In Frame: Karoline Gora

Karoline Gora is a Los Angeles based personal trainer and fitness model. She’s not only beautiful but also very personable and down-to-earth. I had an immediate connection with her and I believe it shows through my images taken at her recent cardio workout. Location: Vasquez Rocks, CA

Trona Pinnacles

Last month, my friend Jess from Washington was visiting California and we spent a day smack in the middle of nowhere. I suggested to meet at a gas station in Trona, because I wanted her to experience a desolate place and a semi-ghost town where nothing grows or happens. Luckily, Jess is adventurous and always down for anything so this proved to be the perfect plan for an adventure.

After catching up for a bit (the last time I saw her in Seattle), we drove out the Pinnacles. On our way there, we stopped by the decommissioned train tracks and had a field day photographing leading lines, symmetrical compositions and listening to the wild sounds of the wind blowing through the metal tubes. We had so much fun that it almost took us an hour to drive the 5 mile road in. By the time we got to the pinnacles, all the clouds have disappeared and the wind had intensified. We drove around the large tufa formations and popped out of the car a few times to take pictures, mostly to find other SUVs and trailers in our shots.

We drove further away and decided to look for a higher vantage point and if every story has its own weird happening, we had ours here. As we setup for our sunset shoot, Jess decided to use the car key to tighten the tripod plate on her camera and she bent the end of the key. Staying positive, we continued photographing the sunset but later her worst fear became true when the key wouldn’t fully insert into the ignition. After some brainstorming and trial-and-error work, we fixed the key by forcing it on the same plate but turning in the other direction until it looked somewhat straight. Suddenly the car started up and we were heading out of the park. What an awesome end to a great day!

I haven’t seen Jess for almost two years at that point and it was amazing to reconnect with her and to have a rad time with a friend who shares my love of photography. Until next time, sister!!!

In Frame: Sofia Cervantes

Sofia is a Texas based fitness trainer who’s been training pretty much all over the world. I met up with her on a rainy Sunday morning at the original Gold’s Gym, aka The Mecca, where I shadowed her with my camera for a couple of hours. As a true pro, her workout was seamless with perfect form and she was kind and patient with me and an absolute joy to photograph. I cannot wait to work with her again. I also would like to extend my gratitude to Mike Ryan for letting us use this iconic gym! Location: Venice, CA

In Frame: Ruben Arellano

Ruben is a young athlete who is currently training for the upcoming season of American Ninja Warrior. I caught up with him at the beach, where he spends a good amount of his mornings working out. Location: Manhattan Beach, CA

SONY #BeAlpha Event Los Angeles

By far one of the best photo events I have attended in the past few months was the Sony Be Alpha, Los Angeles meet. Hosted at the ROW in Downtown Los Angeles, it was large in scale, colorful in settings and with a wide variety of styles and genres. I loved seeing all the effort and attention to detail that went into the entire event and all the creativity that came out of it. I’ve never seen so many smiling faces and excited creatives in one place and the work that was later shared online was absolutely phenomenal.

As you may have guessed it, they had Sony cameras and lenses to loan, there were multiple sets to photograph (with various talent) and a selection of food and beverages to keep you fueled throughout the evening. The Be Alpha community event also included a couple of informative presentations, including the Alpha Female initiative.

Although it only lasted a few hours, I photographed so much that it felt like I was on a week-long photo shoot. I was excited to finally try out the Sony a7iii with a couple of fast lenses, first with a 50mm f1.4 and later a 24-70mm f2.8, and I love them. After importing my images to Lightroom, I was so impressed with their quality (mostly the dynamic range, sharp details in all areas and the color information in the shadows and blacks) that a couple of weeks later I purchased the Sony a7iii body.

This event truly inspired me to focus more on portraitures and to push my work creatively. Of course, much of the credit goes to the production team for setting up these elaborate sets and also to the acrobats, skaters, models and dancers and lastly to Sony for making it happen. Some of my best images came out of their Be Alpha events and these ideas had ignited my creativity. Here some of my favorite shots and would love to hear what you think of them!

Shine Your Light

I’m big fan of continuous education and even just the general advancement of one’s skills. I believe that learning new things and acquiring new skills should never stop, even when we’re done with school and we have our diplomas to wave in the air. In film school, my main focus was cinematography and I spent a semester on learning how to light a scene, create different setups and light patterns with a variety of lights, flags, screens, gels, etc. Early on, I learned how important it is to create a mood, or feel, that is appropriate for a scene and why lighting is an integral part of the cinematic language.

As I’m slowly transitioning to studio photography I felt it was time for a refresher, which is why I signed up for an advanced lighting workshop at FD Photo Studio in Downtown Los Angeles. I felt my biggest shortcoming was not having enough experience with strobes. I’m accustomed to using continuous light, when you can actually see what you’re creating, and strobes are a still more of trial-and-error for me… but I’m slowly adjusting.

At any rate, regardless of what you use you should know how to light for classical portraiture. There are several things to control and think about to create a flattering portrait, including: lighting ratio, lighting pattern, facial view, and angle of view. Below are my attempts of a singe light source shot, a few classical Hollywood 3-light setup (key, fill and rim) and some split pattern variations. I have much to learn and I can’t wait to compare these to the ones I’ll be creating months from now.

Angeles National Forest

The Pacific winter storms in Southern California had created some interesting and beautiful conditions up in our beloved San Gabriel Mountains. Only about 45 minutes outside of Los Angeles, these pictures were taken along California State Route 2 North, aka Angeles Crest Highway.

Wimbledin

Fun shoot with Wimbledin, a young band that is set to release brand new material and an EP soon. I loved the band’s energy and collaborating with them was a breeze. Going into this project I was hoping for gloomy weather conditions (as it was forecast) but at least we had some soft light for the earlier part of our session. Not a bad compromise…

Classy styling with a touch of 50s by Melissa Chiaro-Eggerling. Location: Irvine, CA

SONY #BeAlpha Event San Francisco

Sony really pulls out all the stops when it puts on an event and this was no different. They had everything: Sony cameras and lenses to loan, models available to us to stage our own photo shoot and a selection of gourmet food and beverages throughout the evening.

The Be Alpha community event also included a beautiful and very informative presentation by the talented Cristina Mittermeier, a panel discussion about the Alpha Female initiative along with some surprise gifts and more photo opportunities. I felt like I was on a three-day photo adventure… in just a matter of a few hours! Haha! Once I checked out my gear, a Sony a7riii first with a 50mm f1.4 and later a 24-70mm f2.8, I was in heaven. Here are some of my favorite shots from the event.