Hastings High School Football 2014

Last year I kicked around with the Fightin' Bears of Hastings High School in my old hood of Alief. This year I decided to spend a little more time with them thinking my nephew would be on the team. But guess who was at practice this summer and guess who wasn't? Me and him. He's decided as a sophomore...that he wanted to focus on basketball. But that's another story for another day. Anyway, shout out to Coach Martel and the Bears! Good luck this season.


Basketball, Nostalgia and A Pseudo Self Portrait

Anyone that knows me well would be able to tell you that I'm a huge sports fan, but that I love basketball. Like, LOVE basketball. Playing, watching, coaching, fantasy...you name it. As much as I don’t want this to sound like a “back in my day” kind of post...it might. My first hoop, that I can remember, was one of those height adjustable orange and blue 'little tikes' joints. I don't know the acceptable maximum age to playing on those things, but at about 11 or 12 years old, my friends and I had duct taped, manipulated and modified that hard plastic hoop to about 6 feet tall. We eventually destroyed it and graduated to milk crates nailed to trees or intricately tied with string to the chain link fence of the community tennis court. The apartment complex where we lived wasn't too excited about that, though.

After all of our basketball playing schemes had been thwarted by the complex's property management, it was time to move on. At 13 years old and with permission from my mom, I hopped on my bike with a basketball cradled under my left arm and pedaled the half mile to Alief Amity Park. The Big Time. From about 1996 until 2003, I was there for the majority of the summer days. I watched, played and learned the game of basketball on that slick slab of concrete. And every evening when I rode my bike home, I looked forward to going back the next day. I met a lot of characters there, a lot of really good basketball players and a lot of people who were great at running their mouths. Marathons of unsolicited but well intentioned advice came from strangers who didn't really know my name but knew my face. I loved that place. I loved it so much that when applying to colleges as a high school senior, guess what my essay was about? It was pretty damn good too.

Anyway, thanks for indulging the trip down memory lane but let me get to the point of this post. I have a 15 year-old-nephew, Eli, that creeps into my photography blog every now and then. A couple of weeks ago, I was scheduled to photograph a few football players at Texas A&M University and I thought it would be a good idea to bring him along. He's still on summer break, loves college football and as a rising 10th grader syllabi and student loans are right around the corner. A college visit could serve as an inspiration. Well, the shoot was postponed at the last minute so I had to think of another plan. Eli now lives near where I grew up so (light bulb!) a little one-on-one at Amity is a perfect opportunity for a trip down memory lane. The little guy, who is actually  taller than I am, claims to be a baller of epic proportions. We'll play, and if he emerges victorious or runs me ragged, (he definitely did neither), I can explain to him the complex relationship between aperture and shutter speed to regain my superiority.

After getting past the initial nostalgia of being back at Amity, I started concocting a photo story about a kid going to the park alone, shooting around and generally working on his game. This was something I did a lot in the hours I spent there. Living vicariously through my nephew, I basically photographed a 15-year-old me at one of my favorite places of all time doing things that I was doing 15 years ago. Walking up the hill towards the court, engaging in 1-on-1 battles until enough people showed up for a game, waiting for next, exhaustion and dejection. How’s that for a skewed version of the self portrait? Ideally, I’d like my nephew to enjoy the fruits of a summer routine that involves hoops at Amity. But that would mean convincing him to a) ride a bike and b) ride it 6 miles round trip. I know it’s not much but, kids these days...right?


Alaska: Summer 2014

The Last Frontier, The Great Frontier, The 49th State, Seward's Folly. Otherwise known as Alaska. My wife and I and her family spent about 10 days in the great state (not to be confused with The Great State), hiking, riding, trekking and overall enjoying the beauty of Alaska and all it's wonders. Anchored in Anchorage, we visited places like Chugach State Park, Seward, Denali National Park and Homer. Each as beautiful as the last.

It's also great for photography. Not only are there plenty of wildlife and amazing vistas, there is an abundance of daylight at almost 18 hours per day. The only downside is that the golden hour starts at around 1030p near sunset and 4a near sunrise.

Check out the pictures below and if you see something you fancy, head on over to the PRINT STORE!

Shout out to Wasilla. We stopped at the post office there, but there were no Palins in sight.  


Geoff Greenwade, CEO of Green Bank for the Houston Chronicle

A little over a week ago I photographed Geoff Greenwade, the CEO of Green Bank headquartered here in Houston, TX. The occasion was the bank's announcement that they would be going public. I like the images I made with Mr. Greenwade and I'm sure the news that Green Bank is going public is great for a lot of people. But what is most interesting to me is that I've driven by this place about a hundred times and never thought twice about it except that it was a pretty cool building. Then one day, I got a call to meet and photograph the CEO. Too bad he's a Cowboys fan.


Capturing the Personalities of 6th and 7th Graders

Last month, I had the absolute pleasure of photographing a fun bunch of quirky and bright 6th and 7th graders in their middle school library. Which, by the way, no longer uses a card catalog. Did y'all know that? I digress. The seamless went up, the lights were on and I was ready for action.

I didn't have very long with each kid but as soon as they stepped on the white and I asked them a few questions, their personalities shined through! There were athletes, actors, writers, musicians, dancers and artists all in this small group of 12 and 13-year-old children. The future is bright. Very, very bright! Click HERE to check out the full gallery!


Houston's Historic First Ward

I photographed a woman named Gloria Vera a few weeks ago for the Houston Chronicle's Spanish language off-shoot, La Voz. Vera, who grew up in the First Ward neighborhood of Houston was on a mission to get the area designated as a historic district. She wanted to see her quaint neighborhood stay intact with single family homes and views of the city's skyline and not overrun by 3 or more storied apartment buildings. On May 28th, she got her wish as the Houston City Council voted in favor of designating First Ward as a historic district.


Happy Almost Father's Day!

Happy Almost Father's Day ya'll! I'm gonna celebrate the 2nd place of parental holidays with a few portraits of my old man. After my creativity inducing trip to the Palm Springs Photo Festival, I decided I needed to make more portraits. And who better to start with than the most accessible subjects? Family. The first person on the list was Mike Sr.

I originally, wanted to shoot in a large open field that I was sure existed out in the wild west of Katy, TX. But after about a half hour of scouting, there was nothing easily accessible for the truck. As a side note, subdivisions in the suburbs of Houston emerge often and very quickly. Thanks to the HOA (haters) he can't park his work truck in the neighborhood so he rents a spot at a nearby storage facility down the street. I checked it out and figured we could make it work.

It had been a pretty long work day for Mike Sr., so I greeted him with a tall boy of Budweiser before we got the photo party started. In the end, I accomplished my goal of making more portraits, drank some brews with the old man and added to my tangible collection of family memories. Shout out to dads...Happy Almost Father's Day!