To work in sports, you have to be willing to get experience any way you can. In my career I have worked a club rodeo championship, a local horse shoe tournament, a regional motor cross tour, most high school sports, and even covered local little leagues. I loved covering those events, and that also led me to work John Elway’s final Super Bowl, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning’s collegiate finales, Michael Jordan pour it on against the Miami Heat, Gonzaga reach number one in the nation, and more college basketball than I can count. And the one thing that stands out more than anything else, is when you watch an athlete stand above the rest. It is in their body language. It’s how they operate. Then you watch them perform the sport they were born to play. It is beauty in motion. I got a chance to see just that when I had the opportunity to photograph LMU cross country at their first meet of the season. It isn’t a spot in the mainstream spotlight, but I to watch an All-American just out smart and out run the field. Danielle Shanahan can run. See what my camera caught in the gallery Master at Her Craft.
Now that I am with Special Olympics Southern California, I had the opportunity to work my first Summer Games. It is one of more than 200 events a year but it is the biggest. If you ask any of the athletes, it is the one they look forward to. It is the championships. It is their final four. It is their super bowl. It is their moment. And it showed. I had many duties, but I had the chance to sneak away with the cameras a couple times.
Day one featured a festival, free health screenings, a behind scenes look at volunteers from Vons, Albertsons and Pavilions making 8,000 lunches, and the most memorable dunk “contest” ever.
Day two was on the track and at the pool. I snuck by the awards podium at the swim venue. If you have a chance, I encourage everyone out there to go to your state’s summer games and watch the medal ceremonies. You will shed a tear. And then there was the show stopper. The young athletes exhibition on the track. A pair of young ones stole the show.
Enjoy what I saw behind the lens (galleries linked by the day above).
As the 48th annual Summer Games approached – the largest event of more than 200 annually organized through Special Olympics Southern California – I had the opportunity to see a side of Special Olympics not as know. It’s acronym is LETR. It stands for Law Enforcement Torch Run. It is the organization of law enforcement officers who give of their efforts to raise funds and awareness for the Special Olympics movement. The primary effort for LETR is called the Final Leg. More than 3,000 officers throughout Southern California travel the torch for the Summer Game nearly 900 miles over two weeks, ending at the venue in Long Beach. I joined one of the routes on my big. Taking my cameras as five agencies took the torch on an amazing ride. It was an amazing ride. Check out some of what I saw in the gallery FINAL LEG.
After 17 years at Loyola Marymount, I began an new adventure with Special Olympics Southern California. Two weeks into my new role, I had the opportunity to shoot my first event. The Spring Regional Games in Santa Clarita Valley. It was followed by the Spring Regionals in Pomona and then the San Diego Regional Games.I am not sure words can properly express what I got to see. The spirit. The joy. The determination. A nine-year old stole my heart. A volunteer was a show-stopper. A bocce athlete was just happy to play. A father-daughter combo brought tears to the eyes.Every one had stories of love, perseverance, determination, inclusion and so much more. The imagery was amazingly overwhelming. The people – no words can explain.
This spring, I had the opportunity to view through the lens my god-daughter takeoff. After spending her first year of swimming and water polo dealing with aches and pains caused by a massive growth spurt, she was finally healthy (thank you Shaun) for year two. And she thrived. This little peanut became a competitor before my eyes. As someone who has spent their life in sports and has witnessed its amazing beauty, getting to view someone you helped raise find their own way, well, that is pure joy. Take a look at what I got to see in the gallery A COMPETITIVE PEANUT.
After 17 years at Loyola Marymount University, I said goodbye on March 17. Wrapping up a part of my life that will always be dear to my heart. I have labored quite a bit on what to write. What to say. How to thank the countless peers and co-workers who have made the last 17 years – well, in the words of my mentor, Dr. William Husak – spectacular. I leave so much better a person than when I came (and a bunch older, unfortunately).
In the spirit of a good Jesuit education, I learned about the “whole person” inside me and leave wanting to make an impact on the world. I guess that is the best thing I can say to all of those people whose value in my life can’t be described in words (you know who you are). I leave a better person because of each of you. This is a photo and creative blog, and so with that, I share the final weeks of my tenure at LMU through the photos I shot. My final day ended, fittingly, on the pool deck at the LMU Invitational working a 13-hour day.
Oh, water polo, who would have thunk! A perfect game was throw in there too. Thank you LMU baseball and Corey Abbott for a grand sendoff.
Click the images to see more of that gallery. Find a bunch more HERE.
Meet John (great name by the way).
For a decade I have been staying at the iconic Davenport Hotel in downtown Spokane as I travel with the LMU basketball team. And each year a wonderful man has welcomed us in his classic top hat and red uniform. So I decided to grab the camera and see if I could get to know him. And he took me on a great adventure.
He has been working at the Davenport for 64 years. Yes. 64. Since 1953. He started as a graveyard bell hop (his favorite role by the way). He has done everything at the hotel. He worked the casino that use to be there. He was part of a group of people that cared for the historic building while it was closed from the mid-1980s until it reopened in 2001. He organized weddings. Coordinated special events. And now, serving as the most welcoming doorman.
He has met Burt Reynolds, Steve McQueen and Betty White, to name just a few. He loves his hat. He couldn’t think of doing anything else. It gets him out of the house. Oh, he’s 84.
He clearly is the face of this historic hotel as countless guests greeted him by name, fellow co-workers said hellos through hugs, and guests knew they were welcomed. He works four days a week, Thursday through Sunday from 7:30 to 3:30 pm. So if you want to feel welcomed, maybe get a good hug, then you know where to go.
It is people that make life the big adventure it is. I am so glad I got to get to know him through my lens and hear his story. Check out this Davenport Icon.
I have drafted so many versions of this message, every one of them different. I knew that this day was coming as our german shepherd slowly aged and the hips could no longer work. And the day finally came and I am speechless at to the lessons this neurotic, allergy-inducing, scared-of-cameras, tennis-ball loving creature has taught me the last 48 hours.
Yes, our farm – hardly a farm, we live in a condo in the heart of Los Angeles with a back patio of now more than 50 square feet but have more two four-legged creatures per one two-legged creature – lost one of its ringer leaders on Sunday. Sadie was sent back to chasing squirrels and tennis balls on Sunday and her loss has left me gasping for air. She wasn’t my dog. I didn’t bring her home. I wasn’t around for when she was a puppy. But before I knew it, I spent a better part of a decade in her life and as she said goodbye, I realized she was the pillar of my daily routine for over 4,000 days. Each day we started and ended it together. It started with chasing cats and squirrels or tennis balls on hour long walks when she was younger.
As she aged, the walks got shorter. And it ended on Sunday morning with one more walk – well, I carried her and we stood together as my favorite time of day descended on us. Dawn. Our walks were stands the last year but yet there we stood multiple times a day, and each time she seemed to take in the sun and the air like the true outdoor person I am. We stood there together. Not knowing how much we truly loved doing it together.
I looked back at those walks, those stands, those moments – and she helped me through so much. Standing there, contemplating life together. She looking for that squirrel and me simply learning to breathe and stop.
Sadie has blessed my life more than I ever gave her credit for. Here was this creature that was scared of cameras. Yes, this website is mostly about photos. So I always had a camera in my hands. Thus, it took some work to get her on camera. I took it as a challenge. As I looked through what I had of her, I was amazed once again at how much she truly meant to me.
Thank you Sadie. Thank you for letting me walk you. Thank you for walking me. Here are some of my favorites – A SHEPHERD’S LOVE.
The year of 2016 was the year of the camera for me. Those who have known me the longest know Dad threw an old Pentax in my had at around six years of age. So I have had a camera in my hand for quite some time. It put me through school. It defined college and high school. It took a hiatus as my career headed to the world of college bowl games and sunny Miami. But it never left.
The last five years the camera has come back. In a big way and it has become a part of my professional journey, for sure. But it grew to be a part of my every day, defining my adventures. I took more images this past calendar year than any before and as I looked back at what I captured – I have been truly blessed.
From a road trip where the fisheye remained on the dashboard, to thousands of images from the basketball arenas around the country, the camera was at my side. The blue angels never disappoint. Mother nature, truly one of my favorite subjects. The simplicity and peace of the first-ever 14er to the family trek to Miramar.
So many have joined me on this journey with the camera and what a fun ride this year was. I tried to find some of my favorites in MY BEST OF 2016. I am sure I left some out. In fact I know I did… but it is on to 2017. I can’t wait.
For Christmas I decided to put together some photo books for those that mean so much to me, putting together some of my favorites. The theme for this book was my love of nature. And in putting together these books, I realized I have been truly blessed to be in a profession and live an active life that has taken me and my camera around the world. And I was amazed at the images I had taken over the last decade. But one thing became clear – I live in one of the most amazing outdoor places in the world where you can surf and ski on the same day (well, traffic can often say otherwise) and yet, I had not really taken the camera out on an adventure right in my backyard.
Well, I changed that. I am not shy about claiming Colorado as home. But Southern California has been where I have laid my head for 17 years and it, too, has given me great blessings. So I ventured out with my newest gear (thank you loved ones for outfitting me for great hikes) and got some amazing shots of the Pacific Ocean and the ever popular Santa Monica Mountains. Also met some incredible people, too.
Yup, truly blessed. Check-out my SoCal Christmas.