Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Leah with an H

I love that the whole in the giant rock is shaped like a heart.

Alex the Greek, my partner in crime and roommate in SF.

I love how she is completely bathed in light from the sun setting behind her in htis shot.

Look at how tough she is! That water was ICE COLD!

LeawithanH! Leah from the San Fran Hard Rock Café is one tough chick! She picked up me and my partner in crime Alex at the Café after we got off work and drove like a bat out of hell in a race to beat the sun to the beach!
She had seen some of the photo’s I shot of Lydia the Ballerina and it turned out she was once upon a time a photography major with a great eye. During her time as a photography major she was also working as a model for her photographer boyfriend as well as some very nice self portraits.
We talked about where we could shoot and decided to head out to a bath house. !?! you might be saying? Well, I should have thrown this disclaimer out there…the ruins of a bath house built in the late 1800’s called Sutro. A beautiful view of the ocean was provided as the sun was slowly setting. We started at the top and with Alex working the lights like a pro for me we began to make the treacherous hike down to a small, semi-secluded patch of sand getting pounded by the surf. As the sun was setting we were distracted with getting the shots when a decent sized wave crashed into the shore, drenched the uber tough Leah and knocked my second friggin light stand with a Canon Flash and a brand spankin new Pocket Wizard into the fresh salt water. Turns out that stuff doesn’t like the water too much as was indicated by the AhhhhhAHhhhWAhhhhhhhhhheeahhhhhhh sound the flash started to make. Cool. One light it was. Alex was safe on a bank of rocks as he ran at approximately 75 miles per hour holding his pants over his ankles with one hand and my main light with the other.
The sky started to grow darker and Leah was literally blanketed with a golden glow of light. It really was a beautiful setting and she made a spectacular model. The tide kept creeping in and Leah kept getting surprised with the surf. She must have been absolutely freezing but she carried on. As you can see from the photo’s her smile and laugh are about as contagious as is humanly possible. We had a great time getting these and many other shots.
For a funny side note, after we called it quits I insisted that Alex and Leah take the very long and very vertical hike back up to the car while I gathered my salt infused gear and packed up. On the way out you have to cross over the ruins of the bath house which in some spots are very narrow blocks of concrete creating a sort of maze. In the middle of the mess a woman was bent over a large male Rottweiler that had his front paws hanging off one side of a concrete slab and his rear paws over the other. I asked her if she needed help and she sheepishly admitted that her giant dog was petrified with fear and could not move. I dropped my gear. ..literally..good bye umbrella  and balanced my way over. She was right, the dog had peed all over himself and wasn’t moving a muscle. I used to work at a Veterinary hospital so I was familiar with the look of fear in his eyes. The lady insisted he was friendly which I believed, but I also know that a scared dog can and will act different than normal so I was very careful. I tried to coax him with his leash to no avail. I wound up scooping the 100 + pound dog into my arms and walking the tightrope back to safety. For some of the steeper drop-offs I had to set him down, scoop his front end and have his owner carry his back end. It must have been quite a sight for any onlookers. We got to stable ground and the dog was jumping up and down with excitement as if to say “Can we do it again? Can we, can we huh?” It was pretty funny. I went back to gather my gear, realized the umbrella was in no position to be retrieved so I hiked the hill back out and we all headed back to the pad.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I had the privilege of photographing an amazing dancer Lydia in front of the Golden Gate Bridge late last week.

It goes to show there is no such thing as an original idea! Last night my Bride and I watched the Curious Case of Benjamin Button (a great movie by-the-way) and in it the woman was reflecting on her past life as a ballerina. She was showing photo's of herself and several others in a ballet dance move that was shot in virtually the exact same spot these were taken! It blew my mind.

For you photogs out there you may be interested to know that there was a good chunk of wind out there. Fortunately, Lydia's sister was there to have her photo taken and was able to help by holding a light stand for me. Because I only had one extra body to hold a stand, I only brought one down. It got dark very fast and I was only able to light her face and arm with the one light so I took another flash, hooked up a PW, dropped it to the ground and 100% guessed on the output power to keep the exposure right, I think I lucked out! I can't wait to shoot her again with a little more flexible light!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Hitchin a ride

Here is a cool shot of Jennifer on a train loaded with cool texture taken above the town of Truckee, CA taken yesterday.