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Posts Tagged ‘California’

As I have mentioned in an earlier post, the Missus and I recently made a trip to the left coast of Amurrrica so I could finally relax from my mediterranean lifestyle. As usual I decided to bring the shabang (2 7bs, 4 heads, and the Mamiya RZ) on our road trip from San Francisco to LA and back.

The project I had in mind originally was to find and photograph motocross riders in the hilly desert of Southern California. It would have worked out great, if only they were there. Even though I found plenty of tracks, I could not rustle up one single rider in the time we were there. Maybe they needed a vacation, too.

So faced with the depressing possibility of schlepping (and paying extra luggage charges for) all my gear without getting anything noteworthy out of it, I sent an SOS call to my good friends Jerry and Laurel in SF. J & L worked already on several other bay area shoots of mine, one of them detailed in great detail in an earlier post here.

Laurel told me about her friend Isabella, who is a passionate mountain biker, though injured at the moment, who could hook me up with other riders. It was very short notice, unpaid, and the shoot was happening on Monday afternoon. Somewhat close to ideal conditions.

After a location scout in different parts of the city, the tourist in me won, and I decided to shoot on the Marin side of the Golden Gate. Obviously it’s one of the mostest oftenest photographed locations ever, but the beauty of the span is just too damn hard to resist. During the scout, we went to some of the military installations in that area and the one closest to the bridge had some interesting structures that provided for good riding and angles without tourists in the background. I tried out different lenses and liked the slightly abstract (safari) look I got from the 250mm tele.

On Monday we started setting up for a one o’clock shoot. We didn’t know how many models would come, but we knew that they wouldn’t have a lot of time. When three riders finally arrived an hour late, the fog rolled in. Initially I was ready to kick something small and innocent, but the fog turned out to be not really solid. Every so often the veil would lift and the bridge would appear in highly attractive half-visibility. Laurel was standing on a little hill, telling us to get ready when a hole in the mist would blow our way. When we got the timing right it looked like this:

…and when we got the timing wrong it looked like that:

The rider in this picture is Remy, who is not just an all around good guy and very skilled rider, but also the owner of the tip-top Mojo Bicycle Cafe in San Francisco. A very nice combo of bike shop and cafe.

We did a quick group portrait (Ralph, Remy, and Isabella),…

…and moved up the hill for a second location. This is how our first spot looked from above:

The second location was on the other side of the hill and had a little patch of spectacular trees. We placed two lights amongst the trees behind the rider, one head pretty much from the front and left of camera and one head from the sharp right aimed at the rider but skimming the gnarly tree next to her. The rider had to start in the background, get some speed, duck under that big branch, get photographed, and roll down a sharp little hill while avoiding the camera. The two guys went first, but then Isabella’s competitive side kicked in and she went for it, too, freshly surgically repaired knee or not, giving me the best image in this spot (and possibly the day).

It was a short little shoot, but more than justified the schlepp.

If you’re into bikes or coffee or both I highly recommend to check out Mojo if you should find yourself (or lose yourself) in San Francisco (with flowers in your hair).

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While I usually get mild to severe anxiety attacks when the name Getty is mentioned these days, it is important to point out that there is a whole other Getty that also has nice images but isn’t trying to sell them for a buck fifty. I’m talking about the Getty Museum in the fair city of Los Angeles.

The Getty Center was made possible by the incredible riches accumulated by this guy:

J. Paul Getty (painted by Gerald L. Brockhurst).

J. Paul figured out a way to sell a gallon of gas for roughly three times the price of a well produced stock image and found himself almost immediately in a fancy villa in Malibu, from which he collected an amazing amount of sweet, sweet artwork. (That’s the short version of the Getty success story).

In any case, the Misses and I went on a little CA road trip recently and one of the stops was LA. I wanted to see the Getty for quite a while now and we made a bee line for it the first chance we got. It sits on a great hilltop overlooking the metropolis that has more smog than a German bar in 1985. The buildings are marvelous designs by Richard Meyer and, together with the campus, the gardens, the sculptures and the view, form a near perfect setting to view art.

There were so many great paintings that I’ve decided to focus on the portraits for this here blog post and so now, without any further ado, some personal favorites from the other Getty:

Isabella of Portugal, Workshop of Rogier van der Weyden Flemish, Flanders, about 1450, later additions about 1500

Portrait Study, Théodore Géricault, French, about 1818 - 1819

St. Bartholomew, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn Dutch, 1661

Portrait of a Bearded Man, Jacopo Bassano, Italian, about 1550

Portrait of Barbara Kressin, Unknown, Netherlandish, 1544

An Old Man in Military Costume, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Dutch, about 1630 - 1631

Pope Clement VII, Sebastiano del Piombo, Italian, about 1531

Portrait of Alfonso d'Avalos, Marquis of Vasto, in Armor with a Page, Titian, Italian, Bologna, probably January-February 1533

Head of a Woman, Michael Sweerts, Flemish, about 1654

Portrait of the Marquesa de Santiago, Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, Spanish, 1804

Portrait of Anthony Valabrègue, Paul Cézanne, French, about 1869 - 1871

Euclid, Jusepe de Ribera, Spanish, Naples, Italy, about 1630 - 1635

Four Studies of a Male Head, Workshop of Peter Paul Rubens, Flemish, about 1617 - 1620

Self-Portrait, Yawning, Joseph Ducreux, French, before 1783

J. Paul Getty Museum
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049-1687

Phone: +1 (310) 440-7330
Fax: +1 (310) 440-7751
E-mail: (for general Museum inquiries) gettymuseum@getty.edu

http://www.getty.edu

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