Sunday, August 30, 2009

August's End: DC United vs LA Galaxy; In white at Josephine; Courage Cup fundraiser; Two Engagement Photo Outings

8/22 - DC United vs LA Galaxy Soccer Game:
When a celebrity comes to town, seems like most people know about it. There's enough buzz that goes around that it's hard to have news fly under the rader. Just mention the name Beckham and lots of people go wild and masses of women swoon. David Beckham and the LA Galaxy was set to play DC United at RFK Stadium. I didn't have a ticket, but I asked around and got one from a friend. With my ticket I had the pleasure of sitting with some notable DC ladies: Angie Goff, Makeda Saggau-Sackey, Nadine Namoff and Nadine's mother. Furthermore, it was the HOT 99.5 Ladies Night in the Champions Club area. All sorts of activities were going on here and vendors had their wares on display and for sale, yet there were also some free promotional items. Since HOT 99.5 sponsored the ladies night, there were a few of the staff from the radio station that came out to represent. I got to meet Sarah and also saw DJ Stlyes spinning tunes.

We had box seats so we were under cover and not affected by the rain. The fans didn't seem to mind the rain so much as they cheered for DC United and sang the DC United team songs. It turned out to be a tie game. After the game, Beckham took his shirt off which seemed to please some of the fans, and others followed suit thereafter. Here are a few of my pictures from the evening. More pictures here:

8/22 - White Nights at Josephine:
It was the 8th Annual White Nights party and the dress code was white only. The purpose of the night was to raise awareness and funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The night started with some cocktails at the Donovan House Hotel rooftop and then there was a major party around the corner at Josephine. When I arrived, the place was already packed. I found some of my friends there and took a few pictures. I decided to make most of the black & white to accentuate the white nights theme. Some pictures just look better in black & white, and it can be a very classy and cool look.

August 23 - Adult Swim, Courage Cup: The Liaison Hotel hosted some luminaries of the social, fashion, polo and philanthropy scene in DC. The gathering was to present "Adult Swim: A Dare to Be Fashionably Courageous" charity fashion show to benefit the non-profit organization, The Courage Cup—an IRS designated 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation which was established to help at-risk urban youth by supporting and raising awareness for programs in the mid-Atlantic region which give disadvantaged children individualized attention and a positive alternative activity to keep them in school and off the streets.

Each Sunday throughout the summer, The Liaison hosts Adult Swim, yet this particular one held a summer fashion show on a poolside runway in designs from SyLene, and in fine designer jewelry from Mystique Jewelers, including select pieces by Award-winning designer, Alberto Parada who was in attendance. Makeup was done by celebrity hairstylist's Ted Gibson Salon. Also in attendance was philanthropist and model Katie Rost. The CW’s Paul Wharton made a special appearance to serve as the emcee for the event, and he was encouraged to walk the poolside runway, as did Nicole Siobal and Andrea Rodgers. It was a well-attended event and all the better to support the Courage Cup.

8/23 - Tim & Tania Engagement Photo Outing:
These two are just fun together and I got to see more of how well they relate with each other in photographing their engagement session, which I just like to consider a special outing. We had decided on going to Meadowlark Gardens and they felt strongly about going there. I know how majestic it can be there, as it's like a huge botanical garden. We moved fairly quickly, yet one of the main stops was the bench where Tim and Tania sat at while on a date. At the gazebo on the water we saw some turtles and other waterborne creatures. After about two hours of this photo outing, we were ready to get something to eat, so we went to dinner at Amphora in Vienna and had our fill there.

8/25 - Brian & Kim Engagement Photo Outing:
We had this photo outing scheduled ahead of time and waited till this day with anticipation. We had planned to go to Old Town Alexandria and we hoped it wouldn't rain. It was a gorgeous evening and we met up just after 7pm, so we at least had a good 90 minutes to get some good pictures. It didn't seem like we walked that far, but we got in a lot of pictures. Brian & Kim were having fun and so willing to have their pictures taken. If I had an idea, they'd give a try. This couple has a lot of fun together and you could even say their way of relating is a bit playful. After the sun set and we had a multitude of pictures taken, we decided to eat dinner at Mai Thai. There was even more playfulness when Brian broke out the props from the bag he carried around all evening. Well, I carried the bag a few times myself, so the couple could be more carefree. I took more pictures as we were all walking back to where we started and ended the evening with a few pictures by the fountain in Market Square. The couple were such good troopers as they endured a long evening of pictures taken, yet it's all worth it in the end. These pictures are enduring, holding special memories.

8/29-30: East Coast Surfing Championships at VA Beach
Some years ago I got interested in surfing culture. It piqued my interest because of the amazing sport and hobby that it is for many, but I also felt that there is a connection there between the surfers, their boards, the water, and their communities. Some have even likened this connection to a spiritual one. Well, I'm not a surfer, but I did try to surf at Hawaii's North Shore once in 2008. I have several books and DVD's about surfing and am still intrigued with the culture of it. As a photographer I want to capture some of that culture.

I missed the 5th Annual Switchfoot Bro-Am that was on Saturday June 27th, 2009 in San Diego. It was a free beach event open to the public with a surf contest, concert, and vendors. The Bro-Am was created to give back to the San Diego community while also benefiting a local children's charity through funds raised at an auction night event, as well as from vendors on the beach day-of, sponsorships, and an after-party. This year the event benefited the San Diego and Oceanside branches of StandUp For Kids, a national nonprofit volunteer outreach organization that started in San Diego and is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of at-risk, homeless, and street kids.

After hearing about the East Coast Surfing Championships in Virginia Beach, I decided to check it out in the last weekend in August. ECSC is a major amateur event for the United States Surfing Federation. There are several hundred amateurs from menehunes to masters that compete annually for East Coast surfing titles, prizes, being part of history, and just for the love of surfing. There were many other beach oriented sports and recreation held at the event too. Surprisingly I had never been to VA Beach, but I had heard about it and passed by it several times in going to the OBX. I drove down to VA Beach on Saturday morning and arrived just past Noon. It's great to just be a three hour drive from DC to get to this beach. I was pleased to see how well VA Beach and the boardwalk is maintained here. It's a clean beach and things are clearly marked. I checked out the scene and the various things offered at ECSC, which is put on by the VA Beach Jaycees. This event took up several blocks of the beach and there was high energy surrounding the event. There were a lot of people here, most of them seemingly in the high school to college-age range. One of the things that stood out to me was the various old-school bikes around. Many people use bikes for transportation and they even have a bike path along the main drag of Atlantic Ave and also a path along the boardwalk. There were various vendors displaying and selling their wares, and some gave away freebies for promotion. One of my favorite places to visit was the Army Strong tent. I just had all these Army basic training memories flood back, especially in seeing people doing push-ups with a button counter that added up your push-up total with each chest hit. It made me want to drop and crank out as many push-ups as I could. There were various sporting competitions underway and throughout the two days I was there I got to see some Surfing and Skim boarding, and people playing Soccer in the sand, Corn Hole, and Volleyball. Man, I wanted to play some beach Volleyball, but it was also fun to watch. Here's a slide show of selected pictures I took at Virginia Beach, and I must say I am left with a good impression of it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Shoot on the Sidelines with Scott & Mike...I Wish!

A couple weeks ago I read Scott Kelby's blog entry about a contest that Mike Olivella came up with. Mike had given a guest entry on Scott's blog on June 3rd about breaking into sports photography. Mike teamed up with Scott on putting this contest out there. Mike is a sports shooter who wants to give someone a chance to shoot on the sidelines and potentially come away with some awesome shots. Mike has media passes that he can give to people, so it sounds like an opportunity of a lifetime.

I was originally hired to photograph a film festival in Dallas, so I would have missed this chance, but plans were postponed and I am able to make it to shoot with Scott & Mike, if I should win. :)

This is all going to happen on September 12th when the Florida State Seminoles host the Jacksonville State Gamecocks. Scott & Mike are going to fly the winner down to Tallahassee, Florida, put the winner up in a hotel, take the person out to a steak dinner, shoot the game from the sidelines along with Scott & Mike, assist as needed, and then fly the person back home. What a sweet deal. You can read more about the contest and see the video describing the contest here.

I entered a photo into the contest a couple days ago and the deadline for entering the contest is Midnight tonight. There are so many great shoots in the Flickr pool of photos for this contest, so I'm sure it'll be a tough decision. I've also posted my entry here. It was taken at the America's Polo Cup game on May 9th close to 8pm so the sun was setting beautifully. Polo players rode by hand tagging those who would come up to the perimeter and extend their hand as a gesture of being a fan. You've got to have some skills to hand tag a person on horseback. Skills indeed.

DC/U2: The Nation’s Capitol U2 Cover Band

Some of U2’s biggest hits were performed by DC/U2 to make a difference in the lives of some special children! I was hired to photograph this concert (two full sets) and the slide show below are my favorite highlights from it.

DC/U2 played at Brambleton’s Sizzlin’ Summer Concert Series on August 20th from 7-9pm in the Brambleton Town Center across from the Fox Cinemas. This special concert featured members of the Brambleton Community, and was designed to raise awareness, compassion and resources for the Senzani Vulnerable Children’s Project.

Senzani is one of the areas hardest hit by HIV and AIDS in Malawi, Africa. Senzani has a population of about 22,700, including 1,610 orphans. An average of 15 children a month are orphaned by AIDS. Estimates indicate that in the next 10 years the number of orphaned will climb to more than 6000 children. I was glad to be a part of this concert and it's cause.

The Digital Photography Book Volume 3 by Scott Kelby

I've been a fan of Scott Kelby's Photoshop and Photography work for several years and have some of his books. Scott has been the top-selling computer technology book author worldwide since 2004, so that's impressive to me. As an emerging photographer, I especially like "The Digital Photography Book" series and I was so excited to know that his third volume was coming out. I got my copy in the mail this week and looked through it with enthusiasm. Each book in the series builds upon the last one and he even asked his fans for input on what to put in this latest book. These books give the reader practical know how to do the kinds of shots that Scott and other photography pros do.

Scott posted a review from the Blog Critics website on his August 20 blog entry and I wanted to include it here, as it's a fairly thorough review that will give you a good idea of what the book contains. Check it out.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Early August, So Hot

August 7 - Two Blondes. Two Brunettes. One Birthday Extravaganza

I had the pleasure of attending and taking pictures at a birthday extravaganza for four ladies at The Donovan House Hotel. I had already known birthday ladies Courtney, Jaclyn, and Stefanie from other events, and I was glad to meet Jess too. This was my second time partying at the rooftop of this hotel. There was a great vibe at this party in celebrating birthdays and the view and pool helped set the ambiance. Everyone was dressed rather well, indicative of the fashion conscious invitees. Drinks were plentiful and conversations flowed into the night. Tunes were spun by Seyhan and even being outdoors by the pool, there were still several people moved to dancing. I stayed at the party till it closed and the birthday ladies left the building, then continued partying at L2. It was a full night and very enjoyable, most of all in celebrating the "fabulous four."

August 14 - Glamazon Diaries Two Year Anniversary Party

I had seen Makeda Saggau-Sackey at various events and found out just how passionate she is about fashion. She started her Glamazon Diaries blog two years ago and so a two year anniversary celebration was on at Spot Lounge in DC's Dupont Circle. The red carpet was laid out for this event. This was my first time at Spot, but I had read about it in an article in this event's invitation. The venue is within a hub of lounges and bars in a lively area and inside Spot Lounge there is a blue hue glow lighting most of the space. Images of fashion, painted grids, and silhouetted partying imagery make an interesting backdrop along the walls. The location was befitting of the occasion and the crowd and everyone was so apt to celebrate and have their picture taken, and I had a lot of fun chatting with the attendees and taking their pictures.

There was an open bar sponsored by Peroni and for a time wine was provided from Virginia's newest winery, Paradise Springs. Bottled water was on hand by Glaceau SmartWater. Petals for the People is a new floral subscription service in DC and they provided some arranged flowers on the tables. Washington-based printing service Automated Graphic Imaging created the promotional materials. The attire for this party was cocktail chic, so people were encouraged to dress like a glamazon, and there were some prizes awarded to a few people whom were thought to have brought their fashion game on. I was glad to see people I knew there and also meet so many new people. Congratulations to Makeda and her two years and counting Glamazon Diaries blog. Fashion is definitely an in thing in the DC area and the likes of Makeda have helped to make it known.