Iwamoto's Photos

Painting with light.

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

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.



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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.


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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!


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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!


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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.



I haven’t been sleeping too well lately, not entirely sure why either. But that’s why I didn’t post yesterday (that and I was fairly disappointed by the relative lack of response to my project…. but I DO want to say thank you to the few people who did mention something!).

The above is a feature photo from last night that didn’t quite turn out as well as I had hoped… Ideally would have thrown an off-camera flash into the scene from the right, but didn’t have my flash with me at the time. Ahh well, it didn’t run anyways.

Before that was a program by the DA office that had their rehabbing juvenile offenders buy needy kids bikes for Christmas, which didn’t make for as interesting photos indoors as you might have expected, but upon editing a happy mistake happened in that the fancy building across the street happened to be perfectly aligned and reflected in the window. Nothing special, but it helps the picture a bit.

Had a bit of fun looking for feature photos this morning in the snow, and settled on some kids from Texas sledding down the street in Garden of the Gods. The sledding wasn’t great since there wasn’t much snow, so it quickly turned into a snowball fight.

That’s all for tonight, not much else to really talk about today. Thanks for reading and sorry for not having anything exciting.


Peak Performers Final

As promised, here they are. The special section runs tomorrow, so I can post tonight, finally! Without further ado, the 2010 Fall Peak Performers:

Big School Football: Dominic Rufran (Palmer)

Small School Football: Tyree Walker (Vista Ridge)

Big School Volleyball (co-winner): Nikki Glass (Pine Creek)

Big School Volleyball (co-winner): Taylor Simpson (Doherty)

Small School Volleyball: Claire Felix (TCA)

Boys Cross Country: Spencer Wenck (Palmer Ridge)

Girls Cross Country: Hannah Everson (Liberty)

Field Hockey: Kaili Simmons (Palmer Ridge)

Golf: Cam Harrell (Air Academy)

Gymnastics: Kiersten Clowes (Palmer Ridge)

Boys Soccer: Ryan Dozier (Air Academy)

Softball: Mariah Peterson (Lewis-Palmer)

Boys Tennis: Jon Moore (Cheyenne Mountain)

That’s all of them. Two weeks of tight scheduling, lighting issues, drama and working days off’s worth of work. Enjoy, I’m certainly glad it’s over now. Ironically enough too, this is post number 100 in this blog. Cheers!


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P.S. For detailed lighting information, please view one of the photos on my Flickr page.

A Horse is a Horse

Of course, of course. Hahaha sorry, I couldn’t resist. That’s what was in my head the entire time I spent shooting this assignment, where horses in the Ft. Carson Mounted Color Guard were promoted, everything from PFC to Master Sergeant. Still cracks me up that some of the horses out-rank their riders.

As you can tell, they were certainly getting a bit spoiled, rewarded for their diligence leading up to the promotions. Apples, cookies, etc, it’s only natural they think everyone has something to offer them.

Of course, my camera’s not really what I had in mind. Probably doesn’t taste too good, either. Yes, that’s actually steam from the horse’s breath on the lens. Don’t you love that wide-angle distortion, too? Very curious, some of these horses were. Definitely made for an entertaining morning at Turkey Creek Ranch.

Shook my head at a little incident that took place at the Ranch tho this morning. As the ceremony was finishing up, a cameraman from a local TV station showed up… way late. He asked the folks running the ceremony to hold on for a few min, basically stand around and do nothing, while he got his shots. I just couldn’t believe it. Any real photojournalist knows that recording what’s taking place, being that fly on the wall, is important to keeping the integrity of what’s going on in place. Who is this guy to come in, late, out of nowhere, and have everybody wait for him to get what he needs, because he operates on his own schedule?

Granted, I guess this whole ceremony was just one big show for the media anyways, not to mention it’s not of much consequence news-wise. It just makes you wonder though, if he’ll go to those lengths for something as trivial as this if he even has boundaries for something more important? Or, from the perspective of someone who witnessed it, it calls into question the integrity or reality of what they see on the news every night. I guess it goes to show you that TV news isn’t real journalism. Or that they have no ethics. Or both. Who knows? He was the station’s Chief Photographer, btw.

Ahh well, what can you do?

Thanks for reading tonight! A couple of days off (my first in two weeks) to rest up and come back to hopefully finish the last couple weeks of my internship strong!


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