28
Mar
2007

Topanga Surf Session


With great surf breaks in the Malibu area only a half an hour from where I live and work, I was able to jet out after work to catch a sunset photo session at Topanga. It was not an epic evening of surfing with both the waves and action being mediocre. Fun to shoot and to get some good practice in for when there is an epic session.

19
Mar
2007

From the Archives

I was browsing through some fairly recent photos from the summer of 2006 and found a group of photos that are some of my favorite watersports shots but always get forgotten about when I go to build up a gallery of images. On previous incarnations of my website I had no way of presenting a group of images together. There was only one gallery and I didnt want to fill it with similar images. But now with this blog I can showcase a set of images in its entirety. This particular set was from an evening in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina about a mile south of my beach house. I originally tried shooting from the beach level with the skimboarders but was not happy with the shots. They were typical frontal beach shots. I decided to take the high road, literally, and went up on the Kitty Hawk Fishing Pier. This gave me a much more unique perspective. I was able to be “in the water” with the skimboarders. Instead of being on the beach looking out I was out in the water looking back at the beach and into the sunset. This angle provided some dramatic lighting and color as the sun went down. With the light fading fast I decided to play around with a slightly slower shutter speed to get a different looking shot and capture the motion and energy of the riders. I feel that the shots capture the feeling of the session much better than freeze frame frontal beach shots. Overall it was one of my best sessions shooting watersports and turned out some of my most original shots to date. I am hoping to take the ideas learned from that session and apply them towards the other watersports that I enjoy shooting.

19
Mar
2007

The Huntington

I got bored this Sunday and decided to check out some “attractions” around my town. I had heard that The Huntington Library, Museum and Botanical Gardens was a great place to visit and relax at. Just so happens that The Huntington is only about 2 miles down the street I live on so I grabbed my camera and headed out for an after there to check out the Botanical Gardens. The gardens there were much bigger than what I was used to in Florida. There was a huge range of landscapes from Desert to Japanese Zen Gardens. I enjoyed the desert landscapes the most and got lost in the curves and lines in the various aloe plants and cacti. I was really able to explore line, shape and tones with the aloe plants. I think I managed to create some unique images. I also ran into several other Nikon shooters all with D200′s. It was nice to meet some other photographers in the area and talk shop for an afternoon with like minded people. There was too much area to cover in one trip so I will definitely be returning as the landscapes change over the year.

17
Mar
2007

24 Hours in Death Valley

zabriskie

On Thursday night I left Pasadena for what was supposed to be a 3 day trip to Death Valley National Park. I say supposed to be because I ended up spending less than 24 hours in the park. I left Pasadena at midnight on Thursday and got home at midnight on Friday. Various reasons like the 100 degree heat and car issues forced me to cut my stay short. In the time I was there I managed to see a good amount of this amazing place. So many extremes in Death Valley. Extreme heat, extreme elevations (in the negative downward sense), extreme landscapes and extreme quiet. It was not supposed to be so hot this time of year, but my luck dictates that I go to Death Valley during a heat wave. Afternoon air temperatures easily hit 100 degrees. One extreme that really struck me was the lack of noise. Standing way out on the Badwater Salt Flats it was pure silence. I have never heard, or not heard, so little. There was not a single distinguishable sound; nothing that was recognizable as an animal, plant moving in the wind or any type of human made noise (i.e. plane, car, etc). The lack of sound made it feel like my ears were going explode or implode; either way it was a very different experience. In the one day that I was there I saw sunrise at Zabriskie Point and spent the later morning catching the mountain shadows sweeping over and lighting up the Badwater Salt Flats, drove the Artists Drive, hiked the Stovepipe Wells Sand Dunes, visited the Devil’s Golf Course, went off-roading on various trails, watched the sunset at the Salt Flats and caught the Milky Way and some Zodiacal Light at Zabriskie Point on my way out of the park. There were a few places I had planned to visit and photograph but will save them for the next visit. This trip didn’t go exactly as planned but turned out alright. I managed to get some great photographs and do some good scouting so that the next trip will be even better.

11
Mar
2007

El Matador Beach State Park

el matadorAt the suggestion of a fellow photographer I took the day to head out to Malibu and visit one of California’s many state parks: El Matador Beach State Park. This park is considered one of the better beach areas in Malibu. It has all kinds of cliffs, sea caves and large rocks out in the water. The park gets its name from two of the larger rocks on the beach which supposedly look like bulls. I could kind of see it. I didnt get any photos showing the bull. There were too many people and too many buildings in the angle I wanted to shoot them at. The scenery at other parts of the beach was better anyways. I came to the park around noon to scope out the scene and plan my shots for later in the evening. After a little scouting I headed up to Ventura county to waste some time by initiating myself into the California surfing scene. Great way to kill time waiting for the sun to set; 3 foot point break. I came back to El Matador an hour or so before sunset, walked up and down the beach a few times, found the or 4 shots I wanted to get when the lighting got good and then just waited for the sun to set. The planning paid off and I was able to get the exact shots that I saw early on in the day. Recently I had gotten away from seeing the shot before hand. I had gotten into a very fast paced mode of shooting and it wasn’t really producing the results I wanted so I slowed things way down this time. On my first scouting trip I didn’t even bring the camera down with me and on the second trip before sunset I brought the camera but only used it to look at compositions. When the sun set there was no need to rush around, I had already planned each shot and took the shot and moved onto the next shot. I am very pleased with the results.

09
Mar
2007

Isthmus Sailboards Website

willy skipperA few photos I had taken up on the Outer Banks of North Carolina caught the attention of Isthmus Sailboards and they decided to feature one of them on their website. The photos were taken for Windsurfing Magazine but were never used. I gave the shots of the windsurfer to the sailor (Karl Quist). He in turn showed them to Isthmus Sailboards.

07
Mar
2007

Primm, Nevada

ivanpahThis week I took a trip out to the Nevada Desert for work (doing field calibration experiments for an instrument I work on at JPL). The trip was very last minute and was not supposed to be a photography trip. I took my camera with me anyways since some of the best photos happen when you are not really out looking for them. Such was the case on this quick trip. The photos I take on the job double as art and as useful information for the research being performed. The instrument I work with basically records how light reflects off the ground and it is measured from an airplane. That means the skies have to be clear and if they aren’t clear I need to know how cloudy it was. Easiest way to do that is to take a photograph. Since I am taking a photo I might as well make it a good one. Our testing site was out in the middle of the desert on the California/Nevada border. The only substantial thing out there being a grouping of Casinos on the Nevada side of the border known as Primm, Nevada. I had Googled the area before leaving for the trip and saw it was just flat dry lake beds and wasnt expecting that I would be able to get any good photos out of the trip. Fortunately I was proved wrong and was able to take a few great black and white shots. I also shot a few photos of random objects I had around me and they actually turned out pretty cool. I call the series of shots “Stuff in the Desert”. The series of three photos came out well enough that I might go back out to the desert with more random stuff.