Picture Year in Review 2009

The year/decade has come to a close.  I would say this was a difficult year but to be honest it really wasn’t.  There was considerable change in my life as after almost 8 years at Gearbox I would no longer be there at the start of the year.  It allowed me to think about things and at the same time make some new friends and try some new things in life.  I did a fair amount of work for the Dallas Observer and also did some work in a photo studio.  I still headed out to comic cons and took part in events throughout the year.  The year ended with me moving over to Terminal Reality and excited about working on a very awesome project.  I really enjoy doing this blog as I get to reflect on the year past.  This year is no different and I am already looking forward to what next year’s photos could be.  Happy Holidays everyone…
and here…we……go

Every year for the past couple of years we start with shitty movie night and win, lose or draw.  We had a few folks over the a much smaller apartment this year but the fun was still the same.  We started the year with Starship Troopers 3


One of the first things I did was some promo shots for my good friends of Preston Grey.  We wanted to find some kind of location around Dallas and it took us a little bit to figure out where we would like to do this.  After shooting we went out for beer and of course that is when we found the spot we liked the best.  You can always count on Lee Harvey’s for good drinks and a good location for promo shots

I was visiting my brother in late January who lives in Killeen.  On my way back home off of Interstate 35 outside of Dallas was this place I stopped for gas.  There was a a shell of what appeared to be and old hang out which would be awesome if it was still around.  In a year that brought back Star Trek to geeks around the world..this seemed like such a sad picture

On a mild Saturday afternoon I was asked to head down to Dallas to photograph a band for an article in the Observer.  Dem Southern Folkz were an awesome group of guys who are military veterans who met while in service in Iraq.  They were really nice guys and rock’d out.

Denise and I decided to head down to White Rock Lake on a weekend and take in the nice weather and practice a little.  It is very peaceful down there and we should make more trips there.

The exciting part of being a photographer is meeting new people and going to places you normally would not go to.  I headed down to south Dallas to meet up with Richie Witt for a story he was doing for the Observer.  This kid was a former Olympic boxer who would go professional two weeks later after this photo.  He was a really nice kid with an interesting story.  It was one of many great experiences behind the camera this year.

During some down time of working on my portfolio I decided to basically go down the street to the Plano Convention Center.  TicketStock is a gathering of the fans of the sports radio station 1310AM The Ticket.  I am a big fan of the station not so much because I follow sports but because of how they make talk radio interesting.  They are good at making you feel like you belong to the conversation and I have learned a lot from them that I try to bring to the Hijinks Ensue Podcast.  It was fun to see these guys do their craft and the avid followers who make the station complete.

In early February we made a trip to the down town McKinney area.  Just kinda wanted to walk around and explore since I had not been down there before.  Found some interesting little spots and ran into a nice man who was upgrading a building he bought to start his business.  It was an old bank which had a locked up safe that had not been opened since the 50’s.  What I found interesting on the wall was a world map from the Cold War era.

It’s just Mr. Sakai.  He was there and I took a photo.  Not a great photo but can’t be a year end blog without a picture of a cat

Spent a Saturday at the Diverge workshop here in Plano.  It is a workshop of 3D artists in the industry who do some tutorial exercises.  There was a large group of people this past year including Paul Richards and Shawn Spetch.

My brother is the percussion instructor at Forney High School and keeps his kids busy through out the year.  Part of that schedule is the indoor drum competition here in the DFW area.  I was a percussionist along with all my other brothers and I enjoy seeing corps do their thing.  They took place at this festival

On another photo assignment for the Observer, I went up a city to Allen to photograph for an article about the Special Olympics and a team from Dallas.  It was a really cool event seeing all these kids playing hard and all the support in the stands from family and friends.  I was running around different schools to catch all the events but was lots of fun to do.

Denise’s sister has been studying Krav Maga for a little bit now.  One weekend we headed down to watch them practice for a belt test.  It was my first time seeing this up close and I was pretty impressed how intense these guys where.  I snagged a pick of a friend during her sparring session.

Spring is a time when baseball starts to fire up for the summer.  I can’t say I watch much baseball these days but I did grow up watching it and spending lots of summers on vacation wanting to pitch like a major leaguer.  I remember seeing Nolan Ryan on HSN (the Home Sports Network) while listening to Norm Hitzges call the games.  It is something I remember about my childhood in great detail so when I was asked to head down to the Ballpark in Arlington to take photos for an article I was as happy as my fat cat eating salmon.  I got to stand on the field at home plate for a press conference and was just a few feet away from The Express (Nolan Ryan).  It was also awesome to be in the presence of Chuck Morgan.  The best part was over hearing Mr. Morgan talk about how people every now and then pepper him with “….and please kids….don’t jar”.  If you listen to The Ticket then all that just made sense…..in any case it was an awesome experience

All-Con is a great event every Spring.  I am a nerd and I am proud of that fact.  We found out about it about 3 years ago and have had a blast every time there.  This past year was no exception and I look forward to going again this year.

On a Tuesday Alex had a super emergency in which I needed to get some shots turned around the same day.  The paper was going to press later that night and he needed those right away.  This quick turn of events turned out to be an awesome shoot.  Thse were some of my favorite photos of the year and the food was outstanding French cuisine.  When I talked to the chef on the phone to set up the shoot he kinda sounded like the chef from Ratatouille and turns out he kinda looked like him also.  He invited me back for a dinner and I can’t tell you how awesome the food was.

Another trip to a Krav Maga session.  I liked this shot and thought I’d put it in.  This was during the yellow belt test for Denise’s sister which she passed with flying colors.

April 15th was a busy one for me.  I had two photo assignments and the two could not be further apart.  Alex and I went down to city hall for what was called a Tea Party.  Without getting into all the politics of it all let’s just say when things said over the PA were “yes we are racists because we are a part of the human race”, you can get tense not being someone who believes what is being said and has a camera on top of that.  It was an experience for sure.  Right after that I had to head down to the WFAA studio to photograph The Mentalist.  Basically this guy came off as GOB Bluth to me but he was still nice and we got what we needed from each other and went our separate ways.  It was an odd night indeed.

Dallas has a comic con that takes place a few times a year.  I try to take in as many cons as I can in the area as possible because I feel very at home.  The trend I am finding is that when I go to these cons I seem to grab photos that shoot up my number of views on Flickr and have landed me on the front page of Digg.  This photo did not land me on the front page of Digg but was one of the most viewed on my Flickr account this year

Spring in Texas is color.  You just have to find it

I am a member of the Plano Photography Club and they had a Spring Model shoot.  This would turn out to be great practice for working in a studio in the summer.  I had a great time and it turned out to be something I would like to do more further down the road.

It really seemed like I started doing a lot of head shots this year which I am totally cool with.  I would like to do more to be honest and I had a fun quick shoot with my good friend Jackie.  The set up was quick but the results were great.

Maybe the best con of the year was the Texas Frightmare Weekend in Irving.  It was well organized and had great guests.  The con started early with a charity Zombie Walk which was awesome but having to keep in front of zombies for an entire mile is harder than you think.  We were lucky that the rain stayed away until the walk was over.  It was a fun day.

One of the largest cons in the Dallas area is AKon.  It is the anime con but covers many areas outside of that.  This year was no different and the smells of non-showered kids and loud singing of strange Japanese songs could be found at Akon this year.

A cool event that happens to bring in the summer is the Dragon Boat races and Kite Festival in Irving.  It is an Asian Festival with lots of food and things of the various Asian culture.  After walking around and seeing the sights we walked over to see the local area.  Las Colinas neighbors Irving and we got to the some of the art in the area.

I had another shoot for a restaurant in the Dallas area.  This one had me way out near Flower Mound.  I had to make two runs to this place and the food was not bad however the article in the paper thought otherwise.  This would be the last assignment for a little bit as I started the studio job a week later.

Something I did a little bit more this year was meet up with friends who are not in the business that neither Denise or I am in involved in.  Some of those friends are Doug and Patrica who live across the street from us.  They are both private music instructors and to help Doug out I did a few head shots for him.  In return we got an awesome Mexican dinner as a trade for the pictures.

Denise had been looking around for things to do on weekends and a great one she found was the Worldwide Photowalk.  Basically large groups timed up when a walk around certain cities in the United States and Europe.  Our group was in McKinney and we had lots of fun.  We quickly fell stray from the group but still got a good collection of photos.

Another comic con and another photo that got lots of hits on my Flickr account.  It was cool to listen to Dean Stockwell talk about his years in cinema.  This con was much bigger than the one earlier in the year.

While going to all these cons I have seen some familiar faces.  Once of those faces is Greg Hernandez who runs Bean Pot Toiz and sells Kid Robot dunnies.  He’s a really nice guy and donated a Dunny to me which in return I wanted to give him photos he could use for his website.  After thinking about it I thought I could make a project out of this at the home studio.  This is the start of what I hope to finish later this year.

One of the last photo assignments of the year was at AnimeFest.  To be honest I had not heard of this con but it turns out it was a really well put together con.  Much like Akon, this thing was huge and smelled of non-showered kids.  There were some great cosplayers and good times.  This was a two day event for me as I came back to photograph the Cosplay Costume Contest which included skits and had probably about 500 people in attendance.   I look forward to going to this con next year.

The last con of the year was Star Wars Fan Days at the Plano Convention Center.  It is a part of the Dallas Comic Con series and was the last con of the year.  It has been getting bigger since the first year and this year had a good sized crowd.  To me it appeared to be a sign of good things for the economy of geeks and nerds spending money on things they enjoy and having a good time.  This was the last story I covered for the Observer this year and was the end of the year for taking pictures for the most part.  A year I will not forget anytime soon.  It was a year filled with uncertainty but more hope and happiness that anyone would have expect.  It was a tough time for the entire country but we all pulled through the tough times.  This blog just shows a small glimpse of my life through the lens of my camera.  This year looks to be a very busy year but it will be important to keep my personal life in order as well.  Denise has been great by my side during this difficult time along with my friends and family.  I look forward to doing next years photo blog and I hope you look forward to seeing it.