Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Portraits, Portraits, Portraits!

Hey guys and gals,
First of all, I want to start by thanking everyone who has so loyally been checking out my blog over the past few months. I'm always excited to put up a new post and get all the feedback from you guys, whether it is an e-mail, a facebook message, a call, or a comment on this blog. Thanks again, it definitely means a lot!

Now, as I said in the last post (Alaska!), I've been working like crazy this past month with portrait sessions to balance out all of the landscape work I've been doing this summer! The many different forms of photography intrigue me each in their own way, and portraits have been no different. So, I've decided to take a sampling of the three sessions I've done this past month and jam them all into this one post.

Each shoot is different, and you will (hopefully) see that through the way these photographs turned out. You'll see two individual portrait sessions and one set of an engagement session. I find that with the individual session, my goal is to find out who the subject is, and then work to get that genuine personality to shine through. I've gotten quite used to talking with the viewfinder over my eye ready to snap as soon as the subject responds to whatever it is I am saying or doing. Engagement photos are almost opposite. My goal here is to set myself as an observer, keeping my trigger finger ready to catch the natural chemistry that comes from the couple enjoying their day. Well, we'll get to that soon.

Starting out, we've got Katherine, an absolute genius and rad person all at the same time! She is, literally, a piano prodigy, getting a full-ride into college at age 14! Check out her website at www.katpiano.com (you may recognize the photographer!), and listen to some of the pieces, I recommend the Liszt, you'll be floored!
Anyway, I got the chance to photograph her and capture her intensity and humorous lightheartedness. We were mostly in Azusa area, taking the piano photos at Azusa Pacific University. It was sweet to get a full concert hall to myself for a shoot!

(Note: To view the pictures larger, click on them, hold CTRL, and scroll your mouse or press + or - )

*I was so stoked when I saw that the red felt in the piano matched the red she was wearing...yeah, I totally planned that...*

I know it was a portrait session, but I couldn't let an image like this go unsnapped:

Katherine's boyfriend is actually a piano tuner (perfect couple, yeah, I think so) and was able to remove the keyboard part from the grand piano. After some very scary maneuvering, this image popped into my mind. I think it makes for quite an intriguing image that I bet you've never seen before. :)

To change it up a bit, we'll jump to the engagement session I did for Andrea and Blake, an awesome couple stoked to start their lives together. I immediately knew that I was going to enjoy working with these two (I'm booked also for their wedding in November!) when I heard that Blake was an artist and enjoyed playing banjo, and when Andrea expressed excitement about photography that is genuine, mostly unposed in its nature, and definitely not manufactured at its core. I was sold! We concluded on two locations, both very important to the life of this couple: Disneyland and the Wayfarers Chapel. I knew both would present their beauties and their challenges, so I geared up and we made it happen.

What I so enjoyed about this session was that I did not feel like I had to make the couple seem like they were into each other. They just did their thing and I simply threw on my telephoto lens and captured the real and genuine chemistry that came from these two. Why take engagement pictures but to capture the character of the couple and show what they are really like in this exciting time of life?

See what I'm saying about chemistry!? Anyway, enough hype, here they are:

...yes, I was definitely in a spinning teacup across the way. No challenge=No fun. :)

Get it? Fireworks!

I though the tilted angle was a little too extreme for this next one while shooting, but i think it ended up reflecting the chaotic/cartoonish feeling perfectly. Oh yeah, that, and Andrea's face!

We then took a drive to a beautiful chapel on the cliffs above the ocean in Rancho Palos Verdes to finish off the session. Check it out!:

Let me know if you agree with me that this last one looks like a cologne or perfume ad.

Thanks Andrea and Blake, you guys are awesome and I'm stoked about November!

The last shoot I did was for Bethany, an amazing, laid back girl with a golden voice. Bethany is the type of girl that is absolutely gorgeous, but it seems like she doesn't quite realize it! Definitely a refreshing subject to work with. She is an amazing jazz singer with a voice that will melt you: check her out at www.myspace.com/bethanyvanhofwegen. We spent some time around the Claremont Colleges, and I took on the challenge to capture her in her genuine, natural beauty, again, something that couldn't be captured if it was manufactured. You'll see what I mean:

Nothing like dead leaves to accentuate a shallow depth of field!

I see a little bit of evidence of natural model here. Maybe another perfume ad? Actually feels more like a jean ad now that I look at it.

Last photo, Bethany had brought along a red dress partially because of a possible jazz gig that night that didn't end up happening. The light was fading, but the street lights gave just enough light to snap off this last one of the day:

So, there they are! I hope you enjoyed viewing these and I very much appreciate any thoughts you may have about them! If there are any questions for booking/pricing/my calendar, along with any other questions, throw me an e-mail at BrandonBPhotography@gmail.com and I'll get you any info you need.

Thanks again for viewing and have an excellent week!
-Brandon Bathauer

Friday, August 28, 2009


Hey guys!

Sorry it has been so long since I've posted, I've been crazy busy with my location photography. Ever since the pending SAG strike ended, people are making movies and such like crazy, which means more work for me!

Thanks to a more efficient editing process (thank you Lightroom!) and a fever that has kept me indoors for the past couple days, I had time to finally go through the photos I took on a trip this summer to Alaska. Just a disclaimer, this post is for all of you landscape/nature photography lovers out there. For those of you who are more into wedding/portrait photography, please know that my next post will be exclusively that, as I have shot a few "people" sessions recently (which turned out incredibly!) and have a handful coming up soon.

Now, back to the story. This trip was special for me, because it was kind of a returning to a place in my history. A total of 9 years ago, I went on a cruise to the Caribbean, carrying with me the very first camera of my own. When I saw the first photo (which was an old Cathedral on Margarita island) of the 14 rolls I had developed (yeah, I was using film back then!), I was struck and had a sudden realization that photography was going to be something I was connected to for many years to come. As I boarded the cruise ship this time around to cruise Alaska, I was amazed at how far I had come. I never thought I would have been able to "make it" as a professional photographer, and yet, here I am! (I was also amazed at how much larger my camera bag is in comparison to what it was!)

Anyway, so enough of the trip down memory lane. Now to Alaska!

Alaska can be described in 1 word: BIG! Everything is massive, from the bodies of water, to the tides, to the grandiose mountains. To get a piece of this massive state, we took a 7 day cruise that started in Seward (A day trip south of Denali) and ended in Vancouver.

We started by flying into Anchorage. We got there at 1:30AM and it was sunset! I woke up the next morning with the sounds of float-planes buzzing over our small hotel and landing in a lake-pond right next to us. I knew immediately that this wasn't Southern CA anymore!

We spent the day there and left early the next morning for a 4 hour train ride south to Seward through absolutely beautiful savage/wild territory. I'm confident that if I fell off the train and walked 10 minutes away from the track, I'd probably never find civilization again.

I stood between the cars of the train and bore the chilly air to get those, whatever you gotta do to get the shot!

*Photo thanks to Dan Bathauer*

We arrived in Seward, a charming little fishing village.

At one of the small, local spots, I ordered a caribou burger with a side of reindeer sausage. The crazy thing is that that meat was probably far more fresh and bountiful than had I ordered beef! It was delicious...I also may have hummed the Rudolph song once or twice while eating the sausage. :)

As we boarded and headed out, I realized that this trip was going to get my shutter finger buff. I had a 360-degree view of gorgeous-ness non-stop, and it stays light out till 2AM at times, keeping me up snapping away far later that I normally can. I felt like a photo junkie! A taste of the first sunset I saw (mind you, this is about 1AM):

-I was stoked to put my new wide angle lens to work!-

Our next stop was the Hubbard Glacier, what was one the fastest growing glaciers 20 years ago, and one that is still growing in size. It was insane when I first saw an iceberg floating by, definitely something you don't see everyday! We navigated through the ice and got pretty darn close to the glacier, it was incredible.

-Navigating through the ice patch. It sounded like crushed ice getting stirred up in a glass, but these were very large chunks of ice! This is from 14 stories up.-

*Photo thanks to Dan Bathauer*

When the glacier calved, you could feel it in your chest. It sounded like a thunder storm on a bright, cloudless day!

After a day at sea, we landed in Juneau, the capitol of Alaska. Honestly, even knowing it was Alaska, I was expecting a larger city. Juneau is a quaint, little town at the feet of ginormous mountains. No roads in or out; the only way from the outside world is by plane or boat.

-Note the float plane landing.-

It was originally an old Alaskan Gold Rush town, and the feeling/character stuck around. Just up the road and behind the city, we found a trail that was on top of an old mining shaft. The surrounding area was gorgeous, almost jungle-like. From icebergs to dense forest in one day was quite a change.

-My first spotting of a bald eagle close-up. How rad is that!?-

With all the cool stuff in Juneau, I was also blown away by a glacier nearby. It was in the low 90s that day, which was totally strange by itself. I remember standing on a beach next to this massive waterfall (note the size of the people in comparison):

*Photo thanks to Dan Bathauer*
-I am on the bottom right. Definitely got my lenses soaked!-

I was standing where those people were standing, and around me were some people tanning, a few swimming in their bikinis and board shorts, and yet, right there in front of me was a massive glacier with a bunch of icebergs in the water. Too strange for my mind to fully comprehend, so here are pictures to show it.

Rad, anyway, the next stop was Skagway, another old Gold Rush town (this one kept in its original state) far north of Juneau...the graduating class was made up of 8 students! It served as the railroad hub and start for many of the miners that had the guts to head into the Yukon over the dreaded White Pass. Here's a brief view of the tiny town:

The next port was definitely my favorite. Icy Strait Point is an island inhabited by a native tribe, kept in its full Alaskan goodness! Well, almost. They allow one cruise ship in at a time (brought to shore on smaller boats because of the small size of the docks). Eventually, I know this beautiful land and people will be commercialized because of this practice, but I was stoked to get there when I did (they opened this port less than 2 years ago). Bald eagles like crazy, humpbacks spouting right off the shore, large unadulterated forests, bears that outnumber people 5 to 1, etc. Here is a taste of Icy Strait:

Besides all of this, they also had the longest zipline in the world that I got to ride on! Such a rad ride! Here is a video I took on a little point and shoot:

So stoke-worthy. Anyway, moving on, we reached our last Alaskan port, the town of Ketchican. Again, Ketchican is another old town that is accessible only by plane or boat...or jetpack, i guess, if you had one.

-The old Red-Light District...Looks different than you'd expect, huh? A bit too quaint perhaps? The river was used for fleeing bootleggers and rum-runners during prohibition, and it was called "Married Man's Route"-

We wandered out of town to get some more views of the coastline and found some very lush areas. We also came across a small Native American town that specializes in carving Totem poles.

Then came our last day at sea, a slow cruising through the inside passage (the area between Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia). There were some beautiful sights, but it was the last sunset that did me in!

The sun reflecting off of the glassy water made me point my lens downward to capture the wake of the boat. Gorgeous thing water is, isn't it?

And that was the last night. We hung out in Vancouver for a bit to see some Canadian beauty...
...and then took the flight home. When I looked out the window on the approach, I knew that we were far, far away from the rugged, unprocessed, and beautifully wild world of Alaska.

Thanks for reading/viewing, I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know if you did by commenting or e-mailing me!
And like I said, be watching for a portrait post, it'll be going up very soon.

Thanks again for your support,
Brandon Bathauer