The Career Blog - NLopezPhotos

My Blog
Here you can read all about my work, travels, and various day-to-day adventures.

I’m on Instagram!!

I’m on Instagram!!

Aug 9th 2015,

Today I finally set up an Instagram account for Lopez Photography. I’m still pretty new at this sort of social media. Not quite clear on how to bring traffic to my images. But I intend to do some more research into the topic and use this tool to further my business.


Zoo Marketing Photo Shoot

Aug 8th 2015,

Last week I received an email from a contact within the Phoenix Zoo asking if I’d be interested in taking on another assignment from them. They really enjoyed my work with my last photo shoot back in March and wanted me to do something similar. Once again I’d be photographing children interacting with zoo animals and these images would be used for zoo promotions. In the past I had been working for them as a volunteer but this time they offered to compensate me for my services. I was excited to finally get a paid freelance job and accepted right away.

The morning of the photo shoot went very smoothly. The kids were easy to work with and the zoo staff & parents were very helpful. The only issue was the Phoenix weather was getting quite hot so I did my best to be quick and keep the kids in the shade. When the shoot was over I thanked the family, thanked the zoo staff, and took my paycheck home.

Right away I got to work editing the images. They were finished and emailed to my Zoo contact within hours of completing the photo shoot. Hows that for quick turnaround?



Wild Times Magazine Cover

July 13th 2015,

Upon returning from Spain, I received a surprise in the mail. Back in March 13th the Phoenix Zoo offered me the opportunity to run a photo shoot for their Wild Times Magazine. My images would be featured in an article as well as on the cover of the magazine itself. Well today I finally received a copy of the Wild Time Magazine featuring my work.

It was a thrill to see my work on display.



Spain in a Nutshell

June 25th- July 12th 2015,

There is no way I can sum up my entire Spain trip in one blog post. Frankly it was an epic undertaking that was one of the most amazing vacations I’ve ever been on. Anything I write here couldn’t possibly do justice to the experience. So I’m gonna do a brief recap of the whole event from beginning to end and let the above photos speak for themselves.

Planning for the trip started months in advance. I spent hours research my intended destinations, looking into what sights I wanted to see, finding what restaurants to visit, and then figuring out a time frame to do all in. I would be flying to Spain June 25th and returning July 12th which gave me 16 days to visit 7 different cities and see countless landmarks along the way. I’ve been to Spain many times in the past. The country is the homeland of my family, so growing up my father took me there often. However this trip would be my biggest trek through the country to date. I’d start in the southern coast of Andalucia and then finishing in the northern region of Catalonia basically crossing the entire Iberian Peninsula.

I wouldn’t be alone on this trip. My father was already planning his own trip to Spain so I’d be meeting up with him in southern Spain and travel north together. I was also coordinating my schedule with my best friend Brandon as his family was also passing through Spain. Getting everyone on the same page wasn’t easy. To help organize things, I created a google doc that outlined every day of my trip, the cities I’d be visiting, and what I intended to do. My friends teased me saying i was ‘over planning’ but my outline was hugely vital in the success of my journey.

I flew into southern Spain on June 25th and was greeted by my father and our relatives Jose and Sebastian. We stayed in southern Andalucia for a few days visiting relatives and stopping by the nearby city of Almeria. It was nice to return to the ‘old country’ and reconnect with the family we rarely see. Everyone was incredibly welcoming, kind, and forgiving of my inability to speak Spanish.

We then drove north and spent a few days in the city of Granada. While I like pretty much enjoy every city in Spain, I LOVE Granada. Its possibly my favorite city in all of Europe with its vibrant culture, college aged crowd, and the Moorish architecture everywhere you turn. It was at this time that I started experimenting with panoramic photography which i continued to do for the rest of the trip. These images would be perhaps some of the greatest photographs I’ve ever taken.

We continued north and stayed in the ancient city of Toledo. The city is wonderfully unique in that it’s a preserved heritage site. No new construction is allowed in the city limits so Toledo has this old medieval feeling to it. It was an amazing place to go out and explore with my DSLR. It felt like I was going back in time hundreds of years.

After Toledo we made our way to the capital of Spain; Madrid. Unlike the other cities on our trip, I’m deeply familiar with Madrid. Its one of the first European cities I visited when I was a boy and I’ve visited there more times than any other Spanish city. Because of this, I have a great knowledge of the landmarks and how to navigate the area. This came in handy as Brandon and his family joined us on the trip and I spent the next few days giving them a tour of the city.

At this point we temporarily split up from Brandon’s family. They headed for the northern city of Bilbao while me and my father hopped a train to Segovia. The city is another time capsule of ancient Spain with its Roman Aqueduct, 15th century Gothic Cathedral, and famous castle Alcázar of Segovia. I tried to see as much as possible but we were only there for a short day trip.

The next city on the list was Pamplona. This was the main attraction of the trip as we were there just in time for La Fiesta de San Fermin, also known as The Running of the Bulls. The city was inundated with crowds of people drinking and having a wild time. A bit too wild for my taste. At times I was actually afraid to take my DSLR out of the hotel in fear of it getting splashed in wine. That morning my Brandon and his family ran with the bulls while I watched from a rented a balcony. It was a safe vantage point with great views for photographing.

Finally we made it to the last city of the trip, Barcelona. It was a lovely place with plenty to see, plenty to do, and wonderful foods to eat. I continued as planned seeing all the key landmarks I could. However at this point, I was quite tired. I wasn’t taking quite as many photographs as I had in previous cities. By the time I boarded my Phoenix bound airplane, I was quite ready for home and a well deserved rest.

Back home in the U.S, it took me weeks to sort through all the pictures from Spain. I took roughly 400 pictures a day for the 16 days I was there. I still have hours of video footage I filmed which I plan to edit into a personal documentary someday. But that's not high on my to-do list at the moment. With the Spain epic now behind us, I’m ready to look to the future and think up new journeys to take.



CRAPy Cheers Ad

Aug 1st 2015,

I’ve mentioned my friend Jayarr from Jayarr Customs in a previous blog posts back in March. His Screenprint Service helped create my Lopez Photography shirts and he also invited me to photograph the CRAP RIDE (Car Resistance Action Party) St Patrick's Day Potluck. Well recently he got in touch with me and asked if I could edit together a promo video he and his CRAP friends shot. It was an homage to the opening to the famous CHEERS Tv show. The project sounded fun and easy, so I agreed.

I must say, the finished product came out far better than I had anticipated.

Find out more about the CRAP Ride group at https://www.facebook.com/craptempe.



Phoenix Comicon 2015: My Yearly Nerd-a-Thon

May 26th 2015,

For the past 4-ish years I’ve been a regular attendee at the Phoenix Comicon. Its a place where nerds, geeks, and the local community can gather together to celebrate the things we’re all passionate about. Whether you’re into sci-fi, fantasy, superheroes, or w/e; you can find something to nerd-out about at this amazing convention.

Phoenix Comicon has always held a special place in my nostalgic nerd heart. It was the first comic convention I ever attended back when I was a youngling in college. Since then I’ve been to many conventions and even larger cons like Star Wars Celebration. But Phoenix Comicon will always be special to me because its MY con. The convention that broke me in, stole my geek virginity, and showed me what a comicon was all about.

No matter how many time I go, there are two things that always surprise me when I visit Phoenix Comicon. First the crowds that get bigger and bigger every year. This year they had 75,501 people visit the convention and over 25 celebrity guests stop by. The second thing that surprises me is the cosplay. I love seeing guests all dressed up like it's a nerd Halloween and you’ll see more and more people doing it every year. Photographing these colorful outfits is what brings me back to Phoenix Comicon year after year. That and frequenting the local downtown bars with my geek friends.

Learn more about Phoenix Comicon at www.phoenixcomicon.com



The Cabin Loop Backpacking Epic

The Cabin Loop Backpacking Epic

May 22 2015,

Last weekend I took a long backpacking trip with my hiking friends of Outward Bound. We headed north of Phoenix to the Mogollon Rim where we set out on a trail called the Cabin Loop. It was a great trail through some lovely Arizona forests with weather that was far cooler than back in the city. I once hiked this trail on a previous backpacking trip but only for about 9 miles. There was still a lot more of this trail to explore.

While I love the outdoors and backpacking, this trip really tested me. Our first day hiking was a breeze. We did about 10 miles with very little effort. However my luck turned that night when the temperatures dropped down very low. It was a miserable night and I got very little sleep. The next morning while everyone else made breakfast, I was feeling tired and nauseous. I couldn’t force myself to eat anything which ended up being a HUGE mistake.

To be honest, I’m hardly the most athletic person. I can hike all day on flat terrain but elevation gain in what zaps my energy real quick. For the entire rest of the trail it seemed the path was all up and down hill. It was relentlessly slow progress that was hard on most of us hikers. I tried my best not to complain or slow my companions down but I struggled and despaired at times. It all reminded me of Picketpost Mountain which also challenged me back in March.

Finally we reached the end of the 7.5 mile trail and came upon the dirt road leading back to our cars. However the struggle wasn’t over yet. We still had another 5 miles to walk to the parking area. At this point I was a zombie mindlessly walking. One time we stopped to rest but I wouldn’t sit or remove my 35lb backpack. I knew if I took it off, I wouldn’t have the strength to pick it back up. The day was getting darker as thick clouds started to pass overhead.

By the time we hit the road’s end, I was finished. The others left to get the cars and agreed to pick me up on the way out. Relieved, I took off my pack and sat on the ground to rest. However the peaceful moment was soon interrupted by small pellets of hail raining down from the clouds above. I was too tired to care. I just sat there exhausted and reflected on how comical it all was.

With our legs turned to jello, we left the Cabin Loop and drove home. The others were ecstatic that they had successfully completed the trail but I didn’t share their pride. With the exception of the great pictures I took, I felt this weekend was a personal failure. I vowed the next time I hiked the Cabin Loop, I’d be ready for her.

**SIDE NOTE: It’s been three months now since I hiked the Cabin Loop. In that time I’ve started dieting and hitting the gym daily. With the way things are going, I feel confident I’ll perform better on my next backpacking trip.**


Underdog Jennie finds a Home

May 26th 2015,

I was at work early in the morning when I received an email from my friend Nikki. She works with Underdog Rescue of Arizona and was instrumental in getting me involved with the group. In the email she gave me some good news about one of the amazing pups I previously photographed.

Jennie was skin and bones when Underdog Rescue of Arizona found her. She had cancerous masses and had was placed on the county shelter’s euthanasia list. Thanks to Underdog and her fosters, she made a full recovery and was a happy fully functional puppy again.

When I first photographed Jennie back in March, she was frail and still recovering from her surgery. However I was taken back by how kind and gentle she was. Part of me wanted to take her home but I couldn’t. My current living situation wasn’t right for adopting any new pets and Jennie deserved a wonderful home just right for her.

Well in Nikki’s email she gave me the great news that Jennie found a new home with a loving family. She even has two kids and a puppy sibling to play with. I was sad I wouldn't get to see Jennie again, but happy she finally had the home she deserved.

For more information about Underdog Rescue of Arizona, check them out at http://www.underdogaz.com/



Another Quick Trip to California

Another Quick Trip to California

May 15th 2015,

Shortly after my April trip to Anaheim, I was again heading back to California. This time to the Bay Area to visit my Dad. I grew up in this area outside of San Francisco and was returning to visit the Spanish embassy. I needed to renew my European passport in preparation for my upcoming trip to Spain in June.

With that business quickly out of the way, I had the rest of the weekend to enjoy with my father. However I couldn’t resist dragging Dad out on another one of my photo journeys. A lot of professionals say that photography isn’t a hobby but a lifestyle. I definitely believe that. Everywhere I go I’m looking for pictures. Every day is an opportunity to capture something amazing.


Star Wars Celebration 2015: The Video!

May 4st 2015,

As mentioned in my previous blog post, I recently went to Star Wars Celebration with a goal. To document as much of the convention as possible. However I didn’t limit myself to simply photographing the event. I also took my video recorder and microphone to film the convention from my perspective.

It was challenging juggling both my DSLR and film equipment while navigating the convention floor. It was an even greater feat to sort through all the footage, audio, and images once I returned home. After days of nonstop editing, I finally finished Part 1 of my SWC series. I intend to finished Part 2 and Part 3 someday when I have more free time. But for now, I must regretfully move on to other projects.

**Please forgive the iffy camerawork and narration. I’m not a videographer or voice actor. Just a humble photographer/video editor.**



Star Wars Celebration 2015

April 22th 2015,

I am a huge nerd. Its a part of my identity that I hid away in my earlier years but now wear out in the open like a badge of honor. And why not? Nerd culture is HUGE today. Just look at the highest grossing movies in the past 10 years. You’ve got plenty of science fiction, fantasy, and superhero films all over that list. As nerd guru, podcaster, and filmmaker Kevin Smith says, “The geek have inherited the earth!”

There are plenty of things that get my geek blood flowing. Video games, movies, comic books, cool toys, and more. However nothing comes close to my love of the greatest movie franchise ever created; STAR WARS.

My love of this saga goes way back to my childhood. In fact, my earliest memory as a child is watching the original Star Wars Trilogy with my Dad during a Thanksgiving day marathon. Since then my relationship with movies has evolved. I’ve gone through film school and I’ve been exposed to countless other films that I also love. But at the core of my film passion is always STAR WARS.

I’m not sure when I first learned about the convention, but for years now I’ve wanted to visit Star Wars Celebration. Its a huge international convention held yearly to celebrate everything Star Wars related. For 2015 the convention was being held in Anaheim, CA. A mere hour flight from my home in Phoenix, AZ. Plus this was the celebration leading into the highly anticipated Star Wars Episode 7. There were sure to be some surprises at the convention this year to get fans pumped for the new film coming up. So with all these stars and planets aligning, I knew this was my year to go!

I’ve been to many conventions before, but nothing quite like SWC. It was massive in scale with people from all over the world gathered into one town. The Anaheim Convention Center may have been huge, but it was packed with people, booths, art exhibits, tattoo parlors, life sized statues, autograph sections, and more. Plus the energy at SWC was something magical. Just the day before I arrived, the director of Star Wars 7 previewed a new trailer for all the fans to see. it was reported that fans left the screening literally crying with joy. It was that fervent excitement that you could feel throughout all of Anaheim.

I spent my 3 days at SWC carrying around my DSLR camera trying to see, photograph, and film as much as I could. I was a man on a mission, and my purpose was to document this momentous occasion. It was a difficult task at times. Trying to navigate the dense crowds was one obstacle that drained my energy. However I pressed on even when my legs ached and my camera harness grew heavy on my back.

At the end of the weekend I flew home utterly exhausted but content. I had fulfilled a lifelong goal and more. There are few moments in life when you’re “walking with destiny” as Winston Churchill called it. Where you know you’re in the right place and right time doing exactly what you were meant to do. Star Wars Celebration 2015 was one of those special moments for me.


“I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial. I thought I knew a good deal about it all, I was sure I should not fail.” -Winston S. Churchill



A Bounty of Butterflies

A Bounty of Butterflies

April 12th 2015,

It was a Sunday morning and I was home working on yet another tedious editing project. As my concentration and work ethic began to dwindle, I realized it had been a while since I took my camera out on a photo journey. So I ditched the computer, grabbed my DSLR, jumped in my car, and set out.

At first I was unsure where I was headed but eventually decided on the Phoenix Botanical Gardens. It had been a while since I’d photographed that location. The steep $20 entrance fee typically kept me away, but it was springtime and I knew there would be plenty of gorgeous plants blooming.

The visits wasn’t all that exceptional at first. I photographed a bunch of flowers, some bees, and chased down hummingbirds in vain. But then I came across a new seasonal exhibit that made me giddy with excitement. The Spring Butterfly Exhibit.

For me butterflies are frustratingly elusive insects. I’m always eager to photograph one yet never get the chance to do so. Usually I’ll see one randomly pass by while I’m out hiking. I’d stop everything to photograph it only to watch helpless as it flies away.

This Spring Butterfly Exhibit was the perfect change I needed. Thousands of diverse and colorful butterflies all within a small confined space. There was nowhere for these little buggers to run from me! :D

...Follow the Link below for more information about the Phoenix Botanical Garden Butterfly Exhibit...
http://www.dbg.org/events-exhibitions/spring-butterfly-exhibit


Underdog Floyd has been Adopted!

Underdog Floyd has been Adopted!

April 15th 2015,

A happy ending for a true Underdog! A forever home with a soft bed and a new cuddle buddy.

Floyd was abandoned in an apartment by a very irresponsible and heartless person. He was riddled with mouth cancer and starving. Underdog Rescue of Arizona took him in, had the cancer removed, and got him ready for adoption.

Now he is enjoying his days with a new family who spoil him dearly and a new canine sister that loved him at first sight!

It feels good knowing that my work, in some small way, has helped this pup find a home.

Fears, Insecurities, and Paper Airplanes: Finding the Deeper Meaning within a Photograph

Fears, Insecurities, and Paper Airplanes: Finding the Deeper Meaning within a Photograph

April 7th, 2015,

When an image tells a story, that’s when it becomes more than a picture. Those are the photographs that really stick with people and leave a lasting impact. This is a concept I’ve heard photographers discuss many times before. In the past I’ve struggled to implement this idea within my own work. However, I feel the image above is a good example of this lesson.

I took this picture a few weeks back at a photography workshop. The students were challenged to take a creative photo of a piece of paper. At first I had no idea what to do. All the other students were busy snapping their shots while I sat there befuddled. That’s when I remembered the workshop was located directly under the path of a nearby airport. I took my paper outside, folded it into a plane, stuck it in a bush, and waited for a jet to pass overhead. After a few minutes of waiting patiently, I took the picture.

After the workshop, I stored the image away on my computer and never gave it a second thought. That was until I re-discovered it earlier this week. For the first time I saw a deeper meaning within it.

To me, a paper airplane looking up at a real plane flying high in the sky is both hopeful and sad. Its the idea of striving to be more than what we are. You can spend your whole life trying to improve yourself, your career, or your love life. You can completely reinvent yourself with the aid of self-help books and educated gurus giving sage advice. But can people ever truly change? Or are we just a piece of paper pretending to be an airplane?

I feel this image beautifully reflects my own fears and deepest insecurities as I work to become a professional photographer. Some days I worry whether my efforts will ever pay off. Can I realize my dreams or will I forever be just a guy with a camera who takes pretty pictures? I’m an optimist so I believe we all have the ability to better ourselves. Yet I can’t deny to truth in this image. I won’t be flying to L.A on a paper airplane anytime soon.

Never Stop Learning

Never Stop Learning

April 1st, 2015,

I have a confession: I’m addicted to Amazon.com. I’m always buying new camera gear and books on photography/travel. Here’s a snapshot of my ‘To Read’ collection. The pile on the left are books about photography and the pile on the right are travel books. I have two more books in the mail on the way.

Backpacking Adventures on the Parsons Trail

Backpacking Adventures on the Parsons Trail

March 30th, 2015,

Last weekend I took a backpacking trip with the Outward Bound club. They’re a bunch of my old college friends who formed a facebook group for camping and hiking activities. I’m pretty new to the ‘Gila Monster Crew’ but I’ve known these guys for years. All good people and real fun to be around.

This was my first backpacking trip with the group and I was excited to take my camping gear out for a spin. We headed to the Parsons Trail up north by Cottonwood, AZ. The hiking conditions were perfect. Good weather, a low populated trail, challenging yet not too difficult terrain, and plenty of shade to rest under. The only real struggle was the stream crossings which we managed with only a few slips and falls.

Overall it was an awesome weekend. Snagged some great pictures of wildflowers, star trails, and my friends being goofy. Looking forward to taking more trips with this group.

Bike Saviours Arte Nite Welding Night

Bike Saviours Arte Nite Welding Night

March 24th, 2015,

It was a typical Monday night. I was chilling on my bed wasting time on the internet when suddenly my roommate popped in my bedroom and invited me to this event Bike Saviours was putting on. They do a weekly Arte Nite (yes, that is how they spell it) where they invite people to participate in fun craft projects. This time it was welding night. I was already pretty tired and hesitant to go venture out on a weeknight since I work my editing day-job super early in the morning. However it sounded like a promising photography opportunity so I forced myself out of bed and tagged along.

Overall it was fun. I met some cool people and got a lot of great pics of the crew at work. The sparks from the welding made some really dynamic imagery.

You can learn more about Bike Saviours at http://www.bikesaviours.org/)

Relics of a Time Gone By: Part 4

Relics of a Time Gone By: Part 4

March 23rd, 2015,

(This is the fourth part of an ongoing series highlighting Arizona's abandoned sights.)

In 1982, ground was broken for an electronics assembly plant on Thornton Road near Interstate 8. This dusty 5-acre plot in the middle of nowhere was meant to become InnerConn Technology’s production headquarters. On the site they constructed 4 massive concrete domes each varying in size and shape. Its estimated that each building cost about $150,000 and took about six weeks each. Despite all this effort, not a single circuit board was ever produced on the site. In 1983 InnerConn Technologies defaulted on a loan and the banks seized their properties. Once harmful chemicals were discovered in the groundwater beneath that site, the bank decided the plant wasn’t worth salvaging. Since then, the Domes of Casa Grande have fallen into disrepair due to time, the harsh Arizona environment, and vandalism.

If you google ‘Casa Grande Domes’, the first thing you’ll find is a post on weirdus.com. There they describe the Domes saying, “It's the kind of place that has no real past, and not much of a future. It's the kind of place where teenagers go to drink beer, start fires, and practice their graffiti skills. It's where the locals go to dump trash illegally. It's the kind of place your mother may have told you to avoid.”

Because of their strange appearance, the domes have long been shrouded in local legends. There are stories of UFO activity, ghostly hauntings, gruesome murders, satanic rituals, and other nonsense tales that often follow abandoned places. While I don’t believe in the those type of rumors, there is definitely something odd going on at the Domes. A spooky and unsettling vibe I came to discover on my most recent visit just 3 days ago.

Its was a Saturday afternoon when I set off south from Phoenix to Casa Grande. I was excited to be returning to the domes but also nervous. This was my first time driving on a freeway since getting my drivers license last September. Plus I was alone and planning to remain at the domes long after sunset with the goal of getting some incredible star photos. Something about sitting in the middle of the desert alone at night with my expensive camera in a supposedly haunted location frequented by drug addicts and teenaged hooligans had me feeling uneasy. The word ‘uneasy’ would come to describe this evening perfectly.

After an hour successfully navigating the Arizona freeway system, I arrived at the domes. Unfortunately the trip didn’t take nearly as long as expected so I had a few hours to kill before sunset. I wandered around the area scouting for good angles positions to take star pictures. However the entire time there I had this anxious feeling like I should jump in my car and go home immediately. It was due to this feeling and the fear of being caught trespassing that led me to eventually leave the site and returned to my car. There I spent the remainder of the day reading and napping.

Finally the sun started to set and I hesitantly exited the safe confines of my vehicle. As I began preparing my gear, I noticed dark figured down the road heading in my direction. I became alarmed and hid my camera in the trunk of the car. I tried to act casual as the figures drew closer. At this point I was able to make them out as three young teenagers wearing black hoodies. The oldest looking boy carried a hammer while the middle teen was holding a crowbar. They asked if my car had broken down and I told them i was fine. Explained why I was out there alone like a weirdo. They started asking me tons of questions about the domes and if the stories about them were true. I informed them that I really didn’t know anything about the domes history and hadn’t seen anything fishy all day until they arrived. I couldn’t help but inquire about the hammer and crowbar which the kids dismissed as ‘protection’. I remember thinking that perhaps it would have been wise if I brought my own protection that night.

The boys went off to explore the domes while I went my own way to set up my camera. There was still too much light in the sky for clear star pictures so i waited patiently and watched the sky. It was a new moon that night and the milky way was on full display. The tranquil moment was eventually interrupted by the cursing and bickering of the teenage boys in the distance. I couldn’t see them but I could hear the echoing of their voices and the sounds of rocks being thrown through the domes. At one point I believe I heard the kids taking the hammer to the dome wall which seemed like a terrible idea given how flimsy the structures looked. With such abuse, its a wonder these buildings lasted this long.

Finally the kids became bored of destruction and buggered off back down the road. Part of me was sad to see them go because I was now completely alone. Its not often I get afraid of the dark. When I was a kid, I was flat out terrified by it thanks to all the vampire films I watched with my father. Now as an adult, the only time I get nervous in dark places is when I feel vulnerable. Particularly when I’m alone and in wide open places. So basically the Casa Grande Domes on a moonless night was like nightmare fuel for me. I quickly set my camera to take automatic long exposure pictures (ideal for star trail pictures), booked it back to the car, and locked myself in.

After waiting for about an hour, I returned to the domes to recover my camera. At this point i was sick of the place and ready to leave Casa Grande for good. Upon inspecting my camera, I discovered it was on the wrong setting and had failed to take the consecutive pictures necessary for good star trails. The past hour was a complete waste of time. In any other case I would have reset the camera and patiently waited another hour. However I was fed up with the domes. Logic was out the window as I tossed my gear into my car and sped off back home.

In the end, my trip to Casa Grande Domes was a failure. I didn’t get the key nighttime shots I was aiming for. But like with all thing, this was another learning experience. Emotions can cloud your judgement and actions. If I had kept a clear head and pushed through my fears, I may have left that night with some epic milky way photos. Instead I left with just my story and a bad case of the willies. I’ll be planning another trip to the domes the next new moon available. I think this time I’ll bribe some friends to come along.

A CRAPy St Patrick's Day Potluck

A CRAPy St Patrick's Day Potluck

March 20th, 2015,

Back in February I photographed an event for the Tempe Bike Action Group. Wrote a brief blog post about it which you can find below. The pictures from the day came out good and were pretty popular on facebook among the TBAG crowd. So when they invited me to photograph their St Patrick's Day Potluck, I figured why the hell not. I had nothing better to do on a Tuesday night.

The potluck was run by Tempe CRAP Ride. CRAP being an acronym for (Car Resistance Action Party). They're a group of cool bike enthusiasts who get together regularly and go group rides around town that finish at a different bar each time.

The evening starting off kinda rocky. First I dropped my flashgun which rendered it pretty much useless. Then my camera was having trouble focusing due to the dark lighting conditions. Could have fixed the problem if I had a working flashgun. :P

But I powered through the event and took as many pictures as possible. All in all I think the night was a success. I took some good pictures and TBAG was happy with the results. As long as the customers are happy, I’m happy.

You can learn more about Bike Saviours at http://www.bikesaviours.org/) and Tempe Bike Action Group at http://www.biketempe.org/).

Puppies!!

March 17th 2015,

As mentioned in my earlier blog post “Photographing the Underdogs”, I recently did some volunteer work for Underdog Rescue of Arizona. The goal was to photograph dogs up for adoption. While I worked magic with my DSLR, I had my friend Nikki record video footage of each dog in action. I later took the footage and was able to edit a series of videos introducing the pups. Hopefully this will get them one step closer to their forever homes.


Phoenix Zoo Wild Times Assignment

Phoenix Zoo Wild Times Assignment

March 13th, 2015,

Soon after working the Party Safari, I was contacted again by the Phoenix Zoo asking if I’d be interested in running a photo shoot for them. A family at the Safari had won a raffle prize where their children would appear on the cover of the Zoo’s magazine ‘Wild Times’. They would be photographed with animals from the park’s educational program as part of an article highlighting the Zoo’s outreach efforts. I was really honored they offered me this responsibility after only shooting with them once. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity.

The morning of the shoot I arrived excited and ready to go. My contact within the zoo escorted me to the private area where the fun was to take place. While the zoo handlers prepared the animals, I scouted the location looking for the ideal areas to photograph. It was a sunny day nearing noon, so I wanted to shoot in the shade. That way the lighting wouldn’t be too harsh and the kids/animals would be comfortable.

Finally the family arrived and we made the introductions. I could tell the kids were really nervous so I did my best to keep the mood light and fun. First I photographed them with the armadillo, then the porcupine, followed by two enormous rabbits, and then finally a hyper pair of ferrets. After about an hour the shoot was over and the family went off to enjoy the zoo. I however rushed home to see the results of my labor.

In the end, the shoot was a good learning experience. Got a chance to work with small kids for the first time and help the Zoo out in the process. Now I just gotta wait for my magazine to arrive in the mail.

Lopez Photography T-Shirts

Lopez Photography T-Shirts

March 16th, 2015,

Last week I picked up some awesome shirts I ordered through Jayarr Customs Screenprint Service. They’re a full service design and screenprint shop based out of Tempe, AZ. I’m really impressed with the feel of the shirts and the print quality. They also have a huge selection of printable merchandise to choose from. Like hoodies, hats, bags, towels, jerseys, and so on. Definitely gonna contact Jayarr anytime I need some Lopez Photography Swag.

I plan to wear these shirts anytime I’m working my camera in public. Check out Jayarr Customs at http://jayarrcustoms.com/


Photographing the Underdogs

Photographing the Underdogs

March 12th 2015,

Back in February I took a hiking trip with my friend Nikki. I blogged about the day because I was able to get some really nice pictures of her two dogs. That day we began talking about my photography career and possibly volunteering with an animal adoption organization she works with called Underdog Rescue of Arizona.

As I’ve mention in earlier blogs, I’m a huge animal lover and I’ve always considered doing some sort of volunteer work with them. Like most people however, the demands of life and other forces convinced me that I simply didn’t have the time to spare. But after talking with Nikki and thinking seriously about it, I finally decided to make the time.

Nikki got me in contact with her people within Underdog and, after a lot of emails back and forth, we arranged to a photo shoot on March 11th. I would take pictures to help advertise foster dogs looking for a forever home. We’d also try shooting some video for me to cut into small adoption ads for each dog.

In the time leading up to the shoot I did everything I could to prepare. I watched youtube videos by animal photographer Seth Casteel with his non-profit ‘One Picture Saves A Life’, I read the book ‘Pet Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots’ by Alan Hess, and even purchased dog treats & squeaky toys to use on the shoot. I wasn’t necessarily nervous about working with animals I wasn’t familiar with. I was worried I’d be overwhelmed. That I’d be unable to successfully run a photo shoot with a pack of crazy dogs running all over the place. Most of all I was worried I’d let down Nikki, the Underdog staff, and the dogs.

By the time the shoot day arrived, I was ready. I had brushed away the doubts and had a plan in mind. I would try to relax, be patient, and just go with the flow when necessary. I meet Nikki’s contact Danielle who was amazingly sweet and welcoming. She and Nikki were amazingly helpful as we worked together and photographed the foster dogs one at a time. It wasn’t always easy to get the dogs to pose and look at my camera but we did our best. By the end of the trip I had over 600 pictures, some 30 mins of video footage to edit, and a sore butt from crouching a lot. But I was a great time.

So far the images have been processed and they look great. I’ve just started on the video editing but its coming along really well. Me and Nikki are in talks about setting up future shoots with Underdog in the near future. I’m already planning some more side work with the local animal community. More on that in future blogs.

http://www.underdogaz.com/
http://onepicturesaves.com/

Crazy Outdoorsy Weekend - Part 2

Crazy Outdoorsy Weekend - Part 2

March 8th 2015,

Soon after my return from camping, I was off on another outdoor excursion. This time I went with a small group to hike Arizona's Picketpost Mountain. Boy, we were in for a treat.

Originally I expected the trek to be a brisk jaunt through the scenic desert landscape. What we got instead was a long climb up a steep rocky cliff. Through the first half of the hike, I was able to grab many pictures here and there. However, as the trail intensified, I had to watch my camera closely so that it didn't drop to its doom or swing wildly into the rocks.

When our tired crew finally reached the top, we were treated to some amazing views of the Arizona frontier. The wilderness seemed to stretch on forever. We rested, had some snacks, and enjoyed the scene.

Reaching the peak meant that the trip was only half over. I hoped the decent would be a breeze considering gravity would be working with us this time rather than against us. However I was so wrong. In fact, we had far more difficulty on the way down due to the steep slopes and gravely terrain which caused us to lose our footing constantly. I was forced to 'crab walk' down the slopes in order not to slip and fall. This action caused my pants to rip in an area which rendered them impossible/inappropriate to wear in public every again. Lucky I had the foresight to stow my camera away for this leg of the hike to insure that it too would not be destroyed.

In the end it was a real hard day. The hardest day for me in a long time. There were moments in the hike where I felt despair and a genuine fear for our safety. Towards the finish I was dehydrated and pretty much blacked out on the drive home. But it was the support of my good friends that saw me through the challenge. There's no way I could have made it out alive without them.

Hiking Picketpost Mountain was a truly memorable life experience that resulted in some great photos, fun stories, and a few sore muscles.


Crazy Outdoorsy Weekend - Part 1

Crazy Outdoorsy Weekend - Part 1

March 6th to 7th 2015,

My weekend was filled with a ton of outdoors activities. First I visited Coon Bluff Recreation campsite and hung out with some really cool people. Overall I didn't take too many picture. However I was able to snag one really nice star trail image while we were off sitting by the campfire. To me, this one picture made the whole trip worth it.

Since I don't have much more to say about this trip, I figured I'd explain how to take a star trail picture. Of course this isn't the only way to take star trail images. Its just the way I was taught to do so.

Step 1: I scoped out a location while it was still daylight. When it comes to star pics, having an interesting foreground is just as important as capturing the stars. In this case, I decided to use my tent as the subject of the photo. I also wanted to capture the stars circling in the background. To shoot a photo like that, you have to point your camera right at the north star. That's the point all others starts rotate around. So I set up my tent in an location which would be directly under that star.

Step 2: Be aware of the weather conditions. The ideal weather for star pictures is a clear sky with a new moons. I hear cool weather also makes the stars more pronounced but I'm not too sure if that's true. I've only ever taken star picture in cold desert nights. In the case of this image above, it was a clear night but a few days after a full moon. So the lighting conditions were not ideal at all. The moon can cause light pollution which makes stars harder to see. Luckily I was able to work around this by taking my pictures as soon as the sun set 100% and before the moon rose over the horizon. That small 40 min window allowed me to see the stars clearly without the moon mucking up my shot.

Step 3: I set up my shoot just before the sun sets all the way. For star pictures you want to put your camera on a steady tripod, switch it to manual mode, crank up the ISO to about 800 to 1600, drop your F-stop aperture as low as possible, and set it for a slow shutter speed around 15 to 30 seconds. To get the star trails, I used a remote trigger that was set to continuously take pictures one after another nonstop. Those many images would be later combined into one on my computer back home. And finally, I focused my lens to infinity and turned off auto focus. That way when my camera automatically took a photo, it won't try to re-focus with every shot.

Step 4: I take test shots before turning on my remote trigger. That way I can adjust the composition or the camera setting to fine tune the image. This step can take a while. If it gets dark outside, I suggest using a headlamp. That way you're hands are free to work. Once I'm happy with the image, I turn on my remote and listen to the camera click away.

Step 5: Leave your camera alone. DO NOT TOUCH IT. Moving the camera will ruin the star trail. Even slight wind can be a headache which is why its important to invest in a decent tripod. For this image above, I resisted the urge to fiddle with the camera by leaving it all together. I sat down by the camp fire and enjoyed a few drinks. Usually I would sit by the camera and protect it. In this case I was fairly confident my camera would be safe on its own. After about an hour and a half I returned to the camera, stopped the remote, checked the images. Everything looked fine so I put it away and called it a night.

Step 6: I worked the images in a “digital darkroom”. There are many different post-processing methods and programs to use when making star trail images. What you use depends greatly on how you took your photos to begin with. In my case, I adjust the exposure and color in Adobe Lightroom 4, imported all those images to Adobe Photoshop 5, and then combined them into one image.

Taking star trail images can be a tricky process but hugely rewarding. For more in depth walk throughs, I suggest checking out the many free video tutorials on youtube.com. Its a great resource where you can get tips from the pros.


Phoenix Zoo Party Safari

Phoenix Zoo Party Safari

March 2nd 2015,

Yesterday I worked as a volunteer photographing the Phoenix Zoo Party Safari Fundraiser. For years now I've been a regular visitor to the zoo taking pretty much all my wildlife images there. I figured since I'm so familiar with the place, I should offer my services to them.

To me the fundraiser was a great learning experience. Up until now I had no experience in event photography or working for a client. Usually I just do my own thing shooting whatever I like with zero pressure to preform. But in this case I wasn't taking pictures for myself. I had a responsibility to get the shots the Zoo needed. Images that highlight the event and what its all about.

In the end I think I did a good job and had some fun along the way. It felt good to use my talents to give back to the community. Plus everyone I met was super kind and helpful.

The only real difficult part was being around all that amazing looking free food. I was offered some snacks a few times but I respectfully refused. They were meant for the guests after all, not volunteers. Plus I was too busy working the event to stop and chow down.

Stormy Weather in the Superstitions

Stormy Weather in the Superstitions

February 24th 2015,

I got out of work today and noticed the sky was filled with large white fluffy clouds. The kinda that make for amazing photos. Instantly I knew I must take advantage of this ideal weather.

After rushing home and having a quick snack, I loaded up my car with the essential camera gear and headed east towards the Superstition Mountains. Last time I was in that neck of the woods, I passed by an interesting looking church off the 88. The area looked like it would be a fun place to explore and do landscape photography. With a little research I found out the church was actually called the 'Elvis Chapel' at the Superstition Mountain Museum.

About 20 minutes of driving in, the weather conditions began to shift. Instead of large fluffy clouds, the sky was blanketed in an huge ominous mass of darkness. When I had left home the wind was blowing east, so I estimated that these storm clouds were moving away from my destination. At the very most, the rain would simply graze by the area I was heading to. Boy was I wrong.

When I finally arrived at the museum, I became deeply concerned. The sky above me was black and a strong wind was now blowing the clouds in my direction. Suddenly I found myself in the middle of nowhere at the edge of a rain front quickly heading my way. What made the situation worse was that the museum I was in the middle of a flash flood area.

Quickly I got to work. I only had about 15 minutes before the raindrops began to fall. I snagged a few shots, jumped in my car, and booked it home. The wind pounded my car from the side as the rain followed close on my tail. It was a little scary but great fun. Gonna have to re-do this trip then the weather is more agreeable.

I headed to the Superstition Mountains chasing clouds and ended up getting chased home by the rain.


Relics of a Time Gone By: Part 3

Relics of a Time Gone By: Part 3

February 23rd 2015,

(This is the third part of an ongoing series highlighting Arizona's abandoned sights.)

All Phoenix locals know about Arizona State University and every student there knows Tempe's Mill Avenue intimately. Its the downtown district located a mere stones throw away from the campus. It houses some of the town's most popular restaurants and bars which cater to the young college crowed. However not many students or locals know the rich history of Mill Ave or even how the infamous street gets its title.

Hayden Flour Mill, located on the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway, is one of Tempe’s most iconic buildings. It is among the primary reasons the city exists today. Constructed in 1918, it replaced an earlier adobe mill lost to fire in 1917. This earlier mill, built in 1895, had itself replaced the original 1874 Hayden Flour Mill, also lost to fire. Fires were apparently all the rage back in the day.

On April 1, 1998, Bay State Milling ceased operations at Hayden Flour Mill. Since then the building has sat quietly as the town around it has grown and evolved tremendously. The area around Mill Ave and the ASU campus has seen a massive amounts of construction and redevelopment in the last decade. Now it seems the Hayden Mill will soon be getting a facelift as well. Plans are underway to adapt and reuse the mill by converting it into... something. Possibly a hotel, restaurant, retail, or a music venue. While no design plans have yet been approved, the rebirth of the Hayden Mill seems inevitable.


Dog Days

Dog Days

February 22nd 2015,

Went with some friends on a hike around Phoenix's North Mountain Park. The hike was rougher than I had expected and didn't result in too many stellar images. Its not easy to focus on photography when you're fighting to catch your breath.

In the end, the day was a success in that I had the chance to photograph my friend's beautiful dogs. I've always been an animal lover and I feel that affection comes through my pictures whether I'm working with zoo wildlife or four legged companions. Perhaps pet photography is a career path I should pursue in the future.


Tempe Bike Action Group's Winter Games

Tempe Bike Action Group's Winter Games

February 21st 2015,

I spent my Saturday morning photographing a bike themed event my roommate and his friends were organizing. He's part of the Bike Saviours community which is a volunteer-run non-profit bicycle education center devoted to teaching people bicycle maintenance, repair and safety. I'm not much of a bike person myself, but I can appreciate the kind of passion these guys share.

Photographing the games gave me the chance to practice working an event, which can be tricky. You have to be ready, aware, and quick to action if you plan to capture key memorable moments.

You can learn more about Bike Saviours at http://www.bikesaviours.org/) and Tempe Bike Action Group at http://www.biketempe.org/).


Relics of a Time Gone By: Part 2

Relics of a Time Gone By: Part 2

February 19th 2015

For my second photo essay focusing on Arizona's abandoned sights, I wanted to cover something that reflected the classic roadside attractions synonymous with 1950's Americana. The kind of quirky yet charmingly outdated tourist traps you find littered across our country highway system. Enter Mesa's Buckhorn Mineral Baths and Wildlife Museum.

The Buckhorn Mineral Baths opened way back in 1939, drawing those with arthritis and other ailments to their hot springs. Over time, these famous 'miracle waters' attracted big name celebrity clientele and sports teams to the area. Some argue that the Buckhorn was instrumental in bringing major league baseball spring training to Phoenix. Without it, the Cactus League may never have existed.

The Buckhorn was owned and operated by Ted and Alice Sliger. Ted was a sportsman and taxidermist whose trophies gradually filled the motel's wildlife museum. After his death in 1984, the Buckhorn's luster slowly began to decline. His surviving wife Alice Sliger did her best to keep his memory and the Buckhorn alive. However the doors of the attraction closed in 2006. Alice's death in 2010 at the age of 103 years old left the future of the site is serious doubt. As she passed, so passed the memory of what the Buckhorn once was.

I first discovered the Buckhorn back in January when I drove past it on the way to Goldfield. It instantly caught my eye with its vintage motel sign hovering over the aging southwestern building. I knew it would make a great destination for a future photo trip. It wasn't until I returned home and did some internet research that I discovered the Buckhorn's lengthy history and its significance to the area.

In 2011 the Society for Commercial Archeology listed The Buckhorn as the #1 most endangered historic roadside architecture in the country. Until recently, many believed the 15-acre site on the corner of Main Street and Recker Road was destined to be sold off and bulldozed. However, in 2014 the city of Mesa purchased the Buckhorn and named it a city landmark. As plans to restore the site are currently underway, it seems that there are some who still value the forgotten relics of American culture.


Nerding Out with my Camera Out

Nerding Out with my Camera Out

February 14th 2015,

Been really busy *and stressful* the past week with my day job and trying to figure out the direction I should take with my career. Deep down, I wanna drop everything and commit myself 100% to photography. However common sense tells me that's a BAD idea.

Took some time to relax and nerd out this weekend by attending the Amazing Arizona Comic Convention. As usual, had my trusty DSLR with me the whole time. Didn't see too many crazy amazing cosplay costumes unfortunately, but I snagged enough pictures to make the trip downtown worth it.

Looking into attending several local photography workshops next month. Might get pricy, but I want to invest in my skills and see firsthand how the professionals do it.


The shop is now OPEN

The shop is now OPEN

February 8th 2015

Today I finally set up my new photography store with Etsy.com. In the past few years, I've had a fair amount of success selling pop-art prints through the peer-to-peer e-commerce website. This time around, I'm keeping my over-optimistic nature in check. I'm not expecting to suddenly strike it rich or get to the point where sales can supplement my income entirely. However this is yet another step towards going professional.


Hiking the Lost Dutchman

Hiking the Lost Dutchman

February 6th 2015,

Today my roommate and I took a morning hike around the Lost Dutchman State Park. Its a 320-acre area located near the Superstition Mountains outside Phoenix. It gets its name from a gold mine which, according to legend, is hidden away somewhere in that corner of the desert.

While the allure of finding lost treasure was tempting, I was more interested in getting some outdoor exercise and snagging a few quick pics here and there. The weather was clear and sunny which, in my opinion, doesn't make for the best pictures. I prefer cloudy overcast days but you do the best with what you have.

While the trip only produced a few portfolio worthy photos, the real benefit was that it gave me the chance to scout out the area and get ideas for future photography outings. I did some post-hike internet research and found that often in spring the park is covered with yellow desert flowers while sometimes in winter the mountain gets blanketed in snow. Plus on moonless nights the stars and milky way would look amazing over the park's rock cliffs.

So now that I'm familiar with the Lost Dutchman, I'll be sure to return when the weather and seasonal conditions are ideal.


If at first you don't Succeed...

If at first you don't Succeed...

February 1st 2015

While the rest of the country was getting ready for Super Bowl 2015, I was back at the Phoenix Zoo practicing my wildlife photography. The visit the day before had been a disaster thanks to the rainy weather. However today was a different story. The animals seemed more lively than usual. Perhaps they were stretching their legs after being cooped up all weekend. In the end, I think my stubborn persistence payed off.


Foggy Rainy Weekend

Foggy Rainy Weekend

January 31st 2015

It was a very wet weekend here in Arizona which isn't really conducive to photography. Never the less, I went out anyways with my trusty DSLR in hand hoping to take just a few portfolio worthy shots. First I stopped by the Phoenix zoo but was disappointed to find empty cages and a few visible animal hiding away from the cold. I spent about an hour or so walking through the abandoned zoo without a single lion, tiger, or bear in sight.

I then walked around Papago park and was able to get a few good shots of the fog just before it dissipated. Fog in Arizona is pretty rare so I knew I wouldn't get pictures like this again anytime soon. As a photographer, sometimes you have to battle the elements and sometimes you have to work them to your advantage.

*Side Note: My new Holdfast Money Maker Camera Harness and recently purchased Tamron 70-300mm Telephoto Zoom Lens both preformed like pros today. Two very successful test runs. *


Gear review #1:  Holdfast Money Maker Camera Harness

Gear review #1: Holdfast Money Maker Camera Harness

January 29th 2015

Today, I just got this awesome new piece of gear for my photography arsenal. Its a Holdfast Money Maker Leather Camera Harness.

For a while now, I've been meaning to switch up the way I carry my DSLR. Using my old canon neck strap always looked amateur, even childish, to me. However I've always been nervous about keeping my DSLR on a shoulder strap because I've seen other photographer friends drop their cameras this way. So I needed a third option that was secure, comfortable, and visually appealing.

After lengthy internet research, I finally discovered the Holdfast Money Maker which looked to be the perfect fit for me. Originally the price tag had me a bit worried because I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy wearing a harness all day. However after seeing it in person and trying it on, I feel this harness was money well spent.

I find the M.M is an extremely comfortable way to carry a camera. The DSLR hangs to your side and can be swung up quickly thanks to the nifty D ring slider system. The build quality is solid and beautiful. Its made from some really thick and durable leather which I'm sure will last a lifetime. Not sure how it will stand up on a rainy day, but I don't intend to wear this through any heavy downpours.

The one issue I have with this system is a very small gripe. Its the screw that connects to the DSLR tripod mount. While my camera is connected to the harness, I can't simply throw it on a tripod without completely disconnecting it from the M.M. But like I said, this is a small issue. Anytime I plan to use my tripod, most likely its gonna take time to set up everything anyways. Taking a few extra seconds to unscrew the camera from the harness won't kill me.

So in conclusion, I love the Money Maker and Holdfast in general. This harness system is a work of art, a prime example of A+ American craftsmanship, and the perfect DSLR carrying alternative I've been looking for. Tomorrow I'll be heading to the Phoenix Zoo to practice my wildlife photography. I can't wait to take my Money Maker out for a spin.

Until then, I'm gonna browse through the Hold Fast catalog and pick out my next purchase from them. Maybe the Waxed Canvas/Leather Travelers Wallet...

Check out Holdfast and more of their sweet sexy gear at...
http://holdfastgear.com/


Relics of a Time Gone By: Part 1

Relics of a Time Gone By: Part 1

January 26th 2015,

I decided a while back that I wanted to photograph various abandoned places throughout the southwest. Arizona alone has an abundance of deserted buildings, dragways, ghost towns, and so forth littering its landscape. Personally I find it interesting to see what happens to a place long after people discard it. When they're left to fend for themselves against time and the elements alone. A photographer could spend a lifetime studying that one topic.

So to kick off my exploration into this theme, I meant to go and visit an abandoned site close to my home. The West Wind Drive in Movie Theater has been closed now for years and I still regret never getting the chance to visit her while she was open. Drive in's are an iconic symbol of a American culture and remnants of a bygone era that few still recall or appreciate. One of my earliest movie-goer memories involves visiting a Drive-in with my family to see a double feature of The Flintstones followed by Jurassic Park. Today you'd be hard pressed to find an active Drive in within any major city. Their numbers have dwindled into near extinction.

Now, I said I MEANT to go visit The West Wind Drive in, but I didn't actually get the chance to see it. That is because the Drive in has now been completely demolished and replaced by an empty lot. It was a sad sight. To think that just as The West Wind has vanished from the Arizona landscape, so too will Drive in's someday disappear as an entertainment venue. Gone as if they never existed.

Fortunately the trip wasn't a total waste of time. Just beside where the West Wind once stood is another abandoned structure far older and more mysterious. An old adobe house just sitting on the side of the road untouched and pretty much ignored. Its inhabitants and history are long forgotten, but what little remains still stands strong as if defiant against time itself.


Lonely Cold Night in the Wild West

Lonely Cold Night in the Wild West

January 25th 2015

Took a day trip to the famous Goldfield Ghost Town just outside Phoenix, AZ. Its a reconstructed 1890s town that showcases the flavor of the Old West. Only had an hour or so to explore the town before the sunset began. I found myself scurrying around frantically trying to get my shots during the "magic hour' when the setting sun lights everything with a perfect glow. Its a short window of time but it often produces truly amazing pictures. This is especially true here in AZ where we have some of the best sunsets around.

Then came the main course. The real reason I drove an hour into the desert to visit the town. The stars. We were just far enough from the city and its light pollution to get some nice astral photographs.

I felt this would be a good opportunity to take a star trail picture... which I had never tried before. I put my camera on a sturdy tripod and set it to take continuous 30 second exposure shots over and over nonstop. For how long, I wasn't sure. I just let it run for about 2 hours. It was cold, windy, very dark, and kinda creepy. The nearby saloon was still booming with its patrons having fun but I was off on the outskirts of town, alone. Didn't help that I was just a mere stones throw away from the old west grave yard.

It wasn't until the following day that I was able to sit down at my computer and see the results of my work. Gotta say, I think I did a pretty good job. I'm sure I'll be stopping by Goldfield again in the near future.


The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

January 22nd 2015

Just finished fine tuning my new smugmug site. Took a few long hours but I love the way it looks! For me this marks my first step toward going professional. I'll try to keep it and the blog up to date with new pictures and details as my career advances *hopefully*. Fingers crossed...

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