On weekday mornings when I’m not shooting, I can frequently be found on the Venice Beach boardwalk playing paddle tennis. From there you can see the Venice Beach sand pit, a fitness area situated behind the more famous Muscle Beach weight pen, where regulars and visitors work out on a variety of gymnastics equipment, including parallel bars, rings and rope climbs. I’m used to seeing various feats of strength being performed, but usually don’t give people a second look. A couple weeks ago however I looked over and saw a woman with a shock of pink hair doing a series of very difficult exercises seemingly on endless repeat. Pushups, pull-ups, upside-down shoulder shrugs, one-legged squats and other things I don’t know what to call. I had never seen her before and every time I looked over throughout the course of a couple of tennis sets she was still there working hard and still going strong. I’m always on the lookout for interesting subjects, so after a set concluded I decided to introduce myself and see if she’d be interested in shooting with me sometime. She told me her name was Krista Stryker, a fitness blogger and entrepreneur with an app called 12 Minute Athlete. No shock she was a pro. I followed up later with some samples of my work and she agreed to meet up. I had a great time working with her and shot a variety of portraits as well as images of her doing some difficult exercises. A recent Portland transplant, she told me she was a personal trainer at a few gyms, but has found a lot more satisfaction since starting her own business. I can identify with that. Shooting with her, however, made me realize that although I’m in fairly good shape there’s a lot of room for improvement. I’m starting with getting past 5 pull-ups, an exercise I’ve been neglecting for the past 20 years or so. If you’re interested in upping your fitness game and have 12 minutes to spare check out her website and follow her on instagram at @12minuteathlete. Also check out more images from the shoot below.
Last month I visited the LA offices of the London-based e-commerce company Farfetch to photograph a behind-the-scenes look at its operation. If you’re not familiar (I wasn’t, but my wife definitely was), the company is an online marketplace that sells on behalf of high-end fashion boutiques around the world. They don’t stock the items themselves, but list them on their site and then take a cut of sales. In order to properly list each item on their site, the boutiques must send in one of each item they want to sell, which the team at Farfetch then catalogues, styles and photographs before sending back to them. On average they list around 1,000 new items each week. If you’ve ever done product photography, you can imagine the amount of time this must take! You can read more about the process by checking out the article here. For more photos from the day continue reading below.
“Let me know if I’m making you uncomfortable!” John Saia said over the roar of the engine as we careened around a bend above the Palos Verdes cliffs. I was having so much fun and was so focused on getting the shot that it hadn’t even occurred to me that we were in any danger. And really I don’t think we were, given that Saia has been taking his 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350 on spins like this at least once a week since he purchased the classic vehicle in 2002. Still, it was nice of him to ask.
I had met up with Saia to spend a couple hours photographing him and his classics, the other being a 1965 Daytona Cobra Coupe replica, at what he has coined “The Shelby Garage,” named after legendary car designer Carroll Shelby, at Saia’s home in Rolling Hills Estates for the Wall Street Journal’s “My Ride” series. Saia, a retired technical training manager for Toyota, is a lifelong lover of Shelby designed cars and related artifacts, which he loves to share with the public at weekend car shows and on his website, ShelbyGuy.net. We spent some time there shooting the car and some of his large collection of memorabilia before taking it out for a spin and stopping by his favorite overlook facing south over San Pedro to shoot some more. Between the beautiful lines of the car and the stunning scenery it was almost too easy making beautiful images.
It’s safe to say I’m not a “car guy,” (I drive a Hyundai), but I always love these opportunities to ride along with someone who is. Not only is it a fun way to spend the day, but I always come away with an appreciation for what it is they see that I’ve been missing. In addition to the photos here and below, I took a moment to shoot some footage as we drove along Palos Verdes Drive. The rumble of the engine is hardly picked up, but hopefully this gives you some sense of the experience.
Lately I’ve had the urge to shoot some new outdoor and active lifestyle images and decided to start with a little surfing, something I’ve shot relatively little of aside from my Still Stoked series on older surfers. I knew I wasn’t going to get great action shots around here that could compete with all of the amazing images you see of big wave surfers screaming down the face of Mavericks or Waimea Bay, so I decided the action would be secondary and set my sites on creating some very natural, photojournalistic images that conveyed the feeling of being out in the water. The first person that came to mind at this point was Vanessa Yeager, a talented and enthusiastic longboard surfer I met while shooting my recent Far West portrait series in Venice earlier this year, and whose daily surfing activity I’ve followed on her Instagram. So I messaged her and a couple weeks later found myself treading water at Blackies, a popular break by the Newport Beach pier.
When I first arrived the waves were small and mushy, the light flat. I wasn’t sure how things were going to go and was beginning to worry I’d made the 1 1/2 hour trip for nothing. Vanessa and her husband knew better though, leading me up the beach past a couple jetties where we found a decent swell. Around that time the sun started poking through the clouds and I knew we were good to go. Although the waves were a bit fast, for an hour or so things were pretty near perfect. Best of all, since the conditions had been poor only moments before, there were only two other surfers out there with us, creating the feeling that she had the whole place to herself. Rare circumstances these days anywhere on the California coastline. After an hour or so of shooting the scene darkened as sun dipped behind a wall of clouds on the horizon. Just then the after-work crowd started showing up and we knew it was time to call it a day.
It was a short, but successful outing. These are some of my favorites from the shoot.