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).
2017 Special Olympics Southern California Summer Games Day Two June 11, 2017 Swimming
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.
Special Olympic Southern California 2017 San Diego County Spring Region Carlsbad High School May 27, 2107 bocce celebration
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.
Culver City High School Swimming vs. Torrance North The Plunge Mar. 8, 2017
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.
Brandon Brown 2017 WCC Championships Quarterfinal LMU vs. BYU Las Vegas, NV Orleans Arena Mar. 4, 2017
Kiana Etrata in the morning fog LMU women’s water polo vs. Michigan LMU Invitational Mar. 17, 2027
Cory Abbott embraces his catcher Copper Uhl after perfect game LMU baseball vs. BYU Mar. 25, 2017
Senior Jessica Perez of LMU women’s tennis vs. Yale on Mar. 15, 2017 at the LMU Tennis Center
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.