Monday, July 13, 2009

One of the Busiest Weekends Ever with Fashion & Pageantry

It seemed like everything came down the pike this past weekend regarding activities. Summer has brought much of this upon us. I'm still trying to catch up with life and then more things come on down. With all that's been going on, I still woke up in the late morning on the weekends, as my body must have been telling me that I needed sleep.

This past Saturday (July 11) I went to an event at called Soiree Bastille Chic. It's a great name for an evening event celebrating France's Bastille Day and showcasing the Vivons Vert (live green) Fall 09 Collection from NYC designer Christine Marchuska. It's Christine's mission to provide stylish and affordable eco-friendly fashion to women. This event was held at The Darlington House, a Victorian style house in Dupont Circle, D.C. I snapped several pictures of the fashion show and also enjoyed the environment, including the disco ball hanging from the ceiling.

On Sunday afternoon I attended an engagement party for my friends Jason and Rachel. This party was hosted by long time friends of Rachel and they treat her like family. I got to the house a bit earlier to take some engagement pictures of Jason and Rachel in the yard just outside the house. The sun was beaming and Rachel wore a white dress, so picture-wise, things were going to be interesting, but they were posed in the shade so as to not get the harsh lighting on them. We wrapped up the shoot and went inside for a incredibly delicious Moroccan meal. This food could have been prepared in a fine was that good! My time there ended as they had presented a cake to the engaged couple. Congratulations indeed!

On Sunday evening I photographed the Miss DC 2009 Pageant at The Lincoln Theatre in Washington D.C. I had never attended a live pageant before, yet I had watched plenty of pageants on TV with my mother as she enjoyed watching them. I was impressed and amazed at the grandeur of it all. These young ladies represent admirable qualities for individuals to be inspired by and to aspire to. Congratulations to all who were a part of this pageant and the difference you help make to DC, our country, and beyond.

So I've been running on over drive, but a vacation is coming soon. I'm still enjoying the ride though.

Friday, July 10, 2009

World Team Tennis - Kastles vs Aces

Wednesday the 8th was the second home game night of the WTT season for the Washington Kastles and they were set to play the St Louis Aces. Anna Kournikova wasn't able to play because of a wrist injury, yet she participated in all the other activities for the team and her fans.

It was another gorgeous day and I arrived early to the stadium to get set for the press conference with Anna Kournikova. The press conference went rather quickly and then she went to a table to sign her autograph for fans, which was across from where the band Judo Chop played some 80's tunes. She had good smiles throughout the day, and I wonder why she was in such a good mood even though she wasn't playing. Hmmm, nice ring on her finger. It started getting more crowded as the start of the game neared, and I got set up in my position court side along with the other photographers.

It was another exciting night of tennis playing and I'm glad to have been able to cover the night with photography. There was mixed lighting within various areas of the court and I had to use Aperture priority of many of those daylight shots. When tennis started I switched to Manual mode and shot wide open at a high shutter speed. As the light faded and mixed in with the stadium lights, I had to raise my ISO to be able to get light enough shots. It was interesting to try and anticipate the player's actions to get good shots and freeze the action in them. I did what I could, and here are a selection of my photos from the night.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Washington Kastles vs Philadelphia Freedoms with Venus Williams

It was a gorgeous day for tennis in Kastles Stadium at CityCenter, DC. It's such a cool thing watching tennis being played right smack in the "center" of DC. The anticipation of Tuesday night's home opener match has been building. Many people in DC enjoy watching tennis and it was great to know that the stadium was full, having sold all it's tickets for the night's match. I think Venus Williams had something to do with it being a full stadium. These World Team Tennis players are professionals and some of them played in the finals at Wimbledon.

On the Washington Kastles team the players for the night were Scott "Boom Boom" Oudsema, Leander Paes, Rennae Stubbs, and Olga Puchkova. Their fired up coach is Murphy Jensen. On the Philadelphia Freedoms side, there was Venus Williams, Nathan Healey, Lisa Raymond, Eric Nunez, coached by Craig Kardon.

I got to sit court side with other photographers and take pictures of the evening's matches and festivities.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Washington Kastles Dedication Ceremony

Today the Washington Kastles kicked off their 2009 World Team Tennis season and had a stadium dedication ceremony. In attendance was Washington Kastles’ Coach Murphy Jensen, Washington Kastles’ Owner Mark Ein, and DC Mayor Adrian Fenty among others. The Kastles hosted their first team practice and a kids tennis clinic with local children. Members of the Washington Kastles team were there including Scott “Boom Boom” Oudsema, Olga Puchkova, Leander Paes, and Rennae Stubbs.

The Kastles Stadium is unique in that it's in the middle of a major metropolitan city. It's at CityCenter DC, on the former site of the Washington Convention Center at the corner of 11th and H Streets, NW DC.

The games start on Tuesday with the Washington Kastles playing the Philadelphia Freedoms with Venus Williams at Kastles Stadium. On Wednesday the Kastles play the St. Louis Aces with Anna Kournikova. I will be at Kastles Stadium covering the evening with photography.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Independence Day - Celebrate Freedom!

I've lived in the DC area for many years and have gone to DC or very close to it to watch the fireworks. I spent the early afternoon of the 4th of July with some friends for get together in the courtyard of an apartment complex in Falls Church, VA. Food, friends, and fun is what it was about, and yet we can never forget the sacrifices and service made for all of us to give us the freedoms we enjoy today.

Having been in the U.S. Army, I understand what it means to serve my country. I also appreciate what the families of those in the service have done to support our country.

Our group of friends were going to be near the Iwo Jima memorial, and it turned out that were in the large grassy field of the Netherlands Carillon Bell Tower, which is next to Arlington National Cemetery. This is a popular place to view the fireworks which usually explode near the Washington and Lincoln monuments. I parked my car in Clarendon and biked to our group's viewing area. I try to bike into DC on days like this when I know it's going to be crowded. It's also fun and good for exercise. I had my camera gear in a Lowepro Slingshot 100 AW backpack and strapped my Manfrotto tripod around my neck to let it rest on my back. It was a nice and easy ride in and out of the area, and I came away with some photos of this great day of celebrating freedom.


Every year in Washington D.C. a month-long art festival called Artomatic is held which is free to the general public. For 2009 Artomatic celebrated its 10th anniversary. Monument Realty and the Capitol Riverfront BID provided a brand-new 275,000 square foot building that hosted Artomatic, which was right next to the Nationals Stadium. The event featured nine floors of visual and installation art, dance, theater performances, and comedy. There were also three music stages, street performances (such as fire dancing and drum troupes), and a film screening theater. Over 1,000 visual artists and 600 performing artists participated this year, and over 70,000 attendees were expected to come out.

I've been to Artomatic before and it seems like it just keeps getting bigger and better every year. Things have been very busy with me, but I wanted to check Artomatic out this year, so I visited all nine floors of Artomatic on Friday July 3rd. Here's a slide show of some pictures I took there:

Summer Kickoff

The summer season started on Sunday June 21st, which was also Father's Day for 2009. A week later on the 28th I went to a summer kickoff event at Barcroft Park in Arlington. The event was held by some Realtor friends. I was also asked to take some pictures for the event, so that was a little extra work, but it was also a casual time of fun. We were treated to a plethora of goodies for the afternoon. We had food catered from Glory Days in addition to a bevy of food and drink. There was a snow cone machine, and there were also prize giveaways with the grand prize being a Wii game system! There was even some goldfish in a jar that people could take away with them. We even had live music from a couple musicians. We were in a pavilion and the park afforded some fun areas for recreation. It could make you feel like a kid again. Here are some of my favorite photos from the event.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

World Team Tennis 2009 Season

Tennis season is upon Washington D.C. as World Team Tennis (WTT) will hold a series of matches at City Center DC. I was privileged to be able to take some pictures court side at last season's final match in which our Washington Kastles team won over the St. Louis Aces team (22-17).

The 2009 WTT season starts on Tuesday July 7th with the Kastles playing the Philadelphia Freedoms with Venus Williams. I wanted to photograph the 2009 season as I had photographed a match last season, and I had been waiting for approval to be able to do it. A lot of time had passed and I didn't know if I was going to be one of the few that were going to be able to take pictures court side. I got a call today from my point of contact for media relations and was told I am now credentialed. I'm very excited to be able to take pictures of the matches this season.

I looked back over the pictures I took at the last WTT season and chose a few to share here.