Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bonneville Speedway ~  Bonneville, Utah

Home to multiple land speed records and 30,000 acres of dry salt lake bed.  I was so excited to get to see this place after hearing about all the lore of the 300mph + top speed records.  I dreamed of taking the Hummer across the flats at 100+ mph.  However mother nature had different plans for us.  It rained alot the last few weeks - rendering the salt flats into mud flats.  Either way, we still had a good time venturing out onto the salt flats, slinging mud everywhere.  FYI - when you are traveling in salty mud it fills the treads on your tires giving you no grip. I wasn’t able to get up to a speed over about 45 mph on the flats in the mud.  Needless to say I’ll be going back to Bonneville in the future in the summer for some better weather and some fast speeds on the flats.

It rained and created a lake on the flats H3 looks right at home though

Here are a few photo tips when shooting on gray days.  Set your white balance in your camera or in your editing program to a shady setting thus giving you a warmer looking photo.  If you are using Capture One or Photoshop, white balance off of some clouds or a pure white object.  Also, if your subject matter happens to be pure white, for example salt flats, make sure you underexpose your images to account for the fact that your meter is affected by all the bright white objects.  Also, don’t forget when nature throws you gray days with very little contrast it’s actually doing you a favor in a few ways. 
  1. All the cloud cover makes everything like a giant soft box with lots of diffused light which is great for some really vibrant colors.
  1. Also don’t be afraid to change your digital photos to black and white and really add  some contrast to bring out those clouds and some rich blacks.
  1. Make sure you meter correctly find something that is middle gray or the (Zone V) equivalent ( Examples : green grass, blue jeans, grey t-shirts, brown/ green bushes).

Have fun with it and keep shooting especially if you shoot digital - its free!!!!


Kolob Canyons Pano ~ Zion National Park

Ah..... Utah...... a state with the most National Parks in it and a state that also has the most mormons in it.  Mormon - is that code for redneck? - cause this is what i have observed while in Utah so far.
Zion National Park
So here are a few steps on blending in while in Utah
Step 1 : Wear some type of Harley Gear
Step 2 : Wear Cammo to blend in to your natural surroundings (ie Walmart)
Step 3 : Drive something real big and make sure the exhaust decibels are on the verge     ear shattering
Step 4 : Apply some sort of manly branding to your car, Nascar Sticker, Gun Brand logo,   NRA Sticker, Awesome trailer hitch cover “ Cowgirl butts make me go Nuts”.
Step 5 : Walmart is your one stop shop for everything.  Need a hair cut, prescription      filled, taxes filed, checks cashed, oil changed, dental work, family portraits       taken, or just want to hang out with your friends for dinner, WALMART is the    place to be
My wife Erin really excited to be at Bass Pro Shop in Las Vegas

So enough about Utah.  The road trip is going super.  We drove 750 miles today in about 10 hours making great time from LA to Salt Lake City.  On the way we made a few stops at some of my favorite places.  God bless my wife - she is such a great sport for putting up with this awesome MAN day!  We started the morning off at 6am freeway driving to one of the four Chick Fila’s in the greater LA area.  While driving through Vegas we stopped at the Silverton Casino, which has a massive Bass Pro Shop attached where dogs are welcome inside (kudos for Indy).  In this particular Bass Pro shop they have a golf simulator which I could not resist. I tested out a driver and cranked a few shots about 300 yards.  While playing this wonderful game i set my sunglasses down and forgot upon leaving the store i didn’t realize this till we were about 200 miles away.  Oh well - they had served me well i had worn them for the better part of 9 years and my wife hated them. I think internally she was imitating the, Montgomery Burns evil saying “ yes my plan is working, Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha”.  With Vegas behind us and my back up pair of 5 dollar sunglasses on we made it to Zion where we explored the Kolob Canyons part of the park.  There was still snow and it was a perfect 75 degrees.  We had a great driving tour of the park with a few stops for photos.  After that we made a beeline for Salt Lake City, full speed ahead captain 80mph speed limit, did I mention “I wanna go fast” ~ Ricky Bobby.  While filling up at a gas station on the way I noticed a cool storm coming in snapped a few photos and noticed a Petting Zoo at the gas station with a Zebra. Are Zebra’s normal animals at Petting Zoo’s in Utah?  I have no idea but the llama’s looked happy. 
Storm rolling in at the Flying J

Happy Llama's

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pack Your Life into Little Boxes

Antelope Canyon the Exit ~ Page,California

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.", and memorable quote from the The Godfather (1972), which you can use on a daily basis.  Like this week for example, when presented with the dilemma of what to take to Wyoming. I said to myself, Leave the Gun take the cameras,  followed by leave the bike take the wife.  Ah yes!  Love the Godfather. 
Shooting my shotgun up in the Northern Sierra's

 Anywho - I'm packing this week with the help of friends and family.  My Grandmother Joyce (aka Gma aka Juicy Fruit) is a packing guru and a saint.  She flew 3000 miles from Orlando, Florida to Southern California to help us pack.  She had ulterior motives though; my grandmother was unable to attend my wedding in October due to a nasty fall in her bathroom while packing her bag to come to the wedding.  She tripped over her suitcase and ended up shattering her knee cap, breaking her arm in a few places and suffering a big blow to the head as she hit the tile floor.  So, you ask why grandma is here?  Well, she wanted to spend a few weeks with my wife Erin.  They had only met a few times before the wedding and she wanted to get to know her better.  So here I sit with two of my favorite women at home packing my house while I work all day.  I feel guilty about it, but since I do all the heavy lifting, I've been told that I'm pulling my weight.

Trona Pinacles ~ Trona, California

So is it normal to be indecisive about what you pack?  When presented with the dilemma of which cameras to take I felt like I was told to leave one of my children behind.  So here is a list of cameras that I will be taking.  Nikon D80,  2 Holga's (one is a panoramic format 3- 120 frames), fisheye camera, the rolliflex and my pinhole.  The rest of my cameras which will rename nameless will be placed into a 10x10 storage unit.  We have been slowly moving things into the unit, which is like playing a big game of Tetris with your furniture.  All I can say is I hope this 10x10 is big enough for all our stuff.  Stay tuned for more to come. Here is a preview of blogs to come, Road Trip: Bonneville Salt Flats, Boysen State Park, Cody Wyoming and Hawkeye Ranch.

Kelso Dunes @ Sunset ~ Kelso, California 

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Delicate Arch -- Arches National Park -- 35mm Pano -- actual printed size 40 inches
Life changing decisions.

Recently I was presented with a dream job opportunity; the type of opportunity that tests your faith, career plan, and changes your paradigm of daily living.  My wife Erin and I, who are newly weds (10/2/10), are very entrenched in Southern California living. We go to the beach, hike all around parts of SoCal, and are broke.  Thats what you sacrifice to live in a great place like LA - you pay obscene rent and scrape by each month due to the cost of living in paradise.  
Taking long exposures in Antelope Canyon outside Page, AZ

I have a great job in LA where I work in the Photo Industry, which is what I thought I wanted to do upon graduating college.  After a few years of jumping around in the Industry getting used to working 60 hours a week and getting paid for 40 you begin to question your life decisions.  Is this really what I want at this point in my LIFE? Is this pace of life healthy for me (physically)? Will this pace of life begin to wear on my marriage? Will I ever be able to buy a house and provide for my Family? You get the picture.  

Erin excited for SNOW in June, Zion National Park just past Kolob Reservoir

Erin and I had been praying for a few months about my job and getting me to a place that is healthy.  Well, God answers prayers!!!  

Meet the H3!  As a landscape photographer this thing gets me everywhere I need to be.  I think the mud makes it look sexy!
We will be moving to Wyoming in 2 weeks to work on a Ranch.  I'll be assisting a Landscape Photographer who just so happens to own a 600 acre ranch that is positioned very close to Yellowstone National Park and Teton National Park.  As a landscape photographer it is a wet dream to spend 6 months working and living in Gods Country.  I have been working on my landscape portfolio for about the last 3 years.  Slowly taking weekend trips here and there seeing various parts of the Western United States, hoping to get one or two good shots here or there, praying for good weather, big blue skies and hopefully some amazing clouds.  Well now I'll be living out in the landscape that I covet so much and will be able to take in some great sites.  Hopefully at the end of the 6 months I'll have an entirely new portfolio.  

Indy -- watching the Sunset...... And stalking crows @ Kelso Dunes,  Kelso CA.  

Stay tuned for some more Landscape Photos, Adventures of the H3 and weekly shenanigans from my dog Indy. 

Indy @ Mono Mills, CA just past Mono Lake.  We stopped and took a few photos and sank waist deep in the snow!