Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Photo Challenge gets some publicity!

Check out the blog on Popular Photography Magazines Web page!

Hint: Scroll to the blog entry on 1/30....

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Mat Hayward Photo Challenge

Hey Photographers! On Sunday April 20 pack your gear and get ready for a great time at Friday Harbor on San Juan Island! We'll be on the Ferry from Anacortes ready to take spectacular photographs of a variety of subjects hopefully including the amazing Orca Whales.

The challenge will begin at 12:01AM for those opting to spend the night on the island Saturday and will conclude at 11:59PM for those opting to spend the night Sunday. The challenge? Take the best photo of the day. It doesn't have to be a Killer Whale, doesn't have to be an animal. It can be of course, but whatever you see that day either in Anacortes, on the Ferry or anywhere on the Island or the Western Prince Whale Watching Boat that strikes your fancy is eligible for the contest. There is a maximum of 25 allowed on the boat so if we get more interest than that I will research backup boats for overflow.

Already there has been a great response and some incredible photographers have stepped up to the challenge and committed to join us. If you are just beginning or are a seasoned pro, don't hesitate to join us. This isn't an intense competition. It's about fun. Many of us take photographs for a living. I firmly believe it is vital to our success and well-being to stick to our roots and make sure to take photographs just for the sake of taking photographs. It feeds my soul to do so and I know it does for many others. Don't get me wrong though...I'm a competitive guy and having this be a challenge with a trophy at the end is incentive for me to do my best and I hope it will be for you too. I have a passion for photography. I always have and I expect I always will. Not once, not ever do I want to see it as a "job." I absolutely love photographing weddings. It is an incredibly rewarding, satisfying career that I am continuously awed by. There is more to photography than shooting weddings however and these types of functions can help hone your skills, feed your soul and just be a good time.

I will post plenty more details in the days to come. If you are interested in joining us, please shoot an email to and let me know. Space is very limited. You will need to cover the cost for your ticket on the Western Prince (I'll let you know the price asap) as well as a $10 entry fee to cover the cost of the prize (100% of the proceeds will go to the prize(s?) Mark the date on your calendar and plan to join us!

A couple other random details...

Within 72 hours of the contest you will need to submit to me your 5 favorite photo's from the day. I will post them on my blog and will have a voting box for folks to vote on their favorites. Because there will be so many photo's we will probably have two rounds of voting. Round one will knock it down to the top ten then the final round will determine the winner(s).

All entrants must be willing to have their entries published in Popular Photography Magazine and/or blog. They have expressed an interest in running the story which is absolutely fantastic news that I believe will work out well for all of us!

More details to follow.....

Monday, January 14, 2008

Finally updated my web page

Howdy Y'all!

It's been a long time coming. I updated all the galleries on my web page. Visit to check it out. If you or anyone you know is looking for a wedding photographer in the greater Seattle area including Portland, OR please be sure to check out the site and pass the link on to your friends an family! Thank You!

Now for a couple funny stories about my kids...

Lea volunteers every now and then in Savannah's first grade class. Today her task was to take down the old pictures and hang the new ones. Savannah had a questionnaire posted.

Question Number 1: What is your favorite food?
Savannah's answer: Cupcakes

Question Number 2: What are you good at?
Savannah's answer: feeding my new baby pet kitten

Cute answer, especially considering we don't have a kitten :) She always has grandiose stories for her teacher and is showing an exceptionally strong imagination. I see politics in her future :)

Now for the pictures. Last night I set up the studio lights in the living room to shoot some stock photo's of the family appearing to watch movies on TV. We didn't have the TV on but instead I stuck a small action figure in the bottom of my soft box and told the girls to laugh like we were watching the funniest movie ever. They did a great job with that.

Next was the idea of us watching a scary movie. Again, there was no TV on, I just told them to pretend. Look at the genuine fear in Sophie's eyes in the scary pictures. She seriously looks scared. Too funny.

Have a good one!


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Gum Chewers Confess

In addition to being a professional photographer, I spend a bit of time in my "day job" as General Manager of a large seafood restaurant in Lynnwood. My question to you is this...

Who are the people that remove the chewed gum from your mouth and place it under the table you are sitting at? We removed over 50 pieces of gum from various tables around the restaurant recently and I have to say...that's pretty gross. I have created an anonymous questionnaire on the right here. If you have placed gum under the table at a restaurant, I want to know :) My next you do this at your own home? Is the underside of your table covered in gum? If so, when you bump your knee on the underside of the table does gum attach itself to your pants?

I would like to thank my servers and managers for scraping the gum of strangers from the underside of my tables...yuch.

C'mon gum chewers....confess!


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Artificial Insemination Super Sized

As a Photographer at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA I get to experience some things that I probably would never have the opportunity to witness otherwise. Over the weekend I had the great privilege of photographing the incredible keepers at the Zoo and one of the world's leading experts in elephant reproductive physiology Dr. Dennis Schmitt perform artificial insemination on 29 year old Asian Elephant Chai.

It would be a dramatic understatement to say this was a unique experience. The semen from the bull elephant (I'm not sure the photo in that link is the Bull) was flown in from the Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum and immediately brought to the Zoo where the staff was extremely prepared to proceed the moment it arrived. The men and women that care for the 3 elephants at the zoo are completely dedicated to the care of these magnificent animals. It is clearly more than a job to them as there is a true bond between the elephants and the keepers. Anyone that tries to tell you Elephants are treated poorly in zoos need to just spend one minute observing the keepers interact with the elephants and they will immediately realize how wrong they are. I was so impressed with each and every person there. I hope that I am invited back for the birth!

Assuming the insemination was successful, the gestation period will last 22 months. Can you imagine being pregnant for 22 months?!

When I was asked to photograph this I was told that the lighting would be pretty dark and to be prepared for that. No problem, almost every wedding I photograph has some challenging light at some point in the day. Of course it would be dark I thought. I expected a candlelit room with Barry White singing Elephant Love in the background. It wasn't quite that romantic an event, but it was definitely peaceful and calm with Chai being very cooperative and not appearing to be in the least bit uncomfortable as she was being hand fed some of her favorite treats the entire time. The life of an elephant at the Zoo is a good one.

Here are a few pics from the process. These images are copyrighted and any copying, duplicating, using in any way shape or form without the express written permission from Mat Hayward or the Woodland Park Zoo is strictly forbidden.

You can read the Zoo's press release here...

If you are interested in viewing some other Zoo images I have taken over the past couple of years you can view a slideshow here...

Mat Hayward Photography