Here’s an image I made last week with Maya. I met her at a party and couldn’t resist asking to take her portrait. So glad she obliged!
Forget fireworks. This year the big Fourth of July spectacular in Venice Beach turned out to come in the form of a broken fire hydrant spewing water four stories in the air at the corner of Speedway and Clubhouse Avenues. What else to do but throw off your clothes and dance beneath the downpour until the authorities arrive? Or, if you’re me, take pictures. In many ways it was a welcome relief the disappointment we experienced from the cancellation of major fireworks shows in Santa Monica and Marina Del Rey. We were still able to see distant shows to the north in Malibu and to the south in Manhattan Beach, but nothing that was in-your-face. On our way back from the beach after fireworks we came across this scene and, like everyone else, ran toward it. There, for 15 minutes or so, crowds of people cheered as people took turns dashing into the downpour until the authorities arrived, unwittingly making the show patriotic with flashes of red, white and blue light. After a few minutes they cleared out the scene and got to work capping the geyser. Apparently, the culprit was a car that ran into the hydrant, knocking it off its base. I haven’t heard that anyone was hurt and hopefully no one experienced too much flooding from the 4-inch deep river that formed in the alleys. Definitely a memorable cap to an otherwise great Fourth, despite the meager fireworks displays.
Check out more photos after the jump!
Last month I had a great shoot for Hair’s How magazine with legendary hair stylist and artist Robert Lobetta, though nothing went as planned. We had been aiming to shoot at the LA Louvre in Venice, but when we arrived I wasn’t happy with the limited access they were allowing us. So, we started looking for another space and were fortunate to be able to arrange use of the Canal Club, a nearby restaurant, as our studio. With the restaurant not yet open for business, we had the run of the place and were able to produce some creative shots. Robert was a great subject, comfortable in front of the camera and willing to work with me to make the shots unique. And when I offered to show him the back of my camera – something I’ve become accustomed to doing either because everyone asks, or as a tool to help me describe what I’m aiming for – he refused to look, saying that doing so would make him want to take control and he wanted to trust in my vision. It was great to work with someone whose business revolves around image, but who was still trusting enough to let me do my work as I see fit.
I had also brought all my lights with me, expecting to use them. Robert has a great look and I had a preconceived vision about the type of portrait I was aiming for. But once we were inside I kept being drawn toward a couple of wonderful natural light sources and, despite unpacking my stands and a couple of strobes, left them untouched, opting only to use a reflector. I think it worked out well.
If you’ve got some time, hop over to Robert’s site. He does it all and has a ton of great work on display.
After a long day staking out a second day of possible mudslides in La Canada Flintridge, which fortunately never came, I pulled off for gas in the town of Eagle Rock, just north of Los Angeles and came across some of the most incredible afternoon light I’ve seen since leaving Florida. I hopped out of the car and started pacing up and down the street looking for something interesting to shoot and when I turned around saw this giant rainbow arching over the entire skyline. I was hoping to find some human activity to shoot against this background, but unfortunately there was none to be found. Still, it was a nice scene so I took a few shots. After the light went away I continued walking around and found myself on an overpass looking down at traffic driving east along the highway. I like the shine of the lights on the wet road. After taking a few frames I looked at my monitor and noticed I had a padiddle right up front. That was good enough for me so I hopped back into the car and made my way home.
On looking up the spelling of padiddle, I came across a wikipedia page with some interesting variations on the game I grew up playing on long nighttime drives across midwestern highways. Now that I’m all grown up I like the Canadian version called “beer” as well as the one called “sex.” I’ll have to remember those.
I’ve been a bad blogger, but I’ve got an excuse! On the 12th of December I flew out to meet up with Erinn at her parents’ place in Emerald Isle, N.C. After a wonderful week there with her family we took off on a cross-country road trip with the purpose of moving Erinn’s belongings from her home in Peoria out to our place in L.A. I’ve been out here solo since September and am glad she’s finally able to join me! Our road trip took us from Emerald Isle through Asheville, where we visited my friend Cameron, up to Peoria, where we were able to catch up with my friend and former housemate Adam and a few of Erinn’s friends and also had the pleasure of packing Erinn’s entire powerless apartment into her car in -3 degree, post-ice-storm weather. From there we headed southwest through Tulsa and Albuquerque en route to a rendezvous with my mom and sister in Flagstaff, Ariz., where we spent Christmas week in an amazing mountain home, courtesy of Lauren’s Tucson landlord, surrounded by several feet of fresh powder snow. Finally, we made our way to our ultimate destination on the 29th in time to be here for what turned out to be a fairly quiet, but memorable New Year’s Eve complete with a fireworks show completely obscured by a dense fog that covered the coast the entire day. It was a great trip from start to finish, but I’m happy to be back home and ready to get back to work. And hopefully I’ll be better about putting up new work now that things are back to normal.
Tree decorating in N.C.
Emerald Isle starfish
An homage to “Planet Earth”
Buffalo Trace distillery; Frankfort, Kent.
Peoria at -3 degrees
No power hair dryer
Erinn’s first tumbleweed encounter; somewhere near Amarillo, Tex.
Tumbleweed pom pom
Canyon de Chelly, Ariz.
Wood fires take awhile to heat an entire house
Snow, snow, snow
5:30 a.m. after a faulty fire alarm woke us all up
The trap works!
From the lodge
Sedona, Ariz. chapel
Erin Westerman of West Hollywood yawns while waiting in line with a friend after shopping for discounted home appliances at the West Hollywood Target on Friday, Nov. 28, 2008. Unlike many of the early morning shoppers there to buy presents, Westerman took advantage of the deep discounts to stock up on things needed for a house she recently purchased. Store manager Guillermo Escarano says there were more shoppers at the store for Black Friday this year than in years past, which he attributes to the store’s aggressive price cuts. Analysts are concerned that even with large numbers of shoppers retailers will still be in trouble this year due to people buying less and deeper than usual discounts. (AP Photo/David Zentz)
Yesterday evening I went out for a walk along the beach and ended up shooting for an hour or two after being impressed by the colors of the sunset, a side effect from the smoke cloud hovering over the city as a result of the nearby wildfires. The haze over the Venice Pier made it feel like a surreal dream world. Something like the beach scenes in Dark City comes to mind, if that reference rings a bell. As I’ve just moved here I’m unprepared to go cover the fires directly, so I chose to sit this one out. But I may head up there in the coming days to check out the aftermath. One thing I’ll need to do this spring is build up a personal fire kit and possibly go through some training so I can get in there next season. Hopefully there won’t be anything as bad as these have been for quite awhile.