If I had to pick out 10 of my proudest shots, this photo would be among them. Even without palm trees, sunshine, or anything else that typically symbolizes California, it still evokes strong emotions of what makes me long for Venice Beach and the Pacific Ocean. It has the low-sailing pelicans, the gentle swell of waves, and the camaraderie among surfers most of whom appreciate how generous and privileged life can be.
I took this photo on the shores of Mono Lake in Central California, as the bird flies, not too far from the Nevada state line. I was there with fellow photographer David Pahmp. We were heading to Bodie and stopped by the lake real quick to take a few early evening shots. As soon as we pulled back on to the highway again, a patrol car pulled us over for speeding. But just when the stocky highway patrolman was about to give us a well-deserved, triple-digit fine, he got a call on the radio and had leave us pronto with only a gentle slap on the wrist. He seemed like a decent fellow and after the verbal reprimand, wished us a safe journey onwards.
America is full of people like that. Decent folks with reasonably sound values and good attitudes. Unlike the president…
From David Frum of The Atlantic:
One of the most striking things about Trump is how seldom, if ever, anybody tells a story of kindness and compassion about him. Not even his own children have much to say. […] Few former employees of the Trump administration praise him as a boss. Few business partners speak of his honesty. Few tenants of Trump buildings have anything good to say about the homes he supposedly built. Few officials of any city have been willing to celebrate any contribution to urban life. Few beneficiaries of any Trump philanthropy.
Imagine a man who has lived in the public eye for half a century, supposedly one of the country’s leading business figures, and when in trouble he struggles to summon credible or trustworthy witnesses from outside the Fox Cinematic Universe. There’s just a gaping zero where goodness should be.
From Santa Monica Beach, somewhere north of the Santa Monica Pier and not far from where I used to surf in the mornings. In the fall of 2013, I often spent whole afternoons walking around the beach, photographing people on the bike path, and in the waves. It felt purposeful, somehow. But above all, these long, daily walks were a meditative, zen-like routine that I enjoyed. I rarely returned to our apartment on 2nd Street without at least a couple of good shots to include in my collection at Santa Monica Images. Like the lady above – one of many colorful people riding up and down the coast.
Still a bit jet-lagged. So, after only a few hours of solid sleep, I got up at 6:40, slipped on my wetsuit, boots, gloves, the GoPro armband case, waxed my board and then walked a few hundred feet into the Pacific to catch a few waves as the sun rose. The ocean was surprisingly warm – but I’m still happy I brought the gloves, hat and boots. It’s not that warm. The shot of me from this morning was taken by Fredrik Jönsson (using my old camera, though!).
My buddy and local assistant David has been hard at work booking models and makeup artists for the week’s shoots and film projects. We’ve been scouting for a few new locations today and settled for a stretch of the beach just north of the Santa Monica Pier and right off of PCH. Good spot for parking, prepping and production.
After scheduling and scouting, I walked back to Venice and shot about an hour’s worth of landscape footage and a handful of still images.