Monday, December 28, 2009

Photography Workshops of Arizona

One of the things I enjoy most about photography is teaching others how they can improve their own photography.

Photography Workshops of Arizona or PWAZ has had a great year and I have had some fantastic students throughout this year.

One of the things that I enjoy from these workshops is seeing the students filled with so much enthusiasm to learn as much as they can about photography.

My approach is direct and simple trying not to over complicate things but just to give my students tools that they can use right away. I remember one of my students telling me that she learned more in my two hour DSLR 101 class than she did in her eight week course at the local community college. That's what its all about.

As we wind down this year and look forward to 2010 I can not help but to be thankful for all the great people who I have met this past year and can only hope that next year will bring more of the same.

Be safe and hit the ground running in 2010!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mr Lee Lee

The great thing about having pets is that when you get bored you have someone or something to pester.

After a week of dealing with a cold and being cooped up a little to much I decided to break out the 70-200 2.8 lens and chase the cats around the yard for awhile.

Mr Lee Lee here is one of our four cats and as you can see he is a Siamese and is just about the color of our dirt which he loves to roll around in when he gets the chance.

A cats life. Not so bad.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Salt River Canyon

One of the things I love to do is ride motorcycles. On a trip to a motorcycle rally in northern Arizona I rode through the Salt River Canyon. I told myself on the way back I was going to stop and take a few pictures.

It had rained the night before my return back to Chandler and the sky was still filled with these powerful clouds overshadowing the canyon below. It was a awesome sight and a great ride if you ever find yourself heading that way.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Sedona is one of my favorite places in the entire world. If any place has been touched by the hand of God it has surely been Sedona.

It is said that there are vortex's or abnormal energy on top of some of these mountains this one being Airport which is a popular place to visit.

I am not a plant expert but I am pretty sure this is a Juniper tree. These trees on top of these supposed vortex mountains grow in this strange twisted way. I can't explain why. Maybe there is a good explanation for it that I am unaware of. But in any case they are a sight to see.

I am going to try and get back there again this coming week to look for some new spots to photograph. I can't wait!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


It was just about a perfect day yesterday with temps in the 70's and what better day to turn fifteen and celebrate your transition into womanhood.

I have found myself taking this shot a lot lately. It was taken from above, in this case standing on the concrete base of a light pole about three feet above the subject.

Cinthia loved the shot and couldn't wait to get a copy of it for herself.

As I am getting older now almost 47 "ouch" I find myself enjoying photographing younger people. Not that I am not just a s happy at "47" or maybe even happier just that you do reflect back at youth sometimes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hoover Dam

I took a quick trip to Vegas on Monday for the day. I have never been to Vegas and a great wedding photographer named David Ziser was going to be there for a lecture and I thought it was a good enough reason to get me over there.

While driving there I got to drive over the mighty Hoover Dam. What a sight with the new bypass bridge being built in the backdrop.

I didn't really get a chance to see the sights of Vegas being the lecture ended a little late and I needed to get up early and drive back but at least I could say I was there.

Another place checked off my list!

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Yesterday I spent the day shooting Dayana for her Quinceanera or 15th birthday celebration. It was a nice day and she was a great subject to photograph.

The event was about 9hrs long which for an old guy like me is starting to get a little tough. But I love this work and I of course work through the sore legs, tired feet and sore neck from lugging around a camera for that long.

Being a part of a persons celebration to me is a wonderful thing to experience. It could be a birthday celebration or wedding or whatever but just being there to see the joy of the day makes everything that is going on in the world seem to fade away even for just a short while.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Ring Bearer

The job of the ring bearer is a job which holds a tremendous amount of responsibility especially for such a young person.

This young guy had this responsibility yesterday at Mike and Andrea's wedding and performed this task without flaw.

He also was a natural in front of the camera.

Friday, October 23, 2009

West Fork

Yesterday my wife and I had an overnighter in Sedona. We love to stay at The Inn at Oak Creek with a room on the creek side so we can sit on the balcony and feed the ducks in the creek.

When we got up this morning our plan was to get up and head on up 89A towards Flagstaff to West Fork trail. When we got there at 9am there was already a line of cars waiting to get in and we just made it in with only a few parking spots left.

It was a great morning with a slight chill in the air and the fall leaves just past their prime by a couple of weeks.

These two shots are on the trail heading into West Fork not to far in. The sky was fantastic with plenty of clouds to add to the drama of it all. Clouds are not something we get to often in Phoenix and when I see them I really appreciate them.

I must get back up there in a month or so to check out some new areas.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Zen who? Zenfolio! That is

Zenfolio is a new site that I just started using in order to host some of my photography work. At this site clients and customers can go there to either look at photographs I may have taken of them our look at a small selection of some of my photographic art that I have taken over the years.

Some other great features of Zenfolio are that I can sell my work directly to the customer without me being involved. They take the order, collect the money and then send the order off to be printed and shipped directly to the customer.

I can set the size prints that can be ordered and the amount of the prints. My customers can also purchase frames for the prints at the same time.

Sound good? Well if you are a photographer and want to sign up with Zenfolio you can use this referal code and save yourself a few bucks BJV-UGX-MH8 @

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Superior AZ

Today A friend (Brad Armstrong) and I decided to take a little ride out of town to get away from our desks for a bit and shoot for the fun of it. We ended up in Superior, AZ which is about an hour or so drive east of downtown Phoenix.

Superior use to be a small thriving copper mining town like many throughout Arizona. I say use to be because since the eighty's the mine has closed. This is not uncommon due to pressures from environmental organizations and such. Mining has been a hazardous waste nightmare over the years with most mines now using better and safer techniques to keep these hazardous wasts to a minimal.

But the financial impact on this poor town without the mine running has been devastating to say they least. Building after building with some more than a hundred years old sitting boarded up with no hope of ever opening again.

It reminds me of another story that is out right now of farmers who can no longer farm their land because the government has shut off their water supply in order to save some tiny little fish that no one has ever even heard of before, all because environmental groups say it is more important to save this little fish than to keep Americans working and putting food on our tables.

Things I fear have gotten a little out of hand.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Oldie But Goodie

Here is a shot of Khon that I took last Saturday on the lawn of the Phoenix First Assembly Church. I do not do a lot of retro or B&W work but thought this worked very well.

This was the biggest smile I got from her all day and the bigger the smile the more her eyes shut. Its an Asian thing.

You can also see another photo of Her and her husband Kelly in a shot I took of them for their engagement photo series below.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Rings Part II

This past Saturday I photographed Kelly & Khon's wedding. One of the things I have been trying to focus on is the bride and grooms wedding ring shot.

The exchange of rings is considered to be one of the most important parts of the wedding ceremony. They are the symbol of the commitment that the couple makes to one another and let's others know that one is in a committed relationship.

A photo of the rings then shall now be one of the many shots I take at every wedding.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Little Red

Another wonderful 109 degree day here in always hot and sunny Phoenix. Today I decided to get up early and head on over to The Desert Botanical Gardens to put the new lens to the test a little more.

I am a big fan of The Gardens and shoot a lot there in spring when the cactus are in bloom and also twice a year when they have the butterfly exhibits. I also try and use it for some of the photography workshops I teach.

Well today the blooms for the most part had long gone and the next butterfly exhibit is still a ways away. So when all else fails shoot little old lady's on scooters with bright red umbrellas.

In any case I like the shot.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Rings

The rings are a very important part of the wedding ceremony. When I was a pastor for three years I use to say when marrying couples "The wedding ring is the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual bond. It unites two hearts in love. The ring by its shape is a symbol of the undying love that exists between this man and woman."

Today I received my new Tamron 70-200 2.8 lens and thought I would snap a couple of photos with it and this was one of them. So far I like the lens. I like that it shoots at a minimum closeness of about 3ft and I like the cool way it switches from auto to manual focus by just pulling back on the focus ring.

I can't wait to put it through more testing in order to get more familiar with it and see how it fairs in the long run.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Kelly & Khon

Here is Kelly and Khon at Tempe Beach Park this past Friday as I photographed them for there engagement photo to display at their wedding on September 5th.

We were lucky that day because the temperature dropped a few degrees and it was only about 104 but there was also a nice little breeze and it didn't seem all that hot.

You know you live in a very hot climate when 104 doesn't seem so hot anymore.

I will be shooting their wedding at a new location called The Hidden Palace in north Phoenix. Now I just need to find a nice setting around there for pictures such as a park or resort.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Brittney's Wedding Day

Here is a shot that I took from Last Saturday at The Ashley Manor Castle in Chandler. It is of Brittney and there is another photo a little ways down with her husband Drew in their engagement photo.

It was a great place for photos with lots of cool areas and props to use.

It was about 108 that day and it was a bear outside which is where the vows were done.

Now that I know the place a little better I hope to shoot there again soon.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Cooler Place

Its 108 degrees today in Phoenix and I can't help but to have my thoughts wonder to cooler places.

About a month back I was visiting Blacksburg Virginia and spent the day driving up into the mountains where this photo was taken.

It was a cloudy day with a few rain drops on and off. How I could go for some of that right now.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Drew & Brittany

This is Drew and Brittany, a couple that I will be photographing on their wedding day on the 11th.

This is their engagement photo that I took of them this past Sunday at Freestone Park in Gilbert.

Freestone Park is located at Lyndsay and Guadalupe and is a hot spot for photographers taking family photos, engagement photos, wedding photos, you name it their there.

This couples wedding will be at The Castle at Ashley Manor. It will be my first time shooting there and looks like a great place to get some great photos.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Well we started off June with having very low temps for this time of year (low 90s) but summer has arrived. Saturday was about 108, maybe a little more and shooting outside was challenging to say the least but we get paid to get the shot so it is what it is.

This is Miriam who is having her celebration into womanhood or her sweet 15th or quinceanera as it is known in the Hispanic community.

It is a big day for the family, much like a wedding in appearance with a big gathering after the ceremony with cake, music and all.

Because these are much like a wedding in appearance they fit right in with doing wedding photography so I enjoy them.

This shot was taken at one of my favorite spots at a place called Freestone Park. It is a popular place for photographers especially in the spring and fall.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Blushing Bride

Had a fantastic time shooting two great girls last night Alexis, and Anna. We shot for about four hours and captured about four hundred and fifty images of which these two came.

Alexis is out here visiting her mom from Connecticut and Anna is from the Ukraine and both did a great job modeling in front of the camera for me.

The shoot was really a test of some different techniques with lighting and I am happy with how they both came out.

I have to say that photography has really been something that brings great joy to my life and I always look forward to my progression.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Wedding Shoot

Well I am back home from VA and it is always nice to be back in your own bed.

These wedding photos are from a shoot I did a few weeks back with Kim Mattina and the couple is Nick and Courtney.

It was a fun shoot at an old western town on the north side of Phoenix. It was a nice day not to hot with some great scenery as backdrops. Over all a good shoot.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dirty Dancing

It as been a little rainy the last couple of days but it is a nice change from the harsh Phoenix summer.

Today I made it up to Mountain Lake about thirty minutes outside of Blacksburg, VA. Some may remember a little movie called Dirty Dancing which was filmed at the hotel here at the lake.

It was a great place high a top a mountain with great views but the lake was only about 25% filled for some reason. Now this did allow me to get this bottom shot but did take away a little from the entire picture.

Saturday I will be heading back home. It will be nice of course to get back to my loving wife.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I am spending this week in Blacksburg, VA enjoying the cool mountain air and checking on my property here.

The weather has been great so far, a nice change from the 100+ degrees in Phoenix.

The picture above is from the Botanical Gardens at Virginia Tech which had a beautiful pond with a selection of different kinds of Water Lilies.

One of the things I like about photography here in VA apposed to PHX is that the natural light here is so much nicer. What I mean by that is that the sun in PHX is so overwhelming that it makes it very difficult at times to deal with.

Tomorrow I am heading to Roanoke.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Day At The Zoo

It was a nice morning to spend walking around The Phoenix Zoo today. I am a big zoo nut and though The Phoenix Zoo is not the best zoo around it makes do.

The animals were out in numbers for the first part today enjoying the 75-80 degree weather until close to noon time when they all faded back into the shade and out of site to keep cool.

I had been having a few issues with my Nikon 18-200VR lens so I had spent some time on it adjusting the Auto Focus Fine Tune. I thought today would be a great day to do some test shots at the zoo with it and I am very pleased with the results.

I am looking forward to the first week of June which will be in a week. I will be traveling to Blacksburg, VA to visit some friends and while I am there I will check out my five beautiful acres in Pearisburg, VA which is about a twenty minute ride south west of Blacksburg. It is nicely wooded and on the side of Angels Rest Mountain which has a great view of the valley below.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


It was another hot day in Arizona today and we are on our way to a new record for the most consecutive days over one hundred for May. NICE!!!!!

My wife and I spent the first part of the day today at a birthday party for our friends son Noah who is now 1yr old.

Noah has been a great model for me over this past year and I have enjoyed seeing him grow and hope that I will be able to show his progression in life for many years to come.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Today my wife Kelly and I decided to take a little ride up to Prescott for a short stay and some lunch.

The day was perfect up there and there seemed to be some sort of event on the lawn in front of the old court house where Billy Jack shot one of his famous scenes. I am not sure exactly what the event was about but I thought I had seen some signs about communal living.

I took this photo of one of the few park benches that just so happened to be unused. Most people had taken advantage of these benches which for the most part had been nicely shaded by the large over hanging branches which had been in the process of sprouting their new leaves for the summer.

I told myself as we started our ride back that I must get back up there very soon before the heat of the summer overtakes it.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Model Shoot

Last night I shot the cover for the May issue of and this is one of the almost 400 shots that I captured.

The models name is Kayla and she is a fairly new model who has a true heart for this and is doing I think very well.

AZ Model Showcase is an online model magazine that I launched a few months ago to help up and coming models get exposure and is becoming very popular so far.

This was also a great opportunity for me as well, helping me to continue my progression as a "professional photographer". Really it was a great opportunity for all that had been involved from Rob the studio owner at 141 Boston, Lisa from Angel Kissed Make-up, Nancy DeOrta who was the hair stylist and also Brad Armstrong who help as a technical consultant with lighting.

People have become my choice of photography from starting off as more of a nature photographer but I do still enjoy getting out there with nature.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mesa Riverview

Yesterday I spent may day and into the evening at a commercial shoot for the Mesa Riverview Mall in of course Mesa, AZ.

Mesa Riverview is a grouping of strip malls and free standing buildings consisting of many stores and restaurants such as Bass Pro Shop, Home Depot, Office Max, Chilies and the new Toby Keith restaurant to name a few.

Though I am not a Toby Keith fan I did stop in for dinner and found the food good and the prices fair.

The cool thing about this place is the transformation that takes place from daytime to nighttime due to the layout of colorful neon and incandescent lighting that makes this place come alive.

Above is a photo of the CineMark theatre which I took towards the end of my time there and is a great spot to photography if you like to shoot available light slow shutter speed stuff.

Next time I am there I will have to remember to bring my tripod to really take advantage of the lights at even slower shutter speeds (I am always forgetting something).

Note: Remember that you can also click on any of these images on this blog which will allow you to see the photo at a larger size so feel free click away.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pow Wow

Yesterday I decided to go to a Native American Pow Wow which is held at Arizona State University every year. For some reason I seem to miss it every year but Saturday I was checking to see what was going on in the area that day and what do you know didn't miss it this year.

It was a nice day to be outside but did get a little warm in the sun by late afternoon.

America they say is a melting pot of people from every corner of the world. I agree that it is important as people to come together in a way that we can all get a long. That we become enough alike so that there is harmony.

But I also feel it is important not to lose who you are, that is remembering where your family came from and the traditions that they brought with them.

One of the events I use to enjoy while growing up was the Italian Festival that use to go on every spring back in Westport, CT. The food, music and friends that where always part of the day still brings back memories for me.

Likewise I am sure these Native Americans felt the same way. You could see it as they took care in putting on all of the different clothing, jewelry and other things that represented them as a people and as a tribe.

There was pride in what they were doing, and I would say they enjoyed what they were doing very much as well as enjoying those who were not part of thier people but who looked on learning about someone who was a little different than them.

I hope I can make it again next year.