Thursday, September 26, 2013

California Connection

Traveling is hard work, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. It doesn't matter if you are flying, driving, floating, or walking. This past week I have been out of town in   Phoenix, Scottsdale, Los Angeles, Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Rancho Palos Verdes, and San Diego. Needless to say, these past few days have been spent recovering and working on these photos. The game plan for this trip would be simple, go see Dirt Nasty perform twice, once in Scottsdale, AZ and once in Hollywood, CA. I arrived at the hotel in Scottsdale in good time and began preparations for the show at American Junkie. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, I get my first sight of Dirt Nasty as he enters the building through the back door. It's a subtle entrance guaranteed not to cause a ruckus. At this point I have to introduce myself and congratulate him on the new album Palatial. After parting ways I found a good spot in the crowd as show time crept near. This particular performance was in fact a free show, which I thought was awesome, so Dirt's set was substantial shorter than a full performance. Overall, not a bad show at all, I actually prefer the smaller venues for multiple reasons. Mainly getting access to the artists is substantially easier in these types of venues. After he got off stage, I approached Dirt once again to say what a great show, drop off a business card, and luckily get a photo. Damn good night if I do say so myself. Rise and shine early the next morning as it's time to hit the road. Destination? Los Angeles, California, the city of angels and traffic. I spent Thursday night hanging out with old friends and talking about everything that has happened since my last visit to the Souf Bay. Friday my good friend Nick would be flying in to LAX as he wanted to attend the show in Hollywood. Saturday was largely spent at the Redondo Beach and Rancho Palos Verdes. Every time I go to Los Angeles I have to make it a point to go RPV. This is the area I credit with inspiring me to get serious about my photos. The sun begins to set and it's time to get ready for the show in Hollywood. Amazingly we find excellent parking across from The Roxy Theatre, the venue for the evening. Within minutes of being there I had the opportunity to meet Nik Nikateen, a producer who works with various artists, including Dirt Nasty. Upon entry I notice the venue is pretty small but there is a lot of people. Make my way to the front and find a good spot to take photos. The show begins and I must say the atmosphere was pretty electric. Aside from some punk ass kids in the crowd, it was a really great show with some of my favorite artists. The show ends and everyone is shuffled outside flooding Sunset Blvd with people. Hanging out a bit after the show gave my friend Nick and I the opportunity to meet BEARDO, Andre Legacy, and Dirt Nasty. Upon arriving back at the hotel after a long day, I couldn't help but think what a great time I had so far on this adventure. I feel some really good connections were made that will help my photography career in the future. What could possibly make this trip any better? Well, on my way home I stopped in San Diego, CA to inquire about purchasing a used Canon EF 70-200mm F/4L USM lens. The owner and lens did not disappoint, the transaction was swift and I was on my way home. First impressions with the new lens are really good but i'll leave all that to my next blog post. Thank you visiting and take care

All photos on this post taken with either iPhone 5 or a Canon T2i body and EF 50mm F/1.8 II lens

Introducing Simon Rex aka Dirt Nasty

Spinning the wheel at American Junkie

Redondo Beach

You lookin at me?

Bird Man

iPhone 5 snap

Hiking trail down to the ocean

Rancho Palos Verdes

iPhone 5 panorama

Porsche Carrera

The streets of L.A.


BEARDO shredding his axe

Dirt Nasty performing in Hollywood

Andre Legacy

Damn good show boys

Street shooting in Hollywood

The raw nature of this street photo made it my favorite from the trip


Sunday, September 15, 2013

To be continued...

I recently purchased a new lens. The Canon 50mm F/1.8 II. I picked it up having decided I needed autofocus at the 50mm length, for a variety of shooting scenarios. While I personally preach acquring better photos over better gear. Sometimes you have to pay if you want to play. Luckily after acquiring the lens, I had a portrait shoot planned. I had the opportunity to work with a fellow artist who really impressed me. I'm of course talking about Vanessa, she is quite lovely. As a very down to earth and creative artist herself, there was good ideas discussed before shooting began. After talking a bit we decided to go with a bit of a Lolita/hitch hiker theme. Those of you who follow my work know I like series of photos compared to individual stills. I enjoy the story aspect that adds another dimension to the task at hand. Not only do you have to capture good photos, but do it in a manner that expresses your thoughts and ideas. Something I love about working with other creative people, is their own input involved in the process. Vanessa was very easy and to work with. There was a good understanding between us. I enjoyed her attitude towards shooting as she is a fellow photog. The first location for the photos was on Mt. Lemmon. The overcast and slight rain drops would provide nice soft lighting with a wet look.  After heading down the mountain we headed the second location. A swimming pool would prove an interesting contrast to the open nature of Mt. Lemmon. Up until this point I had never done a swimming pool shoot, so it was good experience in that aspect. I really enjoyed the various angles that are possible with a diving board. My favorite photo from the whole shoot was a direct result of being able to use the diving board to achieve the desired result. When I pulled the file into Photoshop and viewed it at 100%, I couldn't have been more pleased. It's well lit, razor sharp, great color, composition is spot on, and Vanessa looks stunningly elegant. Who says you can't get great results with a 18-55mm kit lens? Dont let anyone tell you otherwise, all lenses peform well at F/8 aperture. These types of photos are what keep me going. I am always striving to push my limits and explore my own creativity while making art. It's something that has truly changed my life and I wouldn't have it any other way. If you've made it this far, thanks for stopping by. 

All photos on this post taken with Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 II and Canon EF-S 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6 mounted on a Canon T2i body

Introducing Vanessa

50mm,  1/200s,  F/2.8,  ISO 200

Going my way?


Cooling off

To be continued...

Personal Favorite

35mm,  1/320s,  F/8,  ISO 200

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Elevated Experience

Traveling is important as an artist. It allows you to see new places, meet new people, and expand your mind. It's a crucial part to the creative process and being free to express yourself. While at times it may seem difficult to do, (getting time off work, money, transportation, lodging) one should definitely experience surrounding areas at the very least. Even if you have been the same place multiple times, you're bound to see something different each time. Use your creative mind to find interesting things to involve yourself in. I spent this past weekend in Show Low, Arizona. This area is part of what is called the "White Mountains" here in Arizona. Roughly four hours away from Tucson, we left very early to make the trip. The drive up the AZ-77 North is quite the scenic route. After leaving the low altitude desert you enter the Salt River Canyon. A curvy treacherous road that is steep but has beautiful views. Looking over the side of the road you notice all the rocks and flowing water that is the Salt River. As you climb further in elevation pine trees begin to announce their presence, and soon they are everywhere. Upon arriving at Show Low Lake campgrounds, mid seventies weather, slight breeze, and blue sky filled with fluffy clouds greeted us. After setting up camp I began wandering the area looking for interesting things to photograph. My objective was simply, relax and take photos. The afternoon was now behind me and so I began setting up for my first night of sunset photos. Show Low lake is decent sized and provides quite the foreground for landscape photos at sunset. Next day was primarily spent swimming and driving around exploring the area. As the sun began to fall again I couldn't help but set up in a different location. I have done many sunset/sunrise images over the years but I was most excited about capturing the stars. Show Low lake is stationed at 7,500 feet elevation and doesn't get much light pollution from the city, all this equates to extremely visible stars. Into the late hours of the night I set up my camera and snapped away at 30 second exposures. Armed with the knowledge fellow photographer Sean Parker shared with me, I was quite happy with the images of the stars I had captured considering it was my first serious attempt. Knowing it was a bit late already I headed for a short amount of rest before I would head out again for my last golden hour of the trip. 5:00 a.m. and my eyelids open, its time to shoot. I grab my bag and start walking towards the lake in the darkness. My flash light illuminates my path of gravel and grass. I approach the rim of the lake and I can start to see light coming over the mountains to the east. I book it to make it around the lake and onto the dock to setup. While down there I met an older man who was fishing early in the morning. According to him it was the best time to be out there. I stayed on that dock for some time, watching the sun come over the mountains, and simply thinking about how fortunate I am to be able to do what I love. I feel like a lot of the opportunities that have come my way are because of my recent travels and willingness to put myself out there. In stark contrast to one year ago, I can honestly say I am looking forward to the last quarter of 2013. These upcoming months are completely exciting and could possibly change everything. I will work harder than ever to continually improve my photography, increase my network, and take on new challenges. Thanks for stopping by, until next time.

Salt River Canyon

Another angle further up


I was really digging the reflection here

People fishing in the lake

Giving my car some love for making it safely



Show Low Lake


Up early fishing at 5:30 am


My first attempt at Astrophotography

Personal Favorite