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.

Los Angeles Travel Photographer - Navarro Beach Mendocino

Los Angeles Travel Photographer Olympic National Park

In early June we took an incredible road trip up the coast to Vancouver. It was something we’ve been wanting to do for some time, as Erinn had never been north of San Francisco and I had never been north of Portland on the West Coast. We finally blocked out some time and hit the road. A fast-paced tour of some pretty amazing places, our only regret was that we didn’t give ourselves more time. Our agenda included stops in San Francisco, Mendocino, Redwoods National Park, Portland, Olympic National Park, Vancouver and Seattle. All in 10 days! It was go, go, go, but every bit of it was great and now we know where to go back for extended stays. Click below to see a travelogue from our journey! It’s a long read, but you can just look at the pictures if you like.

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Jürgen Klinsmann US National Soccer head coach

Jürgen Klinsmann US National Soccer team head coach   As today marks team USA’s first game in the 2014 World Cup, I thought it was appropriate to post a couple of recent portraits I shot of the U.S. National Team head coach, and German soccer legend, Jürgen Klinsmann for German football magazine 11Freunde. For the shoot Klinsmann met us and the writer in Newport Beach, not far from his home, and we drove down to the Crystal Cove State Park in Laguna Beach for a joint interview and photo session. Unfortunately for me, the interview was conducted entirely in German, so I didn’t understand a word of it! As for the game today, it looks to be a high stakes match for both Ghana and the U.S. as both need a solid win to earn their 3 points and have any chance of advancing. Bad news is that the U.S. has lost in the previous two encounters between the two teams and Ghana are the slight favorites this time around as well. Good news is that we have a new coach and I’ve read that one of Ghana’s star players isn’t at his best. I’ll definitely be tuning in to see what happens.

Editorial Portrait Photographer Breaking Bad - Entertainment  Los Angeles Celebrity Editorial Portrait Photographer   In January I spent some time with Dave Porter, the composer responsible for forever imbuing the sound of a slide guitar with images of blue crystal meth, black hats and the scorching New Mexico sun. That is to say, the man who brought to life the iconic theme music for the mega-hit, possibly best-show-ever, Breaking Bad. Here’s a link to the long version of the main theme in case this has somehow escaped you: http://bit.ly/1qpY67U. The shoot, at his Los Angeles studio, was a for a profile piece being written by the Sarah Lawrence College alumni magazine, from where he graduated in ’94. As we didn’t have a lot of time before the deadline, we scheduled it the morning after the Golden Globes, at which the series won for best dramatic television series and Bryan Cranston won for best male actor. Fortunately for me this meant that Porter was in a great mood, though unsurprisingly a bit tired! I’m looking forward to hearing the next of his creations on the upcoming M. Night Shyamalan, Wayward Pines.

Editorial portrait photographer Los Angeles

Editorial Portrait Photographer Venice Beach

Not long ago I made a short trip to the Getty Museum to photograph the museum’s general counsel, Steven Clark, for the Fordham Lawyer, the alumni magazine of Fordham Law School. If you’ve never been, the Getty campus is gorgeous, and I had fun using Richard Meier’s amazing architecture to frame the subject and background. Didn’t hurt that it was a beautiful day!

Mammoth Mountain Pond Skim

Bodie State Park - Ghost Town

A few weeks back, we ventured up to Mammoth Mountain to catch closing weekend with our friends Zach and Annette. Despite a reportedly terrible season, there was still snow on the slopes and Zach and I had a blast tearing up the mountain while still in our t-shirts. By midday, the warmth turned the snow turned to slush, so we spent the mornings on the mountain and the afternoons exploring the area. Among the sites seen were the ghost town Bodie, the limestone tufas of Mono Lake and Fossil Falls, a lava flow that was later reshaped by the Owens River. On Sunday, we stuck around the mountain to watch the annual Pond Skim, a tradition whereby skiers and snowboarders dress in ridiculous costumes and attempt to make it across a man-made pond at the bottom of the hill. While several made it, most took a dive. This was also my first time getting on a snowboard since I sold my gear prior to moving to Florida for grad school. Twelve years ago! I’m happy to report that it’s very much like riding a bicycle. That said, I avoided most jumps. Probably best to wait for better conditions before giving that a go again.

Mammoth Mountain Pond Skim 2014

Mammoth Mountain Pond Skim 2014

20140419-mammoth-_DEZ8480

Horses near Bishop CA

Horses near Bishop, CA

Mono Lake

Mono Lake

Mono Lake

Mono Lake

Outhouse

Erinn in Cave

Cell phone light on face

 

MirrorMirror at Santa Monica Museum of Art

in Los Angeles, Calif., on   , 2013.

Mirror Mirror and SPY Fundraiser at SMMOA

 

I was thrilled to be a part of this year’s Mirror, Mirror project benefitting the Safe Place for Youth, a drop-in center for homeless youth, ages 12-25, that is currently operating two afternoons a week out of the back of a neighborhood church in Venice. There, founder Alison Hurst and numerous volunteers provide those in need with meals, donated clothing, counseling, internet access and more. They also do street outreach several days a week. It’s a great program and is a great resource to help these individuals stay afloat during tough times. The Mirror, Mirror project brings local artists to the SPY center where they are paired with individuals in the program to create portraits of one another. Some of the youth have never drawn before, while many have incredible skills and talent. I was paired with Dylan, who was new to LA and was waiting for his brother to be released from jail. I spoke with several people there and didn’t take notes, so I can’t keep straight whether he had come down from Portland or somewhere east. Either way, he was nice and soft-spoken, so I tried to make a portrait that reflected that. Though he regularly drew on a sketch pad he carried with him, he had never really experimented with photography before. I showed him what to do and he took to it right away. He even surprised me by grabbing a chair and standing on it to try a less-obvious angle. Something I wish I had tried! He was also good with direction, telling me which way to turn as he moved around searching for his frame. Once the pieces are collected, they are put on display and those done by the artists are auctioned to raise money for SPY, which has larger aspirations, such as serving more youth and one day operating 7 days a week out of its own building. Mirror, Mirror was started by local photographer Rachel Bujalski only last year. In that short time the program has expanded from a small fundraiser in the Cadillac Gallery in Venice to a celebrity-MC’d, jam-packed event at the prestigious Santa Monica Museum of Art. From the youth, to SPY to Mirror, Mirror, I couldn’t help but be impressed by all of it. I’m not sure what they raised, but by the turnout it seems the fundraiser was a success and will hopefully continue to grow in the future. If you’re interested in learning more about SPY, or even volunteering or donating, you can check out their site here. If you’re an artist interested in participating in Mirror, Mirror, you can check them out here.

Editorial business portrait photographer venice los angeles

 

I’m finally coming up for air after a fairly busy April, and I realized I haven’t blogged for quite awhile. The month has been full of magazine and commercial assignments as well as excursions to Palmdale and Mammoth, where we hit the slopes in t-shirts on the mountain’s closing weekend. Meanwhile, some new tear sheets have come in, so I should have plenty of posts coming up in the near future. This was from an assignment last fall for the German business magazine, brand eins Wissen. For some reason, I’ve had numerous recent shoots for German publications. I like to think it’s because of the quality of my work, but it’s probably just my last name. Actually, this one came through a connection with the writer, Helene Laube, with whom I worked with on previous assignments for the Financial Times. The subjects of the article are Jody Miller and Amelia Tyagi, founders of Business Talent Group, a firm that recruits and deploys independent business talent that can be deployed for their clients’ consulting and project development needs. If you can read German, you can get the gist from the first page of the article here. For the rest of you, here’s a link to their site. The shoot was quick but fun and took place in an office high above Santa Monica. Normally a conference room is not an ideal place to make an interesting portrait, but fortunately this one had quite a view. Also interesting is that Amelia is the daughter of Senator Elizabeth Warren, with whom she has co-authored a book on middle-class income struggles. Quite the family!

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