As another year comes to a close and we prepare to spend quality time with the family and friends, I wanted to take a quick short and sweet few seconds to thank every one of you for the support, the warmth, the encouragement, the inspiration, and the all around positive energy you’ve brought into my life over the past 365 days. It’s been truly humbling and everything that has kept me going, encouraging me to get out and make another picture, write another post, keep doing the thing. I can only hope that I’m able to reciprocate even a small part of that. Happy holidays all you beautiful people. Click "read more" to find a couple of my favorites from the past 12 months. They’re high-enough-resolution versions for your desktops and mobile thingies and whatnots.Read More
My first cover came from my 1st first! Huh? So I wrote a bit about my image Pole Position taking 1st in this year’s challenge category in the National Park Service ‘Spirit of the Mountains’ photo contest. Well, apparently they’ve decided to use that image for the cover of the new Winter edition of “Outdoors” magazine, the National Park Service’s quarterly publication covering events and hikes and news for Southern California’s Santa Monica Mountains.Read More
So this is a quick one, but wanted to post an update to the National Park Service's annual "Spirit Of The Mountains" photo contest I threw a couple entries into last month. Well, on November 2, they announced the winners. There were 4 categories, and my image "Pole Position" tied for 1st place in this year's challenge category, "Variations On Light." It was quite thrilling to see that ribbon and hear renowned photographer Tom Gamache's positive critiques. Thank you to all who showed up and all those who supported me in this thing. I can't express how happy I was to get my first 1st place ribbon in a photo contest. (And special thanks to my Arcanum cohort forRead More
So this Samsung Imagelogger journey has been an extremely unexpected ray of light that just keeps shining brighter as the months go on. In addition to the cameras and gear (as if that wasn't enough), another huge benefit of this thing is the ridiculous exposure and opportunities we get. Some of us got to go to Photokina on Samsung’s behalf, some of us gave away free NX30s in Times Square a few months ago, some of us had our images used in promotional material and ads, some of us ended up on a safari. Well, this week, some of us had the humble pleasure of taking over a full special issue of Rangefinder Magazine, a pretty influential magazine in the photography industry.Read More
I woke up this morning a bit ragged. Today it was much harder to open the eyes, due in no small part to the fact that I was planning on making the drive back from Big Sur to Los Angeles. As I was unzipping my tent and cursing under my breath that I couldn't at least indulge in a cup of coffee on my final morning here due to the fire ban, there comes my aunt, as if on cue, straight out of the bushes at the other end of the campground, holding bright sunny fresh to-go cups of coffee! Boom!
She had made her way into town to come back and make our day! I took it as a sign.
There was no way I was leaving today.Read More
he next few days in Big Sur were nothing short of magical. We woke up the following morning, our first in Big Sur, and figured the most logical thing to do would be to hit the beach. And, well, who are we to argue logic? The universe led us down the 3/4 or so mile hiking path from the campsite, through a covered canopy of trees that straddles the Big Sur River, all the way down to the quaint cove that makes up Andrew Molera State Beach. We spent several hours here sunning, swimming, playing, fighting off the seagulls that boldly flew off with half our food, and watching the surfers slowly but surely converge at Molera Point as they anticipated the swells from Hurricane Marie, the category 4 that had hit Baja California earlier that day, to come ashore any moment. And boy did they!Read More
“A Smooth Sea Never Made A Skillful Sailor.” -English Proverb ** There it is - This Week's Motivational Kick In The Yahoo! ** Ahoy!
“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.” -Chinese Proverb ** There it is - This Week's Motivational Kick In The Yahoo! ** Move!
This is sweet!! There's a new company that just launched called Angeleno Artistry, who focus on showcasing 5 artists from the Los Angeles area each month, and they offer limited edition prints of a piece of work that we've created for them. Well, I am humbled to be one of September's five showcased artists, as a matter of fact, one of their first 5 artists ever, alongside the crazy talent of Marilee Spencer, Stephen Paul, KFiSH, and JD Higham. If you want 1 of 100 limited edition 36" x 24" prints of my piece 'Pole Position,’ and any of these other artists’ work, check it…they’re selling at AngelenoArtistry.com. They make GREAT gifts (yeah...that's coming...). They're only $40 bucks each. Pass it on…
So after the kayak melee in Morro Bay, it was time for Stephen Chiang, the photographer I was assisting, and I to drive up north to San Francisco for the job the next morning. Put two photographers in a car, give them the choice between A. a straight and direct, but boring route, and B. a windy, curvy, 2-hours-longer scenic route through Big Sur, and, well, you can guess which one they’re going to choose 11 times out of 10. So up the curvy Pacific Coast Highway we went, absolutely one of the most beautiful and scenic drives in the country.Read More
It began as a work trip. Well, sort of. I’m finding more and more and more these days I’ll fish for any excuse to leave Los Angeles...just the thought alone gets me excited. So when Stephen Chiang, a photographer friend that I occasionally assist mentioned he needed an assistant for a gig in San Francisco, I jumped at it. When he mentioned it would begin with a night of camping in Morro Bay State Park, and end with 4 nights of camping in Big Sur, that wasn’t just the icing on the cake, that WAS the cake.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
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
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.
It might be a little bizarre that I was booked to shoot three professional NFL football players from the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, yet my two favorite shots of the job had absolutely nothing to do with the job itself.Read More
So yesterday I posted about my whirlwind experiences shooting a few well-known personalities and their closets. Today I'm posting about me.
Through the whole experience shooting Kyle Williams and Rod Streater in San Francisco, I also knew it was going to be an exercise in something I've been focusing on making a priority over the past few years…whether it's for a few minutes, a few hours, or a few days - meditation, a hike, stopping for a few deep breaths, whatever - making it a point to always find time for myself. I've so often times in the past lost vision of why I was doing what I was doing…the passion…and it's been nothing sort of soul-murder, leading to derailment of my original vision and purpose and intended paths, some that have lasted for years. For this reason, it's become a priority to always make sure to do something to try to keep that vision at the forefront. Especially in the midst of running from one house to another to another location to another and between cancellations and reschedulings and all the psychotica that comes with being in the midst of a commercial shoot along with portrait and closet shoots for 4 professional athletes in 3 days, where it can be easy to lose track of why you love doing this to begin with. So on the final evening of a 3 day excursion to San Francisco, I took a couple midnight hours to hang out on San Francisco's Embarcadero overlooking the new Bay Bridge light show. Snapped away and came away with a couple that satisfied the soul.
But even past this, I decided to extend the 'me time' through the next day. Figured Jennifer from WhoHasItApp could use a break from her devices that she's insanely married to (iPad, iPhone, even a Blackberry, all at once) and since I had yet to make my yearly excursion to Big Sur along the coast (and knew there was no reception there), I made up my mind that I'd force one upon her and we'd make our way back to Lalaland via Pacific Coast Highway. And, well, that's never a bad idea. Sure, it adds an extra few hours to the trip, but a few hours is nothing compared to the benefits it provides the mind.
We got to drive through the redwoods, see the waves crash against the coastline from 2000-foot cliffside vantage points that most see only in pictures and films, the elephant seals at San Simeon were out basking in full force, stopped for some insanely mouth-watering barbeque at Alex's in Pismo Beach, which I'd HIGHLY recommend...it was perfect. Well, almost. While I'd love to say it was all good, there was a moment when the government shutdown madness truly got personal, and that's when I slowed down to show Jennifer the best campsite in California...and we ran across this:
Again, the silver lining...even Mama Nature needs her downtime.
Anyhow, below is a gallery of some of those 'myself time' images. Hope you enjoy.
Ok then, so the final episodes of the "3 National Parks, 3 States, 2 Weeks, 1 Crap Bag" series coming soon…I promise…Thanks for waiting, thanks for reading, and thanks so much for all the wonderful comments that have accompanied these posts both here and on my Google Plus page. It's been a fantastic experience so far and you all have a huge hand in pushing me to keep on keeping on. I only hope that some of my posts resonate enough to help you do the same.
Ok, here's another short break from the National Park series…it's been a bizarre unexpected whirlwind of a past couple of weeks so just have to get it out of my system. It started with a referral and a test shoot, and all of a sudden, I find myself in the homes of Kyle Williams of the San Francisco 49ers, Rod Streater and Terrelle Pryor of the Oakland Raiders, Stacey Dash, and Gretchen Rossi shooting portraits of them and everything in their closets. Huh? Uh…yeah…so it's the pretty brilliant brainchild of one Jennifer Colli. She came up with the idea and put it into motion and, well, hot damn took off with it.
Basically, it's an app called WhoHasItApp. You can check out well-known personalities' closets, see what they have, and if you like it, click! Boom! It's yours. Even out of print stuff, if they get enough people to like the bugger, then through deals with the clothing companies, they'll reprint those particular items. It's brilliant madness, but madness nonetheless. Anyway, being the absolute ignoramus on fashion that I am (talk black t-shirts and you'll be talking the extent of my fashion language), I was just geeking out on the fact that although I had no idea who they are, I get to shoot these people that a lot of people seem to know. Kinda neat to be able to add 6 well known personalities to my portfolio in the course of two weeks - a concept that would seem nutty anywhere outside of this already nutty town. Granted I only had a few minutes with each, but was able to pull off a few that I was happy with. Anyhow, below are a few of my favorite shots from the past couple weeks…
Also, tomorrow, I'll post a few images that have nothing to do with the gig itself, but that came out of the same trip. More along the lines of what you're used to from me (hint: we drove the Pacific Coast Highway through Big Sur to get back from San Francisco to Los Angeles...).
In a strange sense, I feel like I'm preparing for something. I spend a lot of time alone, very little social interaction - isolated from the constant deluge of stimulation and media saturation. I'm left alone in my thoughts, in my being.
And I do it to myselfRead More
So it was one of those days, the thought process just goes into overdrive and begins to cloud any reasoning and logic. The past comes up, the future comes up, all of the baggage surrounding both start to rear their nosy and intrusive little lizard heads. Sometimes this would last for hours, then days, then weeks, but more and more you begin to see that there's a way out…well, at least temporarily.
You recognize it.
You realize it.Read More
So had a house I had to shoot this week for Airbnb. It was actually the second of two units on a property I shot before, but I hadn't seen the second unit as it was occupied that first time. Anyway, not important…so after I was done shooting the interior, I figured, no one was here, I was going to take advantage of the moment and just kind of chill for a minute. When you're standing on a deck with nothing in front of you but a gorgeous canyon that opens up to the Pacific Ocean (see image at bottom of this post), it's hard not to force yourself to take a break and soak it in. So as I sat down and took a few gulps of my warm ice tea that had been sitting the car since I showed up, I saw this ridiculously quaint and charming little candle holder with a pile of little rocks alongside it, being draped PERFECTLY by a grapevine. And when I mean, perfectly, it's as if it was staged. For some reason, my imagination took me to the Mediterranean coast, perhaps Spain, maybe Italy, I don't know, but my wanderlust got the best of me and I started snapping a few shots of it as if I was actually on that coast. So when I got home and started processing, I began doing what I normally do…Lightroom…Develop pane…etc…and I just wasn't feeling it. None of it. To top it all off, my favorite shot as far as composition wasn't exactly exposed too well. But I figured, let's see what we can do with it anyway…let's hit the 'reset' button.
First step..grab a glass of scotch and a chunk of smoked gruyere cheese (hot damn, if you haven't had smoked gruyere cheese…you haven't had cheese!).
Second step…lean back a bit and let's look at this from a different set of eyes.
Third step…NO! Not a different set of eyes…let's look at it exactly with the eyes that I was looking at it with when I snapped the shot…my imagination.
Fourth step…refill scotch.
Fifth step…get crazy.
And what you see up above here is what came of the madness.
Yeah, it has a lot of filters, yeah, it's super processed, and yeah, I added a flame! But I had to remind myself that it's okay!
So my favorite composition of the thing was one of the poorer exposed shots. So I felt the need to do something to 'cover up' what otherwise would have been a throwaway. But that's only one way of looking at it...
The other way is that, if I processed it the way I normally do with my normal workflow, then perhaps it wouldn't have worked, and if it did, I would have had a decent image, but not the image that was in my mind as I was taking that picture. It took me having to find a way to 'cover up' a poorly exposed photograph to tap into the creative side of me and find a way to get closer to that visual I was envisioning as I was shooting it.
I guess my lesson here is to not be afraid and not really give a mouse fart about what anyone might think or what any purist might criticize. I get so wrapped up in what's 'right' and what's 'proper,' I often forget that, well, there's really no such thing in art.
I suppose certain things do happen for certain reasons. This time something happened to remind me not to take things too seriously and to do what got me so passionate about photography to begin with…have fun.
And c'mon...you have to admit, that final version of the image above is kinda Mediterraneany...