28 July 2008

July 2008 Workshop...A Great Success

Las Vegas Art Models Group - July Workshop 08

"I think when I die, I want to come back a blonde." - Roselyn, commenting on Faerie's beauty
"Why not just dye blonde instead?"- Charlie, being a smart ass!

Once again, another good art nude workshop is in the books. As I mentioned before, Faerie was the model for this workshop and it was one of the best ever. I attribute this to 3 reasons. First and foremost was Faerie. Gorgeous...great bod...and best of all, the perfect muse. She is the consummate professional in the business of art modeling, but she knows how to be comfortable and relaxed with everyone. Faerie is a well balanced model in every since of the word and I am all too fortunate to have the privilege of working with her and better yet, to call her friend.
The photos I have up now were actually taken the day before the workshop. That's how much of a trooper Faerie is. My friend Garrett was not going to be able to make the workshop and asked about getting Faerie out on location the day before. We went out in seemingly bad weather. It threatened to rain on us the whole time. We got ready to leave and the sun popped out. I loved all the shots I got of Faerie in the wind. This one image is particularly captivating the way the wind whips her hair around her head to frame her face. Does this woman take an excellent portrait or what? There's no way you can look at this face...this bod...and not be envious of every person in this workshop.

The second reason for such a grand success this time out was the number female photographer participants. I was naturally over the amount that I normally have out. We had 10 photogs out this time. But of those 10, we had 3 that were women. I've been trying to attract more lady shutterbugs to grace our events and after patiently waiting and more promotion, more have. Summer has been with us the whole time as she has accompanied Felix for every single one so far. However, this particular event was her second time coming out as a photog. I invited Michelle to come out and see what we do. This was her first time shooting the nude. All in all, we had about 4 or 5 new faces in total. That's always a good thing. There are approximately 60 members in the group, who lurk between model and artists. Not all are photographers. Some are sketch artists, painters, and even sculptors. Still, I am quite sure that 10 will be the limit on the number of photogs that I'll allow in a workshop for a single day.

The third reason for such a big success was due to the third female participating photographer, Roselyn. Its not easy organizing and controlling the flow with 10 photogs. Ros, interrupted this flow, but in a good way. Just as I think I've got down how I want things to go, Ros pulls out a basket full of props to create a scene that she'd like to photograph. I've got everyone divided up into 2 groups who will wait their turns to shoot. Ros is in the first group. The minute she sets up the model with a beautiful red oriental parasol, puts her on a blanket, gives her a book to read...complete with spectacles, EVERYONE wants a piece of the action! Orderly chaos ensues, meaning everyone came in on that scene and everyone was shooting. The whole demeanor of the group has now changed. And for the better, I might add. It was proposed that everyone chip in $10 or so and let Ros, buy the props from now on. By her leadership, we are also now doing group portraits at the end of every event. That's Auntie Ros, for you.

So as I anticipated, I knew bringing in some women photographer into the group would have an impact. I just didn't realize how much! Thank you Faerie. Thank you Summer and Michelle. Thank you, Roselyn. And thanks to everyone for coming out. From left to right: Brad, Michelle, Felix, Summer, Charlie, Terrell, Jeff, Faerie, John, and Jamie. Down in front, Win, and then there's Roselyn...the Aussie in the cowboy hat! That's the way they do it, down unda!

23 July 2008

Computer Replaced

"A Faerie's Gaze"
"Regardless of how you feel inside, always try to look like a winner. Even if you are behind, a sustained look of control and confidence can give you a mental edge that results in victory."
- Diane Arbus
I've got a new computer now, thanks to my friend Garrett. As it turns out, my motherboard was sacked by a blitzing power surge that ran unimpeded past my guard, surge protector which was supposed to be protecting my blind side. (That was a football analogy). Most of my important stuff was backed up but I still lost some data that I wanted to keep. I am almost certain I still have all of my images, but I am not certain if I made all my final backups before the thing crashed. I definitely need to make some changes as to my workflow and how I organize and protect my digital files. As a photog, redundancy should be an automatic practice and I need to be better at it. I'm getting there. Part of it is resources, but like I said, I'm getting there. So let me just reiterate. Back-up, back-up, back-up. Its all about having the right level of protection.

I have another workshop coming up this Sunday and I am hosting it with the fabulous Faerie. She's been my drawing workshop model and of course she's modeled for me, but this will be her first time modeling for one of my workshops. These guys are going to love her. Faerie is fabulous. I need to schedule some more work with her. She is someone I like to shoot just to be shooting. I could shoot her all day anytime she feels like being shot. Its been since April since I have worked with her, so I need to set something up.

Something else I wanted to divert your attention to is the new website of my friend Felix Gonzalez at FelixGPhotography. He's still putting it all together and posting images, but you'll be enriched and blessed to check out what he's got online so far. This dude has vision that supercedes some of the more well-known photogs that you may know of. From still, landscapes, and nudes, Felix is definitely someone whom you should check out. You got an empty space on your wall crying for the right piece...you'll find it with Felix. The guys's got the goods.

I'm heading out with him again in August. Felix and his wife, Summer are who I camped with in Panguitch, Utah earlier this month. This time, we'll be near Zion National Park along with several others. I am soooo looking forward to this trip and I have several more I want to do. I need to get up to Salt Lake at some point to explore that area. I've had contacts from a few models there that I need to get into my portfolio. Run C and Isabeau have expressed a strong desire to shoot with me and I'd like to make it happen. I also want to get back to Tennessee and Kentucky. One, I'd like to visit my kids. Two, I need to complete my hike of the North-South Trail at Land Between the Lakes. Its a 72-miler which a friend and I tried to do in two days. We started at 9am and reached the halfway point around midnight or just before. The problem was that it rained on us the ENTIRE time we were out there. Several spots on the trails were flooded, particularly in the lowlands. It was a pain to hike around all that and then try to find the trail again in the dark. All my military training in patrolling and land navigation came to bear to keep us on track. As it happened, my friend twisted his knee on the slick inclines that were covered in dead leaves and exposed rocks. We were fortunate enough to be able to acquire a signal to call a friend to pick us up. My car was still 31 miles away on the opposite end. It still bugs the hell out of me that I didn't finish that trail. I still have every intention of doing the Appalachian Trail at some point which is 2000 miles from Georgia to Maine. I'd like to take a model with me. Any takers? It might even be cool to shoot a model every month. It averages 6 months for this hike and a model could meet me at various stages as I arrive. I could start with one model in Georgia and meet a new model in Tennessee, Virginia, New Jersey, and finish up in Maine with someone else. Who's with me on this?

And then my third reason for wanting to go back is because I miss the area. I especially want to get another chance to visit friends still there and most especially to shoot some models that I've worked with before there. I've learned so much since then, that I'd like to shoot some of those models again to do a better job.

17 July 2008

Curl Up and Dye and Vegas Vision Studios.

"It is a rare photographer who can take a detached, cold-blooded view of his work."
- Arthur Rothstein
"Curl Up and Dye model, Brandi wins the night"

This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of being invited to attend "Hair Wars" at the Ghostbar, inside the Palms Hotel and Casino here in Las Vegas. Hair Wars is a competition of salons to present the most wild model in Vegas judging on hair, make-up, costume, and attitude. My friend Debbie is one of several Make Up Artists who did the hair and make up for their model, Brandi. She and her crew represents Curl Up and Dye Hair Salon. You gotta admit, that's a catchy name for a salon. The theme was Asian women and several models came out clad in Japanese attire with a wild gothic twist. Of course there were a couple of geishas, I was exceedingly pleased when model, Brandi took the stage for Curl Up and Dye with act where she performs suppuku with a fake tanto sword. This is the ritual Japanese suicide ritual of disembowelment and Brandi played it to the hilt, literally. With her performance, costume, and make-up design, Curl Up and Dye took the win that night to a crowd of raving mad spectators. The place was loud, to say the least. It was well worth my visit and I look forward to seeing them again.

How did I come to meet Debbie, you ask. Well, that's an interesting story too. One of my photo groups, the Las Vegas Photographic Society for which I help organize sponsored a Lighting Seminar at Vegas Vision Studios owned and operated by Bobby Deal over on West Harmon. They have agreed to become sponsors for our group and thus were able to host a seminar at his studio. Bobby hired some models, including Brandi, and Debbie who is one of his favorite Make Up Artists. Assisting in the instruction was accomplished photographer, Becky Abell. We had all levels of experience from one friend of mine who just took her camera out of the box, to seasoned pros. Needless to say, this was a very "enlightening" seminar (I couldn't resist the pun!). As of a result, I've gotten to know Bobby, his wife Gigi, Debbie, and Becky well enough that Debbie invited me to her competition at the Ghostbar (despite the $20 cover charge, she got me in for free, I might add).

We've developed a mutual admiration for our work and both Bobby and Becky have offered to help me with my studio skills. I've been in the studio before, but I mainly worked with hot lights, which I still prefer since I love low light with single light sources. I'm going to help Becky outside the studio with landscape imagery, so the next time I head out on a scouting trip, she's coming along. I am most definitely getting to involve Debbie in my own work and will promote her to other photogs needing MUAs. I'd like to do what I can to cultivate this relationship with my newest friends. This is what networking is all about, as my buddy Garrett always says. I've made such inroads since I've been here. My photography has been both enriched and blessed by the people I've met in Las Vegas. If you're going to be in Vegas for any amount of time and want to do some studio work, Vegas Vision Studios is where you need to be. The place has got everything you need with the best equipment available. Last we talked, he was planning to build a car-sized light box for one of his larger studio rooms. You'll get to meet his wife Gigi, who is one of the most charming women you'll meet. So if you need studio rental, commercial photo work for advertisement, fashion, editorial, you name it... your answer is Bobby Deal and his crew at Vegas Vision Studios. Sounds like a commercial, doesn't it.
Oh, I figured I didn't want to go two postings in a row without posting a naked body, so these are some more of Trixie from the last art nude photo workshop.

16 July 2008

She's Growing Up

"I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage. They've experienced pain and bought jewelry." - Rita Rudner
"My advice to you is to get married. If you find a good wife, you'll be happy; if not, you'll become a philosopher." - Socrates
"For two people in a marriage to live together day after day is unquestionably the one miracle the Vatican has overlooked." - Bill Cosby
"There are two dilemmas that rattle the human skull: How do you hang on to someone who won't stay? And how do you get rid of someone who won't go?" - Danny Divito, The War of the Roses
"With my wife I don't get no respect. I made a toast on her birthday to 'the best woman a man ever had.' The waiter joined me." -Rodney Dangerfield

I'm still working on my computer issues, so my postings have been a little limited to maybe once a week for a bit. I had another post that I had planned on doing for today but something else come up that set me on a new course. I've reached another milestone in life, or at least another major event that lets you know things have changed and you better learn to deal with it. My daughter had a birthday today. Which is cool. We've been expecting it for a whole year now. What was more of a surprise was when her boyfriend Andrew called me yesterday asking for my blessings to propose to her.

We've all known it would be here at some point. Cassie's been knowing this kid for maybe six years and dating him for at least 4. Had Andrew been a typical knuckle-head, there's no way I would have let that fly. None. People have objected to my ability to intervene since she's over the age of majority, but last I checked, my name is still Pappy and that kind of stuff just doesn't fly with me. But the fact of the matter is this: My daughter is smart. I'm not talking intelligent like with books. She's alright in that department, although she could have done better in college. I'm talking smart as in wise. Sure she's still a kid with lots to learn, but she's not prone to the stupid youthful mistakes you so often see. AND Andrew's quite the credit to his folks. The boy was raised right and knows how to respect a girl, as well as a girl's father. I've watched him closely and listened to his words. I believe in him, but better yet, I believe in Cassie's belief in him.

I still want to hear how they plan on doing all this and what future expectations are, but there's time for all that. The are only engaged. They are not getting married tomorrow. But I still had to take a step back and contemplate what all of this actually means for me. My daughter's getting married. A new man will officially be in her life. Dad has to step aside. I accept that, but rest assured, to me, stepping aside is still with in arm's reach... at least for a while. But that's still a big thing to accept. I recall having to understand and accept when it was no longer cool for my kids to hang around with Dad. I recall becoming an embarrassment to my kids amongst their friends. I dealt with it. Now I have to deal with this. I might be a grandpa at some point which is a big change in one's life. There aren't any grandparents in the clubs! But bigger still, I know for fact that my mom is not in any kind of mood to be labeled GREAT-GRANDMA! It was a huge ordeal for her just to come to grips with chosing a new name for her. Big Mama was a automatic No-Go. She settled on Grandma, but when Cassie's kids learn to talk, I can tell you Great Big Mama won't be an option either.

But anyway, I'll learn to deal with it all. Happy Birthday to Cassie and Congrats to Cassie and Andrew. God Bless you both. And Andrew.... don't do nothing stupid. Be good to my little girl.

08 July 2008


"Loving Summer"

I still don't know what's up with this darn computer. For now, its letting me at least begin a post. I don't know if I'll get to finish it. I've had to save bits at a time in a draft version. Hopefully, I'll get this fixed soon.


Talk about a great 4th of July. I met Felix and his wife Summer in Panguitch, Utah for a 3-day camping and photo trip. I loved the place. Felix was definitely the man on this one. I'm starting to believe Utah might be even more beautiful than Tennessee, but the jury is still out on this one. The drive, itself once you got past Cedar City was amazing. For me, this was a scouting trip slash get-a-way time. It was a very spontaneous thing that I made up in my mind to do. Felix has already half way there when I got the word Thursday afternoon, that I was off work on Friday. I decided to jump in the car and follow the next day and I do not regret that decision. I got there Friday night. This was just a 3-hour drive. I wasn't really prepared for this trip, which is one of the downsides of spontenaity. I had no camping gear. I had no rain gear. I brought some blankets which didn't prove to be enough. Its July, but I froze in Panguitch. The first night wasn't so bad, as I stayed in the tent with Felix and Summer. The next night, I elected to sleep outside the tent next to the fire that I kept going all night. As it got cooler, my pillow and blankets got all wet from the newly forming dew. It was warmer to stand in my birthday suit next to the fire, than to lay so low on the ground next to it. Had I been off the ground on a cot or hammock, it would not have been so bad.

Saturday was spent primarily at Bryce Canyon which is less than a 45-minute drive from where we camped out. We got lots of great shots there, but as lovely as it is, EVERYBODY is shooting there. I still want to go back and get some more shots there with a model, but the fact that so many people have images from there make it not the prime spot for me. When Felix took me back into the seclusion of the moutains and woods, that was a bigger impact on me. I have more of a draw to those places than the high taffic areas.

Thats what we did the next day; Sunday was spent exploring around between Panguitch and Panguitch Lake area. We found a spot like a mini-Bryce that I got to scramble around on. Climbing up to the highest point proved unnerving, not because of the height, but rather due to my sudden awareness of lightening and the threat of getting poured on by the rain with my camera in the open. It was sad to have to return home and reacquaint with the real world. But at least I know more of this area and have that much more of an idea of where to take a model. I'm already trying to see about another trip in August with them.

On another subject, I need to get out and talk to some more models. I've been more concentrating on my group work that I've put off my independent work. I'd like to shoot some girls for a non-themed project. As I have on my Model Mayhem profile, I'd just like to shoot for the sake of shooting right now. I might like to do some night-time nudes, too, but I could shoot the nude anywhere right now. I have this on my profile for possible endeavors:


1.) I plan to spend the next 18 months shooting nudes in natural outdoor environments in Nevada and Utah parks, as well as places in Colorado, Arizona, and Southern Cal.

2.) During this same time period, I want to also do indoor nudes of models in THEIR natural enviornment, shooting in their homes or favorite places where they kick back and relax. I'd also like to photographically document a segment of your life in which you go about your normal routines at home.

3.) Looking for a PHOTO MUSE or two: For spontaneous shoots that have no design, concept or project plan. This is just give me the opportunity to shoot for the hell of it, to experiment, or just because I'm in the mood. This person(s) will be a shapely female, preferably with long hair, who has time on her hands and would love nothing better than to take off her clothes and have her picture taken. AND she's got to have a great spirit and an attitude that lends itself well to the camera.

And Dave Rudin was in town again. I got to have breakfast with him at The Original Pancake House again, but that was on Friday morning and I was gone by that night. I was sad not to get to hang out with him more, but at least he got to do a shoot up in Utah. I talked to him again on Tuesday, thinking we could hook up again. While I had every intention of doing so, I was way to exhausted by the time I got off work to keep my clothes on and drive through all the traffic. I called him to wish him a safe trip to San Fran. I look forward to seeing the images of the model he shot in Utah and some more of his work when he shoots in San Fran.

Computer issues

Just wanting to let you know I haven't forgotten about you all. I'm having some massive computer issues. This thing reboots after 15 to 20 minutes and I'm getting hella error messages with boxes that say this and that has encountered a problem and needs to close. Then the whole thing shuts down and restarts on its own. I can't get anything done! Be back soon though, K...

I need to get a Mac!

02 July 2008

On Chris and then Trixie

"Seated on a Fallen Trunk"
My true program is summed up in one word: life. I expect to photograph anything suggested by that word which appeals to me. - Edward Weston

I know I've posted on this before, but virtual relationships with people you've never met can be just as real as interpersonal ones. I'm still trying to get word on Chris St. James. We've communicated often over the last year and I've come to truly respect and admire him, not only for his work and efforts with Univers d'Artistes, but also as a man. I can tell his heart from his writings and he's a person who genuinely cares about other people. I've come to truly miss him at the helm of his blog. Maybe that's a tad bit selfish on my part, but damn, I miss the man. I am fearful that his illness may be getting the better of him, so I can only keep praying. I've tried to contact the editors at Carrie Leigh, but got no response. (He's the European Blog editor for Carrie Leigh's Nude Magazine.) It took me a while, but I finally got a contact name and number from the French telephone directory. I might have succeeded in that a month ago, had I been able to read French. I added the international feature to my cell phone plan because it was way cheaper by the minute to call using it than not. Of the two numbers that were associated with his name, both were changed or no longer in use. You can imagine my frustration. Somebody's got to be close to him over there. I get hits from France and Europe all the time. Li'l help, please.

This past Sunday was another art nude photo workshop. Talk about challenges! For a while, I was speculative on whether or not it would actually happen. I changed the location a week before the event from a spot out by Red Rock to a location at Mt. Charleston. The initial spot I scouted was just way to temperate for anyone to be comfortable. I scrambled to find another spot in a cooler climate at Mt. C. which can be upwards of 20 degrees cooler than the Las Vegas Valley. I located my primary spot just before it got dark. I thought I was set for the next week. Then to my utter amazement, calamity. The day before my event, a single-engine plane crashed near my area of choice and access was reportedly closed off. Of the 4 passengers, every poor soul on the flight was lost, unfortunately. I decided to lead my guys there anyway and found that access was not restricted in my area. However since other major areas were closed off, people flocked into my prime spot. My Plan B locale was in the restricted area which was now blocked off except to emergency vehicles and personnel. Instead of heading home, I scouted my spot anyway and found that I could push back further into the woods. My group members were none to happy to find a 200 meter, 30 degree up-slope between them and the photo area. As it turns out, once we all got up there, rested, and begun shooting, all the groaning turned to glee.

My model, Trixie is a true muse. As an experienced artist's model, she's used to holding a pose for a while. All respects to her as I say this, but Trixie has one of the best photographic rear ends period. There's a lot of strength in her legs and lower body and she has such dynamic and interesting shape from her back to her butt, that I make it a focus point whenever I shoot her. Her husband tagged along and while most photogs might be apprehensive to have an accompanying spouse watch the shoot, this guy was totally cool. He helped out with watching our gear and holding Trixie's robe and shoes. Everyone was very comfortable around him and I got to enjoy some good conversation with him. He's an engineer and briany at another level, but by no means nerdy. Normally when I shoot Trixie, he's off in another room to let us do our thing, so I've never really gotten to talk much before that day. I've done some great work with Trixie because he's been so supportive of her and our work. Trix was the real trooper of the day. She came out and did her thing and whatever was asked of her. The water got a bit too chilly later in the evening, but she braved it nonetheless. We all went out to The Hacienda for tacos afterwards over on Lake Mead and Christie. Its real Mexican food. I got up to the counter and jokingly ordered a Chalupa and Encharito. That didn't go over well.