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August 19, 2014 / P J Charles


Years ago for Christmas my mother gave me a book titled “Wisdom”. It inspires me not only for the message but for the beautiful portraits – tight and cropped – where you can see the experience of a face. It sits in my favorite room on a cocktail table. Often in my photographic journey I have thought it would be fun to be able to do that. And so I set about learning. And, if you are going to do portraits, what better way than call upon those that have been willing guinea pigs throughout the process – TG, PD, PC and the incomparable Ellie – who, on this day, was in rare form due to the end of camp and a monstrously large cupcake. Three hours, 388 photos later, some laughs, and an even greater respect for Peter Poulides of the Spot Studio, I had completed my first attempts. I love the photos I now have and it is hard for me to pick one. Over the coming weeks, I will work with them, and tinker but here is a first glimpse.

August 18, 2014 / P J Charles

Self Portrait

self portrait-3

And rain it did! Nearly all day the rain came down in steady torrents. Finally, I decided to head out braving the downpour to take some photos with a Leica Monochrome I had rented for a few days. I was so struck by this camera’s performance during my visit to the Los Angeles Leica store in July with SW, that I thought I had to try it for myself. So I donned my hat and rain poncho and headed out for a few hours.

August 17, 2014 / P J Charles

Rest Day

morning coffee-4

A week of non stop activity has left PJ a bit tired. I am looking forward to a rest day. No long walk. No big plans. Just a nice relaxing morning with a cup of coffee and white space. Maybe I will read a bit. Maybe write a few posts. Perhaps play with my camera. The only certainty is no alarm, no rushing out the front door and a cup of coffee enjoyed for want not need. With a little luck it will rain. There is nothing like a morning shower for a PJ in need of rest – it just makes it a tiny bit better.

August 16, 2014 / P J Charles

Summer visits


alone with Little a. and J. are finished for the year – which makes me sad. Whether the visits to LBI in the early years or the routine of the summer week with us in California, I look forward to our time with them. It tugs at my heart when they leave – renewed as we are by our week together. The years seem to fly by and before I know it, they will be even busier with their own lives. I sincerely hope that reflecting back they know how very much we love them – always have…. always will. No matter what.

August 15, 2014 / P J Charles



The weekend upon us and longing for the California sky

August 14, 2014 / P J Charles

Blue skies

What I have always appreciated about California is the brilliance of its blues contrasted against the verdant greens – best seen in places like Big Sur and Tahoe, but on this morning walk in Laguna, the spectrum was inspiring.

August 13, 2014 / P J Charles



The square was filled with fountains and children laughing as they played in the water. The roses a beautiful contrast against white water under the morning sun.

August 12, 2014 / P J Charles

The Tee shirt said it all…. Awesome.

2nd generaton

While walking around San Jose, I saw this father taking a photo of his son with a camera just like mine. As I knelt to take the photo the young man looked right at me as if to suggest I had not earned the right to take his photo. Yes, it was sneaky – and the father had no idea, but they were so adorable in that moment I wanted to capture it.

August 11, 2014 / P J Charles

Park Bench

park bench

This bench just looked so inviting I had to snap a photo.

Which got me to thinking about living our lives on the weekend at full throttle? The last few weekends have been jam-packed and it looks like they will be until the end of the month. That is part of what makes this photo so inviting. The idea of idle time just spent sitting, enjoying the outdoors and watching the world as it does the same. This got me thinking about August and how one crams every minute of the last days of summer. I found myself remembering my school days and how each September marked the end of those precious summer days. For most of my adult life I have taken holidays in September as though thumbing my nose at the system and choosing instead to extend that carefree summer feeling. This weekend Little a. received her schedule for school and which classes in which semester and with which friends. It was fascinating to watch as she and GB connected socially with all their chums for where their schedules intersected. I felt a bit like an anthropologist reflecting back to the big surprise of my first morning in Homeroom realizing with whom I would be making that year’s journey. In the years since, I still cram every minute of August with friends and the beach knowing that in September everyone is back at work and we are full throttle again, as we make our way to the end of the year.

So, there will be no sitting on park benches for me anytime soon and I am the better for it!

August 10, 2014 / P J Charles

One Light

One light

I have wanted to better understand working in a studio. It seems daunting to me. But there are portraits I just love – like this one.








or this one








or even this one










Meeting with a mentor and friend (you know who you are TJ) he took the time to allay my fears and make me realize that most great photographs involve one light. Looking up into the tree I realized often that is the sun – and it seemed such a simple concept to grasp.  I look forward to getting into the studio and giving it a try. Until then, sunny days will have to do.


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