Friday | Picture of the Week | Week 14

Why only save it for special occasions when every day is special…

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The Balance Beam

Shan loves to do hand stands, it’s one of the many tricks left over from her youth as a competitive gymnast.  It’s been many years since she’d done her old beam routine but without any hesitation she jumped right up on the Venice Beach balance beam and got to it!  Me and many bystanders on the beach were very impressed with her skills.  She got some applause and an elderly man called it “just beautiful,” I agreed.

Of course there was just a bit of rust,

But don’t worry everybody, if you look closely she’s actually smiling during the fall.  After we dusted the sand off, she was good to go.

Costa Rica | Vol. 4 | The Wedding Finale!

Andy and Katie’s wedding at ‘Casa de Capitan’ was an incredible event and the finale of our trip. We had looked forward to the wedding day the whole week and we were happy to see that the event would be set in absolutely perfect weather. As the sun began to set we gathered on the beach and watched Katie, the gorgeous bride, come the down the aisle.

Sarah, Katrin, Vivian, Alexandra and Shan

Charlie and Me

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SPACE

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Anthony & Alex, Sarah and Brian

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SPACE

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The newly engaged.

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SPACE

SPACE

For the reception dinner, Shan and I were assigned to the “pantera” table.

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After the ceremony, the group enjoyed drinks and appetizers on the beach.  There could not have been a better setting.

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Fitz played a few a songs.

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The ceremony amongst the palms, the circular arrangement brought everybody close the action.

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The groom, very happy obviously.

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Mr. and (very soon to be) Mrs,

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And they’re married!

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First steps of many in a life together!

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Brian, Sarah, Katrin and Sten

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Shan, Kim, and Suzi

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The Father-Daughter dance was all time, a full, intense swing dance to Free Bird.  An instant classic.

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The Punta Coco clan, those who live together, party together and eat ‘Gallo Pinto’ together:

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This is scene looking towards the beach from the house and swimming pool, Marty, myself and Kevin.

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Flor de Cana a local rum,

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Dinner was first class, also first class were the “Shot-skis,” here the Curtis’s give a lesson in teamwork.

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Andy’s brother Erik, delivered a great speech.

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Some ‘Shot-ski’ races.

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The happy newlyweds.

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At midnight, Katie surprised Andy (and all of us) with a firework show! We were blown away!

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I really like the shot on the right here, it’s the Grand Finale on 20 second exposure hand held.  What you’re seeing on the bottom is the tent illuminated by the fireworks and framed by palm trees on both sides, quite an experience!

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Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs. Curtis!!!

hottie on a skateboad & camera settings.

While our blog isn’t about photography, rather it’s a place for us to easily share pictures and other random thoughts, I decided to share a bit about what I have learned about photography. Being that I just shot my first wedding this past weekend with my dad today, I thought it was appropriate!

In June 2008, we officially retired our Canon PowerShot and upgraded to our first SLR camera, a Nikon D60. Since, then we have bought and sold camera and lens and now have a Nikon D90 and several lens. It seems over the past year many of our friends have decided to ditch their point and shoot cameras and upgrade to an SLR (single-lens reflex) device. While the details of what an SLR camera are can be better explained by somebody (slightly more knowledgeable, insert Ryan’s explanation here 🙂 ) than myself, for me an SLR camera meant, interchangeable lens and far less shutter lag!

For those of you beginning and learning the basic’s of your new SLR, Ry always suggests this book, Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. For me, I got lucky and Ryan read the book and taught me as he went!  This was one of the pictures we learned to take from this book by Bryan Peterson:

Camera Settings: Nikon D90, 50mm, f/22, ISO 100, 1/50 sec

 

Camera Settings: Nikon D90, 30mm, f/3.5, ISO 200, 1/8 sec

While these may not be the best panning shots ever, I like how they suggest a sense of motion. When photographing a moving subject, the panning technique is achieved by keeping the subject in the same position of the frame for the duration of the exposure, meaning you must follow the subject with your camera. The shutter speed will depend on the speed at which the subject is moving. There is no “right” shutter speed, but as Ryan describes it, you’re looking for one slow enough to blur the background but fast enough to keep the subject in focus.

Anyways, if you made it through without being too bored – congrats, now go shoot some panning shots!!!!!

 

Let the Good Times Roll! Happy Birthday Charlie!

It has been a big month for our buddy Charlie, awesome new job, big move to San Diego, his super beautiful girlfriend said “YES” and is going to marry him!…

and…

…to top it off…

…she and his cousin threw him an awesome SURPRISE PARTY!  He is on a roll! Shan and I are so happy for both Vivian and Chuck, they couldn’t be better people…Congratulations!!!

Kudos to Annie, Vivian and Cafe Bugaloo for putting together a great night!

To view a small slide show click here.

Sights and Sounds of Apple Hill Photo Contest

******** VOTING IS NOW CLOSED ****************

A few weekends ago, Ryan and I headed up to my hometown for a visit. Every fall, our family finds time to take a trip to the apple orchards, where we cruise the craft booths, sample cider, and eat the yummy apple pie and caramel apples. Apple Hill is filled with so many fun picture opportunities so my Dad and I decided to have a photo contest called “The Sights and Sounds of Apple Hill”.

Each of us submitted 12 photos and decided to let you be the judge! Please vote for you top 5 favorite photos in the comments section! If you would like to see them large please click on the photo to view. (Note: There are only 23 pictures instead of 24, not because I can’t count but because one of my pictures was of my Dad so you would know who took it!)

To vote: Please leave your votes in the comments section!!!!

******** VOTING IS NOW CLOSED ****************

No. 1

#1 -Shannon         #2 – Kevin George       #3 – Shannon        #4 – Shannon

PACE

     #5 – Shannon                                                   #6 – Shannon

SPACE

#7 – Kevin George          #8 – Shannon          #9 – Shannon     #10 – Kevin George

SPACE

#11 – Kevin George       #12  Kevin George    #13 – Shannon  #14 – Kevin George

SPACE

#15 – Kevin George                   #16   – Kevin George                        #17 – Kevin George

SPACE

#18 – Shannon                     #19  – Kevin George                  #20 – Shannon

SPACE

#21 – Kevin George                             #22 – Kevin George                              #23 – Shannon

Shan & the Dandelion

Shan and I hadn’t been to Santa Barbara since our engagement so we were excited to visit. This time we had a great reason to celebrate! One of our best buds, Mike found out he passed the Bar exam so we rushed up the 101 to congratulate him personally.   We had a dinner on State Street and stayed out late enjoying our old favorite bars, I love that place.  Huge dinner, lots of a drinks, a few bars and a slice of pizza after last call it was a great night!  During a walk around town and I was able to get this shot of Shan in a moment of observance, a split second before the inevitable.

Brooks & Dunn at Club Nokia

Last night Shan and I saw what was without a doubt the  best concert I’ve ever seen!

Brooks & Dunn played in what may have been their last performance ever in California.  They sung a full set of songs and sounded incredible from start to finish.  Close quarters, small headcount and their contagious energy made for an encapsulating atmosphere.  Brooks & Dunn’s set mixed their upbeat songs with their emotional ones and they involved the crowd the whole time.  The emotional highlight of the night was during “Only in America” when three uniformed soldiers marched out and stood facing the crowd at the front edge of stage.  For the duration of the song they stood still and tall saluting the crowd and then during the last  chorus, red, white and blue streamers exploded and covered all the onlookers.

The event was hosted by Toyota and held at Club Nokia at LA Live in Los Angeles as an add on to their farewell tour. The venue only seats about 2,000 people was an intimate place to see such a renowned band.  Toyota gave free tickets to owners who responded back to an email, and provided free food and drinks to all.  My 4runner has been perfect so this was gravy, thanks Toyota! Click here for a slideshow.

We were lucky enough to get a bunch great pictures, to view them bigger and better please click here.

Every now and then throughout history…

…a genius creates something that is timeless.

Something that is so indisputably timeless and cool that anybody who has ever experienced [said timeless item] has a story of hilarious and gleeful admiration. And the story follows this pattern.

{enthusiastic & loud voice} “No No No….MY [said timeless item]…was terrible it had [insert long list of faults] and it couldn’t [insert long list of limitations] but it had more personality in its [insert small component] than my [insert said timeless item’s replacement] whole being. Every single time it would [story detailing one of the faults that is both unbelievable and hilarious.]

{somber & much quieter voice} One of the biggest mistakes I ever made was [selling said timeless item]. If I could do it all over it again, I would have saved [said timeless item], perhaps restored it. I would have cherished it to this day, man was I stupid for getting rid of [said timeless and genius item].

So here is my story of my timeless and genius possession:

No No No….MY tan ’72 Volkswagen Squareback was terrible it had a starter that wouldn’t work for months, a passenger window that wouldn’t roll down and no CD player. It couldn’t even ride at freeway speeds because the brakes required pumping to stop at any speeds over 40 mph and the wheel bearings were shot so if my speed ever broke 50 mph the “wobble of death” would scare me and my passengers “to death.” That car had more personality in its soft leather shift knob than my 4runner’s whole being. Every single time I had to turn left into oncoming traffic I had to use a hand signal because the front blinker was gone. That’s right, just a hole in the body where the blinker once was…it was cool though, that’s where I stashed my keys when I went surfing.

One of the biggest mistakes I ever made was selling that car for $600 bucks. Even though I didn’t need a car to attend UCSB, if I could do it all over it again, I would have saved my squareback and fixed it’s ailments and maybe even restored it. I would have cherished it to this day, man was I stupid for getting rid of VW.

I know this isn’t a Squareback, but equally cool, the Bug that reminded of my timeless and genius car.

New Years Eve 2010 – Big Bear

We had the pleasure of spending New Years with SEVERAL of our closest friends in Big Bear, CA.  Alexandra, Anthony, Chuck, Vivian, Chris, Kim and an awesome group of Alexandra’s bros friends contributed to a great weekend.  Snowboarding, eating pizza, playing Balderdash, jacuzziing, drinking, singing and dancing were a perfect way to bring in 2010! Lots of great pictures can be seen here, below are just a few of my favorites.

New Years eve isn’t right without a proper sparkler burning, pot banging exhibition.

Christmas Fireworks!

One of our favorite festivities is the Manhattan Beach Christmas fireworks, in fact it was our first real dates way back in 2003!  This year, we started the night out at a Christmas party with my sister, Taylor and Alana at their strand house.  From their we walked a bit closer to the pier and had a great time watching with a bunch of friends.  It was a great show, Merry Christmas!

Manhattan Beach Pier

31/365 - Fireworks

Us ball

Check out our sideshow here, and if you want to download a particular shot, try here.

25/365 – Leafless Oaks

Being newlyweds and having families in cities 430 miles apart creates a bit of a dilemma come holidays.  Obviously, we both want to share the holidays with our families and share comfortable traditions in our home cities but whichever place we decide, one of us is away from family.  In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we reminded ourselves that we are fortunate to have two places to celebrate, and doubly so, because each family understands if we end up elsewhere.

This Thanksgiving we woke up early and drove up to Placerville to visit the Zavoda’s.  We enjoyed great company and an outright feast that included a bbq’d and deep fried turkey, ham and no joke six desserts!

Did I mention that Thanksgiving is the best holiday of the year?

After dinner we took a walk from the Zavoda house and a enjoyed a cold country sunset which included some great leafless oaks.

25/365 - Leafless Oaks

Sten's Bachelor Party

Have I mentioned it’s been a busy year?

Sten, one of my best friends and groomsman is getting married in Austria in January. So it was time to celebrate his last days as a bachelor, the venue was a little known area loosely between King City, Big Sur and an Army base.  About 20 of Sten’s closest friends made the trip from San Diego, San Francisco and the southbay, I was looking forward to reunion.

During the day we milled around the wilderness avoiding poison oak and during the nights we all contributed to revolutionizing the camp fire song.  Three straight days of wild times and no serious injuries or deaths, an overwhelmingly successful bachelor party on all accounts.

The Crew

16/365 - Tom the Taranchula

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18/365 - The Bachelor

More pictures can be seen here.

Hydration Station – 15/365

We love the local grocery store across the street from our house and we find reason to visit just about every day.  Like most of El Segundo, it is immaculate. When we move from this town there is a lot I will miss, great restaurants, no parking meters, nice parks, the lack of techno pumping club and Cooke’s Market.

Hydration Station - 15/365

 

5/365

I didn’t have the opportunity to take any photos this Saturday so my bid for 365 pictures in 365 days is off.  I still plan on getting to 365, it just might take a little bit longer than 1 year, that’s all.

This afternoon was grey, but I did have a great time watching this little bird exploit the low tide.  He worked alone, and found lots to eat.  It was interesting because the rest of breed worked in a group, sort of following each other around, he did his own thing.

Lownly Tide - 5/365

Lownly Tide - 5/365