Tuesday, September 27, 2011


2 years in the waiting
Raining Sunshine
I've waited to work with Madrid since I happened upon her DeviantArt pages almost 2 years ago, in that time we've scheduled at least three photo shoots that got canceled due to varying circumstances beyond our control. Then this past Saturday we finally got together for a trip to the desert.
Don't Talk To Me
I guess we know most people through their work when you don't get the chance to meet face to face or discuss world politics, all you have is the impression their work gives you. The impression I got from her work was that of someone who liked diversity as well as loved modeling, a story teller with a strong love of art and as it turned out, all true.
Recipe For Disaster
I met Madrid much like I meet many of the people I work with, picking her up at home in the wee hours of the morning, in front of a long drive to the middle of nowhere. Not surprisingly after a short while the conversation seemed to go into continuous mode, turns out we knew many of the same people and I think things like this can carry over into the shooting part of a photo shoot with positive effect.
Double Cross
Saturday shooting with Madrid was fantastic, the day was amazing, fun and worth the wait.
"Part of it has to do with the discipline of being actively receptive. At the core of this receptivity is a process that might be called soft eyes. It is a physical sensation. You are not looking for something. You are open, receptive. At some point you are in front of something that you cannot ignore." ~Henry Wessel

Friday, September 23, 2011


Film isn't dead, it just smells funny. A cute twist on a Frank Zappa quote.
Pearl at the dry lake bed
Pearl loves film, and several times while we were out shooting the topic of film photography has come up and we've talked about shooting large and medium format. Growing up I used many different cameras and films, my dad was a photo bug and so we had medium format cameras and Polaroid cameras, I remember buying several inexpensive cameras when I was in school, eventually getting a 35mm once I got older. When a friend and fellow photographer posted several images he had just done on film, well that was the last straw and I did some online shopping for film cameras and film.
Pearl in the high desert
The first purchase was a used Minolta 35mm Maxxum, amazing how if you look you can find great deals on used equipment that is in pristine condition, I then ordered a wide angle Holga pinhole camera. A few weeks later out on a shoot with Pearl I borrowed her Holga 120N, I loved the images so I got one too, it's the camera I used for the first three images in this blog.
Pearl desert morning
The only processing in the Holga images was to increase the contrast and add a color filter. 
Pearl on the mesa
I've thought about working with a medium format camera again so I started doing some research, because of the desert areas and conditions I work in I figured a view camera would be too difficult and frustrating, so I narrowed my search to cameras designed for the field. I found a used Pentax 67 online at B&H photo, it came with the 105mm lens and had the Pentax Prism light metering. I still need to find a prime lens for it but so far so good, the last 3 images in the blog were shot with this Pentax.
Pearl on the playa
In the past few photo shoots I've used half a dozen different cameras including my phone! (Thank goodness Pearl has patience with me reloading cameras and experimenting with settings). I am very pleased with these images, I'm getting much more comfortable back on manual settings and shooting film has caused me to see a bit differently, possibly even widened my field of view (however I still look at the back of the camera after the shot for the preview that is no longer there).

"If you use film you can't see it, so you need to feel it." ~Hervé Lewis

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lester Dale Mine

So much to say and so little time, so the blog posts have been delayed.
Miss Direction
These are from a recent trip out to the Lester Dale mine, above is a behind the scenes photo of Brooke (Rebelflowers Photography) working with Pearl, Brooke is not so easy to spot so I like to call it Miss Direction. Below is another photo of Brooke shooting Pearl, half the day and the woman just would not get out of my way! LOL, we had just an awesome time up there.
Brooke and Pearl
Here is one Brooke took of me setting up a shot. (Courtesy RF Photography)
Shooting Pearl
Here I am with Pearl at the Silver Reef Mine which is just down the road from Lester Dale. (Courtesy RF Photography)
Pearl took this one of Brooke and I with RocksAnne, are these beginning to look like vacation pictures? It's a treat for me as typically out on a shoot it's only myself and a model.
The Lester Dale gold mine was active until around 1952, it is located along the northern side of the San Bernardino mountains facing Johnson Valley. There are several buildings here and at some point the whole area got pretty well trashed by party animals, but in the last few years people have been coming out here and cleaning the place up, painting over the graffiti and removing the garbage.
Brooke did the research that discovered this location, when she told me about it I knew we had to go, the best and worst about photography in remote desert locations are the conditions and the conditions. Regardless it was another awesome adventure with super great people.
The Illusion Of Light
"When people ask what equipment I use ........ I tell them my eyes!" ~Steve Denby

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Flying F Ranch

Photographer Ken McFarland Art model Pearl Pardo and myself had the awesome pleasure of shooting at Flying F Ranch this last Sunday, and what an amazing day!
The ranch is in a very beautiful portion of the Lucerne Valley, about 2 hours northeast of Orange County in an part of the high desert I visit quite often on photo shoots. And for good reason as this is a breathtaking area and many of my best images have come from the surrounding hills, the open areas and nearby dry lake bed.
Behind the scenes Ken working with Samir & Pearl using the western plain as a backdrop.
Samir & John
John and his wife Natalie are amazing, if you know me than you know what I mean when I say they are Good People. They are also horse people, Samir is a rescue that has been at the ranch a few years now and John volunteers to run the local horse ambulance. Flying F Ranch welcomes groups of special needs kids, they will also transport animals to schools for the kids, the ranch hosts many other animals besides horses and just being here is an incredible experience.
Argo, Pearl & Sugar
There is truly something special out here, for me it just doesn't get any better, the magic feeling at daybreak is surreal, the entire area is what I like to call 'target rich', point your camera in any direction and you'll know what I mean. I honestly can't wait to return. If you want to capture the feeling of the western desert I cannot recommend this location highly enough, bring your camera and your imagination.
I cannot extend enough thanks to the entire crew at Flying F Ranch, they literally went out of their way to provide me with the opportunity for amazing images. Feel free to contact John via email at flyingfranch1@yahoo.com or call them at 714-404-4582. They would be happy to arrange a tour of the ranch, tell 'em David Winge sent you.
Argo & Pearl
"The Earth is Art, The Photographer is only a Witness." ~Yann Arthus-bertrand