Friday, June 11, 2010

Wedding Teaser: Sarah Czajka and Eric Mitchell

Last weekend I had the pleasure of photographing the marriage of a wonderful couple in a stunning location in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

On June 5th, Sarah Czajka and Eric Mitchell wed at The Secret Garden Bed & Breakfast in Ouray, Colorado. Ouray is billed as "The Switzerland of America" and this bold claim is certainly not without merit. The town is located just shy of 8000' elevation and is situated in a bowl encircled with beautiful mountain peaks rising 2000'+ above it.

Here's a photo of Sarah, taken at an overlook just a few miles out of town while we were scouting for a location for her posed wedding photos:

Sarah's bouquet was one of the prettiest I'd ever seen:

Finally, here's a group photo taken at Sarah and Eric's rehearsal BBQ at Angel Ridge Ranch B&B and Equine Sanctuary near Ridgway, Colorado.

Congratulations, Sarah and Eric. More photos soon!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Recent portrait session with Dene

I recently had a portrait session with an elderly client named Dene who wanted a set of wallet-sized photos to mail to his family and friends. I found this so endearing, that in an age of digital photography (be it digital SLRs or even cellphone cameras), e-mail, Facebook, etc., Dene wished to invest in an in-home portrait session so that he could have physical prints of himself to give to others.

Dene hadn't had a portrait taken in many years, in fact as he gave me a tour of the memorabilia in his gorgeous Craftsman-style home the most recent professional portrait he has was one taken of him in his 20's!

After spending some time talking with Dene to both get to know him and to determine the look he was after, I set up my equipment in his living room and posed him in front of his Grandmother's antique - and still working - Seth Thomas mantel clock.

Here's the portrait that Dene selected:

And here is one of his alternate takes... well as a more relaxed portrait that we made before he donned his colorful, giraffe-print bow tie and suit coat:

Technical info:

Nikon D700
Nikkor 85mm f/1.8
Nikon SB-800 + 43" Westcott white umbrella, 1/2 power
Nikon SB-600 + grid spot, 1/16 power
(Speedlights triggered by Nikon CLS)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Great Balls of Fire

Yesterday evening the Xcel Power Substation several doors down from our house exploded in a fireball that shot up 70-100 feet into the stifling Denver sky.

Xcel Power Substation Explosion

I was in my house when I heard the first of two booms, and ran to the window to see what happened as I saw my neighbors (who had been gardening) looking towards the explosion with horrified faces. As I could only see their reactions from my vantage point I had no idea what happened and wondered if a plane had crashed.

My neighbors then screamed and immediately started running down the block in the opposite direction so I ran out to my porch to look in the direction they'd been looking when I heard the second boom and saw a 70-80 foot mushrooming fireball looming over my house. Just moments later I was hit by a wave of heat.

I was frozen, for a moment wondering when the fireball would stop growing, wondering if it was going to consume me.

As the flames burned off the thick, black column of smoke continued to rise I ran back into the house, grabbed my camera and headed towards the burning substation.

Xcel Power Substation Explosion

Despite the raging fire, the growing heat and possibility of further explosions I moved closer to the substation and took photos from across the street until the heat became just too intense.

As I moved back, the smoke and particles triggered a localised rain of wet, black deposits (which I hope were carbon and not PCBs).

I ran back in to my house, washed off what I could and headed back out to continue photographing and to assess what might happen next.

Just then remembered that I had my cellphone and, after what felt like an eternity, forced my shaking hands to activate the video capture and shot this short video:

At first only a few people ventured outside...

Xcel Power Substation Explosion

...but eventually a flood of onlookers, fire trucks, and media filled our street as chaos reassembled into some sense of normalcy.

Xcel Power Substation Explosion

Neighbors were interviewed...

Xcel Power Substation Explosion

Xcel Power Substation Explosion

...and remnants of the substation rained down on lawns...

Xcel Power Substation Explosion

...and on cars.

Xcel Power Substation Explosion

Power was eventually restored by about 1 AM, which I thought was amazingly quick, I assumed we'd be without power for at least a day. My hat is off to those Xcel workers who made that happen. I couldn't fall asleep so I headed back out to take some last photos of the event. Here, the substation continued to smolder into the night...

Xcel Power Substation Explosion workers continued the cleanup process.

Xcel Power Substation Explosion


Story | Denver | Colorado's Online News Leader | Power outages possible as crews fix Xcel substation

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Salty Reunion

From a recent visit to Salt Lake City, UT for work and to visit friends.

The hills are alive and they are scared for their life
"The hills are alive and they are scared for their life"

Hope the Tripod
"Hope the Tripod"
- adopted by the maniac above from the SLC Pit Crew pit bull rescue center.