Its been a gut wrenching few weeks. Ever since I was told by a major auto manufacturers rep that they weren't interested in car review as much as cars in lifestyle posts I've been reeling. It really came down to "I can't do it". Lifestyle bloggers take perks and write what they are told, not what they honestly believe.
Add in the perfect storm of google ads not paying the way they were supposed to and a huge increase in hosting fees I had to step back and do the "WHOA baby, this is insanity". I killed SoCalAutoBlog as I couldn't morph in good conscious into a "daddy blogger" or similar life style.
So...though I'll still do cars, it will be for the art and documenting a piece of history. I can't change the fact I love cars and all they've symbolized, good, bad and indifferent to our culture.
Well no girly porn at least. Lots of car porn as that is mostly what I have shot of late. Los Angeles Auto Show press days (2 days worth), 2015 Mustang Reveal and a Ford Open House all made for lots of photo ops with cars and it drove the traffic to me.
Of course in all of that there was a lot of blogging in all of that, mostly on SoCalAutoBlog and on blogging.la. Speaking of blogging.la, I broke 1000 posts a short while back. Not sure where I am right now but it was an important goal for me and I did it.
In the end I do a lot of fun and more creative stuff, but not always with my art in mind. Life gets in the way of passions and there are only so many hours in a day. Maybe 2014 I should resolve to spend more time on art than commercial and photojournalism?
Interesting challenge was given to us in the post a day challenge. Road Trip Fantasy with a cast, linked too of course. Many of my choices are dead and so long so they don't have SM or URLs to link too. But I have quite a few interests and a cast I've always wanted to have on a road trip so here goes.
Envision a nice RV like my folks had so we all can take turns driving and sitting around the table kibitizing.
First up. Mario Batali. I like him for a variety of reasons, being a great chef is part of it but he's also an excellent teacher, loved his old show "Malto Mario". He's also one of the hosts on ABC's "The Chew" which my wife and I tivo and catch up on so I know he's both entertaining and engaging. A must to moderate the group I have put together.
Cars. What a passion that is. I'd love to have Alan Mulally the head of Ford on board along with drifter Ken Block. Between the two I'd learn a lot about the future of cars and performance cars. To round it out my absolute favorite writer editor, Jean Jennings.
Yes. Those are solar panels. Yes, Those are installed on my roof. 34 total generating some 11KW peak during the course of a bright summer day.
I didn't do it or environmental reasons. I did it to keep as much green as possible in my wallet.
Seriously, this year has been a wild one for us SCE customers. We got hit with a huge rate increase and rate restructure that if you run much more than a 'fridge you are going to go into tier 4 at 34-freakin'-cents per kilowatt hour. July, August and September fully 2/3 of my power bill was in tier 4, and I did it without trying. Actually short of turning off the air we tested our mettle with much higher than usual temps in an effort to trim the bill but it didn't make much of a dent. Solar was the answer as we can get our juice for a bit over half of what those turds at SCE charge.
If you want details or a referral to the company I went with drop me a note.
In the early 'oughts there was a photo sharing program, social media in its infancy if you will, that had a lower case "t" as its logo. I was an early adapter and for the life of me I just don't remember its name. When they went out of business I got everything copied that I had shared on a DVD. 2 of them...most of it came from a low res cell phone and/or my Che-ez snap .2 megapixel toy camera. It was fun and the lessons learned with those tools and food I took with me as I advanced through an iPhone.
Food photography, especially in a restaurant I was doing long before the foodies started and actually ruined it in a lot of places. What? Haven't you seen those pretentious snots with portable mini-lights and tripods for their cameras yet, wait you will. Worse is the obnoxious bright flashes. Seriously, its a pain and ruins it for the rest of us. Like me that started doing it before the turn of the century before those dreadful hipsters and instagram showed up.
Why do I do it? Lots of reasons, primary is like to get cheffy and try and recreate the memorable meals just as I had them in some 5 star joint in 'Vegas or L.A. Its a rolling recipe book of ideas and that picture brings back everything so I can recreate. Also I do my own plates and later blog it over at frazgo feasting making it possible for my followers to recreate my recipes to a "T". The cell phone, especially in its infancy was such a primitive tool that it lent a wonderful impressionistic capture that adds to the romance of the dish. Lastly, this vast library is used for blogging all over the place and those of my food will be used in a "bloggers cook book" something that I've been toiling on for a while.
Enough of why I do it, how about some tips to do it up right.
Turn the Flash OFF Seriously its an annoyance to other diners and it doesn't add anything to your final image. It actually degrades the results but washing out too much, no modeling and certainly no depth of saturation. Rest your arms on the edge of the table to steady yourself for the long exposure.
Rotate the Plate Its all got a good angle, rotate a bit so you get the best angle of you meal. That wink of tomato or cheese says a lot about the time the chef put into composing the plate.
Photo at the PassThrough Yes, ask if you can photo your plate in the kitchen before it goes out, you'd be surprised how many places will actually accommodate you.
Get Up Close and Personal Really fill the frame with the plate or the entree. Make it big and important. A nice table setting, well do that before food arrives if you must.
Clean up the Plate Give it a quick once over and move any stray items. Mop up any unusual drips, or turn the plate to hide them. A messy plate will turn off the viewers.
These are pretty self explanatory. Shooting food isn't some bit magical bag of tricks, yes commercial photographers are guilty of it. Back in my early years I was guilty of it until I realized that the restaurant I was shooting spent a lot of time already choosing props, adjusting lighting etc., so why bother reinventing the wheel. Fresh out of college at SIU-C I had the pleasure of freelancing the restaurants for Las Vegan Magazine and learned to do just that after a couple of exhausting location shoots. Take advantage of what they provided and work with it. Your results will show it. Your results will be better for it.
Seriously, I've been running this blog since spring of 2007. I was even in the running for most valuable blogger in 2011 for KCBS here in Los Angeles. I'm full of ideas and things to share. What to share and when is my question to myself. Do I just meander and post what interests me, do a series on a topic too big for a single post. You tell me. Really, tell me what you want and I'll work at providing it.
This image is of Bishop Creek in the Eastern Sierras from a few years back. Its a simple shot of late fall that was tone mapped and then run through a plug in, virtual photographer to be precise, to give it the old timey post card look. The unmolested image was nice, the final product was nicer and evokes a moment of nostalgia.