Where: Torrance, CA
I see this flag, which is adhered to the side of an oil refinery, on my monthly drives from the office to LAX.
I’ve always been intrigued by the holes which are designed for airflow to keep the flag pinned to the building. On this 4th of July, I can’t help but see the connection between these holes and the disfunctionality of today’s Congress.
Where: Cocoa Beach, FL
I was at Infocomm last week for meetings related to my 3LCD responsibilities.
It’s always interesting going to non-photo trade shows where I can learn about different technologies and markets. There’s a level of freedom for me at these shows where I’m not known and can visit the facilities without receiving a standup mid-stream sponsorship pitch. If ya know what I mean…
But Infocomm does have a connection to the photographic world as it was held in the same location as several photo trade shows, the dreaded Orlando. Followers know my disdain for this antiseptic locale with no pictures. But there was one more geographic insult, Orlando in June.
Heat, Humidity, Tourists, No Culture, and No Pictures. About as bad as it gets for me.
With 4 hours to kill before my hotel room was available, my fight or flight survival reflexes were activated and I fled to the Space Coast. My limbic system was driving my need to find cooler temperatures but while driving my right brain was saying, “Nice move, the beach at noon in a Soltice month. Guess you were out sick that first day of lighting in Photo 101″.
My limbic system prevailed. And while the temps on the beach felt 20 degrees F cooler, the light was straight overhead and uuuuuugly. I was about to give up when I saw some colorful beach umbrellas. The closer I got to the umbrellas I realized that they were looking better than they were due to the polarization of my sunglasses. That prompted me to look for reflections in sunglasses. A woman near the umbrellas was kinda enough to place her sunglasses on the top of her head and move left/right so I could find the best angle of reflection. In doing so, I was able to transform the ugly light into something more palatable and could not help but think of Cousin Itt.
Where: Las Vegas
Another trade show in Las Vegas.
After show hours, I took a cab downtown just east of the Fremont Street Experience.
It’s in this part of Dodge where I like to experience the real Las Vegas.
Where: Los Angeles, CA
Today is the 5th of June which reminded me of an image from a month earlier on 5th of May better known as, Cinco de Mayo.
In high school, I would take a two hour bus ride downtown for Cinco De Mayo events which centered in and around Broadway in my native Los Angeles.
Fast forward a few decades and instead of the bus, I was able to travel in greater luxury via a rental car and parked not far from the Bradbury Building just off Broadway.
As I made my way from Grand Central Market towards City Hall I was surrounded by thousands of people. In these situations, I always think of Jay Maisel’s advise to focus on singular subjects vs the larger tapestry and found that subject on the shoulders of his father.
Where: Los Angeles, CA
It’s just the fuselage of a jet at LAX, reflecting the sunrise.
Where: Los Alamitos, CA
When in LA for meetings at the office, I often stay at a hotel next to the Los Alamitos Horserace Track.
One Sunday afternoon I decided to walk over and see if there were any interesting pictures inside, as I had been smelling “interesting” things for years outside.
I learned that most of the actual racing takes place in the evenings and during the day, people sit inside and and place bets via monitors of tracks around the country.
No horses, no winning jockeys draped in colorful flowers, just people slumped over tables with betting sheets under the nauseating glow of fluorescent lights.
I was able to salvage my $2 entry fee by capturing this silhouette which is really a reflection of two people talking outside the Track’s dreary coffee shop. The inexpensive glass distorted the reflecting palm trees which added interest and put focus on the punters.
Where: New York City
I was in New York last week working on a very exciting project.
While I was walking back to my hotel in Tribeca from the studio where we were shooting, I saw this interesting triad of shapes.
By waiting for the red light and getting my position just right, I could not help but think Chris Christie was glaring at me from the other end of the Tunnel.
Where: Los Angeles, CA
I often find myself driving up and down La Brea Ave. from the 10 to visit photographers in Hollywood.
One of the buildings on La Brea houses an indoor baseball batting cage. I was curious what the inside of the building looked like as I had only seen the baseball jerseys painted on the outside wall from numerous rental cars.
But this shot of a boy who was more curious than me, as to how one can hit baseballs inside a building in the heart of LA, proved to be the more interesting view.
Where: San Diego CA
I was in San Diego to avoid Carmageddon.
Not sure why, but I decided to visit the famous San Diego Zoo.
Within a few minutes I was no longer looking at the animals, but at the cable car that runs above the animals.
Where: Los Angeles, CA
Our son had an audition recently to attend the renowned classical guitar program at the USC Thornton School of Music. While we live in Upstate New York, as a native Valley Boy I was thrilled that he may be headed back to my home town.
As we were planning the trip to USC, I carved out time in our schedule to show him my favorite places in LA from Venice Beach to the Original Tommy’s. But he told me he really wanted to spend as much time as possible at USC and anything related to it’s music program.
I was kinda disappointed. I wanted to brag a bit about LA and take him to places few in LA even know of, but quickly realized this was a very good sign. For those who move to LA from the East Coast it can be tempting to ease into a more relaxed lifestyle, lose focus and chill-out a bit too much. I knew at that moment that our son was dedicated to the instrument he loves and would not be looking for every chance to sneak out and hit Zuma.
Fortunately during our visit there would be an opportunity to attend a concert by a USC Orchestra at Disney Hall. Well at least I could show him Disney Hall!
It was mid-day when we arrived at the Hall and in LA that often means bright and sunny. While all were reaching for sunglasses due to the reflections off that amazing building, I remembered this photograph I made right before the Hall opened. It was 2003 and I had a free hour before one of those classic meetings. I remember driving around my old hangouts like Angels Flight and the Triforium when I saw Disney Hall for the first time. I was stunned by the way it stood out from the Downtown LA I knew as a kid.
While walking around the structure looking for the best angles I remember being hit up by two panhandlers and a hooker. This was par for the Downtown LA I knew as a teenager. I also remember my retina feeling a bit burned-in because the metal was intensely reflective.
A few years after the Hall opened, it was decided that the metal was indeed too reflective and the high gloss was buffed out. While there are many images of Disney Hall, it’s no longer possible to experience what I captured because the exterior has a different reflective nature. And as Downtown LA itself has a different nature with a rejuvenated sense of place, there were no encounters with the before-mentioned, usual suspects.
The pressure is now on as we just learned that our son will be attending USC this Fall. So since the school is not far from Disney Hall, I have to reflect on how to make a better, but less reflective picture.
Where: New York City
I was on my way to the New York Photo Salon in Tribeca when the sun peaked out from the clouds.
It was towards end of the day and the metal of this pre-war building started to glow.
I waited for the right person, wearing the right clothes, with the right gesture to come out through the revolving door. But nothing. That door seemed like it was on lock down, but soon the perfect person walked by in front of the door vs coming through it. To my delight he stopped and waited for a bus.
When I saw the letter P on his hat was a similar hue as the glowing metal, I moved my position just a bit so that the P was in the the middle of a dark rectangle within the revolving door.
I don’t remember where I shot this.
But I do recall thinking, that something wasn’t quite right.
Where: New York City
While walking through the Garment District, I saw a person with an interesting gesture.
It’s as though he was drawing attention away from a shirt pocket mishap.
Where: Long Beach, CA
I was driving into the office and saw a car wash on PCH that was beautifully lit in the morning light
Several people were likely wondering why I parked my car and then walked into where the cars were actually being washed. But they couldn’t see the interesting abstract shapes I was seeing of an automated brush with soap passing over a door handle on a white car.
Where: East Jesus, CA
After a recent meeting in Palm Springs preparing for the Palm Springs Photo Festival, I made a run for the border. But I had no intention of crossing into Mexico as on the way to the California border with Mexico is one of my favorite places, Slab City.
It difficult to describe Slab City. I simply think of it as a living Mad Max environment with a discriminating mix of people living off the grid. Make that way off the grid.
Photographed at East Jesus http://eastjesus.org/
At the very end of Slab City is East Jesus. The broken glass shrouding a typewriter inside the piano, which I assume illustrates the shared concept of keys, is only one of several images I made in East Jesus. It indeed speaks, per the East Jesus web site, of “… low-tech solutions, unresolved theories, non-linear advancement, and creative reuse.”
Where: Las Vegas, NV
Back in Vegas for another trade show, this time WPPI.
With a few free hours the afternoon before set-up, I headed to Fremont St.
I often don’t shoot on Fremont but its a place taxi drivers are comfortable going to. For me the best shots are usually several blocks east of the Fremont Experience.
With the light pouring through a bus stop illuminating the red, yellow, blue and green shapes, I simply waited for a some people to arrive for the next bus.
Where: Amsterdam, Netherlands
I was in Amsterdam a few weeks ago for the ISE trade show.
When traveling East over an ocean, in this case the Atlantic, I feel the jet-lag. Going West is never an issue but I often have hazy moments the first couple of days going East.
I had a few free hours and headed to an area where I knew there was some interesting graffiti.
I remember composing this scene, and I remember waiting for the right person to walk by, but due to the jet-lag I just don’t remember making the shot. I must have been on Auto-Pilot.
Where: Toronto, Canada
Just walking through a Toronto neighborhood vs the usual sights on Yonge St.
I was in a mood for color but all I saw were the neutral tones of the brick apartment buildings.
By finding the apparent focus of reflecting color on the glass of a bus stop, I made the color more abstract and a bit more interesting.
Where: Vancouver, British Columbia
After a meeting with London Drugs I was lucky enough to have beautiful Sweetlight.
Knowing the directional light that was providing great dimensionality would soon evaporate, I looked within in a block of where I was for something interesting and found 4 mannequins in a shop window.
The light made the mannequins glow as if carefully lit in a studio but 4 is an awkward number of elements.
It was a busy street so I didn’t have to wait long for a fifth element to make a more pleasing design.
Where: Fairport, NY
When I saw these two twins wearing the same outfit, I knew there had to be a shot somewhere.
When one of the twins kicked off his shoe, that interrupted the symmetry for a more interesting picture.
Where: 30,000 Feet Over Somewhere
Sometimes the most common and mundane makes for simple elegant images.
From one row behind, the middle seat ahead of me reclined.
It revealed a nicely lit ear whose shape reminded me of the center of a flower with the seat backs acting as the outer leaves.
Where: Pasadena CA
In my native LA many rave about the amazing Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day.
Beautiful floats made of flowers and a clear skin Beauty Queen and her Royal Court waving to the adoring audience without a worry or care.
Kinda makes me queasy. To counteract the nausea I think about the Deathmobile in Animal House used to disrupt the Homecoming Parade, but one year I attended a parade tailor-made for Dano, The Doo Dah.
The Doo Dah is the anti-parade held in Pasadena featuring all who would be forbidden to be in the Rose Parade! No prizes, no rules. My favorite float was a pick-up truck pulling a trailer with 6 guys on broken chairs smoking cigars entitled, “Men Relaxing”.
I shot this before the parade started. I’m not sure if its a woman or man, but it’s the Doo Dah and it really doesn’t matter.
I was in New York last week with my colleagues from LA for meetings in Midtown. It was typical January weather with a couple of cold nights due to the wind chill.
Living in Upstate New York I’ve grown accustomed to winter and just sorta deal with it. But I watched my colleagues from LA suffer, complain and downright whine about the inhumanity of a January climate in the Northeast.
At the end of the day we would head outside on Lexington Ave into the normal rush of commuters walking to Grand Central Station. It reminded me of this image I captured of a January commuter about to enter a T Station where the window had not been cleaned since the summer.
Where: Amsterdam, Netherlands
We were in Amsterdam for a meeting at one of Epson’s offices in Europe.
After the meeting, my colleague from Epson America and I went out to check out the sights.
And this was quite a sight at a building site right by the Centraal Station.
Where: Pittsford, NY
A couple of years we volunteered as a host family for the Fresh Air Fund.
The Fresh Air Fund is a program designed to give inner city children from New York City an opportunity to experience life in Upstate New York.
When Fukwon arrived he was a furnace filled with energy and excitement. But I was able to capture this moment of quiet reflection when he was taking in the simple but peaceful view from our dining room. By taking a low angle, I eliminated distractions in the background which enhanced his profile.
To better capture the mood, and also help the highlights, I added some simple split-toning