Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Doing What I Love

I've been home and working since November. I've gone into San Francisco more times than I can count--driving and on BART. I've taken picture after picture after picture of the Bay Bridge, downtown San Francisco, Oakland, the Caldecott Tunnel. I need a change of venue. I can't wait for NAMM! How funny is that? I can't wait to be in the airplane so I can start shooting!!

Granted, Anaheim may not be the most exciting place to shoot, and I won't be driving, but you never know. And with NAMM will start my new year of travel. I'm not sure where I'll be--LA for sure. Nashville, Vegas, New York? Wherever work calls me. But one thing I know for certain--I'll never be without my camera, doing half of what I love--shooting, while in pursuit or doing what I love equally--putting on events!!
Remember what Eleanor Roosevelt said, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." Here's to a fun, exciting prosperous 2010!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Is It Art?

I have this ongoing debate with some friends about whether or not my photographs are art. I don't consider it art and I don't consider myself artistic. What I do is all luck. It's totally fun. It's extremely relaxing. I have definitely learned certain ways to point the camera, how to try to get a certain angle. But it's the luck of timing and the odds 0f numbers.

I'm never sure what I'll find when I upload my images. Years and years ago I watched a special on TV about the making of the swimsuit issue for Sports Illustrated. The one thing that stayed in my mind the most was the number of images the photographers took. Thousands and thousands of shots in pursuit of that one perfect image.

I tried to do that with film, but it was very expensive. Digital images though--I can shoot hundreds and hundreds--no problem!! So, it's all about the odds, right? If I shoot 900 images, I'm bound to get at least one that I like. And it's usually one that I had no idea that I angle, a building, a section of freeway that I don't even remember shooting.

But whether or not you consider it art, whether or not I think I'm artistic, in the end it doesn't matter. It's the process that matters the most to me. It's seeing things in a different way when I'm driving or taking BART or a cab or walking. It's actually SEEING what I'm passing and how the most ordinary objects can be so fascinating.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Not Driving, But Not Hyperventilating Either. Just Shooting

Know me? Know my fear of flying...So now that I'm trying to fly drug-free (don't ask me why...), it's a blasting iPod and shooting out windows that gets me through that 1 hour and 15 minutes or 5 hours and 40 minutes. It's actually pretty interesting--what you can see out your window. Usually. Well mostly. If my iPod is loud enough it almost cancels out the turbulence...Well, not really, but I can pretend...

Now I'm just waiting for JetBlue and Southwest Airlines to decide that I should be their official photographer. Even though I am scared to death of flying (I know...I know...irrational fear. Believe me, I've heard it all before...), it would be totally cool to spend time shooting out windows. An interesting way to see the country...

Driving Never Lost In NYC

The whole point of me driving and shooting is the whole adventure of driving and shooting. Since I'm trying to pay attention to where I'm going and not be lost any more then absolutely necessary, it's always exciting to see what photos I actually end up with. It's just constant shooting through my windows, the sunroof--wherever there's glass.

So when I was getting ready to go to New York for AES, I was bitterly disappointed to think that I would not have an opportunity to drive and shoot in New York City (even though I know that many people who heard I would not be attempting that feat were extremely happy--Robert Scovill). So what to do? I can't travel anymore and not shoot...

So, I did what was second best. I drove in cabs and shot. I walked the streets and shot. What an experience! I must say though, that given the choice of me driving and shooting or having a cabbie drive while I'm shooting--if you're looking for the safer version, I would say it's a toss up...really...
But there is something to be said about the freedom of just looking and shooting. I was never lost (in fact, I was never really sure where I was, but I always ended up in the right place). New York is an amazing place to take pictures. Even the garbage cans looked good. And all those tall buildings. It was great.
But I have to admit, my favorite place to shoot--Javits. I've been going to the Jacob Javits Convention Center every other year for about 22 years. But not once have I noticed how beautiful it is. I made my way down to the South Concourse and just started looking up. I'm sure my mouth dropped open. How could I have always missed this beautiful sight? What have I been looking at all these years?

I was only in New York for four days. I spent a lot of time working in my hotel room or at the Javits Center, but the time I was outside I shot. I came home with almost 1,000 photos. The flight to NYC, the flight home and everything else I could shoot. I need another trip!! I love shooting. Time to get lost in Los Angeles again. Just two more weeks and I'm on my way. I get to shoot while flying and who knows where I'll end in the Southland. It definitely won't be as easy as sitting in the back of a cab and shooting, but if it was always easy--why do it??

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Driving in San Francisco

It's always the same, but it's always different. Usually when I drive into San Francisco I'm going to the same place to a meeting with the same people. I take the same route. I'm afraid to vary it too much, since I have a tendency to get lost...And I always take my camera.

The weather may be different--sunny and warm or gray and foggy, maybe rainy. There may be tons of traffic. It may be clear sailing. But my route never varies. So what I find so interesting is that when I get home and upload my photos, I always see something that I didn't see the last trip. As I sift through the hundreds of photos that are blurred or of blue sky, I'll stumble upon an angle of a beam or the shine of the sun off a glass building that is so completely different then what I've seen before, even if I've shot the same section of the bridge or same building dozens of times before.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Driving Lost in LA...Again

Driving lost...well if you read my blog or follow me on Facebook at all, you'll know that it's nothing new for me. I am in a constant state of being lost, somewhere...san francisco, nashville, los angeles, burbank, westlake village..

my last trip though was the most time i've spent in a car in la and it was a combination of lots of ground to cover, lots of traffic and driving one--lax to burbank, studio city, sherman oaks, hollywood, the car at 11:30. in venice by 7:30. friday afternoon. oh, and there was that unexpected tour of encino...

sure i had mapquest for the first place i was going and then BB Navigator, but i couldn't get it to work. it was a very LONG afternoon. BUT, i found lots of drive-throughs and I had a sun roof, my iPOD and lots of time.

which was good, except for when i started to get a little hungry and cranky when i couldn't find hollywood and saw signs for encino. i still don't know where encino is. it has no relation to anything i am familiar with. but i was told that it's a long way from hollywood. in fact, it's the opposite way. so turn around and try again. thanks to a friend of mine who texted me back after my desperate plea for help.

Day 2: Venice, Santa Monica, Malibu, Westlake Village, Los Angeles and back to Venice. Easy!! no, not easy...Sure, venice, santa monica, malibu--beautiful, easy...westlake village--no problem. and i knew that downtown LA would be no problem because the guy at the golf shop told me if i just stayed on 101 and took the figueroa exit, i'd be where i needed to be. easy. except i never saw a figueroa exit, but i did see downtown la fading in the background in my rear view mirror. hours and hours later i made it back to venice.
but i did learn something--when in doubt, don't use mapquest, don't use BB navigator. ask your friends on FB! Day 3: Burbank, Hollywood, Venice. I wasn't sure about what street to take to get back to venice and within seconds after posting on FB, i was home free!!

But here's the thing about driving gives me lots of opportunity to shoot. shoot things that otherwise i wouldn't see. early morning fog, evening sunsets...good parts of town and parts of town i shouldn't be lost in. but then i look at the images that i got by sticking my arm out the window and i'm amazed. what luck to drive lost and be able to see such beauty...
i'm actually pretty fortunate to have this opportunity and i'm especially lucky to have people following me enough to be able to help me out of a jam and get me going in the right direction...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Shooting While Flying

So if you know me at all, you know I am terrified of flying! I can't figure out if it's worse to have no stress and get to the airport in plenty of time to park and get through security but then have to wait in the terminal and stress out about flying, or to run late, just make it through security and run for the gate, not knowing if i'll actually make my flight and stressing out about that.

A friend of mine recommends getting there early, so less stress. BUT, what about all my anxiety that happens while I sit at the gate waiting for my flight. Don't think about it, he says. Easier said then done...

So my new way of trying to fly with less stress (without the benefits of drugs or alcohol) is to shoot out the window while flying. Now I sit over the wing (where someone told me there was less turbulence--NO, not true...), turn my iPOD as high as possible so i can't hear anything the flight attendants or pilots are saying about bad weather and start shooting. It's actually kind of cool, but some windows are definitely better to shoot out of then others. How do they get so scratched up? And then try using a polarizing filter while shooting...quite a challenge for me...

Shooting while flying has been a lot of fun--usually. Except that now i get really good close-up views of the wings shaking when we hit turbulence. That's when i squeeze my eyes shut and tighten my seat belt (which i NEVER undo while in the air). And there was that time flying into LA when i was getting these great shots of all these homes when I suddenly realized that i was looking straight down, which meant that the plane's wing was pointed straight down. I slowly backed away from the window, put my camera down and tightened my seat belt...

Friday, September 4, 2009


While i'm driving i pass lots of buildings. i usually never know what's inside. i can never find the building i'm looking for. But the tall ones...the really tall stop lights i turn my head and peer through my open car window trying to see the top. i stick my camera out and point straight up and start shooting. my favorite buildings are the ones with all glass. the sunlight reflects off of them and can blind you completely. but you also get to see the building across the street mirrored in the glass...i guess i should stop looking up and start looking forward and drive...


The most fascinating thing for me about bridges is usually the body of water that i'm going over. It's almost always the San Francisco Bay. And it's one of three bridges--the San Rafael-Richmond, Bay Bridge or the Dumbarton. I love seeing the Bay--the sail boats, the ships, the wind surfers, the water--it's amazing how the water can be so many different colors.

But now as I travel over the bridges, it's not always the water i'm looking at, but rather the actual structure of the bridge itself. Have you ever really looked at the different components of bridges? It's amazing and totally cool! As I stick my arm out the window in hopes of getting a close up of a particularly interesting metal angle, my biggest hope is that i don't drop my camera...

Friday, July 3, 2009

bridges & freeways

i never thought i would want to take pictures of anything except people. i love portraits. so it's a complete shock to me now that i am so fascinated by the hardscape. and it's all been completely by accident. but i love it. shooting while i drive surprises me. since i hardly ever look through the viewfinder while i'm driving, i'm never really sure what i'm capturing. lots of times it's nothing--clear blue sky, tip-tops of trees, out-of-focus building. but's amazing. sometimes i see images of things i don't even remember driving by or somehow the perfect angle or tiny piece of a building or overpass is framed perfectly.