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Point Break

After the wedding we shot a week and a half ago in Malibu, my buddy Rick and I took the Pacific Coast Highway back to Los Angeles. We were both exhausted from an early morning flight, a lot of shooting outdoors and just a long day in general. We had just enough energy to make one stop off the highway and walk down some worn-down stairs to the beach far below.

It’s another edition of Movie Title Wednesday and this week the film is Point Break for obvious reasons I think. I’ve seen the movie and I remember liking it, but I honestly don’t remember much more than Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, a bank robbery and masks.  I know a lot of people who dig this film, curious how many of you out there liked it? I’ve always been a Reeves fan even though most people don’t think he can act. I think he’s a fine actor, the problem is, he has one style that works and that’s about it. Speed is one of my all-time favorite action films and of course you have The Matrix.

I rarely get to the ocean despite living fairly close to California, so I was excited to at least shoot a few images during our day-trip. The ocean is awe-inspiring and frightening for me at the same time. I hope someday to do more of this and have a nice, fat 10-stop ND filter on me so I can really make the images I want to, but in the meantime, I liked how this turned out. I don’t always put a lot of time into processing my images these days, but I spent plenty on this . Phototools was especially useful to help create a nice color contrast between the water and the rocks.

I hope Rick posts his sometime soon because he had a 10-stop and I loved the way his looked right out of the camera.

(exif: canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 20mm, f/25, iso 100

Snow on the Four Peaks

Snow on the Four Peaks Arizona

Back on the very last day of December, I posted a picture of the Four Peaks mountain range fresh after a snow storm hit them. You can see that one below. I didn’t process the one above for awhile after that, but eventually got around to working on it. I’m glad I did because it ended up being kind of cool for me to really see how fast things can change when viewing a landscape.

The top photo occurred exactly 7 minutes and 42 seconds after the one below. I moved spots between the two captures…going lower I believe for the top one.

It’s kind of amazing to see this back on frames instead of what you saw with your eyes. While I  totally witnessed this and knew what was happening…it’s hard to top a before and after pair of images.

Oh, and if I haven’t said it before…man I love Arizona.

(top – exif: canon rebel xsi, canon 50mm 1.4, f/14, iso 100) (bottom – exif: canon rebel xsi, canon 50mm 1.4, f/16, iso 100)

Snow on the Four Peaks Arizona

 

Tempe’s old railroad bridge

Iron Railroad Bridge Tempe Arizona

Yes, it’s man-made, so it’s  not exactly awesome, but we do have a lake in the middle of the Valley called Tempe Town Lake.  It’s actually the Salt River, but a dam has been built to make it a recreational area. We hit this spot for our latest photowalk on June 10th.

Spanning the lake are quite a few bridges and there is also a new pedestrian bridge being built that will demand to be photographed whenever it’s completed. Has a cool looking design, so I can’t wait to see it done.

But anyways, in the heart of the lake are the dual Mill Avenue Bridges, the Light Rail Bridge and this old railroad bridge. This photograph is of that ancient giant beast that still carries train across it. It’s so old though, that you could walk up to it, think it’s out-of-use and then decided to cross it only to get flattened by a speeding freight train. The first time I ever walked on its tracks I didn’t think it was still in service.

The bridge is called the Arizona Eastern Railroad Bridge. Check out this picture from the year 1900 (there are a bunch more here). Incredible. I honestly had no idea it was THAT old. I love seeing these shots of Phoenix and the surrounding cities before anything really existed.

There were a ton of shots I could have done of the bridge and I’d like to go back actually and fine some more, but standing up on this slope I had an awesome view of the base of the iron support stretching across the lake into infinity. In hindsight I may have used a narrower aperture to get a bit more detail further down, but I also really enjoy images that take a slice of detail and keep that area in focus, blurring the rest.

(exif: canon 5d mark ii, canon 50mm 1.4, f/2.8, iso 100)

 

The bridge at Two Guns

(click to make the photo bigger (you must have a pretty big monitor!) or so it fits your screen)

I’m exhausted, I must say. Four hours of yardwork on Saturday resulted in a bit of a sun burn. Sunday I joined my buddy Rick Young in shooting a destination beach wedding in Los Angeles. More sunburn. Flew in at 7am, got home around 10:30pm. Last Thursday I was notified that I was needed in Vegas this week for my day job, so today I was up at 4:15am after hitting the sack around midnight.  And here I sit in the little control room wanting to focus on work, but I’m tired, cranky and miss my girls back home.

So of course I figured why not write up this blog post real quick, since I haven’t had anytime to do it before now.

I love this image. It was taken on our trip to the Two Guns ghost town back on April 2nd.  To get in this spot, I hiked down an animal-created path that was made up of a combination of deer prints and perhaps a few bear prints. My buddy Ken Peterson told me I’d probably get bitten by a snake while down here too. Lots of tall, dead things. It may be hard to tell, but all those tall branches at the bottom of this image were over 12 feet tall at least.

But I saw this bride out in the distance and wanted to see what it looked like underneath. The aforementioned Rick Young has a great shot of the bridge from far away right here. I love how he applied a bit of Focal Point foreground blur to make the image pop.

I liked this angle though and am glad I made the hike to get here. A beautiful, old bridge and one of the main reasons I wanted to visit Two Guns in the first place.

(exif: canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, iso 100, f/16)

A chair at the dog track

A chair at the black canyon dog track

(Click to see the photo larger, almost like you’re sitting in that chair)

I don’t know when the last time was that I posted an image from the dog track visit we did in the final week of December, but believe it or not, I still have a few shots left to show eventually! If you’ve missed any of the series or would like to look back, click here for the “dog track” tag.

This chair of course was just sitting there waiting to be photographed. I’m sure at some point it was moved out to this spot to either be sat on or to be a prop for someone else’s photography. I think it’s way interesting at a place like this to wonder a bit about why things are where they are. One of my buddies with me on this trip kept pointing out objects that were different from the time he was there before. In fact, a giant ticket booth was sitting in the middle of the main building, definitely a new thing. Who dragged that booth into here? The owner looking to dump stuff? A photographer wanting something interesting for a backdrop?

Anyways, I”ll always remember back fondly on the three hours or so we were here. A great experience.

Tonight a bunch of us are descending upon Tempe for a little photowalking action, so I’m looking forward to that! Haven’t been down there for awhile and while the forecast calls for the opposite, I’m praying for clouds over the lake to help us with some great sunset photos. If you are interested in going, let me know!

Have a nice weekend!

(exif: canon rebel xsi, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, iso 100, f/5)

 

Dead Rock Canyon

(Click to see full size or to fit your screen resolution)

Red Rock Canyon. Dead cactus. Dead Rock Canyon.

See what I did there?

So clever Mike…so clever.

Back in March I explored this area west of Las Vegas and was struck by these dead things. I think they are some kind of cactus, but I have no idea. I tried to Google them, but I couldn’t find anything. Either way, they kind of speckled this wide valley expanse between the red cliffs and the western mountains off in the distance.

What’s interesting about going to shoot place that are big attractions for “something”, like amazing burnt red rocks…is when you turn away from them because you are more drawn to something else.

I had left my project site and raced out here to shoot in the canyon…and was just happy I got a few shots off before the sun sank behind those cliffs. Definitely a beautiful place to visit.

(exif: canon eos 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 18mm, f/22, iso 100)

The Road Ahead (Welcome to the new look)

(click to see the image above in a beautiful lightbox with a nice, dark border)

Well, you’ve no doubt noticed things look a lot different here today. Of course, if this is your first visit, that may not mean much, but I welcome you here just the same!

To those that follow this blog and my photography on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, this is the first theme change I’ve done to this website in a very long time. I’m never the type of person to stay happy with a theme for very long, but the previous one was awesome, I loved it and I actually still love it.

But it’s time to move on to something else. I didn’t do it lightly, nor without a lot of help, advice and feedback.

Why the change? Well, for awhile now I’ve been struggling with the idea that people may not get a clear idea of everything I do. Portraits, weddings, events…and prints of course. The old theme was okay, but I needed something that would hopefully tell you who I am the second you hit the website.

The slideshow on the frontpage is pretty awesome. The guy who designed this theme did an amazing job overall, but that style of a slideshow is all kinds of bad ass. And it solved my problem. When you arrive here, you get to see a smorgasbord of my images…from people to places. I love it.

There are a lot of other, fairly important reasons for doing this and I’m not going to go into them all. If you are interested in knowing, you can email me, ask in the comments, or whatever. I’ll gladly answer any questions you have. If you have feedback, I’m open to that as well. If you notice anything broken or acting funny, I urge you to let me know.

Thanks to those of you who saw the new theme ahead of time and gave me feedback, especially my little focus group that actually took the time to explore it and send me detailed notes. So very appreciative! I feel like this change (among other things) is going to lead to bigger things for me down the road and I’m beyond excited about it!

OH YEAH…the image at the top of this post. I shot it back in March whilst in Las Vegas. This was the road to El Dorado Canyon and of course I had to stop and get out. Clouds…awesome. Road…perfect. Done deal.

(exif: canon eos 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, iso 100, f/22, 17mm)

 

The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower - Chase Tower Downtown Phoenix

(click the image to view full size for your resolution, or if you have a humongous monitor, see it larger!)

Ah yes…rain in Phoenix. It’s always awesome. I can be completely “blah” about photography for whatever reason…long days at work, tiredness, blue skies, no motivation, you name it. But rain arrives, stormy skies ensue and suddenly nothing can stop me from getting out and exploring the world.

If you’ve followed me for long, you may have seen a shot or two of Chase Tower in downtown Phoenix. I didn’t go down there last night with the intention of shooting it however. I was looking for reflections again, but as I walked in front of this thing I was just struck by the contrast of colors and so of course I stopped and snapped away.

The clouds up top were moving in and after about 10 minutes it started pouring. But the lower portion of the building showed a few patches of blue sky left behind me and that dynamic was just too compelling to pass up.

I did add a few fun reflection shots to my ongoing series, so I can’t wait to process those down the road.

We’re headed out to Memphis today for our family vacation. As it would happen to be, Memphis is on the edge of having some severe weather this Saturday and after having missed out on most of that last week, I am hoping to get away for an hour or so to snap some great weather photos whilst in Tennessee!

I may be a bit absent on the Twitter/Blog front while we’re gone, so have a great week everyone and keep on shooting.

(exif info: canon eos 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 21mm, f/16, iso 100)

 

Forrest Gump

(Click to see the spooky house larger in all its spookiness. Looks better with a nice, dark border)

For any new readers, it’s Movie Title Wednesday on my blog, where I try to link a photograph I take to a movie I’ve seen…and enjoyed.

Definitely up there in my Top 10 All-Time Movie list is Forrest Gump. Heck, it’s impact on our culture was big enough to warrant an actual sign on the highway that Forrest Gump “ran” on during the movie (see Kristi’s photo). It was a movie where I felt like I kind of sat there with my mouth open at times, completely sucked into the story that was unfolding before me. I think the first time I saw it was at the same time that a new theatrical sound system had been released and I just remember the auditorium rocking with all the big moments.

If you haven’t seen the film, I would be shocked. But if you really haven’t, go check it out…Tom Hanks is amazing, the writing, the acting, the story…it’s brilliant.

I was a bit curious when writing this up on how many people would know the way this relates to Forrest Gump without me connecting the dots. Take a guess and then read on.

If you recall, Jenny was abused as a child by her drunk father and years later returned to her old home…an old house on a farm completely falling apart. She starts throwing rocks at it and afterwards Forrest has it bulldozed to the ground.

It was always an important scene in the film and it’s one of the first things I thought of when I passed this abandoned farm house out in Kansas last week. I knew right away that I’d process it in a creepy way to really bring home that scene in the film and how it might have looked to Jenny standing there so many years later.

(exif: canon eos 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 27mm, iso 100, f/16)

Stay off my sh*t

(click to see a larger dumpster with a beautiful black border)

I shot this during my HDR Workshop back in February. I just love what the 50mm 1.4 does on a full frame with that wide aperture. No Focal Point or any other Photoshop effect for the depth of field…just good ol’ f/2.0.

Graffiti can either be awesome or, most of the time, just plain and basically ugly. It’s rare to find something that is just pure art out here. This is really nothing awesome, but the inspiration for the title of this post made me laugh. Kind of curious why the person wrote it. Did someone overwrite his previous crappy graffiti? Or does he perhaps sleep in the dumpster?

(exif: canon 5d eos mark ii, canon 50mm 1.4, f/2.0, iso 100)