May 31, 2010

Posted in Project1 05/2010 on May 31st, 2010 by Ghost

Today I drove through incredible scenery and didn’t stop to shoot. A victim of worry, I woke this morning realizing I had a scheduling problem with one of my shoots this week, and instead of being in the moment rushed home to make things right. Wrong. Just dead wrong. Did I have ten or fifteen minutes to stop and shoot something. Absolutely, but I chose not too. I should know better, and of course, everything worked out fine so I really blew it. In an effort to make something positive out of this I set out tonight to photograph what I might have seen had I stopped. Of course it’s now nighttime, so I had to imagine what the scenery I passed might look like by moonlight.

In a further attempt to make things right I’ve also decided that in the next month I will return to the Santa Barbara area, and possibly camp, shoot for Project1, and be a little better about staying in the moment. Lesson learned, again.

Re-Creation – Downtown Los Angeles

ISO 640, 24-70 @ 30mm, f/2.8 @ 1/20 sec – hand held – available light

May 30, 2010

Posted in Project1 05/2010 on May 30th, 2010 by Ghost

Blurring the line between commerce and art is an age old dilemma, and speaks to the very core concept of what art actually is. I’m definitely not one of the people that believes that art is happening with every breath you take, and it certainly isn’t happening during every one of my shoots. Yes, it’s possible to live your life artistically, and be very creative, but to say that everything, every sound, every movement is art seems like a cop out. Art for me is when I make the decision to create something.

Weddings are an interesting animal. Yes, some of the day is spent simply documenting what is happening, and getting solid shots, but much of the day is spent shooting very artistically. This isn’t your parents wedding anymore. My clients want me to push the envelope, and create extraordinary photographs that would be at home in a gallery, but with them, or their guests, or their dogs as the subject matter. This is one of the principal reasons I photograph weddings. I can think of no other type of commercial photography where I have the luxury to work like this. Essentially, do what you want – carte blanche.

I had two weddings this weekend, and during Sunday’s event I had the opportunity to work within the space of Project1, and create images that one wouldn’t usually associate with a wedding. Of course, having 212 Mexican wrestling masks at my disposal made it pretty easy.

May 29, 2010

Posted in Project1 05/2010 on May 29th, 2010 by Ghost

Palm trees. Nothing could be more commonplace in Southern California. We’ve seen them for so long for most of us, including myself, they may as well be street signs. The one time I really notice them is during outdoor shoots, usually weddings. As a backdrop they can be very graphic, and extremely Seusian (as in Green Eggs and Ham). Saturday night, exhausted after photographing a fantastic wedding, I wandered outside into the parking lot of the Motel6 where I was staying, and right in front of me was this dazzling palm tree. After including them in my photos during the day, it seemed only fitting, particularly as my latest series deals with trees, that I should train my lens, and my brain on this feathery tree.

It continues to amaze me how with each passing day, and because of Project1, I see things, often so commonplace, in an entirely new light.

Feathers – Ventura, CA

ISO 1000, 24-70 @ 52mm, f/3.2 @ 1/15 sec – hand held – available light

May 28, 2010

Posted in Project1 05/2010 on May 28th, 2010 by Ghost

Two massive weddings this weekend means a lot of prep. I had hoped to spend today doing a few errands and then relaxing and looking through art books. Instead, I finished everything at 11 pm and finally climbed the stairs to my bedroom. Before falling into a coma, I was able to spend a few minutes looking through Nan Goldin’s, The Devils Playground, and had a sort of awakening. I’ve always been inspired by her work, but her photographs spoke to me in an entirely new way tonight. The contrast of incredibly soft, and crushingly real washed over me like a giant wave, and I felt something change inside. After 30 years with a camera, I want to give myself over to the medium in a much deeper way. True, this has been one of my passions for many years, but I think I can go much deeper. I’m looking forward to exploring this concept further. It’s all new, and my mind is focused on the work ahead this weekend.

This self-portrait is all I had to give last night. Nothing more, and nothing less. Realizing that fact, and choosing not to fight it, is definitely growth. An interesting note, although this image is very much Nan, I made it before looking at the book. There’s no getting around it. The ideas of those that inspire me are going to surface in my own work, and I’m totally fine with that.

What photographer or artist inspires you? How does their work effect your own, and are you OK with that, or does it give you pause? I look forward to reading your remarks by using the comments tab below this posting.

Facedown – Self Portrait – Downtown Los Angeles

ISO 640, 24-70 @ 70mm, f/3.5 @ 1/15 sec – tripod – available light

May 27, 2010

Posted in Project1 05/2010 on May 27th, 2010 by Ghost

Last night I spoke about the importance of staying disciplined, and continuing to work on the principal photo series I’ve started this year. Especially my series on Disney Hall.  Tonight, as always, “the hall” didn’t disappoint, and it was only steps from my parking spot where I found my shot. Finding my subject mostly in shadow, I assumed technically I’d be pushing the limits of what I could do, and trying to capture the look of “black” stainless. There were a few pieces of steel which had light on them, and being the crow that I am I decided to start with those sections of the building. My photo was taken in an area I’ve walked past numerous times, and yet, never noticed it. Sometimes I feel like I’m reborn with new eyes every day.

One of my favorite design concepts is that negative space is every bit as important as positive. The godfather of tribal tattooing, Leo Zulueta, taught me that many years ago, and it has always stayed with me.

Surfacing – Disney Hall – Downtown LA

ISO 640, 24-70 @ 34mm, f/4.0 @ 1/13 sec – hand held – available light

May 26, 2010

Posted in Project1 05/2010 on May 26th, 2010 by Ghost

Continuing last nights theme I present number two in an on-going series. Creating series of photos is especially challenging for me, as I’m quick to get side tracked, and head off in another direction at anytime. That in itself is a great challenge, and one worth exploring. My Disney Hall photographs are a perfect example. Although I have continued to shoot this wonderful location, I haven’t done so in at least a month, and there’s definitely more material there. Part of the problem is that, like many painters, I never really know when I’m finished. And with that I’ve answered my own question. Just keep returning. Either I’ll hit the wall, or not. The exercise is being disciplined enough to go back, even when my inner crow set’s in, and I’m drawn towards something new and shiny.

Untitled No. 2 – Downtown LA

ISO 640, 24-70 @ 43mm, f/2.8 @ 1/25 sec – hand held – available light

May 25, 2010

Posted in Project1 05/2010 on May 25th, 2010 by Ghost


As being exhausted should never stand in the way of creating art, I set out after work to find my shot. The downside to being so tired is that I drove aimlessly for around ninety minutes before practically giving up, and heading back to the studio to shoot something, anything. The upside is that, in this almost dream state, I unknowingly became open to imagery I haven’t seen before. Tonight’s photograph was born of that space, and, I think, might be one of the best photographs I’ve ever taken.

There is so much happening in this image I’m delirious with joy over it. Nature, graphic arts, hidden creatures, faces, texture, the more I look at it the more it gives back. It’s for this reason that for the first time I’ve left an image untitled. I want the viewer to completely have control over what they see in the photograph.

Untitled No. 1 – Downtown Los Angeles
ISO 400, 24-70 @ 57mm, f/3.5 @ 1/20 sec – hand held available light – I’d also like to note that this is not something I created in the computer. Except for subtle highlight and shadow adjustments this is exactly what I saw.

May 24, 2010

Posted in Project1 05/2010 on May 24th, 2010 by Ghost

For my Father

Highway 61 – Sparrow Studio – Downtown LA
ISO 1000, 24-70 @ 70mm, f/4.0 @ 1/100 sec – hand held – available light

May 23, 2010

Posted in Project1 05/2010 on May 23rd, 2010 by Ghost

Welcome to The New and Improved Project1!

Tonight is the launch of the new and improved Project. Features include:

  1. Comments – Below each posting is a comment area where you are encouraged to leave feedback. Let me know if a particular photo interests you, and why. Include a link to something you’re working on, or ask me a tech question.
  2. Archives – Each month is archived making it easy to find photographs you’d like to see again.
  3. RSS Feed – Include Project1 on your own blog. Please let me know when you do so that I can check out your site. I’ll have a links section very soon here at P1.
  4. Coming soon – Expanded Tech Section – Below each of my entries I always list technical notes on how I created the photo. I’ll be expanding these notes and linking to a larger tech section within the site
  5. Starting tonight – Contests! Periodically I will be asking questions about certain photographs. The first person to answer correctly will receive their choice of 11×14 enlargement of any photograph on Project1.

Continuing my abstract studies, and as an upbeat kick off to the new site, I decided tonight’s photo should be colorful, bright, and playful. The first person to post a comment, and tell me what my subject matter is, will receive an 11×14 of their choice.

Dragon’s Breath – Downtown Los Angeles
ISO 250, 24-70 @ 32mm, f/2.8 @ 2.5 sec – handheld w/ intentional camera movement during exposure – available light

May 22, 2010

Posted in Project1 05/2010 on May 22nd, 2010 by Ghost

Slow to start and quickly fall, today I am the hurricane quelled. Held back by exhaustion and blood, old and self spilled, still tacky and painful. As night comes so does everything, and all at once. Falling. I know the outcome. Flat down, gasping for air, the wind torn from my chest. Catch me. Just by inches and breathe. A bouncing ball just before impact. Thrown down by shaky hands, it’s suspension tenuous. And breathe.

I adore abstract art, and thanks to Project1 it’s with childlike wonderment I continue to discover the camera’s limitless possibilities. I mention this because to some tonight’s photograph might seem random, or unfocused. Nothing could be farther from the truth. This image was thought out, set up, practiced, and executed.

How have you pushed the camera? Post a comment, or send me a link to something you’ve created.

Rushing Past Myself – Sparrow Studio – Downtown LA
ISO 100, 24-70 @ 27mm, f/7.1 @ 5.0 sec – handheld using a variety of sweeping motions during exposure – available light