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Archive | August, 2011


26 Aug

Of all my friends I get to see on my travels, I’ve seen my friend Roxy in more cities than anyone else — of course, not counting various people I’ve been traveling with.  She isn’t living the nomad life the way I have, but she recently moved from New York City to San Francisco to go to law school, with a stop in Los Angeles over the summer.  Somehow, our travel schedules have randomly synced, and I’ve met up with her in all three cities.

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A couple of weeks ago, she asked me if I wouldn’t mind taking photos of her for her body-positive/alternative-style fashion blog. Since I’ve been almost entirely shooting timelapses lately, I was excited about getting back into the habit of shooting portraits. All of my studio lighting gear is temporarily living with another photographer in Los Angeles while I travel, so the added challenge of being forced to shoot with only available light (and an underpowered hot-shoe flash) made it that much more interesting.

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Armed with only a Canon 580EX and a 4′ by 4′ sheet of white foam core for a bounce, we set off to walk around the Mission and Potrero Hill.

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She’s posted her favorites here. My favorites continue below:


Oregon Coast

20 Aug

Last week Josh and I drove from Portland, Oregon down to San Francisco, back along the coast route. The plan was to put together a whole Magic Window pack in two days, beating our record of shooting the whole Las Vegas pack in four. (And before that, the New York City pack in five).

We got some great content. I’d have loved to spend more time shooting more sunset and sunrise scenes, but I’m really thrilled with what we got.

Here’s frames from the rest of the take:

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No Apparent Esthetic Value

16 Aug

Lots of people have been forwarding me lots of links to blogs and news articles over the last few days.

Police Chief Jim McDonnell, of the Long Beach Police Department has recently admitted to having a policy of detaining photographers taking pictures that have “no apparent esthetic value”. The definition seems to include most “industrial areas” and excludes “things tourists often take photos of”.

I’m no stranger to this policy — although this is the first time it’s been publicly acknowledged — as I’ve been stopped over a dozen times while shooting in that area. I’ve also been detained, questioned, interrogated, yelled at, checked for warrants, searched, frisked for weapons, and been visited at my home by FBI agents.

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All for going off of the beaten path. If I took photos of the same things everyone ELSE was taking photos of, and in the same way from the same places, I wouldn’t have anything worth looking at, much less selling.

So far I’ve never been arrested in my life.

But then again, I’m not doing anything illegal.

My friends will tell you that I even drive the speed limit (although I’ve been known to jaywalk).

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Anywho, as a law-abiding citizen and full-time professional photographer, I have a tendency to shoot gritty industrial locations. Places that are made by man and are designed to be functional and efficient, and without any architectural sense. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I tend to think that oil refineries, logistics hubs, rail yards, and other typically-unseen utilitarian infrastructure has a neat esthetic.

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I thought I’d include some photos I’ve shot in the Long Beach + Port of Los Angeles area over the last few years.

After all, this one made the cover of Science Magazine two years ago:

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And this one was the photo of the day on Bing’s homepage back in May:

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Many of the photos I shoot in the port are available on Getty Images and iStockPhoto.  I’m still not sure if they have esthetic value or not, but they certainly get a lot of sales.

I might actually be overdue for a visit to Long Beach. Hey LBPD: cut that crap out.

A few more photographers who have fantastic industrial photos from the area are David Sommars, Shane Quentin, and Thomas Hawk.

After the jump, a few more photos from the industrial part of the Long Beach area I’ve shot in the last couple of years.


Jet Set

4 Aug

I’ve been spending some time on the train going through old photos I haven’t touched since I shot them, getting caught up. The oldest unedited sets are almost 8 months old at this point, so while I complain that I spend the majority of my 5D shutter actuations shooting timelapses and not individual stills, realistically I should go through old stuff more often and edit THAT.

No, I still need to shoot more stuff, but here are some photos I’d initially looked over, from the tarmac at Charlotte Airport:

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Rear Window, Coast Starlight

3 Aug

At this very moment, I’m riding Amtrak’s Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon.  There isn’t much to do on a 30-hour train ride (except diligently catch up on work, of course), so armed with my trusty Superclamp, I mounted a 5D to the rear window of the last car on the train.

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This is one of the more scenic passenger rail routes you can take in the United States, and the only one that literally both winds it’s way along the beaches of Southern California and winds it’s way up through the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington. (Yes, it does do quite a lot of winding. I can drive the same distance in half the time, but honestly, this is a much more comfortable and far more productive way to travel).

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You know what they say.  The last car has the second-best view on the whole train.  (The first, of course, being from the locomotive)

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Las Vegas

3 Aug

I left Las Vegas last week…  I’ve actually been in Los Angeles catching up on work. I’ve been neglecting my blog and so I need to get caught back up.

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All of these are frames from timelapses that will eventually be in a future Magic Window update. I haven’t been shooting many individual photos, just a few thousand at a time. I need to get back in the habit of shooting stills during my travels as well.

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The trip culminated in a 17-hour stretch of shooting, starting with the view from the hills at the beginning of the post, moving to shooting on the strip all night (above), and ending in shooting the sunrise at the Hoover Dam.

The last shoot of the trip was shooting the timelapse below from a rooftop bar, while sipping $16 cocktails. Not a bad way to end a super-busy trip to Vegas.

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