Posts Tagged ‘Lars Rathje’

A California Opus

Saturday, July 9th, 2011
Napa Orange Gold

Napa Orange Gold

Chapter 5 in the California Series.

I have not always lived in California. My Dad was going to college on the GI Bill in Milwaukee Wisconsin, at Marquette University. I had never asked him why, being from Hawaii, he chose the Mid West. He met my Mother there. That was where my two Brothers and I were born.

We were sick a lot as infants. The family pediatrician had told my parents that our Hawaiian genetics may have been to blame, as we did not tolerate the cold of  hard, Midwestern Winter very well. In fact, I ended up in the hospital. I remember the experience vividly. It was a bleak time of laying in an oxygen tent in a ward, and staring out a third floor hospital window, looking at the City, watching.

Eventually, the family moved to California where my Father explored his career as an Engineer. My parents bought a home in Whittier California.  The design of the first computer, as well as launch of the Space program, became a regular part of our household, via my Dad’s work.

In some ways, we were healthier in the warmer climate of California. However, a problem arose. I developed allergies. Those caused a lack of energy, and attendant respiratory problems. I began getting injections twice a month (one in each arm), which helped alleviate the symptoms. I still get a phantom muscle ache, when I think about those shots.

I recall days where one could not see the nearby foothills, which created the basin in which Whittier is located, such was the density of the smog prevalent in California in the 1960’s. It had been around this time that the massive citrus groves disappeared from the area, being replaced by housing tracts and strip malls. Part of a methodical, concreting over of the Los Angeles area.

I was already a swimmer at this point, having learned to bodysurf, ride foamies, and inflatable mats, at the beaches in and around Newport, Huntington, Palos Verdes and South Bay. I swam for a local AAU team. But those allergies were a persistent problem. The only time I had true respite, was when we were at the beach.

Due to my diminutive size, and sort of sickly nature, my parents decided that I needed to wait to get a surfboard. By this point, it had been a topic of discussion for a couple years. But my water activities, which included fishing and diving, kept me pretty busy.

I craved those idyllic long days at the beach. I have fond memories of ten hour days in the water,  a piece of chicken, or a few rice balls, snatched on the run, from the picnic lunch my Mom would have made, very early that morning, as she loaded up the white 1955 Chevy wagon, for the long (to me) drive to the beach. I had fallen for California.

Timeline

Timeline

(more…)

Two

Monday, February 7th, 2011
Dash

Dash

This is the second installment in this series on many loves. It is about Surfing.

Not many people know exactly why they surf. It just is what they do.

Point of view

Point of view

Surfing  gives a lot to the participant. It often gets to the point of  seeming to be a greedy avocation. The more you get, the better you become at it, the more that it drives you.

I have surfed all of my life. My Dad tossed me in a pool at 4. I swam. He then taught me to bodysurf. I never looked back. Only forward. It is still that way today for me. Indeed, for many of us. Surfing teaches one to look down the line. It can also bestow a certain level of gratitude, that sadly is often lacking in our culture today.

Sublime

Sublime

Not many people know these two things about me:

I have always been a surfboard builder. It is a part of my heritage. I have built close to 40,000 of them in my life. I have hand shaped 15, 999.

I did a surf and weather report on local radio in Santa Barbara for almost 15 years. Rising at 4:30-5 am each day I would do my weather work up, check the surf, and was a part of a live morning radio show. It was fairly common for me to phone the report in from my shaping room in downtown Santa Barbara. I did this at approx 7:20 am each day. Five and sometimes six days a week.

That is a lot of surfboards. And those were a lot of reports.

I did them both for the same reason:

To put something back in to the sport that gave me so much. It was about gratitude. It was about commitment. I do not know how much it mattered in the long run to anyone else, but it mattered to me. Because if surfing and the ocean benefited me, it could positively affect a  culture, and my community.

I am just wrapping my seasonal surf work. I have never produced so much high bar imagery in a series of 27 days swimming with a camera. The Gold Coast, where I live, that stretch of shore that extends from Gaviota to the Los Angeles County Line, has offered up water and weather conditions that were so pristine,  I set a new bar for my surf work.

I have a new editor at Corbis Images. It should be interesting to see if she gets this. Funny thing about raising the bar: you can never lower it.

Pristine

Pristine

It used to be considered common knowledge that you had to leave here to do high bar work. Hawaii, Indian Ocean, anyplace but here. I have proved that it is just the opposite. There is a reason I call my coastline Golden. It really is.

Seth Godin has this to say about where we live and work.

I have again, been amazed at how alive my stretch of ocean is. The number of sharks, seals, dolphins, bait balls, fish, pelicans and other sea birds I have seen is astounding.

The surfers who I have worked closely with the last month are:

Larry Ugale, Lars Rathje, Hans Rathje, Ted Reckas, Jeanette Ortiz, Sierra Partridge, Donna Von Hoesslin, Dean Hotchkins, Chris Vail, Sam Witmer.

The gallery below is a teensy slice of over 500 new works. Short boarding, long boarding, body surfing, skim boarding, SUP riding. Hope that it inspires you. Click on any of the images to toggle through as a slide show.

Everything was shot on the Canon 5D Mark 2 system and has companion motion picture to go with it.

Sliding into 2011: Year in Pictures

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Golden Reflection

Golden Reflections

This link is to a new piece by Zuri Star called Keep Holding on. It fits the New Year quite well.

It seems that all around us this past year there was friction. In fact, I found myself enmeshed in three massive battles, all at the same time. I did not author those. I simply said “no” to three entities I saw as abusive of my fellow man, community and Ocean Environment.

friction |ˈfrik sh ən|
noun
the resistance that one surface or object encounters when moving over another : a lubrication system that reduces friction.
• the action of one surface or object rubbing against another : the friction of braking.
• conflict or animosity caused by a clash of wills, temperaments, or opinions : a considerable amount of friction between father and son.

So as we close out 2010 here are a few things to lubricate the road ahead.

A fantastic treatise on “love”, from the eyes of babes.

How to change the world completely, one girl at a time: The Girl Effect.

Beauty that matters. Sent along by Fernando Ismerio. A stunning high speed (slow motion) look at the oceans.

Seth Godin on 2011

Best to use lubrication when you have something big to move.

Because as it stands, anything worth attaining must overcome the things that impede progress and the only lubricant that sustains that in our lives is love.

Perfect love casts out all fear. (John 4:18) Fear is a mind killer

Easily said.

Lubricate.

Do it.

The images below are a small selection that are my Year in Pictures gallery. Click on any of them to toggle through as a slide show. I am stunned at what I managed to produce in motion and in stills with the Canon 5d Mark 2 system. 3 Music videos. 2 reality show teasers. 6 commercial Photography campaigns. 18 editorial features, and a book and six covers. Then there is all the random wonderfulness below.

Fall

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
Deniece: Rosses Cove. Gratitude

Deniece: Rosses Cove. Gratitude

We don’t get seasons here in California in the classic sense, where each turn of the page has a huge and definite tone, as in latitudes further North or South. But in spite of a more balmy and temperate nature, we have certain aspects that Californians come to expect, each Fall.

As the artist Robb Havassy and I sat with long time waterman, fisherman, and surfboard industry icon Reynolds Yater recently, I thought to ask Rennie about this Fall and whether he had ever seen anything like it? His answer? “Never” That said a lot to me.

Maverick's: Big Winter Swell, in Fall

Maverick's: Big Winter Swell, in Fall

Weather is one of those things that most surfers are very in tune with. Rennie is actually an historic template for how we all are, having lived his life and been successful by virtue of his ability to read weather. I am no exception. What I learned as a surfer enables me to continually be in the right place and time to meet the collision of good weather conditions, tides and swell which make for that rare thing for surfers: The Perfect Day.

It is now a perpetual source of glee for me that I can carry a camera in my work, and when special moments occur, I am able to bring back more that just a great surf story. I recount critical junctions of time where unique things occur at the hand of nature, and when some one is right there in the midst, being a part of the vista, even better. We need that in a culture that seems to have become quite removed from our place in Creation. It is a reset button of sorts.

Bald Eagle: Unlikely Place and Season.

Bald Eagle: Unlikely Place and Season.

We have seen massive shifts in weather this year, no doubt due in large part to some cataclysmic Volcanic activity. Meteorologists had taken note of a La Nina Weather pattern which is indicative of cooler Equatorial water temperatures and the fact that this typically means a dry season for us here in California.

Two Trees Fire Storm

Two Trees Fire Storm

But instead, this Fall has offered a procession of majestic storms, weird weather phenomenons, all following the coldest Summer in recent History. The Fall wound up giving us heavy rainfall, wild swinging weather which went from scorching heat back to winter like conditions, and for Surfers and water folk, a real sensation of delight from time to time as things were, well, perfect.

This season so far, I have experienced an incredibly alive ocean. A massive swell at Mavericks, and multiple perfect days, all inter spliced between dramatic bouts of weather.

Jentry Huntington: Fall Dance

Jentry Huntington: Fall Dance

So here is the evidence. These are a few of the images from Fall 2010. All captured on the Canon 5D Mark 2 system. Small samples of a massive amount of motion and stills work produced in harmony with one remarkably unique Fall.

Nathaniel Curran

Nathaniel Curran

Go get some. It’s free! So are you.

Non Artistic Interpretation

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

It was only a year or two ago, when I realized that I am an “artist”.

At a very young age I painted. My Father and Uncle were both painters. So as any child would, I simply took for granted that painting and drawing were normal endeavors.

At 12 I had learned Photography and studied Philosophy. It was what was going on around me, and being inquisitive, I learned.

So does a bird realize it is a bird? Of course, flying would not be so special to him. But to someone without wings, oh to soar!

I had a request this week for a look at a year’s worth of work. I put together an edit cull of an approximate 1 year cross section of subjects. This required me, for the sake of brevity, to eliminate motion and all work shot, but not through, final post production, from being placed into my edit list.

Keep in mind, that this modus eliminated twenty or so projects. (I shoot a large number of subjects in a year.)

When the cull was complete, the Art aspect  of the year’s work flow really struck me.

I had no conscious thought while I was working, that anything about what I was shooting was quite so special. Many years ago, a commercial photography colleague told me that I would have to choose between being a businessman, or an artist, in my imaging career.

Today, I am not so sure one has much of a choice about what to be. As many children of the fifties learned while watching the cartoon Popeye growing up, when he would say nearly every episode: “I am what I am.” Sometimes it is best for efficiency and happiness’ sake,  to embrace that sooner, rather than later.

Seth Godin has this to say about Art. He nails it (as usual).

Excerpted from Seth’s A-Z blogpost on Aug 1, 2010: A is for Artist: An artist is someone who brings humanity to a problem, who changes someone else for the better, who does work that can’t be written down in a manual. Art is not about oil painting, it’s about bringing creativity and insight to work, instead of choosing to be a compliant cog. (from Linchpin).

Time to fly.

Always.

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.

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