Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Rubicon Trail

When you own a Jeep and like to go off road, there is one place in the United States that is considered to be the Mecca of 4WD off roading. This Mecca is called the Rubicon Trail. I have always wanted to take my Jeep on the Rubicon, but you really can't do that without investing about $4000.00 into upgrades like a lift kit of about 3-4 inches, and 33-35 inch tires.
The entrance to the trailhead is about an hour and a half from my house, so today, Allen and I decided to at least go up to where it starts and explore a little.
The trip up there is just gorgeous! We stopped at a lake called Stumpy Meadows on the way and hung out with some real Jeeper dudes for a while and admired their Customized Jeeps.

Big Jeep 3

Big Jeep 2

Big Jeep 1

Big Jeep 5

Once we got up to the Trail head, there was a HUGE... and I mean HUGGGGGEEEEE Slab of granite. I got to drive the Jeep around and 4-wheel a bit. It was truly a great time, and now I just want to go out and lift the jeep and spend $30,000 and make it the rock crawler of the century. Back to reality Steve. It was really fun though.

Jeepn 2.

Jeepn 3


Jeepn 4

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fun Fun Fun

When I made the deal with Abby at Ab's Bar, I agreed to shoot the exterior of the place once he got the city permits and his signs mounted on the building.
I stopped by yesterday and the sign guys were about halfway done with the project. They were using a big old cherry picker style lift and I told Abby to talk to them about getting me up in the lift to shoot this photo.

Abby talked them into leaving the keys for the lift and then called me and told me it was all mine!
It was crazy fun driving around the parking lot 40 feet in the air and the angles I was able to get were so much better than just shooting it from the ground.
Abs Exterior 365-141

Here is a shot of me in the lift getting ready to shoot courtesy of Allen who was on ground support duty.. blocking traffic as I drove around like a mad man
Steve in the Lift

Friday, May 22, 2009

stupid stupid stupid

Today's adventure ended with the battery in the Jeep going dead after I left the headlights on while I spent a couple of hours in one of my clients restaurants. Fortunately, it was right across the street from my house, so it was not really a big deal.

Jeep battery

Monday, May 18, 2009

Back in Folsom

Today I woke up around 8:00 am feeling much better than I had anticipated I would have after flying around the clock from Brussels. I went down to The Cellar Wine and Cheese bar and helped them out with a little bit of Website updates and then created a postcard for them. It was a fun day and nice to be back in the swing of building my local photography and web business.
Tomorrow I am going to attempt to chase down the regional manager of Streets of London pub and arrange to shoot photos of the three pubs that they own.
Here is a capture of the Cellar's main page

Picture 3

and the postcard
The Cellar 15% off Post Card 365-132

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I am home in California and thought I would recap the last couple of days.

The show went really well on Friday. Horst and I work together very well, and it was fun to work with him.
We were both doing really well until the breakout sessions in the afternoon. Then it was really hard to stay awake.
I would be on the verge of falling asleep and would stand up and hope that it would fix the problem, and then I would find myself falling asleep while standing there. It was really brutal, but we made it through and loaded out the equipment and then had a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant in the square.

The next morning we took a cab over to the Antwerp Central train station and got on a 7:47 am train to Brugge, Bruges Bruge, or Brugges. We have not figured out the official spelling. Apparently, Brugge is the Flemish way to spell it, so thats what I am going for.

About an hour and 20 minutes later we landed in Brugge, and took a bus to the downtown area. Brugge is such a cool place. It is one city that was not bombed out, and it is just gorgeous.
We wandered the streets, and took tons of photos. It started to rain, so we ducked into a little cafe and had some coffee, and cokes.
I strolled across the street to a little store and bought an umbrella. Then everyone else wanted one as well, so we all got hooked up with cheap umbrellas just in time for the rain to stop.

We bumped into a shop that sold gifts and accessories and it was called "LaRose"

Check out this shot larger

We walked around further and found another restaurant and all decided that we wanted to get lunch. The place we ate at was really great. I had Mussels and Filet Mignon. It was pretty good living!

After lunch, we were all starting to fade a bit. The jet lagg was starting to creep up again, as well as the stress from the week, and we decided to take a canal ride.
The ride was really fun and we got to see a very different view of Brugge. After the ride, it started to rain like cats and dogs. So, the umbrellas worked out perfect.

We hopped on the train and everyone passed out on the way back to Antwerp. Once we got to the train station we shot some more photos of the station, and then we went to Ricks hotel for a drink.

It felt as though it was about 5:30 pm, but really it was about 9:00 pm so, we called it a night and headed back to our hotel.

All in all, Brugge was amazing! I want to go back someday and shoot more photos when it is sunny.
I hope you enjoy the ones I captured.

The plane ride home today was uneventful and went pretty smoothly. I am not sure I could have handled another ride like the one on the way out there without going postal on someone.

The Plane 365-131

Friday, May 15, 2009

Where to Start?

It has been quite a whirlwind trip so far. I have barely even turned on my computer since we left Sacramento. It is pretty refreshing to be doing something other than sitting on the Macbook Pro all day.

Allen and I left Sacramento on a 9:00 am flight to Philadelphia where we met up with Tina, and had ourselves a good ole Philly Cheese steak in the airport. we changed some dollars into Euros, and then hopped on a plane heading to Brussels.

Since the economy has turned, there is not a lot of money in budgets to fly business class. or sometimes even on your preferred airline. So, this trip we flew US Airways in coach. As I walked down the aisle, I saw a family sitting in the row behind us with two small children. Not so small that they couldn't behave mind you, but small nonetheless.
It all started almost immediately. The kicking of the back of our seats, the kids would take down the table tray attached to our seats and pound it with their hands, and the parents just let them do whatever they wanted.

We took off, and I thought for sure it would settle down. I was so wrong.
To make a very long story short, these kids kicked, yelled, pounded, and pretty much disturbed everyone around us, for 6 hours and 51 minutes. It was truly awful.

I decided that I am going to have a platoon of kids, and as they grow up, I am going to train them like navy seals. Their entire lives are going to be based around tracking this family down, following them and flying in the seats behind them every time they fly and making them as miserable as they made us on this flight.
They will meet each other before every flight and say things like "we take this flight to kick their seats and avenge our father"
This will go on for many generations and build to a point that they will have the Steve LaRose World Avenger Organization.

I now have that off my chest. (not entirely though)

We arrived in Brussels, and grabbed our luggage, thankfully no problems there, and the driver was also there to meet us. About an hour later, we were pulling into Antwerp, which has turned out to be a very cozy little city filled with outdoor cafes, and beautiful architecture. I met Rick and we walked around and shot some pictures. The weather hasn't been super great, but it has been warm.
We had a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant called Da Giovanni, and went to bed around 11:00 pm. I slept like a baby. It was wonderful sleep. The kind of sleep that when you wake up, you are surprised at how deep you slept.

Here are a few photos from the first day's walk around town. I have more, but haven't had a chance to process them yet.

Antwerp City Hall 365-128

Crucifix with Clouds

Antwerp Cathedral a

Antwerp Kathedral 2

Thursday we spent the entire day setting up the ballroom. which is a very large room. The story has been told to us that the building that the hotel is in, was a department store many years ago, and the Ballroom was the Toy department. It is a very pretty room, however it is pretty cavernous and makes my job as the audio guy very difficult.
Belle epoque

We finished the set up and were waiting around for presenters to show up and rehearse their presentations. About 9:00 pm, it started to rain, and you could hear it landing on the tin roof that covered the ballroom. We decided to call it a night, and Andrea, went back stage to look for something. She came out kinda frantic, and called Horst over to the backstage area.
Horst came out front a few minutes later and told me that we had a waterfall backstage.
Horst and I joke a lot. I mean a WHOLE lot. We take the job seriously, but we have a ton of fun while we are doing it. I decided to walk back stage and see what Horst was talking about, and as I was walking that direction, I saw frantic hotel staff running towards the area. Then I saw a hotel guy running as he was pushing a dumpster sized bin towards the area. Uh oh.. that can't be good.
As I got closer, about 75 feet away, I could hear what sounded like a rushing river of water. It was incredibly loud and it was pouring out of the wall right next to the hotel's electrical panel, which, by the way, is feeding electricity to our entire show. Andrea was standing on her tip toes on the dumpster, with a roll of Gaffers tape on her arm, covered in the torrent of water that was pouring out of the wall. She was putting up plastic to divert the flow of water into the dumpster and basically saving the day. The hotel staff were trying to help, but she was the supergirl of the day.
In the middle of the mayhem, I just had to capture a little bit of it on video. Click below to see the newest water feature at the Hilton Antwerp.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A really fun gig

My friend Louie over at the coffee shop recommended me to the owner of a comedy club in Old Sacramento.
I was excited about this for two reasons. The first being, a new client pretty much just handed to me, and the Second reason is that this is my first restaurant in Sacramento. I have been getting close to hitting the Downtown Sac restaurants, but just hadn't gone there yet.

I made arrangements to go down to the club yesterday. They opened at 1:00 pm and the show started at 8:00 pm.
Fortunately, there were not many people at the bar when I arrived there, so I was able to work around them and shoot the place during business hours.
After shooting and processing about 8 photos, I then had to wait till almost 8:00 pm for the owner to arrive. Allen was driving a Limo gig, and he had dropped his clients off at their destination, so, he told me he was going to pick me up.

I went outside and this huge white limo arrived. It was kinda fun. Who would have thought I would get limo service to get a slice of pizza?

I went back to the club just as the show was about to start and met the owner, he was really cool. I showed him the images I had created of his place and he loved them.
I agreed to go into the show room and shoot some more during the show, and even though it was almost black in the audience area, I was able to get a pretty cool shot (after a ton of photoshop magic) which pretty much sealed the deal with Steve.

I shot about 300 photos of the comedians and burned them on to CD's for them to take with them. One of the comedians Vince Morris told me he would using them on his new website. It was a fun night, and Vince even slipped me some extra cash for shooting him and giving him the images.

All in all, it was a very successful day. One that I really didn't expect, so that is always a good thing. I got some more experience shooting a different genre of photography made some money, and met some cool new people.

I passed out about 10 business cards, and made a contact with a lady who promotes a roller skating rink. She said she would be calling me about shooting that.
I will stop babbling and here are the images from yesterday.

Laughs Wide Shot

Laughs Showroom

Laughs Lounge

The Show

Friday, May 8, 2009

A little catch up on the old blog

So, life in the corporate theater has been slow. It has now turned into, try to keep busy doing something, and maybe make a little coin along the way. So, here is what has been going on in my world.

After Easy's Memorial Service, I processed the shots that I took of Bev, her daughter and son. Here are a couple of those.
Bev and Ryan


EZ's Flag copy

I met with Bev and Lisa on Wednesday and gave them copies of the photos, and laughed a bit, listened a lot, and just let them talk about how much they missed Easy and how they were coping with everything. We went to KFC and got some free chicken dinners courtesy of Oprah, and her coupons. It was really nice to connect with these people.

I sold a photo of Paris at the coffee shop about 2 days after I put it up, so that was very exciting. This is the shot.
\Paris City Shot 4.jpg

Louie the owner of the coffee shop called me and told me about a guy who owns a high end auto shop. Louie wasn't sure exactly what was needed, but he told me that the guy was interested. I went over and talked to him about photography and he wanted some stuff to hang on his walls in the waiting room.

We talked a bit more and I ended up shoot one of his client's cars. It was a classic Porche 911 Targa. The shots came out really cool, and I got paid for them. So, that was a really good surprise. The owner Rafael said that he would have some more projects for me in the next couple of weeks.

Porche 8

Porche 3

Porche 2

Tuesday I am heading to Antwerp Belgium through Sunday. I am excited to get out there and do some work, as well as maybe have an opportunity to take some cool photos!

I also built a website for The Cellar Wine and Cheese bar last week. It came out quite nicely and they were very happy.
You can check it out at:

I also met the owner of a classic Cobra at Mooneys this week and after chatting with him, he said that he wanted me to shoot his car collection, which consists of the Cobra, a 1957 T-bird, a 1960's Pontiac GTO, and a classic Harley Davidson Shovelhead.

To wrap up my little update, I am supposed to shoot a 2009 Corvette tomorrow if the weather holds out, and the guy who owns this is the guy who bought two of my images from the coffee shop. He also sings in a choir for a church in Sacramento and has talked to the Director there about having me shoot the choir.

So, all in all, I have been keep busy with a lot of little things which is better then being completely bored in between shows.
Thats all for now. Thanks for reading!