The importance of a print

A picture of my Grandpa and Grandma

I have been meaning to write this blog post for quite some time. Yet, for what ever reason, I just never got around to it…. Maybe it was because I needed a bit of distance from the subject. Maybe I was too busy or just said that to myself as an excuse for laziness. Whatever the reason, now is actually the appropriate time for this post. You see, one year ago today, I was in a condo in Beaver Creek Colorado, getting ready for a big wedding to shoot that day. Courtney was prepping Avi, talking to her about the babysitter who was on her way, and I was drinking a cup of coffee thinking how I should be getting in the shower. Looked at my phone and saw a missed call and a message from my Mom. On the voicemail, there was a crack in her voice. It was the sort of message where you knew that when you called back it wasn’t going to be good: your Grandpa died today. I kept my cool. Stayed calm. Made sure my Mom was okay. Asked about Grandma. My mom apologized for calling saying that she should have known that I was going to be off to shoot a wedding, but I assured her that I would have wanted to know right away. I thanked her for calling and letting me know. I told her I loved her. Hung up, teared up, and hugged my daughter. I cried in the shower, but then got dressed and went to work. That is how my grandpa would have wanted it anyways.

grandparents and avi

It was strange to be invited into people’s lives on one of their happiest days while inside you are grieving. A hand shake here, a congratulations there, and click click while you hide behind the camera. Honestly, it was an amazing wedding. One of our best of the year. I was grateful not to be shooting in LA though. Being in the mountains seemed appropriate. In between the chaos of the day and the festivities of the night, I took a few moments here and there to look out onto the view of the Rockies and to wish my Grandpa well. The client never knew. Early the next morning before Courtney and Avi woke up, I walked in the crisp air, down to the river, and waited for the sun to rise. My grandpa loved to fish. I sat there looking at the small pools in the river wondering which one he would choose to drop his fishing line into? Then I took a few pictures.

Eagle River, Colorado at sunrise

Ever-since my grandparents moved from California to Oregon, I hadn’t seen them very much. In the twenty years since they had moved out of Los Angeles, I had been up Oregon four or five times. It is so easy for life to get in the way: girlfriend, city life, college, marriage, work, child. I took for granted the fact at 36 years of age, I still had all four of my grandparents. Most people I know are usually lucky to have one or two grandparents when they are in their mid twenties while I still had all of mine into my mid thirties. They were always there. All my life I had known they were a phone call away or less than a day’s drive. I was lucky. As I write this, I realize that I should have been more grateful.

My Grandpa's hands

However, the point of these thoughts is to put perspective on the power of having photos of your family. My daughter will not remember ever meeting my Grandpa, but she has a picture with him. In a sense, she’ll never be able to say she met him as she is too young to remember such things. But as she grows into an adult, she’ll be able to know him through the photographs that I had taken on my last few trips to Oregon. She’ll be able to understand that he was a hard working man, an avid trap shooter, and competitive when it came to fishing. She’ll learn that he was stern, and not with out faults. But, she’ll learn that he was loyal to family a was a loving man despite his hard shell. Hopefully I learned a thing or two from him that made me a better person, and I hope that will make me a better father to her. She’ll learn all of then while being able to see him in a photograph. Photographs that Courtney and I took.


Being a photographer has its challenges and being a wedding photographer means having to sacrifice the weekends when many of our family and friends get together. Courtney and I have missed out on many fun times over these past five years. We missed out on out daughter’s first birthday because we had booked a wedding before she was born thinking she wouldn’t actually be two weeks late. We’ve missed out on family reunions, barbecues with friends, birthday parties on the beach, and weddings of people who are close to out hearts. All of that being said though, we are grateful to live such a life. We are able to spend more time with out daughter than most of our friends are able to spend with their own children. We are grateful that we can be somewhat spontaneous through out the week. We are also grateful when a client chooses us to document an important time in their lives and tells us how much they love their photos. But, we are humbled when we learn that a client’s grandpa had passed and that one image that we captured between him and the groom meant so much to them. We are grateful that we were there, that the light looked nice, and that the warm embrace between loved ones happened in front of our lens. We are grateful to be photographers.

Avi in puddles

A month after my grandpa passed, we headed up to Oregon to his memorial. A chance to say goodbye amongst family and friends. I told a story about how I used to love riding in his old Dodge truck on out way to our family fishing trip. The windows would be rolled down in the summer heat. I would stare off into landscape of the high desert along Route 395. I shook hands with friends of his whom I hadn’t met before. Saw family whom I hadn’t seen in years. There were tears, but there were smiles too. When we got back to my grandma’s house that afternoon, Courtney and I let Avi run around and splash in some puddles. It had rained a bit earlier. The air was fresh. I was happy to be with my family. As we walked between old trucks and trees, I took a few pictures.

My Grandpa.

A Family Breakfast

There is nothing better then to have a family tradition, so when Wakako and Frido contacted me to shoot there favorite tuesday morning family breakfast of home made crepes I was so happy. They have been our great friends since 2007 which makes this even better to photograph, as we have watched their family grow and expand!

Mostly all Film with a few digital shots. Cannon and Hasselblad. Kodak 400

Still shooting Polaroids

If you have been a follower of our work for the past year or so, you'll know that Courtney and I have a 16 month old daughter, Avellana. Over the course of the first year of our daughter's life, I embarked on a photo a day project where I took at least one polaroid a day of Avi. It was quite a project and I ended up taking over 700 polaroids over the course of a year. You can see the final post of the project here. While I am no longer taking a Polaroid a day of Avellana, old habits are hard to break and I am still documenting her life in instant film. Here's another four months worth of Polaroids showing how fast our little girl is growing (with a few cats and landscape shots too).

Avi: Months 13-16

All images taken with various folding SX-70 cameras and instant films by The Impossible Project and old stock Polaroid.

Allie + Sean {the wedding}

It was such an honor to fly out to Honolulu to shoot this beautiful and elegant wedding of one of the sweetest couples! There is no "Hawaii" in this wedding but just being surrounded by sun and beach while shooting was amazing!

Yes! That is Erin below helping the guys tie their bow ties.  :) Mix of digital and film.

How long has it been since we last posted any Polaroids?

It is a crazy to witness the growth of your child. Over the past few weeks our daughter has grown so much. She has gotten bigger. She started to crawl during our Christmas travels (just figured it out one day). She is recognizing people and objects by their names. It is also amazing to think that she'll be a year old in less than two months. Below are eight more weeks of instant film images using various folding SX-70 cameras with both Impossible Project and Polaroid films.

 Week 38

Week 39

Week 40

Week 41

Week 42

Week 43

Week 44

Week 45  

A Polaroid summary of things so far...

As my instant film project of Avi continues, I like to combine the 3x3 collages that I do each week from time to time. This allows me not only to see how the project is growing, but to also allow me to look back at these past 8 months and see how much our little girl has grown so far. This represents 315 instant film images.

All images taken with various folding SX-70 cameras with Polaroid and The Impossible Project films.

Avi in Polaroid {Weeks 32, 33, & 34}

Another three weeks of our little Avi in Polaroid (and Impossible Project film)! From her first trip to the pumpkin patch, her first costume (sushi!), a trip to Palm Springs, and the Election, Avi has had a busy few weeks.

Week 32 Films include Polaroid 600 and Impossible Project PX100UV+

Week 33 Polaroid 600, Impossible Project Px70 Cool and Impossible Project PX100UV+

Week 34 Polaroid 600 and Impossible Project PX70 Cool 


Weeks 29, 30 & 31 of Avi in Polaroids

Three more weeks of Avi Polaroids. It is interesting as I shot mostly the newest Impossible Project films a few weeks ago and this past week have shot mostly expired Polaroid 600 film. Both have their pluses and minuses, but both are still great. The old 600 film is starting to loose contrast and have a warm tone as the film ages beyond it expiration date while the newest Impossible Project films are showing great color and contrast. Add to the fact that you don't have to be as diligent in shielding them from light, the newest Impossible Project films really have taken the torch in instant analog photography. That being said, it is nice to be able to visit the old friend that was once Polaroid 600.

Week 29 SX-70 camera and Impossible Project PX680 Color Protection film.

Week 30 SX-70 with Impossible Project films: PX70 Cool, PX680 Color Protection, PX70 Color Protection, PX100UV+ (with a red 25 filter) 

Week 31 SX-70 with Impossible Project PX70 Cool (cloud shot with a Polarizer filter) and Polaroid 600. 

Weeks 25 and 26 of Avi

Two more weeks of Avi and another new film from the Impossible Project. This time using a new blend of their 600 speed color film. It has been pretty cool as one friend put it, "it's fun to see Avi and the film grow up". This newest batch of film (PX680 V4C Test) is really impressive. I hope you enjoy.

Week 25

All images with the Impossible Project's new PX680 test film V4C with the exception of the first image (PX680) 

Week 26 All images using the Impossible Project's PX680 Test film V4C

Week 24 of Avi's Polaroids {with an Impossible Project's PX70 V4B test film review}

Avi just finished her 24th week with us. Can't believe she is getting so big! This weeks polaroids are a lot of fun as I was shooting with some test film released by the Impossible Project. Now... before I get into this new batch of film, let back track a bit with my experiences with Impossible Project film. When Polaroid was alive and well, I shot a lot of packfilm and 4x5 film. The stuff that I was using mostly was for proofing of strobe lighting, or having fun with older land cameras. I really wasn't shooting a whole lot of integral film mainly because I didn't own an SX-70. I was spending enough money on film and cameras at the time that I didn't feel the need to try another medium. And after all, it was always there. I could get some later. Then, after art school, Courtney and I got married. We used a few Polaroid cameras for our wedding and I really enjoyed them. We took one on our little mini-moon up the California coast. Love! Unfortunately, that was in June of 2007 and a year later, Polaroid stopped producing film. I was really bummed. I felt like I missed out on a whole segment of photography that I really would ever be able to enjoy. It was lost, gone into the past like so many other films that were disappearing. Then came the announcement of the Impossible Project. I was excited. I bought four different SX-70 cameras off of eBay. I was ready. But... the film that first came out wasn't that great. I soon learned that The Impossible Project was starting from scratch. Many of the materials for Polaroid weren't available any longer. Patience was the word online from them. But, as a consumer I had to keep buying the stuff. If I didn't, how else would this company stay afloat?

Now, this brings me to the review of the new film (currently called PX70 V4B). One of the main points of frustration was the need to shield the film from light when it was ejected from the camera. At first, I really didn't understand the importance of this. The film would be washed out, lacking in color and/or contrast. Once this was figured out, one would then have to perfect their technique of shielding the film and getting it into a dark place for the next 10 minutes or more. It was a bit of a pain. This new batch of film take care of this problem. You no longer have to shield it from light right when it comes out of the camera. I still let it brew in a dark box as it processes, but fumbling with shields or hoping that I don't drop it while trying to put it into a box isn't a problem any longer. Just shoot, and casually put it away. Another improvement is the shadow depth. They are much deeper and are much much smoother. With the older films, the shadows would be super blotchy. I once read someone describe the shadows of the film as a "snake skin effect". But, this new film's shadows are amazingly smooth. But with these new improvements, there is a drawback. The time it takes for this film to process is ridiculously  long. Part of the joy of the original Polaroid film was the ability to watch the image develop before your eyes. With this new film, you should be prepared to toss a couple of beers, or watch an episode of your favorite TV show while the image processes. This is a problem because by the time the image is viewable, the subject matter may no longer be there, or the light might have changed. You really want to be dialed into your camera with this film as you may not be able to get another shot.

So, is this new film perfect? No. But, it is the best yet and the progress that The Impossible Project is making is pretty impressive. The only thing left is for them to release it publicly so I can buy more. Hope you enjoy!

Week 24

All shot with Impossible Project's PX70 V4B on folding SX70 cameras.

PX70 V4B vs PX70 Cool {plus the time it took to process}

After five minutes, you can see the image on the PX70 Cool starting to show, but not the new PX70V4B

Ha! I just realized I had the text reversed on the PX70 Cool.

After 25 minutes, I had to run out the door, but you get the idea of how long the new stuff take to process. 

Amy + Chris {engagement session plus a bit of the wedding}

Here is a post that is not of our daughter!  A lovely couple whose engagement photos we shot while I was pregnant back in January and the wedding this past July. Both equally lovely and fun!

Here is some of our favorites from their wedding!!

Mix of Film and Digital

Another Polaroid Summary of Avi

As this project progresses, from time to time I will post a collage showcasing the previous grids all together. Here are all of the various posts from the first week of Avi's life until now at week 23 (216 Polariods in total)! Next week, my post will be exclusivly of some new film by the Impossible Project. The results have been a big jump in instant film and I am really looking forward to have an in-depth review of the new emulsion. Stay tuned!


Avi, weeks 1 through 23.

All images taken with various folding SX-70 cameras. Film mostly from The Impossible Project and a few leftover packs of Polaroid. 

Four more weeks of Avi Polaroids {Weeks 17 through 20}

Still shooting polaroids of our little Avi! Now that we are in the thick of wedding season it gets hard to sit down and scan all of them. But more importantly, I am still shooting at least a pic a day of our little girl. Hope you enjoy the pics.

Week 17

Week 18

Week 19

Week 20

All images taken with various SX-70 and SX-70 Sonar cameras. Films used include PX70 Cool, PX680, PX100 Cool, PX600, and Polaroid Artistic TZ.

Three more weeks of Avi captured in Impossible Project Polaroids

Finally had a chance to sit down and scan three weeks worth of Polaroids today (52 images). Avi has had quite a busy few weeks. We shot one wedding in Ojai and took her along for the weekend. We were also lucky enough to shoot back in our old stomping grounds of Napa. We used the opportunity to pass her around to our friends and family along the way. She did pretty well in the car bouncing between Pasadena, Tulare, Sacramento, Napa, and back. Another important milestone for our little one was her 100th day. When I first started this project, my first initial thoughts were to stop at 100 days. It is interesting that 100 days is a common benchmark for people and their goals. In many Asian cultures, the 100th day of life was a time of celebration for the baby and their families. For us, it turned out to be the baby reunion of our birthing class. Somewhat fitting if you ask me as we were there to celebrate all of the new lives that have blessed us.

Week 14

Week 15

Week 16

All images taken with various folding SX-70 cameras. Films include Impossible Project's: PX70 Cool, PX70 (12.11), PX100 Cool, PX70 Push, and PX600. One image with old Polaroid film from a recently purchased SX-70 Sonar.

Avellana Weeks 12 and 13 in Polaroid

Two more weeks of Avi Polaroids! Had a quick trip to Hawaii for a wedding. She is such an amazing flyer. So many comments from fellow travelers who were impressed on how well she does on a plane. Hope she continues as we still have two drives to NorCal and two flights to NYC this year!

Week 12


All images taken with various SX-70 Cameras with Polaroid and Impossible Project instant film: PX70 Cool, PX100 Cool, Px70 Push, and Polaroid Artistic TZ

Avellana at 11 weeks in Polaroids {plus an image summary}

Another week, another batch of Polaroids to scan. Avi had a good week. She went on a hike, picnic, and a mommy-and-me movie {Men in Black 3}. We also learned that hanging her little toy owl does wonders for keeping her occupied during car rides. One thing that I get asked from time to time is what will I do with all of these Polaroids? In the end I don't know. Part of the beauty of this project is that there is no end. They may be a point where I go from one a day to one a week, but what the final outcome of this will be is something to think about. I could mount and frame the individual polaroids themselves, or use the scans and make a large print. At some point I'll have to figure something out. But in the meantime, below is a summary of the posts all wrapped into one image. Hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I have been taking them.

Week 11

All images taken with various SX70 cameras in Impossible Project films: PX70 (12/11) and PX70 Cool.

Avi from day one until yesterday:

Avi {Weeks 9 and 10 in Polaroids}

Well, another two weeks have flown by and our little girl keeps growing. She had an eventful two weeks: first set of shots, my Dad's wedding {where she got to meet her Great Grandparents or Bisabuelos in Spanish}. We also spent a morning setting up some lights and making a little studio set up for our little one. It is always fun to play with my strobe kit paired with a SX-70. Courtney also introduced Avi to some of her old coworkers at Anthropologie. I am not looking forward to when she starts asking for those clothes {both Courtney and Avi!}. Finally, after we finally finished some long overdue weddings, the three of us went to a pub for lunch. It is amazing to watch our little one grow up!  

Week 9


Week 10

All images taken with various SX-70 cameras using Impossible Project instant film. The one exception being the vary last image. That is with Polaroid Artistic TZ gifted to us by Lane Dittoe.

Avi at week 8 and a Happy Mother's Day to Courtney {in Impossible Project Polaroids}

Another week of joy with our little Avi! It is becoming quite funny as when Courtney became pregnant, we swore we wouldn't have a bunch of baby plastic junk. But this week we broke down a bought a Fisher Price swing. It had to happen in order for us to get back on track with our editing. We now have a space under our living room window that is now dubbed: Avi Parking. That is where the swing, stroller, and carseat now live. I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. :)

On another note, yesterday was Courtney's first Mother's Day. Having shot a 12 hour the wedding the day before, we celebrated with a brunch and a well deserved nap. I must say that I have been so impressed by Court. She has become such an amazing mom! She is so in touch with Avi and her needs. It is quite a thing to watch Courtney grow as a mother as Avi grows from a newborn to a baby. I can only imagine how their relationship will expand as time goes by.

Happy Mother's Day Courtney! You are such an amazing woman, mother, wife, and friend. -Love, Erin

All images taken with various SX-70 Cameras with Impossible Project's PX70 (12/11) film.