Thursday, May 2, 2013

People Taking Pictures, my NYC experience

On my second trip to New York City, the first back in 2008, I wanted to capture pieces of NYC as I see NYC in my mind. Being a resident in California most of my exposure to other parts of the world are through images I see on the news or even on television shows. (Anyone else a Law and Order fan?) Sure, NY has the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Ground Zero, The Empire State Building, Central Park, and shopping on 5th ave, but when I think of NYC I think about all the cabs, the Police Officers walking their beat, crowds of pedestrians, subways, etc. That was the NYC I wanted to capture! Furthermore, as you will see below, I decided to shoot the whole vacation in black and white. 

Carrying my camera almost everywhere, I started to check items off my list as I captured them, but I started to notice something else that intrigued me, I wasn't the only tourist in NYC taking pictures. In fact, I saw people taking pictures with DSLRs, point and shoots, smart phones, flip phones, and even iPads! Newly inspired by this observation, I decided this is where I wanted to focus the balance of my vacation, and now I want to share some of those images with you. Please sit back and enjoy my "People Taking Pictures" project. 

If you enjoyed this post please let me know by sharing it with your friends on your favorite social media site. The link is: http://hackworthphotography.blogspot.com/ and of course you can see more of my work on my website: www.HackworthPhotography.com

Friday, February 1, 2013

Have you lost all your important pictures yet? Someday you will!

Do you have copies of all those pictures on your camera or phone? What happens if you lose your phone or camera? Or It gets stolen? Or you drop it in the toilet? (Don't laugh, it happens!) If you lose your camera or phone your pictures are gone and you will never get them back! Now, before going any further pull out your phone and scroll through those pictures. Could you imagine losing them forever? If your answer is no then please read on…

We live in a digital age that requires some responsibility. One responsibility is to back up those images. Make copies and put them away where that cannot be harmed, lost or stolen.

First of all, a back up doesn't exist unless there are at least 2 copies on different media types. Therefore, if one is lost you still have the other. And if one media type becomes non existent (as did the vinyl record, 8 tracks, cassettes, and VHS) the other copy is still there. 

There are probably a dozen different ways to back up all your images and I will touch on a few. Bottom line, back it up cuz you can't get it back!

On a regular basis download your images to your desktop or laptop. This is you first copy. Then burn those images to a rewriteable DVD (so you can continue to use the same disk) Now you have a second copy. But don't store both of those together. What if there is a fire? Your computer will burn and  and your DVDs will melt. Put it somewhere else in the house, or at work, or at your Mom's house. 

What other types of media can you use to back up your pictures? Here is a short list of ideas;

(Please note that I am not affiliated in any way with these products nor have these companies paid me any fees to advertise their products. I have either used them or have it on good authority that they meet the industry's expectation for their services.)

Thumbdrives - a 64 GB thumb drive is just $40 on amazon. The average picture is about 3 megabytes, you can store almost 22,000 images.

External Hard Drives - 500 GB for $79 at Walmart.com Store up to 170,000 images! 

OnLine back up is another great option but a bit more pricey than the previous. For about $60 a year these companies will back up all the important files on your computer and secure them in the cloud. No fire or flood in your home can destroy a back up in the cloud.

Bottom line, Back it up or you won't get it back!!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

The perfect portrait

My passion as a photographer stems from the obsession to create the most beautiful photograph possible of my client. And each client brings the challenge of outdoing myself from the previous session. Before we go much further it is important to understand that the art of photography is represented by two separate but equally important factors, the technical side and the creative side. (Anyone catch the Law and Order reference?) The technical side, depth of field, shutter speed, ISO, and lens selection is a very left brain activity. The creative side, lighting, background, posing, etc is a very right brain activity. Most people tend to be stronger on one side over the other and photography challenges you to use both sides. I am very technical person, so operating a camera is very second nature to me. Therefore, using my right brain for creativity is something I constantly study and practice. It is not about just looking through the view finder and snapping a shot, its about all things I just mentioned and pulling them all together at the same time. I am constantly battling one aspect or the other to get the perfect shot.

But I digress…This past October I decided I wanted to reward my past clientele with a very affordable, but quick Holiday session in the studio. Nothing fancy, just an opportunity to bring the family in and have a family portrait done for Christmas. One particular client, I will call her Ruth, was one of the first to book an appointment. Ruth is a 30 something young lady who self admittedly has overcome some challenging obstacles in her life. I have a feeling she probably really couldn't afford a regular photo session so I am glad she took me up no this offer. When she arrived for her session she introduced me to her father, who reluctantly had come along to get his photo taken with her. So we popped in to the studio, I did a few shots of them together and a few of each of them separately.

I put Ruth's photos up on line for her to view and she promptly made her selections and placed her order, one portrait of her and her father together, and one each of them alone. About a week later Ruth came by (alone) to pick up her portraits. We got to chatting about the portraits she had selected. I told her that I always pick out my favorites from each session and I am always interested in which portraits the client chooses and why. With a guarded tone and a lump in her throat, she shared with me that she had not had the opportunity to spend much time with her father when she was growing up and could never recall seeing him smile. That is why she had chosen this particular portrait of her father.

Now, I look at this picture and I see technical and creative opportunities. Why did I do this? Why didn't I do that? I beat myself up constantly for not shooting it perfectly. But Ruth didn't care about that. I captured a moment in time that she never got to see as a child. I guess, at least for today, I have finally taken the perfect portrait. Thank you Ruth for helping me see that.

Friday, December 7, 2012

6 great ideas for the holiday season!

The Holidays are closing in fast, have you checked off everyone on your list?


Every year you always have that one person on your shopping list that you just can't figure out what to buy for them. Maybe it is a co-worker at the office or Aunt Sally that already has has everything.

So I have compiled a small list of ideas for you this Holiday Season. These are all small businesses that I personally recommend and who will truly appreciate your support, not only during the holidays, but all year round.

None of these businesses paid for advertising here or have offered anything in return for mentioning them. They are all upstanding, honest, and hard working people that deserve your consideration.

Here's an original idea, give an empty frame to that hard to buy for friend or family member. Include with it a gift certificate to Hackworth Photography. Not many gifts can be more personal than a nicely framed family portrait!

Take a look at our work:


Here is another original idea, Jonathan has re-invented the way men buy clothes. Simply fill out a short questionnaire, specify your budget, and kick back and wait for your boxed gift to arrive at your door.

Read more about this original service at:

Special event or Christmas party coming up? Flor will take care of your make up needs or give a gift or a make over to someone special. Flor offers traditional cosmetic application as well as airbrushing. Interested in doing your own make up but need a little help? You have come to the right place, Flor provides instruction too. Can't go wrong here!

To see more about Flor and her style visit her website at:


or email her directly at:
Balance the mind, body, and soul with a massage from the experts at Relaxation Station. They offer gift certificates to give to that special someone (or the stressed out boss that is always riding you).

Visit their website now to see what they have to offer:

A company Christmas party just isn't a party without a DJ! Khloud will spin the virtual vinyl for you playing all your favorites and special requests.

Contact Khloud directly at:

DJSassee@gmail.com or 951.543.0288
Many of us make charitable contributions this time of year. Are they tax deductible? Are you claiming them correctly? I don't know but I know who does, Amy with H&A Amer Tax and Accounting.

Trust me when I say having a good tax preparer is a necessity. Your relationship with your tax preparer can save you a lot of money every year, usually more than you pay for the preparation!

Amy is a Senior Accountant and Certified Tax Preparer with over 8 years of experience. Amy is one of the good guys that you want on your side.

Contact her directly at: Amy.Amer@gmail.com

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Moment in Time...

There is a time during the wedding ceremony when the bride forgets that her dress didn't arrive until just 30 minutes before the ceremony, that her fiancĂ© has been cursing at his untied bow tie, and no one knew where the marriage license was until just a few minutes ago. It is at this time that she becomes blind to the fact she is in one of the most beautiful wedding venues in Southern California, she becomes blind to the endless spance of the Pacific Ocean and the waves crashing just below her feet, and she becomes blind to all the beautiful flowers that adorn the altar she now stands under. As a matter of fact, she cannot even hear the minister delivering his service even though he stands just to her left within arms distance. 

It is at this time she is lost in the gaze of her fiancé's eyes and she realizes she is marrying the love of her life. The moment is surreal and intoxicating, a fleeting moment in time that may be lost to the hectic days that lay ahead of her. A moment in time captured by her wedding photographer, preserved forever through the art of photography. Now she can relive this single moment in time over and over and share it with her new family for generations to come...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

My Heroes

When I first received the call from Tony Florez asking me if I could cover an event for him at the Ritz Carlton, my immediate response was, of course, "Yes". As the conversation went on, I learned that it would be an awards banquet and Lt Colonel Oliver North was expected to be in attendance. Unfortunately, most people from my generation only remember him from the Iran Contra hearings during the Reagan Administration. Those dang hearings dominated the television airways and interfered with our regularly scheduled afternoon programming. As I researched the special guest of the upcoming event, I found that he is a true American hero who has served his country proudly since 1968 and hasn't stopped since. But as it turns out, LtCol North wasn't the real hero that night...
The event I was asked to cover, "Salute to Our Heroes Gala" was being hosted by the Freedom Alliance. The Freedom Alliance is a non profit organization that supports our troops and their families at home and abroad, operates a scholarship fund for the children of fallen and injured soldiers, educates high school students through their military leadership academy, and educates the public, policy makers, and the media about UN policies to protect our national sovereignty.
Later on the evening we were treated to an award ceremony for Marine LtCol Christian Ellinger (21 years) and his wife of 17 years, Naval Commander Jennifer Ellinger (19 years) who jointly received the Service to America award for their years of service to our country. But they were not the real heroes that night either...
The real heroes that night were the active and medically discharged soldiers in attendance. These soldiers have voluntarily enlisted and served to protect our country. During the evening, LtCol North told the following accounts of some of the soldiers in attendance. 
One soldier, a Soviet immigrant, enlisted when he was 18 years old. When asked why, he said he wanted to thank the United States for allowing him and his mother to come to America. He deployed to Afghanistan with his unit last year and returned home shortly thereafter, leaving both his legs behind. Two Marine Corp snipers who returned from deployment with just one leg between them. And the Naval EOD (Explosive Ordinance Detail) soldier who returned home minus 3 fingers. He returned to duty, amazing in itself, only to lose a leg on his very next deployment.
I admire LtCol North, LtCol Ellinger, and CDR Ellinger for their accomplishments, but I decided the real heroes were the young men and women in attendance that have gone off to fight for my freedom. Especially the young man who could not shake my hand due to loosing one of his and the young men who had to look up at me to look me in the eye because they left their legs in a foreign country. And when I had to get down on my knees, on the concrete or wet grass, in my dress pants and polished shoes to take their portrait, I suddenly didn't really mind all the aches and pains in my knees I normally feel when I stand up. I now know understand how lucky I am to have those aches and pains!
Please enjoy the images below, and if you know a man or woman who has served in the armed forces for our country please tell them thank you on my behalf.

LtCol North took time to speak with EVERY service member
in attendance and signed dozens of autographs.
Saying the Pledge of Allegiance with
Commander Jennifer Ellinger in the background.
LtCol North as he is preparing to present the American Service Award
LtCol Christian Ellinger, Commander Jennifer Ellinger,
LtCol Oliver North
LtCol North is and engaging speaker. At times I was so engrossed
with what he had to say I forgot I was supposed to be taking pictures.
Just a cool pic I wanted to post in honor of my Grandfather, 
Ray S Hamilton, Machinist Mate 2nd class (1922-2010).  
He served aboard the LST 460 which was sank during WWII by 
Japanese Aircraft off the coast of the Philippines on December 21, 1944.
Me and LtCol Oliver North


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree

I wanted to take a break in my Egypt series, “What you won’t see in the travel brochures”, to bring you this special story I've entitled, "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree". The classic song, originally performed by Tony Orlando and Dawn in 1973, reached #1 on billboard charts for four weeks in a row. The song has origins dating back to the civil war when ladies would wear a yellow ribbon in their hair signifying their devotion to their loved one serving in the US Calvary.
Destiny contacted me some time back and wanted me photograph Austin's homecoming from his deployment. Austin is a Corporal in the United States Marine Corp, assigned to 1st Battalion 1st Marines, and stationed at Camp Pendleton California. Due to security concerns specifics as to his exact return date and time are not divulged till the last minute. Even as late as 9:30 the night before, Destiny was giving me updates as to when he would be home.
The old adage that a picture speaks a thousand words truly applies here. So here are some images I captured as Alpha Company returned home from their 7 month overseas deployment.

Trees throughout the area are decorated with Yellow Ribbons
Destiny awaiting Austin's return

Alpha Company marches in absolute pricision on to the parade deck to their awaiting families
Destiny and Austin reunited
Do you think she will ever let go?

A mom reunites with her son
A young father holds his son for the first time
Brother and girlfriend reunited

Another beautiful couple reunited
And another...