Friday, February 22, 2008

Joseph and Andrea

As mentioned in the previous post, we just shot a great wedding in Pensacola, Florida. I forgot to thank Micha Everett in the post for all the help she gave me....she was wonderful and I couldn't have done it without her. Check out the slideshow! The music is from a group called Rush of Fools that I discovered's a really cool song. Let me know what you think!

Click the picture to view the slideshow!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Brides, Heroes, and Lighthouses

I just returned from a fantastic wedding in Florida last weekend. It was a total Marine wedding which was great because my brother in law is an active Marine, and I truly respect all of our military servicemen and women that keep us safe. We started off the wedding at the hotel, moved to the chapel that was on base, and then to the Reception which was on the beach at the Officer's Club at the base in Pensacola. After the Reception we went out for a shoot on the beach and then found this unbelievable Lighthouse (I love lighthouses) and had a once in a lifetime shoot.

This couple was also the winner of the Best Photographer in Los Angeles competition...where I promised to shoot a wedding for free if I was fortunate enough to win the distinction of Best Photographer in Los Angeles. The couple was excited to have me come out to the wedding, but more importantly, I was THRILLED to provide something for them, and they were such a willing couple that it made for a super fun shoot. Let me know what you think about the pics...and which ones you like the most. I put up more than usual because the bride and groom wanted to be able to see some while on their honeymoon.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Here is a quick example of what I was doing on Valentines Day. My wife loves New York, and unfortunately she wasn't able to join me on my trip. So I thought I would bring New York to her. I snuck over some of the guard rails and snapped these shots in freezing weather as a present to my wife. I also took a quick video of me telling her how much I love her with the NY skyline as the background. But so everyone knows how I feel...a quick message to Kara.....

You are the reason I dream
You are the reason I breathe

You allow me to live
You allow me to love

I can't imagine life without you
I can't remember life before you

You are my best friend
You are my only love

You are the best thing that has ever happened to me
You are the only thing that will ever happen to me
I thank you for choosing me
I thank you for loving me

I love you for being you
I love you for loving me


Friday, February 15, 2008

"Do you know what I can do to you?"

WOW! I had such a fun and adventurous shoot with Justin and Aliya in Washington DC! It was freezing cold and raining...snowing...but they were they decided to keep the shoot. We met under the Lincoln Memorial to try and stay warm. I arrived early and set up my gear. Multiple police officers passed me and never said a word. When Justin and Aliya arrived one officer figured I was going to take pictures of them and then decided he had some words for me.
The officer walked over to me and told to get my tripod off the floor. It wasn't even set up...but he didn't want it on the floor. I picked it up at which point he told me no photography is allowed in the Memorial. I complied and set my tripod back on the ground so I could pick up it's bag. That's when he got mad at me...

He tells me to get out of there and I complied. Before we walked down the steps to the reflection pool that you see in the pictures I wanted to know what we were allowed to do as to not get in trouble. That's when he pulled his Robert Deniro impersonation and asked me, "Do you know what I can do to you?" I responded (not sarcastically).."I have a pretty good idea."

He then asked me, "Are you trying to be smart with me? What can I do to you?" I responded, "I'm not sure, but I know I won't like it." He told me commercial photography isn't allowed inside the I thanked him for the heads up and we left. While walking down the steps of the memorial all heck broke loose...

The steps had iced over...I had my Nikon D2XS with flash around my shoulder, my infrared (Fuji IS10) around my neck, camera bag in left hand, tripod in right hand, external turbo battery attached to the flash, and two lenses in my coat pockets....and that's when I made the steps my version of a slip and slide...

I was walking...and then I was all happened fast. Went sliding down and really sacrificed body for gear. I slid down about 10 steps and then I hear Aliya's voice as she has now started sliding down the steps! I turn around and she's coming right for me. I put up my hand and helped her stop.

I then checked gear and nothing appeared too bad. A bystander said, "Man, that was amazing." I replied, "What, my grace as I fell down?" He said, "No, your willingness to sacrifice your body for your camera...that was amazing."

Luckily all was fine except for a crack on the view glass of my Nikon. We decided to find was raining and turning into ice. We walked towards Washington Monument and found a beautiful structure that was dry inside and free of other people. We started the shoot there and I have to give Justin and Aliya was freezing but they took their coats and scarfs off and were wonderful models.

We finished there and got some great shots in front of the reflection pool. While walking over there we were surprised that even the dirt was iced over! Towards the end of the shoot it REALLY started to rain hard and everytime I fired the flash you would see tons of rain drops was really cool.

A huge thanks to Justin and Aliya for making it possible. I will never forget the shoot for as long as I live and I'll always remember what he can do to me.....!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Permit Required

All of my shoots are fun and full of adventure....but this shoot hits the top 3 in regards to the most adventurous and fun shoots ever. I met Julie and John down at Union Station for an engagement shoot. We had a fantastic time and shot everywhere. We ended up down by the subway which is where we had some fantastic shots. We were down there shooting for about 20-30 minutes and I had just shot the last couple shots of them kissing and standing in front of the yellow line when one of the Union Station Metrolink workers said to me, "I don't know why you're still here, the Sheriffs department is coming." I said, "What do you mean? Are we not supposed to shoot here?" He replied, "No, you're not, and with the whole 9-11 thing, they require a permit and wouldn't have given you one to shoot down here." I said, "If you just would have told me, I would have left." He shrugged his shoulders....then I realized...he just did tell me, and I better leave.

I quickly but quietly packed up my gear, told my second shooter Jeret to do the same, and had my other guy Chris grab my bag. There was an escalator 10 feet from us that would lead us back from where we the main part of the train station. I decided to go the other direction. I didn't know what the Sheriffs Department was going to want, but I also knew I didn't want to find out....especially if they made me delete my cards....or even worse confiscated equipment.

We walked about 250 feet to an elevator and rode it up to the second level of the subway area. Everyone was doing that nervous giggle thing. We exited the elevator and about 150 feet in front of us were three sheriffs deputies walking our direction. The problem was, myself, Jeret, and Chris were all dressed in straight black.....that's the last time I require something like that. I told everyone just to be cool and keep walking. The deputies gave us a quick glance and then continued past us to where we were shooting. We continued walking until we saw a stairway that lead to the outside. We continued up the stairway and out...we made it!

Not so fast. We found ourselves in the back of the station where the Metrolink administration building is located. There's no way to walk around to the front of the station. We went into the Metrolink building to see if we could find a way to the front of the building....I go to ask a nice lady how to get out to the street and before I know it I'm in trouble again....she was filling up an ATM machine and told me I needed to speak to the police officer standing over I go and speak to the police officer who asks me what we're doing in this building and why am I talking to a lady filling up an ATM machine. Trying to put on my best James Bond face I tell him we're lost and need to find the train station. He looks at me like I'm mentally slow and tells me the building is right over there.....pointing with his finger. I thank him and we leave the administration building....once again at the back of the train station.

I tell Julie and John to go ahead of us and walk through the train station. They leave us three there and we wait for about 3 minutes. We then see a street light down at the other side of the building way down there and hope that we can walk around the building instead of through it. We walk down and realize that in order for us to walk around the building we would have to walk on the side of a freeway offramp (the 101 offramp to Alameda). Well, we talk for about 1 minute about our options and then see 2 security guards walking in our direction. I then declare that it appears the decision has been made for us. So we walk down the offramp, over to Alameda...joking that this is the same offramp we took when we drove down here and then continue around to the front of the station.

Julie and John see us and come over to us and are laughing at this point. They told us they were really concerned we got stopped because when they went down into the station ahead of us, there were 3 sheriffs deputies waiting at the escalators looking for photographers! We then went over to Olvera street and continued the shoot which was fantastic. The only problem is that everyone parked in front of the station, but I was parked in I sent the four of them with my camera bag over to Olvera street (which is across the street) and I went back through the station to where my car was parked...luckily making it to the car and leaving. Olvera street was great! We had them shop and mingle with the crowd. There was a kind man playing the harp for money so I paid him several dollars to play while Julie and John danced in the middle of the busy crowd. It was priceless.

Now, I have all the respect in the world for permits, laws, and police officers.....the problem is that I didn't know a permit was required and I am traveling to the East Coast tomorrow...I couldn't risk any of my gear being taken even for a day or two. I know it sounds crazy, but I have four others who know this story is true...Jason Lanier's not a shoot, it's an adventure.