Iwamoto's Photos

Painting with light.

Brandon Iwamoto is a freelance photographer based in Aurora, Colorado, USA

U.S. 666

Or at least it used to be. One of the deadliest highways in the country got a name change a while ago, to U.S. 491, after some were concerned that the highway’s ominous name was the cause of the rash of fatal crashes. Of course, we all know, it’s just an excuse to blame someone/something else.

The road is being widened from two lanes to four, in an effort to reduce the number of head-on collisions that occur, thanks to poor passing skills and alcohol.

On the way back from the highway buried deep (ok, only about an hour into) the Navajo Reservation, we stopped to get some shots of a rock slide. Sounds exciting right? Except that the rock slide occurred last night and there was no dynamite involved in the clearing of the massive rocks. For shame.

Congratulations to Jon Austria, a fellow former-Colorado Springs Gazette intern, who will be my new photo coworker after officially accepting the job yesterday.


Freedom Communications puts its newspapers -- including Orange County Register, Colorado Springs Gazette -- & TV stations up for auction


My former employers, MediaNews Group, would be following the pattern set by its soon-to-be-former President and CEO, Dean Singleton if the company got Freedom’s properties and further consolidated production services in regional hubs (MediaNews already owns most of the LA area except for the Tribune-owned LA Times) including Colorado, since the company recently announced the purchase of family-owned small-town papers in Longmont, Loveland and Canon City.


The day that I submitted my first application for a full time newspaper job, I discovered two of my coworkers from the Gazette, fellow photographers, were laid off.

Wish me luck, as I’m wishing them luck in finding something new and successful.

It’s a rough market out there, and who knows if I’ll even make it.


2010 in Review

You can’t make a $45 steak NOT look delicious. That’s the last lesson I’ve learned here at the Gazette, and perhaps of 2010. This post will be light on words and heavy on photos, some of my favorites of the year.

As I was getting ready to wrap it up and officially walk out of the Gazette for the last time as an intern, I was told the health center across the street had flooded and that patients had to be evacuated. Nothing special, but sums up a lot about my year, and a fitting way to end my internship.

I won’t bore you with the other assignment I shot today, of a personal chef.

I know why you’re here. But first, the greatest lesson I learned this year:

Enjoy every moment you have with the ones you love…

…Because before you know it, they’re gone.

The remainder of this post is dedicated to the memory of my boy Cole and to many years to come for our new pup, Lacey (above).

Without further ado, 2010 in Review:


Queen of Hearts

Todd Lancaster

Ken Miller

Balloon Glow

Yoga in Manitou

Home of the Brave

State Softball

State Volleyball

Let’s Play Fetch

Turkey Trottin’

Claire Felix

Jon Moore


That’s all folks. Thanks for reading, and have a Happy New Year, I’ll see you all in 2011.



(Comments located above tags, when not in Dashboard)

This Is It

I’ve been procrastinating this blog all week now, and I think it might be out of denial that the internship is finally almost over, that four months flew by like nothing. Mark, Jerilee, Stuart, and Christian took me out to HuHot (“In honor of you coming from Fort Collins,” Mark said) for lunch as an end-of-the-year going away shindig. Walking into the restaurant, the skies were cloudy and ominous. Walking out, the snow was blowing sideways and the roads became slick.

Lunch was fun. The snow wasn’t. Thanks for killing the mood once again, Mother Nature.

So out feature hunting, I ran to a crashed car that allegedly slid into a light pole and from there found some kids sledding and playing with their dog out at a local elementary school.

Wasn’t (but should have been) prepared for the snow, and so walking down the hill to shoot this, I slid and fell, hard, into the snow. Twice. My camera is fine, but my shoulder and side is a bit sore, nothing major though luckily.

So, since I’ve been procrastinating this blog, here’s a few photos of what I’ve been up to lately:

Post-Christmas returns.

Local soldier home, for those suffering from various ailments/conditions and are, more often than not, homeless.

House fire, where the man inside was woken up and, essentially, saved by his dog.

Only a couple of assignments tomorrow for my official last day, a dining photo at a local steak house ($45 steaks… I think this could be a fun shoot) and then a personal chef. Still waiting on a repaired lens from Canon and my last phone bill as well, then all will be settled.

Shame we don’t have personalized Broncos credentials anymore, otherwise Mark had suggested I go up on Sunday and shoot. Ah well, that’s the breaks.

Thanks for following me through my internship here at the Gazette, I really appreciate all the support you guys have given me. This is not the end of my blog, because it is not the end of my job as a visual storyteller. This may just be a new beginning.

So here’s to 2011.


(Comments located above the Tags when not viewed in Dashboard)

The Greatest Gift

This morning, the sergeant in the above picture met his son for the first time, Christmas eve only a month and a half after he was born. While covering the return of members of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team to Fort Carson, I remembered weeks ago covering a Santa in Old Colorado City who mentioned it was tough being in such a heavily military town, because often times the kids just wants to see their moms and dads for Christmas. No promises, he said.

Well boys and girls, this morning Santa delivered. While it’s not everybody, this little event meant the world for 70 families at Fort Carson.

These affairs are always incredibly quick and never last long from entrance to exit, but today was even more expedited than usual, with families wanting to be together for Christmas. The latter photo was actually shot through a Christmas tree, with a 400mm lens.

After that was just a long day of listening to the scanner, nearly falling asleep and doing a whole lot of nothing until Barna came around and asked me to go with him and shoot some photos of last-minute shoppers at a local Wal-Mart.

Only officially one week left in my internship. Damn time flies.

That’s all for tonight, Merry Christmas to all and to all a…. whatever. Not terribly Christmasy mood, is it? Oh well, go open your presents and quit reading this lame blog!


(Comments are located above the tags when not viewed in Dashboard)


Today marked what will likely be the last Peak Performer athlete-of-the-week portrait of my internship at the Gazette. I decided I wanted to try something a little different lighting-wise, using a pair of blue-gelled speedlites on each side of our wrestler and a snooted, 1/4 CTO-gelled SB900 clamped to some peeling padding on a wall on the far edge of the tiny wrestling room.

One of the big stories out of the Springs today was the vicious windstorm that swept through overnight and into the morning, and while cruising for weather art in the Broadmoor area, I came across this 70-foot tall, 3 foot diameter tree that the winds snapped like a twig.

The whole area just south of the Broadmoor looked like those trees from the Lord of the Rings movies got into a heated battle and all sorts of body parts and dead trees littered the streets. Just insanity, trees on houses, in the middle of streets. Insanity.

And so after a couple hours of some much needed and procrastinated Christmas shopping, I came home in time to use the Gazette’s 600mm lens and knock out a few shots from my wobbly tripod of the glorious lunar eclipse. Composition’s not great and it’s a tiny bit fuzzy, but not much you can do with a D2H and a massive lens pointed straight up from a shaky, plastic tripod, right? Shoulda seen if Jerilee could have lent me her D3. Ahh well…

That’s all for tonight, Avs game tomorrow and then who knows what else for the rest of the week. Thanks for reading and have a good night!


(Comments located above the tags, when not viewed in the Tumblr dashboard)

Miracle Baby

Interesting little story about a baby who, a year ago Christmas Eve, made major medical news across the country, even making Readers Digest this month. Apparently at birth his mother stopped breathing and she suffered cardiac arrest and, upon emergency c-section, the baby was not breathing either. Miraculously, they both just reawakened, with no explanation for either the cause or the salvation.

Very interesting, indeed… The above was shot with a pseudo-remote camera, placed at the center of the table with a cable release attached.

Before that was a little holiday party for a local Hispanic support group at the Citadel Mall, where families involved with this program basically came for presents and food. It was one of those difficult events where everybody was posing for the camera, posing their kids for the camera, and making as big a deal of my presence as possible. Makes my job difficult, quite contrary to their purpose, I assume.

Also was interesting speaking to the primarily Spanish-speaking folks there. My Spanish skills are very weak, having not taken classes for it since like 7th grade. I was doing pretty well too, until I accidentally said “Arigato” instead of “Gracias.” Japanese just kept popping into my head, there was nothing I could do!

Anyways, that’s all for the evening, hope you all had a great weekend and thanks for reading!



While shooting this morning’s prep hockey game between Pine Creek and Rampart, the reporter and I discovered that earlier in the morning another local hockey player, from Palmer, had passed away from an apparent brain aneurysm. Originally I was to cover Air Force basketball tonight, but thanks to this being a more interesting story than the Falcons playing yet another terrible team to pad their record, they called me off it last minute.

I hadn’t covered something like this yet before, and was a little intimidated upon showing up at the house.

While shooting, I remembered back in high school when my friend, Ian “Wally” Wallace, passed away in a car crash around this time nearly five years ago. I remembered a similar candlelight vigil at a skate park soon after it happened, and I remember having my photo taken (appearing in the Denver Post the next day) and how the photographer handled it then, how he moved so quietly and the way he showed the grievers respect.

It helped me decide which pictures to make and which to just disappear silently into the night.

Assignments like this are when the camera’s “quiet” delayed mirror drop option comes in handy. It’s also when having an f/1.4 lens comes in handy, too.

So with that, I’ll just leave you with a couple of the photos from the hockey game in the morning, another in which I tried shooting with the 600mm manual focus lens. The Air Force arena is tiny with some of the crappiest glass known to man, makes finding different locations to shoot from difficult.

So ends another night of the Gazette intern. Only 12 days left in my internship, going to try and make the best of them, while I still can.

Thanks for reading.