28mm f/2

Vir. G. Inia.


Here's how I write a blog post. I sit down (possibly with some sort of vague outline of what I want to write about) and just start writing. Usually with a beer (this time it's with an "Old Rasputen" a 9% stout. And for a stout it's pretty darn good, but I'm not a huge fan of stouts.) Sometimes I stay on track, usually not. Coherence is not really a goal but it's nice when it happens.

As it is my office is in my garage, and my fingers are semi-numb; making typing not so much difficult, as just weird. For all you funny people who will make fun of a Californian complaining about the cold: It is colder here than in most parts of the country. We don't have well insulated houses, nor do we have good heaters. Every morning its well under 60 degrees in the house. And we don't want to put on a sweater when we go outside (even though it's the high 30's or low 40's, because in a few hours it will be in the 60's…).

I'm selling some gear (to make room for even newer (to me) and cooler gear. Which will of course make me happy. 'Cuz that's what new stuff does). In order to sell said gear I need photos of said gear. I had three choices. A. Shoot it with film, and way a few weeks to get the scans. B. Shooting with polaroids, scan them in and use those, or C. Snap some digital photos. My brain and my heart took it outside (leaving me looking for OZ), and my brain won. After taking some lame shots of my non-lame camera (was selling my Pentax 6x7. It's a huge and awesome camera and it sold within 10 minutes) I snapped a few of my daughter (you know, those pretty shots from above focusing on her eyelashes (I had a macro lens on)). After dragging it into photoshop and working on it for 20 minutes, I gave up in disgust. I just couldn't make it look even nearly as awesome as film.

In case you were wondering, I don't have a point. Onto one of the coolest families in the whole state of Virginia (which, from the small population I saw when I was there, has the highest beard per capita outside of Oregon and Mother's Market).

Disclaimer: I was assured that Kelly and her family are not confederates.

Now that we have that out of the way… If all my clients were as awesome as Kelly, I'd be a very happy man. She contacted me a while back, asking if I ever plan on traveling to the east coast, and if I did to let her know. Fast forward a few months and I had my wonderful east coast trip planned. Kelly contacted me and we made it happen. And she didn't complain at all when my lab took double as long as usual, "quality takes time" she said. I agree.

I actually took a train there. I'd love to say it was interesting. It wasn't (I did sleep though), but the shoot was.

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Little boys with their blankets and sticks...

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Rachel + Yitzie // Los Angeles, CA

I have typers bock. It's a rare yet harsh malady where although one may have much to say, or even write, those tiny muscles in fingers refuse to translate the impulses sent by the brain into action. Instead somehow I end up in front of the fridge, wondering how long I've been there for.

So I grab a beer (or, if there isn't one in the fridge, I storm away fuming), head back to my computer and type with my toes. Yes, this blog was typed with my toes.

I also used seven cameras for this wedding. Seven. Why? That is a very, very good question. My back and shoulders would like to know the same.

Rachel and her family were part of our community since, well, I can't remember when we didn't know each other. It's amazing to see people grow up into truly unique and special people. Yitzi was always grown up. He may have been a child once but we only met a few months before the wedding, so I have no proof. I do know that he is über smart, witty, and kind. Not a bad combo. There's a lot to tell about this beautiful wedding, with beautiful friends, and beautiful families, but I'll let the photos tell the story.


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Ancient of Days

In certain circles I am considered to be hot stuff. The circles are quite small, but they exist. Now I'm sure you're scratching your head trying to figure out why in the world anyone would consider me hot stuff. Let me debefuddle you.

My mother (happy mothers day!) is a Carlebach. The Carlebach family is an old and pretty well known name in the Jewish world. Historically they had many great Rabbis in Germany and surrounding countries. My grandfather was quite the scholar and was twins with one of the most famous Jewish composers of all time, Shlomo Carlebach. "Uncle Shlomo", as we call him, was also a tremendous scholar and brought an excitement about Judasim to thousands of Jews. They even made a broadway musical about him "Souldoctor" (which I have not yet seen).

My mother's mother (happy mothers day!) is a Schneerson. The Schneerson family comes from Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (his son was called Schneur-son) also known as the first Lubavitch Rebbe. He started and was the first "Rebbe" (grand Rabbi) of the Chabad movement, which now has thousands of communities around the world. We come directly from the third Chabad Rebbe (known as the Tzemach Tzedek), as well as from another great Chassidic master, Rabbi Levi Yitchak of Berditchov.

Also, my great grandparents ran an orphanage during world war two which was very instrumental in saving the lives of many many young Jews. I'll stop there :)

My mother (may she live to be well over a thousand) raised us to be aware of where we came from, but not think it made us in any way better than anyone else. A bit special, but no better. I fact I wasn't even aware of how awesome it was until some people found out about it in Yeshiva and were like totally in awe.

I have a point, I promise.

For the holiday of Purim, my Bubby (mother's mother, may she live a long and healthy life) came to California and brought a Megillah (a handwritten Book of Esther, which we read on Purim) which was written by the fourth Chabad Rebbe, known as the Rebbe MaHarash (Rabbi Shmuel). He only wrote three or four megillahs, one of which is in the Library in New York and the other, by Bubby has. It's a beautiful scroll, in remarkable condition for its age (around two hundred years old) with really wonderful handwriting. The Rebbe wasn't a scribe, but his doctor told him he should do detailed work with his hands. So he wrote one Megillah for each of his children.

One of his grandchildren had epilepsy, which in those days caused one to be shunned by most of the community. People tend to fear what they don't understand. Especially epilepsy, as it could look like you're possessed. My great grandparents (especially my great grandmother) took him under their wings, even as an adult. They fed him, bathed him, and treated him as one of their family. In gratitude he gave them his fathers Megillah (which he got from his father). Which made its way down the family and now belongs to my Bubby

Now, my Bubby is very protective of this Megillah. She does not publicize its whereabouts, or if she's going to travel with it or not. Unfortunately there are those who covet these types of objects (do they not read the ten commandments?!). And would go through great lengths to get their hands on it.

Before Purim, we went to the local Chabad Cheder (chassidic boys school) to let the kids see the Megillah and hear my Bubby speak about the Megillah and her family.

Here's how that went:

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One of the rules is that only family member can read from the Megillah. I did that for the first time and it was quite an experience.

Geekspeak: Shot with my Nikon F4, my 28mm, Delta 400 pushed to 1600, and a few with hp5 pushed to 800.

The Pribyls - Documentary Family Session

I have SOOOO much to write about this shoot but I don't want my mediocre writing skills to take away from the awesomeness of this family, so I'll make it short.

Family documentary photography is really where I want my business to be heading. It's something I feel is important, real, and not nearly as common as it should be. Recently I was given the opportunity to shoot this absolutely delightful family in Santa Rosa. This is exactly what the family does on a normal Monday. What they wear, what they eat, where they go, what they play etc. And as the years go by they will have these awesome memories documented, not just what they looked like but how they were. How cool is that?

Yeah, I thought so.

Enjoy, and thanks for looking.

We started off with some homeschooling (them, not me :))

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Learning makes you hungry (well everything makes ME hungry, but we're talking about normal people here), so mom makes some yummy looking cheese sandwiches (wherever I go, cheese sandwiches seem to be following me).

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I think it was someones birthday here (mom's sis?) so they all (actually we) sang happy birthday (well Frank sang happy boothday, and I think he thinks we were all laughing at him...)


Hannah looooves dressing Violet up, doing her hair etc. And she has very pretty hair. All I noticed was that coffee though. I love coffee.

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Back to some reading drills with mommy. Schools cool, but how awesome is snuggling up with mommy and reading some?

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Reading is knowledge and knowledge is power. Hence the biceps.

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That. Is. A. Big. Book.

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I love how all the siblings play together!! It's really sweet.

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Off to the chopping block (it's not easy, I tried, and, well, it wasn't pretty). If I was that block I would not underestimate the power of a Frank. Even if he's seven.

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Getting the mail was a very important daily ritual. To be met with shoed feet and appropriately attired hair.

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Jasmine was in awe over mom's wisdom. Yes, holding those yellow flowers under your chin will make your chin yellow (sadly it won't make my beard blonde).

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And off to the front yard for some ballage and rideage.

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Jordan would be proud (check out that wrist motion!)


I'm not sure if she made it in but I'll lead you on :)

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They have this park nearby which makes me want to pick up and move. Now.

This is one of the very few posed shots we did. Figured we'd get one or two nice family shots (the other's at the end). How cute are they?!

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Mom's sister (birthday girl?) and her family came to join. She's laughing at me.

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These ducks were scary. I'm serious. For some reason growing up we had a duck as a pet (bad idea) and it terrorized me.

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I was told I was doing a good job.


This is Jeney's grandson. It's amazing how much everyone oogles over him, (not that I blame them, and how edible are those cheeks?!)

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How handsome is David? (and how awesome is his hair?)

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For some reason I'm doubting he caught it...


And for some last family photos... (I'm already missing this family)

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How proud is grandma?


Normally I'd finish there. But the family only asked for two shots. The mail one and one with me in it. As they put it: "If we are documenting this one day, then you are very big part of it."

Good point.


Mountains, Clouds, and 40 Years of Awesomeness

Driving to Temecula is a bit challenging. The drive is quite a beautiful one, with views ranging from rolling hills to towering mountains. The thing is my kids are currently obsessed with mountains and hills and which are which and the fine line between them (my kids don't understand grey areas). And Mendel doesn;t really know what we're talking about but he has to join in the questions. Chanale: "Look!! A mountain"

Zevi: "No, that's a hill. Right tatty?"

Me: "Grunt. Well actually..."

Mendel (looking at a cloud): "Look!! A mountain!"

Zevi: "Mendel's not letting me talk!"

Zusha: "hjdanerqo vfnqemqqp vneirmw?" (loosely translated: "Is it edible?")

And that goes on for an hour and a half. It's funny if you're awake, exhausting if you're not. But it's always good memories...

My brother in law, the Esteemed Chief Rabbi of Greater Temecula and Environs, and Overall a Pretty Darn Good Guy, was having his 40th birthday party. So inbetween eating, talking, and taking care of my mountain watchers, I used the event as an opportunity to try out some new film and work on some stuff (namely making an event where nothing really happens look interesting. Not that it wasn't, but the interest was mainly the good conversations and such. I also tried to stop down my lens as much as the light allowed).

Thanks for looking.

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Geek talk: I shot this all on my Nikon F4 and 28mm. Delta 400 (pushed to 1600) and stopped down as much as the light allowed (generally between f/5.6 and f/8).