It’s Grand Prix Time

Long Beach Grand Prix 2004
From our seats - 2004 Long Beach Grand Prix

It’s a rite of Spring. Every year in So. Cal. about this time, The streets of Long Beach are configured to take on some of the best race car drivers in the world. This year is no different, but the cars are. IndyCar has made significant changes to the cars and rules in the wake of the death of popular driver Dan Wheldon. No longer naturally aspirated, we’re back to turbo’s. The body style has also been changed to facilitate pack racing. So, like lemmings to the cliff, we once again make our way to the beach and get ready to take part in the 2012 Long Beach Grand Prix.

Winter In Southern California

Nickie at Bolsa Chica
Winters are tough in So. Cal.


Well, all I can say is it’s a good thing I didn’t make any New Years resolutions to post more frequently to this blog. This entry is all about how tough we have it here in Southern California when winter rolls around. As I write this, the N.E. area of the United States is gripped by sub-zero, life threatening temperatures. So you can imagine my trepidation when a group of photographers from a Flickr pool, O.C. Strobist, decided to trek down to the beach in the dead of winter last weekend.

Conditions were good with a minus tide and a mild Santa Ana wind forming. We met up with our talent around 3:30 and scrambled over some rocks to, (of course a restricted area) on the beach. Where else would a photog be drawn to but an area that says KEEP OUT! The images in this gallery were shot on Saturday, Jan 22nd, 2011.

My plan was to execute a shot list in order to compile a melancholy fusion piece, but of course, with all the hardware and grip that I hauled down to the beach, the shot list and a key piece of “paper” was lacking among the 50 pounds of image making equipment. I cobbled together some shots so I could at least try to produce the “mood” I was looking for. You can see that short here.

photocrati gallery

Help Portrait 2010 (O.C. style)

The 2010 O.C. Help Portrait team


O.C. Help Portrait 2010

Well, after about six seeks of planning 60 or so Orange County, CA volunteers made up of photographers, make-up artists, hairstylists, and technical people all came together on Dec. 4th in three cities to make free portraits for families in transition. I say “transition” because now having done the shoot, “in need” or “less fortunate”  doesn’t properly describe the families and individuals whose photographs we made that day. The folks I met with and whose photographs we took were all transitioning  from a rough patch to a better place. Our “clients” could not have been more appreciative and thanked the volunteers over and over again for what they were doing. In total, we made portraits for 404 people, either as individuals or family groupings in three different O.C. cities.   

Our O.C. team consisted of people who had participated in last year’s event and some HP newbies, (your’s truly counted amongst the newb’s.) In all, we had   

·         42 photographers
·         6 Make Up Artists / hairstylist
·         6 greeter/escorts
·         A local, well-known caterer supported us with fantastic food and a donation to the O.C. Rescue Mission.
The prints are being produced now, as I write this and should be delivered to our “clients” by the end of this week. This was a very rewarding opportunity, and I felt honored to be a small part of it. I encourage anyone who reads this to get involved with next years Help Portrait event which has already been scheduled for Dec. 3rd, 2011. 

Film….? Yes film!

Kids are kids


Going through some of my scanned images the other day, I came across my “Korea” folder. These were taken while I was stationed in S. Korea as a combat medic. I served there for twelve months from 1976-1977.   

While there, I bought my first single lens reflex camera, a Canon EF body. Yes kids, before DSLR’s, we actually made images by exposing light to film. TV used to be all black and white too. Ok, enough ancient history…   

As the battalion medic, I was stationed at two different air defense bases. These bases were located in what even the locals would call, the boonies. Wayyyyyy off the beaten path and quite a few clicks from civilization or major metropolitan areas. The bases were armed with the Improved Hawk Missile systems. The system basically required two forms of radar, the missile aray(s) and generators to power everything up. All of that equipment was typically deployed high up on a hill, while the battalion headquarters was located down below the hill. That’s where my aid station was located. As the only medical staff on the base, (and for quite a distance in any direction) I treated both the civilian population as well as the enlisted troops.   

Some of the images from this series are “soft” by today’s digital tack sharp standards, but I’ve posted them because for me, they still communicate something from the late 70’s. Some of the softness may be my own fault as I developed some of the negatives in Korea myself. Also the scanner I used to convert these to digital images was done with a consumer Epson model vs a VXXX version. You can see a slide show of that series here. I’ll keep adding to this gallery as time and image quality allows.

Help Portrait 2010 – First meeting

We had our first meeting of the Orange County Help Portrait group last night in Santa Ana. If you’re not familiar with Help Portrait, you can find some information here. Basically, it’s a day where photographers, hair stylists, MUA and many other people volunteer a day to make portraits for folks that might not otherwise be able to have their portrait taken. This year, the event is on Dec 4th. This is a GLOBAL event that takes place in hundreds, if not thousands of cities around the world. The images are made on that day, and then within days or a week or so, actual prints are handed to the folks, for free.
If you or your business is approached to offer support, I’d say jump in!.  This is a simple, straight forward way to have a small positive impact on someone’s life. I’ll have more info posted leading up to the event on Dec 4th.
Here’s a video explaining what Help Portrait is from the founder, Jeremy Cowart.

At the Beach

Beach Run


It was mid August this year when my Niece said she and a group of her friends were going to have one last  Beach Day before school started again. So it gave me a chance to lug the gear down to the beach and battle the sand.          

One goal I had set was to shoot into the sun with subjects in the foreground. This to test my 7D’s AF capability. I was shooting manual all day so didn’t intend on testing exposure as that was all set with a Sekonic L-358 for flash fill.           

So just a chance to catch some college kids goofing off at the beach while they put up with my direction and pushing a lens in their face. Catch a full screen slide show here.          

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