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Damn, Earth… you one sexy Motha’ // #earthporn

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That was my exact thought process when it came to #EarthPorn photos.

For those not familiar with the somewhat graphic sounding phrase, EarthPorn is used when referring to nature photography that makes you step back and say “Damn.. Earth/Nature/etc is beautiful”. Do a quick Google Image Search or search the hashtag on Instagram or Tumblr and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

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Kane Sumabat’s Controlled Labs Supplements shoot

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About a week and a half ago I spent the afternoon with Kane Sumabat, a fitness trainer (and pretty hilarious Instagram personality), who was in California visitin from Canada where he grew up and lives.

Kane and I were put in touch with each other through a mutual Instagram friend, fitness bikini competitor Rae-Ann Camacho who I’ve been working on setting up a photoshoot with. She recommended me to Kane when he was looking for a photographer to shoot with in California for various images.
As it turned out, his supplement sponsor Controlled Labs Supplements was also interested in updated photos of Kane. So after some discussion and scheduling we were able to set up a day to shoot the various images that Kane was looking for for himself AND Controlled Labs. It was a very cool opportunity for me to work with Kane, and as you guys may have read in one of my recent blog posts I was also able to work with Kane on a personal project of mine as well (he was Shredder for my ongoing Ninja Turtles series, full blog coming soon).

My good friend, and usual assistant, TJ Lauters was on hand with me all day as first assistant. He also shot a number of Behind the Scenes photos which you’ll find toward the end of this blog post. TJ also assembled a BTS Video! Check it out

Kane is hilarious in person. His sarcastic humor that he has online is no different than how he is when you’re talking to him. And when it comes to fitness the things that he has the strength to do is just incredible.

Anyway, read on past the break and check out the various images from our shoot. These are the ones I liked and edited. Some of them are pretty straight forward, others may have various effects that I was playing around with on them.

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Behind the Scenes on Wildpeak Ad Campaign

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Blazing desert heat, cold streams, and windy mountain roads… all just part of the Falken Tire Wildpeak Off Road ad campaign I shot at the end of 2012.

Among many of the projects I was part of with Falken Tire last year one of the most fun was the Wildpeak Off Road campaign. This was a project that was planned, assembled, and shot all within a very short amount of time compared to other projects I’ve worked with Falken on. Falken’s newest tire line, Wildpeak, needed a variety of images created for upcoming ads and media in 2013. So several days were selected, along with several vehicles, to shoot many different images in different locations. I would be handling a large majority of the shooting alongside the video crew, who would be shooting for commercials at the same time.

The entire first day was spent in the desert, under the hot sun and, at times, very high winds. We had a selection of cars: Ford Raptor, Toyota FJ Cruiser, Toyota 4Runner, and the custom built Falken Jeep JK. We also had a few support vehicles with us, a Chevy Tahoe with 22’s for what would essentially be “beauty shots”, a Toyota Tacoma, our tow vehicle/rig, and a total crew of 10 people. This was not a small job by any means.

The second day was the longest by far. We were in the mountains. All. Day. But we were able to capture a ton of different images varying from water/splash photos to “climbing” photos. The video guys also did the majority of their filming the second day as well.
Day 3 was the shortest, and was cut even shorter after the first location we planned to shoot at didn’t work out.

Click below the break to read on and see over 100 images of what goes into a multi-day photoshoot of this size.

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Ana and Daniel Godoy’s Socal Wedding

Ana and I have been talking about her wedding since last year – and now it’s already over and they’re returning from their honeymoon! And when I really stop and think about it, it doesn’t seem like that long ago that me, Ana, and several of our other friends were sitting around in college playing pool and ordering food late at night at Santa Clara University.

I’ve actually known Ana for nearly nine years – I met her through a couple friends of mine back in college when we both still were in living in the Bay Area. Since then I’ve traveled around the US while completing my degree – and now for my photography. Ana went on to move to Los Angeles, continue even more schooling and become a doctor. But we would keep in touch online over the years. And then, last year, when Daniel asked Ana to marry him, Ana asked me to be her photographer.

For those of you guys that follow my work on Facebook, you may remember seeing their engagement photos that we shot at the LA Zoo. Those were actually somewhat recent since all of our schedules are pretty hectic and it took a while to lock down a date that worked with everyone’s schedules.

Daniel and Ana were married last week in a gorgeous catholic ceremony in Southern California.  When I arrived that morning the men were just heading out to another house for the day. The ladies would actually be using Daniel’s families house to prepare for the morning. So I said my hellos and goodbyes to guys and waited and for Ana to arrive after getting the all-clear that Daniel wasn’t there any longer.

The plan was to eventually make it over to meet up with the men as they got ready… and that just didn’t end up happening since things with all the ladies ran a bit later than we expected. Oh well, they have to wait for the bride anyway, right?

The ceremony was beautiful, and the church was surprisingly well-lit. Typically for church weddings that I’ve shot they tend to be very dark with very few windows, so it was awesome that this location had tons of light pouring in and made it very easy to shoot plenty of images for Ana and Daniel.
At the end of the ceremony, after the pastor introduced Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Godoy to everyone in the audience, Daniel turned and said “So can I kiss her now?” to which the preacher started laughing and said “YOU BETTER KISS HER!”

From there we headed out to the golf course where the reception was being held. The first hour or so we spent outside taking photos and getting a few more group shots and fun shots in with everyone. And, of course, there HAD to that jerk-golfer-guy that clearly sees us taking photos yet seemingly tries to walk into each of our shots and stand on the practice putting green in the background. There were several times that we had to wait because he walked closer to us to “practice” or whatever. Haha, there is ALWAYS someone like that. You think people would be polite enough to wait 5 or 10 minutes til were were done taking a few photos at that spot and had moved on.

Ana and Daniel’s reception was a blast. They seriously had one of the best DJ’s I’ve heard at a wedding as far as his music selection for the night. And there were several family members that didn’t seem to leave the dance floor the entire night – they seriously danced for like 6 hours it seemed like. I stuck around and chatted with Ana as the night went on, and even though I wasn’t really shooting any more at that point it was nice to get to know everyone a bit more and talk.

As I do with every wedding blog, I’ll leave the rest of my comments for the captions. The biggest “problem” with this blog is that Ana is a very old friend of mine, which made it very hard for me to narrow down the image choices to share. So, click past the break for over 200 images from the Vargas-Godoy wedding in Los Angeles a week ago…

And to Ana and Daniel, Thank You for having me be part of your day!

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The Tickle-Ripp wedding in Baltimore

Angela and Kevin’s wedding, also known as “The wedding I shot because of the wedding I shot because of the wedding I shot…”

Makes perfect sense right? I just returned from the East Coast and shooting the Tickle-Ripp wedding in Baltimore. I joked with several friends about the wedding any time I was asked how I ended up shooting way out in Maryland. “Oh! Well, I met Kevin and Angela at a wedding I was shooting in Michigan. Kevin was the Best Man to Ray, who married Alison. And I met Alison two years prior when she was a bridesmaid for Jessica…. did you follow all that?”

For those of you reading, here’s a easy-to-understand graphic…

I constantly say how flattering it is that my clients bring me all over the country to shoot for them. And connections like this one (the Ripp wedding) are an incredible example of friendships made during business trips.

When I first met Kevin and Angela it was during the Johnson wedding – during the rehearsal dinner. I was among the first to arrive at the restaurant along with Kevin and Angela. We all were sitting at the bar talking about various things, including how I was there from California and they were in town from DC.
From just the first 20 minutes or so sitting with the two of them chatting about nothing important it was clear how much they cared about each other. Several of us joke about how they’re disgustingly cute together – and that’s the truth. But at the same time it’s so awesome when you see people that can be totally genuine around each other AND others at the same time.
We kept in touch through facebook and followed each others photos after returning to our home states. And after they were engaged I was thrilled when I got an email from Kevin asking about coming out to Baltimore to shoot for them!

I was excited to arrive in Baltimore and meet up with everyone when that Friday afternoon for the rehearsal finally rolled around. If the Tickle and Ripp families and friends were anything like Kevin and Angela, then it was going to be an awesome couple days!
We all met up at the hotel and then headed out to the church for practice – there was a ton of traffic. On my cab ride there I talked to the driver about how he had come to the US and built a new life for himself. As we talked about travel and travel-times he laughingly said that as much as he misses home back in Africa the long plane flight keeps him from ever visiting. LOL!

Once at the rehearsal the pastor was shocked when I hadn’t heard about “the photo”… Turns out that Angela wanted a group shot with everyone at the wedding directly after the ceremony. The pastor said in 37 years he had never done anything like that and hoped it would work out well. I smiled and said “No problem! I just did that two weeks ago out in Yosemite at a wedding”. The rehearsal dinner was out on the water at the Baltimore Inner Harbor. Lots of laughs and lots of story telling. My favorite part of the dinners are getting a chance to know everyone a little bit, and also making them more comfortable around me and a camera since I’ll be running around the next day with them non-stop.

The wedding day started as normal – hanging out with all the girls as they did all their hair and makeup prep. It’s always hilarious to sit and listen to the stories the girls laugh about throughout the morning. Poor Michelle was being picked on and teased about being “The Drunk Bridesmaid” because she finished Kevin’s drinks the night prior at the after party. Realistically though she gets bonus points for taking them for the team since she was keeping Kevin from having too many drinks before his big day. Team player all the way! Haha!

The ceremony was beautiful, and the pastor was awesome. There were several points where he needed to be directly in front of the bride and groom for ceremonial reasons. However the rest of the time he stepped off to the side. He had told me “the ceremony is NOT about me. I don’t understand the pastors who make it about them, but I try to give as much attention to the bride and groom as possible.” How great is that?

After the ceremony we went up to Federal Hill to do a few photos with the skyline in the background. I also did a dip shot (top of this blog) as I do with most of my weddings.. We had quite an audience that day, too. It was nice out and there were lots of families sitting and watching us. One lady actually came up to Angela to congratulate her, and then said that everyone looked like they were having fun and that she wished her wedding photographer took fun ones like we were doing that afternoon. I can’t even take any credit for that comment either, we were just joking around and not doing anything too specific.

The reception was back at the hotel and everyone celebrated through the evening hours. There is plenty more I could continue to write about, but I’ll save a lot more for the captions. I always feel like I have so many wonderful stories and things to say about each wedding I do. But I’m fairly sure you’re here to see photos and not just read about it. So, click past the break for 170 images from the Tickle-Ripp wedding.

Click below to read on

 

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Falken Tire 2012 Promo Model Poster Shoot

The 2012 Falken Tire Promo Model poster has been released! And that means I’m allowed to share additional photos from the shoot with everyone that I created for Falken Tire and their 2012 season!

For those who read my previous blog about the Behind the Scenes from this shoot, you’ll recall that I mentioned the goal of the entire day was the image above. Basically we arrived first thing in the morning – before sunrise – and shot all day until sundown. And then, after 12 hours of shooting we created the image we came for – the poster shot. Seriously. The image we spent so much time planning for was created in the last five minutes of shooting. And was also one of the last 10 photos or so I made with the girls.

But it was worth it. The long day. The lack of food (on my part. I forgot to eat most of the day since I was so busy running around that TJ had to make me stop and take five minutes to eat something at the catering table). I look at photos of me at the end of the day and laugh because I look exhausted.
I did at least 17 shoots that day working with each of the models multiple times and in several locations with many different lighting setups. Everything worked out incredibly well. Falken had a very  aggressive set of goals to complete that day and I’m very proud to say that we met all of them! During the time we weren’t working on group shots the models were in hair/makeup and whoever was ready with their next look would be sent over to shoot individuals.

The individual shots we created are mainly for use on the models profile pages since they’re in no way related to tires or the automotive industry, haha! But part of the reason this location was selected for was for wide variety of looks that could be created around the property.
I had the oh-so-difficult assignment of poolside bikini and exercise photos. Wow. Rough location. Haha!
Throughout the middle of the day and afternoon the girls would be switched out with me to shoot around the infinity pool with all the mountains in the background. Gorgeous. I could easily see why so many magazine shoots are done at this location with this pool.

A second concept for the poster was a composite idea I was asked about. There was some question to the feasibility of doing this shot with six girls and making the shot work at the venue. The one thing there wasn’t much of was large open space and walls. We selected the three-car garage doors as the best spot to create a six-photo composite extra-wide style poster. I think it came out pretty damn good, actually.

Each girls was shot with the same style lighting and power adjusted according to the background, skin tone, or wardrobe. But overall it worked great. I may print a large version of this just for the sake of seeing how it looks. But, the version I’m looking at right now on my 27in screen looks pretty awesome!

Ultimately the pool shot was used for the poster – which is perfect since that was the original idea and goal anyway.

Click the break for a ton of additional photos of the girls… since I know that’s what you’re really here to see.

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Falken Tire Girls 2012 – behind the scenes

The Falken Tire 2012 Promo Girls poster is near release and I couldn’t be more thrilled to share some of the Behind the Scenes photos from the project.
I had an incredible opportunity at the end of last year to work directly with Falken on this. I was contacted and asked about possibly tackling this large scale – and very important – photoshoot for the company. After everything was made official we started the planning phase for a quickly-approaching shoot date.

The ultimate goal for the project was to create their 2012 Promo Model Poster with all six girls. We took the girls away from the track/race scene for something different, stylish and sexy. After budget discussion, location selection, and dates solidified it was time to really crack down and get things moving. Our shoot was right after Thanksgiving and there was plenty to get working on.
I was required to bring two assistants – it would be better to have too much help than not enough for a project of this size. And I’m sure all of you are thinking “Yeah, cuz it would be terrible to hang out on set with a bunch of models all day”. But I needed two experienced people on hand that I knew would be great. I brought TJ down from San Francisco. He has 10 years experience with lighting and set work and who has also helped me on multiple shoots over the last few years and understands my style and how I shoot. David came up from Orange County as my other assistant. I met David working on weddings and he has an incredible knowledge of photography and wealth of experience to bring to this setting.

Our shoot day started early.. EARLY. A 430am call time is never fun, but it’s part of the job. Overall the entire day went great. There were a few hiccups along the way as could always be expected, but we still made sure to get everything taken care of that we hoped to complete. I was able to create a ton of amazing images with all the models. And both myself and my team had an awesome time working with Falken and their crew. The models, Julie Galindo, Mayra Tinajero, Olivia Korte, Melanie Tillbrook, Brittney Leigh, and Randyl Dawn were all awesome. And thank you all for putting up with me having trouble with your names all day… having six new models with a new hairstyle/outfit every time I saw them throughout the day definitely screwed with my head. Haha!

Ok, so… on to the photos! I’ll stop rambling and simply post captions…

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Cranberry Boggin! (Yes, like the Ocean Spray commercials)

Mike Wainio, owner of the Wainio Bogs in Carver, Massachusetts.

Last week I was way out in Massachusetts wrapping up the last part of a two week trip around New England areas – a mix of work and leisure travel. For those not familiar, Carver is right outside Boston, and home to my friend Merri and her family. Well, it turns out that Carver is a MASSIVE cranberry producer – at one point in the mid 1900s being the largest producer in the US.
I had ALWAYS wanted to see the cranberry bogs and flooded fields in person. And while visiting one of the Wainio bogs I was invited to come back and see them flood the fields the next day!

You have no idea how excited I was. Hell. Yes.

Honestly I tried my best to not be pushy with my friends about coming back right on time the following day. But this chance was going to make my whole trip that much more awesome. Seriously. We’ve all seen the Ocean Spray commercials with the fields full of floating cranberries. I was about to see that in real life. Sweet!

Well that Saturday I returned to the bogs with my friend Brittany. I chatted with Tony, who runs the Berry Guys Farm Stand on location there where you can buy all sorts of fresh fruit and vegetables. It was Tony who had first invited me out to see the flooding the day before and also said I could come back watch the harvesting. I then spoke briefly with Mike and Brandon who were going to be farming the field and doing the actual harvesting. They said come back in an hour or so and they’d be out there working.

No problem. To the coffee shop!

An hour later Brittany dropped me off so I could shoot – she had a couple errands to run.

I wandered out to the bog where Mike and Brandon were starting their laps on the threshers. I waved hello and pointed to my camera and threw a thumbs-up… basically non-verbally asking if it was cool to take photos of them. Mike yelled back “Wanna come out here with us?” “Uh… YEAH!” was my response.

I walked around to the ramps. Mike picked me up on his thresher, and soon I was out on the water with them harvesting cranberries! SO.DAMN.COOL. I’m sure to a degree I seemed “so Californian” to think this was as great as it was, but who gets a chance like this out of the blue?

I spent the next hour and a half with Mike chatting about everything from cranberries to motocross – Mike used to race motocross and I used to handle all photography for K&N Filters, so he was completely familiar with my old employer.
There was so much I never knew about cranberry bogging that I learned.. here are a few things…

There are two types of harvesting. Wet harvest and Dry harvest. Wet harvest is what people all know about due to photos and Ocean Spray commercials, the flooded fields. These berries are immediately brought to the plant for processing since they will spoil within about 48 hours. Wet harvest berries are used in jams, sauce, juice, etc. Dry pick berries are harvested with a different type of thresher and used for everything else (dried berries, cooked into foods, etc).

Below are 40 more images I shot while at the bogs. I encourage everyone to read on. The experience was really amazing, and I’ll share more in the captions as usual.

Click the break for the rest of the images:
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BMX rider portraits, Buena Park

When I wanted to do portraits with some interesting people my first idea was to get ahold of Sean Logan – a BMX rider.
I knew that I could create an image of him and maybe a few friends he rides with that would be awesome and telling at the same time. Ironically, none of the images above have much to do with what I set out to create – those come later.

I met up with Sean and a few other riders at Adam’s house to shoot. Adam, along with many other riders, have built some massive jumps in the backyard for them to ride.

When I say backyard… I mean they seriously converted their backyard into their own private course.  Check out Adam in the white hat for a bit of size comparison to the jumps.

But lets start out with the images that I set out to create…

I wanted something a bit gritty looking. Dirty in the sense of “dirt” for a BMX feel.

I created a similar shot with Adam. I kept the bikes in there as a token “yes I ride” theme. However it worked out pretty much exactly how I wanted. All the focus is still on their faces/eyes and the bike comes second. The editing fits the theme perfectly.

These shots were images we did in addition to everything else. While I wasn’t dead set on color shots because I envisioned the photos above first, they came out great and we had some fun. Here’s Sean, whose hair, by the way, still looks like this after hours or riding… it’s crazy.

And speaking of crazy… Stuntman, and friend, Crazy Mike was there to have a few images done as well. Mike and I have worked together multiple times and when he heard that I was shooting with Sean that afternoon he came down with his buddy Ninja Nick so I could do some cover shots for a TV pilot they’re working on. I’d share them here… but I can’t. Sorry guys!
Mike’s personality always comes through in ridiculous images like this one. Haha.

Adam Saunders portrait ended up coming out great. Honestly, part of the reason I love it was that he grabbed his hat and threw a bit of attitude in with his lip.

Loren’s shot I dig because of the simplicity, and his eyes. Shades in photos always add attitude. But eyes humanize any image, and this one totally pulls you in despite all the color and busy-ness of the photo as a whole.

And while we’re on the topic of eyes… Check out Dustin Nette…
No, take your time, those are his real eyes. Not enhanced. I didn’t add color either. Dustin was throwing tricks and riding with everyone that day. But when he stopped and was walkin around I noticed his eyes – seriously, you can see them from 20+ feet away. I talked to him briefly and asked if I could do a quick portrait of him. I shot this with my 85 f/1.2 because I wanted all the focus just at his eyes and everything else to fall off. Came out great.

So, time for some action shots… since I’m sure that what many of you came to see.

Sean, doin a Superman over jump two.

Adam, backflipping jump two.
Check out the barn-type structure in the back. They cut out part of the roof and made a ramp to use that to drop into the jumps.

Loren, drop three in jump two.

Loren, turn down flip in jump two

Loren, backflip in jump one.

Dustin, cheesin’ it up for the camera.

Loren threw a flip table only about three times before we got a great image.

Sorry I don’t have the names of the tricks, I’m still learning all the BMX trick names. But, I’m sure a few of the guys can help me name everything and I can update later.
Hope you guys liked the images, I was really happy with how they all came out. I’m planning to try and keep going with these portraits and see what else I can come up with.

Next up will be images from a shoot I did last week with a Swedish model and dancer named Bambi – totally colorful crazy outfits and everything. I think you all will dig it. And if all goes as planned, I’ll be shooting long time friend and nation pole dance competitor Mina Mortezaie this weekend.

Tall, Dark, Beautiful. Shooting with Kassandra.

While most of you were watching the Superbowl I was spending the afternoon shooting with Kassandra. Some of you may recognize her from our shoot on the K&N 2011 Calendar (view it here if you need a refresher, she’s November).
Well, it had been a year since we last shot, and even though we’ve talked about putting something together again for a while, life always gets in the way. We finally found time this past weekend to catch up on life, and make some great images.

Kassandra, for those of you who haven’t met her, is stunning. Tall, long black hair, and amazing figure. How are you not going to create awesome images?
The original ideas we started playing with were similar to the portrait style images of Mike Bell that I shot a week ago (check the last blog post). Kassandra loved the darker grittier feel to those. We ended up spending a few hours together and doing about seven different style shots. The image above was created in the middle of our afternoon together. I love the contrast difference between the white and black. And it puts nearly all the focus right on her eyes.

I like the uncropped version, too. But I’m sure most of you noticed that I’m a big fan of landscape/wide shots with my images.

Here’s what we were originally going for… a darker image. In this case we have a black/black/black/black shot. What I mean is that she has black hair, a black boa, black shirt, on a black background. Unfortunately for most of you guys reading this, you aren’t on calibrated monitors. But, for those of you that are, you will see that there is actually differentiation between all four elements in this image. This is one of those photo-nerd moments where I’m going to point out that there is a level of light/exposure control to create this shot. So for those of you new-to-photo readers that I have, practice with this idea ; )

Portrait style shot.
Really dig the attitude mixed with her style on the red-drape background. The border was added effect.

Kassandra showed me some simple images like this that she wanted to create. Again, very clean, but with contrast between the black clothes and empty surroundings.

Also a casual version, with a sweater and shoes.
But check out her Converse that she made!

We went out to the roof to see what we could shoot out there. Neither of us were completely feelin this location with the chess board. But, I figured I’d throw some layers and textures in to make it more interesting. Did it work? I don’t know.

But I do like this version more. Maybe I’ll go in and remove the background completely…

Edit! I removed the background tonight. Looks much better I feel like.

I <3 LA

Last shot of the evening was on this awesome couch. The only tricky part was Kassandra’s incredibly long legs on what was actually a very short couch. I still think it came out great though.

Between all the different style shots, catching up on life, and laughing at what’s new, it was great to see an old friend and shoot again. I have a few more shoots this week that are in the works including portraits of Sean Logan (the BMXer) and two more model shoots. I think I’m going to be continuing the portrait series with various people I know down here in LA in different industries. Should be fun.

Check back in a few days for more shots. I’ll try and post another blog this weekend.