The Blog

Meet the Hoban's

Had the pleasure of doing a photo shoot with the Hoban family.  As it's plain to see, these gorgeous children (and parents) were quite photogenic.  They also ooze personality which I hope I represented in the images.  It's fun to play around with the kids as well to get them excited about taking photos (when they may otherwise not be).  I brought them over and told them to stand behind their parents all nice and sweet, and when I said "GO", to dogpile  on them.  They did an amazing job and we all had so much fun.  Here are a few from the day.  Thanks Hoban family for such a fun afternoon. . .

All in the details. . .

There was a local (small) car show the other weekend in the town I live in.  I have to say, I don't know much (ok, anything) about cars, but I thought it could lend itself to some interesting photographs.  I have to say, the attention to detail in these old cars was much greater than it is today.   I even let my daughter take one (she said she wanted to take a "cool shot like daddy")

Lovin' the Lovins

Got to see some good friends that we haven't seen in a while this weekend.  It's incredible to see their pair of twins after a year.  That time between 3 and 4 years old shows such a monumental leap from baby to kid.  All the personality and vocabulary and just overall confidence shows through. . . well, you be the judge . . . 

time. . . .

Time is at once the most valuable and the most perishable of all our possessions. 

-John Randolph

As I looked through the viewfinder of my camera at my girls this morning, I had this wave come over me about how hard it is to fathom how much has happened our lives.  Another last day of school, another year gone, another last picture.  There are so many quotes about time, but this one spoke so much to me.  This is the exact age I lost my dad (I was 9 and he was 42 . . ok, I'm 43 now).  Time is constantly the most incredible concept for me, and to this day, I wish I had and endless supply.

Welcome Darcy J.

Here are a few shots from a photo session I just did of the 1 day old Supermodel Darcy J.   It's been a while since I've had babies this little and you forget just how small and fragile and dependent on you they are. 

C o n g r a t u l a t i o n s   L e s l i e   a n d   T o b i n   !

eyes of blue . . .

Another quick portrait shoot of a future star . . Maggie.  With these gorgeous eyes, I'm not sure if the blue polka dots brought out her eyes, or her eyes brought out the polka dots ! 

the extra effort . .

I had the pleasure of shooting a wedding last weekend up in Vacaville, CA.  A wonderful couple, a beautiful venue, and incredible weather.  As much as I love shooting, at the end of an 8 hour wedding, I'm pretty exhausted.  I haven't sat down all day. . . climbing, squatting, crouching, laying down. . you name it.  Anything to get that photograph.  Well, it was 9pm, I had carefully loaded all my gear into my trunk, and sat down in the driver's seat ready for my hour plus drive back home.  I pulled out of the venue, still a tiny bit of light left in the sky (only visible by a slightly long exposure) only to see, in my opinion, something that would make a great photograph.  But I JUST put all my gear neatly away in the trunk.  But I JUST sat down for the first time in 8 hours!  But I have over an hour drive ahead of me.  I haven't eaten since breakfast and I'm starving!  But as tired, sore, hungry and exhaused, I thought about how much worse I'd feel tomorrow if I didn't get the shot.  You tell me if it was the right decision . . .

Matthew the "Great"

I had the pleasure of shooting Senior Portraits for Matthew Magnus (Magnus in Latin means "Great").  Well, "great" is certainly fitting for this young man.  Beyond the knowing smile and cavernous dimples, Matthew is a polite, considerate, and motivated kid ready to take on the world.  Here are some of the images from our shoot this past weekend. . .

headshots with Paolo


I got the chance to photograph Paolo, a kindergartener who is as poised as he is handsome.  It was a last minute shoot that he and his parents needed for a shot at a major catalog.  Look out for this kid. . . he's going to be something!

the home of the brave . . .

Today's the day.  It's been looming on my calendar for over a week now.  I'm scared beyond belief, but not for me. . for my little girl.

Today was the day I was going to have to take her to the Oral Surgeon to have TWO teeth extracted.   She didn't know.  My wife thought it was best we didn't stress her out the entire week like we were, and then , on the morning, let her know we were going there instead of school.  I thought this felt like I was blindsiding her, but if she felt half the anxiety we were feeling by knowing, then I think my wife made the right choice.

So as I was saying, today was the day.  She woke up her happy little self, and then my wife had to lay the news on her that we had to go to the dentist.  She cried and was visibly scared.  I think it's just instinctive that kids (and adults) are scared of the dentist.  

Well, I took her to the first appointment , to her dentist who she knows, for an examination to assess the problem.  Her teeth, for whatever reason (genetics, asthma medicine, candy) are in pretty bad shape.  On the other hand, my other daughter, who lives identically to the way her sister does (with the exception of the asthma medicine), has ZERO cavities.

Well, the exam went as expected. . . X-rays, and a quick look in her mouth by the Dr.   The dentist took off the little apron and told her that it was over.  WHEW. . nothing hurt, nothing was invasive.  

We walked out of the dentists office, a relieved and renewed daughter bouncing along next to me.  She thought that was it, it was easy.

Here comes the worst part.  We had another appointment at the Oral Surgeon in 30 minutes from now to have two horribly decayed teeth extracted from her head, and I was the one that got to lower the boom.

I tried my hardest to be positive and assure her that everything was going to be ok, but to be honest, I had no idea how this works.  I'm not quite sure if I was trying to convince her or myself more.

She was DEVASTATED even more than when she first heard the news earlier in the morning.  

Through her crying and nervousness, she powered through.  We made it there and she walked up the stairs and into the office where all she saw was a bunch of adults waiting to be worked on.  I assured her that kids go here and that's why we were here.  Meanwhile, I'm starting to look at my watch to see if my wife will be here soon so we can take turns "faking" it in front of our daughter.

My wife , who was dropping off our other daughter at school, and NOT a fan of practice of dentistry, arrived:


tor·ture  /ˈtôrCHər/   (aka dentistry)


The action or practice of inflicting severe pain on someone as a punishment or in order to force them to do or say something.


Inflict severe pain on.


Well, it was our turn.  The three of us went back to the first consultation room where we met the surgeon.  He couldn't have been nicer or more calm. . perfect for us (all of us).

He explained what he was going to do and we moved on to the next room.  Here , my daughter's vitals were taken, relaxing her, and getting ready to go in.

Once in the chair, we then had to leave and wait in the waiting room.  They said from start to finish it would probably be about 30 minutes.  My wife would be a good nba ref because she was calling out minutes every 5-6 of them.  After about 30 min, the assistant came out to tell us how proud we should be of our daughter who did fantastic.  

We brought her home to some smoothie and soup and a nap.

She's still sleeping in the other room right now while I write this.  My little girl continually amazes me in what she is able to push herself to do.  Her own motto is "never give up".  She continually pushes herself to do things when she otherwise can't.  From the littlest thing , all the way to teeth extraction.    I know there are children and adults that have MUCH more difficult and challenging things facing them, and I feel so lucky that MY ridiculous fears are just that. . . ridiculous.

I'm always inspired to see my brave one when I come home each night. . .

home of the brave

700 miles of silence

For anyone that's read my blog or who knows me, it's obvious that my kids are everything to me.  So much so, that my wife and I rarely get time for ourselves.  I think since the first of my two daughters were born 7 1/2 years ago, I think we've both spent a night away from home ONCE for a wedding that we attended.  Sometimes I've had to travel for business with a night or two away, my wife even less.  Well, my wife made plans for a night in a hotel she's been eyeing in Santa Barbara (my old college stopping grounds).  Thanks to Grandpa and Aunt, the girls would be well taken care of and we could enjoy some "silence".  Leaving at noon on Saturday, and back in the car at 2pm on Sunday, didn't give us a lot of time, but the total round trip of 700 miles was certainly the most peaceful car ride we've had in some time.  Lots of uninterrupted conversation.  We got to enjoy a nice hotel, walk down to the beach, have a nice dinner, catch a movie (and not the Alvin and the Chimpmunks variety), and my wife even got a massage in the morning. . . wow.  A little time on Sunday to walk around State Street and then back home to bathe the kids and get ready for school/work the next day.  I am so grateful to my wife for being so incredibly dedicated to our children, but I think having some time for her (and us) makes doing all she does a little more do-able.  Thanks Amy for a nice day.

by Michael Clemens

just breathe . . .

My youngest has had asthma for years now. It's such a horrible thing to watch when she has a bout with it. It's also something that's so hard to control. You have to stay ahead of it. Well, with winter, comes cold, and with that comes more likeliness of symptoms. We've had our share of emergency room visits via ambulance (not sure how I wasn't medicated to get through that!). Well, after Christmas, and all the excitement, she started having trouble. Then it starts. . . breathing treatments every 4 hours. You have to check her blood oxygenation level to make sure she's getting enough air. She's amazing. We will wake her up at 3am or 4am, (my wife way more than my hibernating body) and she pops out of bed with a smile on her face, stumbles out to the living room, lays on the couch, puts the mask on, and sleeps for 20 minutes while the nebulizer helps open up her lungs. I don't know how she (or my wife) do it.   After the treatmen, she'll be woken up again, back to her room, climb the ladder back to her bed, smiles, kisses, and then back to sleep.  I'll try and stay up for a 2am treatment, because once I'm asleep, it's nearly impossible to wake me up. Well, her numbers are good today, and she seems not to be struggling (we have a number scale for her to gauge how she feels, and she's giving me the thumbs up as well). I'm not always a big believer in things I can't see, but I'll knock on wood or pray to whomever if it will help keep her breathing free and easy.


by Michael Clemens

location location location . . .

We are lucky to have a nice house with a large front yard.  The "negative" about it is that we are in a prominent location in our neighborhood , so there are expectations for the holiday decorations from the  "un-appointed neighborhood judging committee".  My wife is the true spirit of Christmas in our family, and she puts her sweat and muscle into it,  braving the freezing cold, to decorate our big tree in the front of our house.  She kept wanting my help, but I would reach for the camera instead because there were just so many photographs to get.   Needless today, without her , our tree would be quite bare, and we would be the outcasts of the region.

the new 'hockey' player . . .

[one_fifth] This was no ordinary tooth loss, it's an Elsie-Jane tooth loss. That means that it didn't just fall out. It has been 'h a n g i n g' by a thread for such a long time now. So in a typical Elsie-Jane fashion, she wouldn't let it beat her. Tonight, she pulled and winced and pulled and twisted. . she was not giving up. Finally, she comes out from the other room with a huge (very different) smile from ear to ear. She did it! (either that, or a small alleyway brawl took place based on the blood). Once again, I'm so proud of her for setting a goal , no matter how big or small, and not stopping until she achieves it. 


by Michael Clemens

one of my favorites. . .


So this is a shot of my oldest a few years ago at Christmas time. It's one of my favorites.  We decorate our tree out front with lights and giant silver balls. (we've now added giant lit up stars as well).

But her look of wonder was so precious, I couldn't help but grab my camera and take a few shots.  Once she saw me shooting her, she got a bit shy and left the area.  

It's those fleeting moments that are so important.  Now, as she runs out the front door, she may take a glance at the lit up tree, but now it's just "the lit up tree".  The older I get, the more I tend to focus on how fast life moves.

My 'little one' (13 months younger) still has a little of the wide-eyed-ness going for her, but she's forced a bit, being so close in age to her 'big' sister, to grow up faster than normal.  We haven't gotten all the lights up yet (with only 12 days left until Christmas), but hopefully I'll be able to get some shots that also become a favorite.





by Michael Clemens