So that was a super fun evening! The one, the only Trey Ratcliff from www.StuckInCustoms.com and TheArcanum.com fame made his Los Angeles stop of his TreyUSA photowalk tour across the U.S. last weekend. There were at least 300 photographers crawling the Santa Monica beach and pier area, all of us learning, laughing, and snapping away.Read More
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
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 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.
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...
Just another small reminder that patience, adaptation, and going-with-the-flow can pay off. Finished a gig yesterday and turned to get on the freeway to get home. It was packed. Nothing but an endless sea of red brake lights. My only other option was to add an extra 15 miles to my trip by driving through the hills on a side road that runs parallel to the freeway. So I said screw it…that's what I'm doing. Would rather look at the hills than a million other cars on the 101. Not only that, but the sun was getting ready to drop behind the mountains…and that's enough to turn on any photographer.
So there I go, drove past the freeway entrance and into the hills. As soon as I was out of sight of the freeway madness, the initial frustration of adding time and distance to my drive home melted away…immediately! And when I say immediately, I mean IMMEDIATELY - I went from frustrated and tense, to calm and relaxed in significantly less than an instant. Told myself that I had to somehow document the day and moment with an image to remind me of that mental transformation and how powerful a simple trigger can be to the mind.
So with that...this is what I found just as the sun was getting ready to drop behind the hill. I know it's nothing special, and hell, I don't know what Fox Creek Farms even does, but the lighting, the fence, and the situation made it seductively charming to me. And taking that picture made me smile. And standing outside in that sunlight made me smile. And quite honestly, that's what this photography thing is to me - a reliable impetus to get in a good headspace, no matter what's going on outside that viewfinder. Sometimes it's the process, and not the image, that's important.
Plus, sure as hell beats sitting in traffic.
A few recent gradual revelations are telling me that perhaps part of me feels like I'm coming into my own in a lot of respects as far as photography is concerned. And I suppose it's really just a matter of perspective and paying attention rather than just letting life happen and allowing the monotony to take charge of the psyche. Day in and day out I'm editing photos robotically for a website, and many of the photos are photos I'd never think to take myself - small, close-up details, seemingly devoid of context.Read More
I almost didn't do it, but I'm sooooo glad I did. So every now and then, I shoot photos for Airbnb.com, the vacation rental website where people can rent out their unused spaces for extra income. Sometimes it's a guest house, sometimes it's a room in a house, sometimes it's a tent on a roof of a house. Luckily, since I'm in Topanga Canyon, my radius of 30 miles for assignments covers some of the most ridiculous places ever. I live in a 600 square foot shack of a house, but the hills around me are surrounded by Malibu, Pacific Palisades, that sort of thing...so you don't have to work your imagination too hard to understand what exists in these parts.Read More
So I'm kind of hyped. The new episode of one of my favorite photography podcasts was released today, and every week they choose a few photo posts from their Google Plus community and talk about and critique the photos. This week, they chose one of mine, the second time that's happened, and I couldn't be happier about which one…it's the oak tree from the earlier post about Malibu Creek State Park and the borer that's threatening California's oaks. Any attention I can bring to that I'm happy about…it would be an incredible tragedy if we lose those iconic oaks. Anyhow, check out the podcast, it's called Digital Photo Experience (http://dpexperience.com) and it's hosted by two extremely well-respected names in the photography industry, Rick Sammon and Juan Pons. If you download it, I highly recommend listening to it all, it's the April 1 episode, but if you just want to skip to the photo critiques, they start with mine at the 1:02:45 mark.
So after all that, they didn't even remember to have us present our projects...but that didn't stop me from moving with it. Not because I felt I needed to prove anything but because I truly want to do what I can to help out the park system. Budget woes are apparent all over, but that's driving the passion of the volunteers, myself included, to make sure people are aware of the parks and these public spaces. They're frickin' insanely beautiful and they've basically saved my sanity and I know that anyone that shows up will feel the same. It just does that. So I created a Google Plus page for the Malibu Creek State Park Docent program, started posting to it, and plan on getting it going. So if anyone's reading this and is on Google Plus, add us to your circles. If you're not on Google Plus, well, you should be…just sayin'.
Also began the process of making some prints of some of those shots that I posted in the gallery on that Google Plus page that I can present at the visitor center on the park grounds to help bring up to date some of the shots hanging in there now.
While you ought consider yourselves warned…there are plenty more Yosemite shots coming, in the spirit of the first week of spring, I'll break from those for my Spring 2013 shot. Solstice Canyon, California. There's a reason it's an oak tree…and that reason comes from something disheartening that I learned last weekend at the interpretation…apparently, not only are the budget woes getting worse for the park system, but now there's a non-native pest that is threatening to literally take out all of California's oak trees, and it's no joke. The Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer. This thing has already started attacking trees around California, including an iconic oak at the Huntington Library Gardens grounds, and is causing sequestration of a lot of these infected trees.
Anyway, ok, enough of the hippie me for now. Hope you enjoy the shot…