Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Glendale, Arizona

On December 6, 2009 we drove down to Arizona for the Vikings/Cards game at the University of Phoenix Stadium. It was my first NFL experience since my departure from Chicago and by beloved Bears (...uugggg...). This road trip was planned last year also but I was unable to attend due to prior commitments. I promised Ronni that if the Vikings came West this year, we would be there.


Devoted Viking fan she is, I refuse to wear purple but did manage to compromise and let her hang on me, even if she was wearing the color of Barney :-)


To my surprise, there was purple everywhere....


You might say, well what's a Bear fan doing in sea of purple and hostile territory, right? Where herein lies the rub....I'm no Parrot Head but I am a fan of Jimmy Buffett's, the empire he's created, Margaritville and anything Key West and there is a pretty kewl Margaritaville in Glendale!


I've been to Margaritaville Key West and Orlando on more than a few occasions and I've yet to see the stilted woman. This was a first for me. The food was consistant, especially the conch fritters and our waitress was on point.


So after a couple of libations, fritters and coconut shrimp, it was game time. For the record, the Bears haven't a had a great quarterback since...well, let's just say I was looking forward to seeing Bret Favre play, especially since he's not wearing Packer green. So I'm hyped and Ronni is giddy as ever...

...and this is what we witnessed after the first drive of the game...


Favre throws two interceptions, Peterson rushes for 19 yards!'s as if we were inside a bad Twilight Zone episode. Vikings lose 30-17 as well as several players to injuries. If it wasn't for Ronni and Margaritaville, this would have been a bad outing.

~ Oliphant

Monday, December 21, 2009

Minnie Beatrice Oliphant

Ms. B

February 3, 1928 - December 2, 2009

Farewell my love....

~ Boonie

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Meanwhile back in Miller Beach...

...I had a few commitments on my calender that produced the magic that I love.


While I was processing these images I was reminded of my youth and all the time I logged in my make-shift darkrooms. Watching an image come to life as you slip the photographic paper into the developer was like magic.


The magic continues, minus the chemicals as I capture the moments, tone and emotion that I feel make my portraits my own.


That moment, right before you hit the shutter release and the moment after, the magic is captured on your censor instead of film, you can't help but chimp because you know you have something special.


...and this is special indeed. I love what I do.... 

~ Oliphant

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Electronic Music Cafe' - Las Vegas

Lake Las Vegas
October 30th I had the pleasure of photographing the Electronic Music Cafe's very first off-site event. It was a masquerade cruise held out on Lake Las Vegas, which by the way is one of the most beautiful areas in the region. Just 17 miles from the strip, it is a must see when you're in the area.
The Electronic Music Cafe is the brainchild of DJ, Producer & Recording Artist Jesse Saunders (pictured above). Jesse wrote, produced, performed and released the world’s first documented House Music recording entitled “ON & ON,” on his upstart record label, Jes Say Records in January of 1984. Jesse went on to produce the world’s largest selling and most covered House Music song “Love Can’t Turn Around,” with fellow Chicagoans Farley Jackmaster Funk & Vince Lawrence.
As some may know, I've been back and forth between Vegas and Chicago over the past year and in February of this year I touched basis with Jesse. It had been twenty plus years since we'd seen one another but I've kept up with his career through mutual friends.
As we discussed 25 years of House Music and how it all began back in Chicago, Jesse went on to tell me about this idea he had for a Cafe' dedicated to Electronic and House Music. The place would be a Gallery/Cafe' in Vegas with non-stop music to showcase artist, djs, etc., sort of a "Hard Rock Cafe" for Electronic and House music. I recall my exact words to him were, "Now that I like, consider me on board."
Fast forward to the present. The location has been secured and construction is underway! For more info visit
Here are a few photos from EMC's Masquerade Party on Lake Las Vegas....


By far my favorite shot of the evening...thank you Penny the Bumble-Bee!


The Electronic Music Cafe's Fabulous Art & Food Director Evelyn Thompson!

Fawn Songirl

Awesome performance by Fawn Songirl....


IMHO best costume goes to Jeremy Espinosa...

The EMC Crew

The EMC Crew! Thanks to all, I had a blast! (See more pics at

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Valley of Fire

One of my favorite things to do is get up early in the morning before sin city awakes and head out to one of the National Parks in the area. Valley of Fire was the choice on this morning. With a great lunch prepared by yours truly the night before, we packed up our Canons and headed 50 miles Northwest of the city. The goal was to get there early enough for the sunrise and some of the most fabulous light in the region. The photo below is two of The Seven Sisters.

I always seem to find me a nice hole-in-a-wall where ever I go....

These Petroglyphs located at Mouse's Tank are said to pre-date the birth of Christ, allegedly left by the ancient Pueblo people. I used an infrared filter to contrast the markings.

Max, the coolest dog this side of the Mississippi came along for the excursion.

Look very closely and you will find 'The One.' It really shows how small we are in the big picture.

Ironically my favorite shot of the day had nothing to do with mountains, petroglyphs or the desert. It's the question that makes life so exciting, "What's next?"...I think I'll call this one 'Heaven.'

Thanks.... ~Oliphant.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My sister Shon called me last night....

...and stated she was looking over my website with fellow co-workers. The bunch showered me with compliments and I accepted them graciously. About 15 minutes later she called back and said...

Shon: "Do you know the picture on your website with the woman in glasses?"

James: "Yes."

Shon: "You know it's out of focus?"

James: "Yes, it's suppose to be."

Shon: "Oh, okay...what is that, abstract or something?"

James: (LMAO...cause' I was so surprised by the term abstract, sister is no art buff) "It's suppose to evoke a semblance of motion."

Shon: "Oh, I see..."

The image was shot with tungsten lighting and a low shutter speed. I asked the model to turn her head slightly as I exposed.


Saturday, September 5, 2009


On June 13, 2009 three boys allegedly lured Joshua in the woods, threw alcohol on him and set him afire. Joshua suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 30% of his body. Last night I had the fortunate opportunity to photograph a fundraiser for Joshua given by the St. Mark's Grand Lodge of Indiana. Here's Joshua...

Joshua had all the exuberance of a nine year old and seems to be developing well.

The kid had some moves too! I'd like to thank the Judkins family for allowing me a brief moment in their lives. All the best little Joshua....

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Keep it simple...

...and simple it is. One light, with the Photek Softlighter II attached place right above my head. One silver reflector just below the subject. Canon 5D, f/16, iso 200, shutter at 1/60th of a second. The images were captured with Aperture 2 and I used Imagenomic's Portraiture plug-in for softening.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Indecent Proposal

This dress played a significant role in the 90's movie Indecent Proposal starring Demi Moore, Woody Harrelson and Robert Redford. The designer was Thierry Mugler and the dress was the rave of the time. This photograph was shot on Ektachrome 100 and converted to B & W. The High Key look was processed using Nik Color Efex Pro Software. Thanks ;-)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Weekend to Remember...

For the 4th of July weekend we packed up and headed over to Big Bear Lake, CA. What an experience...
Our cabin and Louie welcomed us. I'm still looking for Louie's Big Bear Cafe...(inside joke)

Just steps from our cabin was the General Store, selling everything in general...

A few steps more and you have Boulder Bay peaceful....

The One doing her best Bruce Weber impersonation...

Lake, love it. Slopes, nope.

Beach, yes!

The One, yes.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mother & Daughter


Shooting this mother daughter tandem was an absolute pleasure. When your on, your on...this exposure was the fourth in the session. Afterwards they treated my girlfriend and I to Thai at Pin Kaow. It doesn't get any better than this. Thanks Angie & Lety.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Vegas Headshot...

Just before the holiday I had the pleasure and honor of shooting fellow Chicagoan Miranda R. Miranda is a high-end realtor here in Vegas, so if you're looking for some property drop her an email @
Thanks to Jesse Saunders of for the hook-up and thanks to Miranda for being a perfect subject!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Getting out of the studio...

I shot these portraits in the backyard. The background is a non-reflective black cloth (think velvet) that I hung over the backyard swing which subbed as my backdrop stand. I positioned the backdrop to block the setting sun which cast a beautiful shadow in which I placed my subjects. There was no reflector or other light used other than the light from above. Using the Canon 5D set at RAW, an iso of 100 for fine grain, f-stop of 4 for shallow depth of field and a shutter speed at a 60th of a second with the IS on. I processed the images through Aperture and used the NIK's Silver EFX Pro plug-in for black and white conversion set at neutral. I added a slight sepia tone, spotted and added a little softness with Imagenomic's Portraiture plug-in and there you have it. Thanks....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009