Angel Flight is an organization that helps connect pilots with people who need transportation for medical reasons.  Often when someone is receiving treatment, the specialists or facilities they need the most are hundreds of miles away.

Traveling in cars for many hours can be very uncomfortable for those patients, but a flight in a small aircraft can easily cut that travel time in half, often cutting off even more time than that! And, with the speed of transport, the patients are often able to return home that same day saving the expense of a night in a hotel or in a distant city.

Angel Flight West is the branch of the organization that covers our area, and a collection of member pilots at the Watsonville Airport were recognized for their assistance to the organization. I was able to photograph the group of pilots and provide the image for the Santa Cruz Sentinel article discussing their recognition.

Early in the morning on Sunday, October 25th I got up to let the dog out and happened to check my email and see the news of the morning.  I quickly saw reference to a wildland fire burning off of Summit Rd. in the Santa Cruz mountains.  In October?  A few days after a massive rainstorm?

So I quickly gathered all the information I could find on it, got the radios turned on, headed to pick up a few additional pieces of photographic equipment and headed up the hill before the sun had even risen.  I could see fire burning from Felton as I headed towards Highway 17.

I arrived on scene a little after 7 am and joined a group of neighbors on the side of the road, they were watching the progress and making their own determinations of when they would head down the hill and evacuate their homes. I heard things such as, "If it crosses that ridge over there..." or "If it makes it to the road..."

Winds were extremely heavy that morning, so heavy in fact that the aircraft only made a few drops before being called off of the fire for several hours.  They were able to contain the fire without much damage to structures.

Since I had recently acquired my Canon 5D Mark II camera that also shoots HD video footage, I was able to record some video of the fire and quickly distributed that to local media outlets. I know almost all of the local news stations, their websites, and some print editions ran my still photos and video online. I heard reports from Sacramento and even Hawaii that my footage was being used in the reporting of the fire.

Below are a few of the images and video from that fire.

I have known the team down at Dr. Mark Joiner Orthodontics for many years after having braces and Invisalign as an adult (A very happy customer! Don't hesitate to ask me if you have any questions about my experience!)  But once the office found out I was a photographer I was able to use some of my talent to return the favor! My association with the office has brought about several weddings, portrait sessions, and their annual Christmas card portrait sessions.

This year they were able to secure the Carousel at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for their portrait, that was definitely the first time I had the entire thing to myself!

I had met Hope at Dr. Mark Joiner's office several years before, and after shooting some of the other weddings of his office staff I was privileged to be a part of Mark & Hope's wedding at Seascape Resort in Aptos.

They say rain on a wedding day is a sign of good luck to come, and we certainly think that's the case here!  It was lightly raining all morning but that didn't have a lot of impact on the wedding day, we moved the ceremony inside and kept right on shooting. Congratulations Hope & Mark!

Following the recent exhibition of my work in Santa Cruz related to the fires we had early in the summer, I received an invitation to show more of my work at a new venue that just opened on the Santa Cruz Wharf a few weeks ago.

It is the Vino Prima Wine Bar located directly above the Marini's candy store, and directly across a walkway from Olita's Mexican restaurant.  The details of the location are:

Vino Prima Wine Bar
55B Municipal Wharf - 831-588-5342
Reception – Friday, October 3rd, from 5pm – 9pm

This new show opens as a part of the Santa Cruz Institute of Contemporary Arts (SCICA) and their "First Friday Art Tour" series.

Each month a collection of local galleries and venues hangs new art, and then on the first Friday people will tour from location to location visiting all of the art.  They even have a bus pained like a spotted cow to drive you around all evening for a small donation.

The images I chose for this show are generally landscapes from the Santa Cruz and San Francisco areas.  I included a mix of aerial imagery, as well and landscapes and sunsets from our amazing area of the state.

My images should be available for viewing from October 2 through approximately November 5th, 2008.

A few samples of images included in the show are shown below.

Over the past few months I was able to photograph several of the fires around Santa Cruz County, including the fires at Quail Hollow, Martin Road, Trabing Road, and after the fact, some aerial images of those and the much larger Summit Fire.

Additional images may be viewed at:

After sharing some of those images on Flickr, I was contacted by Kirby Scutter of the The Santa Cruz Institute of Contemporary Arts about a gallery show they had planned at the Mill Gallery in Santa Cruz.  I have provided them nine of my images and am looking forward to the show opening on Friday, August 1st.   The show will run through the month of August at:

The Mill Gallery
131 Front Street
Santa Cruz, CA

Additional details on the show are listed below:

Dear Photographer:

During the month of August the Santa Cruz Institute of Contemporary Arts is exhibiting a photo essay of the recent Santa Cruz Mountain and Big Sur fires in one of our downtown galleries with the goal of educating people about fires, their destructive nature and things that we can do to help prevent them. We are working with the local Fire Department in both outreach and guidance.

We are looking for photographers that have captured images of the fires and would be willing to share their photographs on the subject during the month of August. We have 30 photographers ranging from amateur to professional from the Flickr photography community contributing photographs. We had another exhibit scheduled for August, but due to the immediate relevance of the fires in Santa Cruz and California, we thought that this might be an opportunity to educate and enlighten people about fire. Photography has a way of allowing the viewer to see these fires from a more personal perspective.

This is a gallery exhibition during the month of August at the Mill Gallery in Santa Cruz, 131 Front Street. We are asking individuals in the community that have taken pictures of the various fires over the last several months to contribute to the exhibit. The show will run from August 1st until August 30th.

I look forward to your thoughts.


Kirby Scudder
[email protected]
The Santa Cruz Institute of Contemporary Arts

A few weeks back I met up with Nate and Jen in Watsonville and we had some time to do their engagement portraits around a great piece of property out there that offered a lot of different options.

Below is a link to a slideshow I created to test out a service called Animoto, please let me know what you think of it compared to my other slideshows. Is it too fast/busy, or do you like the extra effects on the images? Drop a note in the comments!

Click here to view the slideshow, WordPress currently won't let me embed it without breaking my page layout.

Several months ago I donated a family portrait session to the orthodontic office of Dr. Mark Joiner for a raffle they were having for their patients. Last night I was able to meet the winners of the raffle and had a great evening on the beach at Natural Bridges. Here is a slideshow of a few images from the shoot:




I met up with Matt and Karen a bit before sunset at Natural Bridges a bit before sunset and we had a great time on the beach. We talked a lot about wedding planning, honeymoon ideas and all the details required to pull off a wedding and had a great time. They knew I was getting married much sooner than their November wedding so I had plenty to add to the conversation for once!  It was great hanging out with the two of them again, and I look forward to their wedding in Los Gatos in November!






We started out around the commons area of Mount Hermon since many of the trees were in bloom and the lighting was event. We took all of the family variations we could think of, then headed over to the Felton Community Hall for the ceremony. It was Cinco de mayo and their party fit the theme! Great Mexican food, and lots of fun! Thank you Pam and Jim for allowing us to be a part of your celebration!

Pam & Jim Anderson

Jim & Pam’s family in front of Mount Hermon’s “Woodpecker Tree”

Pam immediately following the ceremony hugging the girls

Pam & Jim and their first dance as a married couple.

Copyright © 2024 Dan Dawson Photography
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram