Homecoming by Julio Aguilar

This year the University of Central Florida is celebrating its 50th birthday and this week specifically they are celebrating their homecoming when the Knights take on the Houston Cougars in Bright House Networks stadium on Saturday evening. 

 "UCF 50 years" can be seen on campus and in the surrounding community. 

 "UCF 50 years" can be seen on campus and in the surrounding community. 

Luckily I was on campus early enough to get daybreak images this one near memory mall:  

6 second exposure at F11 with ISO200. 

6 second exposure at F11 with ISO200. 

Spirit splash attendees probably saw something a little different than this today... 

Administration building also known as Millican Hall is near the heart of the campus.  

Administration building also known as Millican Hall is near the heart of the campus.  

Go Knights! 

The Blues by Julio Aguilar

Growing up on the gulf side of Florida has had its many advantages, from the warm (more like really really hot and humid) weather to the beaches and tourism that help our economy thrive year around. We get to experience people from all walks of life that are unique in their own way, which has a tendency to expand one's own horizon and open up to newer things, like music. After this past weekend, I will never look at Blues the same way again. 

Blues artist Victor Wainwright patiently waiting to start his first set of the evening. 

Blues artist Victor Wainwright patiently waiting to start his first set of the evening. 

Victor Wainwright and the Wildroots is an awesome, young, upbeat Blues band that hails from Memphis, TN. 

Victor plays the piano like he has 30 fingers on six hands.. that fast.  

Victor plays the piano like he has 30 fingers on six hands.. that fast.  

The band was passing through Orlando on their way to a Blues festival in Daytona and stopped by the House of Blues for an energetic concert, filled with originals, covers, and even the wedding march... with a Blues twist.    

All are one, HDR.  

All are one, HDR.  

Culpepper's by Julio Aguilar

Here are a few images I took last week from UCF Alumni Dante Culpepper and Kyle Israel's new restaurant "Culpepper's".  

Culpepper's is conveniently located one mile away from the University of Central Florida. 

Culpepper's is conveniently located one mile away from the University of Central Florida. 

Main bar- surrounded by tvs so there's no way to miss any action! 

Main bar- surrounded by tvs so there's no way to miss any action! 

Composed image to get the exposure just right. 

Composed image to get the exposure just right. 

I also wanted to throw in a random image I snapped as I was walking the streets of downtown Orlando that day...  

Snapshot... I used to visit this gallery often for inspiration when I lived here. 

Snapshot... I used to visit this gallery often for inspiration when I lived here. 

ATX by Julio Aguilar

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting family while traveling for work, landing me in Austin, Texas for a few days in-between jobs. Texas is definitely a climate change compared to Florida with it's lower humidity and really hot evenings, so much so, that I was not prepared to sweat so much for simple sunset shots through the different places visited... well that and I hadn't completely thought about how far I would be lugging Austin local photographer Bill Bastas's tripod (that he so kindly let me borrow) through the hottest part of the day in Austin to find the shot.. but I did get some fun images, so.... Enjoy:) 

This location is known as the Sunset capital of Texas... "Oasis"

This location is known as the Sunset capital of Texas... "Oasis"

Crowds of people gather to watch the sunset each evening from the various viewing platforms and we were even lucky enough to catch a shooting star:  

Composed of two images, one exposed for the sun and one for the people, the shooting star wasn't noticed until post.  

Composed of two images, one exposed for the sun and one for the people, the shooting star wasn't noticed until post.  

Downtown Austin is filled with tons of history, awesome food, millions of bats, and this beautiful Texas Capitol Building at blue hour:   

Various perspectives of this 128-year-old example of Italian Renaissance Revival by Elijah E. Myers.   

Various perspectives of this 128-year-old example of Italian Renaissance Revival by Elijah E. Myers.   

Three images composited for high dynamic range with emphasis on detail. 

Three images composited for high dynamic range with emphasis on detail. 

Fun lines running around the building's perimeter. 

Fun lines running around the building's perimeter. 

Devilettes by Julio Aguilar

In preparation for the 2013-2014 school year, I recently photographed the awesome SPHS Devilettes in a studio setting for all sorts of portraits including some team pictures. 

The Seniors backlit with a Rogue green filter to create a glow in camera, rather than adding it in post. 

The Seniors backlit with a Rogue green filter to create a glow in camera, rather than adding it in post. 

The high-level competition dance team allowed me to have complete creative control over a team image, something that shows their passion and dedication. After watching multiple performances, feeling the intensity and energy they give off, and seeing the awards won, I wanted to give them the proper look:

Don't let the glitter fool you, these athletes are serious about dance.

Don't let the glitter fool you, these athletes are serious about dance.

But of course we can't be serious all the time, so here's a behind-the-scenes of the crew having some fun:)

Seniors owning it! You can see why I am going back to seamless paper.... 

Seniors owning it! You can see why I am going back to seamless paper.... 

Zoo Adventures by Julio Aguilar

If you need to take a break from Monday here are some fun images from my trip to the Lowry Park Zoo last week. 

1/1250, F3.5, ISO200. 

1/1250, F3.5, ISO200. 

African Penguins. Tag placement on flipper distinguishes sex. The matching color tag means they are life partners. 

African Penguins. Tag placement on flipper distinguishes sex. The matching color tag means they are life partners. 

Wallaby taking a break from the sun... looks like a "Rocko"

Wallaby taking a break from the sun... looks like a "Rocko"

Flashbender XL by Julio Aguilar

 Expo Imaging recently released the new addition to their popular flashbender line, the Rogue XL Pro Flashbender reflector. This little guy (in comparison to the equivalent umbrella style 16" soft box) packs a beautiful soft light, interchangable reflection panel with diffuser, and is very portable for those shoots that tend to wander far off the path. To test out the Flashbender XL, I set up a shoot with one of my assistants to mimic a highschool senior portrait shoot. 

Meet Bailey... and if you see her today, July 30th, Wish her a Happy Birthday:) 

Meet Bailey... and if you see her today, July 30th, Wish her a Happy Birthday:) 

My mentality for this shoot came from a quote from the great Frank Doorhof, "If you think you need two lights, shoot with one, if you think you need three lights, shoot with one". So the entire shoot was lit with one Vivitar 285HV attached to an umbrella bracket which was being held by a 5/8" dowel found at Home Depot for like $3. 

Birthday Face! 

Birthday Face! 

Rogue Flashbender XL

Rogue Flashbender XL

I highly recommend the Rogue Flashbender XL to portrait photographers as it takes up minimal space, produced even soft light, can be creased or "bent" to create selective lighting, and can be attached to most major hot-shoe flashes, making the lighting possibilities nearly endless. 

She looks excited to hold some flashbenders;)

She looks excited to hold some flashbenders;)

'03 Sportster by Julio Aguilar

Through my journeys in life I have come across many different types of interesting people with awesome hobbies and passions. Recently I was approached by David "Zile" Beck, a friend with a similar taste in photography and a sweet ride, to shoot his custom 2003 Harley Davidson Sportster from  Thug Custom Cycles

 Built by Tom Keller from Thug Custom Cycles.

 Built by Tom Keller from Thug Custom Cycles.

Zile requested something to look "badass" hanging on a wall. My immediate thought brought me back to the expo floor at Photoshop World where I was blown away by metal prints. More and more labs are offering these aluminum prints and this request seems fitting to really make a statement on whatever wall it may live on. 

Slightly tweaked Scott5 preset in Photoshop CS6 HDR. Courtesy of Adobe Creative Cloud. 

Slightly tweaked Scott5 preset in Photoshop CS6 HDR. Courtesy of Adobe Creative Cloud. 

Old McMicky's Farm by Julio Aguilar

Growing up near the beach has both its advantages and disadvantages, but what some don't often see are the other things that go on around the tourism- like museums, historic tours, and even farms. Yes, Florida has beaches, pirate parties and amusement parks but the Tampa Bay area is surrounded by beautiful landscapes with a plethora of history wherever you look.  

Adrienne and I the pleasure of meeting with our wedding photography studio Donna Green at Old McMicky's Farm located in Odessa, FL, just fifteen minutes outside of downtown Tampa. I took this opportunity to bring my camera along and finally take some photographs not work related. 

Located at: 9612 Crescent Drive Odessa, FL 33556

Located at: 9612 Crescent Drive Odessa, FL 33556

After our awesome meeting with Donna Green, we took a tour of the grounds with General Manager Kathy Porupski (also an amazing photographer) as she introduced us to all of the animals, including a momma cow, lively goats, horses, turkeys, and baby bunnies like this one: 

Adrienne fell in love with this giant rabbit and it's floppy ears.

Adrienne fell in love with this giant rabbit and it's floppy ears.

Old McMicky's Farm (attached to Camp Keystone) has recently gone through an overhaul and is now reopen for business with school field trips, birthday parties, guided farm tours, and is a prime location for private events (like the growing trend of Barn weddings). Although we have already selected our venue, I recommend this fine establishment to anyone looking for that perfect rustic vibe with two and four legged friends welcome... or if you wish to disconnect from the digital world and learn about what happens at a farm!  

In the mood for a hayride? 

In the mood for a hayride? 

Classic American Dream by Julio Aguilar

The beautiful city of Saint Petersburg played host to a National Corvette Museum car show on May 25, 2013, showcasing all body styles from the 1953 C1 to the 60th anniversary 2013 C6 Corvette. 

Classic round tail lights with a twist. 

Classic round tail lights with a twist. 

The Chevrolet Corvette is considered a classic American sports car. First introduced as a  concept in 1953, this dream ride seemed like it was doomed with slow sales and a lot of facelifts in the eight years following. Since then, we have seen six different body styles each with its own attitude, curve and power. 

As I walked through the colorful assortment of Corvettes this guy caught my attention:

Soaking up the rays.

Soaking up the rays.

And as I made my way around to the rear of the vehicle I was finally introduced....

Meet the C6 vette known as Tweety Bird.

Meet the C6 vette known as Tweety Bird.

Now I was on the search for the perfect C1 body style to compliment Tweety Bird and really show how far this car has come. Of course I stumbled upon an intricately restored red 1960 Corvette owned by avid Bay Area Corvette Club member Lance O. He so kindly allowed me to photograph his work of art.

1960 Chevrolet Corvette. 

1960 Chevrolet Corvette. 

Lance ended up winning an award in his C1 class (of course) and I am excited I was able to photograph his fully restored ride! Thanks again to Lance and all other owners that allowed me to take pictures of their sweet rides and if you want to learn more about the Bay Area Corvette Club you can go to their website here: Bay Area Corvette Club or you can visit the National Corvette Museum for a directory of all Vette clubs throughout the nation. 

All original GM components. 

All original GM components. 

Longing For Kyoto by Julio Aguilar

I recently had the pleasure of photographing a local bay area band by the name of Longing For Kyoto. Justin, the drummer approached me with an idea of a gritty, post apocalyptic shoot but an abundance of color to accent their grunge-ish alternative rock sound. 

Justin, JL, and Dustin

Justin, JL, and Dustin

Locations like these are difficult to find if you don't know where to look... but with luck (and ideas from the band members) we stumbled upon some great scenery to match the look desired. Plus it's always a bonus when there are props ready to use all over the ground.

One of many prop fights... JL just wanted to balance

One of many prop fights... JL just wanted to balance

Planning a shot like this next one takes a little time, but it's well worth it.

Shot with a Vivitar 285HV fill through a Westcott 45" umbrella

Shot with a Vivitar 285HV fill through a Westcott 45" umbrella

These guys were a lot of fun to be around as they made the shoot feel like a day following them around after the world has ended! I recommend checking them out this Friday, May 17, 2013 at the Brass Mug in Tampa or on Saturday, May 25, 2013 at Insomniacs in New Port Richie. Check out their Facebook page here: Longing For Kyoto or go listen to their music at SoundCloud or Reverb Nation. See you guys at the show! 

Justin had an idea.... 

Justin had an idea.... 

The Sleeping Beauty by Julio Aguilar

This weekend here in Saint Petersburg, FL we have the Florida West Ballet putting on "Sleeping Beauty" and I had the opportunity to photograph the star of the first act, Larissa Walker as Aurora. We met up a studio overlooking Mirror Lake to get some pictures of her warming up and practicing. 

Concentration.

Concentration.

We were able to shoot for about an hour and I had to sneak one of these in...

On pointe.

On pointe.

I was able to capture some of her emotion through soft lighting as seen here: 

Lit by a 28" Apollo.

Lit by a 28" Apollo.

It was a great warm-up/ practice session at the studio but I'm excited to see her perform tomorrow, Saturday April 27, 2013 (5pm) at The Palladium Theater in downtown Saint Petersburg, FL. Larissa will be both Aurora in the first act and Bluebird for the third and fourth acts. Tickets are available here: Sleeping Beauty

Grand Jeté

Grand Jeté

The M Lifestyle by Julio Aguilar

This past weekend I had the opportunity to produce, film, and edit a lifestyle type reel following a bright yellow M3 around beautiful Saint Petersburg, Florida. I was approached by Dino, an avid M series enthusiast wanting to get some photographs of his ground hugging ride to which I pitched the idea of also getting some video to make a teaser reel.

Tanning by the water. 

Tanning by the water. 

From here I was able to borrow a GoPro Hero 2 from a friend (thanks Mike!) to add to my arsenal of equipment to get the right shot I was looking for. I also hit up DJ Trevor Gibbs of "We Are Hysteria" to sample one of his mixes for an optimal soundtrack. 

They tuck.

They tuck.

Here's the final product.... for now:

How She Said Yes by Julio Aguilar

This story begins nearly four years ago when my place of employment (Urban Flats at the time) decided to hire on a new server to take over a position that had recently been vacated. The day I met Adrienne she was being given a tour of the kitchen to which I pointed my knife at her and asked how I knew her... little to be known that this action would be the start of every "how we met" story from here on out. Fast forward a couple of months and I finally mustered up the courage to ask Adrienne out on a date where she had no idea what was in store for her. I took her out to Winter Park, Florida for a fun film-photo walk at sunset capped with a nice dinner. 

 

Picture taken with Canon EOS 650 

Picture taken with Canon EOS 650 

The ring.. 

I found Mark Boggs (http://www.boggsjewelers.com/) through family in the area and decided he would be best with helping custom design the perfect ring... here is our final product:

 

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The Proposal

Adrienne approached me in February (she had no idea the ring was in production) and asked if I would want to spend a day with her during her spring break (she's a highschool chemistry teacher) . She asked for Wednesday March 27, 2013. Now having a date and ring on the way, I had to plan a surprising proposal that would not only catch her off guard, but also mean something very important to both of us. I came up with the idea of going out to Fort Desoto early that morning to get the light just perfect for a landscape portrait of the skyway bridge. I approached her Monday March 25, 2013 and asked if she would be my assistant because I couldn't do it alone and needed a second eye for details and behind-the-scenes pictures, like this one: 

 

Over thinking the proposal made me forget about basic camera functions... I forgot to resize my files for landscapes. 

Over thinking the proposal made me forget about basic camera functions... I forgot to resize my files for landscapes. 

Here she took a picture of me "getting filters", in reality I'm putting the ring box in my pocket.  

Taken with Nikon Coolpix L24. 

Taken with Nikon Coolpix L24. 

While asking her to "pat down the random grass in the frame" I strategically set up the camera to film the actual proposal and walked over to "help her with the grass". While doing so I made my move, she said YES, and I popped the champagne (that was on ice, hidden under my backseat). Here's our first kiss as an engaged couple: 

 

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Afterwards I planned a day revolving around what we love to do best, lunch at Lonni's in downtown Saint Petersburg, a trip to MOSI in Tampa, and dinner at Carrabbas.  

Walking into Mosi.

Walking into Mosi.

Oh right, there was also a landscape in there.... 

Taken with a Canon 7D

Taken with a Canon 7D

Mud Endeavor 2013 by Julio Aguilar

Hello all and welcome to my blog. I wanted to share this muddy blast with you that was made possible by the Tampa Bay Strobist Meetup group. Fellow group member Randy Yoho was sponsoring the 2nd Annual Mud Endeavor Race held in Brooksville on Saturday, March 23 and opened up the opportunity for group members to come out and shoot all the action that comes along with trenching through mud while running an intense 5k obstacle course. Thanks to Randy and all other volunteers that made this event possible, it was challenging but fun to shoot! 

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