Not again. No way was I going to miss my ride this time. It was pseudo-palatable to eat the 10 bucks for ticket I bought for the missed train ride they day before, but after not being able to secure another ticket for the next 3 days, if I was to stand any chance of making it to Nuwara Eliya in the highlands, I would be forced to hire a private driver...Read More
Wasim Of Nazareth
A client I’ve been doing some work with the past few months that you may have seen me post about here a few times, tattoo artist Jun Cha, had the opening gala for his new design/tattoo studio, Monarc Studios, last Thursday at The Well in Downtown Los Angeles. Whether you like body art or not, check him out, he’s insane: www.MonarcStudios.com. At the very least, I’m quite confident you’ll appreciate his work as an artist.Read More
“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it, we go nowhere.” -Carl Sagan ** From me to you, There’s This Week’s Monday Kick In The Yahoo! ** Think it!
So if you’ve logged on lately, you might have noticed, but I wanted to wait until everything was ported over from one to the other before introducing my new website. I've been working hard the past several weeks getting this sucker in shape and I think it’s ready! You’ll notice that the homepage no longer begins with my portfolio, but rather with the blogroll, so that way you’ll see the latest, and freshest content whenever you log on. Additionally, I’ve created two categories for the blog posts. One, 'Journeys,’ will continue to focus on my personal photographic journeys and adventures that you've grown used to, the other, ‘Lessons' will focus on tips and tricks and lessons learned through my photographic (hopefully) growth.Read More
T'was a perfect day in Topanga Canyon, and to stay inside would have been a crime, so I grabbed one of my cameras, the Samsung NX300, threw on the 'summer' outfit, and headed out into the hills. As I was hiking through this, live bluegrass echoing through the canyon in the distant background served as my soundtrack. Don't know where it was coming from or what it was, but it was perfect.
Click past the break for a few images from that Topanga Canyon hike.Read More
So I don't have too much to say about this one, really just wanted to share. This was one of the properties I was assigned to shoot yesterday for Airbnb.com. It was a chunk of land on a bluff off Pacific Coast Highway that housed an old vintage Airstream trailer that rested on a ledge in what seemed to be the most idyllic, picture-perfect mini-canyon on the California coast.Read More
I know it's been a while, and have quite a few things lined up for real soon, but until then hopefully a few iPhone5 parallax wallpapers can tide you over if you want 'em... Click past the break for the high resolution versions.Read More
So I know you've probably already seen enough of this set of images, but, well, too bad! Ha! An image from this series keeps getting around one way or another - this time absolutely humbling me by showing up on the homepage for Photofocus.com as this week's 'Featured Image.' This is Scott Bourne, Richard Harrington, Melissa Niu and company! It's madness!Read More
Hope everyone has had a wonderful 2014 so far. So I sort of disappeared for a bit, but hot damn, the new year began and everything took off!!! Hasn’t been much sleep but certainly has been quite a bit of action. There are some cool things in the works that will be revealed in due time, but for now, just wanted to drop a quick few lines. Last week I got to do another shoot for WhoHasItApp, the same client I shot Kyle Williams, Rod Streater, Stacey Dash, Gretchen Rossi, and the others for late last year. This time we got to shoot the beautiful model and TV host Cindy Taylor. Hit the 'Continue Reading' to see some of the images from that shoot (all shot with that Samsung NX300 and a 60mm/f2.8 macro lens). Just wanted to share. Hope you enjoy.
I cannot think of a better way to start off a new year! Woke up this morning to hear the great Rick Sammon and Juan Pons saying “he uploads some incredible work on the DPE community website” (at the 1:08:18 mark) on the latest episode of The Digital Photo Experience podcast. They were introducing the image above, "Family Time," one you’re already familiar with if you follow this blog or me on Google Plus, that I uploaded to the show’s Google Plus community with hopes of being chosen as one of their critiques.
That’s the 3rd image critique by these heavy-hitters in the past 12 months that I’ve been humbled with, further validating, at least to me, that after more than 3 decades of life-defining (and psyche-altering) mistake after another, I may finally be doing something right!! 2013 was definitely what I’d consider my breakout year in photography as I’ve finally become comfortable with myself, what I have learned, and what I have yet to learn. It’s like a switch hit me at some point in the sense of, when I used to not know something or get it wrong, I would get frustrated. Now, and I’m not sure if it’s a matter of confidence or if it’s simply naive excitement at realizing that it’s more fun when you struggle through something and finally get it right…there’s more value to that, so now (in most cases at least…) instead of marinating in frustration, that thought comes and goes within a split second, being replaced by, oh well, now I know better, I can practice that…
And with that, thanks to Rick and Juan, I finally have my New Years Resolution…roll with it, and invite everything as a learning experience. God knows I know we all go through really tough times and we all go through really good times. We have lonely moments in which we believe we are alone in a world of 7 billion humans, and we have overwhelming moments reminding us that we really never alone. It’s reallllly easy to fall into the trap of sulking in the negativity, especially when you convince yourself that there’s no way out, making it way too convenient to overshadow the good, but it seems to be just that simple switch in your mind that you have to hit that transforms sulking into exploring - exploring your thoughts, your feelings, your ideas, and how and what you need to do to learn from your explorations and come out the other end with an idea of to correct it or turn it into a learning experience. At the very least an idea of what not to do and what you don’t want in your life. In other words, to look at things not as setbacks, but as challenges to overcome.
So after spending New Years Eve alone on the couch with a glass of scotch, the remnants of a nagging cold, and Anthony Bourdain’s book “A Cook’s Tour - In Search Of The Perfect Meal” (a real paper book!), in which the colorfully eloquent rebel chef travels the grittiest corners of the world in pursuit of his true passion, that one thing that brings people together like nothing else - the perfect meal - I woke up to a reminder of what life is all about…the journey, the search, the experiences, the ups and the downs, that keep us in pursuit of our true passions - learning what (and sometimes who) to hold onto, and what (and of course, who) to let go of.
So thank you everyone for being such an inspirational and positive part of my journey in 2013, and thanks to all who who graciously allowed me to be a part of yours.
And with that, I will leave you with a quote from a very good friend:
“May the high point of 2013 be the low point of 2014…”
Boom! Let’s do this thing!
Here are the rest of images from the series that "Family Time" came from, all shot on the Samsung NX300:
So as so many of us begin to comfortably tuck away into some corner of the world to celebrate holidays and time with our loved ones and bid farewell to one year and salutations to another, just wanted to send out a warm and happy holiday greeting to all you beautiful peoples! Thank you SO much for being a major part of one of the most encouraging years of my photographic journey. I made some of the best images I feel I’ve made to date, from the epic winter journey to Yosemite to the summer adventure to Yosemite to the 3 Utah and Colorado National Parks road trip to the San Francisco madness, the podcast photo critiques to the National Park “Spirit of the Mountain” Photo Contest to the billboards in Scotland and the Beef Jerky labels in Topanga, selling my first ever proper art prints that are now hanging on walls in two different countries, and through to having the honor of being asked to join the Samsung Imagelogger program. It’s been pretty crazy. A year of milestones and growth for myself that I haven’t ever experienced before.
I feel truly blessed and grateful for the wonderful community and friends that I have made here and everywhere. You are all some of the most inspiring and creative and beautiful people I’ve ever come in contact with and our relationships mean more to me than you can imagine. I’m so glad you were able to share in these moments with me and that you have allowed me to share in your moments as well, moments that have certainly run across the emotional gamut. You’ve more than pushed me and kept me moving when I didn’t think I wanted to and I can only hope to have provided you a smile or a thought every now and again. It’s been an absolute blast and cannot wait to see where we take it from here.
So 2013, we had our ups, and we definitely had our downs, we had some bad times, but made up for them with some really good times and good people, so thank you, peace out…it was fun.
When you feel something, your mind and body are trying to tell you something. Listen. Don’t ignore. Today was just another reminder of that basic instinct that we so often and easily seem to lose touch with in our hyper-‘connected’ day and age. There were a few things going on that were weighing heavy a bit on my mind, and something just kept tugging at me saying, forget everything you're doing right now and just go. Doesn't matter where or what, just go. Get out of here.
But I had work to do, and I was on the clock, and so I kept pushing back..."No, no, you can't just go. What are you thinking?”
That practical, responsible nonsense went on for about an hour before I was too exhausted to fight it anymore and just gave in, figuring, if anything, at least it would shut my brain up for a minute. So I grabbed the new NX300 that Samsung put in my hands, jumped in my car, and headed the 12 miles through the canyon down to the coast.
I pulled off to the side of the road at Topanga Beach, stepped outside, and sat by the ocean for a while, watching an older couple try their luck with their fishing lines. My brain tried telling me I’m supposed to be making pictures, but, well, I wasn't feeling it. I know I could have forced it, especially as one of them caught a fish and they were taking iPhone pictures of their prize together, but still, I just figured right now, I'm better off just marinating in this moment with no purpose other than to take it in and enjoy it. And that was that.
After about 15 minutes, I figured the sun's about to set in an hour, I should find a nice place to sit down and soak it in, so I headed up Pacific Coast Highway away from the city, and just as the sun began making it's decent over the horizon, I found myself in front of Pepperdine University, which, if you've ever seen it, sits right on a gorgeous grassy knoll overlooking the Pacific. As I was pulling up, a group of cars started to slow down and the first thought I had (and if you’re from LA you’ll immediately understand) was “Damnit, of course. Traffic!” So I looked up to see how far ahead of me it stretched, and, well, I didn’t find traffic. What I found caused me to pull over, throw park, grab my camera, and jump out of my car.
If I kept working, I would have never caught this. If I stayed and forced shots with the fisherman and woman, I would have never caught this. If I didn’t decide to give in to that tug at the gut, I would have never caught this. I simply just let go and succumbed to my feelings, and 15 miles up the coast, this is what they led me to - some of my favorite images from the past couple of months.
All images were shot on the Samsung NX300.
So I don’t know if you guys remember the company I was doing video and photo work for until early this year, VectorMount for GoPro (there's one of my pics above that you might recognize), but all that time and effort has begun to finally pay off in immeasurable dividends, especially throughout the racing community, most evident in the Hoonigan production of Ken Block’s latest iteration of the Gymkhana series…number 6, the Ultimate Gymkhana Grid Course. If you haven’t seen this followup to the now legendary Gymkhana Five, in which he drifted through the streets of San Francisco, DO IT! In this one, Block basically drifts his souped-up Ford Fiesta through a video game obstacle course, replete with wrecking ball cranes, police-laden Segways, Lamborghinis, and shipping containers. Yeah, he’s a bit off his rocker, but that’s precisely why it’s already got 15 MILLION views in less than a month.
The flagship VectorMount product, if haven’t checked it out, uses a wind-vane and centrifugal force to automatically turn the camera in the direction the car turns in, so you’re effectively seeing the angle of the view that the driver is seeing, versus a static mount, which, well, gives you a static shot, so you’ll just see whatever is off to the side, rather than the angle the car is heading into. Anyhow, Steve Greenthal, the owner and inventor of the VectorMount has been tweaking and adjusting and modifying and perfecting the bugger in his usual mad-scientist ways over the past 8 months and has managed to make the VectorMount into a prominent part of this Hoonigan production! I suppose I’m just a bit proud that I got to be a part of this thing from it’s infancy and was there at Formula Drift in 2012 where Ken Block and the Hoonigans crew got their first look at it. Seeing it plastered all over his latest madding production just reinforces the long way it's come since we used them on Go-Karts with Tony Hawk and Kev Jumba less than a year ago.
Anywho, that’s it for now. Just got off the phone with Steve and saw the videos and figured I’d throw this around! Any of the shots from the roof exterior that remain focused on the course while the roof underneath it swivels left and right…that’s the VectorMount in action!
Above is Ken Block and Hoonigan’s official Gymkhana release, and below is GoPro’s cut of the same course as well as a few of Steve Greenthal's pics of Ken Block pimpin' one of the VectorMounts used during the Gymkhana 6 taping.
Check out more about VectorMount at www.VectorMount.com (they make holiday gift recipients love you more…).
So I’ve been curious about them for at least a year, and have been hearing more and more about them especially in the last several months, and now I finally get to experiment with the new mirrorless camera systems myself…in a very unexpected way. Samsung reached out to me to see if I was interested in joining their Samsung Imagelogger program. Basically I’d get to be one of 50 lucky buggers who are getting cameras and gear from Samsung over the next half year or so to experiment and play with and report back on and post images from. Uhhh…YEAH!!
Needless to say, I’m pretty hyped on the opportunity to get intimate with the latest mirrorless systems and see what these things can do.
So as of Wednesday afternoon, I’ve got the first camera they’ve sent out to us in my hands, the NX300, and we just had our training session, so I preemptively apologize if my posts hit a slight overdrive. Since this is the first new camera system I’ll be using in about 2 years, as well as my first foray away from Nikon DSLRs, and, of course, my first adventure into the mirrorless space, it should be interesting to see where and what brain circuits this experience might fry or invigorate.
Anyhow, the header image above is one of the first images taken with this mini-beast, and the camera itself? Well, I must say, the brown leather color scheme is pretty shnazzy! It took me a few minutes to get acquainted with this thing (the biggest adjustment being not using a viewfinder), but once I got the hang of it, I had a blast. Anyway, only got to use it for a few hours between gigs today, but there will be much more to come soon.
If you want to follow along to all the images taken by myself and the other Imageloggers (trust me, you’ll want to follow along…The Candid Frames' Ibarionex Perello, The Giving Lens' Colby Brown, renown pro photographer Valerie Jardin, and the most unique father blogger you might ever run across, 8BitDad's Zach Rosenberg, are amongst the shutterbugs that’ll be contributing), check out www.DitchTheDSLR.com, where they’ve set up a crazy interactive map of the country as a home for the photos taken by the Imageloggers. It’s fresh now, but it’s gonna start filling up with eye-candy in a hurry!
Below are a selection from the first batch of images that came out of the NX300 in my hands.
Ok…let’s do this thing!
At first it was just news - a ticker under some inconsequential sporting event on the TV above the bar as I sat with a friend, dipping pita bread in hummus and scraping at the final bits of a mound of shawarma sitting between us. Then it was just another part of the never ending social media stream…Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter - another one of those mindless swipe up…swipe up…swipe up…
ok…swipe up…swipe up.
Then, when I got home, when I sat down on my couch, and when I found myself suddenly and uncontrollably weeping, that’s when it became real.
He was gone.
Nelson Mandela was gone.
I couldn’t discern between whether I was weeping for joy…celebrating a beautiful man’s life and the insanely invaluable contributions he’s sacrificed his own life and time and youth (twenty seven years in a South African apartheid prison!?? TWENTY SEVEN YEARS!!) to improve the future of society and humanity as a whole - the ultimate empathy - or was I weeping out of desperation and sadness, wondering whether the sacrifices he made, ones that are absolutely harrowingly unimaginable to the majority of today’s population - out of the realm of reality - were they all for naught? Have we absolutely let this man give what is usually the most fruitful and passionate years of his life in absolute vain? Have we learned nothing and taken all he has done for us for absolutely granted? Has anything really changed?
As a Palestinian living in a post-911 America, it doesn’t take too much digging to see that bigotry and ignorance is still not something of the past, it just happens to manifest itself in new and creative, and, unfortunately, often primal and savage, ways. Ask any Latino living in Arizona, ask any Arab living in the Midwest, ask any Jew living in Europe, ask any African American living in the South, ask any caucasian living in the Middle East. Bigotry, hatred, ignorance…they have not disappeared. And more likely than not, they never will.
But then, as I was thinking about all of this, out of nowhere, and very suddenly, I stopped. I stopped weeping. And within a fraction of a second, that weeping was replaced with a smile. A undeniably joyous smile. And I knew exactly, and immediately, why.
While racism and hate and bigotry may never disappear, while everyone may never have everyone on everyone’s side, the world is still closer together and more connected today than it has ever been. And that is a HUGE step forward. We began to separate as we roamed the earth over millennia, and now we're coming back together again. It’s only a matter of time before we all realize that we are all brothers and sisters, and always have been, and no matter what we try to do about it, we’re all in this thing together. And that, perhaps, may be the only absolute truth and, ultimately, our saving grace.
I started to think this. I started to express this. I started to write this. And now, here I am, publishing this. Me. By my own will.
Because I am free.
And it’s because of you Nelson Mandela. It’s because of you. And those who inspired you. And those whom you’ve inspired.
You have done your work, you have done your job, you have more than earned the right to
rest. in. peace.
As for us, it’s now our turn to take that baton and run with it. Hopefully, Mr. Mandela, hopefully…we shall do you proud.
“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.” -Nelson Mandela
It happens more often than I like to admit - I want to make images, but either I’m not feeling inspired, or there’s always the lame default ‘I don’t have my camera’ excuse. But more and more lately, that hasn’t been the case as I, along with the rest of the world, always have a camera with me. In my case, it’s an iPhone, and I’ve found myself using it more and more, perhaps not for paid gigs and official shoots, but for, brace for it…FUN! So there goes that excuse. But I was still left with the ‘I’m not feeling inspired’ nonsense. Enter OKDOTHIS.
It’s an app.
It’s barely been out for a week.
But I’ll tell you this right now - this thing is gonna be big.
It’s the brainchild of photographer Jeremy Cowart and at its core, OKDOTHIS is a never-ending photographic scavenger hunt in which the items being searched for are sourced by those who download and use the app. Basically, those that have the app can create a ‘DO,’ they put it out there for the world to see, and then if you’re part of that world, you go and ‘DO’ it…and by ‘DO,’ I mean take and upload a picture that fits that respective 'DO.'
For example, a current ‘DO’ is ‘fog.’ It’s that simple. Now you upload a picture of something that, in some way, however loosely interpreted, incorporates fog.
The current list of popular DOs range from “Let us peek inside your notebook,” “View out the window,” “Look up,” “Make now look like then,” to “Unexpected beauty,” “Interesting typography,” and “Create a mystery. Make them guess.” And all the DOs fit into a myriad of categories that include everything from ‘Art’ to ‘At Home’ to ‘Giving Back,’ ‘Kids,’ ‘Fashion,’ ‘Travel,’ ‘Outdoors,’ ‘Pets & Animals,’ and at least a dozen more. You name it, it exists.
The best thing about this is that, sure, it may not lead to your latest masterpiece, but it provides a gift far more valuable than that, it helps continually ignite ideas and approaches to both the ordinary everyday, as well as the extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime. Basically, it comfortably forces inspiration. You no longer just look at things, you start to really truly see…everything. Hell, it’s basically zen in an app (ok, perhaps that’s taking it a bit too far, but it’s kind of neat that an app is actually encouraging your eyes and attention to move away from the screen and actually pay attention to the world immediately around you).
I’ve only been an OKDOTHIS user for about 3 days and it didn’t take me long to realize that it was a godsend. I have already found myself uploading over 100 images, some taken as a particular ‘DO’ inspired me, and some that I’ve had before, and now have found a new home and audience. Anyhow, right now it’s only for iOS, but I have a feeling they didn’t quite know how popular this thing would be, so I wouldn’t be too surprised to find it on other platforms soon enough.
The video is below, and the website is www.OKDOTHIS.com. If you decide to join in on the fun, make sure to find and follow me on there - my user name is @wasimofnazareth!
Just DO it!
I just wanted to drop a quick post before this long holiday weekend to thank each and every one of you for helping to enrich the past year beyond belief. The friendships and relationships I’ve made here and beyond have sat at the core of my motivation and inspiration to keep doing what this each and every single day. With each shutter click and word typed, I am filled with absolute gratitude that I have a chance to do this and such wonderful beautiful people to share it all with. In a particularly rough last few years, when I needed it absolute most, your work and words and actions have inspired me incredibly and add an element to life that I can only hope everyone can experience to at least some degree.
It’s the essence of what keeps me going.
It’s the essence of what keeps humanity going…
So thanks again for everything. Your encouragement and support are SO insanely appreciated and I can only hope I've been able to offer back even a sliver of that. I cannot wait to see what the next year holds for us all. Now get off the computer/tablet/phone/glass/smoke-signals and go be with the ones who make it all worthwhile. And make sure to let them know as much!! Happy Thanksgiving to those that celebrate it! And to those around the world that don’t, ignore this post…JUST KIDDING! No joke. Thank you all! To the utmost degree!