DESERT BOTANICAL GARDENS

I freely admit that I am not up on current artists and trends and all of that.  I had know idea who Chihuly was or the artwork he did until my friend Shannon Gillis raged about how much she hated going to the Desert Botanical Garden’s and how much she hated Chihuly’s work.  As I had no prior knowledge of Chihuly or any vision of what his work looked like, I viewed Shannon’s rant with much amusement.

As it turned out, I and the wife took a trip during Christmas break to the Desert Botanical Gardens and the Chihuly exhibit.  At the risk of sounding trite and corny, I must say I was blown away.  Chihuly’s work is really great.  And as impressive as it is, what I really found outstanding was the organic quality of his work.  The works were designed to reflect the environment of the Gardens.

Here a few of my favorite images from that visit.

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For more of Chihuly, click here.

CHIHULY UPDATE: I am including this photo just to show the sculptures climbing up the mountain.  And they were lit up at night.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR – BELATED…

January 6 was my birthday.  I got a few belated birthday wishes and cards, which is cool with me.  I sort of set aside January as a birthday month.  I enjoy the greetings and wishes whenever I get them.  So this is my belated New Year’s blog.

 STRESSED  I celebrated my uniform number on January 6.  Being a man of a certain age with a few health risk factors, I found myself scheduled for a stress echocardiogram test on the 8th.  I will tell you that I wasn’t looking forward to this test. With my brand new endocrinologist reminding me a few times on my first visit that “I am no spring chicken”, and the fact that I am, and I quote Jack Reacher “slower than the U.S. Mail”, I was not looking forward to running on a treadmill.  This is all added to my biggest fear of doctors, the fact that one day they WILL find something wrong with you.

So the test day comes.  I do a little stretching for the first time in 7 years, and I am ready to go.  This test is a little more advanced than just a regular stress test.  The assistants do an ultrasound of the heart while you are resting.  Then it is up on the treadmill to get the old heart rate up to some insane level for 6 minutes, then on the table for another ultrasound.  Easy Peasy.

I get done with the first ultra sound and then hop up on the treadmill.  About every 3 minutes the tech elevates and speeds up the treadmill.  I am pretty sure by the time I reached the last speed, Usain Bolt could not have caught me.

Back on the table for the ultrasound.  Having just won the Olympics, I am breathing quite hard to say the least.   I really enjoyed the part where the tech said “breath in a little and hold your breath.”  If I had any breath I would have said “you got to be kidding me.!”

The best news was that I am not on my way to a quadruple bypass, but that my heart is healthy and everything is normal.  Pretty good way to start of my uniform year.

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MY 2013 FAVORITES  The are arranged in the order they were taken.  Just a few of my favorites from the year.

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Shontionn and Maria’s Engagement Session:  They are now expecting their first child.  Congratulations kids.

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Matsuri Festival: I met this remarkable young woman and photographer at the Matsuri Festival.  She and her sister Riho are now on a 31/2 month Peace Boat Cruise.  Last photo she posted to Facebook was of her planting a tree in Madagascar.

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Sergio Portrait Session:  A head shot I did of former student and aspiring comedian Sergio.  I think he regrets having me do this.  Every time I see him I demand “make me laugh, funny man!”

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Nilza’s Senior Portrait Session:  She is currently rocking the college life at NAU.

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Down Syndrome Day Picnic: My first DSNetwork event.  A few of my photos even made some of their literature, which is kind of cool.  I have been one of several photogs at two more DSNetwork events.

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Jason and Katie Engagement Session:  Now enjoying a wonderful married life.  I love their posts and updates on Facebook.

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Hazel Maternity Session: Hazel, my favorite banker.  Now enjoying time with her new son.

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Customer Appreciation Session: Vonn and Jana at Vonn’s Customer Appreciation Day session.  They did all the hard work, I just got to have fun taking pictures.  My kind of day!

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Jason and Katie Wedding: Jason and Katie on their wedding day.  One of their favorites, which makes it one of my favorites.

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Blanton Family Session:  I like this one because the light hit the waterfall just right to turn the background golden.  I wonder if the architect knew this would happen.

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Aaron and Sarah Maternity Session: They went from being told they could never have children to this blessed turn around in their lives.

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Hana and Michael Engagement Session: I am looking forward to shooting their wedding in March.

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Barsness Family Session:  This is the cutest picture of Avery.

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Wojahn Family Session:  The two boys were just the best kids to photograph all day.

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Aaron and Sarah’s Sam:  Had to pick this as a favorite since I did the maternity session.  What a cutie.

MY FAVORITE CANDID  I freely admit that my favorite type of photography to capture are the candid photographs.  They capture, I believe, the true essence and spirit of the moment.  In this candid, bride Katie insists on giving groom Jason a piggy back ride.  I captured this picture just at the moment that Katie realized they were about to do a face plant into the dusty surface of Sahuaro Ranch Park.  Classic.

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FINAL THOUGHTS 2013 was a good year for me.  I took photographs of some marvelous people.  Poole Photography continues to grow.  I am looking forward to great 2014.

I would also like to thank the staff of John C Lincoln Heart Institute.  They were the ultimate professionals and were a calming influlence for a patient who definitely made it clear that he wanted to be anywhere else but at the testing site that morning.  Fine people.

I hope everyone who reads this has a great year and God’s blessings.  And for those who don’t read this post, I wish all these good things for you too.  You just don’t know that I did.

Tim Poole is a retired high school teacher who has started Poole Photography LLC as his second career.  He enjoys doing wedding photography, especially small, DIY weddings.  Tim also is a monthly blogger for the Photographer’s Adventure Club website.

WHITE KNIGHT CHRISTMAS

HELP PORTRAIT 2013  On December 14th I once again participated in the Photographers Adventure Club’s Help Portrait event.  This year it was held in conjunction with the DSNetwork’s annual Christmas party at The Venue in Scottsdale.  The PAC’s role was … Continue reading

SATURDAY IN THE PARK

I did my student teaching back in the spring of 1979.  My supervising teacher was resigning from education to open his own construction business.  Since I had made the decision at the age of 27 to get my teaching certificate and leave the business world, I was a bit baffled by his decision, and a bit concerned that I had made a mistake.  When asked, this is what he told me was his reasoning.  He said that he never knew the results of his hard work.  When he built something, he could see a finished product. Not so in teaching.  This bothered him enough to make him leave the profession.  And he was right.  It was very rare to ever meet a former student and catch up on how he or she was doing.  But as I have said before in earlier posts, that all changed with the invention of social media.  Once again, I was able to spend time last Saturday with former students.  For me it was almost like a family reunion.

I introduced readers to Dominique in the post “Comedy is not Pretty”. and Aaron in “Aaron, Sarah, and CB.”  I got to see Dominique and Aaron on the Saturday of the City West Sports flag football championships.  Dominique runs City West Sports as well as serving as the head coach of one of the teams, the Silverbacks.  Dominique asked me if I could come one day and shoot some pictures to be used later for mailings and such.  I said sure, and by my good fortune, I picked the day of the championship games.  As it turns out, Aaron is also the head coach of another CWS team, the Warriors.  Both Dom and Aaron played football for me, and Aaron coached with me for 4 years.  I was looking forward to seeing how my former players would handle their head coaching duties.

They handled them quite well, thank you very much!

The Silverbacks and the Warriors both won the City West Sports championship  for their age group on Saturday.  It was fun to watch.

When they played for me, we had this play called Crisscross.  A double handoff play that usually scored whenever we ran it.  When Dominique was on my team, I made sure he would be the one to run it.  He had to switch positions to do so.  When he lined up to run the Crisscross,  you could hear the coaches on the other side yelling “Crisscross!  They are running the Crisscross!”  Didn’t help.  Dom scored.  I loved that play.

Early in the morning, I am taking pictures of Aaron’s first game.  The first play goes all the way for a touchdown.  After the game, I went over to Aaron to congratulate him and said, “through the camera lens, that first play looked suspiciously like the Crisscross.  Is it?”  Aaron confirmed that it was that play and he ran it all the time.  The legend of the Crisscross continues.

I also got to see a few more of my former students.  Sergio, Dom’s brother was there.  I caught up with him and his comedy career.  Aaron’s wife Sarah, whose maternity photos I shot, showed up with the newborn.  Aaron’s brother, Justin,  another former player,and his wife and 3 kids were there.  She is expecting a fourth.  Jason, a former student and player as well, was there along  with his fiance and two children.  Came to find out he works for the same company my wife does.  Throw in Aaron and Justin’s mom and dad and Dom and Sergio’s mom being there, it just turned out to be a great “reunion” and one of the best days.

Dom really put together an enjoyable, fun day.  Although football was the main event, there was a bouncy house, a face painter, a balloon animal maker, plenty of food and non stop music.  Way to go, Dom.  You done good!

The Banner Runthroug!

The Banner Runthrough!

I remember once as we came out to start the second half of a game, a cheerleader came up to me in tears and said, “The team (sniffle) didn’t run through (sob) the banner we (sniff) we made for them (SOB)!”  Little things are important.  I am glad these young boys are learning this at an early age.

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Cold Weather Gear

Head first down the bouncy house.

Head first down the bouncy house.

Yum!  Hotdogs!

Yum! Hotdogs!

Balloon Art

Balloon Art

Face Painting

Face Painting

The Cheerleaders.

The Cheerleaders.

The Payoff!

The Payoff!

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THE LOOK.  I think I know where they got it from.

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Dominique, the founder of the feast that is City West Sports.

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Aaron and the lovely Sarah

As I had the privilege of photographing Sarah’s maternity session, I think this would be a great time to see the Samuel Aaron.  Makes me almost rethink my decision not to photograph newborns.  Almost.

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I encourage you to please check out the City West Website here and check out what they do.

THROW BACK THURSDAY IN THE NICK OF TIME

Feeling much like Cinderella at the stroke of midnight, I have been extremely distracted today, so I have put off writing today’s post until now.  On the other hand, this is how I got through college, so I am used to working well under pressure.

A few random thoughts for today.

In an earlier post I mentioned the website style design by Sitehouse that I had won at the MJ2Day workshop.  However, I have been having troubles with downloading and uploading and side loading, if there is such a thing.  I took my time selecting the right choice of a template, finally placed my order and the shipped me a link.    Not knowing who they were dealing with, they put a one day expiration date on the link.  So a few days later when I went to upload it, it didn’t work.  Sitehouse graciously gave me the link again, this time with a two week window.  I did download the link, but I could not successfully upload it to Showit.  But thanks to Showit’s great online support team, namely a nice young fellow named Jason, I was walked through the correct steps to upload my chosen style design.  And there is nothing wrong with the Sitehouse design or the Showit site because they wouldn’t do the volume of business they do if they had faulty products.  It was all me.  I just don’t have the computer intuition and common sense to figure out what step I am missing.  Of course it was an easy fix and I just shook my head because I could have and should have figured it out myself.

My statistics for this blog show that on occasion someone visits my About page.  Unfortunately, my About page is under construction.  I like to write…I am not good at writing about myself.  Time to work on the about page.

My throwback picture of today goes back to my first year of teaching.  I was at Glendale High School.  The band director was gung ho into school spirit.  On every Friday during football season, he would take the band marching around campus playing the fight song.  This happened on my prep hour, so one Friday I grabbed a tuba and another coach grabbed a bass drum and we marched along with the band.  This moment was captured for all eternity by one of the school newspaper photographers.  I started teaching teaching at the age of 29.  I look like a child.

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PHILOSOPHICAL FRIDAY

One of Bill Cosby’s great comedy routines was about him and his college girlfriend.  She was a philosophy major, he was a physical education major.  She wandered around asking questions such as “Why is there air?”  To which Bill replied “Any phys ed major knows why there is air.  There’s air to blow up volleyballs, blow up basketballs!”

I wonder about things.  Little things.  Things that are not really significant to the whole scheme of life and goings on in this world, but things I nonetheless think about.  For example, who invented Throwback Thursday and why?  Don’t get me wrong, it is a great little theme to use for posting on Facebook and blogs.  I figure that if I just post one photograph for each year of my life, I have more than a year of Throwback Thursday blog posts.  But I am curious about its origins.

Today is November 1st.  It is the start of something known as “No Shave November”.  I prepared myself by shaving at 11:45 PM yesterday.  While shaving, the amateur philosopher in me asked this question, “Why is there such a thing as “No Shave November?  Who started it?  Why am I participating in it? Why am I shaving myself at midnight?”

As a young lad I could not wait to become old enough to shave.  My father advised me not to be in too big a hurry to shave because I would soon come to hate the morning ritual of shaving.  But eventually nature takes its course and I joined the ranks of every young man and began each morning with a clean, close shave.

The high school dress code made sure that shaving was part of the daily routing.  Prescott High School had a “no facial hair” rule.   To put this into context, I attended PHS from 1965-1969, which meant that if the administration didn’t want us to have facial hair, all of us guys desperately wanted to have mustaches and beards.

One glorious week out of each year, the school had Spring Spirit week which featured a beard growing contest.  No shaving for a week!  Most of my friends and I fell into what I would charitably call “the scragglies” and really didn’t expect to win.  That honor would always go to the one student who looked like he was straight out of Duck Dynasty after one week of not shaving.  I was just happy for the week off.

Based on what I have related so far, one might think that once I hit college, I went into to full ZZ Top mode, but that would be untrue.  It was not until my third year of college that I actually grew a full beard.  Since that time I have run the gamut from clean shaven to mustache to beard and back to clean shaven.  These days I spend the majority of my time clean shaven with a few days off from shaving here and there.  Once a month I indulge myself and get a professional face shave, something every man should try once.  It’s quite an experience.

Which brings me back to the main topic of No Shave November.  Although I willingly participate, No Shave November is not all fun and games for me.  No way.  First of all, it takes about two weeks before the itching and irritation stop.  Secondly, my beard is all white, so it ages my looks at least 20 years.  Plus, being a big man with a white beard means I need to be on my best behavior in public.  I have noticed  little children who start whispering to their moms when they see me, wondering if I am the big man from the North Pole making an early visit.  Strange as it may sound, I feel a bit of responsibility to make sure I am representing the Clause in a good way.  Finally, it was fairly cute when I first heard this, but like anything that gets overly used, it has lost a lot of charm for me.  “Hey, you look just like the dude from Jurassic Park!”

To all my fellow No Shave November participants…have a great month.  See you in December.

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“WELCOME TO JURASSIC PARK!”

Follow link here to listen to Bill Cosby’s “Why is There Air?”

THE PRINCESS AND THE LUMBERJACK

Hana_Mike-0003-web-seo-keywordsONE OF MY FAVORITE things is getting hired to be the wedding photographer of one of my former students.  As teachers, we want the best for our students. We enjoy watching  them grow out of those high school drama years into fine young adults.  We want to see them grow up to be happy.  The bonus for me is that I get to capture and share with friends and family those images of loveliness and happiness that occur at the wedding.

HANA AND MIKE

In addition to taking my photography class, Hana ran 4 years of track for me at Apollo High School.  Her ability as a distance runner grew year after year.  Her running abilities were crucial in helping  Apollo win our region and earn a 2nd place finish at State her junior year.

Out of my many memories of Hana’s career, the one that I remember the most is her competition with a runner from Prescott.  This girl consistently had better times than Hana all year.  Except when she raced against Hana.  Every time Hana and this young lady ran head to head, Hana won convincingly.  Those races were truly remarkable to watch.  Lots of high fives all around.

I also fondly, I think, remember how many times in those 4 years Hana came up to me and said “Coach, you spelled my name wrong…again!”

Hana completed a successful 4  year career at Apollo and went on to attend NAU, where she eventually met her future intended, Mike. They both graduated from NAU.  She now works as a K-8 art teacher and he works for the State of Arizona in the area of environmental quality.

Hana and Mike were freshmen at NAU when they were introduced to each other by mutual friends.  They became close friends before they finally decided they were the right person for each other.

Hana describes Mike as a chef, a true gentleman, and tells me that Mike is “all things outdoors, like a lumberjack.”

Mike says that Hana always has an elegant look to her.  He loves to listen to her play the guitar, and describes Hana as “a tomboy and a pretty princess all at the same time.”

Together they enjoy cooking, “artsy stuff” outdoor activities, and of course their two dogs.

On Sunday the 20th, the three of us got together to shoot their engagement session.  I first met Mike at Katie and Jason’s wedding . Hana was one of the bridesmaids. Since I was a bit busy that evening, I didn’t get a chance to do much conversing with the two of them.  I found it nice to finally sit down, talk with them, and get to know more about Hana and Mike as a couple.  It was even better to go out and shoot the session and watch Hana and Mike interact with each other as they express their affection for one another in front of my lens.

You now know a bit about the princess and the lumberjack.  Here are a few of the wonderful, lovely moments from Hana and Mike’s engagement session.

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A MJ2DAY IN THE LIFE…

In my former life as a high school football coach, one of the yearly traditions was to take a 3 or 4 day road trip and hit a coaching clinic with big time college and professional football coaches speaking.  As a bonus, these clinics were usually held at exotic places such as Anaheim or San Diego.  The main goal, other than getting out of the house, out of the city, and off from school for a couple of days, was to come away with a nugget or two of useful information that could help next season’s team succeed at a higher level.  I was pleased to find that these types of educational opportunities were also available to me in my new life as a photographer.

As I made the transition from one career to another, I sought knowledge from multiple sources.  I needed lots of help.  Not only did I need information to help me make the switch from film to digital, I needed to know the ins and outs of running a successful wedding photography business.  Throughout my earlier blogs I have documented many of the educational opportunities I have participated in which have been major influences on my photographic style and my business practices.  Last week I had the opportunity to add to that list by attending Melissa Jill’s MJ2Day workshop.

First a little background on Melissa and her workshop.  Through my semi-participation in the Photographer’s Adventure Club, I went to a meeting which featured Melissa talking about using blogging as a business tool.  After her presentation, I talked to Melissa for a bit and discovered that she and I had attended Azusa Pacific University.  Fellow Cougars!  Orange and Black forever!  From that day on I looked at the educational posts Melissa has on her website, as well as twice taking advantage of Melissa’s one on one hour long coaching sessions.  But my ultimate goal always was to attend one of her MJ2Day workshops.  I am OK at learning from books and videos, but I really learn the best in a “hands on” situation.  I felt this workshop would be a great one to go to.  I was not disappointed.

MJ2Day is a 2 day workshop held at Melissa’s studio.  It is intense.  It is information packed.  It is worth it.  No, it was well worth it.  Whenever I was at the in law’s house for dinner, my father-in-law used to say “if you go away hungry, it’s your own fault.”  Melissa’s workshop is just like that.  If you go away with your brain empty of knowledge and ideas, it’s your own fault.

Check the links here and here for Melissa’s official blog posts and photographs from her 13th MJ2Day workshop.

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This is Melissa Jill.  Wedding Photographer. Blogger.  Educator.  Runner of the MJ2Day workshop.  Owner of the cutest dog, Dixie.  And most importantly, fellow Azusa Pacific alum.

I have a friend who likes to say about a female in the company of one or more males. “She is a rose among many thorns.”  If you look at the head shots Melissa took of the workshop participants, you will notice that there were a couple of thorns among many roses. It was a fun bunch of people and a great group to work with.  I am sure we all came away with a little something that will help further our respective businesses.

A special shout out to Melissa’s assistant Sarah.  While working behind the scenes to keep the workshop running smoothly, and more importantly picking up lunch and keeping the snacks going, she helped me solve a Lightroom problem I had been having.  When I hire an assistant, I hope to hire someone as hard working and tireless and as exceptional as Sarah.

I got a chance to expand my restaurant list as we ended Tuesday with a meal at Postino’s.   Trendy on the west side is Old Country Buffet.  Postino’s was a nice change of pace.

MOVING ON….to the original reason for me writing this post.  I wanted to share the most exciting part of the workshop and the impact that it will have on me and Poole Photography.

I WON!!!

MJ2Day raffles off prizes from its many sponsors.  MJ has enough prizes so that everybody wins one, BUT, as much as I would have liked to have won the aqua blue camera bag or the full spread advertisement in DESTINATION i do magazine, I am excited because I won exactly what I and Poole Photography needed.

I haven’t been happy with my website for a long, long time.   I quit updating it about six months ago and have just concentrated on my blog.   In September, my once a month photography consultant, Vonn, suggested that I needed to work on my website as it was lacking punch.  What could I do but agree with her.  I sat down a few days later determined to totally recreate my website,  But as I sat at my computer with my fingers  not moving at all, I came to the decision that I would wait until after the MJ2Day workshop.  I was sure that MJ would have some relevant information about website construction.  Best. Decision. Ever.

My prize at the MJ2Day workshop was one free StyleGroup Design  of my choice from Sitehouse valued at up to $350, AND one full year of hosting for free on Showit, a $429 value.  I now have a little slice of website heaven.  The StyleGroup Designs are done by Promise Tangeman, who is a rock star of website design, and Showit is used by many big name professional photographers such as Jasmine Star. Part of me wants to do a Wayne and Garth and get on my knees and say “I’m not worthy!  I’m not worthy!”

The old website is shutdown.  The new website is being created.  I will post on this blog and on Facebook when the new website is up and running.

I find the word “awesome” to be a tired, worn out term that is used way to often to describe average things and should be banned from being used in the English language.  However, in the case of the MJ2Day workshop, I will relax my standards for the moment.  It. Was. Awesome!

FUN FACT #1 As I am writing this post, the wife asks me why she can’t get on my website.  Oops.  Forgot to tell her I had shut it down.

FUN FACT #2 The song I was listening to while writing this post was “A Day in the Life”  by the Beatles.  Did I even need to tell you?

THE PHOTOS:

While Melissa was shooting our head shots, we were to take head shots of each other to share.  While taking these shots, I also did a little  “behind the scenes” shots of the others doing their photography.  What can I say, I like to do candids.

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Poole Photography, LLC, is located in Glendale, AZ.  We photograph weddings, specializing in small, intimate weddings.

Tim Poole/ owner, operator and photographer.