Los Angeles Grand Central Market

Los Angeles Mark Twain Hotel Hollywood

I’ve been too busy to post regularly lately, but I recent visit from my sister and her boyfriend gave me an excuse to take a break, play tour guide and explore the city.  Here are a few scenes and encounters taken along the way. Places visited include Grand Central Market, Hollywood Blvd., the Griffith Observatory and Little Tokyo. While we had a great time, please note that we were not entirely responsible for all of the empties pictured at the bar!

View from Griffith Observatory

Hollywood Blvd. Star Maps

Hollywood Blvd. Homeless

Little Tokyo Near East Bar bartender

Senior Surfers Jericho Poppler

 

Jericho Poppler Senior Surfers Portraits

 

I recently had my first encounter with a surfboard tree. What’s a surfboard tree, you ask? Well, for those of you who don’t know, which I can only imagine is most of you, it’s a part-wood, part-polyurethane, fiberglass and epoxy plant with a few leaves on top that grows about 20-30 feet in height and is exclusively found in the Capistrano Beach backyard of legendary surfer and board shaper Mickey Muñoz. I came across this arboreal aberration while photographing Mickey for my ongoing project on senior surfers. He was one of several new people I have had the great fortune to include in my project since my last posting and one of the most avid all-around watermen I’ve ever met. I first met him and Jericho Poppler, pictured above, at the Oceanside Longboard Surfing Club Contest in early August. It turned out that the two were surfing partners and agreed to meet me at Doheny State Beach a few weeks later to shoot some portraits and action. Both are extremely accomplished surfers. Nicknamed “The Mongoose,” Mickey, 77, excelled in big- and small-wave competitions in the 1960s and was also known for creating inventive moves such as the “Quasimoto.” He later went on to be known as a board shaper and sailor and recently chronicled his life on the water in his 2011 book “No Bad Waves.” Jericho, 62, made her name as one of the first full-time female professional big-wave surfers in the ’60s and ’70s, winning numerous championships including the title of IPS World Champion in 1976, and later won the first women’s World Longboard Championship. All while being the proud mother of five. While photographing the pair at Doheny, I also noticed Mickey’s truck, a pickup with a camper installed on the bed. He told me that he and his wife regularly slept in the back on surf outings, including regular trips to second home in Baja, Mexico. I knew I had to photograph him against it in order to show his lifestyle. We were having too much fun in the water, though, and after several hours, I had to get back for an appointment. Fortunately he was kind enough to allow me to meet him at his home at a later date, where I encountered the surfboard tree. Mickey’s home is organized chaos, an incredible museum of memorabilia and cluttered work areas indicative of a life of nonstop board shaping and tinkering on sailboat parts. I probably could have photographed him in any space there and made an interesting picture, but couldn’t help but be drawn to the tree, a combination resting and storage place for numerous boards. It was great getting to know both of them, and I’m thankful they were so generous with their time.

Mickey Munoz Senior Surfer Portraits

Mickey Munoz Senior Surfer

Mickey Munoz Senior Surfers

Mickey Munoz Senior Surfers

 

On to Surf City! I also found some connections in Santa Cruz with the help of the Santa Cruz Longboard Union and found some time in August to head up for a few days. There I met up with local surf legend Howard “Boots” McGhee and John Doty. Boots, 66, has been a lifelong fixture of the northern California surfing scene, learning to surf in Berkeley in 1963 before moving to Santa Cruz. He is a founding member of the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum and an environmental advocate who helped establish the Santa Cruz chapter of the Surfrider Association in 1990. Similar to John Moore from my previous post, he too continues to surf after undergoing a full knee replacement 13 years ago. We met at Pleasure Point, one of many breaks in the area and a fantastic spot for longboards. We had a great time talking on the shore while taking some portraits and then jumped into the frigid Northern California water to shoot some action. The waves were small that day, but Boots caught a few and the afternoon light was nice, so I emerged shivering, but happy with what I had shot. Finally there is John Doty, a lifelong surfer with the nickname of “Turtle,” who has recently been sidelined due to a stroke he suffered around three years ago. My original intent for this project was, and remains, to show active surfers who are still paddling out on a regular basis. I wasn’t aware that Doty wasn’t doing so until the day before I was to meet him, when I learned of his setback. I wasn’t sure how photographing a nonactive surfer would fit into this project, but decided to go ahead and pay him a visit anyway. I’m glad I did. In a group of super friendly subjects that I’ve met through this project, Doty could well be the friendliest. We spent about three hours talking at his house, about his and his family’s long history in the sport. In fact, I personally delivered a family heirloom trophy from 1916 that his uncle won when he defeated the legendary Duke Kahanamoku — the man largely credited for bringing surfing to the continental U.S. from Hawaii — to Boots McGhee for inclusion in the surfing museum. While we talked I took several portraits of him, most of which show his bubbly character. But a couple moments also indicated his sadness for not being able to take part in something he has done since the age of 5. Although he’s been out of the water for three years now, I have hope that he’ll soon return. His obstacle at the moment is his balance and the negative effects not riding for three years has had on his confidence. This I can relate to. I begin to doubt my abilities after I’m out of the water for a week. But his mind is sharp and he’s regularly out there riding bicycles, so I’m sure he’ll find himself popping up on a board sometime soon.

 

 

Boots McGhee Senior Surfer

Boots McGhee Senior Surfer Santa Cruz

John Doty Senior Surfers

John Doty Senior Surfers

 

That’s all for now. Hopefully I’ll find some new subjects this year before the water temperature drops. Otherwise, I’ll be sure to continue working on this in the spring.

Nana Ghana Agyapong Portrait Ritz Carlton Los Angeles

Nana Ghana Agyapong Portrait Ritz Carlton Los Angeles

 

Every year or two Nana and I get back together to make some fresh portraits. This time, we had been talking about it when the opportunity to shoot in a room at the Ritz Carlton in downtown Los Angeles came up. Her roommate had rented the room for a birthday party and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get together and have some fun. I only had 45 minutes available that day to shoot, as I was on the way to a meeting that afternoon, but we made the most of it! Here are a couple of my favorites that I think show a great side of her personality. I’ll probably post some additional shots on Instagram in the following days. You can follow me at @davidzentz!

Night shot of lake

Chelsea, Manhattan storm clouds

 

I had a great visit last week to New York, first stopping in the small town of Warwick to attend the wedding of my friends, Eric and Mollie, and then on to Manhattan where I spent the week visiting with clients, old and prospective, and visiting with my cousin Meredith. So I thought I’d post a couple of shots taken along the way. The first image is from a lake at the location of the wedding in Warwick. Lights from buildings on the property threw the color balance off, but I liked the effect! The second is from my cousin’s balcony in Chelsea. The weather was actually great the majority of the week, but not having seen clouds in quite a long time, the novelty appealed to me. It’s been too long since my last post, but I should have some fresh work and clips to share soon!

Fine art - VW Bus and Roberts Cottages in Oceanside, Calif.,

I loved this scene spotted while visiting Oceanside, California the weekend before last. I had noticed both of these elements during the day and when Erinn pointed out the VW coming down this street I sprinted to get into position hoping to get them in the same frame. Just in time! Unfortunately he drove away and I never saw him again. None of the locals I know could ID him either. So, if you know who this is please let me know!

Senior Surfer Photo Project - Oceanside

Tim Garrison, 69 – Oceanside, Calif.

I am still looking for subjects for this series! If you’re a surfer over 65 and would like to take part, please contact me at dz@davidzentz.com. I am especially looking for women!

Mornings with the dawn patrol. Last summer, after brainstorming for project ideas, I came up with the idea to do a story on senior citizen surfers. I had been kicking around the idea of doing a project on senior athletes, but wasn’t sure what angle I could take that would differ from what’s already been done on the topic, which for good reason, is a popular one these days. That’s probably because the number of senior citizens and the percentage of the U.S. population they comprise keeps rising. Thanks to advances in healthcare, as well as general public awareness of healthy living, seniors are staying fit and active long into their later years. I don’t recall when exactly, but at some point, perhaps while surfing or driving along the coast, I came upon the idea to look at senior citizen surfers and was happy to find little had been done on the subject. So, I started calling surf clubs up and down the coast and before long started to have some luck, thanks to the San Onofre Surf Club. My first subject, Mike McCaffrey, pictured in the first photo below, was 78 last summer and is one of the older surfers I’ve photographed. Though that honor, so far, goes to Frank Trane, who at 82 still paddles out three days a week, seven months a year. After meeting up with Mike, I began meeting others just by hanging out at a well-known break known as Old Man’s. Yes, that’s really what it’s called. This method, which I used most of last year, worked all right, but was very hit or miss. I would often make the 1 1/2-hour drive and come home empty handed. While many possible subjects have the time to surf everyday, they also have the luxury of being picky, so on days when the surf was flat, they were likely to just stay home. So, this year I’ve been making appointments, which has worked out much better. With the help of surf clubs in Oceanside, San Diego and Santa Cruz I have lined up a number of new subjects, some of which you see here and some who have yet to be shot. My initial idea was to only do a portrait series. I’ve never been a “surf photographer,” and didn’t have the necessary gear to get in the water and get the shots I would want. Toward the end of last summer though I decided it was really important to couple the portraits with action shots, so I picked up a water housing and started joining them in the surf. So far, those images are a work in progress. A combination of technical difficulties and sometimes poor surfing conditions have yielded only a few decent action shots at this point. But I’m keeping at it, and I’m sure it will start to come together. As of now, I have photographed about 14 subjects and have 8 more lined up. But I think this project has much greater potential so I am still looking for more! At some point I would also like to take it to Hawaii and perhaps Costa Rica, where I know I will find many life-long surfers. Perhaps that will be a future Kickstarter project?

 

Senior Surfer Photo Project - San Onofre

Mike McCaffrey, 78 – San Onofre State Beach, Calif.

 

Senior Surfer Photo Project - San Onofre

Frank Trane, 82, and Elroy Lang, 77 – San Onofre State Beach, Calif.

 

Senior Surfer Photo Project - San Onofre

Elroy Lang, 77 – San Onofre State Beach, Calif.

 

What I love about this project is that I’ve found that it’s more than just an athletes story. Surfing is a lifestyle with a rich history, and these guys have lived it longer than anyone out there. For example, Tim Garrison, pictured in the first two images and toward the bottom, is 69 and has been surfing the Oceanside Pier since he was 11. Frank Trane, Elroy Lang, 77, and Mike McCaffrey have been surfing San Onofre since the State Beach was a private, invite-only, surfing club. Trane talks of being invited by his college buddy, Otis Chandler, of who went on to be a 4th generation publisher of the LA Times. In the early ’70s, the spot was brought into the state park system by Nixon, who’s La Casa Pacifica estate, also known as “The Western White House” is located about a mile to the north on the coast, just beyond the famous Trestles break. There are also inspirational stories, such as that of John Moore, who at 68 has had a full knee replacement and sports a handicapped sticker on the nose of his surfboard as a humorous reminder. I have also had the chance to include surfing legend Robert August, 69, of “The Endless Summer” fame, and have a few more legends lined up to take part. I don’t want this to be just about famous surfers, but love it when someone at the center of the culture is willing to take part!

 

Senior Surfer Photo Project - San Onofre

Bruce Covington, 68 – San Onofre State Beach, Calif.

 

Senior Surfer Photo Project - San Onofre

Bruce Covington, 68 – San Onofre State Beach, Calif.

 

Senior Surfer Photo Project - Terramar

John Baber, 66 – Terra Mar Point, Calif.

 

Senior Surfer Photo Project - Terramar

John Baber, 66 – Terra Mar Point, Calif.

One problem I have had thus far is finding female subjects. So far, I have only shot one and have made an age exception as she is only 60. A possible reason for this, that has been mentioned to me, is that surfing was much more of a men’s sport 50 years ago, owing in part to the culture as well as the fact that the boards used to be quite heavy. Whatever the reason, there are very few active women surfers in this age group, and I would like there to at least be a handful included in the project. I know you’re out there! One thing you notice these days is that there are many female surfers out there, so I’m betting if you revisit this project in another 50 years it will be a different story.

 

Senior Surfer Photo Project - Ocean Beach

Liz, 60 – Ocean Beach, Calif.

 

Senior Surfer Photo Project - Robert August

Robert August, 69 – Westminster, Calif.

 

Senior Surfer Photo Project - San Onofre

Bob Dietschy, 71 – San Onofre State Beach, Calif.

 

Senior Surfer Photo Project - San Onofre

Bob Dietschy, 71 – San Onofre State Beach, Calif.

The final destination of this project is to be determined at this point. At a minimum, I would like to have it published in surfing, health & fitness or senior oriented magazines. I could also see turning it into a book, once I have a large enough body of work. Though this wasn’t my original intent, I think this also ties into environmental issues. These surfers have been able to enjoy the oceans their entire lives and it would be great if future generations could do the same!

So, again, if you’d like to be a part of it I’d love to include you! Please get in touch.

 

Senior Surfer Photo Project - Tamarack

John Moore, 68 – Tamarack Beach, Calif.

 

Senior Surfer Photo Project - Tamarack

John Moore, 68 – Tamarack Beach, Calif.

 

Senior Surfer Photo Project - Oceanside

Tim Garrison, 69 – Oceanside, Calif.

 

Senior Surfer Photo Project - Oceanside

Tim Garrison, 69 – Oceanside, Calif.

 

Senior Surfer Photo Project - San Onofre

Bill Lyon, 69 – San Onofre State Beach, Calif.

 

Senior Surfer Photo Project - Sunset Beach

Ken Hall, 66 – Sunset Beach, Calif.

 

Senior Surfer Photo Project - San Onofre

Ted Nichols, 67 – San Onofre State Beach, Calif.

 

Senior Surfer Photo Project - San Onofre

Ted Nichols, 67 – San Onofre State Beach, Calif.

 

Senior Surfer Photo Project - San Onofre

Rod Piazza, 66 – San Onofre State Beach, Calif.

a

Sunken City San Pedro

Whether for assignments or fun, I regularly travel throughout Southern California and constantly have a camera in hand. Here are some random images from recent travels throughout Southern California, ranging from San Pedro’s Sunken City, above, to Palmdale, Oceanside and San Onofre, which you can see after the jump…

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Social Media Photography Campaign - Release Your Wild

Commercial photography tear sheet - Release Your Wild

 

Earlier this year, I had the chance to shoot for Release Your Wild, a social media marketing campaign for the Archery Trade Association, who were working with Weber Shandwick to create a series of photos to be used on their Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr accounts. With the success of the Hunger Games movie franchise, archery has never been more popular with teens. So the goal of the campaign was to start an online dialogue with that age group and hopefully draw more young people to the sport. Seems to be working! The Facebook page alone, which has been re-branded as Archery 360, currently has over 95,000 followers. Prior to bringing me on, the campaign had largely been shot on the east coast, so they wanted a new series of images that looked distinctly west coast. I knew just the place, so we scheduled the shoot at some local nature reserves in Malibu. What we didn’t expect was a lack of cooperation from the sun. A light drizzle sprinkled the windshield as my assistant, our makeup artist and I made our way in the dark up the PCH to the site, but we held out hope that the clouds would part. Luckily, just as the sun was coming up, they did, and we were able to work in some great morning light for the first hour or so. Then our luck ran out. Thick clouds blanketed the sky, graying everything out for the remainder of the 12-hour day. At least it didn’t rain! Normally, in these conditions I would have brought out the lights and tried to fake it as best as possible. Since this was for social media, though, the idea was that the shots would look very natural and not produced. So our tools were little more than a silver and gold reflector to bounce whatever light was available back into the scene. While the conditions weren’t ideal, the variety of shots we produced ended up working well and everyone was happy. We had a great time hiking around in the wild pretending to shoot at stuff. No real shooting however. Although we were accompanied by an archery expert the entire day, the models were not archers and we weren’t about to have them sending projectiles through the air willy nilly. Here are some of my favorites from the shoot and a couple examples as to what the finished product looked like.

Social Media Photography Campaign - Release Your Wild

Social Media Photography Campaign - Release Your Wild

Social Media Photography Campaign - Release Your Wild

Social Media Photography Campaign - Release Your Wild

Social Media Photography Campaign - Release Your Wild

 

That was just the morning! Click to see the afternoon/evening set.

 

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Drift_Death Valley – Images by David Zentz

Last year, following two weeks spent in Death Valley shooting a story for National Parks Magazine, I made several return trips to keep shooting. On the first trip back, I finally made it up to the Eureka Dunes, which had been closed off because of poor road conditions on my previous excursions. I wrote about the experiences I had on those trip in previous posts, here and here, but never shared the final images! So here they are, in a series I’m calling “Drift.” My idea for these images was to photograph the dunes in a way I hadn’t seen before. Rather than trying to make them look epic and unforgiving, I decided to decontextualize them by cutting out the sky and the surrounding mountain ranges, only focusing on the elegant lines and shadows formed by the overlapping slopes and the changing position of the sun. Through lens choice and the decision to eliminate environmental elements, I also made it hard to tell whether you’re looking at something massive or small, though many of the scenes here depict areas that are several hundred feet apart and quite tall. The idea for the title of the series came from the realization that I would probably never be able to repeat any one of these images. Despite appearing static, the dunes are constantly being reshaped by the winds that formed them in the first place. Those winds, combined with the unique composition of the sand there, are also responsible for making them some of the only “singing dunes” in the world. Despite a few visits I still haven’t heard it, but when the winds are right, the sand is said to create a hum not unlike a distant prop plane. Another idea I have is to go back to record the sound, which could then be played in the background in a gallery exhibition. Speaking of which, I’m working on making master prints of the series, which I hope to display soon. So far the images range from 17″ x 11″ and up to 60″ x 40.” Although I’ve displayed images in galleries and numerous art events, I have never worked toward a solo exhibition, so this is an exciting challenge!

Jules Muck Venice Beach Artist Portrait Photographer

Jules Muck Venice Beach Artist Portrait Photographer

 

Last week, I once again had the chance to photograph local artist Jules Muck. Most recognized throughout the area for her street art and murals, frequently green, spray painted interpretations of iconic faces from Marilyn Monroe to Lindsay Lohan with a dash of social commentary, she is also known to work in a variety of other mediums such as vehicles, human bodies and even canvas. I had photographed Jules a few years ago, but wanted to give it another go to shoot something that fits in better with some of the other recent artist portraits I’ve produced. Fortunately, she was game and had time to come by the studio. From there, we walked all the way across the street to her studio and took some more shots in her environment. Like last time, she was great to work with and brought a lot of energy and creativity to the shoot. These two shots stood out as my favorites. For the studio shots I wanted to shoot her in a light that references her work, so a few days before I went out and bought a green lens filter. My original thought was to then light her with a red or magenta gel to try to bring her skin tone back to something close to normal. In test shots this actually worked, but I ended up deciding to just make the whole thing green and left a hint of magenta coming in from the side as an accent. In her studio, we played around with environmental portraits, but I thought this one of her laying with a collection of the many photos she uses as references for the faces she paints, stood out the most. If you’re not familiar with her work you can see examples at www.julesmuck.com or follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/julesmuck. Or, just take a stroll around Venice. You’ll definitely see her work and you might even catch her in the act.

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