The Sweet Smell of Nitro in the Morning

I've grown up around racing. Every weekend my brother, dad and I were either at the track or watching whatever racing was in season on TV. I'm not the biggest race fan... maybe I'm jaded from being around it so much my whole life. But I do have a soft spot in my heart for the sport. And I will almost never turn down an offer to spend a day at the track. 

Recently my work had presented me the opportunity to spend the day at Pomona Raceway with an All Access Pass to take photos of Angie and Matt Smith, some long time dear friends of our brand. I couldn't say no.

I don't do much press photography nowa days. Most of my shooting is in a controlled environment where I can manipulate the lighting however I'd like, so this day was a bit more difficult than I imagined, mostly because they didn't hit the track until high noon. Which most photographers will agree is the most dreadful time to shoot. And I was a bit out of practice. But unfortunately the NHRA doesn't schedule their races around the best times to take pictures. So I had to make do.

The key here was trying to be mindful of where the light was coming from and positioning myself accordingly. But at high noon, this means the light is coming from almost directly overhead which means that no matter where you shoot from, its going to be awful. And unfortunately I don't have any neutral density filters for the lens I was using. Luckily, drag racing looks cool no matter what time of day it is. So thankfully, although they may not be perfect, I'm still pretty stoked on how the photos came out.

Some of the perks of working from a big name brand is getting to do things like this. I've grown up watching these events from way up in the grand stands or on TV. But the Smith team treated me and my co worker like family from the second we stepped foot in their pit until the minute we left. They showed us around, gave us the grand tour of their trailer, and let us sit there and watch them take apart and rebuild two bikes in less than an hour. And then walked us right up to the start line while they raced.

Ill tell you this, watching racing on TV can be brutally boring. Especially if you don't have any idea whats going on. But standing ten feet from a dragster when it takes off is an experience I will not soon forget. 

 

Equipment:

Nikon D4S

Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8

 

 


AFrame Of Mind

Recently, Michelle and I had our first anniversary. We decided that renting a little A-Frame cabin up in Big Bear for the weekend would be the best way to celebrate. For the three days we were there, we turned our phones to airplane mode and isolated ourselves from the interwebz so that we could take in every moment. And it was wonderful. We hiked with my dear old friend Lucas to the top of Castle Rock. Michelle took me to a rock formation near her old family cabin where she used to sit all the time. We even did some long exposures over the lake. Here are some photos that I took both with my Nikon D4s (Digital) and my Nikon FA (35mm film) inside the cabin, and out on our adventures.

 

FILM

DIGITAL

Hawaii - Day 2 // Makapu'u Lighthouse

We woke up early. We were still on L.A. time and we had gone to bed unusually early the night before. Also, the rooster next door was kind enough to provide a wake up call. I looked out the window to find that the sun had not yet risen. The sky still had that dark grey tint that it gets right before the sun peaks over the horizon. I popped out of bed and threw on some shorts, grabbed a Red Bull out of the fridge and hustled down to the break wall to watch the sun come up.

I grew up on the west coast so breathtaking sunsets are nothing new to me. But I've never actually gotten the chance to watch a real sunrise. Not only am I not all that fond of being up before the sun, I've never been to a place were watching the sun come up over the horizon was worth the trouble, or even possible.

It was peaceful. Sitting on a stone break wall, the waves hitting the rocks 5 feet from me. A light mist on my bare legs and feet. The sky gradually changing from grey to pink to yellow to blue as the sun peaks up over Diamond Head and Honolulu in the distance. I sat quietly sipping my Red Bull and pondering the week ahead of me. Incredibly thankful for the chance to escape the stress of work and music and everyday monotony. Michelle eventually joined me and we gawked at the view for a few minutes before we went back inside to get ready for the day.

We were to hike to The Makapu'u Lighthouse that day with the family. I was particularly excited for this venture. I have a weird obsession with lighthouses. I blame my father.

When we arrived at the trail head I don't remember paying particularly close attention to what was going on. I just remember Matt, Lauren, Michelle and I splitting off from the rest of the family and walking to a part of the park that didn't have many people around. We hopped a short railing and started heading up a trail that didn't seem to be very popular. From the bottom it looked pretty simple. Straight up with a few twists and turns here and there. I was sadly mistaken.

Matt and Lauren explained that this way was not exactly the "right" way to go but it was much more fun of a hike with a much better view. The way the rest of the family went was the right way, but it was a paved road with a view of the ocean and that's about it.

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

We stopped periodically on the way up to take pictures and so that I could catch my breath. A straight trail may be simple, but it's not necessarily easy. Especially for a smoker that spends very little time engaging in physical activity.

There were a handful of poorly graffitied abandoned pill boxes along the way. We stopped at the first one so that we could poke around and rest for a bit. These old pill boxes and bunkers have always fascinated me. As early as 50 years ago, our military inhabited these old death traps. Now they are just old claustrophobic concrete holes in the ground covered in terrible tagging.

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Once the lighthouse was in sight I made Michelle stop and wait for me while I moved to the edge of the cliff to get a better shot. When I got to the edge I looked down to find a beautifully terrifying sight. A jaggedly textured cliff leading 400 or so feet down to the crystal clear water with rocks that blanked the ocean floor. I'm not normally afraid of heights, but something about sitting on the edge of a cliff with the wind ripping and nothing but a wing and a prayer between me and a horrible death is a bit unsettling.

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

We climbed a bit more to another pill box on the very top of the mountain. We enjoyed the view all the way around us for a few minutes and passed around a water bottle before walking down a few hundred yards to meet with the rest of the family at the lookout right above the lighthouse.

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

The view was unbelievable. Michelle is well aware of my obsession with lighthouses so she let me run around like a kid at Disneyland for a bit and take photos of this magnificent scene.

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

Expired 35mm Kodak ColorMax 400 // Canon AE-1

After we had all gotten our fill we headed back down the mountain the easy way. I took the opportunity to enjoy the company of my better half and her family with a view that will be hard to forget.

We went to a small ramen spot in Hanalulu for lunch. Not my thing. But it was nice to experience a little Hawaiian culture and eats. After that we walked to an apparently famous Hawaiian Shave Ice spot down the street. I thought I had a experienced the best shave ice in existence at Snow-On-The-Go by Michelle's house in South County. WRONG. Real Hawaiian Shave Ice is unbelievable. I didn't even know ice could be shaved that fine. It was a beautiful thing. I took pictures but apparently I lost that roll of film.

Emarosa

I started listening to Emarosa when I was about 16. It was right around the time their first EP was released and I loved it. Of course, I was young and listening to a lot of bands in the same vein. But once Johnny joined the band... Well... let's just say I moved on. Didn't care much for his voice or him as a person.

Over the years I didn't follow much of Emarosa's activity, other than the various headlines that Mr. Creig would make from time to time. So when Alt Press asked me to help interview the new vocalist along side the great Matty Mullins, the 16 year old me decided to give them a second chance. I was not disappointed.

These dudes put on a hell of a show. Being an opener on such a diverse lineup can be tough for a band still finding it's legs after a frontman change. But these dudes killed it. Arguably put on the best show of the night. And contrary to my every interaction with Mr. Creig, Bradley was a very humble and genuine dude. I didn't run out and buy their new album, but I will be keeping my ear to the ground with these dudes and maybe they will win back my affections.

Here are some of my favorite shots from that night at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, CA.