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5 posts from January 2005

January 30, 2005

Skateboard Photography

- Bottle of water at the local mini mart. $1.39
- Toll fair for the Bay Bridge. $3.00
- Running up the face of a mini ramp with a strobe in one hand, and your camera in the other. Priceless.
- Having your lens smashed by an amazing smith grind. Expensive.

Everything happened but the last part. But it could happen.

Continuing on my journey into skateboard photography, I followed my friend Dan (insert Forest Gump reference here) on his weekly skate ramp fix. This week we headed to another mini ramp in the Bay Area. Other than the Crib Ramp, this was the only other chance I've have to shoot at a mini ramp. It's funny how they call it a, "mini ramp". The ramps I built in front of my house with a sheet of plywood and anything we could find to stick under it were mini ramps. Can I say mini ramp one more time?

Anyway, this thing was big. I only have 2 remote strobes so that means 1 for the main light and 1 for fill. Problem is, this place is so large, that light doesn't go a long way.

For these shots I placed my fill strobe on the opposite platform, behind one of the ramps extensions, and pointed it directly at the ceiling. I needed to add some dimension to the background, and this was the easiest thing to do. I like the results, but personally I want to see more light in the background. Lots of blocked shadows or blown highlights really bug me.

Can't wait to go do it again. I wish I had 2 more strobes. That's a birthday hint. Nikon SB-800. Just in case you need the model name. :)

January 25, 2005

New Goodies on the Way

Time to start loading up on new toys for 2005.

Epson P-2000 Digital Image Viewer
I currently use a FlashTrax Image Viewer but I find the screen very lacking. One of the main reasons I carry an image viewer is so that I can carry it in my pocket and when people ask to see the pictures from the day, BAM! Easier to carry than my laptop and I can also carry it on my belt while working in the field to make backups of all my new captures. The FlashTrax worked excellent as backup storage, but just fell flat when showing images. The Epson on the other hand, has the nicest, brightest, most color saturated screens of any electronic device I have ever used. For this reason alone, it will become my new image viewer for 2005.

Moose's MP-3c Camera Bag
This bad boy is everything I ever wanted in a camera bag. Simple, light, huge amounts of space, doesn't look like a camera bag and can fit in the overhead compartment of all airplanes (including small commuter planes). It's not the camera bag you want to be throwing around as it prides itself on space and not excess padding.

Nikon D2X
12.4mp.... WOW! I can't wait to get my grubby little hands on this. I already have a pre-order in, but lord knows when I will actually get to take it home. Nikon says it will begin shipping the cameras on Feb. 25th, but we'll see. This body will become my main camera with my current D2H moving into the backup compartment of the Moose Camera Bag.

Items on my dream list

Apple 30" Cinema Display

Nikon 600mm f4

January 24, 2005

Busy Week

Last week was a busy one. A new swell rolled into Santa Cruz and I finally tagged along with my bud Dan to take skateboarding shots at a vert ramp in San Francisco. Four hours a sleep a night can really take a toll on your body.

My shooting week started on Wednesday when I woke up at 6am and headed off to Santa Cruz to meet the huge new swell face-to-face. I got to the surf break just before 8am and was in awe as consistent triple overhead+ sets were rolling in. I quickly downed the last of my 7-11 coffee and setup all my gear. About 10 minutes after I started hitting the shutter, a big fog cloud rolled in and destroyed any chance I had at getting more shots. Bummed at my situation I packed up and headed back south hoping to find another break not yet engulfed in the fog. No luck. I headed into work.

I decided to head out again on Thursday morning, but this time I managed to make it over to Santa Cruz right around 7am so that I could first check the east side. There was a lot of action at some of the breaks, but the really nice ones either had no "seasoned" surfers on them, or the lighting just wasn't right for the time of day. I head back up north to the same break I was at the day before. This time the swell wasn't as large and consistent as the day before, but the waves were still excellent and there was no fog in sight.

After shooting for a couple hours on Thursday, I headed to work and then directly to the skateboarding ramp in San Fran around 7pm. This was the first time I shot a vert ramp so to say I was excited would be an understatement. I didn't want to get too crazy with trying different angles since I would have had to move my strobes each time, so I concentrated on a specific area and used a number of lenses. I'm stoked on the results and can't wait to go back again.

On Saturday I finally sat down to watch some TV and woke up several hours later. That's how the games played when you want to shoot fulltime and work another fulltime job that pays the bills.

Will someone please hire me as a staff photographer with a good salary and lots of travel benefits to distant, exotic, warm locations.

January 10, 2005

Storm Advisory

The weather around here has been CRAP! Rain, rain, rain for days and days. And it doesn't look like it's going to get better anytime soon. I've been going crazy about not being able to get any good new shots, but this weekend I took a chance to brave the storm. Yesterday I went up to San Francisco with a friend who was in town, Gabe Shortman (the kiter in many of my photos). The wind was supposed to be blowing 15-19 mph and we were hoping for a break in the clouds to give us some dramatic light. We ended up getting the cloud break and some great light, but the wind wasn't so nice. 20-40 mph and really gusty. Gabe decided to go kiteboarding in the water instead of landboarding because of the strong gusty wind. The amazing atmosphere of being on the beach with all the storm surf and the sun coming through small opening in the sky was intense. I decided to shoot pictures concentrating on the landscape instead of close-ups of Gabe. The choice paid off and I grabbed some really great scenic kiteboarding shots.

My favorite of the day (click to view larger)

The others

Gabe, you are the man. Can't wait to shoot you again.

Happy New Year

A little late, but better than never. Happy New Year!

Its been a bit quite around here lately. The kiting season is essentially over and there really hasn't been many good surfing days that I could manage to get out and shoot. Hopefully things will pick up and I'll get some new shots. Next weekend I'm heading to Tahoe to shoot some snow kiting. If the wind blows (unlike a few weeks ago), I promise I will treat everyone who reads my blog with some great new eye candy.

2004 turned out to be great year for my photography. During the second half of the year, the magazines finally started taking notice and soon they were contacting me for images to publish. My goal for the year was get published in Kiteboarding magazine. I easily smashed that goal by getting published in nearly every kiting magazine in the world. Kiteboarding, The Kiteboarder, Kiting, SBC Kiteboarder, Kite World, Power Kite, Stance and even a cover shoot on the San Jose Metro News. The only ones I didn't get published in were the ones I didn't submit to. So BAM! I am feeling good and the adrenaline is pumping. I'm going to try to keep the momentum going and have an even bigger year in 2005.

So what are my goals for my photography this year? - Get a cover shot on kiting magazine. - Start working with at least one kite manufacturer to do some commercial work. - Get sent on a photo trip to somewhere outside California from either a kiting magazine, or a manufacturer.

Stay tuned...

Best wishes in 2005.