Miss American Coed – California Pageant Queens

Last weekend I got the chance to photograph the California State Queens for the Miss American Coed Pageant. They met for the day in Ontario, at the Hyatt, and after full make up and hair, we started shooting out by the pool, with the girls wearing Celebrity Pink Jeans.

Miss American Coed

Miss American CoedMiss American Coed

Miss American CoedMiss American Coed

Miss American CoedMiss American Coed

Miss American Coed

Miss American CoedMiss American Coed

Miss American CoedMiss American Coed

Miss American Coed

This might be my favorite image from the day – it’s just so dramatic and emotional. It’s a beautiful portrait!

Miss American CoedMiss American Coed

Miss American CoedMiss American Coed

Miss American CoedMiss American Coed

Miss American CoedMiss American Coed

Miss American CoedMiss American Coed

Miss American CoedMiss American Coed

Miss American Coed

Miss American CoedMiss American Coed

What could be more Californian, than beautiful girls, bright sunny light, windswept hair, and a crown?

Miss American CoedMiss American Coed

Miss American CoedMiss American Coed

Miss American CoedMiss American Coed

Miss American Coed

And we’ll end with the littlest pageant queen – you’d think that crown might be maybe a bit too big? But you’d be wrong – she knew how to work it!

Nathan in the summer of 2010

One of the best parts about my new home in Hemet is that it comes with a garage that faces the North. That may not mean much to most people, but as an artist the words “Northern Light” make me all feel all tingly inside.

What’s so special about Northern Light? Well picture the globe, spinning on it’s axis… No, that’s way too complicated.

Okay, picture yourself at home, and note the position of the sun at different times of the day. In the morning the sun is obviously in the east and at sunset it’s in the west. Easy. But there’s more to it! Depending on where you are in the world, the sun is also a little to the south or a little north of you – just a little – all day long – but it’s an important distinction.

Since I’m in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is usually a little south – so the plants on the southern side of my house get more sun and the plants on the northern side get more shade. Fairly basic stuff, right? But, that’s not the fun part – the fun begins if you have a window on the northern side of your house – I call it make everybody beautiful light! No direct light at all – just lots of soft light bouncing around outside and illuminating the subject. Beautiful!

And if you have a garage facing north, and you raise the garage door? That’s like a big huge natural softbox, only better.

The only thing I like better is a garage facing west… You can get the golden glow of late afternoon, but because you’re under a big roof, there’s no direct sun, and so no squinting – it’s really really beautiful. But, the drawback with western light is that it’s not quite as flattering as northern light.

My nephew Nathan spent a little time in California on his summer vacation, and he volunteered to help me test in my studio/garage space.

Nathan / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Can you believe that light?! Beautiful! And Nathan is beautiful as well. When I saw this image, I felt like it’s a glimpse of the man he will become. He looks soooo mature here!

We also shot a little out in Winchester Valley, just for fun – and I’ll post those here as well. It was a fun day!

NathanNathan

Nathan

In my opinion, you all have excellent taste!

Photos by Cheryl SpeltsOne interesting thing about my new site design is that I can now tell which are the most popular images, because each is on it’s own page, so it’s easy to see how many clicks each image gets. Interesting!

The favorites from yesterday were these three, in this order…
2008-04-05-marty-casey-6991
2009-05-16-nathan-9651
2008-09-05-marty-casey-2166

The two of Marty Casey don’t surprise me a bit – of course he gets the most click action! But the other image was a really pleasant surprise – it’s of my nephew Nathan, taken just last month, and it may end up being one of my all-time favorite portraits of all time. It’s just magical…

In fact, all three of the above are among my favorites of all time. Guess my visitors have excellent taste!

Josh and Nathan

My brother and his family moved out of state last week – so before they left California, I shot a few quick portraits of my nephews. Their new home is far away from Southern California, and who knows when I’ll see them again, so it was a good time!

Nathan / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Josh / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

My first goal was to get a beautiful headshot of each of them – something that Grandma could hang on the wall. I definitely feel we achieved that goal!

Nathan / Photo: Cheryl SpeltsJosh / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Josh / Photo: Cheryl SpeltsNathan / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Nathan / Photo: Cheryl SpeltsJosh / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

The second goal was to do a portrait that they got to set up themselves – Josh wanted a shot with his guitar, rock star-style, and Nathan wanted a shot in his bedroom, comfy and relaxed, with bare feet. Very different choices, but I love both images we ended up with!

Josh / Photo: Cheryl SpeltsNathan / Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Ed Komski, CEO of Xtreme Convenience of Barstow

Ed Komski, CEO of Xtreme Convenience of BarstowI spent some time in Barstow last week, shooting Ed Komski, CEO of Xtreme Convenience of Barstow for the Village News.

In addition to fueling the adrenaline rush of off-road and water vehicles, Xtreme utilized the branding of Monster Energy. Monster found the concept so compelling that they jumped onboard right away. “They are clearly part of the experience and clearly visible throughout the property,” said Komski. Monster President Mark Hall said, “When Ed brought us his idea, we thought it was evolutionary and right on target for our demographic, and we were happy to support his efforts.” Ryan Lujan, Branding Marketing Manager for Monster said, “We are curious to see if the Monster brand has long-term potential as the flagship theme in a C-store like this. It will also be interesting to see how consumers respond to shopping in a convenience store with an edgy personality revolving around action sports and music.”

You can read the article at http://www.thevillagenews.com/story/34206/

Xtreme Convenience of Barstow

Ed KomskiEd Komski

Richard and Darlene

I did a really quick engagement session with Richard and Darlene back in March, and these images are from that session. They’re getting married in July!

Richard and Darlene

Richard and Darlene

Richard and Darlene

Richard and Darlene

Richard and Darlene

I think the last image is my favorite. Everything about it – the lines, the colors, the feeling – is just so romantic…

Iconic Portraits: Part One

Patrick

In 1994 I got my first job as a photographer. I wasn’t hired because of my portfolio, or my education, or my skills – I was hired because of my enthusiasm and passion for the art. I REALLY wanted it, and luckily the person doing the hiring thought that was a big asset and took a chance on me. I got a little training – basically set the camera and the lights up like this, use these poses, and work as fast as you can, while making sure the client has a great time. It was a great job! But after a month or so I got bored with the standard poses, and I started to focus more on finding the perfect angle for each person I shot. I started looking for the beauty in that person. And my sales shot way up! I got used to having at least one person dissolve into tears each day – because they never thought they could look that beautiful. It was a very very cool time in my life!

But I started to get bored… I wanted more. I wanted to change the way the lights were set up, I wanted to move the camera, and I wanted to go outside and shoot. I wanted to actually understand how the camera and the film and lights worked. I didn’t want to just set it and forget it, and follow a standard set of poses anymore. Was that asking so much?

So I left that job and started to take photography classes, and then spent the next ten years in the darkroom. I loved everything about the darkroom – the smells, the chemicals, the way you work all day to get one perfect print. There’s just nothing else like a black and white darkroom…

During that first year of school I shot an image that still perfectly defines my style as a photographer. I consider it to be one of my iconic images. There are several very sweet shots on that same roll of film, but this one image, with the wet hair, and the thumb in the mouth, and the big dark eyes – it just says so much about me, as a photographer. I initially titled it “Pure Rock n’ Roll” and I still think that’s a very fitting title.

I’ve thought about retiring it – it was shot in 1995, so it’s nearly thirteen years old now – and I’ve shot thousands of other beautiful images. But something about this one is just so special, and so rock n’ roll, and so me.

For me, it’s an iconic image. It’s who I was at the time I shot it, and it’s still pretty much who I am now – all these years later.