Thursday, November 23, 2017

Alaskan Waters

Glacier Bay, Glacier, Glacier Calving, Lumiere and Lens, Lumiere Lens, Glaciers
Margerie Glacier in Glacier Bay, Alaska

Hello from sunny and 77° F California!  It's almost December and it's hot enough to go swimming out here.  It's Thanksgiving today and we've got the oven on to cook a 27 lb turkey in a house with no air conditioning.  Since it doesn't appear I'll have cold any time soon, I'm sharing these photos of Alaskan waters and glaciers from my trip this past June.  Yes, yes, definitely long delayed!  However, I'm sitting here in a tank top and shorts, so I'd really rather reminiscence about colder places.

We took a boat (the Baranof Wind) through Glacier Bay and went right up to the border of the Canada, where the Grand Pacific Glacier is situated.  As global warming is a thing and climate change is real, we were greeted by bare earth with a completely melted glacier.  The waters by the glaciers were dotted with small icebergs from the calving glaciers, which is when ice cracks and falls off.  In fact, Margerie Glacier (shown above) was actively calving!  A crew member fished an iceberg out from the bay for us to touch.  It was very smooth, very cold, and definitely smaller than the one that took out the Titanic.

Grand Pacific Glacier
On board the Baranof Wind.

 South Marble Island, a wildife hotspot (top).  Sea lions lounge on the rocks (bottom). 

We passed South Marble Island during our boat ride.  The island is considered a wild life hotspot.  There were sea otters, sea lions, puffins, and gulls.  There was also a humpback whale swimming in the waters.  Occasionally, he would surface to spout and dive back under, flipping his tale above the water.  Look at the beautiful color of the sea lion coats!  They were certainly more vibrant than our California sea lions. 

Islands recovering after glacial retreat are covered in moss, lichen, and young trees.
Glacier Bay

We passed islands that were covered with moss, lichen, and young trees.  The growth of lichen helps prepare the earth for the forest to grow as the land eventually recovers after glacial retreat.  As we traveled North towards the glacier heavy, thick trees gave way to more moss.  Eventually, we saw more rock than green.  When we finally reached the Canadian/Alaskan boarder, the waters were smooth like glass, with small ripples on the surface.  The air was cold, crisp, and clean.  Heaven is a place on Earth and it was these calm, beautiful waters.  

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Making Magic

Ana in Old Pasadena.

Photography is my happy place and it's significantly changed how I look at the world.  When I peer at my surroundings, it is through the lens in my mind's eye.  I am always framing and composing every day scenes in my head.  There is a story to be told in every image and I want to capture those moments as organically as possible.

When I look at a person, I am making memory pictures and photographing them always changes my perception of them.  I start to see more of their beauty: the curl of their lip, the flicker of light in their eyes, the way they smile.  We are all carriers of innate natural beauty and that's what I'm always trying to capture. 

I saw Ana in passing recently.  On a whim, I asked her if she modeled and scribbled my information on the back of a receipt.  We met up in Old Town, Pasadena (clearly a favorite spot of mine) and found little nooks in which to shoot.  As a director, I'm fairly minimal.  I prefer models to fall organically into movements and poses they might adopt in my absence.  I don't like to direct the minutiae or interfere with the scene.  When asked about wardrobe, I always say, "Wear whatever you feel most comfortable and beautiful in."  

I think Ana is a natural!  Don't you?  I may not have posted the images where she is grinning, but she is one of the warmest, kindest people I've ever met.  As a model, she was game for anything and incredibly patient during the whole process.  She has a good eye as well and had suggestions for backdrops (which we used!).  I'm 100% open to input because shoots are a collaboration, not a one sided venture!  There is almost always a thing or two you can learn from others: a new perspective, a way to play with light, how to interact. 

Post-production and retouching were kept to a minimum.  If you're wondering, I only touch up impermanent things such as acne, scraps, or bruises.  I won't do any further alterations unless requested.  I will NEVER alter someone's body, face, remove scars or seek to misrepresent them.  Firm believer in, "You are beautiful as nature made you" over here.  Hopefully, my editing will appear seamless so that you can't tell what I've done! 

Let me know your thoughts?  As always, if you have suggestions or critiques, I am open to hearing them!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Brick Alleys

Lumière & Lens, Male Fashion Photography, Fashion Photography

If you know me in any capacity, then you're aware that I'll inevitably ask to take your photo.  Sometimes, I phrase it like, "Are you photogenic?"  Other times, I demand, "Let's do a photoshoot!"  The majority of my photoshoots are scheduled with women; I needed to change things up a bit.  This photoshoot with D came about because I blurted out, "Are you photogenic? What's your number?  We should shoot."  We set up a time on an afternoon and D drove us into Old Town, Pasadena.

As a photographer, I treat every single shoot as a learning experience: how to work with someone new, how to adjust to the location, how to accommodate the model.  In D's case, we drifted towards more of a men's editorial perspective.  I typically photograph men while they're playing on instruments (i.e., my roommates and boyfriend).  I've not had the chance to work one-on-one as frequently with males versus females.  One-on-one sessions force me to work on directing and interaction that isn't a requisite for candid musical shots.

Lumière & Lens, Male Fashion Photography, Fashion Photography
Lumière & Lens, Male Fashion Photography, Fashion Photography
Lumière & Lens, Male Fashion Photography, Fashion Photography, Red Brick
Lumière & Lens, Male Fashion Photography, Fashion Photography
Lumière & Lens, Male Fashion Photography, Fashion Photography

D wasn't self-conscious or afraid to try different things in front of the camera.  As a result, we ended up with a lot of different scenes and poses.  As you can tell, I love the look of red brick and wood with greenery so that ended up in a lot of the pictures.  I typically photograph females with greenery and it was interesting to work background in a "masculine" way.  In any case, there were a lot of workable shots so post-processing was a dream. 

In case you're wondering, D is the model from this past Sunday's post!  We've been coming up with ideas for other photoshoots and I'm excited for new directions.  As always, positive or negative feedback is equally welcome.  I'll be sharing more shoots with other models in the future.  Let me know what you think? 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles

The Last Bookstore, Window Panes
Window pane art display on the gallery level.

The Last Bookstore is the largest used bookstore located in Downtown Los Angeles.  It was one of the places Gina wanted to visit when she was in LA because she loves books and knitting.  We took the LA Metro to Pershing Square and after lunching at Bottega Louie, ventured to explore the bookstore.

Firstly, The Last Bookstore is situated right by the Jewelry District, which is one of the sketchier areas of LA, so I recommend going with a friend.  The bookstore is pretty serious about security so I had to check my small backpack before going inside.  You'll notice the scent right when you walk in -- the air is a little stuffy and smells of old books, but what would you expect?  The ceilings are high and the lighting is dim so you feel as if you've entered a vault.  To the left of the entrance is a room of rare volumes which also had a beautiful gallery wall (I think I spied a Keane painting!).  It was fitting as there were many beautiful art and photography books that I'd love to own as references some day.  They also had a lot of great art volumes on sale! 

The Last Bookstore, rare booksThe gallery wall in the rare book room (left).  The entrance to the bookstore (right).

I think most of the books are housed on the first floor.  You'll find both new and used merchandise that spans old and more contemporary publications.  After we perused the shelves on the ground, we headed to the second floor.  What's unique about The Last Bookstore is that the second floor runs the perimeter of the building, so the center is completely open, giving you a view down to the ground floor.  Upstairs, there is a famous book loop and bridge that are favorite photographic spots.  Their horror section (hello, Anne Rice) was located upstairs inside a Horror Vault, which was neat.  

The Last Bookstore, Lumière & Lens
View of the ground floor.
The Last Bookstore, Lumière & Lens, book loop
Gina stands in the book loop, a popular spot for photographs. 

In addition to books, The Last Bookstore is also host to art galleries, Gather (a yarn store that Gina was all over), and independent stores.  She left with a bag full of books and textiles!  My favorite parts of the bookstore were the art galleries (pictures weren't allowed) and the little stores upstairs.  There was one store that had an entire display of vintage analog cameras!  It was hard not to impulse buy them.  One day, I tell you.

The Last Bookstore, Lumière & Lens, Gather DTLA, yarn store
The Last Bookstore, Lumière & Lens
Part of the railing on the second floor is composed of lights wound through metal.
The Last Bookstore, Lumière & Lens

If you like books, cozy art galleries, and stores with unique merchandise, I'd recommend taking a trip here.  Expect to pay a bit more for your non-book merchandise, but you'll be supporting stores that aren't corporate bigwigs.  If you love big bookstores like The Strand (the original one in Union Square) in New York City, then The Last Bookstore is the place you want to visit in LA.

The Last Bookstore is located at 453 S Spring St – Ground Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90013.

In the comments . . . what are your favorite books?  What would you look for in a used bookstore?