Reno Tahoe Engagement Photography, Engagement Sessions, Reno Tahoe Engagement Portraits

Haley and Dave Sneak Peak

I went to visit some friends of mine in LA last week to celebrate a birthday and snap some engagement photos.

We had a BLAST.

There was a lot of giggling, an excessive amount of rosé, and some amazing photos taken.

I’ve been SUPER busy at work and with other photo assignments so I haven’t had time to edit all the photos from their engagement session but here’s a little sneak peak to tide you over.


deertick, sxsw, palmer events center, reno tahoe concert photography

SXSW Wrap-up: Other Memorable Shows

Clearly I saw a TON of amazing new bands at SXSW, evident by the fact that I couldn’t keep my Top Ten New Acts List to just ten acts.  Here’s a handful of other memorable shows that I saw at SXSW 2013, along with my favorite images from them.


This one is easy for the old people to get wrong.  Technically, !!! is pronounced by saying any monosyllabic sound three times in a row, but most commonly is pronounced “chk chk chk.”  !!! is always a stellar show, mostly because front man Nic Offer’s stage antics are so high energy.  It is an absolute certainty that a !!! show will offer multiple occasions of pelvic thrusting, crowd surfing and Nic running into the crowd while singing.  I guarantee it.  !!!’s new album, Thr!!!er, will be released April 30, 2013.

Deer Tick

Deer Tick’s front man John McCauley may be best known as a raging alcoholic.  Or maybe he’s not, that’s just all I can ever think about when I hear their name after reading this article.  Frankly, the idea of going through life in the state that McCauley does makes me want to vomit and holds no shred of envy in me.  Regardless of his mental and physical state, their show was swift kick of amazing and honestly, I was a bit surprised I loved it so much.  It was in the mostly empty Palmer Events Center and I managed to convince one of the employees to take me up into the balcony where I scored some super sweet shots.

Jim James

I’m not really on the Jim James bandwagon.  Don’t get me wrong, I have been known to listen to older My Morning Jacket albums intermittently, but honestly, I’ve always found their live shows boring.  James’ solo show wasn’t too far off that, though his keyboardist did have quite a stage presence.  During his show, James walked along the front row of speakers which allowed him to hide mostly in the dark, making his show all the more moody and sullen.  I’m still unsure why the girls behind me were constantly pushing against me to get closer and screaming as if he’s Justin Beiber, but if overweight men who write great songs float your boat, who am I to judge.  Despite my disinterest, I will say he’s got one hell of a voice.  Overall the show was enjoyable and if you’re actually a Jim James fan, it was probably epic for you.

Harouki Zombi

Harouki Zombi is a strange ethereal sexual performance art experience set to electro-pop.  Unfortunately, the night I saw them at Red Eye Fly, they’d been cut off from their full show, which I imagine to be GWAR-like in it’s inclusion of paint and fake blood that apparently flew a bit to far for comfort at their first SXSW showcase at the Parish.  After complaints, they had to cut their show down to a more “reasonable” level, which meant paint powder, strawberries and whip cream, and some body bending.  Their show is self-described as “neo-pathetic cabaret” which is to say it’s a over-whelming and unexplainable.  You’ll just have to experience it yourself.  Me: I was in photography heaven.

Previously in my SXSW wrap-up:

Intro to SXSW

#12: Devendra Banhart

#11: PHOX

#10: Social Studies

#9: Guards

#8: Zeale

#7: Red Baraat

#6: Josh Ritter

#5: Pickwick

#4: Reignwolf

#3: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

#2: The Orwells

#1: Foxygen

Hatch Family Portrait Session

Earlier this fall I went out with some good friends of mine to get some family portraits for their Christmas gifts.  Now that the holidays have come and gone, I can finally put them up here on the site!  These are my favorites from the session, but you can check out the whole set here.

Musings on a New Year

Oh man, I totally failed on so many accounts this year (athletically) but a lot of that has to do with me taking those energies and putting them into so many other things.  I usually try to run 500 miles every year and I didn’t even get remotely close to that.  In fact, I hardly came close to serious mileage in any of my sports at all.


That being said, I’m not going to ream myself too badly for totally sucking at being disciplined enough to have very little free time and still get up every day at 6 am to workout.  Sometimes life doesn’t work like that and this is one of those years.  I feel like I held down five different jobs this year and it totally taxed me.  Regardless, I’m proud of my year.  It may not be my most athletic year, but it was one of my more successful years in terms of focus and learning.

I also try to visit one foreign country every year and this year I (sorta) visited two:  La Paz (Bolovia) and Puerto Rico (not exactly foreign, but not exactly US either.  I conclude that it counts for half of a foreign country).  In addition, I always try to visit one new ski resort a year.  Last year was such a slow snow year, I don’t think I even made it to a new one!  This year I’m already on the ball though.  I had to Steamboat Springs today and in March Buddy and I are headed on a mini-trip to Seattle so we’ll get to ski at Steven’s Pass.

My goals for 2012 were as follows. Here’s how I fared:

1. Re-train to swim in the Ironman (Vineman) Relay with Ellen and Al. Best my yardage from this year.

Event cancelled.  I was actually probably well on my way to that, but failed to best my yardage from the year before after I stopped swimming 5,000 yard workouts when I heard it was cancelled.

2. Run 3 half marathons in states I haven’t ticked off the list yet (woefully behind on this life goal to run a half Marathon in every state).

Almost: I managed to sneak 2 in this year. I did run 3 half marathons, but one was in California which is already a state I’ve checked off the list. Added this year: Louisiana and Texas. List of states I’ve run in addition to those: California, Oregon, Utah. Michelle and I are already planning on registering for the Marine Corps Marathon for next year, which will cover me on Virginia.

3. Become a better photographer. I’m taking a digital photography class this winter at the local community college. I plan to follow it up with a portrait class in the spring. I was thinking about doing a 365 project: 1 photo a day, 365 days but I think with everything else I have going on this year, that I’ll table that one for another year.

With the purchase of my camera in the fall of 2011, I threw almost every extra minute I had into learning how to use it, reading as many books as I could, self-teaching myself new skills, and taking classes at the local community college. I donated my photobooth to 11 different events. I photographed 2 weddings and shot a handful of portraits. I think I came a long way in one year. I’d call this goal met, but no where near completion. This will be a never ending learning process for sure.

4. 60 days on the mountain. I barely missed this in the 09-10 season at 58 and came in at 61 for the 2010-11 season. This year, I am out of town for about a week and a half in January and a week in March. With no snow yet and no snow in the forecast, this might be a difficult goal. I’m at 8 for the season leading into the new year, which means I need 12 days a month for the next four months and either 4 days in May or 4 extra days somewhere else. Do-able for sure, but I think some extra dawn patrols might have to be squeezed in to make it happen.

Epic fail. Only 27 days on the mountain for the 2011-12 season. With winter hella under way here in Tahoe, I should have no problem reaching my goal of 60 days this year.

5. Raise $1000 for Disabled Sports in the Ability Challenge.

Success: $1,890 raised for the Ability Challenge!

My goals for 2013:

1.  Become more proficient at Photoshop.

2.  I thought I wanted to take on another photo project for the year.  Last year I started a project through a website where you took one shot a month based on the word they chose.  They lost me in August though when they started having a different word for every day.  That was too much.  I thought that perhaps I might want to take on a self-portrait a month project, but I think I’ll just end up over-extending myself.  Instead, I think I should focus my energy into committing to photo sessions at least once a month during the winter with Megs.  It will help both of us reach our mutual goals.

3.  60 days on the mountain.

Tahoe Backcountry, Tahoe Backcountry Skiing, Waterhouse, Skiing, Backcountry Skiing, Telemark Skiing

4.   Pay off the credit card.  I am the WORST at this.  Most of the time, I feel like life is too short to be ridiculously responsible.  I do things like pay it off and then put a really awesome trip on there.  There will always be more money.  There will not always be fun trips with your friends.  But for real, I really want to pay it off.  Kinda.

5.  Legitimately train for the marathon.  Perhaps run more than 30 miles in the six weeks leading up to it.


6.  Consistently: swim more, run more, ride my bike more.  Make sure that I schedule in time to exercise, time to work and time to learn and frankly, time to do nothing.  Time to veg on the couch is sometimes needed and I think the only days this year that I had literally nothing to do where the days that I was on vacation.

7.  Read more non-photography books.

8.  Photograph more music festivals.  Seriously!  Two of my most favorite loves: live music + photography.  So awesomely fun I wish I could do it full time.

Snowglobe Music Fest, Snowglobe, Tahoe South


Last week, Buddy and I went over to Meg’s for an amazing dinner and to help Jenny and Meghan brainstorm for the SheJumps and Sierra Avalanche Center joint fundraiser they are throwing in November.

Jenny had gorgeous ridiculously happy baby Carson with her and I had my camera so I took the opportunity to snap a few photos.

These are my favorites, but you can see the entire set here.

Bands for Bikes Benefit Party

One of the things I volunteer for/participate with in my community is the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association. I like to say that I do it for work, but honestly, I would probably do it even if I didn’t have a cycling apparel store in town. I would probably just grumble about it a lot more.

One of the things were working on is building a community bike park. It’s going to be pretty amazing: a pump track, mountain bike skills park and the relocation of our existing BMX track all in the same place. I don’t have a lot of time in the summer to participate in trail days, mostly because I’m usually working in my store on weekends. Because of this, I try to make sure I lend a hand where ever I can. We need about $40,000 to build the park from start to finish and we immediately needed a few thousand to pay our killer design firm Alpine Bike Parks out of Whistler, BC. This I could help with: I’m a big fan of parties, as we all know, so I threw a party for the bike park.

Bijou Bike Park Conceptual Plan

I called in some favors from local businesses, community members and buddies in the Outdoor Retail Industry for silent auction and raffle prizes. I convinced my friends who are in bands to donate their time. HUGE thanks to both Dad’s LPs and 4 Piece Puzzle who very generously donated their time and music to the cause.

We had Tahoe’s new delectable food truck, The Yum Truck set up outside to serve food and Briana helped me run a photobooth. (Party ain’t a party without photobooth! Holla!)

After all was said and done, we raised about $1700 for the bike park, which is pretty awesome. I wish more people had come out for the event (there were about 50) but I’m proud of what we did and excited to start spreading the word about Bijou Bike Park.

These are my favorites from the evening, but you can see all of them here.


It’s been a seriously crazy two weeks.

Between traveling home to celebrate the life of someone dear to me, traveling for Mountain Bike Oregon, and then heading to Texas to work at Hotter than Hell, all in the span of two weeks, I’m wiped.

I promise to start posting soon but in the meantime, there’s this:

Lens Test

I have a new toy and it’s amazeballs. That’s a completely and totally unedited photo of what was sitting in front of me when I pulled the lens out of the box and I’m so in love I want to sing and I never sing.

In other news, my fabulous creative wonderfully kickass graphic designing friend Julie Pizzo created a branding and watermark for me. I shall reveal it soon. She’s a killer graphic designer, extremely talented and super wonderful. I highly recommend her. I’m pretty pumped on my new watermark. I can’t wait to slap it on photos.

Also, I’m trying to win a photo contest for the Live at Lakeview Fan Photography Contest. My photo will be used on the advertising for the next year, which is sorta awesome. Help me win by heading here and liking or commenting on my photo.

Morning Redwood Fog

You know how when you’re camping you wake up like nine times in the middle of the night and sleep horribly and your arm is always asleep and you dream someone is cutting it off?

Yeah, well, apparently when you take melatonin before bed that doesn’t happen. New favorite drug.

I’m not sure if there’s any reason why I shouldn’t be taking melatonin every night, but I’m totally taking melatonin every night now.

Since I slept so amazing for the first time ever in the history of camping, I woke up at 6 AM to take photos at dawn. I couldn’t believe how light it was outside already and I quickly made coffee and booked it down to the river, fully expecting to have missed all the good picture taking opportunities.

I was delightfully surprised to find that I was early still – the fog didn’t blanket the river valley until almost a full hour later! It inched it’s way towards me from both sides, filling in the sky and covering the treetops. There wasn’t a soul around. All around me, the last of the owls were hooting, birds were chirping, and a family of river otters splashed in the water as the quiet dawn light was shut out and still grayness enveloped the river. Such a gorgeous way to spend my morning!

Adventure to the Redwoods!

I’ve had the CA coastal redwoods on my list of must-visits for quite some time. I was determined to make it there this summer and thankfully, two good friends of mine had a similar idea and a similar schedule so off to Northern CA we headed.

It always amazes me how much crap is required for camping. You’d think you’d be taking less stuff. Not so. Between all the necessary items, which included one camp grill, one camp stove, one corn hole set, six bottles of wine and two cases of beer, four real pillows from our home beds, two tents, and my ridiculously excessive yet exceedingly comfortable Thermarest Dreamtime (worth every penny), all for three people and four nights, our car was stuffed to the gills.

It was ALL necessary.

It’s an outrageously long drive from Tahoe to our destination: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. As a bonus though, we got to drive through Whiskeytown. I had previously believed that Whiskeytown was an awesome figment of musical song lyric imagination (much like Margaritaville). I would like my town to be renamed Whiskeytown because it would be so much cooler to live in a town named Whiskeytown. Everyone would want to go to Whiskeytown. Anyways, I digress.

In addition to driving through Whiskeytown, we also drove through The Trees of Mystery which is a standard All-American Roadside Attraction featuring ridiculously tall statues that people driving by can take pictures with. What did we do? We took some sweet photos with giant statues and it was great fun.

Paul Bunyon and Babe at the Trees of Mystery.

I chose the park for a number of reasons, but primarily because the reviews I read online touted how amazing it’s remoteness and camp settings were. I should have realized based on the lack of availability how special of a place we were going: we managed to reserve the last campsite there and there were only two nights available. Oddly enough, after I made the reservation, I discovered the Jedediah Smith Campground referenced on multiple “Best Of Camping” Lists, including this one from Sunset Magazine. I can attest to Sunset Magazine’s list because Jedediah Smith Campsite was the best campsite I’ve ever been to. Our site was shrouded in so much brush, trees and overgrown ferns that despite our proximity to our neighbors, it was as if we were in the woods completely alone. The showers were brand new and warm, no matter what time of day. There were huge bear boxes in the site and it’s proximity to the state park was ideal. Overall, we were totally and completely wowed.

Jedediah Smith Campground, site 101, Jedediah Smith State Park

Let me tell you a secret: I hate camping. Now that I live IN the mountains, I wholeheartedly would prefer to go into the wilderness and return home to the comfort of my extraordinarily large and remarkably comfortable Western King bed with the Temperpedic knock-off mattress and down comforter. That being said, if I do camp, one must camp in style which include the previously discussed and completely excessive Dreamtime, a full four inches of Thermarest self inflating mattress and Isotonic® Memory Foam topper.

Also necessary: fabulous food. For our inaugural evening, camp chef Lauren had a nice antipasto plate of homemade rye bread, assorted cheeses, salami, olives and marinated artichokes. I knew we would show up to camp starving, need to set everything up and prep before we could even start dinner. Rule of camping: appetizers are ALWAYS necessary when you arrive at camp.

Camp Antipasto Plate: camp with good grub.

We set up camp, had an delicious dinner of fish tacos, the required s’mores ’round the campfire and generally spent the evening in complete awe of our surroundings. Even after a nine hour drive, we could tell that the location and park we had chosen to explore the redwoods in was a good choice the best decision EVER.

Relaxing: Camp Style

Coming up: we search for the Grove of the Titans.