Best of 2015

What a year. Looking back, this year was one of the best yet. I still can't believe what I was able to capture throughout the last twelve months. Where do I even start... Below are my best of landscapes and sports videos.

One of the most impactful trips of the year was definitely my time in East Asia. Spending time and capturing the villagers way of life was so memorable and I continue to pray for them to know and see God work in their life. Check out a few of my favorite images from Asia.

 

My next trip was up to Oregon for a week. I had never been there before and I was excited to finally capture all the waterfalls in the Colombia River Gorge. It did not disappoint, I came back with so many great landscapes images. Every waterfall was so awesome and I can't wait to go back soon. Here are a few selects from Oregon.

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Colorado was my last trip of the summer. Spending a week up in the mountains just fishing and taking photos was a great way to end the summer. The best part was throwing a fishing line in the lake, going to take a few photos and coming back to a fish on the line. The scenery up there was unbeatable and the clouds were even better.

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Sports

This year, I think I finally made the transition from just a photographer to being known as a sports photographer. At the beginning of January, I was still not sure how my future career would look or where to start in the industry. After a lot of practice and patience, I think I have a good start to my sports career, and it's just the beginning.

Another year of working for CBU athletics, brought a lot of practice and challenges creating new creative images over and over again. The highlight was the Men's Basketball NCAA D2 tournament run and their buzzer beater win over SPU in the second round. I started shooting all the teams for marketing and advertising for athletics. Which allowed me to come up with shoot ideas and lighting styles for all the teams this year. This was awesome and I already can't wait to create better images next year for the teams.

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The Special Olympics World Games. In April I was contacted by Toyota asking if I was interested in going to the games and creating images for them. At first I didn't really believe it, but after talking to them about it, I couldn't pass up the opportunity. After attending the opening ceremony, I really saw the size and importance of the games. This was some of the best sporting events I have ever been to. The athletes were celebrating no matter the outcome and the fans were cheering them on the whole time. This was an unforgettable experience and I hope I can go to the games again next time.

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Finally the most exciting thing from the year. Late in October I applied to a photo intern job with the LA Clippers online. A few days later and got a phone call asking for an interview and the next day I was offered the internship. I was blown away, I never thought I would be shooting at NBA games already. The few shorts months have already been incredible, being on the court of Clipper games with my camera. It has truly been a blessing and I am looking forward to the rest of the season.

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Thanks as always for all your support and thanks for following along in 2015. This year was so amazing,We will see what happens in 2016, but it is going to be hard to top this year!

Happy New Year!

CBU Mens Basketball NCAA Tournament Win

The CBU basketball team has been playing in the NCAA D2 tournament the last two days. I have been there to capture the games. Yesterday they beat Chico State and advanced to the second round. The faced Seattle Pacific in the second round. The score was close all game, but SPU pulled ahead to a double digit lead with a few minutes left. After a couple threes and defensive stops, CBU closed the gap and was down by one with the last possession. After a missed jump shot, CBU got the rebound and put it back up. The layup when in as time expired and the team went crazy. Check out the story at http://www.cbulancers.com/news/2015/3/14/MBB_0314153650.aspx As a photographer, it was hard deciding what to shoot with and where to focus. Once I realized CBU could come back and win, I set up a remote camera on the side of the hoop. I then had two cameras on me, one with a zoom and one with a wide angle. I shot the last play with the zoom lens and followed the ball, after the shot went in, I focused on the bench for a few seconds. I then got up and ran to center court and captured the team celebrate together.  After that I followed them into the locker room and captured more of the celebration. This was one of my first buzzer beater games to photograph and it was crazy. They don't call it March Madness for nothing!

Here are some of my favorite images from the game.

 

Steel Wool Photography

I have always seen steel wool photography around the web and thought it was cool. About two years ago, some friends I met through Instagram invited me to go try it out for the first time in Sacramento. We went under an overpass hidden from view and with nothing that could burn around us. I got my camera settings going and they started spinning. The first time I saw the image on the back on my camera, I was amazed, it looked incredible. From that night on, I have tried many different spinning techniques and I go spinning whenever I can. Here are some images from that first time spinning. JGSteewool016 JGSteewool015

Now for those of you who don't know what steel wool photography is... The process is putting steel wool into a kitchen whisk tying it to a rope, lighting the steel wool, then spinning it around in circles to throw the sparks. By taking a long exposure, the camera captures all the sparks and the resulting images look amazing and unique.

One time I took my brother and dad out with me one night to spin. They had a great time playing with the fire and had many ways to make it better. One of their ideas was to use a drill to spin the steel wool instead on manually throwing a rope around your head. A couple of hours went by working in the shop and the first prototype of the drill attachment was finished. That night we tested it out on our court and it worked pretty good, but still could use some improvement. After fixing some things and making it better, it was ready for the first time out shooting with it. I took it down to the American River and spent a few hours playing with it. I could tell that I was going to like using this a lot.

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Using the drill gives the spin a much tighter circle and better sparks spraying everywhere, not to mention saving somebody's arm muscles. This first model eventually, wore out and we made a new and improved version. I was using it around Sacramento, and took it to shoot with some more Instagramers. Everyone was amazed by it and wanted to use it all the time. I took it to San Diego to meet up with some of the best spinners I know, and they were impressed with its abilities. Some more improvements were made and we finally settled on the best way to make them. We tried making a bigger attachment and even a four whisk type, but those did not work out to great.

I kept taking it out to shoot, but the images are more about the location then the spin, just like most types of photography. I always try to find a composition with a good foreground in the frame. Beaches are my favorite to spin steel wool has they have rocks and other interesting formations. There is enough room for the sparks to fly and not damage or catch on fire. But I am always on the lookout to find more locations to spin.

Without going any farther, I need to mention that spinning steel wool is dangerous. Little pieces of steel wool on fire are being thrown all over the place. It would not take much for a dry brush to catch fire by one little spark. So make sure before you start spinning to find a location where nothing can be lit on fire. I always bring a little fire extinguisher or make sure there is water close by just in case something happens. Just be careful spinning steel wool. So go out be creative and try some steel wool photography!

Here are some of my favorite steel wool photos I have made so far.