Friday, December 7, 2012

Pearl Harbor Day - Capt. NG Lancaster

Today is the 71st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. I'm kind of a WWII buff, but today is significant because my grandfather (Capt. Norman Lancaster) was serving on the USS Phoenix in Hawaii on the day of the attack. He also lived close to the Pentagon (could see it from his kitchen window in his high rise apartment building) and witnessed the Sept. 11th attacks as well. Both occurred around his breakfast time, so I used to joke that he's no longer allowed to eat breakfast.

He died last year just before turning 97, and is buried at Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC with my grandmother.

Thanks to him, and everyone that takes on the task of defending our country.

Grandpa (center)
Grandpa's ship (while he is aboard) sailing past the wreckage
Grandma & Grandpa (Florence and Norman Lancaster)
General McArthur aboard Grandpa's ship (USS Phoenix)
Capt. Norman G Lancaster
Funeral at Arlington National Cemetery last Fall. We (my family) in black on the left.

He is also in these segments on the History Channel about Pearl Harbor. In this one, he's at 1:12, 2:38, and a particularly chilling comment at 6:27:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holidays, Photos, and Festivities


Ok... so I did, in fact, neglect November. In my defense, I was busy with Thanksgiving (family in town), my birthday, a wedding to shoot & edit, and a few other activities.

Here's some fun stuff from the last month:

Sarah & Thomas had a beautiful wedding in Pleasant Hill, CA

Congrats to Sarah & Thomas

My brother and step brother came to visit for Thanksgiving. This is the "portrait" we took for our parents.

Keith had to shoot car stills for a project, so we took this Jaguar out to Treasure Island (across from San Francisco).

Our view of San Francisco when we were done with the shoot.

Ventured in to San Fran to the Aquarium. That's just a bunch of fish over my head.

...then my birthday happened. (FYI that's artwork I created for The Family Crest. Incredible group.)

Later on my birthday, at a city professionals meeting (hence the name tag). I don't know who's idea the cake was, but thank you! I also don't know why my eyes are ridiculously blue.

And it's only December 6th! We got a whole month ahead of stuff to do (if you know me, you know how much I love Xmas time). 

It's gonna get packed, so if you want to book something, you need to do it now! I have some trips to SoCal coming up, a wedding to shoot in San Francisco, a trip to Reno, a promo shoot to do, potentially a video project, various events to make appearances at, people to see, and that doesn't even include the shoots I'll be assisting Jen Cash with.

So speak up if you need me! Happy Holidays everyone.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Hi folks,

So I'm updating this on the last day of October, which means... I technically didn't neglect you this month! Ha!

Oh, and it's Halloween :)

Hope all is well with you. There's a lot changing in my world at the moment, which accounts for the missing posts. But I do have some fun stuff to share, which includes an evening shooting The Hives as they came through Oakland, CA at the Fox Theater, and a beautiful wedding with a lovely couple at Fort Mason in San Francisco. So let's not beat around the bush any further.

Lyssa and Allen's wedding at Fort Mason, San Francisco

Lyssa and Allen's wedding at Fort Mason, San Francisco

Lyssa and Allen's wedding at Fort Mason, San Francisco
The Hives take center stage at the Fox Theater in Oakland, CA. Photo by Clay Lancaster

The Hives take center stage at the Fox Theater in Oakland, CA. Photo by Clay Lancaster

The Hives take center stage at the Fox Theater in Oakland, CA. Photo by Clay Lancaster

Everyone please have a fun and safe Halloween! I'll be out and about. You may have seen me in 1985, or 1955, or 2015. I jump around. Known to go Back In Time...

"Gimme a milk... chocolate..."

Marty McFly costume this year.

- Clay

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Way It Was (Nostalgia)

This really has little to do with my photography work. It can kind of relate to the weddings I shoot, though.

I write and shoot for (a music webzine). After observing new albums myself, analyzing comments left by our readers, and even listening to my parents talk about stuff, I've come to the revelation that people don't like change. They say they do, so they vote for Obama or something. But really, no one likes unfamiliar territory. That's why the phrase "out of your comfort zone" is so prevalent.

It's a challenge for people to explore new things.

I see it in weddings: same songs for the reception, same decor, same organization of the day...

I see it in music: same beats, same chord progressions, same look, same "sound"...

My honest assessment is that most people are followers, not leaders. Look at the cell phone market. Everyone loves to trash Apple over what "the new iPhone lacks", yet they fail to recognize that NO company had an all-touch screen phone until Apple made one. Now it's simply the benchmark, and how cell phones are designed. Followers.

It's apparent that people don't like to stray from the format. They don't like change... unless everyone else is adopting it, so they feel like they fit in.

I'm guilty of many of the same feelings, and I struggle to adapt sometimes as well. I feel like current society has no sense of respect, or work ethic, or manners, or writing skills (as I post this, I just saw an article saying that reading/writing SAT scores are the lowest they've been since 1972). So even when it's cool to say something like "u r awesome" in a text message, I immediately gripe and assume those people have no language skills.

Not all change is good, obviously. But try to embrace it, and try to make it work for you. Your favorite band did an album that doesn't sound like they did 10 years ago? Try to see it for the style it is now. You're taking all of your wedding planning cues from what has been done by everyone else for 30+ years? Try creating your own way of getting married.

Hell, try creating your own way of living! (as long as you don't hurt people, that is).

A real-life example is, well, me. I saw life and career as the way my dad did it. The "practical" route, so to speak. So I went to college, got a BA in Economics, and started going after finance-related jobs. Eventually it started to kill me, because it didn't work for me. I've always been creative, so I found a new way to make a living. And now I'm the reason you have wedding photos.

For most things, there are no rules. You can explore new ideas. No one is stopping you, so do it! You might be surprised.

This has been a public service announcement from Lancaster Photography.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Hot Hot Heat

Well, I did it. I successfully neglected my blog for the entire month of August. *high five*

For some reason, most of the weddings I've photographed this summer ended up being on the hottest days of the week. I like cooler weather. So, needless to say, it's a challenge for me to throw on a suit and stand out there with a camera when it's 104 degrees outside.

I'm not entirely sure why I'm telling you all of this. Just absorb the information and we'll move on...

Ms. Chelsea Tavis was kind enough to revamp last week. The layout is similar, but much fancier and much more well-presented. Not to mention it's also more social-media-friendly. Check it out!

Now for some photos. August took me to Napa, Livermore, St. Helena, Moraga, and Marshall.  Here is some of what you may have missed lately:

Sheila & Trevor at Hacienda de las Flores in Moraga, CA

Kathleen & Nate at V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena, CA

Nick & Barbie at the Corinthean Ballroom (and park) in San Jose, CA

Jessica and Kody at Garre Winery (Martinelli Center) in Livermore, CA

Tanya & Ryan at Walker Creek Ranch in Marshall, CA

And super-assistant George (with a newly healed and functional foot) scaling the rafters of a barn last night during the reception. The groomsmen hoisted him up onto the first tier, and George climbed his way to the ceiling for some photos.

Got lots of editing to catch up on now! Thankfully September is a low-key month this year.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Weddings, Promos, Bands - Let's Catch Up.

Hi. How are you? 

'Tis wedding season, which means I've been busier than normal (i.e. now I work 3 days a month!). 

Let's see... I guess I'll start with some wedding shoots and personal-ish news: If I've done photos for your wedding, you've probably met George. He's been my "consistent assistant" for most of them. That is, until a pallet took a wrong turn coming off the loading dock at his day job and crushed his foot, breaking 4 toes.

He's almost back to normal now, and the trooper has hobbled his way through weddings this month like a champ. That even includes an almost 10-hour wedding shoot a few weeks ago. In 95 degree heat. Wearing a plastic boot from the doctor that prevents him from bending his foot.

Suffice to say, my assistant is more badass than your assistant.

Here's the big guy in the ER right after it happened. I spent 3 hours with him, and drove him around to get lunch, medications, etc.

There have been a bunch of fantastic weddings lately. I'm honestly very lucky in the sense that I get to work with some great couples. Couples that will even lovingly call me an asshole during the wedding, because they get my sense of humor. Not to mention that 2012 is apparently the year of TIPS (hint hint). Here are a few of my favorite shots:

Thank you indeed. That's me with the signs.

Brides, if you're stressed out... take notes from Sarah here.
Photo by Clay Lancaster.

Probably the happiest groomsmen I've come across.

Then I shaved. I've had a beard for months and months, so it's a little weird looking so young now:

I also did a promo shoot for the very talented Lisa Marie Johnston. It was highly entertaining to have the metal band Testament walk through this particular shot as I was working.

Lisa Marie Johnston. Oakland, CA.
Since we're on the topic of musicians... last week I joined JC of for an interview with the band Carolina Liar, and shot their set (currently touring with Kelly Clarkson).

Carolina Liar. Concord Pavilion. Touring with Kelly Clarkson.

Also, I was (I think for the first time ever) a model. My very dear friend Chelsea wanted to have me sit for her for a project she's working on. She runs Glam Rock Magazine, which I highly suggest you go take a look at.

My brother Keith is currently in Paris studying fashion photography, and someone took a great photo of him. So we did this one to compete (brothers... we always compete).

Clay Lancaster (left) taken by Chelsea, and Keith Lancaster (right).

Oh, and I helped one of my besties Jen (of Calibree Photography) on her shoot with the band Smash Mouth in San Jose, CA. I didn't shoot, but I helped with lighting, and I drank on their tour bus. So I did my part...

Clay Lancaster with Smash Mouth shooting a music video in the background

And on a personal note: you may have seen my posts about our house burning down last November. This photo is courtesy of my step brother (who I'm very close to), which shows the empty lot after it's been bulldozed. Flowers are already starting to grow. It's kind of peaceful, actually.

Where our house used to be. Reno, NV. Pioneer Dr.

That should cover most of it for now. I hope everyone is well. If you've already booked me, get ready for some fun stuff! If you haven't yet... what's the matter with you? :)


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dallas - Over the Edge, and a Return to Rock N Roll

It just clicked into my head right now that I am apparently horrible at marketing and publicity sometimes. Why? Because I've totally slacked on promoting the band Dallas.

Dallas, the brainchild of San Francisco Bay Area Bryan Dallas, has been a best-kept secret for years until last month. The EP Over the Edge hit iTunes for public ears.

Keep in mind, this is for fans of straight up rock n' roll. Wailing vocals, soaring guitars, and larger-than-life songs. The way it used to be done, and the future release of this indie rut we've been stuck in for way too long.

Since I started my new life as a self-employed creator, I've been so fortunate to meet no one but talented, inspiring, and kind people. One of them happened to be Bryan Dallas.

I had heard pieces of what was to become Dallas through the grapevine, and this guy agreed to meet with me about media. We met up at a bar, which turned into drinks and talking until 5am back at the studio. For the next year, we bounced ideas back and forth and created numerous drafts of various things.

This spring it was apparent that the EP release was imminent. With some deadlines set by his management, we jumped into a 10-12 hour-per-day routine at Dallas Ranch... which involved basically notepads, cameras, laptops, and booze. And the occasional bonfire with other photographers and musicians.

There's a lot coming your way, and I'm proud to be a part of it. Keep an eye out, because Europe has already acknowledged what we're about to show you. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Here's one of the tracks with a simple lyric video that we put together:

Enjoy, and you'll be hearing from Dallas very soon.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Thrice - Farewell Tour 2012 - San Francisco

After 13 years as a band, Thrice are in the midst of their final few shows before taking an indefinite hiatus. They were gracious enough to stop and spend some time with us at before their sold out show last night at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco. 

Here are a few photos!

Thrice performs one of their last shows in San Francisco. Photo by Clay Lancaster
JC talks with Ed and Teppei of Thrice on
Thrice's Teppei Teranishi performs one of their last shows in San Francisco. Photo by Clay Lancaster

Thrice performs one of their last shows in San Francisco. Photo by Clay Lancaster

Thrice's Ed Breckenridge performs one of their last shows in San Francisco. Photo by Clay Lancaster

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Solar Eclipse 2012

Photo of the solar eclipse of 2012, as viewed from the San Francisco Bay Area. Photo by Clay Lancaster.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mare Island Wedding - Andrew & Emily

I'm just going to pretend that you asked about it...

In the days of Yore (before I was a photographer for a living), I used to be a manager for a very large and well-known retail chain.

The company had created a new position, and I was assigned to get it off the ground... and I needed a team to help me do it. So thrown into the mix was this guy Andrew, whom with I had semi been acquainted as he already worked in a different area of our store. We quickly hit it off with similar interests (went to the same University even), and Andrew quickly became one of my best friends as well as one of my best employees. When I got more serious about photography Andrew's band was one of the local groups that would help me hone my craft, and he was always supportive of me hopefully taking photos for a living.

Andrew & me in a previous life.

As Andrew was still working on finishing his Bachelor's degree, he needed to take a leave of absence from my team at work when classes started up again. In his place, I took this girl named Emily that Andrew had recently begun dating.

Over the years, Andrew and Emily continued to date (eventually moving in together, and after that moved to Las Vegas). I eventually left my job to do photography full-time, and we've maintained contact ever since. I even went to Las Vegas and spent some time with them there.

Last Saturday (May 12th) Andrew and Emily got married at Mare Island in Vallejo, CA. They are also expecting a baby boy. Not only did I have the privilege of being one of Andrew's groomsmen, but I was also the photographer.

Yes, it can be done.

Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Smith. Congratulations on the new family. And congratulations on being the only Indian guy I know named Smith.

Here are some photos.

lacing shoes is hard for Andrew

Groomsmen. That's me, 2nd from left.

...and here I am sitting on a rocket. Yes, that's a rocket.

Andrew & Clay, present day

baby Silus is in there somewhere!

being supportive