About Me

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Orlando, FL, United States
Gary Bogdon is a commercial photographer, director and master story teller living in Orlando, FL. He is a regular contributing photographer for Sports Illustrated, ESPN and a diverse set of commercial clients.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

My Creative Force

I've had a lot of great comments about my new website (www.garybogdon.com ) , and I just wanted to give a Big Thank You to the creative person behind it all. My wife, Santa Bogdon is the creative force behind me and my website. She is such a talented creative designer, and we have worked together as a team over the years on many projects ( from back in the day at Florida Magazine, and Caribbean Travel & Life to our current collaborations ) and then to the process of this website. I always found editing my own images to be very difficult, but I had to look no further for a great photo editor than her. She can really edit photography with the best of them , and create the proper flow of images that really makes it all come together so nicely. After the hard part of editing, her talent really rises to the top by coming up with a great look, design and feel of any project she works on. Her business ( www.santabogdondesign.com ) has taken off as well with several new big projects in the works, while others are in the completion process. You should take a look at some of her work on her website.
From her early days of working as an art director for Hallmark to years of experience on editorial magazines, Santa's knowledge of the design process from start to finish is the best. Her creative vision is very inspiring. Not to mention what a terrific wife and mother she is to our two boys ! If you have never met Santa, (either on a personal or professional level) you should, because you will be impressed and walk away with a smile and a new friend. If you're really lucky, she'll tell you the story of how she got her name ' Santa ' by her parents, who also knew that she was special. Personally, I feel very lucky, and so do our boys.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009


It's playoff basketball time here in Orlando, FL.  The Magic have not been this far in the playoffs since their run with Shaq back in 1995, but it feels fantastic.  The intensity and pressure on the court to win increases with each game.  I was shooting the Eastern Conference Finals Game 6 between Orlando and the Cleveland Cavs- the matchup between Lebron James and Dwight Howard, when Lebron comes flying into me (on the lower left) and the other photographers on the sidelines. No injuries to anyone, but when a 6' 8" 270 lb athlete comes flying into the spot where you are sitting , there is not much you can do but hang on.  Just wanted to thank the Cleveland Plain Dealer photographer Josh Gunter, for making this frame, that shows The King and I on the court.  Many years ago, when Shaquille O'Neal was playing for the Magic, he did one of those 'second base' slides right into my lap, on national television. We were both ok, but when he got up, I realized I was soaking wet, from his sweat ... nasty stuff.   
Since switching back to Nikon gear ( I shot Nikon gear from up until 1996 then switched to Canon until 2008 ) it makes shooting action in low light situations ( like the Amway Arena ) so much better.  The quality of the image, even at such high iso as 4,000 is unreal.  The last time the Magic were in the NBA Finals I was shooting Fuji color negative film ( on strobes here in Orlando ) and their 'High Speed' 800 film on the road for available light situations.  Some things change ( from film to digital ) and some things stay the same ( Superman taking the Magic to the Finals).  Check my website for some of the action- www.garybogdon.com

Friday, May 29, 2009

KENTUCKY DERBY '09- in "Lou-a-vull "

Got a assignment to shoot the Kentucky Derby '09 in Louisville, ( but we pronounce it 'Lou-a-vull ' ) KY this year, making it my 26th Derby.  I can't believe I've been to that many, and I really can't believe that I'm that old.  I've still not been to as many as my friends Bill Luster ( we still joke that he rode a horse in the 1968 race and got bumped ) or Dan Dry, (Mr. Winners Circle himself )  though. It was great to shoot the Derby, with it's pageantry, colors, tradition and pure speed of the horses. My favorite part of covering this event year-after-year is still going out to the track at predawn the week of the Derby to photograph the horses training and working out on the track, it's the best.  Of all of the major sporting events that I've shot in my career ( which includes everything from the Olympics to The Masters ) the Derby is by far my favorite sporting event.  The fact that I grew up in Kentucky and Indiana, is a part of it, but it still is so loaded photographically that you can't put your camera down. So the 'Greatest Two Minutes In Sports ' always holds a special place for me.
   Louisville is much more than Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby though.  There is a vibrant downtown life, with restaurants ( two of my favorites are 610 Magnolia and the old classic- The Bristol on Bardstown Road , with new more trendy spots always popping up ) and a terrific nightlife ( Phoenix Hill Tavern was always fun ) and any of the bars along '4th Street Live' (http://www.4thstlive.com) and you'll find what you're looking for.   
   A trip to the River City wouldn't be complete though without a visit to the Muhammad Ali Museum ( www.alicenter.org) , for those of you who didn't know that Louisville is the home of the GREATEST OF ALL TIME !  , and the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory ( www.sluggermuseum.org) where you can see a bat used by Joe DiMaggio during his 56-game hitting streak of 1941 and other bats used by the games superstars- past and present.  It's a must-do, for all baseball fans out there.  Just a short drive from Louisville to Loretto, KY is the Makers Mark Distillery, and well worth the price of admission, and the bourbon is considered by many to be the finest around ( www.makersmark.com) .  They have a great tour, and make sure you try the bourbon candy in the gift shop., it fantastic.
    There are many fine hotels in Louisville to stay ( The Seelbach Hilton - www.seelbachhilton.com and The Brown Hotel - www.brownhotel.com are all highly rated ) along with all of the chains, but if you want something a little more personal- go across the Ohio River ( 10 mintues ) to the Admiral Bicknell Inn ( Bed & Breakfast ) in New Albany, IN.
You can find their information at www.admiralbicknell.com  
    So the next time you are thinking about a trip to "Lou-a-vull" take in all of the flavor of this wonderful southern river city., and you will be impressed.   For racing schedules at Churchill Downs go to www.churchilldowns.com and about an hour drive to Lexington, KY ( home of the Kentucky Wildcats ) is Keeneland Race Course ( www.keeneland.com ).  Don't wait til next year's Kentucky Derby to visit.   Visit my website at http://www.garybogdon.com 

Monday, April 6, 2009

Anguilla- A Jewel in the Caribbean

   I was very lucky to travel to the island of Anguilla recently to photograph this over-the-top resort villa , called 'Rum Punch Villa '.  You can see some of my work on their new website: http://www.rumpunchvilla.com
  Anguilla is one of my favorite islands in the Caribbean for a lot of reasons.  It's very easy to get to ( JetBlue now flies nonstop from Orlando to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and very reasonable prices) and then you're just a puddle jumper flight away to Anguilla from San Juan, PR.  I normally fly on American Airlines from San Juan to Anguilla, but on this most recent trip I tried a new charter service that was awesome. It's called Anguilla Air Express, and my flight had only the two pilots, myself and one other passenger, giving me room for all of my gear and luggage with no problems at all. And they treat you like a first class passenger.  As always I slept the entire flight, which was great. 
     It goes without saying that Anguilla is full of fabulous beaches ( like most of the Caribbean ) but one of the things that makes it stand out from the pack is it's great food and great people .  Topping the list for my money:   Breakfast ( coffee and authentic french pastries  ) at Le Bon Pain French Bakery, ( don't let the outside look fool you , the food is awesome ) and dinner at my two favorite restaurants on the island:  Straw Hat Restaurant (www.strawhat.com ) which recently moved to the Frangipani Beach Resort and is owned and operated by Peter and Anne Parles (they are the best) with a super staff, and my other fave is ' Veya ' Restaurant ( www.veya-axa.com ) owned and operated by Jerry and Carrie Bogar ( Carrie is the magician in the kitchen here ) . These restaurants are family owned , and you can't go wrong with either one ,  so try them both .  For a very unique dining experience , you should try ' Scilly Cay ' (pronounced like 'silly key' ) owned and operated by Eudoxie and Sandra Wallace.  You can get to it only by boat (it's on a private island, just a few hundred yards off of the beach in Anguilla) and everything they serve is grilled fresh on the spot. Did I mention they only serve lobster  , crayfish , chicken and rum punch .  Don't miss the boat here, order the lobster, it's the only way to go.  While you wait for your grilled lobster, sip ( and I mean sip ) a rum punch and chill out to the sounds of the acoustic guitar man . 
   I couldn't talk about Anguilla without mentioning the funky music scene (and my encounter with the one and only Bankie Banx is a story on it's own ) .  Some describe Bankie as a cross between Bob Dylan and Bob Marley , which is fair. He is certainly unique, and the music and atmosphere at his place 'Dune Preserve' ( http://www.bankiebanx.net) are worth the trip.  Oh, and don't get there early, because Bankie is a creature of the night and when I was there, didn't come on stage to play until about 11pm , so relax and take in the vibe.  I think of Bankie's as what you would get if you put the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse , some Berkeley, CA flavor and toss in some reggae music ,  then shake it all up , and pour it on the sandy beach in Anguilla.  For another evening adventure (especially on Thursday nights , when it's rockin' ) try The Pumphouse ( which is actually the old pump house they used in Anguilla to pump the water for salt ) .  If you haven't had enough ( drinks and fun )  after they close, then meander across the street (on the beach) to Elvis' bar (which is actually an old boat , converted to a beach bar ) and say hello to Elvis himself .  And everyone thought Elvis died in 1976, well the bar and Elvis are alive and well in Anguilla- http://www.elvisbeachbar.net
  I've personally experienced (and photographed) all of the above mentioned places., as well as many others on the island.  It's truly a memorable location , both for the stomach and the eyes and ears.   I would add Anguilla to my top ten list for sure , and the rum punch !
     You can view some of my work on my new website at http://www.garybogdon.com