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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Apr 242017
 

Zibbz editorial for Blick magazine - Pink Flamingo

Tear sheet - Zibbz

I got to spend some time last month with Swiss brother and sister rock duo Zibbz at their Los Angeles bungalow for a profile just published in Blick Magazine. The magazine wanted to show their home lifestyle, in what it referred to as their “hippie flat,” for an article that would coincide with the release of their new single, “Run,” which just came out on March 10th. They were great to work with, allowing me to shoot wherever I wanted, even climbing up on the roof with me despite the fact that it was in the middle of an unusually hot day. Unfortunately those photos didn’t work out, but I appreciated their effort! If you read German you can learn more about them here. If not, you can at least check out their new music video.

 

Zibbz editorial for Blick magazine - musicians, available light

Zibbz editorial for Blick magazine

Zibbz musicians editorial for Blick magazine

Zibbz editorial for Blick magazine

 

Mar 162017
 

Model Actress Dancer Portrait Los Angeles

I recently met up with the talented and extremely photogenic actress and dancer Jacqueline Yunez at Concrete Studios in downtown Los Angeles to shoot portraits for part of an ongoing portfolio of LA-based artists. A Chicago native who moved here to pursue a career in the arts after graduating from the University of Tennessee, Jacqueline combines an urban aesthetic with a sort of laid-back, midwestern politeness that made working with her a pleasure. Here are a few of my favorites from our afternoon together.

Special thanks to my go-to hair and makeup artist, Bethany Ruck, for kicking things up a notch. And to Concrete Studios for the great space and rooftop location.

Actress & Dancer Studio Portrait Los Angeles - Jacqueline Yunez

Actress & Dancer Portrait Los Angeles - Jacqueline Yunez

Actress & Dancer Portrait Los Angeles - Jacqueline Yunez

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.

Jan 092017
 

Singer Promotional Photographer Los Angeles

Singer Promotional Photos Venice Beach

gabrielle-jackson-singer-photos

Musician studio portrait Venice Calfornia

 

What to do when your plans to do a studio shoot are thrown into question because a nearby brick wall has suddenly turned a bright fuchsia the night before your shoot? Change your plans of course! That was the situation late last year, the day before a scheduled shoot with Albuquerque, New Mexico-based singer-songwriter Gabrielle Jackson, who was traveling to me in Venice to shoot a set of promotional photos to use with her upcoming projects. Gabrielle’s music is soulful, melodic and soothing, so we had planned to create a set of studio images that conveyed that feeling, combining a vintage aesthetic with expressions and lighting that complimented the feeling of her music. When the freshly painted wall appeared – I believe thanks to some nearby video or photo production – I mentioned to Gabrielle that we had to go check it out. She agreed. Luckily, no one was using it when we arrived so we were able to make use of it. Good that we did, as the color worked great for her. While we were out we also decided to take advantage of a nearby tree I’d been eyeing for a shoot for years but had never had the right subject. We got to it just as the afternoon light was beginning to go down behind it, highlighting the long vines hanging from its branches. Gabrielle kicked off her shoes to climb on its roots and we as bounced some of the sunlight back into the scene to balance it out the shot came together perfectly. It was great to see an image I’d been envisioning for years finally coming to life. Happy that we were two for two with the improvised locations, we decided to head back to the studio to shoot what we’d intended. This also went well. Enough planning had gone into the shoot that I was certain it would be a good one, but I think luck was on our side that day. Not only had the shoot gone exceedingly well, but when I woke up the next morning and went outside the fuchsia wall had been painted back to its original brownish-red color! I wish I was always so lucky.

Gabrielle’s music really is lovely. If you have moment you can listen to some of it on her Bandcamp page here.

 

 

Dec 082016
 

Editorial Portrait Los Angeles KTM

Biz Tech Published spread tear sheet

Biz Tech KTM published clip

 

Editorial Portrait Los Angeles KTM

In October I visited the offices of KTM motorcycles to photograph their in-house IT specialist, Joe Truebe, for the winter issue of Biz Tech Magazine. Fortunately, the editors requested that I not show him working with the innovative backend networking system he’s set up and we got to spend some time shooting with the flashy bikes in their Murrieta, Calif., showroom. Truebe was easy to work with and generous with his time and we were able to make some pretty good pictures for a story that’s basically about iPads and routers. Here are a couple of images that ran in the print and online version, plus an outtake I liked. You can read the full piece here.