Los Angeles Gets a Bath

Los Angeles receives on average 15 inches of rainfall a year, which is roughly 35 days out of the year. And on those rare 35 days, the rain is comparable to a bird bath at best. Taking full advantage of my new place smack dab in the middle of downtown LA, I grabbed my rain coat, tripod, camera, and headed down to the streets… Because today sir, we have rain!!!

The Great Recession

Clinton has now been in front of my camera 3 times. Previously with a gritty downtown LA theme, and a cowboy/western theme. This time he wanted a fashion theme. I wasn’t sure what he was going to wear until he knocked on my door… Pointed black shoes, grey wool slacks, leather gloves, and a matching grey wool beret? 1920’s here we come! Which would go PERFECT with my loft’s atmosphere since it was built in the 1920’s and well maintained since then.

Import Tuner cover build-up video

Hello YouTubes!
Hearing my voice is freakin’ disturbing… Do I really sound like this? I’ll blame it on my room acoustics.

My buddy Jeff Creech, the cover car photographer for this issue, proposed for me to do a step-by-step guide on how the Import Tuner covers are pieced together. The idea had been itching the back of my brain for a while so this felt like the perfect opportunity. I’ve done a lot of covers in my 5 year span of being an Art Director, so why not go an extra step.

World of Whirlcraft

Another shoot at my new pad in downtown LA (freakin love this place!). This time with Lyz. Short and sweet is her name, and her personality is just the same. Believe it or not she’s an avid World of Warcraft gamer! I can hardly get my sister to play Halo 3, let alone coax a model into playing one of the most addictive life-ruining, insomnia-inducing game in existence! You can never tell a book by it’s cover… well, sometimes, but definitely not in Lyz’s case.

LA on fire

Enjoy the sights from the rooftop of my new loft in downtown LA. Those aren’t clouds, that’s the San Fernando Valley getting smothered by ash. There’s a downside to having perfect non-rainy weather every day in SoCal, and you’re looking at it. The terrain gets so dry, a simple spark can set off a raging 1,000+ acre fire. Luckily the wind is playing in my favor and my lungs get to breath the natural polluted air of LA instead of thick burnt ash.

From neat to street

Time to break in my new AlienBee lights (1 ABR800, 2x AB1600), and trusty PocketWizard transmitters. I feel like I’m just picking up the camera and shooting cars 5 years ago, and feel that inspiration and drive once again. So now it’s shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot. Not all of my shots will be exactly what I want, but eventually I’ll get closer to that goal.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1, BUNGEEEEEEEeeeeee

Very very very long story short (which involved my car getting towed, 30 run-around phone calls, and driving 2hrs across LA traffic), I made a connection with the founder of Extreme Perspective Photo & Video, Doug, and turns out he needed some help at some upcoming assignments. Bungee jumping? Jet skiing? Snowboarding? Skydiving? I’m IN! It didn’t take much convincing to drag me to these events and snap a few (thousand) pics.

Ripping up Los Angeles Streets

Clinton Thompson’s everyday outfit usually consists of a bright pastel polo with plaid shorts and sandals. Easily one of the nicest guys I know. And oddly enough we’re the same height, weight, and he moved from South Carolina (Greenville) to LA just like me! Yes we knew each other before moving to LA. Small world.

This shoot was my first model photoshoot that felt real… As in… fully charged my equipment, scout locations, thought of a direction for the shoot, and had great help from my assistant Lauren and photo buddy John Batte. For the shoot I primarily used an Alien Bees ABR800 for main light, and a Canon 580ex for fill light. The goal for the shoot was to turn a real world nice guy into a gritty bad guy. Enough babbling, here are some untouched images:

The location had a power plant in the background, wicked power lines, and a pile of pavement rubble… All a few miles from downtown Long Beach, CA. The sun was just right to get a beautiful graduated sky. Cali never disappoints with pleasant weather and even more pleasant sunsets.

OK so even though I loved the location, and the sun was just right, I was still sticking to my original art direction of compositing him into a badass city background. Again the main goal of the shoot was to turn Clinton from a J. Crew model into a gritty character:

Look familiar?

Some dust added, with downtown LA in the background.

This shot is a compilation of about 8 different photos. No streets were harmed in the making of this image. Take a look below for some of the main images used.

All in a nights work… well maybe less if my computer had more RAM! I must say the most challenging part was distressing the pavement where his feet and hands once were.

All smiles after the shoot is done! See I wasn’t lying about us being the same height/weight!… though he could probably beat me in arm wrestling.

Wasteland Paradise (Salton Sea)

This is what urban legends are made of. The Salton Sea was once a prosperous vacation spot during the 1920’s, thriving with ski boats, new housing developments, night clubs, and wildlife. The “Sea” (which is technically a lake) was formed from a sudden influx of water from the Colorado River. At first the new found mass of water was hailed as a tourist attraction, but because of a lack of water outflow, the lake progressively became more and more polluted and salty. So much that many species of fish are no longer able to survive in the Salton, let alone people. So in a nutshell this vast area is FILLED with signs of abandonment from a once optimistic 1950’s era. A modern day Atlantis… only MUCH MUCH smellier. Did I mention it’s a GREAT place to take photos?