’t want to loose the passion for photography. As a result I had a long series of jobs at camera stores and various other things. While the jobs changed every couple of years my love for photography was still there. In about 1999 I was hired by my father-in-law’s company to spend a week traveling around the country taking pictures of their devices that were installed in hospitals. Suddenly the switch was flipped and when I got back from that trip I started hounding all of the local newspapers to hire me as a photographer. While I had a job, now as a travel agent, I kept calling all of the editors until one finally had an assignment for me. I started shooting school sports for a local paper after work and was thrilled to be finally making some money doing photography. It wasn’t much, but I saved every penny of that money to buy better equipment. Shortly after 09/11/01 I quit my job as a travel agent and set off on my own, doing contract photography for a sports photography company, working for the paper and picking up portrait shoots.
I was working as a photographer but things changed when my new wife (and my biggest fan) asked what I though about shooting weddings. Honestly, I’d avoided them with a few exceptions for friends and family and had never really considered being a “wedding photographer”. It just so happened that at that time one of my best friends was getting married and the friend of a model I’d done some work with was getting married within two weeks of each other. Mitzi just suggested that I go into shooting with the mindset of seeing if it would be something I’d want to do. Well, I loved shooting the weddings! We then changed the business name, started marketing weddings and soon had booked up 15 weddings for the next summer!
Now we’re into our 5th year of shooting weddings and we’re going strong. This year at Mitzi’s suggestion we opened “Little Black Book” as our boudoir studio and that side of the business has been much more successful than I had expected. Mitzi told me it would be, don’t know why I doubted her. She’s a genius!
Free University exists to aid the community by providing the service of offering free to low cost education to the community. All classes are available for free to those who cannot afford the low cost registration fees. Proof of low income must be presented & or the person/s may offer volunteer help in the office, delivering catalogs, or by filling some other need of the staff.
Free University will provide classes available to the public at little or no cost as long as it can be sustained. Through small registration fees, the sale of advertising in the catalog, grants, donations & fundraising; the Free University will try to maintain a paid staff & a quality printed catalog. All monies collected by Free University will be used: first for the printing of the catalog, second for the payment of rent of office space & equipment, third for payment of the staff, and finally for parties dedicated to teacher & volunteers who make the Free University possible” (facebook page).
Looking for a night out, a great date or a little fun? The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, South Puget Sound’s largest performing arts facility, is located right here in Olympia. It hosts a vibrant series of national and international touring artists from a broad spectrum of genres and styles. It supports local shows and Broadway hits such as Cats and A Chorus Line. Speakers, comedians and social rights activists also call the Center home. The experience is enhanced by the beauty of the location, the plush elegance of the facility and the warmth and amiability of the atmosphere.
Below is a list of my top three most anticipated events for the next couple of months. Not to your taste? Find the complete CALENDER OF EVENTS here.
The Intern’s Top Three
1.San Francisco Opera Cinema Series: Lucia di Lammermoor
April 10, 2011
“The emotionally fragile Lucia is driven to madness when manipulated to marry a man she does not love. Featuring the most famous mad scene in the repertory and full of ravishingly beautiful melodies, this timeless bel canto masterpiece evokes the passion and desperation of a woman used by her brother as a political pawn. Superstar Natalie Dessay owns this virtuosic role. Also starring Giuseppe Filianoti, Gabriele Viviani and Oren Gradus. Recorded Summer 2008, War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco” (website).
Link to the San Francisco Opera here.
2. Ballet Folklorico “Quetzalli”
April 20, 2011
“Founded in 1985 (the same year as the Washington Center!), this group has crisscrossed the globe exciting audiences of all ages. Their visual fiesta of culture and folklore features many regional dances of old Mexico, in particular, their home state of Veracruz (birthplace of the world famous “La Bamba”). The music, performed live on authentic stringed instruments, punctuates the meticulous movement, colorful clothing and perfect pulse established by the dancers. Earning standing ovations from Cuba to Malaysia, Quetzalli proves they are one of Mexico’s most popular exports” (website)!
3. Dance to Make a Difference: Benefiting Japan and Northwest Harvest
March 26, 2011
“Save the date and enjoy an evening of Dance to Make a Difference at the Minnaert Center for the Performing Arts! This delightful gala begins with pre-performance appetizers, wine, live music and mingling to be followed with a full repertoire of performing arts from talented dance companies from across the Puget Sound: Ballet Bellevue, Washington Contemporary Ballet, Evergreen City Ballet, Southwest Washington Dance Center & Studio West Dance Theatre. We are splitting the net proceeds from this event between statewide hunger relief agency, Northwest Harvest & Japan. Enrich your life and others while enjoying this philanthropic event” (website)!
Stay tuned for Green Wedding Week, starting tomorrow, February 14. Every day will feature an eco-friendly alternative to the elements of a standard wedding, from cakes to flowers and lodging. You’ll learn how to transform your wedding into a model contemporary celebration and have a blast while you’re at it!
Weekend: Start Planning!
Boudoir Portrait Party By Firstlight Photography
On-location, Customized, Tasteful images.
Get together with friends! Earn FREE prints as a host!
No session fee for you or your friends!
Print Prices Starting as low as $25 per 8×10 sheet
Now Scheduling and Thursday and Friday Evenings and Sunday afternoons.
Call us today at 253-335-7958 to schedule your party!
bartering we will go
It has been a long time coming, but Firstlight Photography is getting a shiny new website! The barter system is alive and well and our web story is living proof. Last fall I shot a wedding for a fabulous couple and we were able to work out a trade for services. The groom has done some amazing coding but I have been struggling with the overall design when my pal Camron of Level 70 Design stepped in to do some mock ups for us. We love our network of incredibly talented friends (including Kieran and Sherri Murray and their exuberant take on social networking). I can’t wait to see what Camron does for our weddings page!
door #1 or door #2?
The below mock ups are two different takes on one commercial photography page (to see our current page click here). Which one tickles your fancy the most? Please post your comments and help us make a decision. The overall look will find its way onto our wedding, portrait, sports pages. Our new web will also feature landscapes.
Visit us on facebook and become a fan and we’ll keep you updated on our web and upcoming specials.
By the end of the week we’re all feeling more than just a little stressed out and Robyn at Ubiquitous Journey in Puyallup has the perfect solution. Come by her store, located on Meridian and 152nd, on Friday’s between 11:00am -2:00pm and have a cup of tea, relax and have a look around. When you’re done with the tea, you can get an amazing chair massage from Candi Duncan L.M.P. from A Touch To Heal Therapy. The massage will cost you only $1.00 per minute AND if you spend $10 in Ubi’s you will receive 10% off of your massage. You really can’t beat the deal and there is lots of really great stuff at Ubi’s, so spending the $10 won’t be a problem at all.
Besides offering a great selection of organic teas she is also our local spice merchant with a great assortment of organic spices at very reasonable prices and believe me, they taste way better than the bottled spices you’ll find at the local grocery store. My favorite purchase recently has been my bamboo T-Shirts, they’re organic and they’re really soft. You can also view a few of my photographs while you’re there. Now, you can’t beat that.
15011 Meridian E. Suite C
Puyallup, WA 98375
I mentioned this before, but I was informed that I had the day wrong, so I wanted to make sure that it got corrected. Jazz in July is on Wednesday Evenings in July, including TONIGHT, from 6pm – 9pm.
Honeybush has been the favorite tea in the month of June at Ubiquitous Journey. With the mostly warm weather we’ve had, this red tea makes a really great iced tea.
A few weeks ago I met Steve, one of the owners of the Bio Green in Tacoma and we got to talking about what he does. I could go into all of it, but I’ll keep it short and if you’re interested you can go to the Bio Green web site or contact Steve Morberg.
Bio Green is an all organic substitute for the lawn service that sprays CHEMicals on your LAWN. Bio Green is totally organic and safe enough for your kids and pets to play on your lawn after the treatment. Bio Green is 100% safe for the environment, children and pets. Bio Green will not “burn” your lawn.
How does it work? I will tell you more soon, Steve himself came and treated my lawn yesterday and I’ll be reporting on how it is doing in a week or so to give it time to do it’s magic.
Bio Green is the green alternative to help keep your lawn green.