beach, california, Drone, los angeles, Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Sensor Fresh, South Bay

Into the Night

Yesterday night that gorgeous sunset drew me and my drone out. I had my safety beacon on so I lingered above my house a little longer, because I could not take my eyes off this. I think Redondo by night has a wonderfully rich vibe. It’s not the unmistakably Californian beach city is it by day. Once the Beach Boys store their surfboards, Redondo dons two completely different souls.

Looking South, it looks more Mediterranean than ever. Almost a busy Greek city, close to Athens, or Crete, with the Palos Verdes Hills adding to the Hellenic flavor.

Looking North, it’s totally different. It’s Urban, it’s Hard Boiled as Redondo fades into the rest of the South Bay and into Los Angeles, further away. It looks like intrigues and nightlife and warm drives in a slow but nervous traffic. A song started playing in my head, B.B. King’s “Into the Night”.

As some of you may know, the song introduces a John Landis’ movie by the same title, and the opening scene is an airplane approaching and touching down at LAX at night, as the song begins.

I’m curious to see what these views inspire in you, what they remind you of, what they make you feel like?

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Art, beach, california, Drone, Redondo Beach, Sensor Fresh, South Bay

Friday Morning Mood

I biked to my Friday breakfast burrito at Joe’s, so I could detour by the Pier on my way home. It’s not a heroic feat, but it did take a little motivation to ride my bike at 5:50 instead of just slipping into the Mustang whose engine would have hummed a smoother transition from sleep to wake.

(The recommended soundtrack to these images is Chet Atkin’s album Sails).

The motivation paid off, I think. I love the Pier at any time of the day, but especially in the early morning when it’s all half asleep and pink and light blue.

Californian sunrises are definitely underrated.

I played a bit with the break wall, too.

Then I was happy and went home.

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beach, california, Drone, los angeles, Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Sensor Fresh, South Bay, video

The End of No-Sky July?

The endless skyway has been a constant source of inspiration in the past few weeks. The Western monsoon clouds, flying my drone in Arizona and Utah, yesterday’s serendipitous encounter with the flight to Seoul… and this morning I took my drone up here at home, in Redondo Beach.

Two sunny mornings in a row? After a very gloomy beginning of summer, this might be the end of the No-Sky July? Waiting to find out, I produced a little video to celebrate the beauty of a summer morning where everything is green, golden and blue.

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Art, beach, california, Creative, los angeles, Our World, Personal, Philosophy and Photography, Redondo Beach, Sensor Fresh, South Bay, travel

KE8208 Korean Air to Seoul

I brought my 100-400 lens to the beach earlier as Anne-Claire and I ordered pizza from a new truck on the Esplanade. A few minutes ago I was looking at my idle captures, I zoomed in, and I realized I could see it was a Korean Air Boeing 747.

I looked it up among the LAX departures. It was a long haul headed to Seoul. It was more than half an hour late.

I don’t know. If I was to be in the air for thirteen and a half hours, I would be really upset about the delay. Or I would cherish half an hour longer on the ground. Or maybe I would not care.

I developed a strange attachment for this flight. Tomorrow morning I will check what time they landed. Maybe I won’t but right now I like to think that I will.

I am wondering who’s flying. Are they flying home? On a business trip?

Such a long time with a mask on, they must barely have a face when they arrive in Seoul. I barely had a face last time I flew to Italy.

I am not looking forward to any thirteen-hour flight.

But a thirteen hour drive, just give me a sign and I’ll be on my way.

Los Angeles + 13 hours, where would that get us?

Au revoir, à Seoul.

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beach, california, Drone, los angeles, Palos Verdes, Sensor Fresh, South Bay

Gloomy Cove, Pretty Cove?

As you might already know, I have issues with June Gloom. Just as I dislike May Gray and No Sky July and Fogust. As some of you might also know, I have decided to (kind of) embrace it and look for facets of beauty in the gloomy weather.

That is why this morning I took my drone to Malaga Cove, Palos Verdes, to see if that wonderful neighborhood is just as marvelous when the Sun does not turn the scenery into a dazzle of emerald, gold, ivory and turquoise.

Let’s find out!

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beach, california, Drone, los angeles, Redondo Beach, Sensor Fresh, South Bay

Drone Narrative – Setting Sun

I love how the drone helps me put everything in a new frame. I’ve always been a sunset-chaser. “I really hate sunsets”, said no photographer ever, but before the drone, the sunset was a piece of its own. Now, through aerial photography, I can frame the sunset into a broader narrative, for instance the sunset and the city.

I caught a glimpse of the Sun setting over Redondo, last night. Summer solstice was just a couple of days ago, which means that the Sun sets at the most Northern point. From Redondo, the Sun is basically setting behind Malibu. That was quite a show.

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california, los angeles, Palos Verdes, Personal, Philosophy and Photography, Redondo Beach, Sensor Fresh, South Bay

Let me show you the sound of a school in the summer

To me, schools in the summer are one third peaceful, one third harmless, and one third sad.

After all those years, the sight of a school in June still whispers “September” and I frown a little bit.

Even a school that has no relationship to my past, and that is six thousand miles away from where I grew up, such as the Malaga Cove school in Palos Verdes Estate.

I have a bit of a difficult relationship with schools. I have a PhD, I have a strong drive towards teaching. One of my favorite things over the past year was when school-buses got back in service and I saw kids going back to school. At the same time, I was the not-so-popular, high-achieving, often lonely and sometimes bullied kid from elementary school till halfway through high-school. Every time I see a school, old Tom and young Tom kind of clash: aspirations, ideals, and memories forming an interesting cocktail ranging over a curious mix of emotions.

But I think it’s nice to put all of this into photographs.

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beach, california, Drone, los angeles, Redondo Beach, Sensor Fresh, South Bay

Impressions, Setting Sun

It’s been a long day. I finally gave in and ordered postcards (I spent the whole afternoon editing them). I got a new Aputure light with a Fresnel lens, I’ll use it tomorrow and I haven’t even got it out of the box yet. I framed the first print of Coyote for some friends of mine, as a housewarming gift.

This is Coyote, short for Can’t catch me, Coyote. It’s one of my favorite photographs. I shot it while driving a van from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to the South Rim. Those on the left are the Vermillion Cliffs.

But I digress: I do all this, and my right eye is acting weird. I was preparing to enjoy a nice dinner (some chili that my neighbor cooked a few days ago) with some French wine (La Vieille Ferme red, harvest of 2019, one of my favorites), when I look out. And I see something grand is happening out west. It’s been cloudy all day, but the day had a happy ending for all of us light-chasers.

My best bet was to grab my drone and fire it up asap. Scramble! Scramble!

First, it looked like this.

And like this:

I was happy, I got back inside. Ate dinner, drank some wine. Then my eye starts acting weird again and I look away from the screen to give it some rest. And there’s the Sun, showing up just five minutes before the curtains fall on today.

Scramble again.

Pink first.

And then it went like this and my heart melted a little bit and I landed. Happy.

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beach, california, Drone, los angeles, Nature, Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Sensor Fresh

Soaring

Last week I passed the FAA exam to be a commercial drone pilot. I can’t wait to receive my badge. The theory you get tested on is interesting. As this great video study-guide tells you, at least 75% of what you have to learn is not directly relevant to you flying a drone, but the FAA wants you to “appreciate the complexity of flying.” And you sure do learn a lot of fun facts: one thing that really blew my mind was to discover that the numbers of the runways are not randomly assigned, but correspond to their approximate orientation with respect to the true North: Runway 18, for instance, is oriented 180º, so it heads South. Crazy, right? Runway 22 is headed Southwest, and so on and so forth.

Anyway, as it often happens with this kind of things, over the past month I spent much time studying and basically no time flying, so today I rewarded my self with a nice flight over Buff Cove.

As much as the drone is a fantastic flying photo camera, it would be a pity not to explore its video capability as well, so I recorded and produced a two-minute flight over the cove. Whenever I take this kind of video, I am positively amazed. Not at my own work, but at how easy it is to record this kind of video now: just fifteen years ago, I guess that a helicopter would have been the only means of capturing the footage I recorded today.

If you like my videos, don’t forget to like and subscribe to my YouTube channel! There’s only a handful of videos right now, but I plan to grow my collection fast, so stay tuned!

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california, Nature, Personal, Philosophy and Photography, Sensor Fresh

Orange County Blues

We went to Crystal Cove, OC this morning. It was somewhat overcast. As you know, I’m all about colors. When it’s overcast, and colors don’t shine as bright, then I play with black and white.

The light and the textures looked great in black and white as I was shooting. Once at home, I kept processing in black and white. It was lovely. Then I started trying out different colors, and I loved them too.

I loved how each processing gave our a different vibe. Each photograph played according to a different harmony.

The story each photograph tells is so unique that I cannot pick one and say “you are the one”.

I hope this gives a little insight into my editing processes. To me, editing is not different from cooking. It’s like preparing a salsa for the pasta. Different ingredients will call for different spices, and different spices will be suitable for different occasions.

Filters, you say? I don’t know. Call a rose by a different name, and it will smell just as nice. I don’t like the notion of filter because it’s often used in a diminutive way. Filters are usually a handful of one-size-fits-all presents you slap on an image.

Editing is more about the careful and loving fine-tuning of dozens of parameters, colors, shadows, textures, brilliances, emotions. I have my recipes, that are never twice the same, and that I like to think I improve with every photograph I produce.

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