Los Angeles Adventure Part 1 | The Streets

I keep coming back to it – but I can’t say enough how important I think it is for a photographer to have a camera with them at all times. I’ve been super happy with the Olympus OM-D E-M5. While the files it produces aren’t as fantastic as the Nikon D750 I use for the bulk of my shoots, the small unobtrusive nature of the camera allows me to go everywhere with it. Lisa and I had previous done a downtown photowalk, and I got the idea that it might be super cool to go up to LA one day with the small cameras. What we ended up learning on the photowalk is that we really wanted to have someone with us to photograph – mostly so we wouldn’t have to be the subjects of the photos ourselves. Morgan recently picked up a Fuji X100S, so she became a member of the small camera club. Then we invited Reno to join us to be our model and hang out superstar. Unfortunately Reno got sick, so we had to make other plans in that department.

We started off eating at Eggslut at the Grand Central Market, which had been a dream of Morgan’s. Any business with the word slut in their name is intriguing to me – and Lisa is down for anything. So we drove up in Lisa’s massive Flex and met Devan there. While I’d say my Eggslut meal was pretty decent, there looked like there were a lot of other interesting spots worth trying within the market. Boxed water is entirely overrated though.

We explored a bit of downtown, and then went to Hollywood – the touristy part. Lemme tell you, even on a weekday that place is such a zoo. Just wasn’t our scene. Eventually Lisa had to go, and Devan decided she’d meet up with us a little later. Morgan and I ended up in West Hollywood for a bit before we met a model, which I’ll get into in part two.

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SWPB WPPI 2015 Night Photo Walk

SWPB members Dennis Pike, James Bitz, Matt Shumate, our wives, and our weird makeup artist spent a few hours walking around the Las Vegas strip with our small cameras and a couple of video lights generally freaking out the bystanders wondering what the hell we were doing. James and myself were shooting on Olympus E-M5s, and Dennis and Matt were shooting Fuji X100s. Here are some of the results I came up with that night.

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SWPB WPPI 2015 Dry Lakebed Adventure

Last year at WPPI we really never got around to any non-structured impromptu shoots, everything was super planned out and went down during actual WPPI days. This year we made it a point to schedule all of the styled shoots before the main days of WPPI so they wouldn’t interfere. We also got a group of people together for a return visit to the dry lakebed near Jean. James’ wife Allison got volunteered to be our dedicated model. She was a bit reluctant at first, but Cheriene’s makeup and hair styling made all the difference.

Now before we get to the images I just have a little to say about the people. Both James and Matt are photographers I know through a Flickr group (yes, there is still meager activity in Flickr groups) called SWPB. Generally if SWPB members knowingly come together, there is a meet up planned and photos are taken. I had met James briefly in 2013, when he attended a shoot at Red Rocks with me. Matt I knew of, but had never met in person until a day before this shoot took place. As a side story Melissa sprained her foot really badly this year, and couldn’t walk on it. Not being mobile in Vegas for WPPI sucks pretty hard, and Melissa was pretty sad about her state. I did my best to message every photographer friend of ours to throw a little gathering on her behalf in our hotel room. Granted with WPPI people are out to party, but I was a little surprised that no one really from our immediate circles except for Morgan and Brian made the effort. Yet James, Matt, and their wives Allison and Gina came. And  while I knew James a bit from a handful of Facebook chats none of us at that point really knew each other very well. Because of that though at the end of WPPI we did know each other all pretty well.  What a totally cool gesture on their part. WPPI may have lacked inspiration in the sense of going to see speakers and feeling like I had a new burst of photographic energy, but forming the bonds with these people was all the inspiration I needed.

Oh yeah – Jasmine made a somewhat impromptu appearance. Even after being on the other side of the dry lakebed (wherever that is), she still managed to find us and pose for rad photos.

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Brian

Before the night shoot on day two of BAPR, we had gone out to dinner to a place in the Cosmopolitan that served Chinese and Mexican food in the same place. Brian likes wholesome activities, and as a result, he and Morgan get out to Vegas more than the average person. He was on the spot immediately with his suggestions for alternative BAPR locations when Red Rocks got rained out, and he was on point in knowing a decent place with something for everyone when it came time to feed the starving retreaters.

Although I’ve been around him a good number of times, I didn’t really have a photo of Brian that I liked, and I usually feel unsettled until I have at least one photo of all of the people in my life who are around me. At dinner I got the photo I wanted.

I have a lot of female friends, some are single, but most are married or in relationships. In the past my ex-best friend’s husband was someone I actually despised, and I’m sure that contributed to our rift. In any event, since that relationship went down in flames I haven’t really put much effort into getting to know anyone’s spouse. Brian is a pleasant surprise. Initially I found him to be borderline too quiet, but since I’ve been spending more time with Morgan a lot of his personality has really come through. And I have to say it, Brian is a really nice guy. He’s got some quirks – mysterious government employment, suspicious lack of any social media presence, near life threatening eating habits, and a paranoid commitment to over preparedness. But he really is very pleasant to be around – and not only that, he’s really calm. I like that in a person. And he’s giving, and loyal. Most of all you can tell he’s in Morgan’s corner, and Morgan has become an important friend to me. So anyways, this is Brian.

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