Idle Hands

i·den·ti·ty
ˌīˈden(t)ədē/Submit
noun
noun: identity; plural noun: identities

1. the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.
“he knows the identity of the individuals”

“No one is you, and that is your power” – David Grohl

My hands were idle to write and photograph for a bit. I stopped and took a minute (or a month, if you want to be exact), to examine and audit my craft.

Who do I want to be? How do I want to be perceived by my peers and clients? What is the purpose of my photography?

And those three questions led to: Who am I as a photographer? How do my peers and clients perceive me? Is my message coming across clear?

The one answer that stood head and shoulders above all my questions was that I want to create raw and organic, unforgettable images. And I want to inspire other photographers. Whether it’s with this blog, or through my images, I want to encourage and inspire other photographers to create.

Yes, in a world filled with a massive multitude of other photographers, I want to inspire and encourage you to go out there and shoot. Why? That’s where David Grohl’s quote comes in: “No one is you, and that is your power”.

You are, in and and yourself, a unique universe with so much to give. And making time stand still is a great way of doing just that.

So please, go out and create. Don’t think. Just do. I promise to do the same and share what I create with you.

Meet the Artist Ep. 6: Chef Turok

Welcome to Episode 6 of Meet the Artist! On this episode, we’re taking the interview to Holbox, a great seafood restaurant  located inside Mercado La Paloma, in South Los Angeles. It is within that kitchen that our featured artist creates his magic.

I’ve been following this artist on social media for quite a while, and what intrigued me the most aside from his delicious creations,  was his humble demeanor, his assiduous character, and his ability to be persistently innovative. When I sat with him, I realized my opinion of him was not at all far from the truth.

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Chef Turok is known for his ever so delicious Mascarpone Cheesecakes.  A creation which he has shared with the public as of 2015. Ever since, he’s been featured in Los Angeles Magazine, he’s served these gems at such events  as LA Weekly’s Tacolandia and Burgers and Beers (among many others festivals); Restaurants such as Primera Taza  in Boyles heights and Tlayuda LA;  And as for my personal favorite, hwm019e even donated his creations and participated in AltMed East LA Meets Napa.

There is a reason why Chef Turok’s cheesecakes are so popular – they are absolutely amazing! I’m not very big on sweets, and that, is the reason why the Mascarpone Cheesecakes are perfect. They are not too sweet, and they have a light, creamy texture that will leave you wanting more. I have to admit, they really are the BEST DAMN cheesecake that you’ll EVER try! If you’re in the LA area, please make sure to stop by Holbox restaurant, where you can enjoy a great seafood meal and end with any of the delightful Mascarpone Cheesecakes for desert. Or, if you’re feeling naughty, just have the Cheesecake first.

Now, without further adieu, please allow me to introduce you, Chef Brian “Turok” Menendez.wm009

Click here to view the interview on YouTube.

You can follow Chef Turok on his social media:

 

A special Thank You to Chef Gilberto Centina Jr. and the whole Holbox team for allowing us to film on location! Please follow Holbox on social media:

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What are some of the qualities you think every chef should have? Comment below! We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Meet the Artist Ep. 5: Kelyla Nelson

Welcome to Episode 5 of Meet the Artist! On this episode, I travel to Ventura County to visit Kelyla Nelson at her dance studio, KPAC (Kelyla’s Performing Art Center).

Who is Kelyla Nelson? Well, she is a dancer, a dance instructor, and a mother of a beautiful baby boy named Zion. It’s important to mention all three roles because it was this video of her dancing her heart away (at five months pregnant!), that caught my full attention. That, and the fact that she radiates a beautiful light aura and great vibes.IMG_7710

We were greeted by Kelyla and her family with a warm welcome at her dance studio. As we were setting up, her mother told us the story of how they opened: Before KPAC, Kelyla taught the neighborhood kids how to dance out of her garage. Until one of their neighbors called the police on them, and they had to shut down. Not letting her daughter give up her dream, Kelyla’s mom helped her open her very own studio. From finding a location, to items gifted to build the studio, the road was paved for Kelyla to fullfill her dream to dance. And this allows her to teach others the beauty of this performing art.IMG_7578

It was such a great experience to capture Kelyla in her element as her son watched her from across the room.

That is why I am very excited to share this video with you, so you can see for yourself, who Kelyla Nelson is.  As a person, and an amazing artist.

Click here to view the interview on YouTube

 

Kelyla’s favorite quote: “Fake it until you make it”

 

Click on the links bellow to see more of Kelyla’s work:

 

What are some of the qualities you think every dance instructor should have? Comment below! We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Tales of a Ghost Town: Mentryville Park

Mentryville Park

An oil drilling town in the Santa Susana Mountains in Los Angeles County, California, USA. It was started in the 1870s around the newly discovered oil reserves in the area. The first oil strike was on September 26, 1876. The town is located at the terminus of Pico Canyon Road, four miles west of the Lyons Avenue exit from I-5 in Santa Clarita.

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After writing about Llano Del Río, I decided to create a blog series dedicated to Ghost Towns in Southern California. I found a list of them on GhostTowns.com, and I decided to continue the adventure in Mentryville Park.

Mentryville is a town named after the superintendent who was in charge of the oil fields, Charles Alexander Mentry. Mentry lived in the town until his death in 1900, and built the expansive thirteen room mansion that remains in the park ’til this day.

The town was eventually abandoned, due to the oil reserves dwindling over time and advancements of the oil industry. By the late1930s, most of Mentryville’s remaining residents had gone.  Many tearing down their houses, board by board and nail by nail, and taking it all with them.

All that is left now is Mentry’s mansion, as well as a school, a barn, and newer prop house that was used for several movies.

I visited the park in the afternoon, a couple of hours before sunset. I loved the eerie, yet peaceful, feel to the park. It has been a hot summer this year, so the hills were covered in golden-brown, dry shrubbery. The sun was setting, just so that the mountains had a beautiful, warm feeling to them. I felt a tad bit of a rush – I’m not sure if it was out of excitement that I was here, in this deserted place, or if it was the lingering restlessness of a once thriving boom-town.

The first thing I spotted as I entered the park was a red farmhouse. It was an old directory called Felton School. Next to it was another storage barn, and an outhouse that matched the big red schoolhouse. High foliage almost covered the old rusted steam relics that were a couple of paces away from the school.

I continued walking up the paved road that, I later learned, was the continuation of Pico Canyon Rd. It lead me to a picnic area called Johnson’s park. There was a sink, and three different kinds of what I think might have been ovens. As I walked deeper into the picnic area, I saw a rusted out oil derrick that was moved from its original location years ago and reconstructed, to preserve it in posterity.

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On my return back to my starting point, I bumped into old Mentry’s mansion. Next to it was the yellow prop house where “The Color Purple”, “Walking Tall Pt. 2”, “The X-Files”, and other motion pictures were filmed. Across from the prop house, I saw a barn, and what looks like it could have been a social hall.

Sun was almost setting, so I decided to end my exploring there. The pleasant feeling of walking through a piece of history stayed with me until I hit the freeway again.

 

Do you have any ghost town stories? Or better yet, have you ever photographed a ghost town before? Comment below! I’d love to hear all about it  – as always, I would love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.

 

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Meet The Artist Ep. 4: Darrin Bourgeios

Welcome to Episode 4 of Meet The Artist! On this episode, I had the pleasure of sitting down with a truly inspiring man. Eclectic and calm, he’s is an old soul that will continuously make you laugh with his great anecdotes. You can’t help but feel engaged, with a sense of comfort when you’re around Darrin. Which is a very good thing due to the fact that he is a photographer -and a great one at that!

I’m very flattered and privileged to have been able to interview a man who is always behind the lens. The comfort zone of a photographer is not always in front of the lens, so I commend Darrin for allowing me to put him in the spot light.

In this interview, you’ll get a little glimpse of who and what Deaftone Imaging is.

Click here to view the interview on YouTube

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it” – Ansel Adams

(Darrin’s favorite quote)

To see more of Darrin’s work, follow him on social media

What are some of the qualities you think every photographer should have? Comment below! We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Travel Captures: A Weekend In Big Bear

Big Bear Lake
City in California

Big Bear Lake is a small city in Southern California. It sits on the banks of fish-filled Big Bear Lake. It’s known for Bear Mountain ski resort, with its terrain parks and learner slopes, and family-friendly Snow Summit ski resort. Boutiques, gift shops and restaurants line the streets of Big Bear Lake Village, the commercial area. (According to Google)

A couple of weekends back, I spent an awesome and relaxing weekend getaway in Big Bear – of course I had to capture some shots! You’ll have plenty of lively subjects to shoot when in Big Bear. From the beautiful coniferous trees aligned along the trails and roads, to the wood carved sculptures in front of most businesses; the mountains and lakes; you have a plethora of things to shoot when in Big Bear!
Here are a couple of my shots. I hope you enjoy them!

“Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift”

–  Albert Einstein

Do you like taking pictures when you travel? I would LOVE to see your work! Comment below – as always, I would love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.

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Meet The Artist Ep. 3: Eddie Santos

Welcome to Episode 3 of Meet the Artist! This week I am very happy to introduce to you one of the most genuine individuals that I have the privilege to know. He perfectly fits the characteristics of a good sound engineer: An overall positive person with a helpful heart. His calm, yet always happy demeanor, is infectious when you enter his studio. When you’re there, prepare yourself to receive great advice on how to better your craft.

As you may well have noticed, I always look for artists with inspirational stories. This artist is always inspiring others by motivating them with his positive attitude. I’ve watched him work with artists in different genres, and it is obvious as he works, that he is truly passionate about music.

Without further ado, please allow me to introduce to you, Eddie Santos!

Click Here To View the Interview on YouTube

“Calm Like A Bomb” – Zach de la Rocha

(Eddie’s favorite quote)

To see more of Eddie’s work, follow him on social media

What are some of the qualities you think every engineer should have? Comment below! We’d love to know what your thoughts.

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One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure

trash
traSH/

noun

NORTH AMERICAN

discarded matter; refuse.

 

Back end story: I was talking to someone about the importance of content on social media when introducing a new company to your community, and as a joke, I said “You can take pictures of trash and add a Geo-tag, and it will be useful content.” So I decided to put my lens where my mouth went. (I’ve been full of idioms lately).

This advise also applies to my fellow photographers: you can take pictures of anything, as long as you just shoot. If you’re one to attach a story to everything, there is always a story behind your image. The reason why you went for the shot is your story.

Why is it important to always shoot, as a photographer? For beginners, it’s practice. You’ll learn how to define what subjects interest you the most, and practice your skill at the same time. You’ll learn how to develop new techniques and what works best for you. And best of all, your photos will be the journal of your progress. Trust me, you’re going to want to document your progress; so that as you get better, you’ll look back and appreciate where you started.

Front Story: It took me no effort what so ever to find miscellaneous trash laying on the ground in random places. I was on my way to a friend’s house, and I nonchalantly stopped a couple of times to take these images.

I can look at the positive side, and be happy that it had become so easy to find my subject. To say the least, it is disheartening, and now I feel a bit trashy. In two different cities, that are miles away from each other. Makes you think a little, doesn’t it?

“To play safe, I prefer to accept only one type of power: the power of art over trash, the triumph of magic over the brute.”

– Vladimir Nabokov

Do you like taking pictures of random objects? If so, what are they? Comment below – as always, I would love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.

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Devil is in the Details

de·tail
dəˈtāl,ˈdētāl
verb
plural noun: details

describe item by item; give the full particulars of.

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For those who have not heard the phrase “The devil is in the detail”, it’s a saying that refers to an element hidden in the details, meaning that something might seem simple at a first look but will take more time and effort to complete than expected

It’s necessary to remember the importance of detail when you want to tell a story through your images.

Take the picture from an art show below as an example.The focus is on the man viewing the art pieces on the wall – but the background tells the story of what is going on during the art show. Details that give sense of place, and the photo will always reveal the heart of any moment.

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Pay close attention to the image I captured in Venice Beach, CA below. You may think that what I wanted to capture was the art on the face of the building. But what really captivated me was the man on the roof.
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As for events, your clients will appreciate you capturing not only the candid moments of them and their guests, but they will definitely appreciate you taking the time to capturing things like the decorations, the desert and candy table, and anything else you notice that took time for them to create. This will ensure that you make their photos and the event memorable.

Lastly, another detail to consider would be the ones that are at far reach. Close ups are fun, but what about the distant images that require you to take out your long lens? (If your budget allows you to buy or rent different lenses, of course). You can either focus on a couple of elements, and create a soft background that doesn’t distract from the main subjects with a long lens – or you can also use a full-frame ultra-wide-angle zoom lens to help capture a crisp background and have a sharp focus on your subject in the same frame.

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Technicality should only serve you as a reference. Your viewers will be able to tell if you were trying too hard, or if you allowed the creative within to capture an image that will translate what you felt during the very moment you went for the shot.

Think about the message you would like to express, and allow your instincts to guide you.

Do you have a keen eye for details? I would LOVE to see your work! Comment below – as always, I would love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.

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(don’t forget to try to spot the details!)