Friday, March 19, 2010

March.. So Far!

What? You thought summer would wait until June, maybe July? Forget it - it's already steaming hot in March! Well, swim teams are gearing up for the season already and this month I shot a few at Thousand Oaks High that came out really well. 

IS 330 TO Boys Swim

IS 327 TO Boys Swim

IS 328 TO Boys Swim

Also, PONY baseball opened earlier this month in Agoura and I was there for the opening ceremony. 

IS 306 PONY Baseball

IS 304 PONY baseball

IS 305 PONY Baseball

Agoura High held a dance marathon to benefit Camp Kindle!

IS 115 Dance Marathon

IS 116 Dance Marathon

Dr. Seuss' birthday came early in the month and the kids over at Arroyo West celebrated with storytime, a big book swap and lots of reading-related activities.

IS 126 Reading

IS 128 Reading

Teachers protested proposed education budget cuts in Moorpark. Hundreds attended the rally - it was a massive turnout. They filled the streets!

IS 207 Teacher Protest

IS 208 Teacher Protest

High school baseball kicked off too. Here, Westlake High competes against Ventura.

IS 214 Westlake Bball

IS 216 Westlake Bball

In Camarillo, the Pleasant Valley Aquatic Center is getting ready for summer with lifeguard tryouts. Here, a staff lifeguard is playing the part of an incapacitated swimmer for the skills assessment part of the tryouts. 

IS 220 Cam Wild Art

The Simi Valley Dog Park celebrated its one year anniversary! I went up on a recent afternoon to catch puppies at play. 

IS 228 Dog Park

IS 229 Dog Park

IS 230 Dog Park

This is a Simi Valley singer-songwriter, Anita Coats. I loved all the color in this portrait. 

IS 302 Singer

Agoura High did some fundraising for its Grad Nite with an e-waste recycling event. These have become quite popular fundraisers!

IS 309 Recycle

Knights of Columbus in Moorpark celebrated St. Patrick's Day with Irish dancers from Claddaugh Dance school in Ventura.

IS 313 St Patricks

The Moorpark College EATM program held its annual Spring Spectacular, with a show featuring the zoo's creatures, VIP tours, crafts, and a bunch of up-close and personal mini-shows. 

IS 317 Zoo Show

IS 319 Zoo Show

I attended a wonderful memorial service for five homeless veterans from Ventura County in Agoura Hills, with the VFW District 7 (which includes Simi Valley) doing the honors as color guard. It was really a beautiful ceremony.

IS 318 Funeral

IS 320 Funeral

IS 321 Funeral

IS 323 Funeral

Finally, Simi Valley Mayor Paul Miller announced he will NOT see re-election after 8 years as mayor and another 10 on the city council! He really has been around Simi Valley for decades - talk about dedication!

IS 332 State of City

And Moorpark organized tryouts for the "Moorpark Has Talent" show, which will be mid-April. Lots of adorable and truly talented people. I'm looking forward to the actual show!

IS 336 Talent

IS 337 Talent

That's all so far for March... come back soon, as I do hope to keep updated around here!

Highlights from February

Finally we're all caught up here, with the highlights from February!

This was my favorite photo of the month by far - from a Chinese cultural festival in Camarillo. This wasn't actually during the festival performance. She was practicing on the lawn behind the stage before she went on to dance for the crowd. I was photographing other performers and saw her start spinning - it always pays to keep your eyes open on assignment!

IS 300 Chinese Acrobats

Finally, Happy Face Hill in Simi Valley was restored. The guy that sprays the happy face (and heart on the other side) onto the hill in Roundup is a really nice fellow and I wanted an interesting photo to go with his fun personality. Unfortunately, the writer scheduled the meeting right at 1 o'clock - awful midday sun! I was able to cancel it out well enough by cranking up my flash for fill, but it still wasn't as nice as I wanted. He had already done the spraying, too, and didn't want to hike all the way out to the hill again. Ugh! Fortunately, it worked out alright.

IS 125 Happy Face

Students out in Westlake made blankets for soldiers - what a great idea and a very sweet gesture!

IS 202 Blankets

These Medea Creek Middle School students from Oak Park are making an inukshuk - a type of cairn made by Canada natives - during multicultural day.

IS 203 Culture Day

Here these students are playing a Japanese game similar to Americans' pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, only this game is pin-the-features-on-the-face.

IS 205 Culture Day

Water polo was winding down in February.

IS 225 RM Cam Wpolo

And the boy scouts held their annual Pinewood Derby. Cranking that flash up all the way allowed me to get some pretty cool shots with good lighting, despite the midday sun. 

IS 305 Pinewood Derby

Water polo again. Water sports are always so much fun to shoot. 

IS 315 Westlake Wpolo

Here the Simi Valley Library celebrated its 40th anniversary. They made puppets, had storytime, reading to dogs, crafts, birthday cake... it was a really fun event. 

IS 406 Library

IS 407 Library

Here's an example of what happens when you are unprepared. This school fundraiser out in Agoura Hills seemed like one of hundreds we shoot every year - silent auction, dinner, entertainment by students, etc. Then these aerial silk performers came onstage! I had no lights with me, so I couldn't properly light them for the paper. I needed way more separation between the performers and the background than was possible without lots of noise. But without lights, I couldn't make that happen. So I cranked up the ISO and made some pretty, if noisy, shots anyway.

IS 423 Calab Music

IS 420 Calab Music

IS 424 Calab Music

Softball season is starting and we shot all the local high schools for team previews.

IS 424 Mpk Softball

IS 426 Mpk Softball

IS 430 Cam Softball

That's all for February! We're well into March now and I already have some great photos to show you.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Lighting Love

I know we haven't yet covered the February highlights, but here's a cool portrait I couldn't wait to share from this past week. This is Maria Hernandez, a parent volunteer at Mountain Meadows Elementary in Moorpark.

It was so bright outside, and when I arrived the kids were already going out for lunch, so I decided to use the shade, crowds of kids in the background, angular buildings a nice white wall to the left to bounce my strobe off for a colorful environmental portrait. I had to use a lot of power but the effect is great. If I had not been working with my lights lately I wouldn't have though of this setup. I'm just bummed it couldn't run in color! Fortunately, because the lighting came out so well it looks good in b/w.

IS 132 Mountain Meadows Parent

Here's the story, where you can also see how the photo ran: " A first-hand approach to helping educators."

Thursday, March 4, 2010

January Highlights!

As promised, here are the highlights from January of this year. Some cool shots!

Early in the month I shot the PAWS 4 Reading program at the Calabasas Library. This is always adorable, even if we have shot it a million times. I still love doing it.

IS 208 PAWS Reading

Nearby, at the Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center, a dad and his son played a friendly game of basketball in the early afternoon.

IS 101 Ag Wild Art

I shot the Simi High Wrestling team. Wrestling is so hard to shoot. You have to get low, onto the mat, or shoot from very high. They move around, feet are flying at the lens, it's sweaty and hot and gross... but sometimes the photos can be nice, especially if I can light the shots well.

IS 122 Simi Wrestling

Here's another playdate at Brandon's Village, a playground in Calabasas for disabled and normal kids to play together and have a good time in a safe environment.

IS 205 Brandons Village

IS 204 Brandons Village

This was not a planned shoot - I decided to get some wild art, so I stopped by the parks & rec building in Thousand Oaks and photographed a makeup class. Very informative, and the girls were thrilled to be in the paper.

IS 209 TO Wild Art

IS 211 TO Wild Art

I shot a ton of water polo this month! This is in Moorpark.

IS 215 Ag Wpolo

IS 214 Ag Wpolo

Here's a game at Royal High.

IS 225 Royal Wpolo

IS 226 Royal Wpolo

And another, Newbury Park v. Moorpark.

IS 428 NP MP Wpolo

Out in Camarillo, I photographed a dog agility class for the first time. They move so fast, and it's very difficult to get owner and dog in the same frame. But it was challenging and fun.

IS 304 Cam Wild Art

IS 306 Cam Wild Art

Mr. Tom the music man came out to Thousand Oaks this month. What a fun show! The kids really got into playing all his different instruments, singing along, and even dancing!

IS 417 Music Man

IS 418 Music man

Speaking of music, this is the conductor for the Westlake Youth Orchestra, directing his kids at Westminster Presbyterian in Westlake.

IS 403 Conductor

Here are some photographs of people very dear to me. John Grzywacz-Gray, on the right in the first photo, was my professor at Moorpark College for the four years I was in the photo department, taking classes. He is such a wonderful teacher and the most mischievous, sweet, silly man I know.

IS 413 Gallery

IS 414 Gallery

IS 415 Gallery

IS 416 Gallery

Some kids at Arroyo West Elementary (I swear, all the cool things happen at Arroyo West!) decided it would be a nice gesture to collect coins for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. How awesome is that?

IS 434 Haiti Coins

And finally, at the end of January, the big sports complex in Camarillo, Pleasant Valley Fields, finally opened to the public. It's massive! I went to the grand opening celebration.

IS 103 New Fields

IS 102 New Fields

Thanks for reading! Highlights of February are coming soon!