Fall in Mesa, AZ under the super moon

It is hard to think of Fall colors when leaving the in the desert.  However if you take time to search you will find it in many places here in Mesa, AZ. Last week I wanted to capture the moonrise on New Year's day which was a one of two super moons that will be available in this month.  While waiting for the moon to rise, I was able to capture a glance of the sunset light on the banks of the Salt River right in front of Arizona iconic mountain, Four Peaks. Here are the three images I created from that evening shoot.


Downtown Mesa a photo comparison 2012 vs 2018

Downtown Mesa is changing. A big reason for all the improvements is the construction of the Light Rail that currently takes you across the heart of Mesa from Country Club Avenue to Mesa Drive.  My photography studio is half block from the Light Rail line. I have had a front row to witness many of the changes. Because of my work with many local business, I have done a great deal of architectural photography around Downtown Mesa.  I am always fascinated with the thought of looking at progress through images. These two images are about 5 years apart. The first image was taken on October 20, 2012 (before Light Rail). The second image was taken on January 6 of this year. 

Answering few questions about construction photography

How do you approach a construction site when you are photographing it? How do you prepare? What do you look for? How is it possible to tell a story when you are photographing something that is in the very early stages? 
These are some of the questions I get asked by people I meet or my students when we talk about construction photography.  The answers are many.  To start I meet with the engineers that are working the construction and we go over the project and what are some of the elements in the they want to highlight. When possible, I scout the location and find angles and times of the day that will help me create the construction photos that the client wants.  I prepare as much as it is possible before the day. During the photography day, I do a lot of walking and look for different points of view before I start to photograph. I also ask for any particular event that will be happening that we ned to capture. There are times when a concrete pour is schedule, or a structure is being moved.  In addition to looking for potential construction photos, I am also keeping an eye on al the moving trucks and equipment. Safety is a must at any construction site, you have to be hyperaware of your surroundings and be very carefully with your equipment.  Taking the time to understand the construction site and paying attention to details is what drives me to do my best to create construction photos that tell a story.  Here a selection of images from a construction project I recently captured in Peoria. The client was DCS Contracting and they are currently setting up the sewer lines for a new neighborhood that is being built in the area close to Highway 303 and Grand Avenue in Peoria , Arizona.

City of Mesa Mayor John Giles delivers the state of the city address

For the last 5 years, I have been covering the Mesa Chamber of Commerce special event, The State of The City Address by the city of Mesa Mayor. This year's event was at the Mesa Convention center. More than 700 business and community leaders attended the event. As a photographer this is an event I always look to capture.  The event layout is a challenge as there are many tables and few area to wonder.  So arriving early to review the layout and prepare is always a good idea. When I photograph an event, I always to take time to study the layout and look for different ways to capture it and tell the story.  I also try to find different angles and points of view.  This year State of the City Address was an exciting and inspiring event to photograph. Mayor John Giles highlighted the city mayor accomplishments and its plans for 2017.  Some of the items discussed included the new Apple manufacturing facility in South East Mesa, Downtown Mesa Benedictine University new student housing and new potential development for the lot at the corner of Mesa Drive and University.  

Tilt-Up construction by Suntec Concrete, a heavy lifting process.

In the Fall of 2016 I was hired to do construction photography for the lifting of one of the walls for the iFly skydiving place that Suntec Concrete is building in Scottsdale, AZ. This particular lift was going to be one of the largest and heaviest lift they have done. On a tilt-up process the walls are built on the grounds and when ready they are lifted and set in place. It is a process that takes a great deal of preparation and precision. As a photographer, I need to be very aware of my surroundings and anticipate what will be happening in order to capture the perfect image. Safety comes first. You have to be synch with everyone. You cannot afford to get distracted. It will get you in a lot of trouble. Construction photography is something I have done for many years. I find it appealing. Structures of concrete and steel are my canvas. I look for lines, shapes and shadows to create my compositions and tell the story that I see.

Thanksgiving in Iceland. Wonderful warm country in a very cold land

I am not a cold weather person and neither is my fiancé Jen. We both were born and live in a very warm place. However, we love to travel and experience new cultures.  So when the opportunity to visit Iceland came about; we weighed the pros and cons and decided to go for it.  We have heard about Iceland and felt that winter was probably better than summer. It is a very popular place to travel to in the summer. In part it is the location. Iceland is right in the middle of the flight routes from the US to Europe. Many airlines will offer stop by services. So over the years the Iceland economy has transformed from an economy that depended on fishing to one that is now driven by tourism. The country population is about 350,00 and one can drive around the island in about 13 hours. The challenge of visiting in winter in addition to the cold is the very short days you get. Sun rises at 10:30 in the morning sets at 4 in the afternoon. The advantage of visiting in winter is that you get less crowds and the opportunity to see the Northern Lights. We rented a car for two days and managed to visit many places close to the reykjavik . We visited several waterfalls in the southern coast and were able to get to see the Northern lights on our first night. We were very fortunate and the rest of our stay was rainy and cloudy.  Overall we had a wonderful experience. And even thought it was winter,  I am glad we did it. 

Lydian, A Different Way of Looking at a Dental Office

I was hired by  Burkhart dental, a company I have done work for in the past to commercial photography of the Tempe office for Lydian dental. The images were created for their quarterly magazine  Catalist.  As you will see in the photographs Lydian is not your traditional dental office. The owners: Dr. Scott Connell, Dr. Josh Turnbull, and Clayton Nylander, did a great deal of research to create a place where patience and workers feel at easy and welcome.  They currently have three locations. In Arizona in addition to Tempe they also have an office in Queen Creek. Their third location is in Austin, Texas. Working with this team was exciting and energizing.  It was a great pleasure to see the images on the Catalyst magazine cover and in the featured article.

University of Arizona Mount Lemmon Sky Center, a view of our galaxy and beyond

What an wonderful experience we had last weekend. We signed up for the Mount Lemmon Sky Center Astronomy program.  It was my first experience at a real observatory.  As a Mesa, Arizona photographer, going to Tucson is always a great trip. Tucson culture is very diverse and there always great places to eat and visit.

After a half hour drive from our bed and breakfast The Azure Gate outside of Tucson, we arrived at the top of Mount Lemmon. The program started around 4 PM with instructions on how to use the telescope, a beautiful sunset and a well executed presentation about our universe by Matt Ryan. Matt is an astronomer who graduated at the University of Arizona. Matt presentation showed his passion and immense knowledge for the topic.  He did a wonderful job in educating all of us about our universe and many of the other galaxies beyond. We had perfect skies and great weather for star gazing.

I came out with a great understanding of how tiny small our planet and solar system is when compared to everything else out there. We learned that there are about 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, the galaxy our solar system is in. Now put this into perspective, it is estimated that there are about 100 billion galaxies out there.  Yes, we are just a little grain of dust in the bast space system. Here are few images from the facility and the views we had .

Photography Techniques, Stephen Wilkes Day to Night images

Photographer Stephen Wilkes, uses a very unique approach to capturing live at iconic places throughout the world using thousand of photographs over a 20 to 30 hours span and then carefully combining them into one image. Stephen Wilkes series Day to Night are beautiful photographic illustration of our world today.  This TED talk presentation is not just about a photography technique but about a portrait of our planet, ourselves and nature. 

Tokyo Sky Tree, a photographer's perspective

This summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Japan for the first time. We traveled throughout the country and spent several days in Tokyo. Photographing Tokyo was a delight. There is so much to capture with the camera. Tokyo is a very modern city with world class architecture and in 2020 will host the Sumer Olympics. One of the city's newest structures is the Tokyo Sky Tree. It is the tallest broadcast tower in the world. It measures 2080 feet. It opened on May 22, 2012 and cost $806 million to biuild.  From the ground the tower is majestic and it hard to miss.  As someone that has done architectural photography, it is hard not to be inspired by it. The clean design and impressive size of this structure draws you in. The view of the city from the top of Sky Tree is impressive. With a population of 13 million people Tokyo is one of the most populated cities in  the world.

White Sands National Monument, a photographers' paradise

We are on our second day of a 4 day Arizona Highways Photo Workshops at White Sands National Monument.  We arrived yesterday afternoon and photographed during the afternoon through sunset. The weather changed on use several times. In a span of 4 hours we saw storms go by, lighting, moon rise, sunset and got caught in a very strong wind storm. Weather like this makes for great images. Today we were up very easy to capture sunrise. The weather was much calmer this morning; but we still managed to create few great images. It is my first trip to the White Sands. I am glad I came. It is a magical and beautiful place. See for yourself.

Mesa Morning Live September 2016 episode

Every month , the Mesa Chamber of Commerce presents Mesa Morning Live, a monthly networking event that showcases business and community leaders. The topics varied through out the year. This month, our key presenter was Cindy McCain. Cindy, the wife of Senator John McCain, talked to us about human trafficking.  Her passion for this topic is evident. She is in a mission to raise awareness and get lawmakers and business leaders to do what is necessary to stop human trafficking from happening. In addition to Cindy McCain, we also heard from SRP, the United Food Bank and East Valley Veterans Day Parade.  Jim Pratt SRP Sr Director of Grid Modernization Services, shared with us what SRP is currently doing to improve and develop its services to people it serves in Arizona. Ginny Hildebrand, Executive Director for The United Food recognized Organ Stop Pizza for collecting the most amount of money and pounds of food during the 2016 Christmas in July food drive event.  BankMelissa Forester and Steve Borden gave us an update on the upcoming East Valley Veterans Parade which will happen on November 11 in Downtown Mesa. Below is a selection of images from the event. A more extensive collection can be found here

Images from my pass, Yakima, Washington

in 1997 I moved from Iowa to Yakima, WA to take on as the product development manager for the Yakima Herald Republic. I rented a house on the Cowiche near Yakima. The area is surrounded by apple orchards. Close to our house, in a clear day, you could easily see Mount Adams. The area is beautiful. It is high desert covered in green with an occasional house pocking through here and there. Last year I had a chance to come back to Yakima. I drove to the area around sunset time and capture these images. As you can see the sky colors are a strong contrast to the green and snow capped Mount Adams. Yakima is located in Central Washington. Apples are a key crop and it is very likely that when you buy an apple is from that region.

Happy 100th birthday to our National Parks Service

As a Volunteer Trip Leader with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops for the past 8 years, I have had the great opportunity to capture the great beauty of many of our national parks.  I feel incredible fortunate to be part of a dedicated group that share a very strong passion for helping others develop their creative skills through photography. Seeing the beauty that many of our national parks have to offer is one thing. Spending time with talented photographers that know the parks like the palm of their hand is another. Being able to be at the perfect location at the wright time is a great value Arizona Highways provides. Here are some of my favorites from the Grand Canyon, Tetons, Yellowstone, Acadia and Joshua Tree.  Let's hope that these national parks will be able to celebrate 100 again.  Happy 100th birthday National Parks Services.

Falcon Field Airport KFFZ in Mesa, AZ. An airport with a great deal of history.

In 1941 Falcon Field was a training facility for Bristsh Royal Air Force Cadets. Today, the airport is a general aviation airport owned by the city of Mesa and it is on the top ten most active general aviation airports in the USA. Earlier this year, I completed a project that consisted of photographing several of the airport installations and business as well as the recently renovated terminal. The airport has a great deal of history and today many Mesa residents find a link between their family relatives and the airport. Here are few images that showcase today's Falcon Field Airport

Capturing design and comfort of Double Tree Hilton at Santan Village in Gilbert, Arizona

We recently completed the creation of a series of images for the  Double Tree by Hilton at San Tan Village in Gilbert, Arizona. Photographing a hotel is about taking time to understand the property layout and architectural design. As a photographer you then have to do the best you can to translate the feelings you get while visiting the location in your images. It is more about just taking photos of the location. You need to find the right angles and spent a great deal of time lighting the room or using existing light to create the image you want. Here are few images from this assignment.

Sheraton Hotel at Wrigleyville West. New hotel next to the Chicago Cubs Spring Training facility in Mesa, Arizona

The new Sheraton Rigleyville West Hotel located in the Riverview Park in Mesa was a great project to capture. The hotel has a large selection of rooms and first class restaurants as well as complex of swimming pools.  It took several days to set capture all the different facilities and rooms this hotel has to offer. It was a challenging but fun project to complete. As a commercial photographer, I find that many times you spent a lot of time rearranging furniture and lights and only few minutes behind the camera. Creating impactful architectural photos takes patience, planning and a ken eye for details.  Here is a selection of images from this project.

Bruce Munro Sonoran Lights at Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix- A Photographer's perspective

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Bruce Munro Sonoran light installation at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens. It was a very special night. Not only we had wonderful weather, it was a special photographers only event. All the lights in the gardens were out. Only Bruce Munro pieces were lit.  It truly was a feast for your eyes.  The exhibit will run through May 8, 2016. If you are planning in seeing it, I recommend you reserve your tickets well in advance.  It is a very popular show and tickets are selling fast.  Here are some of my favorites images.

San Juan Capistrano Mission, a photographers' view

This summer, I had the opportunity to return to San Juan Capistrano. A visit to this city can't be complete without stopping at the mission.   The San Juan Capistrano Mission was stablished in November 1, 1877 by father Sierra. This is a place wit a great deal of history and it reminds me of old places I visited as a kid in Venezuela.  One can get lost in this marvelous building by talking a long and slow walk so you can admire the craftsmanship and beautiful details.

Portraits of Nature with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops in Eagar, Arizona

Last week, I had the fortune to escape the Phoenix heat and go to the town of Eagar in Northern Arizona to help in a 4 day workshop conducted by nature photographer Bruce Taubert.  Living in Arizona, gives me the luxury of being able to find cooler areas that are just a half day driving from where I live .  The town of Eagar is a 4 hours drive from Phoenix and 40 degrees cooler in the summer.  The area is popular for wild life and outdoor activities. We were there to photograph hummingbirds.  The workshop was conducted at the Sipe Wild Life Area which  is at the foot of Escudilla Mountain.  Although it is few hundred miles from Phoenix, it seems you are in a completely different world.  The air was cool and crisp. We had few showers and lost of overcast days. It was a nice time to be away  from the sweltering summer heat of Phoenix.  The workshop participants had a good time and went home with hundreds of great images. Bruce did an outstanding job in setting up the photography stations and worked very closely which each one of the participants.  Rick Sprain and I assisted Bruce during the workshop. Being a Volunteer Trip Leader with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops have been a wonderful experience and it has granted me the opportunity to learn new photography techniques and visit amazing places in Arizona and the USA.  Here are few images fro the the workshop.