By now you all know I do a photo salon every month. This month is no exception. Here's the stuff I showed this time.
Like most months, I meet with some good photo friends for us to share what we've been up to. This month was intimate since there was only 4 of us. So...I brought extra stuff :)
In what is becoming a yearly trek, we visited the Oceano Dunes once again. This place contains incomparable beauty. This year I had the privilege of working with 5 wonderful models. This blog is just a preview of things to come.
I've been busy shooting...and also took a break at the beginning of the year. Here are a few shots from my latest shoots. Soon they will be up in the password protected area in all their glorious beauty, but for now, you'll have to be satisfied with these edits.
It's been a while since I wrote a blog. It's been a while since I shot for that matter. And, I had some surgery and other things along the way. Anyway, every month (or almost every month), I meet with a talented group of photographers to drink wine and show photographs. These are mine from this month.
In late October of this year, I found myself in Spain for my day job. I am allowed to take some personal time at the end (or beginning) of trips and I ALWAYS take advantage of this. Why wouldn't you? My plan this time was to visit the Baleric Islands (specifically Mallorca) for a long weekend at the end of the trip. Originally my girlfriend was going to join me but she had a tragic death in her family and was unable to join me. I contacted a model friend of mine who is studying in Florence for the year to see if perhaps she wanted to come. She said she was game and asked if her friend Alexis could join us (not to model, but to hang out). Of course, that was fine with me, so we purchased tickets and all was planned. I flew out Friday the 20th. Before heading to my airBNB, I had some time to kill so I took a small tour of the island. Using the google stalker (er timeline) I kept track of where I went and so, throughout this blog, I'll show what's up. I drove North into the beautiful mountains on the island.
I had no expectations for the scenery I was about to see but was pleasantly surprised when I got up into the mountains. The only downside was I could find anywhere to pull over to get some shots! As an aside, this place appeared to be a mecca for cyclists, they were everywhere on the road. I was able to finally find a spot and pull over to grab some photos. Here's 3.
After a bit of that, I realized I needed to be across the island to check into my airBNB. I was only about 10 minutes late which was a bit of a miracle considering how little I knew about the roads. Once I got settled into by spot at Cala Morlanda (I would return here in a hot second), I ran out to get some food (which it turns out I bought the perfect breakfast foods for my guests). Once I got back, I did some scouting for the planned shoot with Mauvais the next day. Then, it was back to the airport (late...their flight was delayed) and finally back to the house for the night.
Mauvais was game for getting up early for a sunrise so, we did. And, boy were we glad we did. It was, quite simply amazing. The area near the house I rented had cliffs that dropped directly into the sea which mad for a spectacular backdrop. A map of the area can be seen here.
A galley of the best images can be seen below.
After the attempt at underwater...which turns out to be harder than it looks! Next time, I need a weight belt and deeper water :)
After that it was home to a wonderful breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast. A brief rest and then on for the rest of the amazing day in part 2!!!
My first shoot with a model who has since retired, but I have shot with many, many times over the years. She's become a lifelong friend and in fact, just today we went on a wine tasting adventure after a nice Thanksgiving. I have a lot to be thankful for. At this first shoot she hadn't gone anonymous yet, but since she is not trying to be anonymous in her modeling I'll only post shots of an anonymous nature. For this shoot we hiked way the hell up hill 88 in the Marin headlands. It was cold and a long hike. I'm not sure if this was a preview for all (or most) of our following shoots, but cold has certainly been a part of most of our shoots. I'm honored to have her as a friend. And to think this December it will have been 10 years we've been shooting together!
As always, I meet with a group of talented photographers once per month. As always, I am never disappointed. These are what I showed.
I guess that's because I've been busy doing new shoots and stuff. So, today, I'm doing a bit of a massive update. First though, I'll post the images from my latest Salon Group.
My second shoot with Barrett was way better (I think because I was getting better...it definitely wasn't her fault!!!) and I began to realize that shooting with a model more than once was really the best way to begin getting very good images. It seems the first shoot ends up being a way to sort of get a sense of each other. This shoot took place in an amazing studio that I wish I still had access to. Sadly the guy went out of business.
Shooting outside was still the thing I wanted to do most and in Kat, I found the perfect partner in crime. I can't overstate what a wonderful model Kat was to work with. Grace, spirit, beauty, poses to die for. This was my second shoot with her and it was fabulous. We shot out at China Camp State Park. Enjoy the photos.
I need to revisit my editing on this shoot as there are some fantastic photos in there that could do with some upgrades from my more educated skills!
Nothing too remarkable about this shoot. Went back to the same studio I had been renting south of Market in SF. Barrett was an aspiring model. We worked well together I thought. I would have kept shooting with her, but she moved to LA. Many familiar themes in this shoot.
The third and final shoot I did while visiting Oahu was again on Oahu on the East side of the island. Cybil and I shot at her boyfriends house. He had a pool which made things new and different. And..I had to return to the China Walls. The crystal ball was used for this shoot as well.
It was on this trip where I bought the crystal ball that I still use today. I'm not sure where I got the idea, but I'm pretty sure I had never seen it used with nudes before, so, it's sort of become one of my signature styles. I don't bring it to every shoot but I often do. And sometimes when I do, I forget to use it. It has to be the right situation and the right model.
I had used it on the previous shoot in Hawaii with Stephanie, but only in a few shoots. At this shoot, with Iris, I really started to use it in earnest. We started out in a studio I rented on Oahu and got some pretty decent shots. Every time, even to this day, I fool around in a studio, things never quite go as I expected, but still tend to turn out cool. Anyway, after that, she told me about a place called China Walls on Oahu. It's on the other side of the bay on the far side of diamond head from Waikiki. What a location! And, we had it to ourselves because it was sort of a rainy afternoon which made for amazing light. A couple of surfers were hanging about not doing much surfing :) It was a wonderful afternoon working with a great model in unbelievable scenery. A success. If I wasn't already hooked on nude shooting by this point, I was after.
So, ya, I was in an interesting point in my life in 2007. I had been driving to my place of work 50 miles each way for about 4 years. In addition, I was on call pretty much 24/7 if things went wrong with the big physics machine we were running. It was mostly the commute, but it was also the hours, so I was looking around for a new job. I landed an offer from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and so told my boss I was gonna take it (shorter commute, less hours etc). Well, that got their attention. They gave me a retention bonus, a raise and offered to send me to a conference (any conference). So, I chose the big microwave conference that was being held in Oahu...
I made contact with 3 models while over there. One of them was Stephanie. She wanted to do a GQ style shoot on Kauai, and so we did. This was by far one of the most fun shoots I've every had. Saul (the dude), was a total handsome stud and Stephanie was totally beautiful as was the secret beach location on the North end of Kauai. I flew over, Stephanie picked me up and drove me to the "secret" beach and then Saul joined us later. It was really a wonderful afternoon with a couple of beautifully wonderful people.
In addition, I had come to the conclusion, for better or worse that my wife was never going to be OK with me shooting, so, I took it underground. This was a serious breach in marital trust and I just didn't care. What a POS I was. I convinced myself that I wasn't doing anything wrong. I still feel that way about shooting, I wasn't doing anything wrong. However, what I did do wrong was lie (or keep it secret) from my wife. I regret this deeply, but also feel like it gave us a few more years of marriage in reasonable happiness. I would have been a mopey dope had I not had this outlet that I had just discovered (my life was feeling pretty bleh at this point)...but..that was just me being selfish, no doubt about it.
Anyway...here's the photos.
Finally, I got an opportunity to do something I had always wanted to do. Environmental outdoor nudes and wow, was I blessed to be able to work with none other than Kat Love for my first outdoor shoot. I had had quite the hiatus since my workshop and as I remember, I hadn't actually be given permission to go ahead to start shooting again, but being the crappy partner I was, I at least told her what I was doing and went ahead and did the shoot without permission. This shoot landed me in personal therapy (obviously there was something wrong with me) as well as another round of couples therapy, but it was completely worth it. Kat was amazing to work with. Such poise and grace. I think I knew (unconsciously) at the end of this shoot that I would likely never stop shooting, and that likely, my marriage was in jeopardy (and not just because of my photography). I'm not proud of who I was then, and I'm glad that I'm able to just be me now, though there was a pretty steep price to be paid on down the road in terms of hurting my family and friends.
A word here on therapy. You only get out of therapy what you put into it. You have to believe that there is something you need out of therapy before you go into it. AND, you have to find a decent therapist. Of the 5 therapists I've had direct interaction with only one was worth the money he was paid. The rest were utter garbage and got basically paid to sit there and listen to me. Our couples therapist this time was really, really good. My personal therapist? What a joke. But then again, I was only there to appease my wife. Although, on the last day, he did admit to me that he didn't think there was anything "wrong" with me. So, if you're ever thinking about therapy, please, find a good one, and really be wanting to do it, otherwise it's money down the drain.
As part of the deal with my wife, I could only take a legitimate workshop. So, naturally, I scoured the internet and found a workshop being held in the South Bay through the extension of UC Santa Cruz. It was a workshop on hot lights and was very well run. There were supposed to be three models, but one didn't show and so, Christie, one of the photographers agreed to model for us. It was a great workshop and I feel like my style really started to show in these photos. I was hooked again after this workshop, but, there was trouble ahead...
As I mentioned in my last blog, my excitement about shooting nudes for the first time in my life overshadowed my better judgement in not telling my ex wife (wife at the time) of what I was up to. This was a serious break in our relationship and was entirely my fault for not being trusting enough that either she would be OK with it, or she would shut me down. I can't blame her for shutting me down and pushing us into therapy. I'm a flawed human like all of us. I won't go into all the details of how the therapy went, but obviously there were other issues in our marriage that had not been resolved so we spent time working through many of those. But at the end, it was "resolved" that if I could find a "legitimate" workshop and/or perhaps work with a male model (to I guess show I wasn't just a perv and only interested in females) then I could perhaps, maybe, return to shooting other models and such. So, I found Alvin (I think via Craigslist). He was my first nude male model and was great to work with. It was a new experience for me both because I wasn't really used to being around nude dudes, but also, I hadn't spent my life looking at and enjoying male nudes so the vision of what I was tying to capture was a bit obscured by my own bias towards the female form. It was a successful shoot I thought and fulfilled my requirement for shooting a male nude.
Lundy's has rapidly become my favorite spot for breakfast on Saturday. Mostly because of the biscuits, eggs and gravy. It's got an old school counter and I love it.