Monday, June 29, 2009

Model Mayhem

You know it's been a rough month for me, but slowing down hasn't been an option. I promised a friend from work to shoot some still pictures of clothing and jewelry she designs for use on her web site.

"A man's got to know his limitations."



I learned that from Clint Eastwood in a "Dirty Harry" movie back in the day. That phrase came to mind once or twice as I was trying (let's hope successfully) to do a good job on the photos.



I think I have a pretty good idea of what I can do in the world of still photography. I'm almost, but not quite ready to call it more than a hobby, even though I'm flattered that a lot of people don't agree with me.



I'm close, but I still have my passion for news and writing and if I had seventeen more hours in the day, I'd make all three my priority.



As it is, I just do what I can and do my best to juggle.

My total number of hours for sleeping per week is probably lower than when I had kids at home and I've gotten intimately familiar with what exhaustion feels like.

Kind of like being rocked to sleep (literally with rocks), in case you were wondering.



So, I found myself in the very enviable position of having the opportunity to work with nine models of different ages, different shapes, and different ethnicities.



It wasn't a paid job. I was doing it to help someone else. What I was getting out of it was simply the opportunity to shoot pictures and maybe with the experience, get better at something I enjoy.



So far, I think everyone who has seen the shots are happy with them. Some pictures work better than others and I learned a lot that I'll be able to apply next time.

Like, I know now that I have to save up to buy some additional gear.



But more importantly, I got a chance to prove I can work with beautiful models in a professional setting and not collapse in a drooling stuttering lump on the floor.

Yeah, we weren't positive that wasn't going to happen.

Even though I think I know my own limitations, I'm just thankful for the opportunity to show you don't have to accept them.



Thanks again to everyone for participating. Someday when I tell other guys what it was like to photograph beautiful women, you can be sure I'm going to be a gentleman and be honest about most things.

About a few things, I think I'm going to lie like a dog.
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Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson 1958 - 2009

My typically sunny disposition has been absent.  I'm sure understandably so, but honestly I do miss the happier aspects of my personality just as many of us in SoCal have missed the sun.  June gloom has taken on an entirely new depth of meaning.

Come on, I really didn't need to have a story that involved death as my assignment on my first day back to work after these past two weeks.

Gee, Michael Jackson is dead.  I don't mean it maliciously, but I find myself too numb from my own family's loss to have any strong feelings about this (or him) either way.



Covering his trial was cool.  I dug having the opportunity to snap a few shots of him during my random visits to Santa Maria, California.

Yesterday I spent several hours outside the gate to the rented Holmby Hills mansion where he lived.



It was all pretty familiar.  If you closed your eyes you could almost pretend you were standing out along the road that lead to the gates of Neverland Ranch (but don't do that, you might get run over by a mob).

People told me they saw me on the news on other stations in LA and also on stations in other parts of the country.  Shooting video in one hand and shooting stills in the other.



Having survived "Octo-mom", this really wasn't all that bad.  I know, I know, faint praise, but at least nobody with a camera grabbed onto the vehicle in an effort to breach the gate.



If I were the inner reflecting type instead of the boozy observer (hic!), I might wonder why I feel so disconnected to plain regular people who proudly admit to their curiosity/fascination/appreciation of who Michael Jackson was.

Instead, I can only look at the sad faces, snap a picture or two (dozen) and just accept that his death is a great loss for many, many, many people.



I've never felt that childhood's end (the state of development, not the apocalyptic novel written by Arthur C. Clarke. . .where was I?  Sorry, I don't mean to ramble, but I was out there on the street until 4:00 in the morning)

Oh, yeah, childhood's end?  The end of innocence?  For many, that seems to signify the end to happiness and Michael Jackson fashioned a public persona of himself as the Peter Pan poster-boy for the adult struggle to embrace what many in age naturally leave behind.

He might not have had the childhood he wanted, but still he had a childhood. 



Tick-tock.

Well, I was on a roll, but the clock is telling me I have to gear up for another day at work.  I haven't turned on the news yet to see what new developments in Michael Jackson's death might drive my assignment tonight.

My condolences to anyone and everyone who feels sadness over the passing of Michael Jackson.  He had friends and family who truly knew him and will mourn his death, but I have to treat his passing as a news assignment.  Okay, I might actually play some of his music which I have on my iPod and I also reserve the right to feel some sadness when I look at the faces of those who never knew him, but feel strongly about him because of his music.

In every death we all lose some measure of innocence and maybe, respectfully, with his passing, maybe Michael Jackson will affect people in a better way from the example he set in life.

With Michael Jackson's death, I'm saying maybe we can all grow up just a little bit.  Try it, you might not find it so bad.
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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Waiting

Not a bad assignment for my first day back to work.
--
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MJ Dead

Yup. I'm back at work.
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Monday, June 22, 2009

Dr. Enid V. Blaylock 1925-2009

How am I doing?

Like most people, I'd rather be happy than sad and I'd rather laugh than cry. My family suffered the loss of my wife Dellis' grandmother (Motherdear) a week ago Sunday. Arrangements were made for a memorial service. We came together quickly as a family. Travel plans were adjusted, time off from work was arranged and most of the immediate family managed to be here for the memorial service.

Where do we get our strength?
From our family.

When are we strongest?
When we're together.

Although saddened by the loss, I believe most family and friends took some small comfort in knowing that Motherdear had lived a long full life and had been ready to go for some time.

Dellis and I went out to dinner that night with our two oldest children and our older daughter's fiance. We laughed and talked and enjoyed the comfort of each other's company.

It was after ten o'clock when we got home. Not particularly late, but it had been a long emotional day. We put the remains of dinner and dessert into the fridge and we were all headed to different parts of the house to turn in for the night. We turned off most of the lights in the house.

The home phone rang.

Dellis answered it.

She sat down.



The hospice care worker whom we had just met earlier that day (part of the service that had just started two days prior) informed Dellis that her mother had passed away within the last hour.


Dr. and Mr. Blaylock, Dellis and Andre Blaylock

You're right in thinking that being under home hospice care means that we knew Dellis' mother time with us was limited. It's just that the time of her passing wasn't expected so soon.

Certainly not n the same day as Motherdear's service.



Dellis' parents had been together for well over fifty years. The last several years have seen Dellis' father (Lorenzo Vernon Blaylock) caring for his wife and mother. The loss of both in such a short period of time is devastating to many, but particularly so to my father-in-law.

Devastating? That word seems to lose a lot of power because often it's used so casually.

I know exactly what the word means and trust me, it does apply.



I'm helping with the arrangements. I have some experience from when my brother passed away two years ago (has it been only two years?).

I'll be printing up some large photos of my mother-in-law and probably spending a lot of time over at Dellis' father's house to help with the many people dropping in to offer their condolences.

There has bee so much that has happened in the last week and I could do a whole monologue on the night she passed. I'm sorry that I don't have the time to write more.

It's not that any one of us are falling completely to pieces, but as you might expect we're all helping each other through by allowing ourselves the time to grieve and leaning on each other when (or if) that's what we need. That way no one person is alone or has to carry any part of the sadness by themselves.

The condolences and gestures by friends near and far are also very much appreciated.

So, in case you were wondering, that is how I'm doing.

Thanks for asking.
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Motherdear 1911-2009

The sadness just weighs me down and I feel like not being a part of everything, but that's not really an option.

My lovely wife Dellis' grandmother passed away Sunday night.  She was 98 years old.



Tomorrow we'll be attending a memorial service for her.  Tonight I'm wrapping up work on a DVD slideshow of old photographs.

Love the old photographs.



I spent a few hours yesterday sorting through stacks of albums and scanning pictures into my computer.

Anyway, that's what I've been doing the past couple of days.
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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Jazzy and Smoooooth

I'll tell you all about it later. Nice in spite of the June gloom.
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If You've Seen One Trade Show. . .

. . .well, you know.

Unless I'm assigned to cover it (again), I can't see myself going to the erotica trade show at the Los Angeles convention center this weekend. Okay, actually I can't see myself going and not getting into trouble with my lovely wife.

It's not like I really need to go. Trade shows are all pretty similar and I managed to squeeze in a quick run through the E3 expo held last week.



As you can see, I'm guessing some of the booth girls would likely be able to work both shows.



Other than the glasses, if there were any other differences they would have been much too subtle for me to notice.



I'm not even sure the scores of video game enthusiasts at E3 would have been able to tear themselves away from the new games long enough to notice anything.



Including the fact that there were girls in the room.

I might be stretching a little (it's been really a tough week), but I'm kind of thinking it doesn't really matter if the product is gaming or erotica, I believe the bottom line for any of these trade shows is all about selling a product.

You just have to decide if you want a side helping of pretense to go with it.

Hey, uh, you're just looking at the pictures aren't you?
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Monday, June 08, 2009

Go LAKERS!

I've been wanting to shoot the construction scaffolding enveloping the Theme Restaurant at LAX since it first went up many months ago.

I got a quick chance to fire off a shot last week while I was on a rare day shift assignment.



If you just woke up from suspended animation and didn't already know it, the Lakers are doing pretty well this year. Not caring much one way or the other, but always eager to see things for myself, I was happy to be part of the welcoming media out at LAX for the arrival of the NBA trophy.

No, I didn't get to go to the game. Plus, this was the middle of last week.

Anyway, Southwest Airlines was running the show. They gave us passes to get through the TSA security. I used to work for Duty Free out at LAX and back in the day, the terminals were pretty much wide open. You could just enter the terminal and wait for people to arrive or depart at the gates. Good times. We had to go through the whole scanning and metal detector process, just as if we were heading out on a flight (thanks again 9/11).



So, we gotr through security. I put my shoes back on and buckled my belt. We milled about the terminal for a while before they led us out onto the tarmac. The tarmac? Cool.

A Southwest jet arrived, decked out in NBA basketballsy arts and graphics.



We had a large group of LAX security and just plain employees who managed to form a crowd near the gate where the specially decked out plane pulled up to the gate.

Dave Malkoff and I were among the lucky Laker fans who got a close up view of the trophy.



. . .and also A. C. Green.



A. C. Green guided the plane into place next to the terminal, waving a couple of bright orange, oh, I dunno, guidey things. Not falshlights though, I'd have recognized flashlights. Anyway, it was just for fun. It did make for a nice bit of b-roll.

We like b-roll.



After a little bit more photo-op and autograph action, we took off from LAX and headed over to Staples Center where we cut a piece. Dave suggested we had time to cut a shorter (easier) VOSOT, but I convinced him we had time to edit a package.

We cut the piece. did the live shot and as a reward for our hard work and efficiency we got to hang around and do a live shot for the 5:00PM newscast.

(sigh.)

Hey, Monday! Come and get me!
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Thursday, June 04, 2009

I Thought I Mentioned This Already.

It's four o'clock in the morning and I need to go to bed, but I can't. Too much to do. Photos and picture projects don't (unfortunately) edit themselves.

The last few weeks have seen me putting a lot more of what I laughingly call my "free time" into working with my hobby/borderline unhealthy obsession with art and still photography.



Probably wouldn't be a problem if that were my only "thing". I also read and write and have been know (for five years and counting) to post up a blog.

Yup.

Sadly, the poor old blog hasn't been updated in over a week. Of course, it's not like I'm sitting on my comfy couch drinking a beer when I'm not at work.

Well, not this week at least.



I'm somewhat proud of the fact that my lovely wife and I managed to dash out and catch the tail end of the Culver City Art Walk this past weekend.

It's been a busy time for me, so I guess you could call this a part of my effort to live life to the fullest while stopping to smell the roses.



The Art Walk was fun. I would have been happier if there were more still photography exhibits, but that's just me.

I'm going to bed now. Very happy that I managed to string a few coherent words together and looking forward to another weekend filled with the possibility of more art and maybe even beer.

Goodnight. Wake me if any big news happens.
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