26 September 2009

Building A Schedule - From the Ground Up

i must make a disclaimer, that this post is not like most of my posts. it has nothing to do with wedding photography, and everything to do with living a productive life. if you are interested in the latter, i encourage you to read on...

whether you love 'em or hate 'em... whether you claim to be one, or couldn't even imagine the thought... most of us would agree that there is a directly-proportional pairing of productivity with early rising. the early bird catches the worm, doesn't it?

as a business owner, as a husband, as a soon-to-be father, and as a spiritual being longing for deeper relationship with my God & my community, over the past few months i kept feeling drawn to create a sense of order about my life. enough order, ironically, to allow room for the spontaneous. i once heard david allen, the master behind GTD, make a comment related to cooking, that struck deeply with my common sense. he rhetorically asked, how much more free are you to be spontaneous in the kitchen, if everything is in its right place, instead of feeling overwhelmed by pots & pans strewn across the counter tops? so, why would our daily routine be any different; keep the frame work in place, allowing one's creativity to flow un-hindered.

then, about a month ago, jasmine shared her daily routine with her inquiring fans [you can check out the post here]. and i felt that was the final push.

i wanted to have a daily routine; a schedule for myself to serve as the framework for my creativity & my sanity. my first inclination was to copy jasmine's schedule, and plan out the very next day with my calendar:
6:30am - wake up & pray
7:00am - answer email
8:15am - get my butt outside & enjoy the fresh air
...and on and on...

only, two things struck me [and thankfully, they did so immediately, before i started re-arranging my iCal for imminent failure]:

[1] i am not jasmine.
[2] i have a difficult time changing multiple variables at the same time.

and the second, led me to my plan of action. i knew that if i tried to map out a daily routine from the moment i rose until dinner was in the skillet, i would most certainly end up frustrated before i even finished my second cup of coffee. so, i thought a moment, about how i like to make changes...

one at a time.

once i acknowledged this bit of self-knowledge, i took the only possible next step. i focused on the first action i have taken, of every single day over the past 27 years: waking up.

my first goal: to wake at the same time every day [and preferably earlier than i typically was waking].

so, as i will typically do, i began to research, scouring some of my favorite blogs & books, until i had a plan of action to make the single & simple change, before moving on to my next goal. and i have to say, i am rather excited about the results.

over the past week and a half, i first started waking daily at 8:00am, and have sinced [successfully] moved my alarm to 7:45am. i simply go to bed when i am tired [no set time] and i plan on waking at the same time every day, letting my body do the work of telling me whether i need more sleep or less. if i need more sleep, my body tells me to go to bed earlier. and if i am more-than-rested, my body gives me permission to stay up a bit later. it's rather simple.

so, what is the call to action? well, do you want to be an early riser? do you want a daily routine? or is there some other habit you would like to create, but have had a difficult time making it systematic for yourself? i have included a few links that might help, and i look forward to sharing my progress in the near future, as i create my own schedule - from the ground up.


jasmine star's FAQ post: http://www.jasminestarblog.com/Index.cfm?postID=645

steve pavlina's "how to become an early riser" post [part 1]: http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/05/how-to-become-an-early-riser/

steve pavlina [part 2]: http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/05/how-to-become-an-early-riser-part-ii/

leo babauta's "the power of less": http://thepowerofless.com/

and, just for fun, here is a photograph i took on my favorite stretch of road: the 101 between santa barbara and san luis obispo.

23 September 2009

A Weekend with The Ingalls

we sat on the porch. and without the tools of social media, without twitter, without facebook, without iChat, we had a conversation... old school. just sitting on the porch, we had a conversation.

this past weekend was rather refreshing. and i didn't know how much i needed it, until i was there. but, on friday, i had the fortune of taking a small road trip, up the central coast of california, to hang with the incredibly talented & caring cameron & anna ingalls. upon my arrival, i was greeted with hugs and a warm meal, and the weekend followed up with a handful of adventures & good conversation, in one of my favorite parts of the world: san luis obispo, california.

check this... he can crack an egg into the pan with just one hand [for proof, check out this little twitter video @ http://www.twitvid.com/37033 ]. that's the kind of man cameron ingalls is. and, he is an artful storyteller. from his words, to his images, cameron moves with a spirit of intention. and it is pretty incredible to watch, from the way he takes photographs to the way he orders pad thai... seriously. he is THAT intentional.

so, cameron & anna, i can't thank you enough for your blessing & hospitality, and i pray that sooner-than-later, carlie & i are able to return the blessing for the two [three] of you.

cameron ingalls a la recepcion, sans flash.

20 September 2009

Photo Induction - Molly plus Matthew equals Charlotte


carlie patiently [slash impatiently] sat on one of the chiavari chairs, as i meticulously stepped through my post wedding checklist; camera bodies - check, lens caps on - check, un-used batteries - check, used batteries - check, memory cards...

we had just completed another "day at the office," having captured jon and quyen's vintage wedding at the muckenthaler mansion in fullerton. and, with the bride and groom sent off through an alley of sparklers, and a few remaining guests lingering to share a few last words, we were off.

on the way to our car, i reached into my pocket and pulled out my trusty iPhone, to find a direct message from one of my twitter friends: molly of mathieu photography. we had totally been cyber friends via the twitter world, and had run in many of the same circles, without ever having met.

that was about to end.

as we each packed up our gear from our respective weddings that day, we each jumped on the freeway in the dark of the night, after a long day of shooting, and met at the mecca of the late-night post-wedding dining establishment... In N Out.

over a double-double, fries and a shake, we talked about life, business, and babies. it seemed as if we had been pals since our elementary years.

and as many of you know, molly and matthew just gave birth to their first child: Charlotte June Snelson. i'll be honest, Charlotte is exactly one week old now, and i think i'm in love all over again. make sure to check out the full story on the mathieu photo blog here. but the day before... yes, literally THE DAY BEFORE molly went into labor, not even knowing the gender of their unborn child, carlie & i had the pleasure of shooting her and matthew.

here is your invitation to view the last photographs taken, before molly and matthew fell in love all over again, with the arrival of their little june bug.


p.s. by the way... i totally called it. [girl]


hi-fives and low-tens were in hot exchange...
...as were other gestures of over-excitement.
carlie captured this one, and i can't help but LOVE IT.




remember that sci-fi show sliders, from the late 90's??? parallel dimensions collide.
one of carlie's favorites.

about 24 hours after this photograph was captured, molly snelson went into labor. i didn't realize my photo skills stretched so far.

click here to view my portfolio. click here to contact me.

18 September 2009

Shooting Friends - Barb and Aaron

first off, i have to apologize. i'm never personally a fan of the "sneak-peek" but must oblige, considering the circumstances. so, please don't stop reading. just know that more details and more photos will be coming soon, to a publication near you ;)

with the formalities out of the way, our friends barb & aaron tied the knot less than two weeks ago, and their orange county wedding took us for a trip across the globe to the place of their introduction: spain. and, this particular wedding was extra special, since not only is aaron a professional wedding photographer, but there were also a number of other pros at the wedding as guests; a rather humbling & exciting experience.

i'm always amazed at the connections required, the variables of circumstance, and the context of story, in which our clients meet & marry. barb & aaron are no exception. they met half-way across the world, and though they enjoyed each other's company in a foreign land, they did not think twice that they might not ever meet again, having not even exchanged contact information. so, when they met by chance, months later, at a coffee shop in their home town of orange, california, it was obvious that Fate, or Love, or God, was artfully crafting His masterpiece: barb & aaron's story.

without further adieu, i give you a single image from their wedding day [again i apologize for being such a tease, but i promise to share more later... as we all anxiously await the complete collection to be published at utterlyengaged.com]


i would also like to thank the incredible team that helped piece together the incredible details that made barb & aaron's wedding go off without a hitch:

the coordinator - christina - www.simplymodernweddings.com
the florals - kristin - www.thetreasuredpetal.com
the tunes - eric mosqueda - www.socal-dj.com
the private flamenco performance - paco & yolanda arroyo - www.arroyoflamenco.com
the treats - melody - www.mysweetandsaucy.com
the motion picture - megan & josh - http://themotionboutique.com
and the venue - casa romantica - www.casaromantica.org - 415 Avenida Granada, San Clemente, CA 92672-5233

click here to view my portfolio. click here to contact me.

17 September 2009

Shooting to Shoot - Maternity Photography with Carlie

in the middle of a busy wedding season, it helps being married to carlie. it helps because carlie always seems to have some type of non-work project at hand. and, for a workaholic like myself, filling my spare time with "something else" helps keep me from filling that same time with the ever-dreaded, work-for-work's sake. not to mention, when i feel the need [though it is usually she that prompts my need] i always have a hot model ready to be photographed.

so, here is a continuation from a series we started last month, to document carlie's transformation from young womanhood to young motherhood. no sappy anecdote here; just a few photos of my beautiful bride and lincoln's incredible mother.






16 September 2009

Muckenthaler Wedding Photography - Quyen and Jon

recently, we were fortunate enough to photograph quyen & jon's vintage inspired wedding at the muckenthaler mansion in fullerton. and not only that, but jen over at green wedding shoes blessed all of us, by featuring quyen and jon's story first. so, once you are done perusing the images here, make sure to check out more of the details on the green wedding shoes blog here.

meshing two distinct cultures & two distinct eras seemed to flow effortlessly from every detail. quyen brought the traditions from vietnamese culture and her roots from the far east, whilst jon himself, down to the tie clip & ray bans, personified all that is Americana. and, as the guests arrived at the muck, it felt as if we were all taken out of the hustle of our 21st century lives, to the jive of the early part of the 20th century.

and, amidst everything... the details, the style, the attire... were two young lovers, so ready to take on life together. quyen and jon, carlie & i love you. we really do. and i pray the photographs we have to offer from your wedding day, serve as a timeless memento to the love that will so apparently fill your household as the two of you grow old together.


i absolutely love when couples incorporate their family history, by sharing wedding photos from years gone by... and i pinch myself to think that the photographs i take today, might very possibly outlive me. humbling.
the bride. the groom. and their killer florals from honey and poppies.
p.s. do yourself a favor and check out tiffany's blog. she rocked out quyen's make-up, which is so important for photos.


as a professional wedding photographer, how could i not be ecstatic when i saw old windows like this one, so artfully integrated at the altar.

the newlyweds.
this one's a throwback to their engagement shoot earlier this year. only this time, jon traded out his 12 gauge for a bride's bouquet.

every table was marked by one of these letter cards, offered by martha stewart.


this was my first time at the muck, but if you are interested in contacting them for your event, i highly recommend it:

1201 W. Malvern Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92833

Telephone: (714) 738-6595

click here to view my portfolio. click here to contact me.

15 September 2009

Newport Beach Engagement Photography - Michelle and Justin

have you ever met new friends that were too fun? or too cute? or just too plain rad? and all you wanted to do was play???

michelle and justin make me want to play.

first off, michelle and justin have cool personalities [and tattoos to match]. second, they are getting married at a haunted mansion this fall. third, michelle happens to be an incredible & aspiring photographer [you should check out her flickr stream]. and did i mention how cool michelle and justin are?

after meeting for the first time at megan & dom's san clemente wedding, just recently, i got even more excited for the big day coming up next month.

consider this simply foreshadowing for the awesome that will be brought when michelle & justin tie the knot...
meet justin.
and meet michelle.
they're fun... but a little shy.



michelle likes to go fast.








and who doesn't like a classic jump shot.
this was actually the very first photo we took during their engagement shoot, and it sorta reminds me of peter pan chasing his shadow. michelle and justin are a perfect match; like you & your shadow.

click here to view my portfolio. click here to contact me.