Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Taking Photographs At The Johnny Cash Festival

Each time I go to an event with my camera in hand, I never know what to expect.  I love to wander around and snap away at what I think looks interesting and there were a lot of interesting people at the Johnny Cash music festival.  I am naturally drawn to the different and unexpected and this festival didn't disappoint.  A lot of the women were dressed and made up, vintage style and I loved all of their looks.  It was as if you took a step back in time.

As soon as I walked in the gate, there were pin up contestants walking around with their number on a stick and even the "non contestants" were dressed perfectly.  I am not one to walk up and introduce myself right away since I am a little shy, but I did and asked these women to pose for me.  I didn't know them or anything about them but instantly I had visions of the beautiful varga pin up models and asked them to do a few poses for me.  Their hair and make up were perfectly put together and it's fitting since they are both stylists of pin up and hair design.  I imagined them constantly checking to see if their lipstick was perfect (this coming from someone who doesn't wear make up) so I asked them to look in the car mirror to check.  They both glanced in the mirror and I snapped this picture.

Also, I like to photograph people to look larger than life sometimes.  That requires me to get on the ground which doesn't bother me since I usually roll around in the sand or grass with the dogs to get an eye level shot of them.  This picture is the result of doing just that.

I don't see many photographs of me taking photographs so it's always interesting to see what I look like when I take pictures...well to me anyway since most of my friends always see me hidden behind a camera.  I consider myself a work in progress but I am having fun documenting what I see and sharing that with you.  A big thank you to the photographer, Rick Miller for allowing me to use these two photographs he took of me and to the very patient and beautiful models, Meredith and Noni.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Long Beach Roller Derby

In the midst of getting ready to leave to drive around the country, I thought it was a good idea to get out for some local entertainment, or how the derby describes it is, "girl on girl traction."  Lucky for me, the Long Beach Roller Derby was having their second bout so I had to go watch this exciting event!  I missed the opening night since I thought it would be ok just to show up.  Big mistake.  For the second time, the event sold out.  I learned my lesson and bought the tickets early.

When I arrived, the line to get in was pretty long.  I snapped pictures of the crowd and this little girl caught my attention.  She was so interested in the roller girl, but hiding behind her parents as she watched her skate away.

The moment I walked in the door, I knew I was in for a fun night.  They had vender booths, food stands, and live music to entertain the crowd as we waited patiently for it to begin.

I walked around the rink and searched for a spot to sit down.  Once the announcer made it clear that it was ok to sit on the floor up to the red line, that's exactly where I went.  I sat on the corner of the red line on the floor next to the seats of the players.  I think I grabbed the best seat in the house, outside of the players seats.

I really didn't know what to expect but I have to say it was fun even though, for the most part, I didn't know what was going on.  I caught up with some of the rules as the night progressed and if you can't follow along, it's'll still have fun.

I enjoyed taking pictures of the women playing and a part of me was nostalgic watching them out there.  I played college basketball and coached women's basketball after college and I miss the comradery of being on a team. It's so nice to see these ladies out there having a great time, and looking especially put together while doing it.

If you've never been to a roller derby bout in person, I would recommend it.  It's fun for the entire family.  I bet afterwards, you will want to dust off your quads and give roller skating another try.

I have too many photographs to show here...for more of my photographs from the night of roller derby action, click HERE.

Thank you for the fun night ladies!  I hope you are not too sore today.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Taking Photographs Of Kids

As you know, I love taking photographs of dogs.  Besides the fact that I love all animals and especially dogs, it might be because they usually don't know what you are doing.  The same holds true with Children, depending on the age and if their parents take a lot of photographs of them.  Kids are fun to photograph because you never know what kind of reaction you will get when you point a camera in their direction.  Ok, I am not saying children are like dogs, I am just explaining that the innocence is pure, refreshing, and that you should always expect the unexpected.

I love the unscripted look.  The moment in time when someone forgets there is a camera or relaxes enough that their personality shines through.  Kids are usually unscripted and they do whatever they want, when they want and they won't fake a smile if they don't feel like smiling.  There is something refreshing about that.  With adults, sometimes I have to hide the camera for the perfect moment when they are not looking or tell them to pretend that I'm not there.  For the most part they look away and pretend they don't see me with a big smile on their face.

The past few months, I've been lucky enough to get some candid photographs of children.  I don't know why, but this black and white photograph of a little girl at the Johnny Cash festival (top left)  is one of my personal favorites.  I love the way she is looking at me.  To me, she is fierce and fearless and from the looks of it, she does what she wants...when she wants.

My heart goes out to her mother.

The past few months, I was able to witness kids at play at a Northern Arizona Ranch, Alumapalooza, Venice and at the Johnny Cash festival.  All different personalities, but all doing what kids do best...being themselves.

Monday, June 21, 2010

And So We Begin Again... (The Big Road Trip, Part 3)

The countdown has begun.

It's time to pack what I think I need in my car and head out on the open road.  This will be my third year wandering this country, while it being my second in a tent.  I've seen most of the states and this time around will be different from the last few years.

Well, each time is always different but I am looking forward to sharing my adventure with you through photographs and perhaps a slide show every so often.  I have a few projects in mind for the journey and I look forward to sharing more of that as well.

I am looking forward to learning more about the towns and people we don't hear about in the news.  People that make this country great but who live a quiet life outside of a spotlight.  I will be camping in new areas, taking side trips to oddball attractions, visiting some friends along the way and for the most part, taking it day by day to see where the road takes me and my co-pilot, Max.

Many of my friends and family are asking me where I am headed.  The fact is, I don't really know.  I know I will try and follow the weather as best as I can since I will be in a tent and Max doesn't tend to be a fan of cold temperatures.  I look forward to meeting interesting people and introducing those people to you.  Here are a few pictures of fellow Americans I've met in the last few months and I am excited to introduce more to you in the upcoming months.

Thank you so much for all of your encouragement and support.  If you know of a spot or town that I shouldn't miss, I would love to hear about it.  I can always be reached at

I look forward to sharing more soon!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Johnny Cash Music Festival And Pin Up Show

Yesterday, I took a trip to the Ventura County fairgrounds to do some people watching and watch some live bands who play tribute to Johnny Cash.  If you like hot rods, rockabilly style, Johnny Cash, Pin Up models and sunshine...this was the place to be.

I took my camera with me and most everyone was willing to pose for a photograph.  In fact, a lot of the pin up models trying out for the competition were more than happy to strike a pose and do whatever I asked them to for a shot.  I had a great time taking pictures of these ladies and processing the photos to look like it was a step back in time.

The sun was out, there were great bands playing and everyone was in great spirits. A good time had by all.

A big thank you to everyone who took the time to pose for me during the day.  I appreciate you watching me mock up what I wanted you to do and doing it with enthusiasm and style.  I was pretty impressed at your willingness to kneel down to the car level in your 6 inch heels, pretend to check your make up in the mirror, turn around to show your stockings, pose in pin up style next to a car and do it all with a smile.  I am not one to tell people how to pose for a shot so I appreciate the natural style you brought to the photograph.

You can see more photographs from my time at the festival by clicking HERE

Friday, June 18, 2010

Venice Beach Skate Park

I've visited several skate parks and there is something about them that I love.  If you stop to observe for a while, you'll see the rules of the park.  Usually there aren't posted rules on how to use the park but after watching the skaters, you'll witness the unspoken rules, coordinated chaos, quiet competition, and the common love among the athletes to express themselves.

I think it's great that these kids and adults alike come out to play together.  By the looks of the crowds, there is a common respect and appreciation for the athletes who take a risk to entertain the onlookers.  To the kids out there, it can be practice and fun but when all eyes are on you, it takes a little more to get out to show the skills you have.

When I was a kid, I stood on my brothers skateboard and learned to spin around in place.  I was pretty proud of that event though that is the extent of my skill level.  I was interested in other sports at the time but I think if I were younger today, I would pick up skateboarding.  Yes, I know that adults can do it too but with my limited health insurance, I am not sure I want to risk it.  Instead, I will take pictures of the local pros doing their thing.  These photographs are from my day of watching the skaters at the Venice Beach Skate park.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Alumapalooza 2010 Slideshow

I wanted to show the photographs I took at the Airstream gathering in Ohio last week, but I had too many to post in a blog.  Instead, I put together a slide show of some of my favorite moments in photographs.  I had a great time and I look forward to seeing everyone in 2011!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Day In Venice Beach

I tend to be the one to avoid crowds most of the time.  I enjoy the peace and quiet of nature and the solitude that comes along with it.  Sometimes, I do enjoy the chaos and energy a big city brings.  Even though Venice is not a big city...spend an hour there walking along the strip on a weekend and you will know what I mean.

What I love about it is that everyone is welcome.  People from all walks of life come to gather.  There are kids living on the street, sharply dressed visitors, street performers, students, infants, grandparents, the affluent beach front home owners, the struggling artists, volunteers, addicts, religious groups, musicians, entrepreneurs, soul searchers, homeless people, athletes, and just about everyone else in between.

I spent the day strolling along and absorbing the energy around me.  I stopped to talk to some artists, visitors and the homeless.  Everyone has a story to tell and this would be the place to listen to them.  As chaotic as I might make it sound, somehow it works.  Everyone does their thing and for the most part, people let others do their thing as well.   I enjoyed talking to these two gentlemen (top left) and having them pose for me.  As usual, I gave them little direction and told them to look at each other.  They did that for about ten seconds, cracked up at each other and said, "that's so gay!"  It turns out that the out take is one of my favorite shots.  It usually works with couples but you never know... it worked for them.  Instead of getting an "adoring" shot, I got a great candid of their personalities shining through.

Venice is not the sanctuary for healthy living, by any means.  There are lost people, people who obviously are in need of help and you will find that others are there offering to do what they can to help.  However, there are stores that will be more than happy to keep you on the path that you choose to take.

What I love about it is that you are free to be yourself.  No matter who you want to be that day, you will be welcome on Venice Beach.  There are a few places in this world that give you the freedom to express yourself and be just who you are.  Thank you, Venice beach.

For more photographs of my day, click HERE.

Monday, June 14, 2010

People Of Venice Beach

Yesterday I took a stroll on the Venice Beach boardwalk with several other people doing the same.  I wanted to take some photographs of the locals in the area and practice approaching strangers with a smile and asking permission to take their photograph as well as having them sign a release to use the photograph.

I find it easy to hide behind the lens and be a watcher of sorts to the surroundings around me.
I find it more interesting to capture people in a relaxed state doing what comes nature to them.  Approaching strangers to pose can be a little daunting.  However, I approach it as challenging and fun.  You never know what will happen when you start a conversation, since the moment might disappear once they are fully aware that I am taking their photograph.  I am really low key in general and I hope that lends to a relaxed model.

I strolled the strip and when I saw someone I thought looked interesting, I approached them and started a conversation.  Some wanted money, some didn't care, I was rejected once and overall it was a great learning experience.  I look forward to doing this more on the road and I have a few personal projects that I look forward to sharing with you.  Here are some of my favorite models of the day living their life and crossing my path in Venice beach.  To see more portraits, click HERE.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Taking Photographs Of People At Alumapalooza

Since I am the one behind the camera, it's rare that I have a picture of myself unless I use my camera phone to snap a self portrait.  At Alumapalooza, I had my camera pretty much glued to my hands for five days and I hate to admit it but, um, I woke up with a calus on my finger from gripping it all day.  Yes, I sad.

My friend Kristiana took a picture of me taking a picture so I thought it would be fun to post the picture I saw through the lens and snapped while she snapped this pic of me.  So, this would be a before and after, of sorts.  I don't use photoshop but use Lightroom to enhance the overall photograph as you can see from the pic.  When I take pictures of people I usually give little direction.  Sometimes I talk and try to make them feel at ease and wait for a moment where they seem relaxed or the "in between" when they think I am done.  Usually I tell them to look here or there but I try to make people feel as if I am not taking a photograph so their essence will shine through.  That's my ultimate goal, anyway.


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