2013 in one post…

Sometimes you blink and a year goes by! I know I have had a serious lack of posts, but it’s not for a lack photos. With 2014 now upon me, I am refocusing my photography efforts. I now have a new price list and plan on reworking my website. As I started pulling photos for this blog, I realized, it’s been quite the year! No wonder I didn’t have time to post! Below are my 2013 highlights. Here’s to a fantastic 2013 and looking forward to an even brighter 2014!!

Early in 2013, I started working with an exciting organization, Nerd Nite LA. Nerd Nite LA hosts monthly lectures at Witzend in Venice. Lectures vary in the nerdy topics, discussing topics ranging from Google Glass to new innovations in cancer treatments. As one friend described it, “Nerd Nite is like Ted Talks with booze.” Yes, drinking and heckling the speaker are both encouraged.

Though many new things happened in 2013, some things stayed the same. I continued to shoot dodgeball for the World Dodgeball Society. Covering leagues from Long Beach to Melrose and even a tournament in San Francisco.

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And in venues that sometimes also include the Staples Center

There were also head-shots

And a family trip to Sedona, where I was able to take a breath and shoot scenery instead of people for a few days.

But since it was Spring-training that week we had to stop by for a game in Phoenix on the way home.
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In April, my Otis coworkers and I hosted the 2nd Annual Kite Festival. This year we more than doubled our event passing out 2000 kites and having close to 5000 people in attendance. Save the date for next year, we’re planning for it to be even bigger and better, Sunday, April 13th.

KTLA Coverage http://ktla.com/2013/04/14/otis-2nd-annual-kite-festival-sunday-in-santa-monica/#axzz2qWACzoDn

Later that month, I shot the wrap party for the Jeff Prost show. You might remember Jeff Prost as host of Survivor. Jeff and his crew were some of the nicest folks I’ve ever had the pleasure to shoot. It’s rare that you find a crew that cares so genuinely for each other, that even an outsider can feel the warmth.
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In the Summer, I returned to Palau with Otis College, which in a lot of ways was like coming home. (More blogs about Palau in past blogs)

One of the more special shoots I had this year was of this little fella’.
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He’s truly a miracle baby. His mother was on bed rest for months before he was born and he was still born months early. Every step of the way this little guy had to fight and has won. However, with a dad who is called “Super Dave,” he was born to be a warrior.

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I did my second shoot for AYSO and although it was a long day (thousands and thousands of photos), it was fun to be outside and in the middle of excited kids kicking a ball (that wasn’t going to errantly hit me in the head).

The Year ended for me with a trip to Paso Robles for no other reason then to enjoy and celebrate all the hard work of 2013.

Phew! Ok, so that’s why I was so tired.

Now it’s 2014 and I’m up and running. This year was off to an early start, beginning at sunrise on New Year’s day. If you know me, you know that I love my sleep; however, some things are worth waking up pre-dawn for, such as having the honor to shoot a very special wedding.

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They say what you do the first day of the year can set the tone for the rest of the year. If this is true, it’s going to be a year immersed in photography and surrounded by beauty and love.

Wishing everyone a fantastic 2014; stay tuned! – Allison

Otis Participates in National Coastal Cleanup Day 2011

For the second year in a row Otis College of Art and Design participated in National Coastal Cleanup day (year one blog here), hosting a two-day event of fun, education and activism. Friday night’s event at the Custom Hotel was bigger and better than last year. Not only did we screen an important environmental film, but the group FMLY also joined us, bringing with them the musical stylings of Jack Littman and Kynan (both very enjoyable) and their free-store a way of recycling and re-purposing clothing.

In addition, SurfRider (host of Saturday’s beach cleanup) had a goal to make this year’s beach cleanup a “zero waste” event, meaning, that in the efforts to cleanup the beach we would not add to the trash, people would bring their own gloves and bags. To help with the “zero waste” effort, SurfRider was on hand Friday night to make bags out of used t-shirts and tank tops.


Another highlight of Friday’s event was a visit from Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who delivered a speech before the movie that was both animated and engaging. Mr. Rosendahl talked about his early years in politics and taking his 29th year off to explore the world, encouraging listeners to also go out there and make a difference!

This year’s movie was the documentary Waste land. Produced by the same people who made the fiction film “City of God” (one of my personal all-time favorite foreign films), Wasteland illustrates the life of the “pickers,” workers in Brazil who make their living literally picking through mountains of trash in the “waste lands” / dumps in Brazil. It is a moving film, that depicts the life of people who want better for themselves and their children and the impact that waste and lack of recycling can have on a community. If you missed the movie night, you need to see this film (it’s netflixable!).

Saturday morning we again met at Daniel’s bike shop to bike to the Beach Cleanup, this year the at Venice Pier.

Preliminary reports state that (with 80% of the cleanup sites reporting):
“Statewide count stands at 62,963 volunteers.
Those volunteers picked up 523,201 pounds of trash
and an additional 68,543 pounds of recyclable materials,
for a total of 591,743 pounds.


Great job everyone!!

And of course, no Otis Beach-Cleanup would be complete without a tasty scoop of ice cream (included with rental from Daniel’s Bike shop)!

A special thanks to the DCA for contributing funds to make this event possible!!

Families Uniting Families Game Night 051911

One of my favorite parts of photography is that it allows me to give back to the community. And it is the off-season for dodgeball after all…

Thursday May 19, 2011 was “Family Game Night” hosted by the organization Families Uniting Families. “Families Uniting Families has been serving children in Los Angeles County and Orange County since 2004. They are known for providing excellent care and treatment to children who suffer from abuse and neglect. Families Uniting Families cultivates nurturing and knowledgeable families to protect and enhance the welfare and stability of vulnerable children and their families so that they are able to live productive and meaningful lives. For more information about Families Uniting Families, call (562) 437-4114, contact info@familiesunitingfamilies.org or visit http://www.familiesunitingfamilies.org.”

Family Game Night was one of the opportunities Families Uniting Families provides to strengthen the family connection. Too often we forget to take the time out of the day for fun; Family Game night was just that, fun! With a variety of different games from a balloon relay race, musical chairs with a twist, to dodgeball (haha ya, see how I still worked dodgeball in here), the night was filled with laugher and togetherness.

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Koreatown Dodgeball 040111

If you can’t play with ’em, shoot ’em? Yep, still sidelined with the injured hand, so instead of playing, I’m shooting; not an entirely terrible tradeoff.

Below are some pics from a recent Ktown dball tourney. Enjoy!!

I GOT A FEVER… and the only cure is MORE DODGEBALL….West LA Dodgeball

Yep more dodgeball pics! See what all the buzz is about www.dodgeball4ever.com

World Dodgeball Society at the Staples Center: Torrance VS Manhattan Beach

I’ve posted here before about the amazingness of adult dodgeball; however, sometimes you have to take things to the next level. So after the Los Angeles Clippers triumphed over the Denver Nuggets, scores of 20 and 30 somethings donned knee-high socks, sweat band, laced up their sneakers and a new rivalry was born: Torrance (Coalition of Under Achieving Nugget Throwers) vs Manhattan Beach (Ninja Please!) dodgeball! The dodgeball contest was arguably more exciting then the professional game previously played on the same court, with even fans getting involved and needing to be removed from the premises.

Every story needs a good ending; however, I think this game, well it ended. After 50 sweaty minutes of dodging and diving, the match ended in controversy; do I hear rematch??

Dodge This! … The Awesomeness that is Adult Dodgeball

Ever miss being a kid? I do. However, when I was a kid I couldn’t wait to be a “grownup.” I feel it’s one of life’s great ironies, that when you’re young you don’t have the perspective to appreciate how good you have it; no major life decisions to be made, no bills and your greatest responsibilities include math homework and taking out the trash. As a kid, your body is resilient, you quite literally can bounce, you shake off sprains and colds as quickly as they come. I’m far from “old”, yet things, well they hurt more. A week ago I jammed my pinky finger (on what else, a dodgeball) and the darn thing still aches. The arches of my feet cramp, my back creeks, everything pops, man getting old sucks. So it’s with the nostalgia of simpler times that I don funny outfits and throw rubber balls at people across a basketball court.

Dodgeball is fantastic!! It’s pairs the simplicity of being a kid (the ball hits you and you’re out), with a competitiveness that rivals any team sport. There are strategies for playing as a team, both in defense and offense; we work up a sweat playing dodgeball. I’m not generally a violent person, but what a release from your day’s stress it is to go out and throw balls at people!

For more information on local dodgeball leagues check out www.dodgeball4ever.com. There are both beginner leagues and advanced, but most importantly, for 50 minutes a week you can release your inner child and just have some good old fashioned fun!

Pumpkin Patches are Cool

Ahh Fall… or is it Summer or Winter?? I have not been able to keep up with the California weather lately. In the same week it was warm enough to enjoy floating in my apartment’s pool, I also got soaked by a careless driver, splashing through a puddle while I was standing at the crosswalk on a raining day. Nonetheless, regardless the season the weather thinks it is, pumpkins are here, signifying the beginnings of Fall and the holiday season.

To me, there is something magical about a pumpkin patch. Maybe it’s because pumpkins represent Halloween, or maybe it’s just because I enjoy pumpkin pie. Pumpkin patches also bring back memories of my childhood Halloweens; scouring the pumpkin patch to pick out the perfect pumpkin, the one with the most amount of character, then bringing it home, chopping it open and sticking my hand into its inward gooeyness (ewww). We always tried not to waste any of the seeds and the wonderful smell of pumpkin seeds roasting in the oven would start to tickle our noses about the same time that we were putting the finishing touches to our latest lopsided, jack-o-lantern masterpiece. Then there was the anticipation of sunset so you could grab your plastic pumpkin or pillowcase and hit the streets trick or treating… Ya pumpkin patches are cool :o)

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Otis Participates in National Beach Cleanup Day

Otis Instructors Lara Hoad and Todd Erlandson show off the trash they collected from the Ballona wetlands as Part of National Beach Cleanup Day.



What a long weekend! However, long days and nights always feel rewarding when you’re working for a cause bigger than yourself. Working at Otis College of Art and Design I often get to participate in some pretty great events. For the past two years the program I work for, the Integrated Learning Program, has helped put on the Movies that Matter series, where we show films of social and/or environmental importance. Past films have included “Soundtrack for a Revolution,” “The Cove” and “Fuel.” This past Friday, in honor of National Beach cleanup day Saturday, we screened the movie Tapped. “Tapped examines the role of the bottled water industry and its’ effects on our health, climate change, pollution, and our reliance on oil.” The screening was part of a local movement in conjunction with National Beach Clean Up Day.


At the Movies that Matter Screenings, we not only show films, but also invite relevant speakers to screening. Here Councilman Rosendahl explains to the crowd how he reduces his plastic use by bringing his own water bottles and reusable bags with him each day.


The Environmental Charter High School in Lawndale is an amazing school that focuses on a sustainability and trains their students to go out into the world and educate others. “The mission of Environmental Charter High School is to inspire students to discover their own sense of purpose, to equip all students with the knowledge and skills to graduate from college, and to empower them to become quality stewards of their community and world.” One of the presentations that the students do is a fashion show where all of the clothing is designed from recycled materials.

We also were visited by the guys from Making Moves. “Making Moves is an inspiring show about 3 very young entrepreneurs without loans or investors while helping others follow their dreams.” Making Moves is very IL (Integrated Learning) which promotes working together and we were lucky to have them speak at our event.

On Saturday, September 26th, a group of Otis Students met at Daniel’s Bike shop in Marina Del Rey, to do a group ride to the Ballona Wetlands and participate in National Beach Cleanup Day.

My fearless leaders mapping out our ride.

Team Otis


Approximately 250 people participated in the National Beach Clean up at the Ballona Wetlands location and close to 100 bags filled with styrofoam, candy wrappers and plastic bottles were removed.






After a morning’s hard work, nothing beats an ice cream cone! (Free with bike rental at Danie’s Bike shop. Does this guy know me or what!?)

Pala Indian Powwow: Wow

The beating of the drums pulses in your ears, while the mesmerizing din of the chanting echoes throughout the valley; it’s the kind of music that you can feel in your soul. Swirling about is the colorful regalia of each dancer, a rainbow of colors moving to the beats set out by the drums. Now add the delicious smells of Indian fry bread, mixing with kettle corn and you have the Pala Band Indian Powwow.

Friday, Audrey and I trekked out to the Pala Indian Band Powwow and all I can say is WOW, what an amazing experience! When you’re looking for something to photograph, you can’t go wrong with the beautiful colors of an Indian Powwow, but what was really special, were the people we met. One of my favorite characters was Gregory Red Oak. We ended up parking next to each other and as I repeatedly returned to the car to grab water or change lenses, Greg was slowly putting on his Regalia for the night’s affairs. Each time we returned to the car, Greg would tell us another story about himself or about life. The last story Greg told us was about a frog and he encouraged us to pass on:


One day a man happened upon a frog, well this was no ordinary frog; it was a talking frog! And when the man lifted up the frog to get a better look at it, the frog croaked, “I am a beautiful woman, kiss me and I will become my former self and I will do as you wish. I will cook and clean for you and be your wife.” The man thought about this for a second and put the frog in his pocket. The man walked around with the frog in his pocket for a time, all the while the frog continued to chatter, reminding him what an amazing woman it would become if he would only kiss her. Finally, the frog asked, “well are you going to kiss me already?” The man paused for a second and replied, “No, I think having a talking frog is way more interesting.”

Below are some of the photos from the day. To learn more about the Pala Indian Tribe visit: http://www.palatribe.com/

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Photography Tip of the Day
This past summer, I took a fantastic photography workshop with Nevada Weir. Our first assignment was to take photos from a low angle. Below is a great example of when taking photographs from a low angle can really make a photograph. The two photos were taken in the same location; the only difference was the angle I took the photo at. I’d say the second photo was well worth the dusty back I received from laying on the ground.