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.

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.

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’.
ben ben parts
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

Family Trip to Death Valley

Yosemite is sold out, so let’s go to Death Valley…
What’s in Death Valley?
I dunno, pretty rocks?
That’s cool, I’m into pretty rocks.

Ok, so I’m taking liberties with our conversation, but that’s kind of how I remember it going when we decided to schedule our family trip to Death Valley. The story goes that Death Valley received its name from a “family” trip gone bad. Actually it was a group of pioneers in the ‘49er era that were traveling through the Valley to the gold mines, when they got lost in the Valley and found themselves with out food or water trying to sustain themselves against the inhospitable climate. Not all the travelers made it out the Valley alive and it is rumored as the Valley became small behind them, one of the men whispered “goodbye death valley” and the name stuck.

Death Valley is still hot and the food is still quite lacking (don’t get me started….), in July of 1913, the temperature tipped the charts at a cool 134 degrees Fahrenheit. So when I told people I was going to Death Valley, I got a very confused “WHY?” However, despite the heat and the food, Death Valley really is quite a beautiful place; the topography is not only gorgeous, but also very interesting. Each morning, we were up before the sun and were able to see much of the Valley before the masses littered the landscape and our pictures. The first morning, we started out with a sunrise view of Zabriskie Point. So if you are a history buff (if not just skim through the pretty pictures, it’s kewl, I do it too), other than its heat and natural beauty, Death Valley’s other claim to fame is its Borax mines. Borax is a naturally occurring element that is used in laundry detergents, production of fiberglass and borosilicate glass. The element Boron also has “powerful abilities to stengthen, toughen and make fire-resistant glasses, metals, wood, and fibers It is used in appoximately three hundred high-tech products.” In the early 1900’s Christian B. Zabriskie was an instrumental figure in the mining and distribution of Borax. Zabriskie’s Point honors the man who dedicated much of his life to Death Vally. I’m not exactly a morning person and my pre-dawn coffee hadn’t quite started to kick in as the sun began to kiss the mountains at Zabriskie’s when all questions of why people visit Death Valley were erased.

From Zabriskie’s we took the short drive to Dante’s View (many of the sites in Death Valley have some sort of death or devil connection, it’s a bit ominous, but not really). At Dante’s View a short hike to the farther peak gives you a fantastic view of the Badwater Salt Flats. Yep, that’s salt down there, not snow or water, but more on that in a minute…

After feeling returned to our fingers from being outside at Dante’s view (and they said Death Valley was supposed to be hot!) we headed down the road to get an up close view of the Badwater Basin . Badwater really is an incredible site to see. The snow-like salt flats stretch to the horizon and at -282 feet below sea level, Badwater hosts the lowest elevation in North America.

Golden Canyon was next. Pulling to the side of the road you see blood red peaks, against the crests of “golden mountains.” I had never done a canyon hike before and I have to say it was quite enjoyable. Being sandwiched between two great walls of rocks made me feel so small. Plus you couldn’t see what was beyond each turn, so it was kind of like opening a little present for your eyes each time you rounded the corner. Golden Canyon is an easy hike of less than 3 miles round trip. At the end of the Golden Canyon trail you find the Red Cathedral, more strikingly red rocks set against a gorgeous blue sky… Ya the photographer in me was totally geeking out at this point…

Mom trekking through the canyon

One of the things that impressed me about Death Valley was its accessibility. I have a number of friends where accessibility is an issue; however, with clean bathrooms, parking lots near many of the key sites and wheelchair accessible paths, the park services have made it possible for most anyone to view the sites. “Artist’s Drive” is a particular example of something you are able to see without expending too much energy (which is particularly nice after waking up at say 4am and hiking around for half a day). The 9-mile loop of Artist’s Drive is a nicely paved road that takes you through a series of mountains that literally look painted. The pinnacle of Artist’s Drive opens up to a rest stop and view of “Artist’s Palette.” We were oohing and ahhing the whole drive, but when our eyes rested on Artist’s Palette all three of us fell quite. Artist’s Palette is simply beautiful. “On the face of the Black Mountains, Artist’s Palette is noted for having various colors of rock. These colors are caused by the oxidation of different metals (red, pink and yellow is from iron salts, green is from decomposing tuff-derived mica, and manganese produces the purple).”

brother titled this one a bunch of old crows.... they were really sweet ladies, but I love the title!

Our last site of the day took us to Harmony Borax Works. A hub of the Borax processing industries from way back in the 1800’s.

Day 2 started with a hike along the Death Valley Sand Dunes… ‘Cause there’s nothing more that I love, than exercise at 6 something in the morning (please note the hint of sarcasm)… I admit, few things will get me up pre-dawn, but this was pretty cool. You kind of had the feel of trekking through the Sahara’s, without the expensive plane ticket. For more information on how the sand dunes were formed click here

Just one more peak mom would say… just one more peak… Brother would say… “Mom you realize the further out we go out, the further it is to get back?” At one point daughter (that’s me) was ready to take a breather and make sand angeles… Sand Angeles in Death Valley, darn it, next time!!

Most of the rest of the day was spent at Scotty’s Castle. Built in the same era as Hurst’s Castle, unlike Hurst’s Castle, Scotty’s castle was not built for show. Actually there are a lot of fun stories around Scotty’s Castle and you should really read about some of them here. But the cliff notes version is that Scotty’s Castle was really the Death Valley Ranch, built by Albert and Bessy Johnson to be their private “getaway.” Well somehow word got out that there was a castle being built in the middle of the dessert and all of a sudden hundreds of people started showing up at their door! Being the kind soles that they were, rather than turn the hordes of excited visitors away, the Johnsons decided to allow their friend Walter “Scotty” Scott play host and give the people the entertainment that they were craving. Hailing from the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, Scotty was not only a conman, but also an entertainer at heart. The story of the construction of the “castle,” was that it was funded and built atop Scotty’s gold mine. To complete the experience of the story, the workers in the basement of the ranch would make noises to make visitors feel like they were indeed sitting atop a working gold mine.

All in all, I have to say Death Valley was a great destination for the adventurous family trip. Three nights (or 3 Knights haha, mom’s pun of our last names and I love it) was the perfect amount of time in Death Valley. Just long enough to see many of the key sites, but not so long that you run the chance of starving. So, if you decide to make the trip out to Death Valley, pack lots of film (ya I know who uses film any more) and lots of snacks… or prepare to live on trail mix!

Torrance Dodgeball Championships

BOOZEHOUNDS PLACE 2nd in Torrance’s 2nd season of WDS dodgeball, not bad for a team whose dodgeball debut in Manhattan went winless their whole first season.

I am so proud of my team!! For many of them, their first season of dodgeball was only last season and I have seen them develop into true dodgeballers and even my vets have adapted new skills and moves. A gal couldn’t ask for a better group to goof around with; whether it be making orange slice smile faces or our endless email chains. I am truly sad to see Torrance dodgeball be replaced with another gym… Torrance WDS, like so many greats, you were yet a flash in the pan and will not be soon forgotten.

In Other, yet related news… I’M BACK 10 somewhat functioning digits!! Yep got the splint off my finger today, so instead of shooting dodgeball this weekend, this gal is gonna be playin!!

Little League in San Fran: Nate’s first ball game

Something about the smell of leather mixed with grass reminds me of childhood, a simpler time, just hanging at the ball field. Now is the time of year when days begin to stretch longer, the nights begin to warm. Night games were my favorite; perhaps it was because I got to stay out past my bedtime (I had a really early bedtime), but probably more so it was because there seemed to be some sort of extra magic in a little league field at night.  As a child, you read about heroes, people much older than yourself who make a difference, rescuing strangers from burning buildings, spurring on political movements, performing lifesaving surgeries.  As a child, the ball field is the place where you too can be a hero.  With one swing of your bat, you can hit that game-winning run, or make that diving catch that holds the go ahead run on base.  I loved the feel of my cleats gripping the earth as I rounded the bases, a well executed slide into home, hitting the “sweet” spot of my bat… a catch where you go into an all out sprint and by some miracle you make it to the ball in time, and you know you did by the thwacking sound the ball makes when it hits the pocket of your glove.

I rarely will I sit through an entire baseball game on television, but there is something that draws me to live baseball.  One of the best things about the location of my office is that my window overlooks a baseball field; spring afternoons are greeted with the ping of the metal bat and other faint echoes of baseball.  If I go for a run in a park where there is a little league game, it never fails; I end up at the field, as if pulled in by some magnetic force.

Across the nation, gloves are being oiled, fields neatly trimmed and hotdogs are boiling.  Major League baseball’s opening day might not be till March 31st, but just like the flowers and trees, little leagues are in full bloom.  The sweet smell of fresh cut grass, the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowed: ahh baseball. It doesn’t matter if it’s the big leagues, minor leagues or little league, just “take me out to the ball game!”  … oh and buy me some cracker jacks too!!

Below are some photos of my friend Sarah’s son, Nate and his first ever baseball game.  It was kind of special for me to be there for Nate’s first ball game.  I have known his mom since we were not much older than he is now… wow and now I feel old, haha.

New Men’s Sample Photos and Business Cards

It’s Friday, which of course is exciting within itself. However, today’s blog has bonus excitement, it’s a two-for, displaying both new photos and my new card! Below is a sampling of some of the new Men’s photos (more can be seen on my website) as well as the long awaited new business card!!

It’s true what they say, it’s the little things in life and I am thrilled with how my card came together. I know I’m a bit late for a Thanksgiving post… but it’s never the wrong time of year to express your gratitude for the opportunities in your life and the people that make them all worthwhile! So thank you everyone for your support and encouragement, this is only just the beginning!!

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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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Introducing My New Logo

I am super excited about my new website and my new logo! If a picture is worth a 1000 words, how many words is a logo worth? At first glance it is easy to see what my logo represents, an A and K, well that’s simple, it’s Allison Knight Images and that IS what the letters represent. However, like most things in life, there is more than one layer to the story and I thought it would be fun to share some of the history and reasons behind the logo. So here it is, the unwrapping of my logo:

To explain my logo, I need to start with my history in photography. My first studio was a partnership, called Cherished Memories Photography. Having both suffered great losses at a young age, we both had a special connection to our favorite memories, many of which were represented in photographs. My father passed away when I was 17 and in his things was a single roll of undeveloped film. I had forgotten that before he was hospitalized we had done a mini photo shoot together; I held that roll in my hands as if it were gold. I was actually a bit afraid to take the film to the local lab in case there was a problem in developing it and I would loose all the photos. The roll contained 24 images, almost all of them were of my dad smiling back at me; two-dozen very cherished memories. The name Cherished Memories was born from the desire to also help others “capture and preserve their cherished memories.” We filed our business license on September 10th , 2001, but it was not stamped until September 11th, the same day the nation collectively took a pause. Not only were we faced with the tragedy that was unfolding in front of our eyes, but as the phone lines erupted with people contacting their loved ones, together we reflected on how important the people in our lives were to us, and how lucky we were to still be able to make new memories with them. The significance of the correlated timing was not lost on me and only further cemented my belief and desire to create work that would be significant to families for generations to come.

Back to present day. In 2007, I left Cherished Memories the company, but kept with me the passion for photography and creating memories. This time around, I draw not only from the foundations of my past, but also my self-evolution. This time around, instead of a partnership, I am on my own and thus, instead of establishing my studio name as an alias, I very purposely chose to use my own name. I worked with a good friend and graphic designer to design my original logo, all I knew is I wanted the letter C and the letter M coming together into a heart and was amazed to see her put to paper what I had in my head. This time, I am doing it all on my own, the photography, the website and the logo. For weeks I let the ideas of the letters A and K percolate in my head. This time instead of coming together into a heart I wanted them to form a lotus blossom. The lotus blossom has multiple significances for me. The lotus blossom appears a lot in the Korean culture. When I was in Korea I asked what the significance of the flower was and was told that “the lotus blossom grows from the muck, from where there is nothing, from where there has been destruction, grows a thing of beauty.” That stuck with me and when sitting with my last host family on my final night in Korea, my Korean host sister gave me a Korean name Hwa Young which loosely translated is Beautiful Blossom. So in fact, the lotus blossom is also part of my name. Ok, so back to the logo. I wanted the A and the K to come together with the form of the lotus blossom. But using the standard icon of the lotus blossom was just too many lines so I went to a looser version that also looks like two hearts coming together, which I thought was also nice homage to my past. After the critique and guidance of a number of people (man it is great to have creative friends and colleagues) I ended up with the logo you see before you. Much like how New York is rebuilding from the ground up, so am I and from it will come a thing of beauty.

Photography 2.0

Photography has been part of me since birth; something that I inherited along with my genes for curly hair, hazel-brown eyes and allergies for cats.  From the time I was an infant, my mom would lug around her manual SLR and lenses, my dad toting his video camera, cracking bad jokes to make us smile.  Every important moment of my life has been documented and catalogued; there are volumes of red photo albums recounting my life from birth through the most recent holiday or birthday.  For my fifth birthday I received my very own blue playschool camera.  A point-and-shoot film camera that had to be wound before each shot and that also came with a disposable flash tube.   I remember holding that first camera with excitement, knowing that I could now tell my own story with it. I could capture the moments and people that were important to me.

A lot has changed and then again not much at all has changed since I held that first camera in my hands.  I still love recording memories and people; but I think time has given me an even greater appreciation for the necessity to do so.   I receive no greater joy than walking into someone’s home and seeing one of my photographs in it.  Knowing that I have captured something meaningful to someone else and that I have added to a family’s history is incredibly special to me.  The technology has changed, no longer do we need to wait a week to see the images we take.  My goodness, I remember the eager anticipation I would have, waiting the week’s processing time to view my photographs.  Digital photography is fantastic, of course I miss the smell of the darkroom chemicals and the magic of watching an image appear through murky waters, tinted red by darkroom safe light.  But the immediacy of digital photography and the ability to enhance / retouch images on the computer is amazing!  And as one would hope, my skills have improved.  I have a high standard for photographic quality and I continue to learn and work to achieve beautiful imagery.

So here I begin again… I am excited and nervous: stay tuned!!