Life’s not so bad….

I’ve been sitting here behind a computer for most of the day, just working on the business.  I normally can’t stay behind this computer all day, it starts to get to me, but recently I have really been liking the work I’ve been doing.  That and I’ve been doing a lot of work so it’s either keep up with it or get way behind!

I’ve been really lucky the past month or so, I have had some incredible clients!  I just photographed Rachael and Mickey’s wedding this past Saturday (which was super cool) and then Sunday was an engagement shoot with a couple who mean a lot to me, Stephanie and Jeremy.  Jeremy is the younger brother of a good friend and they are both two people I am happy to call my friends!  It was a great session, Kelly and I took them out to a private home in Ojai, we were able to get creative and use our “fun” cameras, including my old 4×5 press camera!  Can’t wait to get the film back from the lab!

Rachael and Mickey’s wedding was totally my style, they were totally laid back and were just happy to be getting married to each other!  Then it was a total surprise for Mickey when Rachael did a special Hawaiian dance for him right after their first dance, that was just cool!

And here is just a preview of what is to come from Stephanie and Jeremy’s shoot!  Not to mention they took us out to Casa De Soria afterwards, great friends and great food, what a day!

So all in all, even though I’m working away behind this computer, it’s simply because I am loving the work that is coming my way!  It’s so true, find something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.  Well, hopefully I can keep on “not working” for a long time!

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5400 +

It started on Sunday June 19th and ended on Wednesday June 29th.  The total mileage was a little over 5400 miles in 10 days.  People always ask me why I drive across the country, or why don’t you just fly?  Here is why.

We left on Sunday night, the plan was to drive just a little past Vegas and then find a place to sleep for a few hours and then get back on the road so we could drive through Utah during the day.  Well, we drove a little too far, apparently the rules at Walmarts in Utah are different than anywhere else in the country.  You see, normally you can park your car or RV at Walmart and get some rest.  This was the first time ever where I saw 3 separate Walmart’s with “no overnight parking” signs!  There was a time when Walmart actually advertised that they allowed this.  We figured it was because of the number of campgrounds that were available in Utah or something like that.  So long story short, we drove until 5:30am before we found a place to stop for the “night”.

The coolest thing is that we ran into some friends along the way, they were driving up from Arizona back home to Washington State.  So we decided to all meet up and camp one night while in Utah.  This put us a little behind schedule but we just moved some of our travel plans and it all worked out for the better.  Why was it better?  Well, we were suppose to be in Nebraska on Tuesday, instead we were driving through Utah’s gorgeous landscape.  While we were in Utah, Nebraska was having HUGE thunderstorms and there were 2 tornadoes on the route we were planning on driving through!  So we missed those by a day!  We drive through Nebraska on a gorgeous Sunny day and into the night.

Wednesday we are in Iowa.  I would like to personally thank the highway patrol officer who tailgated me for several miles just waiting for me to do something wrong.  He then tried the old trick of pulling off into a rest stop and then coming back out to see if I would speed up!  Mr. Highway Patrolman….. it’s called “cruise control”.  Meanwhile cars are speeding by me, big rigs are going well over the speed limit past us but apparently they don’t have California license plates so they’re okay to drive through Iowa.

We end up in Michigan on Wednesday early evening.  Visit with family, and then Thursday we are off up to Mackinac Island where we are scheduled to photograph all weekend.  I hadn’t been there in years so it was fun to see the place again.

With narrowly missing thunderstorms and tornadoes on our way to Michigan we decided to take a different route back.  Basically following Route 66, but the new roads, didn’t have time to follow all of the old 66.  We did make one stop in Joplin, Missouri.  This is where an F5 tornado went through just about a month ago.  The destruction was unbelievable.  I can’t describe it.  But from destruction comes humanity.  Over 32,000 volunteers showed up to help with the clean up and to begin the restoration of Joplin.  There is hope!

The rest of the trip went off without a hitch, made it back to California safe and sound.  So why do I drive?  Because otherwise I would not have all of these new experiences, I would not have seen Joplin from the air, I would not have been tailgated by a cop and I would not have been able to meet up with friends I don’t get to see as often as I’d like.  I do it for the adventure it brings.  Everyone should go on at least one cross country road trip in their life, experience America for it’s good and bad.  My guess is that you will always find more good. 🙂

what a week!

This week has been crazy busy!  We’ve been remodeling the studio, almost finished too!!!  I’ve been shooting, living, enjoying life, working (which is part of that whole enjoyment thing) and now must get ready for another session today!

Life is good, it’s something to enjoy. 🙂

Ready for the weekend!

It’s starting to feel a lot more like summer.  The weather has been amazing this week, there is a certain energy to the air, I see coolers and lawn chairs packed into cars and trucks, I love it when it gets like this!

Life just seems more fun in the summer, out in the Sun, hanging out at the beach, hoping on the skateboard to get where I’m going.  It is a wonderful life!

So many people out there are making plans for the beach over the weekend, not me.  Well, I’m sure I’ll be there at least once over the next couple of days, it is practically right out my door!  But just like the celebrities in New York City and LA avoid the popular clubs on the weekends, we professional beach bums avoid the public beaches on the weekends.  Just too many people, it gets so crowded and kind of takes away from the experience.  I will say this, swinging by the beach on the weekends does make me appreciate it so much more during the week when I have it all to myself.

So how do I spend my time over the weekend?  Well, first start out with a shoot tomorrow, in studio and maybe a location nearby.  Tomorrow night, I’m thinking home-made nachos and hanging out with my wife watching cheesy movies.  Sunday, well that’s what drives are for!  Hop in the car and cruise around downtown, swing by and take a look at the beach, most likely not stop there because there will be no parking available and find some great food.  Oh, can’t forget walking the dogs!  Rocco and Ella would be very disappointed if we didn’t go for our walks!

So whether you’re going to the beach to brave the crowds or just chillin at your casa.  It doesn’t really matter, weekends are made for fun…. I think that’s an 80’s song lyric…. so get out there, do what you do, better yet, do what you love to do!  Party, chill, whatever.  It’s Friday and I am ready for the weekend!

Plus I was just at the beach the past couple of days shooting, this is one of Melodee from this past Wednesday’s photo shoot, this is only our 2nd shoot together, I’m sure there will be more to come in the future!

Forever young

Why do I still feel young?  I know I’m getting older, my views have changed on several different things in the world, I’m not in anywhere near as good of shape as I used to be but I still do feel like a kid sometimes.  I love to play, love the ocean, and I really just love what I get to do every day.

So how do you live the life of a beach bum?  I think it starts with passion, mix in a little bit of laziness a love of the ocean and well there are actually a lot of factors.  I make sure that a lot of my photo shoots take place at the beach, this way I get to mix my love of photography with my love of the beach.  It’s a win win if you ask me.

Maybe the art of being a “bum” is to find way to do what you love all of the time.  There are some things you will have to sacrifice, the first thing is usually the hope of ever having a high profile executive job, for me this was not a big deal but for others it might be.  I don’t think you can actually call yourself a bum if you are a workaholic.  So say goodbye to those stressful work weeks, they must go for you to pursue this dream of beach bum-ism.  Next, find a funny hat, you must sacrifice your sense of fashion.  Ratty shirts, torn shorts, a funny hat, sunglasses and the scent of sun tan lotion is a great start.  No designer bags allowed.  Sorry, but a cheap backpack is the best way to go, especially since you’ll have to get rid of your new SUV.  Get an old van (VW is a classic here at the beach) or a car with character, something you can pay for in cash, no payments allowed.  I personally have one that can run on vegetable oil and the surf racks look great on it.

I could go on and on about how to become a functioning (or in my case a practicing) beach bum and the things you must do first but I think you really either have it in you or you don’t.  When you watch the movie “The Big Lebowski” can you actually picture yourself as “The Dude” if the answer to this question is yes then you have potential.  If you think his character goes a little too far for you, then maybe you should just consider yourself as a weekend warrior beach bum.  And there is nothing wrong with that, there are places to park your giant RV’s at the beach, it’s all good, the more the merrier right?

So what am I rambling on about?  Oh yeah, feeling young.  I get sidetracked easily, it must be the adult ADD kicking in.  Well there is a quote that says “age ain’t nothin but a number” and I am starting to agree.  I think if you embrace yourself for who you are you just might avoid that whole mid-life crisis thing.  There’s no crisis over here (so far anyway, but I’ll keep you posted) and no red corvettes on the way either.  My advice, be who you are not who others want you to be.  If you are true to yourself happiness follows.  And where there is happiness, well that’s where I want to be.

Speaking of youth, I had a great shoot with Marley yesterday!

 

Happiness is Addictive

How many times have you heard the term “getting back to the basics”?   Well I have heard it a lot.  I have also said it a lot.  I think the reason for this saying is that we as people try to make things way too complicated.  We over think, over analyze, and just make it more difficult than it really needs to be.  I’m guilty of this, I do it all the time, even when I’m trying not to!

I have to sometimes remind myself how I like the simple things in life.  Sure I desire more sometimes but then I realize it’s not really worth the extra effort.  I like my time, I like taking the dogs to the beach, I like waking up and starting each day with no idea what is going to happen next.  It’s not for everyone, which is probably why I think I should change it sometimes.  So I start to over think, make life complicated, when all I want to do is take some photographs for the pure love of it, travel around the country, nothing major.  Why do I do this?  I blame human nature.

Of all things I actually do have a very competitive nature.  I like to win.  I am not one of those people who believe everyone deserves a trophy for participating.  Losing does develop character, it also lets you know you’re not good at something and maybe you should try something else.  These are things in life we should learn at an early age, why prolong the agony?

It is this competitive nature in me which drives me to “want” more.  But I don’t like to “want” more.  This is why I go back to the basics.  I have a car, 27 years ago it was a brand new luxury car, today, I love the way it drives, I can run it on vegetable oil and it is dependable.  I love it.  For once in my life I am not craving a new car.  Or even a new old car.  I’m happy, I’m content.  Why?  I think it’s because I’ve let go of certain things.  When you let go of wanting more stuff you find yourself wanting more time.  I want more time to enjoy life, enjoy the things I do, just enjoy!  Happiness is addictive, you should try it some time.

Sunday Thoughts

I was reading a book last night called “The Story of Philosophy” by Will Durant.  It’s not the first time I’ve read this book, actually I’m not sure how many times I have read it.  But the interesting thing is that I always notice something new about it.  Last night was no different.

I think the last time I read the preface was when I was back in college, which was quite awhile ago!  In college I started out as a psychology major, mostly because they wanted me to declare a major and psych seemed like the easy way to go, why not right?  Everybody else was doing it.  Then I decided to focus on photography as a major but I already knew a lot about photography and was already making money as a photographer so I thought that was kind of a waste of time and money.  So I switched majors again to philosophy.  I loved it!  This is when I was first introduced to this book, The Story of Philosophy.

So last night I was reading the preface and (since this is the second edition of this book) I loved how the author admitted certain mistakes in the first edition.  He also discussed why he didn’t discuss certain philosophers in his book because most people just would have no idea who or what he is talking about.  So basically this is a book that is meant as a beginner’s guide to philosophy.  And that it is!

To me it makes so much sense in just the first few lines.  I’m not going to quote it, I suggest going out and picking up a copy yourself and form your own opinion.  I would like to say that I love how he describes our desires (as people) to always have the answers.  At least this is how I read it, you may have your own opinion.  But there are these lines between science, knowledge and belief that he crosses.  It is human nature to want to understand and to get all of the answers.

Sometimes we just have to admit that we have no idea of what is going on.  No matter what your belief system is we just don’t know the truth.  It’s okay to not know, I honestly think it’s better having no idea.  When you know nothing all you can do is look at the life around you and learn from it.   Do I know why the wind blows in from the ocean?  Not really. All I really know is how it makes me feel, and it makes me feel alive and gives me goosebumps and makes me want to experience life to the fullest.  It charges my batteries so to speak.  And every morning when I walk the dogs I get to feel that ocean air and the Sun on my skin.  I don’t know why, I’m not asking why, I’m just enjoying, living and embracing what I have on this little ball of dirt flying through the universe we call Earth.

Enjoy today, tomorrow and everyday!

 

Dollar Store Fun!

We were at the dollar store about 2 weeks ago picking up some props for a photo shoot, nothing major, just some fun stuff.  All of a sudden Kelly and I noticed a huge pile of film!  $1 film??? Yep, a buck a roll.  So of course I bought 5 rolls.  It works great!

Lately I’ve been shooting film and doing my post production work in photoshop, I am really liking what I have been getting.  The tones are exactly where I want them and then I just do my editing and viola, done!

Basically here’s the deal, you don’t need the most expensive stuff out there to be a photographer.  You can buy your film at the dollar store, well if there’s any left by the time I get back there!

Here’s a shot I selected of Misty.  The first of many hybrid shoots I’ll be doing in the coming weeks!

Urban Dictionary

I was surfing the internet and discovered that Ventura had made it into the “Urban Dictionary”!  This is what they had to say

“The only decent city in Ventura County, geared mostly towards the working class and beach bums alike. Ventura is packed with all the retail stores you could need and still has a functioning main street, a rarity in America these days. Ventura does not have a walmart (thank god) but does have a target, kmart, big lots, and pretty much any other superstore that isn’t wal mart; including a mall, 3 theaters, and about 20 smoke shops.

Dude, you just kicked my bong and shattered it! Oh well, I’m sure one of the 20 bong shops in Ventura is having a sale..”

I must admit I do somewhat agree with their assessment of Ventura.  Definitely geared towards the working class and definitely for beach bums!  There are a ton of retail stores, and main street is pretty cool.  I think there is one major thing they forgot to mention.  There are a lot of family owned businesses, small businesses and a real sense of community here in Ventura.

I have always described Ventura as a “sleepy little surf town with about 100,000 people who all seem to know each other.”  It’s the biggest small town you’ll ever be in.  I must say, to be perfectly honest, I love it!

Ventura is where I can just kick back and enjoy life.  You can ride a skateboard to work at any age, you can cruise down to Surfer’s Point in the middle of the day and see business people, construction workers or just anyone playing hooky from work to catch some waves.  We have a great art community here as well, no matter what you do they embrace you.  I will say this about Ventura, if you are a super type A personality, it may drive you a little crazy here.  It’s really laid back and everything takes a back seat to good waves or a good get-together!

For me, it’s a place I call home.  It’s where I live, part of what inspires me and a perfect home for this practicing beach bum.

Keeping with tradition I have posted an image from one of my latest shoots.  This is Misty….

just got back from the lab

I love film!  I just got back from the lab and although the scans left a lot to be desired I did find a few shots I just love!

There is something about film that makes me all tingly inside.  Maybe it’s the rush of not seeing the images instantly on the back of the camera, you have to rely on your ability as a photographer to obtain your vision without reassuring yourself by checking the back of the camera.  It makes you slow down and think instead of just firing away and then sifting through the hundreds of photos.  36 exposures should be enough to get a good shot!

I love the old school approach, hearing the film wind or actually cranking it yourself.  It’s a much more organic approach to shooting, at least for me it is.

Here is one more of Melodee, this is a film shot from the same session.  I just dig it!