Gavin + Liam [Pacific Park Santa Monica Pier Birthday Party]



This is my fourth consecutive year photographing the birthday of G & L -- where does the time go?!   I'm always flattered to be asked back every year to document this event.  And more importantly, I think the two guys still enjoy having me around.  I was greeted with a big welcoming hug at this year's celebration, and I wasn't even dressed up as their favorite superhero or video game character.  G & L have grown completely comfortable with the camera, and I think me being a dad now affords me with refreshed way of seeing as well.

G & L's parents never disappoint in their party planning.  This year, they reserved a cabana at Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier.  Cake + high speed rides + best friends & family = how can you go wrong? The theme for 2012 was Skylanders Spyro's Adventure.  I'm sure someday I'll know exactly what that is.  And though no costumed characters were hired or harmed for this celebration, we did cross paths with Inky, the park's official mascot.  Purple calamari.  Eat your heart out, Disneyland!

The pier is a great place for a photo session.  Plus, I love the overdose of color.  Check out the blue wall.  And with all of its alluring distractions and energy, there's plenty of opportunity to capture everyone in the candid moment.  Post-session, I hung out on the pier for a bit and photographed a few slices of the nightlife.


Gavin + Liam [Cerritos Heritage Park Birthday]



The event that was almost not to be. At least for me.

Gavin & Liam's birthday fell on Labor Day weekend, and when the inquiry came in, the calendar was already brimming with other obligations and another shoot. I immediately started putting out feelers to other photographers, but was really bummed at having to decline a celebration I've shot two years in a row. The party is always festive, full of kids willing to embrace the camera, and the family consistently delivers an admirable level of creativity in these events. Most importantly, I really wanted to see the visual continuity we've established live on. And so, after juggling the schedule, I was able to attend. Yahoo!

Gavin & Liam have always been agreeable to having a photographer present, but this year I noticed a marked change. There was less of me chasing them, and more of them chasing me. A trust had been established, a trust that's earned only with time, and with it, the most authentic of photographic moments. Broader smiles. Generous laughs. Unguarded emotions.

A private nook at Cerritos Heritage Park played host for 2011's birthday. Gone was the Kung Fu Panda and Thomas The Train from years past. Pirate Jack Sparrow and Angry Birds were this year's superstars. Definitely a wining combo, and the theme was a hit!

Thanks again to Gavin & Liam and family. As always, a treat!