A wonderful couple, gorgeous venues, and a classic Rolls-Royce, what more could you ask for as a wedding photographer? If you're looking for a charming venue in the La Jolla area you should really take a gander at the Darlington House. I'm certainly looking forward to photographing a wedding there again. You'll be my new best friend if you provide me with that opportunity.Read More
A quick video from my trip last summer. I could not get over how spectacular this view was. I had seen the massive sand pits on my topographical map while traveling the area and was quite curious, I was excited to find a vantage point high enough to see them. I'll be posting more from this trip soon!Read More
A weekend trip in the eastern Sierra.Read More
A brief look at my first Medium format film camera.Read More
A nearly 150 year old ranch, complete with spring fed ponds, a century old apple orchard, and a massive willow tree, were the venue for this gorgeous June wedding.Read More
Fairy Tale Wedding
Twin Oaks Golf Course, San Marcos
While many of this years weddings have made it into my portfolio, I've yet to post any of them here on my blog. It's been a very busy year here in Long Beach and it seems this blog is always the first thing casualty of limited time. time to change that.
Carol Ann and John were an absolutely lovely couple and an absolute delight to photograph. Just look at that dress! By far one of the most beautiful I've had the pleasure of photographing. Their ceremony and reception both took place at the Twin Oaks Golf Course in San Marcos on a sunny day this March. The venue with its' ivy covered walkways, rustic details, charming lighting and stellar views was perfect for photography. Photographing a couple so obviously in love is always a delight, and getting to do so in such a wonderful location, complimented by an absolutely amazing sunset, made this wedding one to remember.
VSCO FILM PACK O2 REVIEW UPDATE
It's been quite a few years since I first posted my first review of the VSCO film pack, despite this, it is still one of the most viewed entires on my blog. As I still am absolutely in love with VSCO 02, I thought it about time for a little update. A lot has changed since my last review, for one, I now frequently shoot real film, something I hadn't done at the time of my first review. I thought it would be cool to compare the look of VSCO's emulator to actual film side by side. And what better than photos from a recent road trip down Route 66 in California to do it with. Now as a disclaimer I will say that when I shot these images I did not have this in mind. So camera settings, and lenses used are not identical. Also note that modern Portra film falls somewhere between Neutral Color and Vibrant Color/Ultra color. Since I use the Portra Neutral Color emulator almost exclusively now, I went with it. I'll have to go out and shoot with a comparison in mind so I can do it perfectly. But for now, I think this is a great comparison.
I'm not sure if it was my scans, but all the shots on this roll of Portra 400 are a bit green tinted. I find it most notable in this shot of the abandoned trailer. The hues of the sky and brush noticeably differ between the two.
Here I had to double check a few times to make sure which was which. The real film has a greener tint in the brush than the emulator, but overall it's pretty close.
Another one that's really close. The road is a bit warmer in the Digital version, and the film is maybe a bit darker in the shadows.
Once again the film has a greener tint that is especially noticeable in the sky.
The brush in the foreground here looks substantially different here to me, but part of that may be the rapidly changing lighting conditions at this time of day.
Another case of magenta vs green tinting.
Most of the time VSCO FILM 02 emulator gets incredibly close to the real thing when it comes to Portra 400 film. There are some cases where it looks a bit off, but those occasions are few, and far between. The green tint of the real film may have more to do with the lab's scanner than the film and for my use outside this article I've color corrected them. As I've previously mentioned, I love this emulator. I use it for both my personal photos and as a baseline for my professional portrait work. There's just something special about Portra's colors and tonality and I can't get enough. Here's a few more examples of the FILM 02 Portra 400NC being used in my work.
About the Writer
Norm Roberts the Fifth is a Long Beach based Commercial photographer, nature lover, and outdoorsmen. Traveling the rural landscape of California, he was inspired by the tragic beauty found in the encroachment of man made creations into the natural landscape and decided to focus his artwork on this troubling subject. His first project, Destination Nowhere, focuses on the barren roads and manmade constructs that disrupt the otherwise serene deserts covering vast swaths of California.
My final wedding of 2014 was a lovely three day event down in San Diego. Saad and Myra both have wonderful families, who were an absolute pleasure to photograph. This was one of those weddings where I really felt like I was part of the family and throughly enjoyed my time photographing. Just look at all those gorgeous colors!
My final trip of 2014 was Zion National Park in Utah. It's hard to believe this region of stunning landscapes is only a meager six hour drive from Los Angeles. This time around my entire core group of friends managed to make the trip, something that's quite rare and hadn't happened since our trip up San Gorgonio in 2013. With memories of Big Sur still fresh in our minds, Jeff Zach and I were joined by our friends Dominic and James in what we all hoped would be an equally amazing trip. The vast majority of people visit Zion during the summer where crowds and heat can detract from the experience. In winter, the park has far fewer visitors and crowds are virtually non existent. While summer's greenery has been replaced with dead and leafless foliage, the snow dusted mountain tops and moody cloud cover more than make up for it. One disappointment was the low water level that resulted in less than spectacular waterfalls and reflecting pools. We had originally planned a day of short hikes then a backpacking trip up the west rim trail but unforeseen events cut the trip short. We still managed to get two days of incredible hiding in and an abundance of memorable moments.
We arrived in Zion at night so we went directly to the campground and pitched our tents. December nights are a bit nippy, but we were all, and probably for the first time ever, more or less prepared. Firewood was bought and we quickly had a fire going to keep the chill at bay. After we had a fine freeze dried dinner we got some sleep ready for what tomorrow would bring. I woke before dawn, something that almost never happens and managed to get some great shots of the fog and clouds rolling over freshly dusted mountain tops. A short while later we headed out for a full day of hiking. Our first stop was the entrance to the narrows. I had previously tried to convince the group to rent cold water gear and hike the narrows, it was not a popular suggestion. We hiked along the river bank as far as we could without having to enter the icy waters, taking note of the sheer cliffs rising up on all sides and the unearthly turquoise hue of the river. We took our first group photograph here and we look like a pretty awesome boy band. Our next stop was Hidden Canyon where we got to see a baby free standing arch and enjoy a little rock scrambling as we made our way deeper into the canyon. By the time we had made it back to the car sunset was drawing close so we quickly made our way to the emerald pools. This is one attraction that is pretty lackluster in winter. The pools were nearly empty and everything was a little blah looking. A tad disappointed, we headed back to scrounge up some dinner. Zion National Park actually has it's own "giant screen" movie theater and The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies just happened to be playing at the time, giving us the perfect way to spend the rest of our evening.
The next morning, we woke up early, broke down camp and made our way over to Angels Landing before the sun had risen. Walters wiggles live on in infamy to this day but with a little sweat and toil we climbed our way up the switchbacks. At the end of the switch backs, before the chains, we mistakingly thought we had reached the end of our journey. Standing there, the narrow strip of rock that is Angels landing perfectly blended into the background cliffs, giving us the elusion of completion. After a moment or two of taking in the sights, we realized our folly and continued atop the narrow precipice. The following section is about as sketchy as it gets. There are multiple points where there is enough room for your feet and then everything abruptly drops more than a thousand feet. The reward for scampering along the razors edge is a view that makes the near death moment you had just moments ago melt away. It being winter and early in the morning, we had it all to ourselves and were able to fully enjoy the beauty and solitude of this desert temple to natures splendor. Zion maybe be close by but it might as well be another world. The bold landscape is riddled with sheer cliffs and gorgeous colors. Take a long weekend and make the drive, you won't be disappointed.
After the fiasco that was Death Valley, a little extra planning went into this trip, and it paid off. This time Jeff and I were joined by our mutual friend Zach. We rendezvoused at my house and set out from Los Angeles at midnight and drove through the night so that we'd theoretically arrive at McWay Waterfall precisely at dawn. Around six hours later, and a copious amount of caffeine, we stood atop a cliff gazing down at the crashing waves in the pre-dawn gloom. I think the only word said was a simultaneous "Woah". The ocean is a powerful beast but it seems so tame at the local beach. Here any illusion of a peaceful nature is quickly eradicated by the raw power of waves breaking on worn, jagged cliffs. Slowly the sun began it's accent into the morning sky and with it, color rushed into what was an endless void of grey. The McWay Waterfall is by no means the grandest fall on the planet, but few reside in such a picturesque setting. The sun continued to rise and the scene constantly transformed. Every few moments new colors made their appearance serving you another course in this feast for the eyes. While I could of spent the rest of the day here we had an entire coast to explore so we tore our eyes from McWay and headed through a tunnel under the street to an adjacent park.
There we followed a steam through a redwood forest, scrambling over rocks, across logs and up waterfalls. This hour or two hike was probably some of the most enjoyable hiking i've ever done. The scenery was to die for and I had zero weight on my back. Absolute Heaven. Eventually we hit a dead end and headed back to the car to find our next hike. A short drive up the coast and we found a path down to the ocean that we just couldn't pass up. Once we made the decent we climbed, scrambled, shimmied and crawled up and down the cliffs and miraculously had zero casualties. The potential bodily harm was well worth the up close and personal viewing crashing waves, seals and cliffs we discovered. We grudgingly left this epic playground by the sea and sought out nutrients to fuel us up for the backpacking to come.
Bellies full, and backs laden, we stood and the beginning of our trail up Pine Ridge. The uphill trudge commenced. We ended up being the only hikers outbound due to the fact that it was presently raining and rain was forecasted for the entire weekend. We had also started later in the day than planed and after speaking with the numerous hikers fleeing down the trail to escape the rain, we began to wonder if we would be able to get to Sykes hot spring before dark. Spoiler! We did not. Luckily though, right as darkness approached we came upon a wonderful campground and managed to get everything set up before being enveloped by the night or washed away in the rain. Jeff and I come prepared for rain and had properly set up or tents, Zach, however, did not. He had a damp night and as we set out the next morning, his lack of backpack rain cover meant his pack had sponged up a great deal of water, vastly increasing his load. He was not a happy hiker and made known his desire to turn back repeatedly. Luckily, we ignored him and after a few more miles found ourselves at the Big Sur river where the springs are located. We did get a little confused at this point as to where the springs actually were and had to do a little exploration up and down the river to find them. But at long last, Sykes hot springs lay before us. Imagine if you will, submerging your sore and tired body into a hot spring. A hot spring located on a hill surrounded by towering redwoods and lush ferns. Below you, a river meanders by serenading you with it's melody of rushing water. Far above, the winds rustle the innumerable branches of redwoods adding a new voice to the rivers song. A refreshing rains drips ever so lightly upon your face. One of your friends who sat in a tub that is out of sight doesn't respond to your calls but, you and your other friend don't go see if he has drowned because this is heaven and if he's dead, he died as happy as any man could be. Due to the rain, the normal crowds had vanished and we had the springs entirely to ourselves. Zach's misery had been washed away and he was born again as a happy hiker who complained no more. I took very few pictures during this time because "rain" and "Hot spring in the rain." are not ideal camera situations. But here are some photos Jeff and Zach took:
Three days is really not enough to fully enjoy the Pine Ridge area, and by no means enough time to fully experience Big Sur in it's entirety. This winter, we will be heading back once again, this time with more friends in tow, and I honestly can not wait. Hikes with hot springs are the best hikes and Big Sur is just plain magical. It will be a perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of the Los Angeles area and a busy year of professional photography.