Behind the Scenes on Wildpeak Ad Campaign


Blazing desert heat, cold streams, and windy mountain roads… all just part of the Falken Tire Wildpeak Off Road ad campaign I shot at the end of 2012.

Among many of the projects I was part of with Falken Tire last year one of the most fun was the Wildpeak Off Road campaign. This was a project that was planned, assembled, and shot all within a very short amount of time compared to other projects I’ve worked with Falken on. Falken’s newest tire line, Wildpeak, needed a variety of images created for upcoming ads and media in 2013. So several days were selected, along with several vehicles, to shoot many different images in different locations. I would be handling a large majority of the shooting alongside the video crew, who would be shooting for commercials at the same time.

The entire first day was spent in the desert, under the hot sun and, at times, very high winds. We had a selection of cars: Ford Raptor, Toyota FJ Cruiser, Toyota 4Runner, and the custom built Falken Jeep JK. We also had a few support vehicles with us, a Chevy Tahoe with 22’s for what would essentially be “beauty shots”, a Toyota Tacoma, our tow vehicle/rig, and a total crew of 10 people. This was not a small job by any means.

The second day was the longest by far. We were in the mountains. All. Day. But we were able to capture a ton of different images varying from water/splash photos to “climbing” photos. The video guys also did the majority of their filming the second day as well.
Day 3 was the shortest, and was cut even shorter after the first location we planned to shoot at didn’t work out.

Click below the break to read on and see over 100 images of what goes into a multi-day photoshoot of this size.

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The Burney-Parsons Military Wedding in Palos Verdes

Kristen and Dustin were married just over a week ago at the Wayfarer’s Chapel in Palos Verdes in a beautiful evening ceremony in a gorgeous glass building. I had never been to the chapel they selected for their wedding, but was looking forward to seeing the venue after they told me the name and sent a link with photos of the grounds.
The Wayfarer’s Chapel is a small building made mostly of glass which made for great light during the evening ceremony they had planned.

I have known the Parsons family for several years, so being thrown into a busy wedding weekend with them wasn’t much trouble at all. Both sides of the family were pretty busy running around taking care of last minute preparations and getting things set up. Kristen’s brothers are all military men who flew in from around the US for the ceremony. Dustin and his twin brother Dillon are military as well and have recently returned from their tours. The cool thing about all of this is that everyone was going to be in their dress uniforms for the ceremony!

The evening of the rehearsal was short and sweet with most all of my questions being answered with “No. You can’t do that.” Basically I was banished the back of the chapel with further restrictions on when I could shoot (no flash, etc). This is always incredibly frustrating as a photographer since it basically makes the wedding a one-lens affair. I had to use my telephoto pretty much the entire time since I was 30-40 feet away from the front.

The wedding day started later than normal since the Parsons planned a night ceremony at 8pm. So the bridal parties prep was started right after lunch. Sister-in-law Lauren was doing hair and makeup for Kristen and several of the family members and bridal party.
Once everyone was ready we took a few moments before loading up into the limo to do a very quick first-look. Since everyone was going to be in the same car on the way to the chapel Dustin and Kristen agreed it would be nice to have images of the first time seeing each other.

After arriving at the chapel we took some time during sunset to get some of the different group shots out of the way. There wasn’t a clear answer on exactly how long we would have after the ceremony for photos, so we wanted to try and get as many done outside as possible in case we couldn’t do them inside afterward.

The ceremony was beautiful, but the lighting was pretty difficult. When a venue tells you “You can’t use flash, but don’t worry you’ll have plenty of light coming in.” they obviously mean day time weddings… and have forgotten that you’ll be shooting an evening ceremony. Thank god for today’s sensors and RAW image processing to get enough detail in low light shots. Keep in mind everything had to be shot with a telephoto in addition to no flash AND little sunlight. hahaha!
They still came out great though… scroll down and you’ll see. Promise.

The reception was a blast, but very short since everything was later in the evening due to the ceremony time. Click past the break for over a 100 images from my weekend with the Burney and Parsons families.


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Back to Michigan for the Gilding Wedding

Another old classmate and journalism friend got married two weeks ago – and I was there in Michigan to be part of it!

As many of you know, I just spent about 10 days out in the Midwest… the first time I’ve been back out that way in nearly two years. I was there to shoot Katie and Ryan’s wedding in Michigan. Katie and I used to work at the paper together in college while attending Central Michigan University. Many times we were the ones that would run out to cover some small spot news assignment like car accidents or things like that. Honestly, it’s funny to look back on the thing that we would go out to photograph and write about for the paper. Small town life during college was pretty different for someone like me.

Since college I returned home to California and Katie, over time, switched from journalism and writing to become a teacher. She now lives outside of her home state of Michigan and laughed with me about old stories from college and how things never really go how you expect them to when you’re working on your degree. My first evening with Katie and Ryan’s families was spent at the wedding rehearsal and dinner. And while there we caught up on other old friends and who still keep in touch with and who has gone where since those long nights in the newsroom working on the next mornings edition.

When I first met Ryan earlier that afternoon one of the first things he said to me was “it’s nice to finally meet you.. I’ve recently become a big fan of your work!” Receiving compliments is always flattering, and I responded with “Oh! Great! You’ve looked at it!” Haha! You guys would be surprised how many people I shoot for that haven’t really taken a look at my photography. Typically I’m booked by one of the two who has either met me, seen my work, or was referred to me by a friend of theirs. And it’s great to get referrals that way, but it’s equally funny when I hear that the other person in the wedding may not have seen any of my work.

The rehearsal started off a bit bumpy… oddly enough the wedding coordinator at the country club didn’t come out to help us, show us around, or give any sort of direction like “here’s where things are and here’s a basic idea of how things will go tomorrow”. Luckily we found one guy that was able to tell us approximately how things would be set up and where everyone would be getting ready.
Then once that part was sorted out I ended up helping everyone organize and figure out timing and details of the entrance/exit.  Typically I only have to stand back and watch at rehearsals, but, if people are a little unsure of which order things should go then that’s where it helps that I’ve done this a bunch of times. Katie and Ryan were great about it too and laughed and thanked me for helping keep everyone moving through the rehearsal. Personally I think the funniest part was after we did a run through and I had to tell everyone to walk through it once more so I could actually take a photo or two instead of just directing!

The next morning started out a little slower since it was an afternoon wedding which meant the girls were going to be getting ready a bit later in the day. I made my way out of the hotel and out to the golf course. Katie and Ryan would both be getting ready at this location so there was only going to be one stop the whole day for all of us.

When I arrived at the venue Katie and her bridesmaids were already bouncing around getting things set up. Katie’s dad Mr. Maurer was also running around making sure things with the reception hall were looking good and organized, too.
And after the last part of the morning rush was done (which I fortunately missed) it was time to have a small lunch and then get ready to get ready. The next two hours or so was spent in the bridal room preparing with hair, makeup, and of course stories about college, work and other things in life. I was able to catch up with Katie a little more as well as get to know her bridesmaids a bit and hear about their lives – like Amy who works with sea turtles in the South.

Their ceremony was beautiful. Even though it was June in Michigan, it was breezy and perfect temperature in the shade under the trees where Ryan and Katie had their ceremony. Afterward we had just a bit of time to run out to the golf course for a few photos with everyone before the reception started.

The rest of the evening was a blast with plenty of dancing, drinks, and fun had by everyone that was there. I’ll save a lot more of the details for the captions as usual. I invite you to read on past the break for about 160 images of Katie and Ryan Gilding’s wedding.


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Ana and Daniel Godoy’s Socal Wedding

Ana and I have been talking about her wedding since last year – and now it’s already over and they’re returning from their honeymoon! And when I really stop and think about it, it doesn’t seem like that long ago that me, Ana, and several of our other friends were sitting around in college playing pool and ordering food late at night at Santa Clara University.

I’ve actually known Ana for nearly nine years – I met her through a couple friends of mine back in college when we both still were in living in the Bay Area. Since then I’ve traveled around the US while completing my degree – and now for my photography. Ana went on to move to Los Angeles, continue even more schooling and become a doctor. But we would keep in touch online over the years. And then, last year, when Daniel asked Ana to marry him, Ana asked me to be her photographer.

For those of you guys that follow my work on Facebook, you may remember seeing their engagement photos that we shot at the LA Zoo. Those were actually somewhat recent since all of our schedules are pretty hectic and it took a while to lock down a date that worked with everyone’s schedules.

Daniel and Ana were married last week in a gorgeous catholic ceremony in Southern California.  When I arrived that morning the men were just heading out to another house for the day. The ladies would actually be using Daniel’s families house to prepare for the morning. So I said my hellos and goodbyes to guys and waited and for Ana to arrive after getting the all-clear that Daniel wasn’t there any longer.

The plan was to eventually make it over to meet up with the men as they got ready… and that just didn’t end up happening since things with all the ladies ran a bit later than we expected. Oh well, they have to wait for the bride anyway, right?

The ceremony was beautiful, and the church was surprisingly well-lit. Typically for church weddings that I’ve shot they tend to be very dark with very few windows, so it was awesome that this location had tons of light pouring in and made it very easy to shoot plenty of images for Ana and Daniel.
At the end of the ceremony, after the pastor introduced Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Godoy to everyone in the audience, Daniel turned and said “So can I kiss her now?” to which the preacher started laughing and said “YOU BETTER KISS HER!”

From there we headed out to the golf course where the reception was being held. The first hour or so we spent outside taking photos and getting a few more group shots and fun shots in with everyone. And, of course, there HAD to that jerk-golfer-guy that clearly sees us taking photos yet seemingly tries to walk into each of our shots and stand on the practice putting green in the background. There were several times that we had to wait because he walked closer to us to “practice” or whatever. Haha, there is ALWAYS someone like that. You think people would be polite enough to wait 5 or 10 minutes til were were done taking a few photos at that spot and had moved on.

Ana and Daniel’s reception was a blast. They seriously had one of the best DJ’s I’ve heard at a wedding as far as his music selection for the night. And there were several family members that didn’t seem to leave the dance floor the entire night – they seriously danced for like 6 hours it seemed like. I stuck around and chatted with Ana as the night went on, and even though I wasn’t really shooting any more at that point it was nice to get to know everyone a bit more and talk.

As I do with every wedding blog, I’ll leave the rest of my comments for the captions. The biggest “problem” with this blog is that Ana is a very old friend of mine, which made it very hard for me to narrow down the image choices to share. So, click past the break for over 200 images from the Vargas-Godoy wedding in Los Angeles a week ago…

And to Ana and Daniel, Thank You for having me be part of your day!

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Molly and Alan Rowe’s Los Gatos Wedding

Two weeks ago I was back in the Bay Area to shoot the wedding of Molly and Alan Rowe. Being asked by Alan to shoot for him and Molly came as a complete surprise to me, to be honest. I knew Alan back during high school from playing sports together. But, I’ve known him much more over the years as “Monica’s friend Alan” since he’s very good friends with my sister and is part of their high school group. So, it was a big compliment for a second wedding couple from my sister’s circle of friends to contact me about shooting for them – the first was Nicole and Will Machallister a couple years ago.

I’ve ALWAYS remembered Alan as that upbeat, goofy crazy kinda person – and that side was totalllly apparent during the wedding weekend I spent with Alan and Molly’s families. The best part is that his goofiness totally compliments his wife’s quieter, shy demeanor. And when they interact you can see how much they care about each other – even while Alan was doing ridiculous things like “now dip me!” during their first dance! HAHAHA!!!

Molly and Alan got married in Los Gatos at a family friends house in a beautiful little ceremony in the backyard – it’s a huge backyard though, don’t be fooled everyone. LOL.
The day started out normally enough… with me meeting all the girls at the hotel while they started their hair and makeup for the morning. I was met with groans and “um, don’t take pictures of me looking like this!!” when Molly’s sisters realized a boy was going to be hanging out with them all morning. Sorry ladies! Hope you approve of the shots!
I broke away later on to head over to Alan’s house where all the guys would be getting ready before heading to the wedding location. The men had started their morning a bit slower, and Mrs. Rowe was teasing me saying “Waittt! No photos here! I’m not ready!” when she realized I was showing up to the Rowe residence, camera in hand.
Shortly after getting a few of the various shots I wanted I took Alan’s sister with me back to meet up with all the ladies as they finished preparing Molly for that afternoon. As Molly’s Mom and sisters all helped her with her dress and the last bit of preparations, the guys started to arrive. We were going to do a first-look due to timing of the events that afternoon. The family was starting to rush around thinking we were running late – all the while Molly was casually just waiting for her moment to go see her husband-to-be, as she laughed with her bridesmaids.
Alan and Molly’s first look was really cute. I think at first they seemed to feel like “so we just look surprised?” but after a minute or two they quickly seemed to ignore both myself and the family watching from the balcony and chatted with each other, talked and walked around the ceremony area, and even (completely on their own) walked over and stood in their positions they were about to get married in. Too cute.

The ceremony went off great with both lots of laughs and several tears from parents and family. The reception was a blast – and I wouldn’t expect any less. As I mentioned this is the second wedding I’ve been part of for this group of friends – and I’ve always known them to be a lot of fun. A couple hours of food, toasts, cake, and dancing later the evening was coming to an end – but not before Alan had to go through a car full of balloons with the car key hidden in one of them! How’s that for one last “Congrats” from your buddies before you leave for the hotel?

As always, I’ll post other details in my captions. But please read on and enjoy 150 shots from my weekend with the Rowe, McSpadden and Ward families!

Click the break for more:

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The Tickle-Ripp wedding in Baltimore

Angela and Kevin’s wedding, also known as “The wedding I shot because of the wedding I shot because of the wedding I shot…”

Makes perfect sense right? I just returned from the East Coast and shooting the Tickle-Ripp wedding in Baltimore. I joked with several friends about the wedding any time I was asked how I ended up shooting way out in Maryland. “Oh! Well, I met Kevin and Angela at a wedding I was shooting in Michigan. Kevin was the Best Man to Ray, who married Alison. And I met Alison two years prior when she was a bridesmaid for Jessica…. did you follow all that?”

For those of you reading, here’s a easy-to-understand graphic…

I constantly say how flattering it is that my clients bring me all over the country to shoot for them. And connections like this one (the Ripp wedding) are an incredible example of friendships made during business trips.

When I first met Kevin and Angela it was during the Johnson wedding – during the rehearsal dinner. I was among the first to arrive at the restaurant along with Kevin and Angela. We all were sitting at the bar talking about various things, including how I was there from California and they were in town from DC.
From just the first 20 minutes or so sitting with the two of them chatting about nothing important it was clear how much they cared about each other. Several of us joke about how they’re disgustingly cute together – and that’s the truth. But at the same time it’s so awesome when you see people that can be totally genuine around each other AND others at the same time.
We kept in touch through facebook and followed each others photos after returning to our home states. And after they were engaged I was thrilled when I got an email from Kevin asking about coming out to Baltimore to shoot for them!

I was excited to arrive in Baltimore and meet up with everyone when that Friday afternoon for the rehearsal finally rolled around. If the Tickle and Ripp families and friends were anything like Kevin and Angela, then it was going to be an awesome couple days!
We all met up at the hotel and then headed out to the church for practice – there was a ton of traffic. On my cab ride there I talked to the driver about how he had come to the US and built a new life for himself. As we talked about travel and travel-times he laughingly said that as much as he misses home back in Africa the long plane flight keeps him from ever visiting. LOL!

Once at the rehearsal the pastor was shocked when I hadn’t heard about “the photo”… Turns out that Angela wanted a group shot with everyone at the wedding directly after the ceremony. The pastor said in 37 years he had never done anything like that and hoped it would work out well. I smiled and said “No problem! I just did that two weeks ago out in Yosemite at a wedding”. The rehearsal dinner was out on the water at the Baltimore Inner Harbor. Lots of laughs and lots of story telling. My favorite part of the dinners are getting a chance to know everyone a little bit, and also making them more comfortable around me and a camera since I’ll be running around the next day with them non-stop.

The wedding day started as normal – hanging out with all the girls as they did all their hair and makeup prep. It’s always hilarious to sit and listen to the stories the girls laugh about throughout the morning. Poor Michelle was being picked on and teased about being “The Drunk Bridesmaid” because she finished Kevin’s drinks the night prior at the after party. Realistically though she gets bonus points for taking them for the team since she was keeping Kevin from having too many drinks before his big day. Team player all the way! Haha!

The ceremony was beautiful, and the pastor was awesome. There were several points where he needed to be directly in front of the bride and groom for ceremonial reasons. However the rest of the time he stepped off to the side. He had told me “the ceremony is NOT about me. I don’t understand the pastors who make it about them, but I try to give as much attention to the bride and groom as possible.” How great is that?

After the ceremony we went up to Federal Hill to do a few photos with the skyline in the background. I also did a dip shot (top of this blog) as I do with most of my weddings.. We had quite an audience that day, too. It was nice out and there were lots of families sitting and watching us. One lady actually came up to Angela to congratulate her, and then said that everyone looked like they were having fun and that she wished her wedding photographer took fun ones like we were doing that afternoon. I can’t even take any credit for that comment either, we were just joking around and not doing anything too specific.

The reception was back at the hotel and everyone celebrated through the evening hours. There is plenty more I could continue to write about, but I’ll save a lot more for the captions. I always feel like I have so many wonderful stories and things to say about each wedding I do. But I’m fairly sure you’re here to see photos and not just read about it. So, click past the break for 170 images from the Tickle-Ripp wedding.

Click below to read on


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Michelle and Eric’s Yosemite Wedding

“We live near the beach… and we can go any time. So we decided to get married somewhere different.”

Michelle explained to me that both her and Eric had put a lot of thought into location ideas for their wedding. And that after considering several typical locations/settings they ended up deciding on Yosemite for their ceremony. Rather than do a rushed ceremony in the main valley, the Boyko’s selected Evergreen Lodge for a much more relaxed and intimate weekend with their closest friends and family.
I had met Eric and Michelle a year ago, through the car community which both Eric and I are active in. I remember during that evening that Michelle stood and talked to me for quite a while about wedding photography and some of the various traveling I had done with my work. And as things turned out, I ended up being asked to shoot for them later on in their finalization of their wedding plans!

The weekend at Evergreen was awesome. Eric and Michelle kept their wedding very small – only their oldest and closest friends and family members were in attendance. And Evergreen keeps their weddings to a one-per-weekend setup. This is incredibly rare and also quite amazing because it allows the Lodge to be available and tend to their wedding party’s needs throughout those couple days. Michelle said that was actually a major factor in their decision – that it avoided the assembly-line feel of getting married in a location with two weddings per day or more.

So Eric and Michelle were married in a meadow. It was beautiful, and the weather that day was perfect. Actually, the weather the whole weekend was pretty amazing. Everyone arrived on Friday afternoon and checked in. After a short rehearsal and walk-through of the ceremony we all joined the rest of the wedding guests for a barbeque at the John Muir House. The lodge-chef had prepared some pretty awesome food options, and had previously told Michelle that he believes if you serve amazing food at your facility that guests will remember that and come back again.
That night there were drinks to be had, smores to be made, and plenty of stories shared around the campfire after “the adults” had all gone back to their cabins, hahaha!

The wedding day started slowly as many guests tried to figure out where they would go hiking that morning. As usual, I tagged along with Michelle and chatted with her and her family members getting to know everyone a bit better throughout the early afternoon. As the ceremony time approached, I headed over to meet up with the guys and get a few shots of them as well. As I arrived at the Muir House where everyone was staying, I found most of them scrambling a bit to finish getting ready. It seemed as though they misjudged just how long the hiking would take! Uh-oh!

But the ceremony started without issue, went beautifully, and the reception was a blast. I’ll save most of what I have to say for the captions on the images below. I had a great time though, and was thrilled to be part of the Boyko wedding so unexpectedly.

Click past the break for 130 images from my weekend with the Boyko and Cronin families

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A foggy start…

I shot the image above tonight at about 1am in Downtown Los Angeles. A man walks home alone on the quiet streets.

The last few nights has seen some incredibly thick fog – as bad as 20 feet visibility. I would love to do some more fog photos, but, I’m not up at 5 am to get all the morning shots of the sun trying to break through…

And as for this is how we’re starting off the new year… “foggy”
Sounds interesting… Maybe we’ll have trouble seeing our way this year..

Also, I’ve been shuffling through people’s caller id’s for use as wallpapers on my phone. I decided to screenshot a few of them to share with you guys. I might share more as I edit photos and load them up… But, for those of my friends who rather send me a picture to use – especially if I haven’t photographed you myself – please feel free to do so.

Pretty cool, huh?
I just need a program to shuffle through everyone…

HDR… took me about 10 minutes…

So I’m not really sure why I had trouble with HDR post processing before… But tonight I had some time to kill… Eh, who am I kidding, I’ve barely been sleeping. It’s currently 3:30am and I’m up working on photos still. Haha.
Anyway, last time around I had trouble correctly processing any images to become close to something that would even look somewhat HDR-ish…. Tonight though, it was a piece of cake.

This, over exagerated image, is Tampa. I shot this a year ago on a business trip I took while doing a bit of work for Nikon. I remember shooting it thinking “if I ever learn HDR, I bet it’d look pretty cool”. I’m going out on a limb and saying that I suceeded.

This photo I shot in San Francisco a while ago when I was wandering the streets with my g/f at the time. I was surprised at how clean this one turned out. Makes me almost want to sell my S2000 and buy a muscle car.

Speaking of S2000’s… here’s another shot from yesterday’s track day…

On a rainy track day… everyone becomes a drifter… whether you want to or not.

So, it’s closing in on 4am. I should really try and sleep, or something.
I may have some people lined up for the holiday shoots I was planning. Keep posted here to  see if I pull them off. I also have a fashion shoot coming up, and retro motorcycle shoot, a motorcycle stunting shoot, and who knows… maybe some HDR now, too.

A day of extreme catch-up!

I did TONS of catching up on photography tonight – which is pretty damn good considering I still ran a bunch of errands, went running with Gambit, and a few other things today.
First, and most importantly, I FINISHED EDITING THE ZAMORA WEDDING!!! Woo hoo!! I’m extremely pleased with the images and can’t wait to hear what Elizabeth thinks when she sees them. The above image was made during a very emotional trip to the cemetery. Ray and Elizabeth lost their grandmother and mother, respectively, and came to pay their respects immediately following the ceremony.

How adorable is this image? The girls were all laying on the bed waiting for the adults to get ready – here they’re watching Elizabeth have her hair and makeup done in preparation for the wedding.

One of my favorite shots! I have a number of images created at this location. However, this is my favorite because as Ray leaned in to kiss his wife, Elizabeth started laughing. It’s moments like these that make me really love wedding photography.

Now as a complete contrast to the Zamora wedding… here’s another image from my Corpse Bride shoot with Athena! I’m really excited to continue to edit these shots. We had so much fun with the lighting and various poses, angles, and colors. More to come! Stay tuned.

Another image from Lo’s shoot last month. I feel so bad because after this shoot in Ventura I became very busy with many other shoots, some travel, guest visits, more travel, more guests, etc… you get the idea. Anyway, I’m now working on editing the rest of her shoot.

And since I’ve received a lot of comments and stuff about how hot you all think Rosa is… here’s another shot from her shoot. I’ll post more of her later, too.

And I’m closing out tonight’s very long blog with an extremely cute photo of Jaime.
I love this image… and so should you.

Peace out homies!
I’m hoping to hit my pillow by 2a after I get higher res versions of these uploaded to my portfolio tonight.