Posts Tagged ‘Chuck Patterson’

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|
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.


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.

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.



Tuesday, July 27th, 2010


It is always the scarcity of a thing which imparts value in the perception of a viewing public, so artists tend to withold showing too much of their hand at once.

I remember a photographer with whom I worked years ago, who would hoard his work, and release it one image at a time over the period of his career. His fame and fortune wound up being centered on approximately 9 great images.

I do not think he saw the time we are in coming, where with new tech, and refined approaches, a higher bar for acquisition and communication than ever before would be attained. He set limits on himself and the world of photography.

As I dove into the same field I annihilated those limits. Many have.

Seth Godin has something very succinct to say about limits in his Blog.

The following images are what I would consider to qualify as Golden images. Most were shot on one morning. The rest just happened to be on my desktop today.


Why settle?


Sunday, March 21st, 2010
Matillija Spring

Matillija Spring

I was cameraless this week. It was great. Sort of. Okay, maybe not completely cameraless. I still had four 35mm stills film bodies, three mini DV cameras, and five high speed film motion cameras, all sitting on the shelf, along with the water housings for those. But I loaned my Canon 5DM2 system out and sold my Rebel T1i, in preparation for buying the new RebelT2i. (Wow, that Rebel was so new it had only seen 3000 frames before the new one was released.)

Canon (along with Apple) has been blowing my mind the past few years. We spoke, they obviously listened.  The application of technology and digital imaging, has created the ability to produce massive amounts of content. But this creates some big questions:

Where does that content go? What makes yours special? Does your content meet that unspoken, and often unseen bar of international standards?

A career is a function of time. Effort is applied and what comes out these days, is useable digital content-data. You can convert that pliable data into a variety of projects in short order.

I had an e mail tet a tet with photographer Brian Nevins this week about post production. Brian and I both share a bar that is similar for our work and subjects. “Hey Brian, how is your post production list looking?” Answer:“Oh hopeless. I just seem to keep getting further behind.” We cyber groaned in unison.

Right now, I have 7 stills shoots and 6 motion picture projects, in various stages of post production. More work is being thrown my way daily. I must be very careful, or I will find myself homeless with probably one of the most phenomenal collections of stills and motion imagery that I could ever imagine.

Why? Production is shifting. Usages are changing. Now, more than any time in History, publishing is having a demand to screen content placed upon it, that is heavier than ever. Everyone who owns a camera is a “photographer” and those voices, they all scream out “Look at me”, often without really knowing that, um, maybe you may not want to do that.

Of course some get through on occasion, by virtue of salesmanship and persistence. You can see some amazingly low bar crap go to print, web, TV, Theater or Gallery. But over all, the access to the market that the web affords and which shifts in demand have created, offers the potential to embarrass one’s self globally in a very short period of time. But what this also does, is make the truly great work stand out. A lot is on the line for publishers these days as many companies teeter. Edit staff can annihilate a publication’s value in a very short period of time.

The market is not stupid, though it can be naive. It self levels.

Authenticity, now more than ever, is the most valuable of commodities, along with content quality and validity.

Seth Godin writes here about the slush pile. That great pool of self spawned, unsolicited content. It is one of the better things I have read about being a creative, as it describes a bar, direction and potentiality measure, for content creators.

So back to my post production I go. 60 hours down this week, in front of the large 32” monitor I use. The surf was pumping. Offshore and warm. Spring has arrived overnight. Weird yet perfect for us, as this weather and swell combination combination rarely occurs this time of year. I got six calls to shoot the last few days, and wanted to.

“Sorry I loaned my cameras out” was my soft answer. Clickety clack goes the keyboard. “Save as” was selected in Photoshop about 1500 times and “Render” hit, in Final Cut, a lot. Whew. Life choices in the click of a mouse.

Here is a  piece of music which a close friend sent along. The message in it struck a deep chord with me. Southern Cross. If you read through the gallery descriptions, you may figure it out. It is descriptive of our lives, she and I. It may be said of many whose lives tie to the sea.  I cherish my friends.

The gallery below is illustrative of Spring, Diversity, and Authenticity. Click on the images for a larger view and description, if you like.

Swell Five and the Marathon Man

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Frame 1 Day 2

It was o dark thirty on the second day of swell event number five on the Gold Coast, in the middle of the El Nino 2009-2010 season. I was gingerly working my way down the spiral stairway which leads down from the aerie which is the loft bedroom that overlooks one of the beaches I shoot all of the time. Under my left arm was my Macbook Pro. In my right hand my cel phone. Quietly, carefully, I padded down the bamboo shod steps, and my right hand exploded in song.

Deftly I snapped the cel phone open. Chuck Patterson was on the line. “Hey Dave, headed your way. Whatcha doing?” I knew that it was cloudy out, having peered at the sky already, but knowing Chuck had already likely left home in OC very early, my answer was predictable: “Um, meeting you?”

By the time  I reached the kitchen, we had arranged a meeting place. In ten minutes I was in the car, a cup of coffee in my hand and full camera kit stowed. As the car rumbled to life the sexy female voice that is my bluetooth, told me I had another incoming call: Lars Rathje. Overhead the ominous dark clouds began to be tinged with the grey tone of an impending dawn, still an hour away. Well, looks like a crew shoot, I thought. Wonder what the day would offer?

The prior day had been grey with soft flat lighting and a beautiful 4-6 foot WNW swell. Looked like more of the same, except that swell on the buoys was a little bit larger.

Twenty minutes later, saw us all gathered under a brightening dawn sky. Chuck’s big ass truck, chock full of his water toy-tool collection was already waiting in the parking lot of a place we hoped to shoot. He was on the phone, so I meandered out and had a look. Hmm. 3-4 footers peaked and the wind looked to be slightly side shore. An indicator at this time of year, that the day would be Santa Ana. I knew that we would need to look around, to find a more suitable wave.

Chuck joined me, and nonchalantly mentioned that he had gotten off a boat at 3 am. He had been out at Cortes Bank. Said that it had been fun. Interesting. But we were focused. As Lars, Hans and a friend showed up, we all had a quick look, and before the sun was risen, were on our way out of the parking lot. The Chase had begun.

An hour later, having checked a few places, we wound up down the street from my house. Crisp edged blue lines strode down a long point, brushed by a 10 knot, cool offshore wind. My phone had been going off the entire time with messages from Tyler Chandler. Tyler is a budding 16 year old photographer. He and I had been having a tet a tet online for some months. He was camping nearby with his parents for the holidays, as his Dad commuted up to Santa Barbara for work. I told him where we would be, and he walked on down from their campsite.

I opted to long lens, as I had a lot of people to shoot, sans tripod. Hand holding my big Canon 600mm IS lens is not something I often do, but this spot is right on the freeway. It was empty and I did not particularly want to advertise what we were doing, and ruin the session for the few knowledgeable people that would show. But Tyler found me immediately, and we chatted, as I tutored on the nuances of our craft.

He and I clicked away, and frequently changed position as the boys drove through some spinning barrels at mach speed. It was perfect. And challenging. Chuck had opted to SUP the place on his 8’6″ Hobie stinger Quad. The boys were short boarding, their friend was body boarding. A few other people were scattered on the point.

Pretty amazing that Chuck could even stand, having just completed what I knew from personal experience, to be an incredible marathon out to Cortes. He had taken an 11 foot SUP to the wave. Chuck is a tripper. An elite athlete in so many sports, that it is sort of mind blowing. He is one of my favorite subjects due to his savvy and yet easy going nature. We have spent some amazing times together around the world. Here we were again, scoring within eyeshot of my house.

A few hours later, we grabbed a late breakfast at Cajun Kitchen in Downtown Ventura and after, headed immediately South in what had become a bluebird 75 degree Santa Ana day. A check of an infrequently surfed mysto spot, saw it vacant and somewhat fickle at 3-4 feet. Before I knew it, the boys had scrambled down the cliff and I struggled to catch up, as loading a water housing and getting into my 5  mil wetsuit, takes a little time.

This particular wave washes up a cliff and sends a backwash wave immediately out to sea, which sweeps sideways across the next, incoming blue sparkler. It is a high degree of difficulty wave to surf. Yet Chuck was somehow managing to stay astride his SUP board. I am sure he was the first to ride it on that sort of craft. Hmm, I pondered, as I slipped over the boulders, and out through the shore pound: two firsts for Chuck in 24 hours: Cortes, here.

It is complex pioneering a new sport. SUP is so young that it has not yet found stasis amongst the ocean going community. Many people hate the big boards. In similar fashion to what occurred with the advent of the birth of modern longboarding, there is extreme resistance and punishment aimed at its proponents. But people like Chuck are rare in any sport. He is so level, so polite. He reminds me a lot of Garrett MacNamara in his exercise of restraint when SUP surfing a break. As senior watermen, they have it down, and are diametrically opposite of the more novice surfers who use the board’s superior paddling power to dominate a break.

We picked off a few good ones, surfing alone for an hour and a half, before Fred Viela and Jake Kelley showed up. There not really being room for all of us, we opted to reliquish the wave to them as we had already gotten a good turn. I grabbed a couple images of the two before we left. I like the fact that Fred and I always seem to be in synch. I was stoked to get an image of him at his home break.

As the day waxed long, and afternoon waned, we all found ourselves at another seldom surfed, fickle spot. It was 3 PM and we had been going since 6 am. But Chuck he had been going since the day before. Hans and Lars opted out of the third surf and we said our goodbyes. Happy boys.

Chuck and I lolly gagged, hemming and hawing about whether we would shoot, in spite of seeing some really good, oily glass, golden green waves, roll perfectly through. A smallish group of guys plied the break. But off to the side, we kept seeing a  solitary peak pop up.

It hit us both simultaneously. The realization. We both saw the light go on and grinned. “What are we doing? You are here, I am here. Lets do it!” And we laughed. I hand held the 600 again, as I perched in the  rocky blind of a jetty that lay below Coast Hwy 1, and Chuck put on an amazing display of balls out SUP, alone on one of the more beautiful days that we will see this year.

Then up the beach as the light waned, I saw it. A beaut of a backlit swell, wandering into the reef, where a solo surfer paddled for it. I trained my lens on the surfer, as he dropped in and stumbled to his feet somewhat clumsily. Three frames clicked off as he slid through the barrel. Perfect. In many ways.

In surfing, many of us strive to be what we consider best, We do exploits which increase in difficulty as the years go by. Here was Chuck, a best case example of a waterman, surfing alone, while someone with  a  fraction of his ability, scored the wave, and likely shot, of the day.  I say that because I know that the wobbly surfer’s wave was obviously a peak moment. A high. While Chuck was just playing. It was the rarest of the emerald gems collected on that day as a result.

As sun set, and darkness settled, a dramatic frontal band darkened the horizon. Chuck and I parted. He to his wife, and me to a birthday party that my girlfriend Donna had organized for me. A long day, a good day. As the car’s turbo spooled and I swung into the sweeping turns up Coast highway, it occurred to me how blessed that I was. My friends define me. I am so lucky that they call.

That night, 60 or so, gathered at my house. An amazing collective of some of the most talented people I have ever seen gathered in one place.

Marathons can be a good thing.

You can find an account of Chuck’s excursion to Cortes at Hobie, right here. and on Chuck’s blog here.

Seth Godin has some interesting observations pertinent to this blog and our lives and careers here.

Donna Von Hoesslin posts something beautiful about the New Year, on the Betty Blog here.

On this eve of the start of a new decade, it is not just a wish for a happy New Year I offer, but one of encouragement, and a challenge to include yourself and your own talents in what goes on within your own community, what ever, and where ever, those may be.

Here is something sweet, sent along by Suzi Ryder. Well done!

Below is that sole surfer’s great wave and image.

Sole Peak Moment

Click on any images in the gallery below, for a larger view. 56 of 250 images from the final file.

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.