24th Annual SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2009!!
Santa Barbara, California - February 1, 2009
WOW! Twenty-seven Academy Award nominees and more than 200 films over a whirlwind ten days that saw the Magical Light team covering events and tributes to Clint Eastwood, Penelope Cruz, Kristen Scott Thomas and Mickey Rourke to name several. We're absolutely pooped and happy to report that a good time was had by all!
You can see photo results here on our site under the 'CELEBS' gallery in the 'PORTFOLIO' section. For a more intimate take on all the action of the extravaganza be sure to visit the superb blog of Santa Barbara media gadfly Craig Smith.
We struck up a conversation with Craig in the Press Pit along the red carpet - you meet the nicest people when you are penned up like cattle for two hours practically cheek-to-cheek and elbow-to-elbow. As a result, he very kindly made use of a number of our photos to help illustrate his reportage. His in-depth, witty coverage of all things Santa Barbara can be found here: Craig Smith's Blog . Be sure to navigate to his Film Fest Photo Gallery where a number of additional Magical Light photos are currently appearing.
Here's a little "trailer" to get you in the festival spirit:
ENJOY !! ...and check back often as we edit and post from the hundreds of photos still waiting for their turn "under the klieg lights."
Yosemite National Park - February 3, 2008
The park was pummelled with the season's best snowstorm to date with up to 2' of new snow falling in the valley. With some good luck and help from Mother Nature we are expecting a near-banner year for snowmelt over the falls during the next several months.
Anticipation is currently running high for our annual late-February trek to 'Horsetail Fall' to capture the stunning firefall effect. Watch this space for reports and updates as we report about the magical phenomenon.
We are again roaming the woods in search of our Great Horned Owl family and hope to gain sight of them soon. No luck yet.
Meanwhile, we encountered a bobcat sporting one of the finest winter coats we have seen in many a year.
Have a look at both the 'Yosemite' and 'Wildlife' galleries for recent photo entries.
Over and out for now...
THE CHRISTMAS STORY
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, everyone into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
With every good wish for Health, Happiness and Prosperity in 2008.
Magical Light Photography
SPECIAL HOLIDAY SALE !! - (PLUS NEW IMAGES COMING FROM JACKSON HOLE, WY and the GRAND TETONS)
Santa Barbara, California - October 20, 2007
Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hannukah are just weeks away. Share exquisitely prepared fine art prints or museum-quality greeting cards with family, friends, or business associates and clients!
Greeting cards printed on elegant Crane & Co. Museo® cotton stock, normally 4 for $20, are now available for the holiday season at 6 for $20 while archival-quality 12 x 18 prints, normally $185 without matte can be had for $135 each, handsomely matted and ready for framing. Shipping and insurance on us!
Order ASAP from the "CONTACT US" or "PRINT SALES" tabs (no later than Dec. 5th to assure time for preparation and in time for pre-Christmas delivery.)
After spending two weeks documenting the fall beauty of the Grand Teton and Jackson Hole regions, we invite you to enjoy some initial scenes in the portfolio gallery titled "GRAND TETONS/JACKSON HOLE." Check back frequently as new images will be added in coming days.
Here are several previews:
Thank you for your continued support.
P.S. - Marie's "Magical Light Holiday Portrait Lens" stands ready to make you and your a) loved one, b) significant other, c) child or children and d) favorite pet(s) look FABULOUS on your holiday greeting card!
"HOME OF THE PIADINA" HOSTS MAGICAL LIGHT GALLERY
Santa Barbara / Montecito, California - August 29, 2007
Montecito Deli & Catering, known citywide for its mouthwatering "Piadina," now has a selection of Magical Light Photography fine art prints on display for viewing enjoyment and purchase.
Owner Jeff Rypysc said, "The beautiful giclée prints bring added pleasure to the dining experience of our patrons."
You can enjoy a pleasurable feast for the stomach and the eyes when you visit:
Montecito Deli & Catering, 1150 Coast Village Road, Suite B, Montecito, California.
Open from 7:00 am - 3:00 pm for superb breakfast and luncheon specialties. Catering for parties, holidays, special luncheons and movie productions. Phone: 805.969.3717
MAGICAL LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY TESTS VIDEO UPLOAD
Yosemite National Park, California - August 7, 2007
We have published several video tests to the 'You Tube' web site to explore the feasibility and utility of this medium as a means of delivering portfolio sample material.
The samples are of only modest visual quality when compared to the original master footage. This appears to be due to both the internet medium itself as well as our inexperience with the conversion process used to publish the footage to the web.
For example, "Yosemite Mergansers" was shot in widescreen 16:9 format which is currently unsupported by You Tube. Thus, the video appears slightly distorted when viewed in the "regular" 4:3 TV format.
At any rate, we invite you to view them here:
We shall continue to experiment with additional settings to optimize viewing quality.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA; COUNTRY CELEBRATES 231st YEAR !
Santa Barbara, California - July 4, 2007
Magical Light Photography paid homage to the 231st birthday of the United States of America on July 4, 2007 by flying a 48-star American flag that was brought back to the U.S. mainland from the bloody battlefields of the Phillippines in 1945 at the end of World War II. God Bless America and those who sacrificed their lives to preserve the freedoms we are privileged to enjoy today!
Next, the Magical Light Photography team ventured out to the home of "Shasta the Wonder Dog" (seen in the "CELEBS" gallery) and her owner, Jane Russell, CPA, where a convivial group gathered to enjoy an afternoon feast, poker party and the viewing of the traditional fireworks display put on by the city of Santa Barbara from its 'West Beach' location near the yacht harbor.
At the "Shasta/Russell" compound in the Mission Canyon section of Santa Barbara high above the city, we were treated to a stunning view of the proceedings from a location described in the travel press as the "American Riveria" - and rightfully so!
Shasta the Wonder Dog, in red, white and blue garb, greets the 4th of July guests:
While the convivial group waited for the evening's denouement (Fireworks,) it played poker and ate and ate and ate from a sumptuous buffet including confections prepared by the magical hand of Louise Smith of 'Culinary Creations.' Web site: www.sbculinarycreations.com
The "rockets' red glare" implied the sacrifice made by countless of our patriots in the noble pursuit of the Founding Fathers' principles. We were humbled by the experience...
GREAT HORNED OWLET NOW HUNTING ON OWN; NESTING TREE FALLS
Yosemite - June 26, 2007
Having been away on a trip to the East Coast, the Magical Light Photography team was anxious to return to the Yosemite Great Horned Owl Family.
Thus, on June 24th we made our way to the nesting tree and were surprised to see the nesting cavity now lying on the ground! Whether from age, decay, wind (or a combination of the three,) the tree had cracked in two perhaps eight feet below the nest opening.
We were playing host to a first-time Yosemite visitor as we explored the general habitat area in search of the parents and surviving youngster.
Matt Sileo, Field Biologist, Naturalist, and Nature Photographer is currently working for the Institute for Wildlife Studies (Web site: www.iws.org ) observing the endangered San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike off the California coast on San Clemente Island.
As sunset approached Matt joined us on the "hunt" and skillfully spotted one parent perched on a low snag in deep shade. We quickly, and as stealthily as possible, made our approach, cameras at the ready. As we closed in on the quarry we were thrilled to observe Owlet fly in from somewhere along the dark forest duff clutching dinner!
The young hunter landed on a sturdy limb to enjoy a feast of freshly-killed California Ground Squirrel. Mm-mm-mm!
We crept as close as we could but, alas, the actual consumption occurred high up in a distant branch, Owlet shielded by dense foliage, far from our prying eyes. Visit the WILDLIFE Gallery for a larger view.
More about the "Yosemite Half-Baked Exploratory Expedition" to follow...
EXTRA !! EXTRA !!
ONE GREAT HORNED "OWLET" ALIVE AND WELL
May 21, 2007
After weeks of speculation we can now confirm that the Great Horned Owl mating pair delivered a clutch of three owlets* nearly two months ago. Alas, Yosemite Park Rangers and locals believe that two of the three were killed by predators shortly after fledging.
On May 11th, however, we observed the lone survivor (at approx. six weeks of age) clumsily climbing a low tree limb while flapping its wings very near the nesting site. Both parents watched from nearby perches and supplied encouragement and moral support.
Beginning on May 19th we further observed the youngster spreading its wings in preparation for a short "training" flight and hungrily wolfing down a fresh-killed gopher delivered by Mom.
We are especially gratified by these recent observations, particularly so because we held out little hope that the three siblings did not, in fact, meet an untimely demise!
You can see recent postings (with more to follow) in the "WILDLIFE" portfolio gallery. We encourage and invite your comments or questions about the owl family by using our "CONTACT" page.
*Trivia buffs: a group of owls is called a "parliament."
GREAT HORNED OWL SIGHTED AGAIN; NO SIGN OF CHICKS
April 29, 2007
After proving elusive for nearly three weeks, our cameras again captured the Yosemite Great Horned Owl perched in his (or her) oak tree cavity (see arrow.) The photo presents a sense of "place," defining the homestead relative to its proximity to Upper Yosemite Falls. During the period since our last encounter the owl's distinctive hoot has been heard several times in the nearby forest but we were unable to make visual contact.
As time has passed and this is now late April, we are less hopeful that the owl has mated and incubated a clutch of chicks, though mating calls were heard a number of times during January and February between this owl and a potential partner. If a pairing had occured and been successful we would have expected the young owls to have fledged by now and be visible on nearby branches. We do, however, still maintain a glimmer of hope insofar as a late season mating could bring the fledglings into view as late as mid-May.
By the intense stare leveled at us in the photo below, we couldn't help but wonder if the owl was familiar with the Dracula character played by actor Bela Lugosi. See more NEW IMAGES in the "WILDLIFE" gallery.
Watch this space for further details if newly-minted chicks should surface.
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT
While the Great Horned Owl is otherwise engaged and proving elusive, we did recently manage to capture a fleeting glimpse of the "Great Icy Rinkus Zambonicus," better known to Peanuts comic strip fans simply as the Zamboni.
The Zamboni is seen here on a recent Saturday morning melting and then smoothing the top layer of ice at the Curry Village ice rink in Yosemite. Does the lucky (from our point of view) driver fully appreciate the sublime nature of his "office" with a view overlooking the iconic Half Dome or has continued exposure to the stimulus numbed the experience and turned it into a common drudgery?
Our lenses continue to hunt for more exciting images of the Great Horned Owl and for evidence that offspring are in the offing.
SHASTA THE WONDER DOG POSES IN SANTA BARBARA
March 14, 2007
"Shasta the Wonder Dog," who many believe could have been the model for the computer-animated character 'Fly' in the hit movie "Babe," was in Santa Barbara recently and stopped by the Magical Light Photography portrait studio for a publicity still.
PROPS USED TO FOCUS ATTENTION
Shasta was photographed in a natural back yard setting while staring intently at a neighbor's cat that the photographer's assistant held up and was dangling by the tail.*
In describing the creative use of props, the photographer recalled the sage advice of noted photo journalist Earl Theissen (an original 'LOOK' magazine staffer from 1930-1962) when he said, "There are times when you will have to stand on the stooped shoulders of your aged grandmother to get THE shot. And, dammit, fellas, you'd better do it!"
You can see the larger version of "Shasta the Wonder Dog" in the 'CELEBS' gallery.
Note that our lenses will again this weekend be trained on the Yosemite Horned Owl to see if anything further has developed. So, watch this space next week for details...
*No actual cats were harmed in the making of this photo. DO NOT call PETA or the SPCA.
GREAT HORNED OWL NESTING IN YOSEMITE VALLEY
February 26, 2007
With much excitement we recently found the nesting site of a Great Horned Owl (see photo in 'Wildlife' gallery) located in a large Blue Oak near Lower Yosemite Fall.
While we cannot yet tell if a mate has been found we will be regularly training our lens on the tree cavity and its occupant(s) during the next two-four months to monitor nature's progress. Judging from the pitch of this owl's call our untrained ear believes it to be a male. The male and female of the species are more similar in appearance than most within the bird world so identification by sound is essential.
Mating typically occurs during January or February with incubation lasting about a month. The chicks fledge at six weeks and gradually separate from the parents by December. They will then search for and establish their own territories before breeding themselves perhaps a year or two after that.
Watch this space as the story unfolds...
CONTINUING EXHIBITION AT EMILIO'S RISTORANTE THROUGH SPRING 2007.
‘Yosemite Through the Seasons’ features nearly thirty fine art prints from this stunning wonderland of Nature’s most awe-inspiring beauty.
While making these photographs the spiritually moving tableaux encountered in and around Yosemite Valley put us in mind of an entry in diarist Lafayette Bunnell's journal, written upon entering Yosemite Valley for the first time with the Mariposa Battalion in March of 1851. Bunnell wrote:
"It has been said that ‘it is not easy to describe in words the precise impressions which great objects make upon us.’ I cannot describe how completely I realized this truth. None but those who have visited this most wonderful valley can even imagine the feelings with which I looked upon the view that was there presented. The grandeur of the scene was but softened by the haze that hung over the valley, light as gossamer, and by the clouds which partially dimmed the higher cliffs and mountains. This obscurity of vision but increased the awe with which I beheld it, and as I looked, a peculiar exalted sensation seemed to fill my whole being, and I found my eyes in tears with emotion."
We humbly felt the same and hope that you, too, might experience such emotion while viewing the exhibit located in one of Santa Barbara’s pre-eminent beachside restaurants.
Location: Emilio’s Ristorante. 324 W. Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara, California.
Web Site: http://www.emilios-restaurant.com
MAGICAL LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY NOW AVAILBABLE FOR PORTRAITS.
Marie is not as patient as Chuck when it involves rising before dawn in 20-degree weather to wait for the “magical light” to work its magic. And – she has a personality much more suited to interacting with people than does her curmudgeonly husband!
Thus, she is now open for portrait business with her own “magical lights” at your location or ours. Ladies (and even you vain fellows) take note: add her superb retouching skills in the digital darkroom and Marie will give you a flattering “face lift” that will remain your own little secret.
Executive, family, business or pleasure. Pets, too! Oh, and did we mention Kids!?
Call or e-mail for particulars on pricing and sitting.