Archive: October 2010   |   View all recent posts

Things I Think Rock ~ Episode 2
WHO: Ryan Southwell, Susan Stripling, Infinet Design   |   WHAT: Things That Rock   |   WHEN: October 19, 2010
Welcome to the 2nd installment of Things I Think Rock.  It's only been been a little over 2 months since I posted the debut entry... usually when I start a series like this it ends up being another year before a 2nd post appears, if at all.  So, by my standards, I'm on fire with this series.  While the first post was about things, this one is dedicated to a few folks who I think do phenomenal work, some of whom I know and others I don't.  So without further adieu, let's get to it, shall we?

Ryan Southwell Films

I don't remember exactly how I stumbled upon Ryan's work, but it took me about 2 seconds to add him to my Google Reader RSS feed.  It use to be that the first words you thought of when someone asked, "Hey, you wanna see my wedding video?" would be yuck, boooring, I'd rather stick a toothpick in my eye, or something worse.  Let's face it, with uncle Ernie's shaky hand capturing nauseating video or long periods of time where seemingly nothing is happening but the bride & groom standing at the alter with audio you can't hear, who could argue that wedding videography wasn't cheesy at best and a total beatdown to watch at worst? 

Well, Ryan Southwell's wedding films are exactly that... short films.  Like, worthy of charging for admission films.  Like, get-your-popcorn-ready films.  This is not your father's wedding video.  And for that matter, he does more than wedding films.  His engagement and special project films are some of the coolest things I've seen.  I can't help but walk away with a smile everytime I watch a film he's posted.  The artistry, emotion and technical execution of his work clearly makes him unique and separates him from the pack, and I always look forward to seeing what's coming next from him.  True story; when I was driving home from Austin earlier this year I saw where he had posted a new video of a soldier returning home from war to see his new baby for the first time, and I pulled my car over and watched the video from the side of the highway on my phone... and yes, I teared up. 

The only downside to Ryan is that he doesn't live in Texas.  Other than through a couple blog/Facebook comments and an email or two, we don't really know each other, but I know enough to be sure that one day, somehow, I'm going to find a way to hire him to create a short film for and of Kylie and me.

You can check out his work at

Susan Stripling Photography

I've unfortunately never met Susan, and she likely has no idea who I am, but I've really admired her photography work from the first time I saw it.  Her images are just so clean and fresh and in many cases dramatic.  Her composition and post-processing add such impact.  Her work has a quality to it that's hard to describe, but easy to appreciate.  The words that come to mind when I think of her wedding imagery is authentic, sophisticated and, well, 'delicious'. 

And from following her on Twitter, she seems very approachable, down to earth and funny to boot.  I'd love to hear her speak or attend one of her workshops someday. 

You can check out her work at

Infinet Design

I've written about Brock and Dave at Infinet Design before, but they're more than worthy of a spot in a "Things I Think Rock" episode.  They created my first custom blog for me back in May of 2008, and I was so happy with the results and the work relationship that it was an easy decision to hire them to bring my new blog + website to life back in August of this year.  They were so patient and helpful in working through my ideas, even when I changed courses part way into the design process.  I could go on and on about these guys, but you can read a bit more on what I wrote about them in the above image.

If you're looking for top notch skills, creativity and customer service in creating a new website and/or blog, consider partnering with Brock and Dave.  It's a bit of an investment, but given the significance of your online presence as a marketing tool, it's an investment I promise you won't regret it.

You can see more of their work and find more information at


The Tacketts [Dallas Family Photographer]
WHO: Jerry, Tina & Trinity   |   WHAT: Families, Kids, Portraits   |   WHEN: October 18, 2010   |   WHERE: Dallas, TX
Everytime I photograph the Tacketts, it's a trip down the proverbial memory lane for me. Not only have I been friends with Jerry and Tina for a little over 14 years, this photo of their then newborn little Trinity was one of the first I ever took for somebody else.  Oh they didn't ask me to... I just took it sent it to them like I was Ansel Adams or something.  Before that I was just playin' around with a camera trying to figure out the difference between an aperture and an f/stop. (Turns out it's a cruel photography industry joke... there is no difference.)  Truth be told, I'm not really sure how I even got that image other than pure serendipity because I didn't have a clue what I was doing with my camera at that time and for some time after that... and I'm sure I spent at least an hour in Photochop fixing my technical incompetence with the camera.

Fast forward 5 years, and we've all come a long way.  I now know the aperture vs. f/stop gig, and little Trinity is, well, not so little.  I've had the pleasure of seeing this princess grow up right before my eyes.  I've probably got a thousand photos of her from her first five years floating around on hard drives, and Kylie and I were blessed to have her as our snowflake girl at our wedding in Indiana back in January of '09. 

It's not all about Trinity this time, though.  Jerry and Tina have been two of my best friends for almost as long as I've been in Dallas.  Jerry did the honors of being my best man at the wedding and Tina, well, she's the sister I never had... and my creative sounding board.  Oddly enough, in the years A.T. (after Trinity), we've never really done an official family session with all three of them.  We've grabbed a few images here and there, but we finally carved out some time to create some images of the whole tribe.  And because Tina's always photographing the rest of the family in addition to her clients, she rarely gets in any of the photos.  Soooo, last weekend we fixed that.  We headed downtown near the Deep Ellum Arts District and got our family photography session on.

Here's some of my favorites from our session. 

Check out Trinity already strikin' a pose like a pro in this first one.

Love this image.

Like mother...

... like daughter.

Trinity busted out her Hello Kitty guitar and started rockin' it out.

Mom and dad were instant groupies.

Love this image of Tina playin' and Trinity singin'.




Precious image.


Rachel & Lance - Just Because
WHO: Rachel & Lance   |   WHAT: Engagements, Families, Portraits   |   WHEN: October 12, 2010   |   WHERE: Deep Ellum
Rachel & Lance came in this evening to view their images.  We laughed.  We ate chocolate chip cookies.  We talked photography.  We watched iPhone videos of their three 8 yr old boys rockin' it out on their guitars at home.  We had fun.  These two are so laid back and easy going; it was truly a pleasure spending time with them, and I think we really got some great images in their "just because" session. 

Besides the sneak peek image I posted yesterday, here's my favorites from our time down in Deep Ellum.

Love the relaxed moment in this next one.

They rocked this one.

This was one of the last images we took, and it was getting dark, so I had my assistant Sara go up to the next stairway landing and hold a remote flash with a small softbox, pointing it down at Rachel & Lance.  While not a perfect image from a technical perspective, there's just something I really like about this image.  It's kinda got a vintage movie set feel to it.

The session was over and we had walked back to our cars and were about to drive home when I just put a flash on the ground behind Lance & Rachel trying to see if we could get something interesting.  I think we did.  Thanks, you two, for being game for "just one more".


Rachel & Lance [Sneak Peek]
WHO: Rachel & Lance   |   WHAT: Engagements, Families   |   WHEN: October 12, 2010   |   WHERE: Deep Ellum
Before Kylie and I headed to New England for vacation, I had the pleasure of photographing one of my peers in the photography industry.  I met Rachel through a photography forum a couple years ago, and we were also in the same photography class this past spring at Texas School.  Turns out her and her husband and their three triplet boys live about 15 minutes away in north Dallas.  Who knew?

This is a milestone year for Rachel & Lance as they celebrate their 15 year anniversary, and Rachel also turns 40.  To commemorate this year, Rachel approached me about doing a session of just her and Lance 1) to capture this chapter in their lives and 2) well, because they haven't had any photos of just them taken since their wedding.  I always get excited about photography sessions where my clients want to do what I call "just because" sessions, where it's not a wedding, engagement, new addition to the family, etc., but just a time in their life they want to document and remember through photography.

Rachel and Lance come in tomorrow to see their images for the first time, but here's just a little preview of what they'll see.  I'll post more images after their appointment.


New England ~ Vacation!
WHO: Kylie & I   |   WHAT: Cityscapes & Landscapes, Personal, Travel   |   WHEN: October 6, 2010   |   WHERE: New England
Call it a make-up vacation.  A do-over of sorts.  Back in April Kylie and I had a trip planned to visit London and Ireland only to have the whole thing disrupted and ultimately cancelled by - of all things - a volcano in Iceland.  A volcano.  In Iceland.  Fast forward a couple months, and after reconciling the fact I would not be seeing sheep roaming the rolling, lush Irish country side near a 200 year old castle, we both were feeling the need to get outta Dodge for a few days.  The struggles and monotony of daily life had set in and before we knew it, there were days we felt like we were just passing each other in the hallway on the way to getting something else on the to-do list done.  It was time to get away.

After a little bit of indecision about where to go (mostly on my part), we spun the proverbial globe and landed on New England in the fall.  Being a little naive about the popularity of NE during the peak fall color season, we were a little, um, unprepared for how difficult it would be to score places to stay.  I was given the task of planning out the trip since Kylie basically did all the trip-planning for our 11 day honeymoon in Italy.  I thought to myself, hard could a couple days in New Engalnd be?  2 weeks later I was practically begging Kylie for help, and of course, she came through... after rolling her eyes at me a few times.  Hey I did get the first night's accommodations and dinner planned.  Baby steps, folks.  Baby steps.

Little did we know this trip would end up becoming our babymoon when we found out not too long ago that we're pregnant with our first mininicolosi (thanks for the name, Kim).  I didn't even know what a babymoon was until a little over a month ago.  I never saw the chapter on babymoons in my life manual, but apparently that chapter also mentions things like push presents.  Push presents??  Clearly a group of moms have conspired to milk this pregnancy thing for all it's worth.  I kid, people. I kid.  Kylie deserves every bit of pregnancy pizzazz Hallmark and it's cohorts can dream up.

I know what you're thinkin'.... Blah bu-blah blah blah...Man, would he get on to the pictures already??  I'm almost there grasshopper.

So the night before we're supposed to fly out to Boston, I notice I'm gettin' a little achy and a bit of the chills.  Those bit of chills turned into all out shivering while I was trying to sleep, and I woke up with a fever around 102.  I swear I looked like a neanderthal the next morning as I was lumbering around trying to throw some clothes in the suitcase.  I don't remember much of what Kylie said to me that morning, but I think I responded in caveman speak with things like  Ungh... shirt.  Cold.  Jacket good.  Camera heavy.  I just wanted to crawl back into bed.  But this was our babymoon.  Nobody and nothin' stops the babymoon.

Long story short, turns out I had developed phlebitis in my right leg in addition to a nasty skin infection in my shin and calf area on my right leg.  So we spent the better part of the first day at the doctors office followed by a little trip to the hospital.  Good times.  But did I mention nothing gets in the way of the babymoon?  After nabbing a prescription from a doc in addition to a heavy dose of Alleve, we were on our way.

I didn't take as many photos as I thought I would, mostly because I just didn't feel like picking up my camera for the first day or two.  Here's some of my favorites of the ones I did take, though.

These first three were near the House of Seven Gables in Salem while we were killin' time waiting for my first Dr's appointment.

Here's where we stayed the first night in Maine, The Inn at Tanglewood Hall.  This place was freakin' beautiful and inn keepers Su and Andy were so friendly and personable.  I couldn't recommend this place more if you're looking for a B&B to stay in near York.

The next 7 images are random photographs from the inn.

From there we drove the coast of Maine for a bit in search of lighthouses.  This was the last bit of sun we saw for the day as tropical rains parked themselves in the sky over this region for most of the afternoon and evening.

Sorry, no Hoff sightings.

This is the Nubble Lighthouse in York.  I'd seen it before a few years back, but I never get tired of views like this.

It was a little windiliscious as they storms started moving in.

A got the brilliant idea I was gonna get a great photo of the sea gulls by luring one or two of them over towards me with a Fritos Honey BBQ Twist corn chip.  I got a little more than I bargained for.  At the first sight of a snack, I was bombarded a la Hitchcock style with a flock of seagulls.  All I could see and hear was Kylie laughing when I seriously ran for and dove back inside the car.

Here's a view ;ooking out the windshield at one of the perpetrators.

After cycling the windshield wipers, here's a better view of his mug.

While continuing on our drive, we came upon a partially dried up lakebed.  Looked like a graveyard of sorts for some smaller boats.  Stunk as all get-out, but had some great photo ops.

Next several images are from a a beach area somewhere between York and Portland, Maine.  Loved this footbridge.

Mama Nicolosi at 12 weeks.

Then we stumbled upon this place on teh side of the rode that was a freakin' gold mine for collectibles and all things nostalgic.  We were starved and trying to avoid rain, though, so I only spent about 10 minutes here.  I could've easly spent 3 hours.

We finally rolled into Portland, Maine around 4:15pm, and of course the light house we came to see closed at 4.  The trip took a little longer to get there than what we estimated... like 3 hours longer.  Oh, well, still ran out and was able to get this image of the Portland Head Light.  This is an HDR image for any photographers out there that were wondering.

The next 2 days were spent in new Hampshire near Stowe where we visited Cabot Cheese Farm to see how cheese was made, a maple syrup farm to see how pure maple syrup is made, and then Ben and Jerry's factory to see - you guessed it - how they make their ice cream.  Vermont also had a little more color than some of the other areas we visited.

We were also able to find a few old covered bridges in Vermont.


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