sidekick to josemandojana.com
August 21st, 2014

shyam gollakota for mit tech review

Shyam is currently working on a project that will power  wireless devices without batteries. You can read about his inventions here.

 

 

 

August 21st, 2014

tourist in my own town for wsj

It’s always fun to get to make travel images in Seattle because it’s a good reminder of what an amazing city I live in.  Thanks to Ryan at the WSJ for the opportunity! There’s also a gallery with more of the images here.

July 8th, 2014

sunset cover + cascades hwy feature part 2

If you missed part 1,  you can view it here.

On day 2,  we hiked to Blue Lake.  While the trail to the lake was pretty easy compared to the work we had put in the day before,  I wasn’t satisfied with the straight on view where the trail ends.

What ensued was a long scramble up loose rocks (pictured above).

The payoff was well worth it. It definitely provided a different perspective that highlights the landscape and the color of the water.

Post hike dip.

Colors + textures.

Our lodging for the last two nights was outside of Winthrop at the Sun Mountain Lodge.  This is the view heading up to the resort.  WA state always finds a way to impress me.

The main pool at the lodge. It has an amazing view of the valley and Cascades.

Aside from pools, mtn biking, and hiking,  the lodge is most well known for their ranch and horses.

You can go on guided tours or ride a wagon to a campfire lunch/dinner. The terrain and colors are amazing, and the staff is super friendly.  If you’re a horse lover,  I highly recommend a visit.

The chef preparing bbq chicken and ribs.

I ate a well balance meal of meat, followed by more meat.

Have kids?  They have that covered with instruction on lasso roping or music by the campfire.

The ride down to the bbq.

Tea + coffee on the stovetop.

This is Red.  She is in charge of the ranch, and is simply amazing with all the horses.  She’s in total control, and I was mesmerized watching her corral the group.

Red with her horse named ‘Two Cents’.

Crazy, beautiful light.

I have an endless supply of images that I loved from this series.  I just got lucky with beautiful light, good looking horses, and a willing subject.  Thanks Red!

Rope swing at nearby Patterson Lake

Fly fishing on the Methow River

Trails for miles and miles.  Soooo good!

Shoot wrapped and headed home.  Stopped at the Diablo Lake overlook.  The color of the water really is that green.

Thanks Jeffery, Yvonne, and everyone at Sunset for the amazing opportunity.  I’m thankful and fortunate to get to experience my home state through my work. Thanks also to Luke, my assistant, for shlepping my heavy pack on all of our hikes!

 

 

July 3rd, 2014

sunset cover + cascades highway feature part 1

Last September I was assigned a 4 day story for Sunset magazine that involved covering the Cascade Hwy along with a few spots in Mazama and Winthrop.  As is often the case with travel assignments,  this shoot wouldn’t see print for almost a full year.  So I was pleased to find out recently that one of the images landed the July cover!  The photograph above was taken high above Lake Ann on the Heather Meadows 7 mile loop trail.  I’ve done my fair bit of hiking over the years,  and this hike makes it onto my top 3 list simply because the entire 7-8 miles is amazing.  You’re not waiting for the big reward after a lot of climbing.  There are vistas, lakes, wildlife, etc just moments after hitting the trail.

The opening spread of the feature is a landscape image of Blue Lake.  It looks like a daily simple photo,  but I assure you that getting to this vantage point took some work.  The trail ends right at the mouth of the Lake, so my assistant and I essentially went bouldering for 3 more miles to find this view.

Now for some outtakes:

I’m a huge fan of ‘weather’,  but when your assignment calls for ‘summery’ images, you really are just hoping for some clear skies.

The overlook atop the pass.  The only thought running through my mind when looking down at the road was that the next time I’m here I’ll be on my bike with a good group of friends descending towards Mazama.  Hoping to do that this summer.

The Mazama store is a definite pit stop.  The store is owned by the same family that run’s Husky’s Deli in my neighborhood in W Seattle.  They carry Huskies Ice Cream, make delicious pizzas,  they bake their own bread, and they pull good espresso.

Architect Olson Kundig’s Rolling Huts would serve as base camp for the first two nights.

I had always wanted to stay here,  so it was a big treat and a restful place to relax after long days on the road and trails.

The interior is simple ply with modular boxes that can be pushed together to form a second bed.

I was attempting to use window reflection to show the landscape.  It’s always a good challenge shooting interiors of extremely narrow/small spaces.

Neighbors for the night.

The huts are referred to as ‘the herd’.

The Heather Pass hike was the first of three hikes on our list.  This is Lake Ann (the one from the cover).  The day was completely overcast aside form rare cloud breaks.  We waited roughly 90 minutes for 20 seconds of blue sky for this frame.

Immediately after taking the above photo, we met Gunther:

Gunther happens to be an Art Director who has worked at Vanity Fair UK and Vogue UK.  He was on vacation traveling the world in search of unique swimming holes.  While framing up the image of Lake Ann,  we heard someone banging sticks together.  Shortly after, Gunther scrambled up the rocks to where I was set up.  He has a great German accent and he asked my assistant and I if we could tell the difference between a Grizzly and a black bear. He then pulled out his camera and showed us the back of his screen.  Immediately, Luke and I said ‘Grizzly!’  He had just come across a good size Grizzly about 200 yards from where we were set up.  From that point on, Gunther stayed with us until we reached the summit where he fixed himself some tea and rested his legs.

 

We also came across a family with 3 boys that basically sprinted the whole hike.  When I asked the parents what the secret was,  the dad showed me his GPS.  They were playing geotag, and it definitely kept the kids interested the whole journey.

Two hikers down below for scale.  This image reminds me of how lucky I am to have great clients who appreciate my work. I’m super lucky to get to make photographs for a living.

The views never stopped.

I’ll be positing part two next week.  Have a safe 4th everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 9th, 2014

my bullet may have killed pat tillman

My job affords me access to amazing places and to people who have stories that seem unthinkable.  My role is to make a connection with my subjects in a short window of time.  It’s a constant balance of remaining authentic,  yet also being aware that I need to create and capture a moment that completes a story.  Aside from that,  being a photographer is 90% problem solving.  Some say it’s about moving furniture,  and while not untrue,  I’m fairly confident that all the photographer’s I respect are probably amazing problem solvers.  Sometimes it’s making the uninteresting transformative.  Sometimes it’s a technical problem – cameras or lighting.  Sometimes it’s time management.  Sometimes it’s therapist.

Back in March,  I was assigned a story to work alongside an ESPN video crew in Southern WA.  ESPN was filming an outside the lines piece on Steven Elliott, and it was a big deal because it was the first time any of the shooters had spoken about the Pat Tillman friendly fire incident 10 years ago.  To be 100% honest,  I tend to get a little stressed out when there’s a video crew involved.  I feel it can become a real difficult task to come away with photographs that feel thoughtful and intentional.  I’ve had instances where it’s successful,  but I was apprehensive. I just wanted to deliver quality work for a magazine and company I greatly respect.

After meeting Steven, I quickly realized that this wasn’t going to be about me forcing my agenda.  This is a man who has been through hell and he’s choosing to tell his story for the betterment of other veterans or enlisted forces that are struggling with PTSD.  Steven showed great courage and trust in telling his story.  I feel enriched for having heard the way he and his wife have handled all the adversity.  Thank you to Steven and to all of my subjects who brave the camera so that stories like this may have life. Thank you to ESPN and to all of my clients who give me opportunities to grow and stretch.

If you haven’t seen it yet,  I encourage you to take a look at the fantastic Outside the Lines piece and the great article written by Mike Fish here.

 

 

April 4th, 2014

eric hansen and his drone for outside magazine

Eric Hanson drove across the country with his drone.  He flew it in a variety of public spaces to gauge onlookers perception of drones and their growing popularity.

The biggest challenge in making these images on location was the short battery life for the drone.  The good news for me was that Eric is steady on the controls and was able to maneuver the Phantom anywhere I asked.

A big thank you to Amy at Outside for the fun shoot.

April 4th, 2014

dale chihuly for the financial times

It was pleasure getting to meet and photography artist Dale Chihuly for the Financial Times, ‘How to Spend It‘ portfolio.

January 22nd, 2014

lysandra sapp for lmu alumni magazine

I had a great time meeting and making portraits of Lysandra for the Loyola Marymount alumni magazine.  She was a good sport and braved the wind and rain to get the shot we needed.

January 20th, 2014

winter olympic tech for popular mechanics

I felt like I was a kid in a candy store during this two day shoot for Popular Mechanics.  It was amazing getting to meet the team at Specialized (located just south of San Jose).  They fueled the crew up on Verve coffee and also let us demo their new electric assist bikes (which were super addictive).  While we weren’t there to shoot bikes,  it was nice get the full tour and then settle into the wind tunnel location where I photographed US Ski Team downhiller Steven Nyman.   I didn’t know Steven was our subject until the day before the shoot,  and I was super excited when I found out it was him.  I had photographed Steven before for Men’s Journal on one of my first ever editorials.  It was good to reconnect and do another shoot together.

I also enjoyed meeting the crew at Easton Bell near Santa Cruz.  They have machines to stress test all the gear they make.

Finally,  I headed down to Burbank from the Bay Area to Easton Bell’s other location.  The burbank location focuses more on skating and baseball.  They also had many machines to insure the products they are making are safe and will hold up to the demands of the athletes.

Some outtakes:

The new USA Spyder suit.

A new Giro helmet getting ready to be smashed.

They keep the skates at ‘ice’ temp before firing pucks at them at 100mph.

Easton Bell was nice enough to dissect some of their new product for the shoot.

The new combyn helmet.

Team Specialized analyzing aero data as Nyman holds the tuck.

Hoping to see this guy make it to Sochi!  Thanks to everyone who helped out to make this shoot come together and for Allyson for hiring me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 21st, 2013

jon rimmerman for GQ

This is Jon Rimmerman of the Garagiste (purveyor of wines), photographed for the November issue of GQ.  I was really excited to get the call for this story,  because I’ve been a long time fan of the portrait work featured in GQ.

Jon was really great to work with, and was very comfortable in front of the camera.  I showed up a bit early to scout the location and immediately was drawn to the white paint on the bench.  I felt it would be a great way to highlight the wine pour.  The rest of the set up was moving furniture and adding the flowers. Thanks to GQ, my crew, Artusi, and Jon’s family for making the shoot possible.

 

Some outtakes:

The guy in the tank just happened to be walking by as we were setting up the shot.  I asked him if he’d be down to pour some wine, and he was nice enough to play the part.

Jon in his new Fiat.

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