DeAndre Jordan is having a monster year. How he didn’t get picked as an All-Star is beyond me. Back in 2011 I shot with him and Blake Griffin at the Clippers practice facility in LA. This was well before DeAndre was dominating like he is today. Still though, you knew it was going to happen. And so did he, but not in a cocky or arrogant way at all. In fact, it seemed like he was just pumped to be doing a photoshoot. Which is awesome as a photographer because it means they will give you a lot. I’m always excited to shoot with pro athletes, but you never know how long or how much they will give you. So to get one that is as excited as you are, is even better. Of all the images I have made of pro athletes, this first of DeAndre is easily one of my favorites. Not sure why, but I always like those quiet moments the most. Really like the second one as well. He’s got a huge and sincere smile that is often seen on the court too. Fast forward to a few weeks ago, “The Cauldron” contacted me about purchasing these images for an article on DeAndre. The coolest part though, is that the article was written by DeAndre , about DeAndre. If you have the time, head over there and check it out? I’m personally not religious at all, and the article does focus on that a bit. However, he makes it a point to say that he would never push religion on anyone. Which I think is awesome, because there are a lot of people who do.
Went up to Mt. Laguna a few weeks ago to shoot some running on the PCT. Days earlier during the scout, it was perfect weather. Meaning NO wind. Can’t say the same for shoot day. The wind was howling, which made using light modifiers a pain in the ass. We fought through it though and came out with some cool images. Windy shoot days seem to be a theme in life. Guess I’ve just learned how to deal? Although, the key really, is a great assistant!
At this point I can’t really remember when I started shooting basketball hoops. But somewhere along the line it caught on, and became a major focus on the last couple cross-country road trips. Over time I’ve amassed a decent size gallery of these hoops, and decided to try and make something of it. So I’m here to introduce you to The Basketball Hoops Project. Clink on the link and it will take you over to the website with two galleries filled nothing but basketball hoops from all over the country. Much like everything else I do, it’s a work in progress, and will continue to grow. As there doesn’t seem to be an end point to photographing them. Might go on as long as I do? Who knows. Either way, if you like what you see, go to the “shop” and get yourself a fine art print. And if you know a hot spot for old broken down hoops, feel free to give me a call or send an email.
Took a trip out to Yosemite last week, making it just my second time there. Not sure why? It’s such a special place and only a 7 hour drive from San Diego. Doesn’t quite seem to be anywhere else like it that I’ve ever been. Very humbling. Just being there makes you realize how small you really are, but not in a bad way. Driving through the park at night, I saw this scene and slammed on the breaks. The moon was bright enough to light up the waterfall and entire surrounding area so much that it was visible to the naked eye. Which in itself is crazy, if you think about it. Turned night into day with a long exposure. Think it was somewhere around 2 minutes at f/5.3 or so. Much more to come from this trip.
If you’ve been following what I do for any amount of time, you know that basketball hoops have been a focus. It’s only a personal project, but I really enjoy making these images. And it seems like others have enjoyed them too. Recently I bought the domain www.thebasketballhoopsproject.com, so this ever growing collection of images could have it’s own home. On top of that, I also started Instagram/Tumblr accounts under the same name. So if you enjoy these, and all the others in my HOOPS GALLERY, please go check them out. They are a work in progress, but like this project, constantly growing.
This particular batch came from my most recent road trip. Which went 7,181 miles from coast to coast, and back. I saw tons of hoops, but was really only turned on by a few of them. Which seems to be the only problem with these type of projects. Driving cross country you see such awesome stuff, that continues to raise the bar. So each hoop I decide to shoot needs to be as good if not better then the last one. And while I think that’s the only way to look at things, it doesn’t make it easy. The images you see here are from Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Ohio, and Indiana. Some of them shot with strobes. Some of them not. Either way, good times on the road. Great experiences and way too much BBQ. Time for a diet.
For every kid, the first day of school is all about who had the freshest kicks. There was always mixed emotions about that first day. You were scared of the unknown, but also excited to see friends and what they had on their feet. Then there was the feeling of jealousy towards the kid who had the sickest pair. School shopping was awesome, but at the same time, nothing was every good enough. No matter which kicks you got, you felt like someone was going to have something better. And sure enough they did. I begged and begged my parents for the latest and greatest. They were smart enough not to feed into my bullshit though. They knew what an incredible waste of money it would be to buy a $100 pair of sneakers that would be trashed in a week. I didn’t get it though. So that just made my desire even stronger. And back in the day, the Reebok Pump was it. The shoe. Before their release, there was nothing else like it. Once they came out, everybody had them. At least that’s how it seemed. And I hated that I didn’t. My mother is from Boston, so she and my grandparents brought me up on Celtics ball. Aside from Larry Bird, Dee Brown was my guy. And when I saw him in the dunk contest wearing Pumps, that put me over the top. I’ll never forget when he paused before his dunk to “pump” up his sneakers. 26 years later, I still think they’re rad. And was lucky to get a pair from my sister this year for Christmas. Thanks Morg!
Last week I completed the first half of a cross-country road trip to visit family in NY for the holidays and work on the HOOPS project. This one actually came from San Diego. I was trying to figure out a good use for the rain we were having. So after it calmed down, I went out to a local court with some strobes and played around with the puddles. As usual, I drastically underexposed the sky in camera, and used a polarizer. Then illuminated the hoop with an Elinchrom Ranger on full power. Love the reflection of the sideline running through this frame. Kind of makes you stop to figure out what’s was going on.
A couple years ago Kobe Bryant was my “White Whale”. The one I was chasing, but never landed. Then the opportunity to shoot him not only came up, but it happened. And he was pumped about the results. As a photographer, there really isn’t much more you can ask for. I was able to cross him off my to-do list with a smile for a job well done. Fast forward a little bit, and somehow I was lucky enough to shoot him again. Hard to complain about that. Kobe is the ultimate professional. Fortunately, he remember me, so it made things a lot easier. Regardless, he has done this a million times. Knows exactly what to do, and needs little to no direction. So we were able to get in a bunch of different looks in about 25 minutes. Just like most celebrities/athletes, Kobe is very mindful of his time, and doesn’t want it wasted. So getting him in and out, was expected and appreciated. In fact, he remembered me most from the first shoot because I was so quick. Hoping for Round 3 before he calls it a career.
The San Diego skies have been filled with great clouds lately. So I took some time to work on my HOOPS project. After driving around Chula Vista/National City for several hours looking for a worthy hoop, I came up empty handed. Then had lunch with a friend who happens to be a police officer in that same area. He took me right to this place, which I would not have had access to without his badge. Thanks Chris!
All images shot on a Nikon D800e (D810 is in the shop) with a polarized Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 lens. I drastically underexposed the sky in camera, then lit up the hoop with an Elinchrom Ranger Strobe. Planning another cross country road trip next month and can’t wait to shoot some more of this stuff.
I’m not going to say Dubrovnik is the best place I’ve ever been, but it’s pretty damn solid. A lot of you nerds might recognize it as a filming location for Game of Thrones. I’ve personally never watched it, nor do I see that happening anytime in the near future. Anyway, Dubrovnik. Loved it. Out of all the towns we visited in Europe last month, this has to be at least tied with the tops. Had we been there a few months earlier, it probably would have been crawling with tourists? So mid October was a great choice. Our apartment was actually inside the walls of “Old Town”, which made the experience that much better. Old Town was built some time in the 15th century, which you can probably tell from the pictures. It’s an extremely unique town. Plenty to do, or not. Walking on top of the walls gives you a great view. And exploring the many alleys gives you a more intimate feel for how the city operates. There are no cars allowed inside the walls, so all the residents and business owners have to hump everything in. That includes any kind of construction materials or food supplies for restaurants. Speaking of, the meals were fantastic. Being on the Adriatic, you expect the seafood to be good. Well it was better then good. Never in my life have I eaten a better piece of swordfish. Don’t think I even had to chew it.There really isn’t much not to like about Dubrovnik. Very authentic, which is all you can ask for.