Posts tagged “San Diego


The space between

The Space Between


Heartbreak happens to all of us and can wash over us like the in rushing tide. We are soaked with grief, and the overflow is channeled into the body. Loss becomes a physical emptiness with  feelings that often cannot be put into words. The idea of healing can seem so enormous that often we don’t even try for fear of further damage. This leaves an enduring mark upon us and by no means does recognizing that this is not permanent dull its sting for it is the sting itself that stimulates healing. The pain is letting us know that we need to pay attention to our emotional selves, to listen to our feelings and be in them fully. There is a saying that time heals all wounds, and this may be true to some degree. Time tends to dull the pain. Most importantly, open yourself to the possibility of loving, trusting, and believing again. When, someday soon, you emerge from the cushion of your grief, you will see that the universe did not cease to be as you nursed your broken heart. You emerge on the other side of the mending, stronger for all you have experienced.

I discovered this fissure in the rock at Sunset Cliff’s in San Diego during a low tide at sunset. It is quite a challenge to get to the beach from the cliffs above, the final descent is down a 30 embankment where a rope has been secured to assist hardy souls getting up and down – a beginners introduction to rappelling of sorts. Having a hefty Manfrotto Tripod and a pack full of photo gear made this even more fun! The waves were quite vigorous this afternoon and this called for a Neutral Density Filter which allowed a 30 second exposure to smooth things out and capture the many tiny waterfalls. I used a Variable ND from Singh-Ray on a 10-20mm lens. Mounting the tripod on a sturdy rock outcrop stabilized the shot with the tide sweeping  around its feet (and mine). There are many such geographical features along the coast of Southern California which emerge during the low tide and will be subject of further exploration in the coming years!

Please have a look to our website for more scenic landscapes and other gems which would look amazing framed and on your wall!

Thanks so much for the visit!

Mind Games

For better or worse, many people have been raised to believe that communicating in an honest and open way will not get them what they want. They have learned, instead, to play mind games or go on power trips in the service of their own ego. As with all relationships and situations, we must look within for our difficulties and the solution. By disengaging, being still and going within we can begin to see what has hooked us into the mess in the first place. We will likely find  unprocessed emotions that can be released into the stillness we find in meditation. The situation will untangle itself and we will slowly break free. Whenever people come into our lives, they have come to show us something about ourselves that we had not been able to see. When unhealthy people try to hook us into their patterns with mind games and power trips, we can remind ourselves that we have something to learn here and that a part of us is calling out for healing. This takes the focus off the troubling individual and puts it back on us, giving us the opportunity to change the situation from the inside out.

This was shot recently at The Salton Sea just east of San Diego. The area is beautiful for its desolation – you may recall several other posts with this same Harley and Model. Here we wanted to capture the Ghost Rider zipping off into the distance with the thoughts of two women on his mind, the old and the new. The old, he carries with him as a shadow of what once was, the new still fresh in his mind.

To purchase a Digital Download or Print of this unique shot, click!i=2050290494&k=j7nZKSn  and you will go straight to our photo website – you might want to check some of the other Salton Sea pictures while you are there!

Live, Love, Leave a Legacy

In Memory of Stephen Covey


Stephen Covey, a former  Brigham Young University business professor who blended personal self-help and management theory in a massive best-seller, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” died Monday, July 16th at a hospital in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He was 79. The cause was complications from injuries sustained in a bicycle accident, said Debra Lund, a spokeswoman for the Utah-based  FranklinCovey leadership training and consulting company he co-founded. In April, Covey lost control of his bike while riding down a hill in Provo, Utah. He was hospitalized for two months with a head injury, cracked ribs and a partly collapsed lung but “never fully recovered,” Lund said Monday. Covey became a household name when “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” was published in 1989. On best-seller lists for four years, it has sold in excess of 20 million copies in 40 languages and spawned a multimillion-dollar business empire that markets audiotapes, training seminars and organizing aids aimed at improving personal productivity and professional success. I have had the privilege of attending one of his seminars – a truly inspirational awakening. His message is a philosophy for living – he will be missed and his message lives on in the hearts and minds of all who have taken to time to listen and learn!

Whenever we lose something or somebody we love, it is important for us to take time out for ourselves and truly feel the weight of what we are experiencing. Although it may seem that doing so will push us into a deeper state of sadness, truly giving ourselves permission to be with whatever arises actually creates space for us to begin the healing process. This is because the act of grieving is a natural process, allowing us to sort through the range of emotions that are present in our everyday existence. Even though it may sometimes seem easier to involve ourselves in activities that take our minds off of our sadness, this will only make the route to healing more difficult. Unless we listen to where we are in the moment, the emotions we experience will only grow in intensity, and our feelings will manifest themselves in more powerful and less comfortable ways. Once we consciously acknowledge that these emotions are present, however, we are more able to soothe the sorrow of the moment. When we allow ourselves to accept and deal with our loss fully, we will then be able to continue our life’s journey with a much more positive and accepting outlook. This will make it easier for us to see that our grief is ephemeral and, just like our moments of happiness, it will also come to pass.

Somehow this lone bench, overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Coronado seemed appropriate.

Ready for Launch

Some SPHINXOLOGY to start:  Along with the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Sphinx is one of the greatest enigmas and the most studied ancient monument of mankind’s history. The whole complex of Giza, composed of the Sphinx, the Great Pyramid, other pyramids, and distinct structures, definitely holds the key to understanding advanced past civilizations. There is no other place teeming with so many researchers looking into the mysteries of mankind’s past, which may cause history to be rewritten. Now there are basically two schools of thoughts concerning the origin, age, and the builder of the Sphinx in Egypt. The Egyptologists believe that Pharaoh Khafre built the Sphinx around 2500 B.C., which is about the 4th dynasty. This theory makes the Sphinx about 5,000 years old according to Dr. Zahi Hawass, Director of Giza Saqqara of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization.

Now the other school of thought does not believe that the Egyptians built the Sphinx, but think that it was built by an advanced civilization 8,000 to 10,000 B.C. This school of thought has been around for hundreds of years, but new findings give it more credibility. The most popular myth was that “…the Sphinx was the true portal [entrance] of the Great Pyramid”  and “The Great Sphinx of Gizeh served as the entrance to the sacred subterranean chambers [of the Great Pyramid] in which the trials of the initiate were to be undergone.”  Some claim that sand and rubbish covered a bronze door in the forelegs of the Sphinx that the Magi sprung open. Now various diggings around the Great Pyramid have not verified any of these basic claims about the Sphinx.The consensus about the Sphinx is that some priestly class erected it for some symbolical purpose. It is clear from the granite Stela, inscription by Pharaoh Thutmosis IV of the Fourth Dynasty, that many of previous eras believe that there is something magical about this Sphinx.

This striking image was shot at The San Diego County Fair as part of a series on night photography, specifically on capturing the excitement and motion of the whirling rides. We will be publishing a “How to” article shortly detailing the Tips and Tricks for night photography – stay tuned, or better yet, subscribe to the blog! Here, this Sphinx ride would rock eager passengers through 180 degrees of motion – we tried to capture this dynamic in this shot…what do you think?

The Colors of Life

The wondrous displays of color that define the world around us are manifestations of light and, as such, each possesses a unique frequency. The attraction we feel to certain colors is not a matter of pure chance. It is easy to overlook the colors that saturate our personal and professional environments. Yet these, whether in the form of the paint on our walls or the clothing we wear, can influence our thoughts, behaviors, and feelings to an extraordinary degree. The colors we like best are often those that we need most in our lives, and there are many ways we can utilize them. Basking under a colored lightbulb or gazing at an area of color can stimulate or calm us depending on the color we choose. For example, red stimulates the brain, circulatory systems, giving us an energy boost, while blue acts to soothe the body and mind. Human beings evolved to delight in vivid sunsets and rainbows, to enjoy the sensations awakened by particularly eye-catching color, and to decorate our spaces and ourselves with bright colors. In essence, we evolved to love the light because of its harmonizing influence on every aspect of the self.

Shooting Tips: This is a picture taken at the Del Mar Fairgrounds of their amazing Ferris Wheel in motion. We mounted our trusty Nikon D7000 on a tripod and equipped it with a 10-20mm Sigma wide-angle lens. Finding a good vantage point was somewhat challenging – it had to be out of traffic and still capture the immensity of the spinning wheel. You can gauge the size by some of the people on the foreground. Setting the camera to Manual Mode, the aperture was adjusted to f13 and then the shutter speed was varied depending on the speed of the wheel and the effect we were trying to achieve, in this case it was 1 second. The camera ISO was set to 100 for minimum “grain” and White Balance set to Auto (primarily due to the various temperatures of the lights all around) and as always, camera RAW (or NEFF for Nikon shooters) was used so that small non-destructive adjustments could be made later. To avoid camera shake during the 1 second exposure, a wired remote shutter release was used – this way you don’t have to physically depress the shutter (and cause the camera to move resulting in a blurred or even jerky image). Much of these types of shots are the result of experimentation since there are so many variables of light and motion tempered with a bit of experience. It is a good idea to preview the images as they are shot, look at your Histogram to ensure that highlights are not overexposed and make adjustments on the fly…and of course, have fun!


Being Your Best

The idea that our best isn’t good enough…how often do you hear that and how much sense does it really make?  Your best is always good enough, because it comes from you, and you are always good enough provided you are giving your best. You may not be able to deliver someone else’s idea of the best, but the good news is that’s not your burden. You only need to fulfill your own best potential, and as long as you remain true to that calling, and always do your best to fulfill your purpose, you don’t need to expect anything more from yourself. It’s easy to get tangled up with the idea of trying to be the best—the best parent, the best employee, the best child, or best friend. If we try to be the best, we run the risk of short-circuiting our originality because we are striving to fit into someone else’s vision of success. On another note, there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve, but examining where this feeling comes from is important because wanting to be better than others is our ego coming into play. Letting go of the tendency to hold ourselves up to other people’s standards, and letting go of the belief that we need to compete and win, doesn’t mean we don’t believe in doing the best job we can. We always strive to do our best, because when we do we create a life free of regret, knowing we have performed to the best of our ability. This allows us to feel great personal satisfaction in all of our efforts, regardless of how others perceive the outcome.

This dramatic image was shot at the Del Mar Racetrack in San Diego, California. While we were not right onto of this horse and jockey, we did have the benefit of using a long telephoto lens, specifically the Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8. We added a 2x doubler and zoomed in even farther. This makes for a heavy and hard to handle combination, so we mounted the Nikon D7000 along with the zoom and doubler on a monopod and found our way close to the finish line (having cool looking gear often helps to convince Security folks that you have some importance). Shooting multiple frames per second and panning the action, or having the focus on the subject and moving the camera and lens to follow, allowed us to capture this action. Panning takes some practice, but is really helpful for any action scene, especially when it is running at 90 degrees to the camera. Having a monopod allows for quick swiveling to follow the action and it is compact as not to disturb others in the area. You might watch photographers at NFL games, they almost all have their massive lenses supported by monopods – they are inexpensive, portable and allow very reasonable stability, even for portrait sessions!

Sharpen Your Saw

I’ve cut this plank three times already…and it’s still too short!

Habit #7 in Steven Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is called “Sharpen the Saw.”  Covey uses the  story of a woodcutter who is furiously sawing trees. He wonders to himself why it is such hard work and why it is taking so long. An observer happens across the scene (noticing the exhausted woodcutter and the smoke coming from his blade from friction) and casually asks, “When was the last time your sharpened your saw?”, to which the woodcutter says, “I’m too busy cutting these darned trees to sharpen a dumb saw!” (more or less)

So what does this really mean?

If you are working your tail off and your productivity begins to drop off, you might think…time for a vacation! This is not sharpening the saw, it is putting down the dull saw to be picked up when you get back from your getaway. In order to sharpen your saw you should engage in a renewal activity such as exercise, healthy eating, education and seminars, learning a new skill, meditatation, maybe writing a journal or just having a long meaningful talk with someone. Are your blades (knowledge, body, mind, motivation, spirit) still honed to perfection? If not, find the ones that are dull and take some time to sharpen them!

This is from our favourite rusty haunt, Bernardo Winery. The blade here was used for ripping lumber and was attached to a series of gears and pulleys which were likely driven by a linkage to  tractor. Using a wide-angle lens and a low perspective, the scale of the blade is accentuated. Compositionally, the center mounting point is placed in the lower right third of the frame (Rule of Thirds). One can even get trickier and use the rules of Fibonacci Composition, which in itself is rather fascinating! Photographers, look up Fibonacci and sharpen up your compositions!

Perfect Vision

Artists who seek perfection in everything are those who cannot attain it in anything

It is good to remember that one of our goals in life is to not be perfect. If life is about experimenting, experiencing, and learning, then to be imperfect is a prerequisite. Life becomes much more interesting once we let go of our quest for perfection and aspire for imperfection instead. This doesn’t mean that we don’t strive to be our best, but to simply accept that there is no such thing as perfection.  Perfection may happen in a moment, but it will not last because it is an impermanent state.

In spite of this, many of us are in the habit of trying to be perfect. One way to ease ourselves out of this tendency is to look at our lives and notice that no one is judging us to see whether or not we are perfect. Sometimes, perfectionism is a holdover from our childhood—an ideal we inherited from a demanding parent. Now that we are the adults, we can choose to let go of the need to perform for someone else’s approval. Similarly, we can choose to experience the universe as a place where we are free to be imperfect, where we can begin to take ourselves less seriously and have more fun.

This is another rusty gem from the grounds of Bernardo Winery – oh, did we mention that they have spectacular vintages as well?  Rusty things are just fun to explore and shoot. Here we used a Nikkor 105mm fixed focal length lens (that also doubles as a Macro) allowing us to get up close and personal with our favourite form of oxidation. Having a tripod for Macro work is not a luxury but absolutely essential. The closer one gets, the more critical the focussing becomes and hence, the stability of the camera. In the “old days” of SLR cameras and film, viewfinders often had split image focussing and other optical aides to get that tack sharp image. Now, we always take off the Auto-Focus feature and focus by eye and forget about the camera making choices for us. Also, using a remote shutter release, wired or infra-red, helps minimize vibrations when releasing the shutter. If you want even less potential vibration, you can use the Mirror-Up feature after composing and before shooting (yes, the movement of the mirror to expose the sensor causes the camera to shake).

Not Now, Dagnabit!

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and a flat tire

We all experience frustrations each and every day. Our expectations go unmet, our plans blocked, our wishes go unfulfilled…we discover that our lives are subject to forces beyond our control.  The tension that permeates our bodies and minds when we are late for an event, interrupted at work, or sitting in traffic  can interfere with our well-being in profound ways. The small frustrations and irritations wield such power over us because they rob us of the illusion of control. However, every problem is a potential teacher—a confusing situation is an opportunity to practice mindfulness, and difficult people provide us with opportunities to display compassion. There is a natural human tendency to invest copious amounts of emotional energy in minor frustrations in order to avoid confronting those often more complex issues on our plates. It is only when we let the little stuff go that we discover that the big stuff is not really so devastating after all.

This image was shot at Bernardo Winery in San Diego, California. The number of rusty vehicles, farm contraptions and other curious objects can keep a photographer occupied all day! The Winery is host to many Weddings and Engagement Parties and is an excellent venue for couples portraits or some fun Vintage Photo sessions! Taken with a Nikon D90 DSLR equipped with a 10-20mm wide-angle lens, it was important to maintain stability, even with reasonably fast shutter speeds. For this, we almost always use a tripod. Not only does this prevent the camera from inadvertently moving during shutter release, but it forces the photographer to slow down and compose the vision.

PS “Dagnabit” a mild expression of frustration uttered for polite company from the convolution of “God Damn It”

Get Back In the Driver’s Seat

It’s easy to go through this fast-paced world feeling as if you are being dragged through your days roped to a wild horse. We from one thing to another until we end up back home in the evening with just enough time to wind down and go to sleep, waking up the next morning to begin the wild ride once again. While this can be exhilarating for certain periods of time, a life lived entirely in this fashion can be exhausting, and more important, it places us in the passenger’s seat when really we are the ones who should be driving.

When we get caught up in our packed schedules and obligations, weeks can go by without us taking time to look at the bigger picture of our lives and we run the risk of going through our precious days on this runaway train. Taking time to view the bigger picture, asking ourselves if we are happy with the course we are on and making adjustments, puts us back in the driver’s seat where we belong. When we take responsibility for charting our own course in life, we may well go in an entirely different direction from the one supposedly preordained for us. This can be uncomfortable in the short-term, but in the long-term it is much worse to imagine living this precious life without ever taking back the wheel.

This was shot at Bernardo Wineries in San Diego, California. This Winery has a tasty selection of Boutique vintages as well as a scrumptuous variety of rusty machines, farm implements and other eye candy for the willing photographer. This is also a great place to shoot Engagement or even Trash the Dress post Wedding pictures. Always check with the owners before showing up with your Cast and Crew – they are very helpful and accommodating!

Slow Down

Since a young age, we are taught to value speed and getting things done quickly, forging ahead at a frantic pace – after all doing is more valuable than being, right?  Yet as we surge forward in search of some elusive sense of fulfillment, we often find ourselves feeling strangely disconnected….we fail to notice the simple beauty of living. When we learn to slow down, we rediscover the significance of seemingly inconsequential aspects of life. In essence, we give ourselves the gift of time—time to indulge our curiosity, to enjoy the moment, to appreciate worldly wonders, to sit and think, to connect with others, and to explore our inner landscapes more fully. A life savored slowly does not need to be passive, inefficient, or slothful. Conducting ourselves at a slower pace enables us to be selective in how we spend our time and to fully appreciate each passing moment.

This is a shot from La Jolla, California. We spent hours exploring the area, thinking of where the sun was eventually going to set, looking for interesting foreground and background and just taking in the briny smell of the sea, listening to the onrush of the waves and soaking in the sun. We waded through the surf to a lone rocky outcrop, set up our camera and tripod and waited patiently for the sun and the surf – this was not a one snap wonder but took place over the space of around 30 minutes. In the background you can see the Life Guard Towers at Children’s Pool where scores of seals bask in the sun and surf and give birth to their pups. You may also notice the huge waves as they are breaking, eventually sweeping into the cove (and inundating these Photographers in often thigh high water). The concept here was to contrast the dynamic rush of the waves with the tranquil descent of the sun at the end of another glorious day.

If Only…

If Only I had eaten my Wheaties this morning….

Thoughts beginning with these words are pregnant with our deepest feelings. “If only I had told her (him) of my love, life would be so much different”, “If only I had enough money, I could be free to enjoy life” or in the case of the Jockey who came in second at a horse race at Del Mar in California, “If only I had made my move in the third turn!” Clearly, the look in his eyes is brimming with resentments and if onlys! If onlys can be directed to the past, present and the future – we are somehow hoping outside events will save us or make us different or better.

However, we can change our programming, catch ourselves and chose to think something completely different! The rational mind, after all, is a servant to our programming, or as we have trained it in the past. There is nothing to prevent us from changing the software algorithms! Realize that the only power past events hold over us is what we give them. Just as you have created your perceptions of the past, the creative power within you can create a joy-filled today! Here is a thought for today:

“This is the beginning of a new day given to me to use as I will. I can waste it or use it for good. What I do today is important as I am exchanging a day of my life for it. When tomorrow arrives, this day will be gone forever, leaving in its place what I traded for it. I want what I traded to be gain and not loss, good and not evil, success, not failure…in order that I shall not forget the price I paid for it.”

Today is Friday, May 11, 2012. It is the only Friday, May 11, 2012 that you will ever have…make it a great one!

Living in The Now

Dont’ Let Yesterday use too much of Today

The past forms one parameter of our experience, while the future creates an area of hopes, dreams and wishes. We attempt to live today in between the two. If events of yesterday or tomorrow color today too much, today gets lost because time passes without conscious appreciation of what is happening now. If we invest in the future with many hopes, fantasies and dreams of what might be, we often overlook a present moment rich with its own gifts and beauty.

Being in the now sharpens our senses; our eyes to see and our ears to hear. We detect moments of opportunity with heightened senses, and we experience an enriched awareness of ourselves – our inner and outer motivations creating a more profound life. With this image at La Jolla Cove in California, one can hear almost hear the crashing of the distant waves and the swoosh of the outushing water revealing tranquility below in the tide pool.

Taken with a Nikon D90 and Sigma 10-20mm wide angle lens mounted on a tripod, using a slow shutter speed and a polarizing filter to pierce the reflections on the water, the intention was to capture dynamics of the ebb and flow of the sea.

Dont’ let yesterday use too much of today!


Vision is seeing a future state in the Mind’s Eye. Everything is created twice: first, a mental creation, second, a physical creation. Vision is the start of reinventing oneself and represents dreams, desire, hopes, goals and plans. These are not mere fantasies, but a reality not yet brought to the physical sphere – like a blueprint for a house, or notes in a score just waiting to be played. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. Memory is past and finite. Vision is future and infinite. Perhaps the most important Vision of all is to develop a sense of self, a sense of your own destiny, unique mission and role in Life, a sense of purpose and meaning.

This image is from Point Loma in California. Here we have elements of the past, the present and the future. The graves of the fallen, the Torrey Pine overlooking the magnificence of the Pacific where an abundance of life flourishes, and the sun breaking from the clouds after a storm. Using a Nikon D7000, equipped with a Sigma 10-20mm wide angle lens, all mounted on a Manfrotto Tri-pod, three shots of the same image were taken at different exposure values and then combined, generating a High Dynamic Range Image. This technique allows you to capture a greater range of light, overcoming the camera’s sensor limitations and producing an image that is closer to what the human eye can discern.

If you have any questions, please drop us a note at  – we always have great Technical Tips and love to share!

Red Part 3 – MCAS Miramar

This is another shot from MCAS Miramar taken in hard mid-day sun using our trusty Nikon D7000 equipped with a 17-70mm f2.8 lens, Quantum Q-Flash and hot shoe mounted metering system. Given the intensity of the light, we chose a location where one of the Museum vintage aircraft was under a canopy. This was the ultimate diffuser! Almost all other Photographers gravitated to this location, some packing some serious gear!

During the morning, we met a clothing designer who wanted to promote his line of hats, tops, bottoms. He gave us a few items which we took to this Photoshoot at the Aviation Museum. Our model had on a different outfit (recall previous posts) and when we asked if she could try these new items, she was more than happy. She disappeared behind a trailer and emerged with a new look. We noticed that traffic along Miramar Rd slowed for some reason during the change of outfits! Hmmm.

Thanks for the kind visit to our humble blog – please drop us a note if you have any comments or questions!

Kathleen and Erik

PS if you are curious regarding the clothing designer, check out his work on Facebook

Red : Part 2

Harsh light for Photographers is always a challenge – Noon in San Diego is just rough! One must seek some kinda shade, use huge diffusers, have a Crew to be Grips…yikes! Sounds complex. Not really….in harsh light find shade for the subject. Set your DSLR on Manual Exposure and Meter the background. Then use you Fill Flash to light it up!

Here we put our Model under the wing of a Fighter Bomber at MCAS, Miramar in San Diego, California. (Top Gun Training was here…check the Movie). We were working a Nikon D7000 equipped with a 17-70mm f2.8, mounted on an Alzo Bracket, Quantum T5d-R flah and Turbo battery pack. The point is, that with the correct gear and understanding any Photographer can overcome technical obstacles and delivery their Vision!

Thanks for your kind visit…K & E

The USS Midway

This shot was taken after we departed from “The Kiss Off” shoot to which we were invited to by a renowned local Photographer. You may recall previous posts, lots of “hoopla” and Media coverage. After taking care of Business, we strolled back to the USS Midway Museum parking lot and had to capture the immensity of this Aircraft Carrier. We decided that a three exposure High Dynamic Range (HDR)  shot would help to highlight the details of this City on Water – Black and White also gives a hint of History. What do you think?

USS Midway (CVB/CVA/CV-41) was an aircraft carrier of the United States Navy, the lead ship of her class, and the first to be commissioned after the end of World War II. Active in the Vietnam War and in Operation Desert Storm, she is currently a museum ship at the USS Midway museum in San Diego, California.

She is the only remaining US aircraft carrier of the World War II era that is not an Essex Class carrier. When she was completed in 1945, she was the first US warship that was unable to utilize the Panama Canal due to her size! This is certainly something you all need to go see when you come to Sunny San Diego!

If you have any questions about HDR Photography, just drop us a note

Thanks agin for your kind visit!

Kathleen and Erik

MCAS Miramar – Red

A continuation of our series from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, or MCAS. You may recall a movie by Tom Cruise called Top Gun? It was filmed here. The Museum inside is full of gems, and outside there are so many wonderful planes it boggles the mind. Here we had a photo shoot where Models and Hair and Makeup Artists were kindly asked to bring military or Pin-Up type outfits. Here, this is in the shadow of a Fighter Bomber. We liked the colour contrast and the red contrasting with the subtle camo jacket.

This was very challenging light being Mid-day in San Diego. Without hauling portable Studio Strobes, we accomplished this shot with our trusty Nikon D7000 mounted on an Alzo Bracket, powered by a Turbo-3 Battery pack which juiced the amazing Q-Flash. The lens was a 17-70mm Sigma f2.8 which is spectacular for close in Portraits! This time we used the flash in Manual Mode (as well as the D7000), shot in RAW (or NEFF as Nikon likes to call it) to allow subtle corrections in Post Processing.

The point is, that for any situation, The Photographer needs to arrive prepared and ready to have quick solutions to technical problems. The job of the Photographer is to make their subjects look Fabulous! Hope we accomplished this…What do you think?

Thanks for your kind visit to our Photoblog . If you have ANY Questions just drop us a note

Kathleen and Erik

MCAS Miramar – Eyes Front and Center!

This continues our series of shots from a special event at MCAS Miramar from a while back. We were experimenting with our bracket mounted Quantum T5d-R Flash, trusty Nikon D7000 and new Sigma 17-70mm f2.8 lens. This combination allows one to shoot in hard light. What one does is to exposed for the background then under expose it just a bit. The subject would then be totally under exposed with a typical setup. A problem that can be fixed and effectively!

The Q-Flash can be adjusted through it’s TTL, or Through the Lens, control system to bring the subject into proper exposure. This flash is more powerful than a camera mounted Speedlight and approaches Studio Power. The flash controller which sits on the camera Hot Shoe, meters the light in conjunction with the Nikon D7000 and allows incremental adjustments of Fill Light by simply turning a small switch. Additionally, the flash has a “Distance Limiter” which if set to say, 10 ft, would allow all objects beyond this range to not have light from the flash. Mounting the D7000 on a Flash Bracket puts all this gear into a nice portable package. It also comes with a Turbo-3 Battery pack which one mounts to one’s belt, that the flash and camera can plug into – great for at least 3 hours of hard work! This battery rocks!

Here, Jodi, the model, was instructed to lie under the wing of a vintage plane to get out of the hard 1PM light in San Diego. Background was exposed to get a hint of planes and then we filled her in with the Quantum on the flash bracket. The bracket itself allows one to pull the flash out around 2.5ft…perfect for a bit of side light. We had her dip her Aviators just a bit to capture her eye as the focal point.

Thank you for your kind visit to our humble blog and if you have ANY questions just Comment on The Blog or drop us a note at We answer every and all questions! (Please feel free to subscribe, we present Photographic Gems almost every day)

Kindest Regards, Kathleen and Erik

What Lies Beneath

This continues our Series of shots from under Piers in California. We love exploring the dark underside to capture the colours and surprises which abound. This was during a shoot with a great East Coast Photographer, Jerry Denham. We sought refuge under the Pier at Pacific Beach in California during a torrential downpour….only to find even more beauty!

We set up tripods and put Neutral Density Filters on our lenses to allow long shutter speeds. This allows the on rushing waves to get smokey and dreamy. Here we wanted to have this Kelp as a focus point. The trick was to capture the outrush of the waves to draw the eye to the inrush of the waves….they  were huge and  we got soaked!

All in a days work!

She’s Got Legs

My Security Detail and Key Grip (My Mom) spent the afternoon shooting Models at MCAS Miramar in San Diego. We were the first to arrive and quickly found the prime location. The light was hard and so we brought our trusty Quantum Flash to fill shadows. There were many pretty Models and tens of Photographers with all sorts of gear. I was a bit frustrated since as soon as I consulted with one of the Models as to what I was looking for, set up the pose, the “Sharks” moved in and it seemed like everyone gravitated to the image I had. I quickly learned to secret the Model away, do a quick shot and get out before others could see the vision…funny, eh?

So, hundreds of shots later, this Gem popped out. I was tired of the Glam Look and started searching around for something different. Being a Landscape Photographer, I look for angles, reflections and details. As the rest of the gang was happy snapping away, I went under the wing of this plane to capture, what I think, is just special…The reflection of this Model’s legs on the underside of the wing is cool, and her adjusting her shoes. What do you think?

Thanks for the visit to our humble Photoblog and if you have any questions, please feel more than welcome to drop us an email

Kathleen and Erik

The Motion of the Ocean

We took this shot after spending a great day with fellow Photographer, Jerry Denham who was in town from the East Coast. We scurried around under Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach, got soaked by rain, covered with salty sand, blown by fierce winds….and had a super time capturing a spectacular stormy sunset. It is what Photographers do – recall some previous posts. After dropping Jerry off at his Hotel, we stopped to admire the lights of San Diego.

Setting the camera on a sturdy Manfrotto Tripod, this was a 13 second exposure, f9 and ISO100. This allowed for the waves in the harbour to be smoothed out – also notice the boat on the right rocking back and forth during the 13 seconds, this adds some life to what might have been a static shot!

Due to all the varying light temperatures of the scene (Incandescent, Sodium Vapour etc), we left the camera on Auto White Balance and then corrected in post processing using Nikon Capture NX2 Software. In order to be able to do this, you must shoot in RAW (or as Nikon calls it, NEFF) and not in JPG. In RAW, you can correct exposure to a certain degree, White Balance and several other parameters without damaging the original image – not that we ever need to do anything in post! 😉

Thanks for the kind visit, Kathleen and Erik

Drop us a note if you have any questions

The Kiss Off, San Diego

We were contacted early Friday morning by local Photographer and Artist, Micheal Realpeople to see if we would be interested to cover an event he was organizing at the Embarcadero in San Diego. Here, there is a 25ft statue of the famous “Sailor Kiss” from WWII.

This statue will be relocated in a month or two and replaced with something else – I heard a “bronze”. Michael mentioned that the San Diego Port Authority was giving him a headache as he wanted to gather 25+ couples for a final “Kiss Off” to the iconic statue.

NBC News, CNN, and even Ellen Degeneres got wind of this and things started moving very rapidly!

Finally the Port Authority gave its blessing and the event proceeded without a hitch on Saturday morning.

Here are some of the links from the mornings coverage:

“Our Security Detail” Crystal Pier, San Diego

Don't Worry, Be Happy!

During Jerry Denham’s and our Crystal Pier shoot, we were thrilled to find other Folks who sought refuge from the wind and the rain in the Pier. If you have never crawled around under a Pier, try it one day! Each one is unique in construction, composition, age, amount of wonderful decay, kelp beds, pipes, rust…it is endlessly fascinating! These Gentlemen cleverly stationed themselves underneath a Hotel which is on top of the pier to avoid drippage – the wind and rain were driving water through the slots of the Pier. Soon after, the enhanced the atmosphere with aromatic herbs of some sort, not that we would know anything about such things!

Jerry and I were jumping around, dodging waves, finding foreground and doing some High Dynamic Range Photography. This requires a tri-pod and the ability from your Camera to “bracket” or change exposure values. One must set your camera to Aperture Mode and then shoot a minimum of three shots at -2, 0, and +2EV. Then, a great Software program called Photomatix will combine all three images into one – this blends all the highlights and shadows. If you do this, don’t go HDR Crazy – often the result is called “Clown Puke”. (PS, if you have any technical questions regarding HDR, just drop us a note, we would be thrilled to get you started!)

So, 10 minutes later, our “Security detail” approached and asked if they could have their picture taken. We asked for their Camera (oops). Both Jerry and I spent a few minutes shooting these Dudes and then they were off…one went for a swim – somewhat of a cold one! The image was processed using a Single Shot RAW to HDR conversion using Photomatix and some touches with Nikon’s NX2 Software. We think it looks like an album cover of sorts!

Thanks for your kind visit and drop us a note at if you have ANY questions!

Cheers, Kathleen and Erik