Here you can read all about my work, travels, and various day-to-day adventures.
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Zoo Marketing Photo Shoot
Aug 8th 2015,
Last week I received an email from a contact within the Phoenix Zoo asking if I’d be interested in taking on another assignment from them. They really enjoyed my work with my last photo shoot back in March and wanted me to do something similar. Once again I’d be photographing children interacting with zoo animals and these images would be used for zoo promotions. In the past I had been working for them as a volunteer but this time they offered to compensate me for my services. I was excited to finally get a paid freelance job and accepted right away.
The morning of the photo shoot went very smoothly. The kids were easy to work with and the zoo staff & parents were very helpful. The only issue was the Phoenix weather was getting quite hot so I did my best to be quick and keep the kids in the shade. When the shoot was over I thanked the family, thanked the zoo staff, and took my paycheck home.
Right away I got to work editing the images. They were finished and emailed to my Zoo contact within hours of completing the photo shoot. Hows that for quick turnaround?
Wild Times Magazine Cover
July 13th 2015,
Upon returning from Spain, I received a surprise in the mail. Back in March 13th the Phoenix Zoo offered me the opportunity to run a photo shoot for their Wild Times Magazine. My images would be featured in an article as well as on the cover of the magazine itself. Well today I finally received a copy of the Wild Time Magazine featuring my work.
It was a thrill to see my work on display.
Spain in a Nutshell
June 25th- July 12th 2015,
There is no way I can sum up my entire Spain trip in one blog post. Frankly it was an epic undertaking that was one of the most amazing vacations I’ve ever been on. Anything I write here couldn’t possibly do justice to the experience. So I’m gonna do a brief recap of the whole event from beginning to end and let the above photos speak for themselves.
Planning for the trip started months in advance. I spent hours research my intended destinations, looking into what sights I wanted to see, finding what restaurants to visit, and then figuring out a time frame to do all in. I would be flying to Spain June 25th and returning July 12th which gave me 16 days to visit 7 different cities and see countless landmarks along the way. I’ve been to Spain many times in the past. The country is the homeland of my family, so growing up my father took me there often. However this trip would be my biggest trek through the country to date. I’d start in the southern coast of Andalucia and then finishing in the northern region of Catalonia basically crossing the entire Iberian Peninsula.
I wouldn’t be alone on this trip. My father was already planning his own trip to Spain so I’d be meeting up with him in southern Spain and travel north together. I was also coordinating my schedule with my best friend Brandon as his family was also passing through Spain. Getting everyone on the same page wasn’t easy. To help organize things, I created a google doc that outlined every day of my trip, the cities I’d be visiting, and what I intended to do. My friends teased me saying i was ‘over planning’ but my outline was hugely vital in the success of my journey.
I flew into southern Spain on June 25th and was greeted by my father and our relatives Jose and Sebastian. We stayed in southern Andalucia for a few days visiting relatives and stopping by the nearby city of Almeria. It was nice to return to the ‘old country’ and reconnect with the family we rarely see. Everyone was incredibly welcoming, kind, and forgiving of my inability to speak Spanish.
We then drove north and spent a few days in the city of Granada. While I like pretty much enjoy every city in Spain, I LOVE Granada. Its possibly my favorite city in all of Europe with its vibrant culture, college aged crowd, and the Moorish architecture everywhere you turn. It was at this time that I started experimenting with panoramic photography which i continued to do for the rest of the trip. These images would be perhaps some of the greatest photographs I’ve ever taken.
We continued north and stayed in the ancient city of Toledo. The city is wonderfully unique in that it’s a preserved heritage site. No new construction is allowed in the city limits so Toledo has this old medieval feeling to it. It was an amazing place to go out and explore with my DSLR. It felt like I was going back in time hundreds of years.
After Toledo we made our way to the capital of Spain; Madrid. Unlike the other cities on our trip, I’m deeply familiar with Madrid. Its one of the first European cities I visited when I was a boy and I’ve visited there more times than any other Spanish city. Because of this, I have a great knowledge of the landmarks and how to navigate the area. This came in handy as Brandon and his family joined us on the trip and I spent the next few days giving them a tour of the city.
At this point we temporarily split up from Brandon’s family. They headed for the northern city of Bilbao while me and my father hopped a train to Segovia. The city is another time capsule of ancient Spain with its Roman Aqueduct, 15th century Gothic Cathedral, and famous castle Alcázar of Segovia. I tried to see as much as possible but we were only there for a short day trip.
The next city on the list was Pamplona. This was the main attraction of the trip as we were there just in time for La Fiesta de San Fermin, also known as The Running of the Bulls. The city was inundated with crowds of people drinking and having a wild time. A bit too wild for my taste. At times I was actually afraid to take my DSLR out of the hotel in fear of it getting splashed in wine. That morning my Brandon and his family ran with the bulls while I watched from a rented a balcony. It was a safe vantage point with great views for photographing.
Finally we made it to the last city of the trip, Barcelona. It was a lovely place with plenty to see, plenty to do, and wonderful foods to eat. I continued as planned seeing all the key landmarks I could. However at this point, I was quite tired. I wasn’t taking quite as many photographs as I had in previous cities. By the time I boarded my Phoenix bound airplane, I was quite ready for home and a well deserved rest.
Back home in the U.S, it took me weeks to sort through all the pictures from Spain. I took roughly 400 pictures a day for the 16 days I was there. I still have hours of video footage I filmed which I plan to edit into a personal documentary someday. But that's not high on my to-do list at the moment. With the Spain epic now behind us, I’m ready to look to the future and think up new journeys to take.
CRAPy Cheers Ad
Aug 1st 2015,
I’ve mentioned my friend Jayarr from Jayarr Customs in a previous blog posts back in March. His Screenprint Service helped create my Lopez Photography shirts and he also invited me to photograph the CRAP RIDE (Car Resistance Action Party) St Patrick's Day Potluck. Well recently he got in touch with me and asked if I could edit together a promo video he and his CRAP friends shot. It was an homage to the opening to the famous CHEERS Tv show. The project sounded fun and easy, so I agreed.
I must say, the finished product came out far better than I had anticipated.
Find out more about the CRAP Ride group at https://www.facebook.com/craptempe.
Phoenix Comicon 2015: My Yearly Nerd-a-Thon
May 26th 2015,
For the past 4-ish years I’ve been a regular attendee at the Phoenix Comicon. Its a place where nerds, geeks, and the local community can gather together to celebrate the things we’re all passionate about. Whether you’re into sci-fi, fantasy, superheroes, or w/e; you can find something to nerd-out about at this amazing convention.
Phoenix Comicon has always held a special place in my nostalgic nerd heart. It was the first comic convention I ever attended back when I was a youngling in college. Since then I’ve been to many conventions and even larger cons like Star Wars Celebration. But Phoenix Comicon will always be special to me because its MY con. The convention that broke me in, stole my geek virginity, and showed me what a comicon was all about.
No matter how many time I go, there are two things that always surprise me when I visit Phoenix Comicon. First the crowds that get bigger and bigger every year. This year they had 75,501 people visit the convention and over 25 celebrity guests stop by. The second thing that surprises me is the cosplay. I love seeing guests all dressed up like it's a nerd Halloween and you’ll see more and more people doing it every year. Photographing these colorful outfits is what brings me back to Phoenix Comicon year after year. That and frequenting the local downtown bars with my geek friends.
Learn more about Phoenix Comicon at www.phoenixcomicon.com
The Cabin Loop Backpacking Epic
Underdog Jennie finds a Home
May 26th 2015,
I was at work early in the morning when I received an email from my friend Nikki. She works with Underdog Rescue of Arizona and was instrumental in getting me involved with the group. In the email she gave me some good news about one of the amazing pups I previously photographed.
Jennie was skin and bones when Underdog Rescue of Arizona found her. She had cancerous masses and had was placed on the county shelter’s euthanasia list. Thanks to Underdog and her fosters, she made a full recovery and was a happy fully functional puppy again.
When I first photographed Jennie back in March, she was frail and still recovering from her surgery. However I was taken back by how kind and gentle she was. Part of me wanted to take her home but I couldn’t. My current living situation wasn’t right for adopting any new pets and Jennie deserved a wonderful home just right for her.
Well in Nikki’s email she gave me the great news that Jennie found a new home with a loving family. She even has two kids and a puppy sibling to play with. I was sad I wouldn't get to see Jennie again, but happy she finally had the home she deserved.
For more information about Underdog Rescue of Arizona, check them out at http://www.underdogaz.com/
Another Quick Trip to California
Star Wars Celebration 2015: The Video!
May 4st 2015,
As mentioned in my previous blog post, I recently went to Star Wars Celebration with a goal. To document as much of the convention as possible. However I didn’t limit myself to simply photographing the event. I also took my video recorder and microphone to film the convention from my perspective.
It was challenging juggling both my DSLR and film equipment while navigating the convention floor. It was an even greater feat to sort through all the footage, audio, and images once I returned home. After days of nonstop editing, I finally finished Part 1 of my SWC series. I intend to finished Part 2 and Part 3 someday when I have more free time. But for now, I must regretfully move on to other projects.
**Please forgive the iffy camerawork and narration. I’m not a videographer or voice actor. Just a humble photographer/video editor.**
Star Wars Celebration 2015
April 22th 2015,
I am a huge nerd. Its a part of my identity that I hid away in my earlier years but now wear out in the open like a badge of honor. And why not? Nerd culture is HUGE today. Just look at the highest grossing movies in the past 10 years. You’ve got plenty of science fiction, fantasy, and superhero films all over that list. As nerd guru, podcaster, and filmmaker Kevin Smith says, “The geek have inherited the earth!”
There are plenty of things that get my geek blood flowing. Video games, movies, comic books, cool toys, and more. However nothing comes close to my love of the greatest movie franchise ever created; STAR WARS.
My love of this saga goes way back to my childhood. In fact, my earliest memory as a child is watching the original Star Wars Trilogy with my Dad during a Thanksgiving day marathon. Since then my relationship with movies has evolved. I’ve gone through film school and I’ve been exposed to countless other films that I also love. But at the core of my film passion is always STAR WARS.
I’m not sure when I first learned about the convention, but for years now I’ve wanted to visit Star Wars Celebration. Its a huge international convention held yearly to celebrate everything Star Wars related. For 2015 the convention was being held in Anaheim, CA. A mere hour flight from my home in Phoenix, AZ. Plus this was the celebration leading into the highly anticipated Star Wars Episode 7. There were sure to be some surprises at the convention this year to get fans pumped for the new film coming up. So with all these stars and planets aligning, I knew this was my year to go!
I’ve been to many conventions before, but nothing quite like SWC. It was massive in scale with people from all over the world gathered into one town. The Anaheim Convention Center may have been huge, but it was packed with people, booths, art exhibits, tattoo parlors, life sized statues, autograph sections, and more. Plus the energy at SWC was something magical. Just the day before I arrived, the director of Star Wars 7 previewed a new trailer for all the fans to see. it was reported that fans left the screening literally crying with joy. It was that fervent excitement that you could feel throughout all of Anaheim.
I spent my 3 days at SWC carrying around my DSLR camera trying to see, photograph, and film as much as I could. I was a man on a mission, and my purpose was to document this momentous occasion. It was a difficult task at times. Trying to navigate the dense crowds was one obstacle that drained my energy. However I pressed on even when my legs ached and my camera harness grew heavy on my back.
At the end of the weekend I flew home utterly exhausted but content. I had fulfilled a lifelong goal and more. There are few moments in life when you’re “walking with destiny” as Winston Churchill called it. Where you know you’re in the right place and right time doing exactly what you were meant to do. Star Wars Celebration 2015 was one of those special moments for me.
“I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial. I thought I knew a good deal about it all, I was sure I should not fail.” -Winston S. Churchill
A Bounty of Butterflies
Underdog Floyd has been Adopted!
Fears, Insecurities, and Paper Airplanes: Finding the Deeper Meaning within a Photograph
Never Stop Learning
Backpacking Adventures on the Parsons Trail
Bike Saviours Arte Nite Welding Night
Relics of a Time Gone By: Part 4
A CRAPy St Patrick's Day Potluck
March 17th 2015,
As mentioned in my earlier blog post “Photographing the Underdogs”, I recently did some volunteer work for Underdog Rescue of Arizona. The goal was to photograph dogs up for adoption. While I worked magic with my DSLR, I had my friend Nikki record video footage of each dog in action. I later took the footage and was able to edit a series of videos introducing the pups. Hopefully this will get them one step closer to their forever homes.
Phoenix Zoo Wild Times Assignment
Lopez Photography T-Shirts
Photographing the Underdogs
Crazy Outdoorsy Weekend - Part 2
Crazy Outdoorsy Weekend - Part 1
Phoenix Zoo Party Safari
Stormy Weather in the Superstitions
Relics of a Time Gone By: Part 3
Tempe Bike Action Group's Winter Games
Relics of a Time Gone By: Part 2
Nerding Out with my Camera Out
The shop is now OPEN
Hiking the Lost Dutchman
If at first you don't Succeed...
Foggy Rainy Weekend
Gear review #1: Holdfast Money Maker Camera Harness
Relics of a Time Gone By: Part 1
Lonely Cold Night in the Wild West
The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship