Thursday, October 30, 2008

What a weekend! I spent a whirlwind 30 hours or so in Reno, Nevada on Sunday and Monday shooting thousands of photo's of beautiful women, handsome guys, amazing animals and great food in a gorgeous restaurant co-owned by one of my closest friends.

Dave Powell and Mark Hansen own a restaurant in Sparks, Nevada called the Vista Grille Dave used to work for the restaurant company I work for and he is easily the most talented chef I have ever known as well as a man filled with integrity and honor whom I am proud to call my friend. The Vista Grille is a very community oriented restaurant. They donate regularily to various charities in the Sparks community and this year Dave's partner Mark came up with the idea to create a calendar featuring their crew, the restaurant and a very cool exotic animal sanctuary called the Animal Ark. The Animal Ark was founded by a wonderful couple named Aaron and Diana (seen below). They've dedicated their lives to taking care of disadvantaged wildlife. The Animal Ark doesn't receive steady funding from the Government so all funding is through admissions, donations and grants. The Vista Grille is creating this calendar and donating all proceeds to the Animal Ark.

Special thanks to a partner of the Animal Ark, Master Falconer Martin Stiasny owner of Birds in Flight for driving all the way out from San Francisco for the day to bring his incredible birds to fly all around the crew not only giving us all a great show but giving the staff of the Vista Grille an incredibly unique, memorable experience.

The Calendar should be ready to ship by December. The price isn't set yet but should be somewhere between $15-$20 from what I understand. If you would like to order one (and I sure hope you do) please call Mark Hansen at the Vista Grille. The number there is 775-626-9922 or email Be sure to tell him Mat sent you!
One of two intense Asian Tigers (there is also a White Tiger seen below)

"Effie" the photogenic Arctic Fox
One of two beautiful Gray Wolves at the Animal Ark
Cheetah's have always been my favorite cat. There are two at Animal Ark and they are amazing.
Chelsea and a Cheetah.
"Whoopi" the Peregrine Falcon
Some of the girls striking a pose
Some of the crew posing with a Eurasian Eagle Owl
The African Pied Crow put on quite a show!
Naomi in front while the African Pied Crow zooms away
Megan and her friend the Yellow-Headed Vulture.
"Khan" saying hello
Aaron and DianeDiana and Aaron Hiibel, co founders of the Animal Ark and all around great people and extraordinarily gracious hosts.
On the way back to the cars I spotted this cool spot for a dramatic portrait. Are these girls natural models or what?
A very enthusiastic Vista Grille staff (check out Marks high flying in the back)
There is quite a story behind this one
Some of the crew near the entrance to the Vista Grille
Giving the James Bond pose out in front of the building
A tasty (I know first hand because I ate it) Margherite Pizza cooked in the super hot wood burning, brick oven
Jen in the front with her winning smile
Mark showing off his expertise behind the bar.
Mark and Dave...a couple of happy guys.
A quick shot of the "Biggest little city in the world" while on my way home.


Anonymous said...

You must take me there, it looks great!! Never been to Reno.
send me a pic of that pizza shot I want it for my screen saver!! MMMM made me friggin hungry. Uncle John

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mat! It was great seeing you and making this all happen. Can't wait to see the end result and as always you amazed me with your talent.

Randy said...

I want to know the story behind the punch...WoW!

Great photos Mat, yes the pizza looks really good!

Anonymous said...

okay, this is Sherrie and we miss you ALL !!
I just sent out an e-mail to ALL my contacts to get on your sight and check out the amazing work you do.( I told them to buy everything ) LOL
ABOlUTELY AMAZING Matt !! I mean it. There is no other work I have seen that captures what you do.
You are the BEST !! You are beyond are a gift to others as you capture moments and make a lifetime of memories.
LOVE TO YOU ALL !! Sherrie and Family !!