Monument Valley

The boy and I braved camping in Monument Valley during Memorial Day weekend. Well, it was only one night. One desperately long and dark night where the winds of hell whipped and howled in a relentless pursuit of misery and failed s’mores.

That is a touch dramatic. It was windy. Very windy. But Monument Valley at sunrise and sunset is pretty cool to see – and somehow despite the hordes of tourists, it is easy to take a photo as if you’re the only person on earth.

Also, did I mention Zeffler Photo is back? You can see the return of the photo bidness here on the blog or on Facebook and Instagram.

Stuff Zeffler Photo taught me

3045266650_9740955331_oYou would think in seven years of photography work I would have learned much about lighting, composition, the mechanics of fancy gear or whatever.

Sure, I learned some of that. But that stuff doesn’t really matter. The only people who care if you’re technically proficient are other photographers.

With the end of Zeffler Photo this month, this feels like a good time to share some things I’ve learned as a photographer.

  • It’s important to do stuff where you have no idea what you are doing. You’ll get better. You’ll understand yourself better. You might even have fun.
  • Photography is an incredible tool for connecting with people. I was painfully awkward, shy and uncomfortable with strangers when I started Zeffler Photo seven years ago. Now I’m merely awkward.
  • As a parent, sometimes you need to let control go and let the kids lead the way. It might not lead to the picture perfect destination you want, but I promise it will be more fun getting there, your kids will surprise you and it will be real.
  • Great shoes make people more confident.

Photography really didn’t teach me anything. The people I photographed taught me all this and much more.

The people I’ve photographed have taught me kindness, enthusiasm, patience, how to open up and how to be present.

I am a much different person now than I was seven years ago. A patient, loving wife and terrific kids will do that to a guy. Zeffler Photo and the people I’ve worked with helped too.

As the sun sets on Zeffler Photo, I must say thank you for your time, support and unrelenting kindness. It’s had an impact on me I fail to explain in full.

I’m still figuring out what the next adventure will be.

Adios. For now.

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Family photos in downtown Phoenix

Most often I connect with people through word of mouth, so it was unique to receive an inquiry from a family who was looking for photos in a specific location, saw my work and decided to give me a call.

Downtown Phoenix is one of my favorite places to shoot. There are colors.

And this family wanted colors.

These spots for great street art seem to be shrinking as development cuts down the funky buildings and raises up generic apartment complexes. Alas, I’ll continue to seek out the colors.

Family photos at the Mesa Arts Center

One of the best aspects of doing this Zeffler Photo thing for seven years was being able to see kids grow year after year – that’s why I started photographing my own kids.

This family has come back the last four years with this sweet little boy who’s a fun kind of crazy.

#TBT from the Zeffler Photo archive: October 2010

Zeffler Photo Ballet
This photo came from a larger family photo session. The lovebirds had a chance for some photos together and the touch of ballet made it that much sweeter. I always look back at older photos and cringe at some of my editing choices and tendency to push it. But it felt right at the time.

A violinist and a ballerina

After a long weekend cooped up in the house, I felt like a drive to hunt some potential photo shoot locations.

I admit to being less than inspired by brown and light tan houses and municipal parks.

We didn’t have much luck uncovering a magic new location, but we had some fun, burned some gas and learned when my daughter is hungry nothing annoys her more than classic rock radio.

“My tummy is sad,” she said. That’s the cue to head home.