The Bay has been teeming with activity in preparation for the America’s Cup World Series in San Francisco.

I plan on documenting the events of the America’s Cup over the next 13 months and this practice session on Wednesday is the first glimpse.

Stay tuned

Golden Gate Bridge Turns 75

When I first moved to San Francisco in 1995 I would photograph everything, but it was not until I spied the bridge through the Waldo Tunnel heading south toward San Francisco that I thought abut photographing it.  I actually walked into the tunnel a few days later with my camera on a tripod, balancing on 6 inches of curb while cars whizzed past at 60 mph.  I believe I got off three frames before I heard the police sirens.  The image was not worth the $50.00 ticket, but the story still takes me back to a time of black and white film and youthful naivete.  Over the years I have photographed the Golden Bridge in a casual way and I have collected a sample of images to share in celebration of 75 years and still standing.

Golden Gate Bridge as seen from China Beach

No on 209 march across the Golden Gate Bridge

A ship travels under the Golden Gate Bridge at sunrise

Golden Gate Bridge as seen from Fort Point

Golden Gate Bridge as seen from north parking lot

A heart left on the Golden Gate Bridge

On the Golden Gate Bridge looking up

View from the Marin Headlands

Portrait of Tom Kiely for California Meetings and Events Magazine

Night time view from Marin headlands

Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Point with a fisheye lens

Golden Gate Bridge last night before the fireworks

Golden Gate Bridge at start of fireworks show

Last night the Golden Gate Bridge celebrated 75 years

Last night the Golden Gate Bridge celebrated 75 years

Last night the Golden Gate Bridge celebrated 75 years

For more work from Scott Chernis please visit

Bon Iver is not a person

Justin Vernon is the voice and artistic creator of Bon Iver.  The band and concept is his vision and he alone accepted the best new artist Grammy a couple of weeks ago, but Bon Iver is a band and Justin Vernon is a person.  Jethro Tull is also not a person, but that is a different post.  I had the opportunity to photograph Bon Iver at the Fox Theater in September of 2009, and it was an incredible show.  I was not familiar with the band at the time and their album For Emma, Forever Ago turned an obscure singer songwriter from Eau Claire, Wisconsin with an incredible falsetto into a national phenomenon. Since the Grammy win I have heard many people refer to Justin Vernon as Bon Iver and Bon Iver as a he and it just is not so.  This is a band and a pretty good one at that.  I met them briefly before the Fox Theater show and had two minutes to take a mediocre backstage group shot, they never turn out very well, but it is a fine memory of a great show and a moment in time before this very talented group blew up.

Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael offers a sneak peak during casual opening

Phil Lesh and his many friends played an intimate show for around 200 people tonight at the new music club and restaurant, Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, CA.  This soft opening tonight in the lounge is the start of a music filled March with a run of 12 shows in the Grate room with Phil Lesh and Friends to close out the month.  I was fortunate to be inside tonight to photograph the festivities.

Opening Night at Terrapin CrossroadsOpening Night at Terrapin CrossroadsOpening Night at Terrapin CrossroadsOpening Night at Terrapin CrossroadsOpening Night at Terrapin CrossroadsOpening Night at Terrapin

Hats off to the Sports Photographers

Walking through the service entrance at AT&T Park, and following the media signs to the field is an interesting experience.  Walking into Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott and Jerry Rice in the hallway got me on my toes.  This was the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl and I had a press pass.  I don’t usually shoot sports, but sometimes my camera allows me into places where I have never been before.  It is busy on the field with players from UCLA and Illinois warming up and press swarming the sidelines.  Kickoff is thirty minutes away.  The previously mentioned former 49ers are enjoying themselves on the sideline and I am hoping that the knee pads I purchased earlier that morning will be sufficient.  As I scout the other photographers around me I notice that the experienced shooters are wearing heavy duty knee pads, the kind you find at a home improvement store, not a sporting goods store.  I quickly learned that I need to upgrade before my next foray onto the football field.

The game began slowly with neither team gaining much yardage or momentum.  I was getting used to shooting fast action with a 400mm lens and an ever changing light at the ballpark.  This sports photography was not as easy as I thought.

Kraft Fight Hunger BowlKraft Fight Hunger BowlImage



In a football game there are many plays run, and thousands of images are made throughout the course of a game.  Very few of them mean anything, but if you are lucky enough and skillful enough to capture a moment in time that actually means something you have succeeded.  Anticipation of where the ball is going is imperative, especially when one team is close to scoring a touchdown.  UCLA scored first with a 16 yard touchdown pass to Taylor Embree.  I was in the right position in the corner of the end zone, but I switched cameras to use my shorter lens too slowly and I missed a great catch.  Jason O. Watson-US Presswire and Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP did not.  See the difference experience makes below:



Photo by Jason O. Watson – US Presswire


Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

I think I was standing right next to both of them.  Missing a shot is not usually an option in this business, but luckily my assignment was more open ended than just chronicling each scoring drive of the game.  I learned a valuable lesson and I will be looking forward to my next chance to document a big time football game with this newly acquired knowledge.  The game continued on slowly and I was putting my motor drive to the test, capturing plenty of action shots that held little meaning in the grand scheme of the game.




I am satisfied with these images, they capture good action on the field, the color is crisp and the photos are sharp.  But they just show random plays that amounted to a few yards gained or lost or a catch or an incomplete pass, I don’t even remember.  Then Illinois Wide Receiver A.J Jenkins caught a 60 yard touchdown pass and I missed the shot again.  Jason O. Watson US Presswire nailed it.



Photo by Jason O. Watson-USPresswire

This time I was out of position, behind the play on the field and off on my focus.  So I missed another shot, I’ll get it next time.

Traveling the World with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (without leaving Honolulu)

Dedicated photojournalists log countless hours in airports and hotels, while documenting the often mundane details of the world’s leaders.  This is not my job description.  On a recent assignment for The Department of State, covering APEC Leaders’ Week in Hawaii, I got a glimpse into what it would be like to work in this manner.  I was assigned to cover Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for three days while she held bi-lateral meetings, gave speeches, hosted dinners and attended many other events.  In fact I got to travel around the world with The Secretary of State without leaving Honolulu.  Our first stop was the East West Center on the campus of the University of Hawaii, where Secretary Clinton met with Pacific Island Country Leaders and gave a speech to a large and enthusiastic crowd.  It was en route to this location in the motorcade, complete with secret service and a police escort,  that I realized this job was unlike any other I had done before.

Secretary Clinton at East West Center

The rest of the day was consumed with Bi-Lateral meetings with the Foreign Ministers of Australia, Japan, China and The President of Vietnam.  Shooting these meetings is fast and a bit unrewarding as the press is allowed in at the top of the meeting for a quick handshake photo-op and out the door we go.

Bi-Lateral meetings with Australia, China, Japan and Vietnam

From the final meeting with the president of Japan we traveled to Shangri-la, the mansion built by Doris Duke to house and preserve her Islamic Art Collection.  A dinner reception was being held for trade ministers from APEC economies.

Secretary Clinton receives a private tour of the art collection at Shangri-la

The next day we got to work early and spent the day in meetings, in a press conference, at the CEO Summit and finally back at Shangri-la for another dinner, this time with The Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo.  The dinner was prepared by Iron Chef Morimoto.

The Foreign Ministers Breakfast at The hawaii Convention Center

Secretary Clinton at The CEO Summit

Back at Shangri-la with Iron Chef Morimoto and The Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo

The final day in my 3 day assignment with Secretary Clinton was a long and slow one spent primarily waiting around the hotel for my photo-op.  Only 4 meetings were held and that means I had a total of less than ten minutes of actual photography work in a day that began at 8:00 and ended at 6:00.  It was all worth it though, with a priceless moment during the last meeting with the Chief Executive of Hong Kong.  The sun was setting so the shot was at least a bit interesting when out of nowhere comes a man running, presumably on his way to the luau complete with torch.  The security was nowhere to be seen.