Jun 242016
 

Corporate Portrait - Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

Corporate Portrait - Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

Corporate Portrait - Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

On a torrentially rainy afternoon in March, I found myself inside a nondescript hangar in Culver City shooting portraits of Dirk Ahlborn and Bibop Gresta, founder and COO, respectively, of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies for the German business publication, Digtator Magazine. They and their company are one of two contenders in the race to create the world’s first Hyperloop, a high speed transportation system that aims to hurl passengers between major metropolitan hubs at speeds of up to 760 MPH. That’s about 8 MPH shy of the speed of sound… as I write that I can visualize the skin on my face peeling back as we reach top speeds. The reality though is that the passengers would be seated in long, pressurized, cylindrical pods that would move quite smoothly through low-pressure tubes, possibly running alongside major highways. As long as the acceleration is gradual I doubt you’d even feel like you’re moving. It reminds me of that thing you put your deposits in at a drive through bank. Slightly bigger though. As a kid that was always one of my favorite parts of running errands with my mom. I would reach across the seat and stretch out the driver side window just to drop the canister into the machine, close the door, and watch it zoom away to the teller. If this is anywhere near as fun as that I’m sold.

The competition was initiated by none other than Elon Musk, who, in 2013, with his company SpaceX, open-sourced the idea to any company willing to take up the challenge. The two major contenders are Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and Hyperloop One. While Hyperloop One has already done a public test run of its technology in the Nevada desert, HTT has been slower to unveil the goods. This is in part due to the fact that their approach has been to crowdsource the engineering of the design and technology first before building anything, with volunteers, consisting of some of the best minds at NASA, Apple, etc., donating about 10 hours a week from the comfort of their homes in exchange for shares of stock that will hopefully hold some value once the company is fully funded. Their competitor, meanwhile, went the traditional startup route, raising lots of capital and building as they go. HTT’s approach makes sense once you realize that Ahlborn, before starting HTT, founded JumpStartFund, a crowdsourcing platform for startup companies. The downside for me was the lack of actual machinery available to photograph during my visit aside from a fancy looking vacuum pump. The cylinder you see them seated in is nothing more than wood with some airplane seats, so I took the unusual (for me) step of gelling the background light to help make things look more interesting.

Nevertheless, they say they are still on track to create a test track in California’s Quay Valley later this year and later aim to open their first operating Hyperloop system in Europe, connecting Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest. It will definitely be interesting to see how these companies develop and what the differences are. I have to say the appeal of getting between major cities in a matter of minutes, and without burning fuel, is something to look forward to!

Click ‘continue reading’ to see additional images from the shoot.

 

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Jun 062016
 

Lachlan Patterson Comedian Portrait

My comedian friend Lachlan Patterson recently found a xylophone abandoned by a dumpster outside his Venice home. Unable to believe anyone would discard such a treasure, he adopted it and soon started to incorporate it into his act. Seeing this, I thought it was funny but also realized that I hadn’t seen too many photos of handsome men holding such an instrument. So I decided to invite him to make some portraits that would fill that void. Fortunately for me he obliged, and a couple of weeks ago we met up at Elektrashock Studio. If you’re not familiar with Lachlan’s comedy you should be paying better attention. He’s been touring for a number of years and was the runner up on Season 8 of Last Comic Standing. I got to know him recently on his regular guest appearances on my friend Eddie Ifft’s Talkin’ Shit podcast, but he also has a comedy podcast of his own, The Kooks of Comedy, which he co-hosts with comedian Joe Praino. My understanding is that he also has a big special that’s about to be released, so I’m sure you’ll be seeing a lot more of him in the near future.

 

David Zentz is an editorial and commercial portrait and documentary photographer based in Los Angeles, Calif. For bookings reach him at dz@davidzentz.com.

May 312016
 

Manhattan, New York, Street Photography

Coney Island, New York Street Photography - handball courts

I made a quick trip to New York and DC last week to take meetings with editors and art buyers and also made a quick stopover in Lancaster, Penn., to visit with family. I never have enough time to really shoot anything of substance on these trips, but I did stop here and there while hustling around to different appointments. I did have one free afternoon in New York though and decided to spend it by taking the Q train to the end of the line to walk around Coney Island. I’ve lived a block off of the Venice Beach boardwalk for nearly 8 years and was interested to see how the east coast equivalent compared. Few of the businesses and none of the rides were open, apparently due to something the east coast refers to as “seasons,” so I can’t say got the full picture. However, I thought it was quite nice and seemed to be much improved since the days of the Warriors. I’ll have to go back sometime in the summer. Lancaster and DC were also fun. While the rain somewhat limited what we could do out in the country I was fortunate to only come across a brief moment of rain while walking around DC. Between meetings there I spent an afternoon in the National Portrait Gallery and the Renwick Gallery and also made time for drinks with some editors and photographers off of DuPont Circle. A good trip overall. More photos from the rest of the trip are below.

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May 062016
 

Ojai Wildflowers - Los Angeles Photographer

Lizard on a Rock - Los Angeles Photographer

Light through the trees - LA Photographer

I had a very busy start to this year shooting a variety of corporate, commercial and editorial projects, but as little of what I’ve shot has published yet I have practically nothing to share! So, let’s take a nature walk while we wait. Last week we joined some friends of ours for a weekend of camping and hiking in the Los Padres National Forrest outside of Ojai. The original plan was to go out to the San Bernardino Mountains, but a bad weather forecast had us looking for last minute alternatives. Our timing couldn’t have been better for where we ended up. We found a fantastic campground in the woods and on an afternoon hike ended up finding an amazing stretch of deerweed in full bloom along the Maricopa Highway. One patch had grown over the trail so thick it felt surreal pushing our way through them. I tried to capture the feeling w/ a slo-mo iPhone video I’ve posted below the jump. I also shot a video showing the seemingly endless stretch of them as we wound our way along the road. I’ve probably said this before, but one of the great things about California is that it’s so large that in our 8 years of frequent traveling and camping outings we rarely repeat experiences. We’re constantly amazed that we’ve found yet another gem of a spot and wonder how we could have missed it. I’m looking forward to more discoveries!

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Mar 292016
 

Los Angeles Artist Portrait - Esteban Schimpf

 

I recently caught up with Los Angeles based artist Esteban Schimpf to shoot some portraits at his home in Highland Park for my occasional, ongoing portrait series on LA artists. I first met Esteban at an art party at our 1320Main Studio, now Elektrashock Studios, several years ago and have since followed his work online, growing as a fan as his work progressed. His art uses a mix of photography, photoshop, painting and collage and I’m always impressed at the bold and unique pieces he creates. He’s also a really nice guy, a collector of vintage typewriters and he bakes a killer loaf of bread, which I was fortunate to enjoy during the shoot. Check out his work on his website and click below for more portraits from the shoot.

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Mar 142016
 

Food Product Photography Los Angeles - Pretzelphoria

I’m generally a people photographer, but from time to time find myself shooting products for clients ranging from start-ups to large corporations, such as Kyocera. I enjoy these shoots because they’re a creative challenge and a nice change of pace. One recent project I’ve been working on is for a small gourmet food company called Pretzelphoria, which also happens to be owned and operated by my aunt and uncle out of Lancaster, PA. The pair formed the gourmet-flavored and chocolate-covered pretzel company over 10 years ago and were in need of a new website to help them increase online sales and open doors to new business opportunities. In person, their unique line of pretzels practically sells itself – not to discount their salesmanship – but online they needed images and platform that showed off the products so that anyone who visited would see how appetizing they are and hopefully buy a few bags. Seeing this as an opportunity to help out the family and show what we could do, I teamed up with my wife and cousin, both of whom have extensive experience in PR and copy-writing, to basically form a one-client, boutique marketing firm. Over a few weeks we shot their entire line of products, created a new website and developed their social media channels and email marketing capabilities, which we continue to oversee. So far the results have been great, bringing them a drastic increase in online sales, as well as invitations to a number of high-end festivals. It’s been fun to work on and will be exciting to see them continue to grow in the coming years. Check out their website if you have a chance, and follow them on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to receive news on new products as well as special discount codes. Or you can sign up for their mailing list on their website.

Below are some additional images I shot for them as well as others shot recently for clients that include a new line of ghee butter, Hanky Panky underwear and Kyocera cell phones.

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Feb 022016
 

Publicity Portrait Photography Los Angeles - Made in LA

The right amount of wind in a photoshoot can have a nice affect. Too much and it just makes a mess of things. On an otherwise beautiful afternoon, in an otherwise calm week, I recently found myself in the latter situation while trying to create some striking publicity photos for Michelle Eskin, co-owner and managing director of editing house Cut + Run. For the entirety of the shoot there seemed to be no escaping the incessant blasts of cold air shooting down Melrose Avenue in all directions, threatening to knock over light stands and worse, for the purposes of the photos at least, attempting to make a mess of our subject’s beautifully styled hair. We attempted to hide from it by shooting in a narrow, walled off walkway, but even there it found us. Perhaps it was an early appearance by El Niño – it was late October – or perhaps just a fluke, but there we were and we had to make it work. Fortunately we had a great team and patient subject and managed to overcome this obstacle and make some great portraits for her. There was really no trick to it other than waiting for the brief lulls between gusts and then shooting like crazy for two or three seconds before the wind returned. This week has been gusty everyday, this time certainly thanks to El Niño. Perhaps that’s what reminded me to post this shoot. I don’t mind the wind and rain. It’s nice to have some weather around here from time to time. However I’m feeling quite fortunate that none of my shoots this week are outdoors! Not that we couldn’t handle it if we were of course. 🙂

 

Hollywood Publicity Portrait Los Angeles

Los Angeles Hollywood Publicity Portrait Photography

Jan 122016
 

Editorial Magazine Portrait Photographer - Align Dating App

On a beautiful afternoon in Malibu this past September I met and photographed young entrepreneurs Helen Grossman and Aliza Faragher, cofounders of a new dating app called Align, for the Carleton Voice, the alumni magazine of their alma mater, Carleton College. The app takes a fresh approach to the online dating scene, taking into account users’ astrological signs when trying to make a match. The two seem to have found an interesting niche in the market and have have had early success in finding venture capital and launching their app in LA and NYC. Old married man that I am, I’m not likely to be using it anytime soon. But if you’re in the market perhaps give it a try. You can check it out at http://www.doyoualign.com.