Monday, March 31, 2008

Late night at the transit mall....

Had an assignment to take some photos at the transit mall at night in Long Beach. Not a whole lot going on, so I had to get creative to make the photos interesting. Lucked out that there was a guy with a white hat that made for an interesting compositional element. Didn't get picked, though. Oh well.

Friday, March 28, 2008

More cargo bike awesomeness!

I just got this pic from Bilenky from the sign painter. It's the metal sign that will be hanging in the center of my cargo bike! I think the painter did an awesome job and it really has that hand-made quality I wanted. I can hardly wait to get the bike! It'll look a lot less hobo than the Xtracycle and chloroplast signs I have now.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Shot a portrait session for Memorial Hospital for their quarterly community newsletter. The portrait is of a woman who has conquered breast cancer and now volunteers every week to help new cancer patients.

She was great to work with and the session went really well.

Steal This Issue! (actually it's you won't have to)

The latest OC Weekly is just hitting the stands and I've got the cover as well as a nice 9 photo spread inside. The story is about a transgender pageant that isn't just about the glitz and glam, but also has a strong HIV/Aids awareness component.

Grab a copy!

Some new bling....

Photographed some of Laura's new creations in between bites of pizza and sips of Racer 5 (one of my favorite hoptastic beers).

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A hard drive to Fascist Island...

Had a long morning this morning. I've managed to fill up another 500G LaCie external drive and had to go out and get a new one. Unfortunately, there aren't any stores that sell them in the LBC so off I went to Fascist Island. It turned out to be about a 50 mile round-trip with the Xtracycle. I've done the ride before a few times with my road bike and it's a lot less painful.

Funny thing on the ride is I actually ran into a few people I knew, this rarely ever happens. One guy was driving in his truck, when I heard a "Hey Russ!" He was probably as surprised to see me as I was to see him out in Newport. Another person was on a bike with his wife and was wondering what I was doing quite a few miles from my hood.

Sometimes it's a small world on a bicycle.

Friday, March 21, 2008

TOAST Long Beach...

Yesterday was a bit nutty taking me through different parts of Long Beach. First, I had to swing out towards 2nd Street to deposit some checks and run some errands. Then I rode in the complete opposite direction, crossing the LA river to do a quick taping of TOAST Long Beach, a local cable access show.

I rode the Xtracycle out there in full battle regalia and placed it just behind us during the show.

The signs are getting a little worse for the wear and I'm itching for my cargo bike. I may just slap the rest of the balance on some plastic so I can get the bike sooner than later. "It's an advertising cost and it will generate business," I keep telling myself, trying to rationalize it.

Anyway, the taping went fast. The hosts Meghan and Drew were great fun and the whole thing was very conversational, talking a bit about my biking all over the place (first guest they've had that has ridden their bike out there), to photography and to multimedia stuff I've been working on. They rolled out to show The Gatherer.

Hopefully, it will accomplish a few things. Show that crazy bike people aren't all that crazy and bring in a bit of business.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Ok, this is has to be the epitome of absurdity here. This ranks up there with the car that parks itself and has 360 degree cameras. It's a multi-blade razor that not only pulses and vibrates but it has a friggin spot light on it! Is this progress? This is plain proof that mankind is going to kill itself not from any lack of ingenuity, but from no sense of what is an important endeavor.

More Misadventures in Shaving...what's that smell??

So I'm starting to develop the muscle memory to not cut myself and I've been more or less successful. Though a few days ago I really did a number on my neck, it looked like I put a cheese grater to it. I identified the problem as either my brush or the soap I'm using. I just can't seem to make a sufficiently slick slather with the right body to it. It's always too soapy and runny, sort of like the cream on a poorly made cappuccino.

Trust me, I've tried and practiced making lather (who would have thought doing it old school would be such a pain in the ass!), whipping up the soap for a full three minutes with the bowl half-submerged in a sink of hot water. I finally realized I had reached the limitations of my equipment and it was time to upgrade or be condemned to cutting my face open every morning.

So today, I bit the metro bullet and went into Dean Anthony in Long Beach. I have always thought of myself more Syndicate than man salon, but I saw on their site they carried the Art of Shaving Line, which compared to what I found at the local drug stores and barber supply store was a godsend.

I purchased the "starter kit" for the brush. It came out to $38 for a badger hair brush and samples of their products. It's a great deal considering the badger hair brush alone would cost about $30. Why badger hair? Badger hair is the hair of choice for shaving brushes. It is able to hold a sufficient amount of water to create a hydrated lather while also being supple enough to whip it up into a nice consistency. The cheapie brush I was using was boar hair and it felt like rubbing the coarse end of a sponge on my face.

I got home, ran the hot water to heat up my shaving bowl. I put in a dollop of the cream and started using the brush. Next thing I know, it smells like a National Geographic special.

Wow. It was really over-powering. I had read that there might be some funk, but this was more than I was expecting. It smelled like wet dog and/or wet badger. But boy oh boy did it make some great lather (ahh...simple pleasures). The lather was so great in fact, that today I managed to shave without cutting myself! Amen!

After the shave I quickly worked in some shampoo and conditioner into the brush to get rid of that god awful smell.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bike Polo Jersey Review...

I posted a review of Earth, Wind, Rider's bike polo jersey on as part of my Wool Wednesday column. Check it out here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Misadventures in shaving...

In need of some other strange and obscure fascination, I've decided to pick up straight razor shaving. I've always resented paying for a four pack of blades that cost $20! To me, it's absolutely ridiculous.

So I did my research and narrowed my choice of implements to a Dovo razor, russian leather strop, honing stone and badger brush. Everything that would be needed for a lifetime of shaving would amount to $250, which is actually an insanely great deal. Unfortunately, I don't have $250 I can spend on shaving at the moment.

But, the way my brain works, it just wouldn't let me rest. So I decided, against some better judgment, to try straight razor shaving on the cheap. I got a cheap plastic razor that takes replaceable blades (20 pack of blades for $2.50), a cheap boar hair brush from Rite-Aid, a styptic pencil and a cake of soap. Everything I needed to mutilate my face for about $20.

So far, I've shaved about four times with the set-up and truth be told I am getting better with it. I've figured out how to hold the darn thing for one, which makes a word of difference in navigating a naked razor blade around the contours of your face. However, the razor and the blades are really sub-par. There's so much flex that I'm putting some undue pressure on it and have gotten a few nicks that way. Also, something is wrong with my combination of soap and brush because it isn't whipping up a decent lather.

What's interesting, at least for me, is that this is a really amusing anecdote of how I learn things. A period of intense research. Trying out different tools of a trade to find out why crappy things are crappy and why high-end items are high-end--essentially feeling out the dimensions of the arena. Followed by months of action which gets me to a certain level of mastery in about 3 months. That's how I learned how to develop and print black and white photographs, inline skate, build bicycle wheels, create Flash animation, etc.,

Now, I can add re-constructive facial surgery to the list :)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Almost there...

Got another photo of my cargo bike in the works...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Someplace I've never been....

Doing all these OCW assignments has been really interesting for me. Every single one of them is outside of Long Beach and every time I go out it's alway something new and strange. Portraits of a couple in an overgrown lot where their house once stood. Runway practice for a transgender beauty pageant in a parking lot. A row of candy colored apartments that are infested and crumbling.

I groan a little with dread when I see how far they are, but at the same time I get a queasy excitement from going somewhere I've never been. It's a mix of adventure and dread. Wanting to see what's out there, while wanting to stay at home. It reminds me of one of my favorite passages by Diane Arbus.

My favorite thing is to go where I've never been.For me there's something about just going intosomebody else's house. When it comes time togo, if I have to take a bus to somewhere or if Ihave to take a cab uptown, it's like I've got ablind date. It's always seemed something likethat to me. And sometimes I have a sinkingfeeling of, Oh God it's time and I really don'twant to go. And then, once I'm on my way,something terrific takes over about the sort ofqueasiness of it and how there's absolutely nomethod for control.

The Pageant

Sent out on assignment to take some snaps of a rehearsal of a gay and transgender beauty pageant in Garden Grove. A bit far and a bit too dark to ride so I took the bus. Carpooled on the way back.

The light was a challenge most of the night. Going from the flat flourescent lighting of a conference room to a completely dark parking lot. I had to improvise with the parking lot. I set up two Nikon strobes on opposite sides of the practice stage and cross-lit it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

CityBike Slideshow...

I put together a short slideshow of some selects from the CityBike shoot a few days ago...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Some snaps from today...

Well, I survived my 53 mile adventure today. The ride out to Tustin was pretty mellow, all things considered. I got honked at once. Someone also yelled "get a car," which was completely perplexing because I wasn't even close to the car. Oh well.

The assignment was to take some photos of some people whose house was demolished at the lot where it once stood. It was about 11:30am when I started shooting so to get any decent light I had to over-power the sun with my Norman 200b. It worked pretty well for a single light source. I positioned them so that the sun acted as a secondary rim light.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Long Ass Commute tomorrow....

Just finished figuring out my route for a photo assignment for the OCW's going to be a long day :) 50 miles round trip carrying 60lbs of gear. Atleast it is mostly flat. It's the winds and heat I'll have to worry about the most.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

LBMA - Live Painting Demo

Some snaps from a live painting demonstration with three artists from the About Face exhibition at LBMA.

Long Beach CityBike Program

I got hired to shoot the images for a new bike share program in Long Beach. The program includes 12 new lockers and bikes available to all city hall employees. The goal of the images was to illustrate the use of the lockers but to also get images of people having fun. All the "models" were real city employees who were great fun to work with. They were all great sports. I'm hoping the program really takes off.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Beachwood BBQ

Beachwood BBQ, one of my favorite places to eat (and drink) ever! 22 rotating taps with only craft beer and killer BBQ. Shot a portrait of the owner Gabe for The District.

I didn't do it...

From a news story that a bicyclist may have caused an explosion in Times Square.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Authorities are searching for a man on a bicycle as a possible suspect in the Thursday bombing at a military recruiting station in Times Square, investigators said.

New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly displays an ammunition box similar to the one used in the bombing.
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The blast, around 3:45 a.m., caused no injuries, officials said.

A witness and an officer at a police substation just steps away from the recruiting office saw a man riding a bicycle, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said at a news conference.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Custom Surly

Some snaps of Laura doing a little custom painting on her Surly LHT. She removed the decals (hairdryer and credit card) and taped up the bike with blue painter's tape as a guide. She's using some special sign painting paint that is suppose to work on the metal and be pretty resistant to the elements.

In addition to the painting, she's going to use her metal smithing skills to make a custom headbadge.