Black and white photos of snow.
Back in September I posted about my Fuji X-Pro 2 and a bike accident that I had. Since then I have not replaced the lens that sustained damage during that fall. I have no plans to replace it, at the moment. I have found that the lens produce some beautiful images even though it is flawed. This afternoon I had my small camera bag with me, which contains the Fuji X-Pro 2 and my new DJI Mavic Pro. Both fit perfectly in my Amazon bought camera bag.
After I landed from a quick flight I decided to make some photos of the late afternoon light. My personal work is about light, shadows, patterns, and textures. This afternoon I wanted to produce a series of complex images that captured the light as it was setting. I relied on the environment around me to be the subject as I followed the light.
The common thread that ties the following images together is not just the quality of light, but it is the use of shadow and space within the environment. You will also see a relationship of positive and negative space, how I compose the image to tell the story of how the light exists within the space. It is this thinking that allows me to create images of complexity that tell the story of a late afternoon light setting on an urban setting.
It is not everyday that I get a few minutes to myself to make some personal work. So much of my day is spent shooting, editing, or one or the other. Being able to make images like this is both fun and challenging. Challenging in the sense that I want to visually tell a story but I don't always have the time to do so nor is there always a story to tell. Enjoy.
As mentioned in the previous post, my gear for this test with Jessa was minimal. A camera with one lens, a model and a photographer in an awesome location. Check out the quick video of the location. Nothing super special. Its not even a real behind the scenes video. It was more of less a few shots on my iPhone to show the space.
With the minimal gear that I had, I was limited to using just natural light. Even if I had brought a set of lights with me or a simple reflector, I wouldn't have wanted to set them up given the light that I had available. When I first arrived at the location I was awestruck. I have never been in a desert, nor have I ever been in the desert hills of California. The late day light was playing off the sand, creating a glow. Two parts of the property that I rented had airstream trailers, which acted as giant light modifiers. I didnt need a single light or reflector so long as I had the sand from across the valley and the light bouncing off the trailers. You'll see in the following posts how the light bounced through the environment and gave me a lot to work with. I am very pleased with the images we made.
I know it seems a bit odd to have so many posts for one test shoot. Surely I could simply reduce the number of posts and just do one post with 1 image from each look, but wheres the fun in that? Plus, this is away of generating more content and sharing more images. I am going to be revamping the site over the next two weeks to include all new work, both of Jessa and the other work I produced in Cali, so the more content I generate on the blog, the more visibility. Enjoy!
One of the worst pitfalls of being busy, is being busy. A lot of people say, "busy is good or its better to be busy than not be busy." There is healthy busy, the kind that is super productive. Then there is unhealthy busy. Prior to the start of this past summer I was busy in an unhealthy fashion. I was married to the daily work that was coming and I kept adding more to my plate. Once summer came things changed. Now, unhealthy isn't in my daily vernacular. In addition to restructuring part of my business, I have been working hard at being as healthy as I can. Part of this means carving out time to do the kind of marketing, self promotion, and general social media blasting that I need to, which brings me to this post and the next 4.
In July I was in Southern California for the first time. I did the trip right. I rented a convertible and drove up and down the PCH, Pacific Coast Highway. In a few future posts I will go into detail. For the purposes of today's post and the next 4 I have scheduled, I will be discussing my shoot in Topanga, California. I rented an Airbnb for the purposes of producing an editorial. To protect the privacy of the property owners, I will not provide the address. A few days before the trip things fell apart from a production stand point. Even though the editorial wouldn't be happening I still wanted to utilize the space, as it was so so incredible. It looked like a Hollywood film set, partially because the homeowner is a DP, so they knew what they were doing when they styled it.
Jessa, who is signed with Rocky Mountain Entertainment is a model and actor working in LA. She was generous with her time and talents for our shoot. I must credit my friend and colleague Brittany Smith for having made the connection. I had been on location long enough to plan how the shoot would flow. Having spent a few days in production for the editorial, I had a great mood board in place. When Jessa and I spoke, it was easy to communicate my vision for the location. I was looking to marry a bohemian style within the location.
For this test shoot I minimal gear with me. I used a Canon 5Ds with a Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art lens. I did not bring any lights with me or use any modifiers. I relied entirely on natural and available light for this shoot. I will go into detail over the next few scheduled posts. It is also worth noting that in wanted to maintain minimal retouching for this shoot. I wanted things to feel natural and lose, not overly commercialized and heavily retouched. The following images as well as the next 4 posts will convey the visual success that we had.
Early in the summer I discovered an ultra cool location while on a bike ride. Meandering through the area I knew that at some point in the summer I would need to come back and shoot some portraits or fashion in this spot. While talking to one of my clients and discussing the spot, she eagerly expressed some interest in a shoot at the location. Over the last few years I have photographed Erin for her business, giving her head shots for marketing purposes. This shoot was vastly different being that it was not for her business and it was more casual with a flare of fashion. I suggested a white dress, giving the environment, I thought white would be most idea.. The shoot would occur later in the afternoon leading up to that beautiful golden hour light. This was one of the very first shoots with my Canon 5dS. Love this camera. At the same time I was shooting with such a beast of a DSLR, I had my Nikon F4 loaded with some 400 speed film. I wanted to play with the film while using the DSLR to capture some high resolution images. The results are beautiful, filled with light, texture, and a play on the environment.
I once had a business partner. Things did not work out and we parted ways. He moved away. I stayed here and continued running the show. In a way, I always ran the show and held things to a higher standard. The parting of ways was an eye opener. I was able to discover things about myself, my business, and most importantly, the direction I wanted to be going in. While we had a business and a studio and worked toward building a reputation and taking on larger studios in our area, I was building a reputation for myself. I was doing the work that I really wanted to do, which was most important to me. When the time came and things were ready to end, after a small messy battle, I kept moving forward and have made changes with my business.
You will not see me discussing the past business beyond how I did so above. I will not discuss past shoots that occurred under that business. By all accounts, I am that business, have always been that business and will always be that business, that is, until a time comes that I chose to follow other leads in life. I have a new partner now. A new business parter, my wife. She believes in me and wants me to succeed more that the former business partner did. She cares about my business, nurtures my creativity, and wants me to be the success that I am and will continue to be. She does so out of love and care, but also because the more successful I am, the more we prosper as a couple.
My wife, Sue, is always quick to point out the importance of downtime and knowing my limitations. Sue has endured her share of physical set backs. Her health at times is like a roller coaster, up and down, peaks, highs, and lows. She is always encouraging me to rest and get better sleep, which I am finding out makes a huge difference. I have cared for her when she has needed it, never giving her many opportunities to reciprocate. Her mother is a retired nurse. Sue grew up in a house with two other sisters, her father, and the best possible kind of caretaker there is, a nurse. She learned to be more compassionate, undoubtedly, from her mother, who I may add is a sweetheart, and if she is reading this, I'm sure she is now blushing.
Yesterday, while running some errands for the house and picking something up at the Home Depot for a project I am starting, I experienced a pain in my back. It was familiar, yet strikingly new. By the I made it home, I could not walk up the driveway. I attempted to help with a few minutes of yard work and found it to be a challenge. I retired to my new leather chair and ottoman. I fell harshly into it and painfully began to find a spot of comfort. With minimal strength to even lift my legs, I was able to sit into some sort of contorted position that was as pleasant as it was painful. I texted my uncle to let him know I would be unable to join him that evening. I closed my phone and laid back watching season 7 of Californication. I had no idea the rest of the night was going to be a painful spiral downwards.
By the time I was able to get into bed, wiping the tears from my eyes, I was near delusions. Some how she managed to make me laugh, which amplified the pain, which increased the tears and laughter. Oh I was more of a train wreck last night than anything I have seen in a while. After some pills and a few sips of water, I checked out for the night.
12 hours later I rose like the holy man himself. I was in pain, yes, but had to get up and stretch out as well as empty the bladder. Today was a new day with a new possibility of gaining some mobility. Around mid-night I had texted one of my long term clients, whom I am friends with and informed her I had to reschedule the shoot. That is something I do not commonly do. As a business owner, there are times when meetings and shoots have reschedules, and things need to be adjusted. Happens in all industries for countless unforeseeable issues that arise. Today mine was a physical limitation. I was upset and concerned that I would either end up in the hospital or worse have to cancel the first few days of my week.
While I was seeing the light and nearing the level of pain that induces a coma, my first thought was my business, my second thought, was my business, my final thought before passing out, was my business. This is where knowing the importances of your limitations are and knowing how to shut off from time to time comes into play. This week was not horribly crazy, compared to the past. Friday was fast paced day, day before injury, and was not super, over the top crazy. However, the fast movement from place to place, shoot to shoot, in some way contributed to my Saturday collapse. Not that I fell, but that metaphorically I did collapse. It was time to rest. The biggest bummer of all, Sunday, today, was one of the most nicest days we have had this spring. I was looking forward to a successful shoot in the morning, a nice road trip with my wife and our fur kids, and a grilled dinner, with a fire to top it off. So far I have managed to sit in the sun, read 8 pages from a book I am in love with, and barely eat a frozen mash up of rice and beans cooked by one of the finest microwave ovens Best Buy has to offer. However, during all of that, my new partner has been there by my side, holding me as needed, walking with me to loosen up the tight muscles, and tend to the yard work that so desperately needs it.
It is incredibly cliche to say, "don't take things for granted." In some ways, we are as human beings take everything for granted at one point or another in our lives. The flexibility to get in a car and drive anywhere and do just about anything, so long as we have the proper resources, enables us to take for granted what we do have, life. During my struggles and my pains over the last 24 hours, 12 of which we unmeasurable in terms of pain levels, I never kept my wife in mind and thought of how well she is doing with taking care of me. I am not easy to manage when I am in pain and she did a stellar job. While this blog post is more about the undertone, "don't take what you have for granted" and know your limitations and rest as needed so you can avoid injury and risk to your job, life, or business, it is also a way of me publicly saying thank you to my wife. Without her I would have suffered insurmountable levels of pain that would have kept me out for days to come. But her encouragement and support is what has gotten me up. She believes in me in ways I still don't yet understand. But the level of support and creative freedom she gives me gives me courage to fight on and be better than I can imagine.
Thank you Susan.