In the heart of Los Padres National Forest, the Big Sur River is carving steep gorges and sharp-crested ridges. Sykes campground—where I captured the image above—is a 10-mile hike through untamed canyon wilderness. It was a challenging destination to reach even when there was an established trail. But now in the wake of fires, road closures, and erosion damage, this lovely little spot is next to impossible to reach.
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I’ve shared photos of this NY ballerina before. At the top of the year, we kicked off a half-day collaboration, working deliberately to achieve certain effects. Here are some of my favorite images from the collection, each introduced with a verbal cue only:
Not long ago, I had the honor of photographing the staff and executive team at Mya, an SF-based company that helps recruiters optimize their workflow through AI.
Their office is located on Maiden Lane, one of the most picturesque streets in the City. Combine that with the team’s commitment to shooting outdoors, and you have the makings of a great photographic day.
One of my favorite shots is this portrait of a CEO as a young man. The hubbub of City life goes on round him, while he hovers confidently in space. Red accents glow in the background. If I were to retake the photo, I’d drop 2/3 of a stop below ambient and fire an off-camera flash. Pesky shadows under his eyes bother me now.
This particular shot was a lot of fun to make. Primarily because I enjoyed walking the Lane with this executive. We shot the breeze about science, medicine, and the National Geographic. I had good fun just getting to know him. Best of all, I fired my flash.
I love this next photo. It took a while to get it just right. But it was worth the effort. Plus, I like things in threes. See the bokeh frame left? See the bindi, nose ring, and earring?
How did I get this harried professional to relax? You know, the usual—we talked about our wives and family life. Trust me, if you’d been there, you would have smiled, too. Oh, one last thing. Check out the crop. You’re looking at 2.39×1, which isn’t your standard 5×7. I’m a big fan of 2.39×1 and 16×9 because they offer a cinematic lens on the environment, of which the subject is a part.
See the soft green tree-clouds in the background? I did then, and I do still. I tell you, threes are the best! Plus, I like the curbsides, faint and disappearing.
Ditto. Except in this shot, the light had changed dramatically from the prior one, requiring me to stop down from f/1.8 to f/4.5. Background is too sharp for my liking, but it was a trade-off I was willing to make to get the shot.
Happily, the executive team was thrilled with the process and results. One of their senior leaders even chimed in here.
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