On last months cross country road trip, I tallied up a total of 8,044 miles. This shot was from New Mexico at the end of day 2. For almost two straight days it felt like pulling teeth to get an even halfway decent image. I was starting to doubt if I would get anything good at all. Then the late day light came through, like it always does in New Mexico. Not sure what it is about that place, but the light is unlike anywhere else in the country. Especially before sunset. That, combined with the old broken down towns, makes for some interesting photographs. Guess there is something to the “Land of Enchantment”. Just after this shot, I looked off to the left and saw an incredible basketball hoop. Which was the main focus of the whole road trip. And the image of that hoop might just be my favorite of the whole trip. Put some time into America, and she’ll give you something back.
I didn’t post too much here, so please go over to my WEBSITE GALLERY for the entire bottom to top experience (83 images total).
At 14,505 feet, Mt. Whitney is the highest peak in the lower 48 states. A few weeks ago, 5 friends and I climbed to the top. An awesome experience that every able bodied person should do at some point in there life. Round trip the hike was somewhere around 23 miles. And there wasn’t a dull portion at all. The terrain, weather, and light change by the minute. The only way I can describe the hike is by relating it to a video game. Each time you go around a turn, it feels like you are entering a new level of a video game. And every level is dramatically different from the next.
Pennsylvania is a huge state, and for the most part, completely looked over. Which is a shame, because it’s actually a really interesting place. The more time I spend there, the more I like it. Photographically it definitely has a lot to offer. On this most recent road trip, I spent two days is eastern PA, which is a different animal all in itself. One of the things I encountered was small Amish communities. Aside from movies, I’ve never seen then before. And from my short experience, it seems like those movies did a great job portraying them. Everything from their clothes to their dialect. After driving through one Amish community and not stopping, I was very disappointed in myself.Then a few hours later, while driving down a random country road, I saw a meat house. So I went in to check out what they had. Left a few minutes later with plenty of smoked jerky and a few treats for the dog. Sat behind the car enjoying some of the jerky, and noticed an Amish family across the street. So I approached them, explained what I was interested in doing, and the mother said she didn’t have any problem with her kids being photographed. Ideally, I would have liked to photograph the father, with his long beard and wrinkled face, but that wasn’t an option. The kids were great though. We shot for about 45 minutes, the whole time asking them questions. The answers were very candid, and their lack of interest in a regular “American” lifestyle was astonishing. “That’s none of our business”. Their whole way of life really is quite incredible. The one thing that surprised me, was they were allowed to smoke cigarettes. And it seemed to be something they did quite often. The oldest of the two sons is 19 and already married with a child. They were aware of the tv show “Amish Mafia”, said nobody in the Amish community is too happy about it. They showed me the horse drawn buggies that are used for travel up to 20ish miles. Everything else is done by vans that are all Amish owned. A great overall experience that I want to do more of. A lot more of. Very interesting people.
Images 1+4 are lit with strobes. 2+3 are all natural light.
Hit the road again last month and drove cross country. On the way, one of my main focuses was old basketball hoops. It’s a project I’ve been working on for a while now, and really felt the need to continue it. Happy with the result, but feel like it will be a project I will work on for years to come. To check out more hoop images I shot in the past, go to the GALLERY on my website.
None of these images are composites or HDR. They are all one exposure with a polarized lens, the background underexposed in camera, and the hoop/building was lit with 1-2 strobes. Images 3,4, and 9 were shot with all natural light.
Went down to La Paz, Mexico a few weeks ago for a friend’s bachelor party. Many good times were had. Lots of laughs. Lots of Modelos. And lots of fish tacos. All of these images were taken on Tecelote Beach, where we “camped” for 2 nights. Check it out if you’re ever down on that side of the Baja Peninsula. Great remote beach on the Sea of Cortez.
Over the past couple years I’ve had some amazing opportunities to shoot with world class athletes. And they have all been memorable for their own reasons, but this was my favorite shoot in quite some time. Going into it, I was a little concerned about the language barrier, and things getting lost in translation. We had a Spanish speaking girl on set to help out, but it’s still not the same as speaking directly with a subject. Right in the beginning I told Canelo what we were looking for with all the different shots. Which was a lot of intensity and hard punches to the different heavy bags. And asked what the best way for him was to do this. And through the translator, he said “I don’t know how to act”. Exactly what I wanted to hear. From then on, it was like he only had one gear. During all of our takes, it was like Canelo was actually in the ring for a real prize fight. He was so aggressive and loud it blew my mind. I’ve been around a lot of huge athletes like Shaq and Dwight Howard, but they had nothing on this little guy. Watching him punch the heavy bag was incredible. Even having 70 pounds on him, I would never want to be in the way of one of those punches. For a photo shoot, most athletes will fake punches or just make them look good. Not Canelo. He was throwing 110% every time. Really awesome to watch, hear, and shoot. Unforgettable experience.
The other thing that I really liked about him, was that he cared. After a few takes, he wanted to check out the computer screen (I was shooting tethered) to see how the images look and if there was anything he could change to make them look better. This series(below) was one of the only ones where he wasn’t working out. And after seeing it on screen, he looked at me and said in English, “Aaahh my friend”. Funny moment. Guess he was diggin it.
Shot a bunch of ads for FOX’s The Ultimate Fighter a few months ago in Vegas. Really enjoyed this one, and excited to see who wins. They wouldn’t dish any of the details while we were shooting, even though the show was almost done filming. Fun group of guys to shoot. They were all very into making cool images, and down with whatever we asked. Even despite the very cold outdoor temperatures and injuries. Hope to do some more of this stuff soon.
Couple weeks ago I went up the Bonneville Salt Flats (Utah) to shoot the Salt Flats 100. One of the most unique areas and events you’ll ever go to. We got there the night before, and it was pitch black. Pitch Black. Set up a tent, woke up in the morning, and felt like we were on the moon. It’s a very surreal place. Anyway, our first priority was to get some shots of the runners before they set out on a 100 mile race. Which we did with a few lights and an 8×8 silk. Seconds after we were done with that, the runners took off, and we followed. At first in a car, where I was hanging out the back. Then took a 4 wheeler out across the rest of the flats. Pretty cool being out there with miles and miles of completely flat open land. You just pin the throttle and go. The morning light was incredible. Very crisp, which looked great with the occasional blue sky. Seemed like the light, and weather, were changing from minute to minute. At the end of the flats, the course went up into the surrounding mountains. It was interesting to see the (some)runners morale drop the further they ran. Others seemed completely unfazed. Talking the whole way. We ran into a few problems along the way ourselves. At out mile 22 our 4 Wheeler broke down, which stranded us for quite a while. Eventually we hitched a ride with someone working the event, who took us up to some really remote areas. This was where we started realizing just how serious the race was. Not only is it 100 miles, but the course goes through mountains in extremely desolate places. Where the runners might not see another person for 10-12 miles until the aid stations. As the day went on, it began to rain, and eventually got dark. I can’t image how that would play with your mind as someone who has already been running for 50 miles, and only halfway done.
After returning to base camp, we took our car out onto somewhat decent dirt roads, where we knew the runners would eventually be running through. And after time, they did. Somewhere around aid station 11, we found a great vantage point to set up, offering an almost 360 degree view. It was cold, rainy, and extremely windy. We stood there for a while, amazed at the terrain the runners were covering. Dark now, all they had was a head lamp to light there way through miles of rocky trails. Seemed like we could almost see their head lamps coming for miles. Some would run with “pacers” and some did the entire thing solo. Almost 20 hours later, we were still up shooting, and the first racer crossed the finish line. Not sure how, but didn’t seem too beat up by the whole thing, and was in good spirits. We stuck around for a couple runners to cross. Then eventually started our drive back to San Diego. On no sleep. Things immediately got interesting at elevation in Nevada. It began snowing hard. There had to be at least six inches of snow on the road, and my tires are getting pretty close to bald. Looking back it was a terrible idea to be driving. I definitely fell asleep a couple times at the wheel….
Here is the race as I saw it. In order.