Friday, August 9, 2013

Road Trippin

This past week I went on a photo trip to Phoenix, Flagstaff, and the Grand Canyon. While all three places were quite different, they all offered something to be photographed. I set out with the intention of this being a photography based trip and what I returned with, didn't disappoint. Thursday consisted of going to the Real Madrid vs LA Galaxy game in Phoenix, AZ. Upon our arrival it was obvious this was a high profile game simply by the amount of traffic clogging the streets surrounding the stadium. As we enter the parking lot I tell the security that I am part of the media, and voila, I am waved through the orange cones and am no longer with the public crowd. Parking at field level in the same lot as news, tv, and the team buses was something I didn't expect. I was led through a security guarded door into the stadium and immediately I can feel the atmosphere inside the building. I check myself in, grab my media credentials and bright neon green bib for field access. It is at this time it hits me as to where I am and what I am about to be doing. Going to a Real Madrid game has always been one of dreams. Shooting and attending the game from the sideline is something I never expected even one year ago. I put down my laptop and bag in the photo work room and head to the field. This is my first glimpse of Cristiano Ronaldo and Co in person. I look around the stadium and realize its actually quite full ( the stadium holds 63,000) more than I thought it would be. The players leave and return to the field ready for the game.  Time for the team photo, this is a fight for prime real estate amoung the media photographers in attendance. Fortunately, I snagged a sweet spot and happened to be placed perfectly for a glorious team photo before the game. Directly after the team photo I hustle to the end line where I am allowed access to shoot the game. Being an avid Real Madrid supporter I know damn well Ronaldo is going to start on the left wing and do the majority of his handy work on that side. My previously knowledge gave me an edge in this department, because shortly after kickoff the heat was on. A nicely played pass releases Ronaldo down the left and it's a foot race that this Portugeuse star is never going to lose. The game ended up being an exciting affair with an end score of 3-1 to Real Madrid. Ronaldo assisted Angel Di Maria's opening goal. Karina Benzema netted two goals in the second half to put the LA Galaxy to the sword. After the game I couldn't help but wait for the players and hope for an autograph/photo. Luck would be on my side as I was able to get an autograph and photo with one of my favorite players Ricardo KAKA. After the game it was time to head back to the hotel. The room we stayed in was on the 5th floor and I took this opportunity to do some street photography. I've never actually shot street photos from such a high vantage point and I must say, it offers quite a different perspective to my usual street work (getting physically as close as I can). Friday was mostly spent relaxing and getting ready to head up to Northern Arizona to shoot the beautiful landscapes on display. Saturday morning we headed out but I simply had to make one stop before we left Scottsdale. This would of course be at Scottsdale Ferrari dealership. There is something so relaxing about slowing down and taking photographs of high end exotic cars. Ferrari has always held a place in my heart and eye when it comes to photographing automobiles. Their styling, color choices, and Italian panache make for some stunning photos. Hours later we arrive in Flagstaff, AZ and it feels pretty damn good to breath in some fresh mountain air after being in Phoenix for two days. Off on the road again and this time the destination is one of the seven wonders of the world, none other than the vast Grand Canyon. If you've never been, you seriously need to have a look, especially at sunset. Last time I was here was in 2010 and the World Cup was going on. Fast forward to 2013 and here I am, much more of a photographer and ready to get my shoot on. Walking around and exploring was a good way to scout a spot that would serve as my location to shoot the sunset. It has to be said my friend Nick is quite an adventurous one, it was his idea to hike/trek out onto this formation of rocks that stretched at least 80 feet into the canyon. I couldn't have been more thrilled to find and setup my gear in such a good spot. This is some raw ass photography, there are no barriers, no guard rails, nothing to help if you take a wrong step and begin tumbling to your death. A true rush and high in the purest sense. This location would serve as my spot to shoot photos for the next two hours or so. It was utterly relaxing and humbling to look out and see a natural work of art showered in golden light right in front of me. It was at this time I thought about my life, where I have been, where I am now, and where I want to be. I had what they call a spiritual vision and I could feel no need to worry, everything would be alright. It was my intention to use this trip and time off to get out of town, clear my head, and enjoy my photography. Overall, I couldn't have asked for a better trip full of experiences I will never forget. Until next time, thanks for stopping by. See ya

Introducing Cristiano Ronaldo

Warming up. Greeting the fans

Match Ball

Third string goal keeper

Alvaro Morata showing some skill

A legend in the world of soccer

Zinedine Zidane
#7 Cristiano Ronaldo with the ball while #8 KAKA makes a run behind the LA Galaxy defense

Called for offside

#23 Isco doing well to keep the ball. This young spaniard has a major role to play this upcoming season

Head coach

Carlo Ancellotti

#10 Mesut Ozil is a player to watch


This Portuguese star has a ridiculous sprint speed

Poor Rich Franklin, he has such a long night facing Ronaldo on the left

Action at the penalty box

#7 Cristiano Ronaldo plays his part in the win with an assist to Angel Di Maria to open the scoring

Angel Di Maria makes no mistake in chipping the ball over the out rushing goal keeper. 1-0 to Real Madrid

Team celebrates the opening goal

Tricks for the fans

Ready to pull the trigger

Karima Benzema fires in a low shot that the LA goal keeper can do nothing about


These white bazookas were everywhere

Karima Benzema heads in Madrid's third goal from a well placed cross by Angel Di Maria

Ricardo and Ricardo

Ferrari F430 Spider

Ferrari 458 Italia


Nick wanted a funny photo. 

It sure was beautiful

Couldn't resist doing some B&W landscapes

SMS (Sleepy Mehican Syndrome)

Last photo before I packed up my gear. The shadows on the left on the ridge are all people watching the sunset. 

Le Chao


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