These two people live far away from me, but somehow distance doesn’t separate us. I’m from Georgia originally. Will and I were in our first band together. We went to high school together. So when I heard that Will and Jenn got engaged I was beside myself with happiness. Will was one of my groomsmen just 4 short years ago, before I even started shooting weddings. I wouldn’t have missed this one for the world. It was a grand evening catching up with old friends and making some new ones.
I traveled light on this one and although I brought an umbrella and a softbox, I was unable to use them due to the wind and lack of proper sand bags or assistant. So it was all about bounce flash, or fill flash and for this I used and promptly lost my beloved Rogue Flashbender. Ill definitely be buying another one of those. So I ended up shooting the whole thing without modifiers, something I haven’t done for about two years. All shots are with either 10-22 or 70-200IS II and Canon7D. I did get to shoot two bodies, I usually shoot one. I thought it would be too cumbersome, but it turned out to be quite convenient and I didn’t miss fumbling around and changing lenses, that’s for sure. Glendalough Manor turned out to be one of the most accommodating, photographer-friendly venues I’ve ever worked< I can't to shoot again in Georgia, I'd love for it to be there again. In a shocking coincidence, Winslow Thomas, an old buddy from my days at the Atlanta Shakespeare Company, turned out to be the officiant. I've been in California since 1998, but I return to shoot this wedding and I ran into two old friends in a town of millions. What are the chances?
It felt amazing to catch up with old friends, take some photos and visit the state I grew up in. As I flew West, I must have been polluting the heartland with contrails of nostalgia. Click here for the full set of high resolution images.
It was a beautiful day, one I won't forget.
I’ve decided to merge two posts here. One is about a trip down Route 66, the other about a San Gabirel Mountain hike. It was an adventurous weekend that reminded me how fun and exciting being a phtographer can be. You don’t even need a camera really, all you need is a sense of curiousity and adventure. You’ve heard me wax poetic about being an observer before, but this is meant to be a wake up call.
Get off your ass and live a fun life. Find that interesting thing in your town that you never did. Do you know how many New Yorkers haven’t been to the Statue of Liberty? I don’t either but it’s a lot. Did you ever get that downer feeling when you return home after a long vacation? You’re returning to work, to the same streets you’ve become numb to and the thought of returning home becomes a drag. This is all mental. This is all in your head.
Having had enough, my hiking buddies and I decided during a trip home from the Sierras that we weren’t gonna put up with it anymore. We bought a book on our little Mojave desert city and became tourists in our own town. The trick is to not let your surroundings get by you. Its too easy for a callus to form; too easy to get used to the smell of your job that eventually you just don’t smell it anymore. Its way too easy to be underwhelmed by the ordinary.
The ordinary is amazing. If it isn’t, you’re not looking hard enough. You don’t have to lower your standards, you just have to see better. Take a walk. Go to a museum. Open your eyes wider and drink a milkshake. Make love on the kitchen counter this time. Offend someone and don’t be sorry about it. You can start by commenting below.
For a slide show of these images, click here.
Heather and I took the majestic highway 395 North to Bishop to take in the changing color and too much good bread from Eric Schatt’s Bakkery. A few friends who shall remain nameless once made the five hour journey just for bread and turned back and headed straight home.
Fall in California is elusive for Angelenos or those in the Southern and desert regions. Some might argue that autumn and spring simply don’t exist in the Southwest. For a few lucky Californians, fall is an explosion of weather, color and trout.
In spite of having the most comfortable bed ever in history, we woke up reluctantly each morning hoping to catch just the right light. We headed to 3 separte alpine lakes: Lake Sabrina, North Lake and then South Lake on the following day. Each location was packed with hopeful anglers and a smattering of photographers here and there. We even ran into a group called the Nikonians, who happened to be on the same picture-taking circuit that we were. Heather and I sported the only Canons around and tried to represent as best we could.
On the way, home we stopped at all of the photo-ops we could including the Volcanic Table Lands, and Fossil Falls. We also took a turn towards nearby marshy Klondike Lake to get better shots of CalTech’s Owens Valley Radio Observatory.
Our last stop would be Manzanar, the site of an American concentration camp. Japanese-Americans, some born in the U.S. and having no connection to Japan, were given a week to liquidate their belongings and get to the train station whem Japan declared war on the United States. This visit shook me like I knew it would. I was ashamed at what we were capable of. It was a sad chapter in history, taking place in a harsh but beautiful climate that attracted the likes of Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange. It also attracted two A-10 Warthog attack planes and an F-16, I couldn’t help but think of my brother, the a-10 pilot, and if that could be him up there tumbling around through the clouds at 500 miles an hour.
The Canon 7D still seems to be meeting every one of my expectations. Even my biggest issue, no assignable AEB button, has now been overcome simply by editing a Camera User Setting. There are still many things I need to get used to on this camera body, but I am loving the feel and the results. I honestly believe that my best work is ahead of me and thats in no small part due to my new acquisition.
I’m going to leave this one short and sweet. Thanks for reading and I hope you come back next time.
We have been very, very slack in our hiking lately. Its really shameful. Last Sunday, we tried to find our way back. We normally scoff at 10 and 12 mile hikes as with thousands of feet of elevation change; last weekend, we barely topped 2 miles.
This isn’t for lack of trying. The Station Fire, according to the media has laid waste to 160,000 acres of our playground, the Angeles National Forest which is essentially the San Gabriel Mountains. From where we are, the burn doesn’t look so dramatic, so we are anxious to get up there to survey the damage. We decided to grab our favorite hiking guides and our maps and head as far in as we could get before we were stopped. We didn’t get very far. We did see some burned out post-apoctalyptic landscapes in the distance, but nothing that anyone living in Southern California for a while hasn’t seen before. Fires are a part of life here just like earthquakes and avocados.
We didn’t expect the roads to be closed here. We continued around the northernmost range of the San Gabriels in hopes to find our way up a fire road for a peak. All roads into the forest were blocked and it looked serious. We continued to drive East to the Devil’s Punchbowl, a natural sincline that we have hiked more often than any other local site. The fire was one entire range away, so we figured we would at least head out to the Devil’s Chair, one of our favorite spots. The geology around these rock formations is dramatic and exiting. Everywhere you look there is evidence of fault activity. The San Andreas runs directly underfoot here and makes for some lovely desert terrain.
When we arrive at our home trail, so to speak, we throw on our packs and walk to the nature center as we always do, only to be greeted with a sign that informed us that, ” ALL TRAILS CLOSED.” Damn. We walk inside and inquire as to when our playground, the Mojave Desert’s backyard oasis, my church will re-open and the 5d Mark II wielding attendant stated that it was up to the U.S. Forest Service and there was no possible way to know when they’d open it again. “It could be a day, it could be months.” We started to speculate hopefully that it could’nt have burned everything. The trails here must be closed because they don’t have the personnel for a search and rescue operation, right? The map of the burn read like a laundry list of our favorite mountains and hiking trails. They always have a rattlesnake, an owl or a tarantula along with other flora and fauna for the public. There was a Boy Scout group there, taunting the rattler who sound like he couldn’t possibly rattle any faster or louder to get his point across. Ruth, the barn owl, was there as she was last time so we said hello.
We retreated to the valley floor and away from the San Gabriels, leaving the USFS to its work. Continue reading