California is…well its big. From the beaches to the mountains there are so many different places for a photographer to shoot. Often overlooked by photogs for various reasons are the California deserts. I’ve been wanting to do a day trip to one specific location in one of our “low” desert areas. Specifically a trip to the Salton Sea. The Salton Sea is California’s largest lake that was formed when the Colorado river flooded the area in 1905.
Thanks to the internet the Salton Sea has been getting a bit of coverage over the last few years. This recent coverage is not something I would call positive. In fact after watching a few videos it looks like a down right depressing place to live or even visit. When I would tell others of my intentions of going there, the normal response was “Why!?”
This road trip wouldn’t be my first visit to the sea….I’d been to the there a number of times as a kid. Fishing trips with my Dad, Brother and Grandpa. My memories of this place as with many childhood ones are a bit foggy…..foggy but fond memories. Stories of this massive lake, unheard of heat, swimming, fishing and catching without bait, are stories I still tell to this day. The intentions of my current visit were not to fish or enjoy the extreme heat, but to capture some of the decaying landscape that makes up the areas surrounding the sea.
With my friend Jerry, who would be capturing the day in video, I set off to check out this mostly forgotten part of California. We were not disappointed with things to shoot. We left with more questions than answers…we left with a new appreciation for the area. Neither of us quite ready to buy property…but we understood why people did during its heyday.
Lens-Tokina 12-24 f/4
Click images for larger views
For the most part I enjoy writing. Assuming there is a good amount of flow going to the brain I can express myself on “paper”…talking about big topics like photography or the sports I enjoy, no problem. It’s entirely different when I need to write about myself. It feels weird to write and when I read it back it reads weird too.
I recently had the chance to feel this way when Jason from the Outdoorinformer.com contacted me asking if’d like to be featured in the “Depth of Fields” section on their website. My first response is “yeah..why not”. Then I remember I have to answer questions about myself…uggh.
Jason made it easier with well thought out questions that covered more than just photo geek talk…allowing me the chance to share about things beyond photography.
Click the link below for Part 1 of my interviewDetails
With most of my work being viewed online these days it comes as no surprise to me that my “most popular” shots are tight action shots. I do love being right next to action and feeling like I am a part of what is going on…enjoying the movement around me. When me and my friends are out on a mountain bike ride and our pace is casual, I spend a great amount of time picturing spots that would make great backdrops for photos…Or wondering if anyone has ever taken a photo in a certain spot. I’ve been riding past a few spots for a couple years now that I felt would make great backdrops for photos…In both cases the action would be at a great distance from me and I was never confident of how those types of shots would play out with people seeing them on their laptops or cell phones.
I was confident these shots would look great poster sized hanging in a bike shop, but my doubts kept me from making the shots happen. That was until this weekend….I’d had enough of my day dreams clouded by doubt and set up a day to get these shots done. The goal was simple… to shoot and get these checked off my list…yes they may not end up being “popular”, but I was over that and wanted this shoot to happen.
I did my best to describe my “vision” to the two riders I had with me for this shoot…In reality I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted as an end result. I knew the size of the ridge line they were going to ride would dwarf them in the photo. Sure I could zoom in closer, but at that point how does the audience know the size of the ridge line they are on? This is where I go against “normal” for me and shoot it wide and far. When the riders asked how the shots looked, my answer was easy “I won’t know until I see them on my monitor at home”…Probably a bit of a letdown for two guys who just crossed a stream and hiked up/rode down a very steep line for me multiple times.
Once I did view them at home I was happy with what we had done…the shots lacked the impact of an in your face close up action shot, but as a rider they were the types of shots I wanted as posters on my own wall. Shots that remind me of how much I love to ride.
While a large number of people who view these might quickly glance via their phone…I hope to catch a few riders and photographers who know what went into the shots and are sitting home viewing on their 27” monitors.
Click images for the larger view of each.
I lasted a long time…a long time before going into an Apple store. Sure I’ve listened to the stories, seen the commercials and even been told that I HAD to visit one.
I should start off by saying that I’ve been a PC guy for a long time. It was a PC that I started off on and to be honest it worked just fine for me. I even held a job as a graphic designer where we worked on PCs.
And I’ll let you know that I’m still a PC guy…(I know the Mac users just stopped reading) but it seems Apple is making a run for my cash. They started their push in a small way with my first iPod and got me using iTunes too…then they had my friends buy Macs and whisper the great things about them into my ears. But I stood my ground! I wasn’t being sucked in…I was STRONG…I laughed at the iPad. Beyond the name being an easy target for jokes, I just didn’t see what the big deal was.
Then I made the massive mistake of using an iPad at a friends house. Boom! Some, just a little, of the Apple brainwash material started messing with my thinking. I was more than impressed. My friend, who must work for Apple in some capacity, went right in for the kill by showing me a slide show of my photos from Flickr. Did they look good? Oh yeah they looked good. Check your email he says…oh and turn down the stereo with it after that…change the channel on the TV….I couldn’t keep up with all it could do and I really didn’t need to. I got it. It clicked in my mind that this device would be ideal for travel, movies, games for the kids, great battery life, starts up in seconds, daily use around the house for web/email and its shiny.
Now you are saying…”well you didn’t have to go into an Apple store, you could order one on line”. So true, but the machine that is Apple had me cornered. The day after I decided that I wanted an iPad we were heading out on a mini vacation. How cool it would be to have the iPad on our trip? Very cool. So cool I’d go get one on foot…alone.
I fully expected all the workers to look like the sweater wearing kid from the Mac vs. PC commercials and there were a few of those there. I made B line for the first sales person there (I’m sure they don’t call them sales people. I’ll watch my email for a Mac friend to correct me) and I told him that I wanted an iPad. I’m guessing some alarm went off on their iPhones when I hit the door and whoever drew the short straw that day had to deal with me the PC guy. How’d they know I was a PC guy? Come on…there is an app for that. Anyway my sales guy was nice enough and I noticed he was wearing tennis shoes. I’m guessing his slippers were getting a retread at the hemp store that day and being barefoot breaks some sort of code in the mall.
While Benjamin (I don’t know his name for sure but it sounds like a Mac user name) ran my credit card through his iPhone, thoughts went through my head of running to help the people around me. I could tell them that PCs really do work and you can edit photos and video on one…but who was I….but one of them…ready to tackle the next level of Angry Birds.
Typed on a PC…For now anywayDetails
I’ve been using the Sequence photo back pack by Dakine for a few years now. Super happy with all the compartments, love how the camera is stored and it’s built to last. The one thing it didn’t come with was a rain cover. I was recently poking around Dakine’s website and noticed the new Sequence pack DOES come with a rain cover. Usually how things work..right? A quick email to Dakine to ask if they would sell me the rain cover by itself netted me a “no” answer. It doesn’t rain a whole lot in SoCal but I’m not always shooting in Socal and still would like a cover for my pack. There were a few photogs at the Redbull Rampage last year who got caught in a mini rain storm with out any way to cover their gear.
On a recent trip to my local Walmart store I discovered the generic backpack rain cover shown in the image above. While it’s not an exact fit for my pack it will certainly do the trick. Now if they only sold the 10-200 f 1.0 lens I’ve been looking for….Details
When non stick and ball sports get noticed it’s always exciting to me. Sports like mountain biking, motocross and surfing are still viewed as “extreme” or fringe sports by the general population. It came as great news when Apple recently went the direction of adding action/extreme sports images to their website. Even better that they reached out in my direction and wanted to use one of my mountain bike images. When I started doing photography I didn’t imagine working with a company like Apple…They were a joy to work with and I’m hoping they have a few other creative ways to use my image going forward.
A take away for other photographers who might be reading this….keep putting your best images out there…who knows who might come knocking.
Location: Bartletts Wash in Moab Utah
Shot with the Canon 40D and Tokina 12-24 f/4 lens
It’s always satisfying when an image that you like as a photographer gets some love. The City Weekly newspaper in Utah needed a mountain bike image for their “Best of 2011″ issue. I have a large number of shots from Utah and was happy to learn that Moab was voted their best mountain biking location. The image they chose is a favorite of mine as it reflects what Moab has to offer…amazing riding, clear blue skys, out of this world views and a million opportunities for photographers.
If you ever have the chance to visit….put it high up on your list.
This one was shot with the Canon 40D and Tokina 12-24 f/4.Details
I don’t get out to shoot surfing as much as I’d like to…My only excuse is not making the effort to get it done. I love watching the sport and love shooting it….The hardest part for me is the distance as I am not in the water with the athletes….I’m so used to being right up in the action. The challenge becomes finding different ways to capture the image from the shore.
I added some color and texture in post by dropping a new texture layer and setting that layer to “Overlay”….then a bit of masking.
Shot with the Canon 7D and Sigma 70-200 2.8Details
Success stories come in many shapes and sizes often being deemed successful by financial numbers. This well made video gives you a glimpse into Adam’s love of working on vintage motorcycles…is he “Successful” by the worlds standards? Maybe not…Top notch in my book.
I loved learning a bit about someone doing what they love…money in it or notDetails
It’s always exciting to see your work in print…I guess in this case it will be exciting for the folks in Europe as I only get to enjoy the digital version for now…..one of my mountain biking images is being used for an ad for Bike Magazine in Europe.Details