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The Last Cruise?

No simple way about it.  My wife and I love to travel.  We worked hard over the years, saved and looked for great deals to explore places we’d only dreamed of.  One of the best solutions was to cruise.  But the coronavirus has changed the industry.  Details are still to come but they’ll need a lot of solutions before they can sail again.  How are cruise lines going to convince 250 – 4,000 guests they will be safe.  And what about the buffets, the big draw… Stay tuned.

Details:  All images are from our cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale.  I used a Nikon mirrorless Z6 camera with both a 16-35 and 28-300 lens.


Suicide Season

I read this blog and thought, whoa…..this guy is a good writer. Then I read the rest. Enjoy “Suicide Season”…

The Renegade Press

‘Ignoring your passion is slow suicide. Never ignore what your heart pumps for.’

  • Kevin Claiborne

Let’s play a game of Russian Roulette.

You and I are seated at a table in a smoke filled room; there’s an old six shooter positioned perfectly between us with a single round floating in one of its chambers. The heavy aromas of mildew and fear cling to your skin causing you to perspire. We’re alone. There’s no one here to save us; the only entrance to the cell is destined to remain locked until only one of us remains. You’re scared. So am I. Our lives have been reduced to this moment where we’ll play a game of chance to see who survives. Nothing else matters right now. It’s just you and I.

There’s a coin beside the gun. We’ll flip to see who shoots first. I pick it up and use my thumb…

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Three things you don’t do…

  1. Tell your wife she looks good for her age…… (bad, very bad)
  2. Give the kids silly string to “get Gramz”
  3. Tell everyone you’ll clean up by yourself after the party…..

All that remains from a very awesome party for Gramz

Do Old Guy’s still Rule?

here’s part of my next blog post…..

I have become the person I could never quite figure out while I was on the Asmp San Diego board of directors. That person is a local, experienced, long term member of Asmp.
While I was President we reached out to those photogs and we had some success. We felt it was important to have a community that had members that could share their knowledge, help us become better photogs and be successful in business I’m long gone from the board and now feel like I have become one of them, the untapped resource.
I have only been to a few meeting since, partly due to a good business and a lot of rehashed meeting subjects. I rarely get emails on upcoming events and unless I missed it, nothing on this year’s election.
I hope whoever is on the board “gets” what I’m saying. I want to support and be proud of a creative chapter I’m proud of that embraces us old guys.

Here are a couple suggestions, some that worked for us:

Phone tree:  Call all, young and old.  Not just once but two or three times a year.  Let them know you appreciate them as part of the chapter.  TALK TO THEM…… get to know who you call.  What do they do?  Are they active in the chapter?  If not, why?  What would it take to get them to come to a meeting?  Any special topic they would like to see?  Are they getting emails?  Invite them to a meeting.  LISTEN TO THEM… maybe, just maybe they might want to speak to the chapter on something cool they’re doing.

Variety:  reevaluate your meeting topics.  Just because it’s relevant to you doesn’t mean it’s be done 3 or 4 times before.  Sorry, me and the other oldsters won’t come.  PLEASE, be creative.  I want an excuse to get out of the house.

In conclusion:  This has been a long term problem and I know you know it.  This is our photography community too.  Embrace us, we have knowledge, you have youth and hopefully the desire to grow.

About me:  after a successful career as a photojournalist I opened my own business in 1992 based in San Diego and joined ASMP at the same time.unnamed

www.zwink.com     www.asmp.org     http://www.asmp-sd.org

Ugly Shirt…the secret plans of my Wife and Daugther

Do you have a shirt that embarrasses your wife or girlfriend?

Kevin Hellriegel's Blog of Worthless Advice

Last Saturday, I took off my wonderful black University of Washington Husky hoodie and thus exposed that I was wearing a nice polo shirt. Sadly, I was informed by my wife, daughter, and my daughter’s friend that it was ugly. The shirt wasn’t nice at all; it was ugly.

Ugly? And they let me wear it all day long and didn’t bother to tell me until then?

Oh, you can’t imagine the embarrassment and shame than filled my soul with despair upon this cruel realization.

I do believe that my wife allows me (and probably secretly encourages me) to wear ugly and out of date clothes to make sure no hot babes check me out. That the hideous shirt is allowed to be wore by me (without a warning by my family) is clear proof my wife is purposely making me look like an unattractive dresser and fashion non-diva. I’m…

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So What’s your hurry pt2?

One of my regular gigs (hate that word) is shooting commercial real estate.  It doesn’t excite me but I’m good at it, my clients appreciate my ability to make their multi-million dollar listing look good.  I do hope it helps them sell quicker.  But this not about them.  It’s about opportunity, photo ops.

Earlier in my career when working out of town I’d do the project and then head back home.  Why the hurry?  All these locations offered opportunity, the chance to improve my skills, to learn about the area I was in, to go home with a story.  So, as one of my mentors preached to me I slowed down.  Now after a shoot I like to explore.  Maybe I find something, maybe I don’t.  Then I look one last time at my project.  The change in the light and shadows has often made better images.

I like to shoot, whether for my client or myself.

Techy stuff:  all image with the Apple iPhone 6+.  Processed in Snapseed.

Above Location:  Battery Spencer.  From 1897 until 1943, Battery Spencer was a cold, isolated, and vital military outpost protecting the Golden Gate Bridge and SF. Several buildings and placements for the large cannons that used to stand guard on the hill remain.  It offers one of the best views of the bridge and SF but when we went it was fogged in….. we’ll just have to go back.

Aloha and Mahalo


Everyone should have their own special place.  Even though Patti and I have done a fair amount of traveling Kauai is ours.  It is where we go to refresh our bodies, physically and mentally.  During the year we get caught up in the rat race, the day to day reality.  Pressure to perform, meet goals and expectations slowly build up and affect who we are.  Time for a break.  You don’t need to run off to Hawaii, but we do.


Being on the island helps us refocus, relax and regain clarity.  There is a feeling of the beauty that nature is sharing through the lush tropical landscape, cascading waterfalls, the myriad of hidden beaches and the power of nature as the north swell arrives increasing the waves from 1-3 feet to often over 10 feet.  Kauai has been our home away from home for over twenty year.  We always find or have a new experience.  I return to San Diego more centered ready to share my refreshed vision.  Mahalo Kauai.

Kauai_JDZ_002 Kauai_JDZ_065  Kauai_JDZ_023Kauai_JDZ_013

techy stuff:  Nikon D810 camera with a 14-24, 24-70 and a 70-200 lens with a 1.4 convertor.  Images processed in Adobe Lightroom 5.

If it Keep on Raining’, the Levee Gonna Break

I just spent a week and a half on vacation. While in New Orleans I spent some quality time with former co-worker and now fellow blogger Ray Laskowitz. He shared with us a lot of the history of New Orleans and his Katrina experience. If you like New Orleans or are interested in the devastation from Katrina check out his blog.


The levee. Holy Cross, in the Lower 9th Ward. The levee. Holy Cross, in the Lower 9th Ward.

Some of these people don’t know which road to take… Bob Dylan.

My iPhone went crazy. It buzzed. It beeped. It tooted. It sounded like one of those old air raid sirens. I looked at the message. Serious flooding alert in most of the parishes south of Lake Ponchartrain. New Orleans is south of the lake. Five inches of rain in about an hour.

My iPhone is confused. It thinks I’m in New Orleans. Luckily, I’m not. That’s what happens when you turn off all the location software. My phone doesn’t need to know where I am. All the time. Nobody does. Well, except for a couple of folks.

The picture. Lots of clouds. The straight line along the bottom of the frame is the top of the levee at Holy Cross, in The Lower 9th Ward. A tree is growing…

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Why you don’t work for Free



This portrait of “Monty” was one promotion he used to raise funds for the CAF. (We did a trade, the shoot was not a freebie.)

I used to have the contract for San Diego State Athletics.  I provided all the photography for them including game coverage.  Being a state university the contract was on a bid basis.  Although I was awarded the contract I was told by the then SID (sports information director) it would be in my best interest to find a working relationship with the previous photographer.  After a couple strenuous, stressful years in that arrangement I finally had my golden parachute.  The San Diego Padres were looking for a change.  My new partner, former SI photographer Andy Hayt and myself were chosen to run their new photo operation.  For six years it was a well run operation.  We were well paid, made strong imagery and operated with sound business principals.  Our images had value to our client.

Often I’m told by younger, inexperienced photographers that they are working for free in exchange for the exposure.  How is exposure going to pay your rent, to pay for your cameras and computers?  Listen hard, this practice has been going on for a long time.  Ask yourself if the people asking for free imagery are working for free?  I don’t think so.  Their skills have value and they get paid for it.  If you have the skills, your work has value.  Get paid.  You can only work for free so long before your credit card payment for the camera you bought is due.

Btw, another talented photographer later temporarily got the SDSU contract.  The other photographer I had worked with previously went back and offered to work for free as a volunteer.  He didn’t offer to work with their current paid photographer, his approach was to replace him.  They jumped at the free offer and my friend lost out.   He lost income and State is accepting a lesser quality product.  Don’t condone photographers that lowball, that work for free, even if they are “giving back to the university”.  They diminish the value of our work and create one more potential client that views photography as a low priced commodity.  These are not your friends.


My work is featured at:  www.zwink.com and http://www.bigstudioz.com

I used to shoot Sports…..


Portrait of Ken Caminiti. Concept was to show his toughness and grit.


  I used to be a sports photographer.  Then reality set in….. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

  I grew up in a small Kansas farm town, Macksville, and I loved sports.  I don’t ever remember sports not being a part of my life.  My two oldest brothers excelled in whatever they did.  My next oldest brother Mark was a pretty good pitcher, my sister, Debbie, was just as talented as my older siblings and my youngest brother was probably the best of us all.  The only problem was he was ten years younger than me.  I only learned his exploits from Mark’s writings in the local newspaper.  But what about me?  I was short changed in the talent department.  As hard as I worked and studied sports, the reality was I didn’t “have” it.  But boy it sure took me a long time to accept it.

  I played on the high school team and then was the backup place kicker on the Mesa College football team.  Looking back I think it was only because Coach Smorin didn’t cut those that wanted to be there.  I wanted it bad.  So I stayed.  During the offseason I was in the first car accident of my life and as a result had to quit playing.  That was one of the best events that ever  happened.

  During the offseason I had gotten married and my sister-in-law, Carole had loaned me her 35mm Yashica to play with.  I was quickly hooked and soon photographing sports for the school paper at Mesa College which allow me to stay in touch with my team mates.  An obsession to learn followed and within four years I was working in the newspaper realm, covering news and the sports I loved.

  After eight years as a staff photographer at the San Diego Union Tribune I started my own business and became immersed in the sports photography profession.  I worked for the wire services, trading card companies, San Diego State University and then got my dream job.  Along with a former Sports Illustrated photographer we started an in-house full service photography department for the owner of the San Diego Padres.  It was a sports photographer’s ideal job.  We were on the inside documenting the team and the franchise, the players and the owners.  We were given access that few photographer ever are given.

  During the six year stint we lived a great life.  I photographed hundreds of games and saw a rare insight into what some people call the Greatest Game.  The Padres had a good team and even better marketing.  Their quest to expand their brand took us to Mexico several times, once to play the Mets, to Hawaii to play the St. Louis Cardinals and then the winning began.  We went to the playoff and then the World Series.  I saw Tony Gwynn at his prime, I saw him injured and I saw him retire.  On his final game he personally gave me an autographed bat which I have to this day.

  But times change.  Due to internal politics I was not renewed.  And to add insult to injury I was replaced by the mailroom clerk….  the timing was terrible.  They waited until ten days prior to spring training which precluded me from working with another company.

  Losing that contract was the best event that happened.  I’m now an architectural photographer.  I miss sports but I love my new challenge.  But that’s another story.  Check out my website, www.zwink.com 

About the photo:  This was a portrait of Ken Caminiti done for the Padres Magazine.  Camy was one of the most intense, dedicated hard working people I ever met.  He loved baseball.  Padre fans loved him.