Jun 282017
 

Editorial Corporate Magazine Photography - George Fischer - Paintball

Action - Editorial Corporate Magazine Photography - Paintball

Portrait - Editorial Corporate Magazine Photography - Paintball

I didn’t need a reminder that I made the right choice early on not to pursue a career in combat photography, but after feeling the sting of a paintball against my skin for the third time in only a couple minutes, despite several layers of protective clothing,  I remembered that it was indeed the right call.

Earlier this year I found myself out in the middle of a field seventy miles east of Los Angeles following around paintball enthusiast Justin Sorenson for Georg Fischer’s Globe magazine. Justin is a field service engineer by weekday, avid competitive paintball player by weekend and a really nice guy to work with. They were featuring him as part of a regular series they publish highlighting employees’ passions and pastimes outside the workplace. I had only played paintball once in my life, with some friends as a teenager. Being the new guy, they put me out front. I was quickly shot and went back to the house to hang out until they were through. So given my limited experience it probably goes without saying that I was unprepared when I suddenly found myself on the edge a battlefield where ten guys were raining hellfire upon one another with paint-filled balls of gelatin.

Justin and I had shot some portraits before things started and, when it was his team’s turn to play, made our way onto the field. He told me more or less where to shoot from to avoid being shot, but once play begins it all happens very fast. Starting at their home base on opposite ends of the field, upon the referee’s signal each of the five members of each team sprint in different directions, simultaneously scrambling for cover behind large bunkers while also shooting rapidly at anything they see moving on the other side of the field. The goal is to eliminate everyone on the opposing team by “marking” them with a splat of colored paint. You’re hit, you’re out. Last team standing wins.

Standing in the mud along the sidelines with nothing but a camera it feels a bit chaotic at first. The bunkers, inflated vinyl balloons, make loud thwaps each time they’re hit. I see Justin take off and immediately move so I can get a clear view of him in action. What I don’t see is one of his teammates crossing in front of me, which immediately draws fire from their opponents. Any shots that miss him, which was more than a few, have a good chance of hitting me.

The first one hits me right in the keister and stings like hell. I try to move along the edge toward the middle of the field where another team is watching. His teammate heads in the same direction and leaps behind a bunker. Paintballs whoosh by my ear. As I turn sideways one hits the side of my camera, ripping through the bag I’ve secured around it for protection as if it was Kleenex. Fortunately it hits a solid part of the camera body causing no harm. But I realize I should have brought a water housing. A moment later the referee yells to stop play and I let down my guard. Another paintball smacks me in the foot, stinging my toe even through the leather cleats I’m wearing for traction. What the &#*@!? The teams exit the field so the next teams can take a turn and, a little frustrated, I assess what I’ve shot. Not much. Besides spending most of the round trying not to get myself shot, Justin had taken a route up the middle of the field keeping him out of view, so I’d essentially taken all that fire for nothing.

Fortunately round two is better. I quickly learn to watch not only my subject but also to look out for anyone else running anywhere near my direction and to not get behind them. This time Justin runs an outside route toward my corner and I’m able to get a clear shot of him while also staying out of the line of fire. I’m shot only once more over the course of the afternoon and am able to get numerous images of him running, firing and diving for cover. Knowing I have what I need I decide to get myself, and more importantly my gear, out of harms way and call it a day. As for Justin, he intends to play for several more hours. Having watched them play I could see why. It’s a strategic, fast-paced and adrenaline pumping game that I’m sure is addictive once you get started.

As crazy as I may have made it sound, it was actually a great time and a really fun assignment. There are a lot worse ways to spend a Saturday. Even if most of them are less painful.

Here’s a video showing my POV from an iPhone I mounted to my camera. See below for more photos from the shoot!

Paintball Photography POV from David Zentz on Vimeo.

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Feb 022017
 

Financial Advisor Magazine Cover Los Angeles Photographer

Editorial Magazine portrait
Editorial Magazine portrait

Editorial Business Portrait El Segundo

In December I photographed financial planning expert Liz Davidson at her business Financial Finesse in El Segundo for the cover of Financial Advisor magazine. The editor had requested a mix of environmental portraits and portraits against a backdrop so there would be options for both the cover image and the inside pages. When we arrived we found a great rooftop waiting for us and decided to set up there for our backdrop shot and one of the environmental shots. For the backdrop we taped paper to the wall to maximize the shooting space, which was in a small shaded sitting area where the sun wouldn’t be a factor. We also planned an additional setup that was an easy pivot from the first one that used the slate grey lineup of the building’s offices, which provided a nice clean backdrop and an appealing architectural element. From there we moved the shoot inside to the second floor loft where shot her in the common space of the office before moving to a nearby open-air conference room for a final shot using natural light. Liz was high energy and a great sport throughout and her team was very helpful making sure we had everything we needed for a successful shoot. Financial Finesse, which she founded in 1999, is a business specializing in helping other businesses educate their employees to ensure their financial well being. You can read more about Liz and her business on the Financial Advisor website.

Sep 282016
 

Corporate Advertising Portrait

Corporate Website Advertising Photography

Corporate Website Headshot Photography

 

I love seeing the end result of a long-term collaboration. During the first half of this year I worked with a great group of people at Intrepid Investment Bankers in Santa Monica to help them overhaul their website and give it a modern feel that better represents their business. So many corporate websites come across as stiff and boring, generally comprised of headshots against a grey background and generic stock images suggesting notions of success and achievement. The problem is, once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Intrepid, as their name suggests, wanted to be bold and show they are different from their competition by building a new, dynamic website that showed both the personalities of their bankers as well as the people running some of the interesting companies they work with. Fortunately, they found my work and saw in it the style that they were looking for. Soon after our first meeting, we got to work. Most of the portraits of their staff were done at the Intrepid offices, while each of the featured clients were photographed at their respective places of business. I’m thrilled to see the end result and think this is one of the best looking banking websites out there. Visit www.intrepidib.com to check out the rest of the work and learn more about Intrepid.

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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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

Aug 132015
 

Kyocera Corporate Website Advertising Photographer technology

It’s great to see the results of my recent advertising shoot with Kyocera up on its website! This was the second project I’ve worked on with the Kyocera team and the branding experts at Syinc to promote their Hydro line of waterproof and drop-resistant smartphones. This year’s campaign featured a noir theme and focused on the new Hydro WAVE phone. For the project, we spent two days shooting in the studio and on location in downtown LA, where there’s no shortage of noir settings to photograph. To see the full web display visit Kyocera Mobile and keep an eye out for in-store displays as well. The people at Kyocera and Syinc are always a pleasure to work with, so hopefully you’ll see future collaborations from us in the future.

Kyocera Corporate Website Advertising Photographer Noir

Kyocera Corporate Website Advertising Photographer Waterproof