Sunday, April 29, 2007

Night at the Broadmoor

Thursday night DeAnna and I had the fortune to be a part of the Colorado Springs Christian Schools second annual benefit dinner. This year the dinner had grown large enough to use one of the banquet halls at the Broadmoor, and the keynote speaker was Michael Reagan.

The tulips were beginning to bloom as the meticulously maintained grounds began showing the first signs of spring.

Michael Reagan and Bob Beauprez were kind enough to stop for a photograph with us.

Local radio personality and author Joseph Michelli mc'd the evening.

And Michael regaled us with tales of growing up with Ronald Reagan for a father. He's on the board of directors for Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, CA so he had a similar perspective to many in the audience, parents or supporters of a private Christian School.

All in all it was a great evening with terrific Broadmoor food & service. We made some awesome images for the school and many of the guests with Mr. Reagan as our way of giving back to this ministry that we love to support!

Thanks Michael!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Thank You!

Receiving unsolicited letters like this is one of the most rewarding parts of this business...making beautiful images that evoke emotion and capture memories is what we love to do!

Tim & DeAnna-

I can't begin to explain how thankful we are for the both of you and your services. Our engagement session and pictures were great. Tim made our wedding go so smooth and enjoyable. DeAnna, your calmness and flawless planning kept my nerves at ease.


It's Comcastic!

I noticed our picture uploads to the lab have been a lot faster lately and we've been getting galleries online in less time than than normal so I went over to to see if it was real or just me and this is what it spit out:

Wow! For technogeeks like me, that's very cool because A) it's faster than anyone else I know and B) it's 2-4 times faster than what we're paying for, and C) oh yeah... it makes us more productive. Yay!

Thanks Comcast....keep it up!


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Saved by C&P again...

The potholes and road construction seem to never end and this year I've been better than ever at hitting the wrong spot with my car and denting my wheel (which results in an immediate flat tire thank you).

The nice folks over at C&P Hubcap & Wheel just off Hwy 24, and just west of I-25 hooked us up again with next-day service, a very reasonable price and even mounted the wheel back on the car!

We're big fans of local business and supporting people who treat you right (we like to think of our studio being in that category too!) so here's just one more recommendation -- this the place to go when you hit that next pothole just a little too hard.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

April 21 wedding at Buffalo Creek

Saturday Todd and I headed up into the mountains to photograph at St. Elizabeth's in Buffalo Creek. It's such a gorgeous drive up to this church...we photographed here last June and marveled at how nice the scenery on the ride up is.

The groom was super-psyched for the big day.

And it's not hard to see why!

Up here in the mountains, no one had a cell phone signal. The bridesmaids tried to flag down a ride but we managed to keep them around.

The grand entrance...

We stopped for some portraits along the Platte River with St. Elizabeth's in the background. We had a slightly overcast day but the rain held off until late at night and the sun did peek out just after the ceremony as if to punctuate such a perfect union.

We'll have more soon but just wanted to give a sneak preview at the awesome images to come! These lucky dogs are headed off to Tahiti for two weeks so we know family and friends will be logging on and begging to see pictures in the meantime but we'll give the bride & groom first dibs on seeing them. Maybe they can get Internet from their hammocks on the beach!

Friday, April 20, 2007

What is it with DHL?

We need to file this away so we know what shipping method to select the next time we shop online...

We're awaiting a hard drive upgrade in the mail. We wanted to get it in before the wedding this weekend so we paid for 2-day express delivery and it was due to arrive Thursday via DHL. At the end of the day, it hadn't arrived so we called and they assured us it was enroute with the carrier and would arrive that day. We made special arrangements to wait around and finally at 7pm called again and they said that it had been delivered to the US Postal Service much earlier in the day and that because Colorado Springs (population 500K) is considered a 'rural' area, they give it to the Post Office! They assured me that the post office would deliver it for them the very next day. Well, here we are and the mail has come and gone and still no delivery. This is frustrating.

The funny part to all this is that we had ordered two other items on the same Tuesday and one arrived via FedEx on Thursday early afternoon and the other arrived via UPS mid-afternoon with no problems. So what is it with DHL?

UPDATE - After telling us now that the Post Office was going to deliver the package 'sometime', a uniformed DHL guy comes to the door tonight to deliver it. Maybe they are just as confused as we are. Oh well, at least we have our stuff...even though it's a day late.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

camera buying madness!

My sister in law just asked me for advice on buying a new camera -- a question I get a lot. I always laugh when I get it because I think it's like asking a race car driver for advice on buying a family car or a professional chef for advice on what to order for're going to get a much more complicated answer than you want and they'll probably talk you into something big and expensive that they understand and you don't.

But alas, no matter how much I try to ward off the question with that metaphor, I still get asked so I figured I'd post my answer here as a testament to how much of a camera geek I am and maybe it will be interesting reading for someone seriously wanting to learn about cameras.

So, you've reached the end of the interesting part of this post...check out now if you're not ready to get deep into the world of digital photography because here was my answer after we exchanged a few notes and I figured it was time to just start at the beginning. Keep in mind the context of this is for someone looking for an inexpensive household compact digital camera...nothing pro, just something to take pictures of the family at all the various events in life.


Cameras are just fancy boxes that control light to capture an image. They have 3 ways of doing this:

1. Shutter speed – This is probably the cheapest feature — almost any camera will have the ability to slow down the shutter so much that you can get a good exposure (bright picture) but any shake in your hand or motion of the subject will blur the picture. There’s nothing really to shop for here between cameras....most are going to be comparable for your purposes.
2. ISO sensitivity – Cameras don’t work like our eyes — we can see in very dark situations as well as on a bright sunny day on the beach. Cameras can only work in small ranges compared to how we can see so time you take a picture the camera selects a sensitivity rating for how well it picks up light (back in the film days you had to buy a whole roll of film of the same sensitivity). The lower the number, the less sensitive to light so 50 or 100 is what it would use on a bright sunny day and 400, 800 or 1600 is what it would use indoors without a flash. This starts to separate cameras a little bit...not all have the ability to go up to 800 or 1600. The feature is getting a lot more popular though so it’s not hard to find. It’s not that simple though...the higher the sensitivity, the more you give up in terms of sharpness in the image and sometimes in resolution, so some cameras have an ISO 2000 or 3200 setting but the pictures are not so great but still better than not getting the shot at all. (some cameras can go up to something ridiculous like ISO 10,000 but they can only do that at lower resolutions and I can’t imagine the pictures are very good at all at this level). So, you still you want to shoot with the lowest ISO you can get away with to get the best picture. For most people, leaving it on automatic is going to be just fine. It gets even more complicated than this though...imagine your eyes in a very dark room and then suddenly you open the door and go outside into a bright sunny day — know how everything is blinding for just a few seconds? That’s what it’s like for cameras at high ISO settings. So if you have mixed light (like a relatively dark room and a bright window in the background), the camera can get really fooled. No camera can perfectly handle that situation so you have to know when to turn on the flash or get the window out of the frame so you get the picture inside. Basically, no matter what you get, I’d make sure the camera has the ability to shoot at a higher ISO rating than 400 ... Like 800, 1000 or 1600. Over 1600 probably won’t matter because it will look crummy and you won’t use it that often.
3. Aperture – The lens on the front of the camera lets the light in. The more light it lets in, the better. More light coming in means the ability to capture action (because it can use a faster shutter speed) or the lower light situation it can work in. Unfortunately this is just as confusing as anything else...the aperture on any compact camera is going to change as the zoom goes in and out. The quality of the lens has a great deal to do with the sharpness of your pictures too. There are Chinese cameras that have such poor lenses in them, they are actually sought after for artwork because they distort the pictures so much (look up Holga cameras sometime). Because of the costs of lens manufacturing, this is the most expensive feature of all. Fortunately, I’d say that most cameras in the $200-$500 range are all going to have average/adequate lenses and I probably wouldn’t make a buying decision on that feature. It really matters more on professional cameras. Consider though, a smaller, more compact camera is going to have less light gathering ability and probably poorer optics than a more mid-size camera. A larger camera has even more of a leg up — theoretically. So to translate, for you, consider that a teeny tiny compact camera is going to be very nice to carry around but will probably have a slight tradeoff in terms of picture quality versus a slightly larger one. Most manufacturers (Sony, Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Olympus, etc.) have a very small, thin version(s) that they market to the ladies and the younger crowd — something you’ll always take with you, etc. versus a normal size one that is probably less expensive and probably takes a better picture.
Because this is all so confusing, manufacturers use the buzz of megapixels to market cameras. Unfortunately, megapixels are just as complicated. More is not always better. It’s like you could have a 64oz steak but it would be all tough and chewy...versus a perfectly cut and cooked 6oz filet that is the finest meat you’ve ever had. Just because you had more doesn’t mean you had a better deal.

You can buy 12 megapixel cameras for just a few hundred bucks these days. Their sensors are nowhere as good as a professional camera with fewer megapixels though, and their pictures suffer. In fact, some of these pack in so many pixels that they are actually worse than a 6 megapixel or 8 megapixel camera because they’re just putting too much in one place. The point at where this happens is of course highly subjective so some folks are more than happy to have the bragging rights and own the most megapixels they can. You can print an 8”x10” picture just fine from a 4 megapixel image (in my opinion) so since most people are never even going to make 8x10s much less 5x7s from their prints, why should it matter? Think about it...when’s the last time you enlarged a picture? Some people think that if they take a 12 megapixel picture, they can just zoom waaaay in and make a normal print from a small part but this is not really practical since it also enlarges all the flaws in that overstuffed sensor and that (relatively) cheap lens so you end up with a blurry, crummy picture. Also consider that the more megapixels you have, the more storage space each picture takes up so less pictures on a card and more space on your hard drive.

Batteries are another thing to consider...the longer the battery lasts, the better for you and the easier it is to charge, the better. I like cameras that use AA batteries since you can buy rechargeable AAs and have a set on the charger and a set in the camera and if your batteries die, you can get AAs at any grocery store or gas station on the planet. Unfortunately cameras are more often coming with proprietary rechargeable batteries so having a spare is expensive and impractical so you just need to pay attention to battery life claims. For better or for worse, many manufacturers are listing this as a number of pictures you can take on a single charge. This may not be an apples to apples comparison – you need to read the fine print so you know if they’re talking about pictures with the flash or without or some of the time, etc. and compare it to your shooting style.

Don’t worry about what kind of memory cards the cameras use...they all seem to be different depending on the brand but as far as I’m concerned it’s usually a one time purchase. The Sony memory sticks are the most annoying since they’re the most expensive and least common. My advice is to buy a large capacity card – 1GB or more. That way you can last through a vacation and get all the pictures without having to worry about downloading. Or if you shoot video with the camera, you’ll have room for a few clips as well as your pictures. Just don’t fall into the trap of neglecting to download all the pictures frequently. I hear people lament that their camera was lost and pictures going back a year were all on there…don’t let that happen to you!

My favorite web site for reading about new cameras is It has more than you’d ever want to read in reviews and specifications and it lists pretty much every model the major manufacturers have ever released so you can compare them side by side.

It seems a new camera comes out every day (maybe even more often) so things change rapidly but as of today, if I were to go out and buy a new camera for my family compact camera, I’d pick up the Fuji F40 – it’s fairly small, it has a built-in lense cover, it has the higher-ISO settings I like but the sensor has an above average image quality even when using these settings. The fact that it’s 8 megapixels is probably the least important feature to me…I’d still pick it up if it were 4 megapixels. I also love that it can take movies at a big 640x480 resolution --- that’s the same as broadcast television so if you’re caught without your video camera, you can still get a decent video.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hey Google - where are my blog pictures?

Hahaha.... well, I guess this is the price I pay for counting on Google to host all the pictures in our blog for free -- everything disappeared tonight thought I'm sure it will be back at some point.

HAVE NO FEAR -- this has ZERO impact on client pictures or your online galleries! It's only the free blogging service we use that is having this issue. All our online galleries and web sites are securely hosted by the super-reliable (and not so inexpensive!) web servers and all our client's pictures are triple-backed up on our high end server and on gold archival discs in our safe! Just to prove the point, I'm hosting the picture for this blog post from our server so it will be the only one on the blog until they get things fixed. Maybe from now on I'll just host all the blog pictures myself.


PS - Hey if anyone knows how to get my 'Blogger' blog hosted on my own server instead of Google, I'd like to do that too -- please drop me a line. So far the only way I can figure it out is to make it replace my entire site, which obviously won't do!

UPDATE - they're back! Yay Google!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Classical Riding School

One of our brides from last year is an instructor at Classical Riding School in Parker. The owner, Jenny, liked our photography and asked us to make some new photographs for their web site (which I think is pretty good already!) so we had the opportunity to go watch some of her students jumping yesterday at the Colorado Horse Park. Our daughters came along and had a blast watching the horses and petting them in the stables.

We made some great images and got a little education about horse shows & competitions!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Air Force Academy

The United States Air Force Academy is a gorgeous place. The property is nestled right up against the mountains with lots of trees and beautiful views. That's one of the reasons we're so excited that we'll have the honor to shoot at least one wedding there this year in July...and we're interviewing with a few more brides planning weddings there over the next year.

We made these photos the last time we visited the chapel in 2002:

Thursday, April 12, 2007

New Gift Registry

We've added another great new feature to our online proofing system -- you can set up a gift registry! Now when everyone logs in to see your pictures, they can give you a gift certificate toward making print & album purchases -- they don't even have to worry about specific products or images, they just choose an amount and the credit shows up on your account!

You can see it in action here:
(you'll need to register an account if you haven't already), then use the 'create a registry' or 'find a registry'. Give it a try -- it's free and easy and it's a great way to add some more pages to your album!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Snowy Easter

A typical spring day in Colorado is 60 & sunny but there are enough non-typical days in April to make it the second snowiest month of the year. We knew that snow would be a possibility going into this wedding and boy did we get it! As you can see though, it made for an absolutely gorgeous day and an unmistakably Colorado wedding.

The Sunday snow brought some beautiful Colorado scenery so I was really thankful that the wedding was up in the mountains where the beauty of a spring snow could be enjoyed.

The wedding was at the Black Bear Inn along Pike's Peak Highway - a cozy little bed & breakfast with some beautiful scenery & views.

The flowergirl & ringbearer were so excited that they couldn't wait to walk down the aisle.

The bride was stunning of course. The overcast day made for some gorgeous window light that we had to take advantage of.

And the bride was sooo brave to step out into the snow for some pictures! I love the red steps coming down from the lodge.

What's prettier than a bride in the snow?

We probably got almost 2 inches in just a short time that we were there and I had to brush off my whole car with my sleeves! That'll teach me not to leave my scraper home in April...


Sunday, April 8, 2007

The rest of the story...

Happy & Blessed Easter to you!
We're waking up to a foggy, snowy Easter morning...feels more like December than April! After church this morning Tim is heading out to photograph a wedding. Now, we don't schedule weddings on major holidays and we minimize our Sunday appointments but one of our April brides had everything fall apart on her date and had to move it up to this weekend so we're accommodating the change and doing our part to make sure everything goes off smoothly!

Today is the happiest day of the year though --- this is the day Jesus rose from the dead, completing his sacrifice for us and assuring us of our own resurrection someday in heaven. What could be better than that! So, 40 degrees and grey skies or not, we're going to have a wonderful day, fill it up with color and happy faces and remember what's most important.

We'll have some sneak preview pictures from the wedding here later.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Good Friday...

Happy Good Friday! Today is a pretty somber day -- it was nearly 2,000 years ago that Jesus Christ was humiliated, put on a show trial, beaten repeatedly and ultimately crucified -- the most brutal form of execution imaginable -- all as a willing sacrifice for our sins. This is unimaginable to us...that kind of love is beyond my ability to describe or comprehend. We're so thankful for the forgiveness that comes from that sacrifice and a God that loves us so much that we can live a life confident of our future in heaven. Thank you God!

-Tim & DeAnna

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Spring weddings have begun!

Saturday we had the pleasure of photographing Lauren & Tom's wedding at the gorgeous Montview Presbyterian Church.

We started the day with Tim photographing the girls as they got ready…

Cindy from The Perfect Petal provided the gorgeous boquets.

Roche from A Advantage Limousine provided classy & professional front door service…

Todd kept the guys company….

We started out with portraits at Cheeseman Park…

…and battled through the wind for some fun images!

We ended the night with a big party at Mile High Station – with awesome family-style Italian from Gourmet Catering and Porter from A Music Plus spinning the tunes.