PHOTOGRAPHS & WORDS THAT CAPTURE THE EXPERIENCE OF CALIFORNIA
The Adventures of a Book Photographer: I've been very fortunate over the last decade to photograph for a number of books on California. I received my first book contract to photograph for The California Coast in 2000, a year after my son was born. Just before I was to start shooting for the book, I ripped my knee out of the socket. I shot most of the book hobbling in a semi-crippled fashion. I learned two very important facts while shooting this book: First, walking on soft sand or rocky beaches is extremely uncomfortable without any support from your knee muscles. Second, it is so NOT COOL to skip like a school-girl on a Navy Submarine Dock because you're in a hurry and physically unable to run.
In 2003, I was assigned to photograph the book, Our San Francisco. I loved being able to be in the city shooting a sunrise, then commute back home to the East Bay while everyone else was driving into the city to begin their work day.
That same year I was referred to a publisher who wanted to know if I had a lot of Yosemite photos. I said, "Why yes, I do." Three weeks later I submitted slides from my existing collection for what would become the book, Yosemite & The Eastern Sierra. I was slightly disappointed I didn't get a chance to make any new images for the book. However, the publisher did such a nice job with printing all of the images, I quickly forgot about any disappointment.
In 2004, I was was contracted to photograph for the book, Backroads of the California Wine Country. I was delighted with the chance to capture images of vineyards & wineries. However, by the end of my second shoot, I was concerned that almost every vineyard shoot would be green & blue (sky). It became quite the challenge to seek out scenes that had other colors to keep the book vibrant. After my last extended two week shoot for the book, I dropped of 120 rolls of film at my lab for processing. Shortly thereafter, I got a call from the lab tech saying, "Dude.... there's something wrong with your camera." More than 4o rolls of film were completely black. It turned out that my camera shutter wasn't opening, though by all other sounds and clicks, my camera seemed from the outside to be operating perfectly fine. I thought that I'd miss my deadine with all that lost coverage. However, I decided to repeat the trip, re-covering two weeks time in less than five days. It's much easier to shoot something when you know exactly where you went the first time around.
In 2007 I was shooting for the book, Backroads of the California Coast. After turning in all of the material, the publisher decided to change the book format from a coffee-table style to a mid-sized paperback travel guide-style. I was doubtful at first, thinking the downsizing was due in part to the downturn in the economy. Tthe publisher insisted it wasn't. But when I saw how beautifully printed and how well the new format worked, I was the first in line to eat my own words, and to date it is one of my favorite books.
In 2009 I was enroute to the first shoot for a new book project called, California: Yesterday & Today when I fell off a cliff, breaking my wrist and spending a week in a hospital for a head injury. After months of recovery, I wound up completing a year long project in a matter of months. Again, after turning in all the material to the publisher, I was informed that they decided to completely repackage the entire project, taking it away from a strict 'then & now' concept, and reformatting into a scrapbook style book, now called Greetings from California; Legends, Landmarks, and Lore from the Golden State. Again, I was dubious & doubtful. But when I saw the new layout, I was completely blown away and excited. It is now such a more lively and fun looking book.
My latest book, published in late 2012 is Photographing California; Vol. 1 - North for Graphie International Press. Stay tuned for more information about this book, or better yet, subscribe to my Newsletter to receive the most up to date about this and other projects.