Monday, January 25, 2016

Fifty-Two // Niki Brady

I've been trying to figure out what I've wanted to say about this shoot for about a week now and I'm still having a hard time figuring it out. I know I'm not a great writer by any means, and the limited skills I do have are not coming through right now. Last week I shot with an old friend of mine, Niki Brady. Niki and I have been friends since high school-- I think I've been to more shows with Niki than anyone else I know. Our friendship was founded on bands we both liked (particularly mxpx). 

Editing this post down to the eight shots I've included was pretty difficult because we got a lot of really good stuff-- I attribute it to a few different things:
  1. The lighting was wonderful this day
  2. We had scheduled this shoot well in advance, so I wasn't scrambling around last minute for once. I made sure I gave us ample time to make sure we would capture something we were both happy with. 
  3. Niki was very comfortable in front of the camera (although she might disagree) and followed my instructions very well.

I really like this shot a lot for a few different reasons. First, it is a nice picture of both Niki and Nora. Second, this was the spot that my group of friends (Niki included) hung out throughout high school, so it's a little nostalgic for me-- reminds me of when my biggest worry was getting all my homework done on time so my mom would allow me to go to a show.

And of course, a solo shot of Nora.

Thanks for looking. I haven't scheduled a shoot for this week yet, but if it goes half as good as shooting with Niki and Nora went, I know I'll be very happy with the results. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Fifty-Two // Kevin Castro

Like in week one of my project, things didn't quite go as planned in week two. A couple different times throughout the week, I had a couple different maybes lined up, but they eventually turned into no's. So Saturday had come around (the last day I give myself to shoot each week) and still hadn't had anyone lined up. My brother, Jon had mentioned he had a show booked Saturday night. When I heard that, I knew it meant they would most likely have a quick little rehearsal sometime beforehand. Or if nothing less, the dudes would come by to load up all their gear. I knew right away this would be the best and possibly only chance I'd get at shooting someone.

We were lucky enough to have just a little bit of daylight still hanging around when we got to shooting-- it wasn't much, but it was enough to still shoot outside and get a decent exposure without the use of any lights or flashes. Because everything was so last minute (again) I didn't really have time to plan anything out or take my time (I was moving quick because the sun was retreating quickly) in working with Kevin, but that's one of the many challenges I like about photography. I like having to think on my feet when I get to a location and it's not anything I had in mind. I like having to call an audible and adjust my plan/vision on the go. It keeps me sharp and ultimately a better photographer.

When I was in school, one of my instructors, Steve Ostrowski nailed it in my head to be adaptive. He always told us to not be married to on an idea going into a shoot because you can arrive at your location and nothing will work out with the vision you were so set on. Then what do you do? If you had only one thing in mind and the clock is ticking, chances are it's not going to work out for you. He gave us exercises and assignments that would imitate a very similar scenario I was in Saturday afternoon as the sun was setting and time was winding down. I usually make sure I schedule everything well in advance when working with clients and I take into account time of day, the available light we'll be working with, and of course the duration of time we'll have to shoot, so when I'm thrown into a situation like I was in Saturday, those lessons Steve had for us come in handy.

This project originally was a challenge I gave myself to get more comfortable working with people and instructing them-- something I'm admittedly not the best at. Little did I know, I was going to be challenged in other ways, and so early on for that matter. So far I'm very happy with how things are playing out. And finally, here are my images of Kevin Castro. Kevin and my brother Jon play in a crust punk/grindcore/death metal band called Cringe. They play mostly house/backyard shows and parties in Fullerton, Anaheim, and surrounding areas. And surprisingly to me, they play quite a bit in Compton as well. You can listen to an older demo on their BANDCAMP page or head over to their FACEBOOK page and find out when they're playing a backyard near you.

(That's my brother, not Kevin-- my brother is cooler than Kevin, for sure)

Thanks for looking. I'll be posting my week three images very soon, because guess what, I've already shot them! Yeah! Check that out, not rushing around last minute for once. Chyeah!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Fifty-Two // Christina Harris

So my first week of my Fifty-Two project kinda got off to a rocky start. I had to rearrange/reschedule a couple different times throughout the week and by the time Friday got around I still had not shot anyone, nor had any plans to. After my original Friday plans fell through, I was walking through Downtown Fullerton trying to think of my next move when I remembered an old friend of mine works just steps away from where I was. I was really hoping she was in fact working Friday, and willing to get photographed with only a few moments notice.

I strolled into Tip Top Tattoo Parlor, and was quickly greeted with a very nice hello from Christina. (who was in the middle of tattooing a client). After a few minutes of catching up, I fumbled my way through asking her if I could photograph her for my project. She was more than happy to help, which made me feel relieved. I didn't want to make her feel like she had to do it and I didn't want to miss my first week of my project. After she finished up her tattoo, we  stepped outside to take a few pictures. Back inside, I grabbed some candid shots of her meeting with and tattooing another.

Thanks for looking. And if you're in the market for a new tattoo, go see Christina over at Tip Top Tattoo in Fullerton. She has given me two tattoos (one of them being my favorite tattoo-- a slice of cheese pizza) and she is absolutely great at her job! 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Rhymesayers 20

Another 2015 post real quick-- sorry I just feel like I gotta post some of the work I never really posted last year. In early December, Rhymesayers celebrated their 20th Anniversary at the Target Center in Downtown Minneapolis which I was lucky enough to score a press pass for [insert cool sunglasses emoji-- blogspot doesn't support emojis].

The night moved along very quickly as each of the performers took the stage one after another after another. My guy, Stef/P.O.S took the stage first to kick off the night. I personally thought he would've done better/deserved to be later in the evening, but he had a Doomtree show to get to in Chicago so he had to dip out early. As always, his performance was exciting. It's great to see him up there doing his thing again and feeling healthy.

I'm not going to break down the night or give a performance by performance recap, instead I'll leave you with my top 5 takeaways from the evening, as well as some photos (obviously).
  1. P.O.S is a champ. As I just mentioned, he went on first so the crowd wasn't too big yet but he had everyone movin and shakin. Also, he flew in from being on tour to play this show, then rushed to the airport to fly out and continue the Doomtree tour. Bawse.
  2. The amount of mention/support for the BLM movement from the performers was really inspiring and refreshing (although not surprising). It just felt good to hear them publicly share information/support for something that is important. Especially in the hip-hop community.
    The amount of people on social media who expressed their thoughts with how they were 'at a rap show not a protest' (or something similar) was shocking. I guess I just figured that if you love the artists on the bill enough to go buy their records and see them live, you would also be a little more supportive of the message/thought behind their music. Hmph.
  3. I wish more women would have been onstage that evening. I am aware that there were many women behind the scenes who helped organize and produce the event, but it woulda been tight to have some more female talent on stage.
  4. Prof crushed it. He had the whole Target Center going completely bonkers throughout his whole set. I have never seen anything like that at a rap show. I've seen crowds that are wildin out, but in an arena like that-- that was nuts. I'm so happy for that dude. 
  5. Seeing the Target Center full of indie rap fans was a really special feeling. Knowing the history of Rhymesayers and how they built that label from the ground up and then looking around the arena and seeing all those people on their feet, rapping along every lyric during Atmosphere's set was nothing short of incredible. I have so many feelings about that night that I can't properly describe them all. In short: it was refreshing and inspiring to be there and see what this indie record label has become. Definitely inspires me to keep doing my thing and stay persistent and keep chasing my dreams.
And now to the photos:

Thanks for looking.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

FC Sports Ketchup: Volume III - Volleyball

Backing it up a little bit to 2014, Fullerton College asked me to cover a couple of volleyball games at the beginning of the season. Phil needed some images to put on the schedule poster. So I went out and got the images he needed and that should have been it. But during the two games I went to, I had a really good time and upon reviewing my images, I felt really good about my results. So I went back the next week to their next home game. Then I went back again, and again, and again for the rest of the season.

Now fast forward to the 2015 season, again Phil asked me for some images for the poster. So I went out and shot those (poster looked pretty good, by the way). And like in 2014, I kept going back to volleyball each week for the duration of the season. I like the energy in the gym. I like the pace. I like how close I can get to the action. I like the images I'm getting when I shoot volleyball. And I like that the athletes enjoy my work (even though I do this whole photography thing for myself, it's nice to have my work appreciated). Unlike football and baseball, I don't have all the access I have with the team, so I only shoot games, no practice or  too much behind the scenes stuff. Here are some images I really like from the FC Women's Volleyball 2015 season:

Thanks for looking.

And now a couple of bonus pictures of the girls goofing off and hamming it up for the camera: