Berlin in Temecula

Last Friday I had the chance to photograph a concert by the famed 70’s-80’s group Berlin. If you’ve seen the movie Top Gun then you know the song that (I think) they are most famous for, “Take My Breath Away”.

DSC_0579  Well they sure did take my breath away. It was a really awesome concert!  Enjoy a few shots from the evening and if you want to check out the full gallery click here.


A special thanks to Wiens Family Cellars for giving me this opportunity; to the Forty Nineteens for being such a wonderful support act; to sponsors such as Paradise of Temecula and Golden Crown Productions for making it all possible!

Finally, let us not forget what we were really there for – to support the charity Hospice of the Valleys.  It was a successful evening of entertainment!


Now… where is my Top Gun DVD!!!


I love Night Time Wedding Shots!

There is something so glamorous and slightly mysterious about night time wedding pictures. There are a couple of challenges in getting it done right. The first is inter-personal. You usually have to extract the couple from the dance floor in the heat of the reception frenzy. That can be fun!!DSC_6555

The second is technical. Balancing your artificial lights with the ambient light takes work, practice, and experience. The results can be so worthwhile though! What do you think?


Belgium GP Wrap Up and Italian GP Preview

Wow, interesting race! Sadly not for the right reasons however it was a brilliant drive from Danny and that tussle for 5th,6th,7th and 8th was pretty impressive! That harked back to the good old days of actual racing!

Mercedes has a real problem on its hands. I kinda think that much of this goes back to Monaco, if not earlier than that. I feel that Rosberg deliberately “lost it” at the Mirabeau as he knew that session would be yellow flagged, Hamilton was behind and faster and, well that was that.

That whole situation in Monaco was dealt with strangely by the stewards also. If, as was reported as we did not see it on tv, he reversed back onto the track he should have had his time removed and sent to the back of the grid. Nigel Mansell was dealt with very harshly for reversing in the pit lane in his Ferrari some years ago for exactly that crime and he was in the pit lane not the actual track! Still over the years Formula 1 stewards have proven to be not exactly consistent!

The condemnation from Wolff and from Lauda was pretty immediate and scathing! I am wondering how the subsequent denials fines (?) and other miscellaneous comments are going to play on both drivers minds for the upcoming Italian GP.

So speaking of said Italian GP, what will happen! Since I didn’t exactly get the result right in Belgium, okay there was a Merc on the podium and Bottas did finish where I thought he would so, I am claiming 66% for that result lol, what should we expect in Monza?

At first look you would think that Williams will be very strong in Monza but I am a little concerned about their tyre wear. They will have massive speed but there are those pesky chicanes and the Parabolica. They are very likely to stress everyones tyres hard!

I would just automatically assume that a Merc is likely to win, but that was before Belgium. One can only wonder at what is going through Lewis Hamilton’s mind right now. Also what would Nico be thinking. Both of them will be under a microscope like never before at this race. Journo’s will be constantly asking both about The Incident.

Lewis needs to get his qualifying sorted out. He’s been either unlucky or sloppy for the last 4 races. Nico should be feeling confident as he’s handled Lewis in quali pretty well just recently but I have to say that if anyone is going to mentally crack, my money would be on Nico. It could be argued that after Monaco and Belgium he already is cracking…..

My guess, Lewis on pole, Nico second. I have not mentioned Red Bull yet. I have a feeling they will be running their Belgium non-rear wing again and I think Vettel will be third, Bottas forth and Alonso in his customary fifth. I think it is a coin toss as to whether Ricciardo or Raikkonen will be sixth. I suspect that the McLaren duo will be in the top 10 and Massa might round in there too. That leaves a place left and it could easily go to Kvyat. He and Bottas have been real revelations this year.

The race……

Lets see how my quali predictions go!

Formula 1: Belgium Grand Prix

So this isn’t photography related, well not much but….. I’ll let you in to a secret!

I am a HUGE motor sports fan. It started in 1976 (oh gees, I kinda hated writing that) and it has lasted to this day. My hook into the sport was the tussle between Hunt and Lauda that year, since memorialized in Ron Howard’s excellent movie Rush, and to this day I watch Formula 1 religiously. Ask my wife!

I confess that I miss what for me are the glory days back in the 80’s when 1.5l turbo engines were throwing out up to 1,300bhp and rear tyres (yes I am a Brit so for now they are TYRES LOL) had to be bolted to the rims otherwise the tyre would spin around the rim and let all the air out. Whoops!

There have been many changes since then and I don’t think many of them have been for the best. I realize that safety had to be an issue after Formula 1 managed to kill arguably it’s most iconic champion, Ayrton Senna.

Predictions for Spa? Okay I guess it won’t be a shock to say that I am sure a Mercedes will win. Which one? I feel that Lewis Hamilton wants it more than Rosberg. Don’t mention Monaco!

Best of the rest, Williams. I have a fondness for Williams that goes back to the early 80’s when Alan Jones drove for Frank’s team. Loved how outspoken he was! Good to see that Ferrari are looking better and also McLaren.

Lets hope that it is a good race! In the meantime, below is a pic of Michael Schumacher in a Ferrari, official practice for the British GP in 2005 (I think!) Enjoy!

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Choosing a Camera

Just recently I was in the market for a new camera. Our little family are going on vacation to Europe soon and I did not want to bring the trusty Nikon with it’s panoply of lenses, speedlights, memory cards, etc. The total weight is somewhere the other side of a neutron star and it is so uncomfortable and restricting that 9 times out of 10 you’ll end up leaving the whole lot back in the hotel room.

I did still have a few requirements for a walkin’ around camera. Interchangeable lens, shooting in program auto mode as well as manual and aperture priority mode. A few other “like to have” items filled out the wish list so off I went to check out what was available.

Oh my! I fairly quickly started to whittle the list down. Several likely looking options from Nikon, Canon (yes I even looked on the dark side lol), Leica etc were dismissed because of cost. So I start looking at Sony and Samsung, as well as some cheaper options from Nikon.

It became apparent fairly quickly that mirrorless was the way to go. Also at that point I insisted on a viewfinder. I just cannot see how anyone can compose properly using the lcd screen and holding the camera at arms length. Perhaps on a tripod, yes. Hand held in front of the Eiffel Tower… not so much!

By now I was scouring web sites and comparing features as only a photographer can. Checking review sites, weighing options….

Finally I ended up with the Sony NEX-6. Mirrorless, electronic viewfinder, interchangeable lens and an APS-C sized sensor. It has a 10mm-50mm lens and while this kit lens is nothing spectacular more research led me to the Sony store.

And there I found the gorgeous 50mm Planar T F1.4 Zeiss lens. This was pared to a Sony Alpha 7R full frame camera. Oh boy. I was shocked at just how good this tiny camera felt in my hands. The camera oozed quality through its all metal construction. I should not have to tell you that the lens is just optical butter…and bacon! Just gorgeous!!! At $1,500 not too bad if you say it quickly!

There is a fully range of lenses and accessories for these cameras and I have to say that I am seriously considering making a swap to Sony in the near-ish future. The quality of image from these small cameras is amazing and the size means that you can get into places that you’d struggle to with a full frame full sized dslr. As a veteran of well over 20 years using Nikons this is not something I would undertake lightly but….. I’ll keep you posted!

Convention Season: WPPI

Between the first week of September and the first week of March we photographers have “convention season”. Well I guess it is more fair to say that Photoshop World in September finishes off the year and ImagingUSA kicks off the next!

I have just got back from the WPPI convention, in Vegas (I wonder why they are always in Vegas? Could it have something to do with the plentiful hotel accommodation and ample adult themed entertainment?). WPPI stands for the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International convention and it has to be one of the biggest in the world. I heard estimates of between 12,000 and 20,000 delegates!



You might think that there is a lot of partying going on at these events but you’d be wrong! Seminar sessions usually start around 8:15 or 8:30am and often go on late into the evening. There is, of course, the Expo to navigate!


Here is my quick ‘n’ dirty pic of what the Expo floor looks like.

As you’d imagine it is full of people looking at shiny things. Things that we photographers need and things that we want! The difference is that the things we need are usually kinda boring, like accounting software. They are really essential though whereas the things we want are all shiny and cool and gadgety! Like the Camranger which allows you to remotely control your camera via an iPad or iPhone but you can also see what the camera sees! I’m all giddy just thinking about the possibilities!

I was good! I did not fall prey to the shiny things (but I sure wanted to!). I looked carefully at album companies and I am happy to add Graphistudio, Fineo and probably West Coast Albums to my offerings as well as possibly Album Epoca.

Both Graphistudio and Album Epoca are Italian companies and ooze that European style which I love so much. I have attached some links below so you can see all the goodness! Fineo is a wonderfully eclectic company that I have described as “San Fran Styley”. I love their booth at the show as it is wild! All red beaded curtains and leopard print ottomans! Gorgeous! West Coast Albums exude a classic style with subtly modernity. Think of walnut paneled rooms but with a stainless steel espresso machine!


Album Epoca


West Coast Albums

I can’t finish without a little bit of iPhone-ography!IMG_7737

Now back to the usual post Vegas decompression, reality thing!





Is it really only March?


Phew…. what a year! Is it over? Oh, it’s March…..

It has been a crazy busy year so far. I just might be tempted to say ‘cray-cray’ but I am definitely NOT in my 20’s-30’s….

The big news is that we finally have our first (in California) magazine in San Diego Style Magazine. We are excited and we hope that you will love the image we chose. It has been fun working with those guys and actually you don’t get to say that often. Usually there is teeth gnashing and frantic editing and re-editing!

Magazine Ad_02_02_2014GS

Our ad will run in the next edition of the magazine and so we should be seeing it VERY soon! Excited? You bet!

We just got back from the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International convention in Las Vegas. Four days of learning (and partying) from the worlds top photographers! It was a great event!