I often read about photographers who struggle to stay inspired. I can relate to this big time. Living in southern California provides endless opportunities for photographers, yet all too often I find myself struggling to find something “new” to photograph. After living here for so long, everything (even incredible things like oceans and mountains) can, at times, seem the same.
Several months ago I wrote about my good friend, Becky Sehenuk and her experience of losing a twin sister (Jenny) in a motorcycle accident. You can read the original post “Losing Jenny” here. For many reasons, this was difficult to write. Doing so made me realize I was largely helpless to help her. Despite every desire to somehow remove this painful experience from my friend, I had no capacity to do so.
It was July 4th, and I was out looking for American symbolism. I was hoping the American holiday would present interesting photography opportunities. As a military vet, I knew cemeteries were often decorated with rows of American flags on patriotic holidays. I drove across town and pulled into a cemetery not far from my home. I parked my car and quietly walked the grounds. It was a peaceful morning and most of the surrounding town was still asleep. Being that it was so early, I assumed I was alone. I would soon discover that I was wrong.
This is Alex Mastrolonardo. Someday, he may save your life. At age 18, Alex is on life’s “fast track” and will soon begin med school at the University of Pittsburg. I took this image as part of a small series of images to be used at his upcoming high school graduation ceremony. While Alex may have the outward appearance of a typical high school senior, there’s nothing typical about him. In fact, Alex is the most accomplished and humble young man I know. His entire life is about uncommon achievement.
Is it possible to mourn the loss of someone you’ve never met? I’m not completely certain, but I do feel a deep sense of loss and regret when I think of Jennifer (Jenny) Anne Sehenuk. Tragically, Jenny died in a motorcycle accident on October 1st, 2010 in Valencia, California. She was on her way to her mother’s home for a family gathering when the accident occurred. Jenny was only 29 and her passing is something I think about almost daily.
I recently visited the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. Two of the more popular items on display are a former Air Force One jet (you can see the nose of this aircraft in the upper-left corner of this image), and a former Marine One helicopter. This image is one of my favorites taken during my visit. I have always loved helicopters. Their ability to gracefully hover and pivot is simply intriguing to watch. With their long blades and sleek designs, helicopters look every bit as impressive sitting on the ground as they do in flight. While serving in the military, I had the incredible opportunity to spend an entire afternoon repelling from a UH-1 helicopter. Amazing fun!
I’m intrigued with cameras – especially old ones. By today’s digital standards, even the most sophisticated film cameras of years past seem primitive. Primitive or not, there’s something undeniably elegant about old cameras. They have character and function-driven style. They’re a physical testimony to a simpler time in our history. The camera you see here is the Kodak Vigilant Junior Six-20. It’s a folding camera produced by Eastman Kodak between 1940 and 1948. It uses 620 film and originally sold new for about $11.
Yesterday, my wife and I had an amazing opportunity to ride in a hot air balloon. What a fantastic experience! If you’ve never done it, I really recommend it (assuming you’re not afraid of heights). Our balloon lifted off just after dawn, and within a few short seconds we had a spectacular 1,000 foot view of Camarillo’s rolling hillsides and neatly aligned orchards.
You’ve probably heard Carmen Carter’s voice on TV. Carmen is the background singer for Dancing with the Stars. She has an astonishingly flexible and beautiful voice. She’s also very high-energy and lots of fun to hang out with. I had the pleasure of working with Carmen a year or so ago. She was getting ready to release some new music and needed a “funky” image for her press materials. After working with her for a few hours, I can tell you her personality is as big as her afro!