Andy Powers is the Master Luthier at Taylor Guitars. Which means that his job is to meet with world class musicians, find out what they want, then build them a custom guitar by hand. When he’s not doing that, he’s surfing. Which means that Andy Powers has a pretty sweet gig. I had a lot of fun on this shoot. Andy, as you can image, is a very relaxed guy. Has a lot of life experience and doesn’t mind sharing it, if asked. Days after this shoot, I was leaving for my Alaska/Hawaii trip and he gave me some great tips on places to go/things to do. All of which were on point.
I’ve been posting a lot of images over on my Tumblr page from this past road trip through California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Nevada.
This one is the top of the Hotel Baxter is Bozeman, Montana. I can see why a lot of people fall in love with it up there. “Big Sky Country” as the license plates read, and for good reason. It feels very wild. Very untamed.Not a lot of rules. I dig that. Montana introduced me to Huckleberries for the first time. More importantly, Huckleberry Milk Shakes. They alone are worth the drive! Go see for yourself and tell me I’m wrong.
Last week I got together with the friends I went to France with to plan next years snowboarding trip. And realized that there are a ton of images that haven’t even been touched from the past trip. So I went scrolling through the hard drives and pulled out a few from Annecy, France. Of all the towns we visited, this is hands down the best. Not only does it sit right on Lake Geneva, but there are canals running straight through town. A truly incredible place, that somehow seems so quaint, when it should be completely full of itself. Gonna have a hard time not going back here.
Something that goes along with road tripping through the US is coming across your fair share of characters. And I would put Lorin Watson up against any you will meet. From the first step inside his shop, you know the owner has got to be a piece of work. Technically he is a Barber, although I think he spends a lot more time playing music then he does cutting hair. After about two minutes of meeting him, I felt like I knew his whole life story. Not because we had a crazy bond, but because he has quite the “gift of gab”. In fact, I’m not sure how many words I actually spoke during the entire hour and a half I was in there. Either way, this was a great experience and I’m glad I had the opportunity to meet Lorin. It was a truly unique place on a couple levels. Not only was the shop filled with guitars, but it’s also Lorin’s home. Post Falls is a tiny town in Northern Idaho, not too far from the Canadian border. There isn’t a hell of a lot going on up there and doesn’t seem to be a lot of opportunity for income. So Lorin Barbers up front during the day and lives in the back room at night. It’s kind of sad, but he seems to enjoy himself. And was very appreciative to have an audience (me) to play for. It was really cool hearing him play and made for some great shots. These are hands down my favorite of the whole trip through 6 states. And have to be in the running for my top 5 of the 41 states shot to date. All natural light just coming through the front door/window. I just moved him around the room until I found this sweet spot.
I love my Nikon D4, but lately I’ve been wanting more pop, and more detail for larger commercial assignments. So a few weeks ago I tried out a Digital Medium Format Hasselblad, and didn’t see a big enough difference to justify a 12k purchase. So after a lot of research, I decided to pick up a Nikon D800e to get use out of those 36mp files. It doesn’t look as sexy as the D4, and the performance is quite as good, but the images are definitely legit. Even just viewing them on the LCD, you can see more detail. Then when you get them on your computer, it is obviously a superior file. Especially when you zoom in, there is a lot more detail. I picked up the D800e on my way north a few weeks ago and put it through the test at Crossfit this past Saturday. Will probably do a full Nikon D4 v. Nikon D800e after I’ve had more time with it. Stay tuned.
These images are a mix of the D4 and D800e.
Just added more images to the “Hoops” gallery on my website. The latest additions are from my road trip through Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Nevada.
Got back in the gym last Saturday, but this time was a little bit different. I was shooting with a medium format camera. The Hasselblad H3Dii-31 to be specific. I’ve been thinking about making the jump to MF, but wanted to test drive one before dropping the money. Loved the way the camera handled, but wasn’t completely sold with the files. I was thinking there would be a huge difference from the files coming from my Nikon D4, but there wasn’t. The shallow depth of field was great, but there wasn’t that huge pop of detail that I was expecting. So for now I’ll be sticking with the D4, but will continue to search out other options.
Not sure why, but I never bought into the hype about Hawaii. It just seemed like everybody’s automatic first choice for a vacation. Maybe because it’s so close to San Diego? So I had this idea in my head that it was just this mediocre place that was overrun with tourists. Then after being there for a day, I was totally sold. I drank the Kool-Aid!! Depending on what type of person you are, there is definitely something for everyone. That being said, I really didn’t like Lahaina, Kanapali, or that entire area of the western coast. It’s exactly what I had in my head. Cheesy tourist shops and huge resorts. I get why some people like it, but that’s not my bag. Baby. Once you get outside of those areas however, it’s completely different. Beautiful secluded shoreline, windy roads, and tiny villages. A very “local” feel. If you go to Maui, go to Hana. That is where you will get a real “Hawaiian” experience. “The Road to Hana” is a famous “must do”, and it is awesome, but I actually thought the drive from Kahului on the 340/30 to Napili was even better. I won’t vouch for either of those towns, but the road between is ridiculous. On it you’ll find a guy in a little shack selling Huli-Huli Chicken that will blow your mind. Seriously. The food is Hana was just out of this world. All farm to table. And the Thai was hands down the best I ever had. There are experiences to be had in Hana, that you just can’t have anywhere else in the world. You just have to look and you need to deal with the locals probably not liking you.
Really didn’t shoot much on this trip, but that’s ok. Had fun for the little amount of time the camera was out. Played a lot with a 10 Stop ND Filter/Polarizer and some long exposures. Next time, I’de really like to get some more lifestyle and culture shots. Next time.
Not sure what I can say about Shaq that hasn’t already been said. He really is the worlds biggest kid. Without a doubt the largest human I have every met. An amazing presence. Yet, a total teddy bear. We were on set with Shaq for about 6 hours, and he was joking around for 99% of that. Never serious, about anything. Like I’ve said in the past, every photographer has a long and short list of people that he wants to shoot. Shaq is on my very short list. Not only was he an incredible player to watch, but he has more character then any professional athlete to ever live. He is an athlete and a showman. And while it is a total honor to have shot him, I am not at all satisfied. The images that Reebok needed were for the windows of Foot Locker to promote the re-release of Shaq’s legendary shoe, The Shaqnosis. The main focus of the day was to film a commercial with rapper Tyga. So I only had a few minutes with him on a white seamless. Again, so happy to have had him at all, but I need him in front of my camera again. Next time with a little more time and a bit more creative freedom. He has SO much character that I would love to be able to use to make an amazing image outside of a studio and without the distraction of a commercial shoot.
Right before walking off set, Shaq dropped his famous Aristotle quote on me:“Excellence is not a singular act, but a habit. You are what you repeatedly do.” Why, I don’t know, But I’m honored that he did.
Shaq. Aka “The Big Shakespeare” aka “The Big Aristotle” aka “The Big IPO” aka “The Big Antarctica” aka “The Big Shamrock” aka “The Big Havlicek” aka “The Big Shactus” aka………
Shoot this last week as a personal project to play around with some random ideas that i’ve had on the back burner. Wanted to do something with a smoke machine, but the one I used definitely wasn’t the right one. I like the outcome, but this particular machine wasn’t capable of making the type of smoke that I was looking for. So you’ll probably be seeing more of this in the future.
The set up was real simple. A black seamless, 3 strobes, Lastolite Panel, smoke machine, and a large piece of fake grass. Shot outdoors. Love shooting with seamless outside…..