Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 205 - Self Evaluation

Today was my three-year anniversary at the agency where I work. Mercifully, I took the day off - after working 60-hour weeks for three of the last four, I was running on empty.

But these past three years have gone by quickly, and I've thought a great deal about where I was when I first moved back to Los Angeles . . . and where I am now. I'm not unhappy, at least not in a broad, general sense, but rather I'm . . . discontented.

Professionally, I'm restless. I know myself well enough to know that if I'm not constantly being challenged, I grow restless, and ultimately, apathetic. I've reached a plateau in my current position, and I'm getting antsy for something more, something different, something better. I work with some amazing people, all younger than I, who are just waiting for the opportunity to blossom into creative geniuses. They're being stifled where they are, which is such a shame. I'd love to pluck them out of where they are and just turn them loose, and marvel at what happens next. However, I also work with people who are exactly like some of my former colleagues in the government and education sectors, mere clock punchers who are content to do the same thing, over and over, collecting a paycheck, with no desire for anything more. Had I stayed in Maryland, not taking that opportunity three years ago to return to Los Angeles, two things would have happened: (1) I'd have spent the rest of my career locked into one job, becoming the very employee I loathed so much, and (2) I'd always have wondered, "What if?"

Perhaps my first venture into the private sector is an anomaly, that my current situation isn't indicative of how good, successful companies are run. But maybe where I am now IS the norm, and I'm just naive for thinking otherwise. I do know that the sloppiness, laziness, and ineptitude that I've seen in the last three years is becoming intolerable for me, and is not now, and will never be, acceptable.

So now what? Where do I go from here? I'm actively looking, but will steadfastly refuse to change jobs simply for change's sake. Every career move I've made and will continue to make will be a step up. Perhaps the greatest benefit from the past three years is intangible, because it's certainly not been financial. Maybe I'm learning how to be a good manager, because I've seen so many bad ones, or how to be a good mentor to others, because I haven't had one myself. I just don't know.

I'll keep you posted . . .

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day 204 - People I Dig

I call Thom my brother; we call each other that, actually, since we're much more than just friends. I met him the first day of what would become my first job, way back in 1993. We worked in the same office for six years, and it was Thom who encouraged me to join him in the gym. We went at lunchtime when we worked together, then met once a week after work once I had moved on. Besides the gym, we share a love of good food and baseball, and his solid Midwest values are a rarity these days.

Today is Thom's birthday, and I have no reservations about saying it's his 58th; he posted it on Facebook himself. I took this picture last year when I met him in his hometown of St. Louis for a weekend of Cardinals baseball and barbecue. You'd be hard-pressed to find a friend better than Thom, and I do miss seeing him on a regular basis.

So happy birthday, my brother, and may your beloved Cardinals always win.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 203 - Production

Not only do I have to use my golf clubs as photo props, I have to use my car as well. Turns out, when shooting the backup camera display of an Acura, it's advantageous to have another Acura show up in said camera.

Convenient? Yes. Am I happy? Not one bit.

Time to look at Toyotas . . .

Day 202 - Production

These are go-jacks, four-wheeled lifts that go under each tire, allowing a car to be spun 360 degrees in a small space.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 201 - Photographers

I've worked with Tony LaBruno since I started at RPA; he's a really good photographer, and maintains a level of energy I could only dream about, especially since today is the NINTH consecutive day we're shooting together.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 200 - Weeds

. . . and I shot this with my point-and-shoot camera.

Compare and contrast, please, and discuss.

Day 199 - Weeds

Yes, I know, these are weeds . . . I've had the sprinkler turned on on my designated watering days (Mondays and Thursdays, for those of you keeping score at home) and these pop up, well, like weeds.

I shot this with my DSLR . . .

Day 198 - Moon

The moonrise last night was sure pretty . . .

Friday, July 16, 2010

Day 197 - Humidity

Humidity in Los Angeles is a rare event. Heat, oh yes. We have that. Humidity? Not so much. Walking out of the studio it hit me like a wet, hot smack in the face.

Apparently these thunderheads, or Calvus-type Cumulonimbus clouds, brought rain to the Eastern part of the city, and pumped a lot of moisture into the air.

Not so nice when it's over 90 degrees outside . . . if I wanted that kind of heat & humidity, I'd have stayed in Maryland.

Day 196 - Production

It pains me to admit how much I now know about cars . . .

Day 195 - Production (Brought to You By the Letter 'S')

The level of detail needed to shoot something as seemingly simple as a glove box is staggering.

Day 194 - Like All Others. Like No Other

It's one thing to have your birthday fall in the middle of the week; it cramps one's ability to really cut loose. It's yet another thing to spend it in a photo studio in the middle of a three-week stretch of shooting . . . but when my friends and colleagues Alexis and Jenny surprised me with a cake, well, things got just a little bit better.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 193 - Hollywood Bowl

This was my favorite lighting set-up of the night - Todd Rundgren performing "For The Benefit of Mr. Kite," complete with top hat and spats.

And with this post, I am officially caught up with my photo-a-day mission . . . my sincerest apologies for falling behind. Although I'm on location until the end of the month, I'll try to do better about staying current.

And thanks for reading . . .

Day 192 - Hollywood Bowl

Day 191 - Hollywood Bowl

Day 190 - Hollywood Bowl

The L.A. Times reviewer described Bettye LaVette's voice as "shredded sandpaper."

Day 189 - Hollywood Bowl

Day 188 - Hollywood Bowl

Day 187 - Hollywood Bowl

Day 186 - Hollywood Bowl

Day 185 - Hollywood Bowl

Day 184 - Hollywood Bowl

And call me a production geek, but I was fascinated by the lighting design on the Bowl's shell . . .

Day 183 - Hollywood Bowl

The Hollywood Bowl is one of the most iconic locales in all of Los Angeles . . . even in pre-show, it's beautiful.

Day 182 - Eating With Gusto

Despite the sacrilege of putting ketchup and mayo (!) on his brat, Cam sure knows how to eat . . . notice how his eyes are rolling back up into his head.

Day 181 - Amadeus

Deus likes to drape himself all over John & Jana's furniture . . .

Day 180 - Amadeus

This is Amadeus . . . or "Deus" for short.

Day 179 - Relaxation

Day 178 - People I Dig

By blood we're cousins, but John truly is my brother . . . which is why I didn't use the picture I snapped right before this one . . .

Where John was yawning like a big ol' bear coming out of hibernation.

Day 177 - Summer

If this doesn't say "Summer," I don't know what does.

Day 176 - Hookah

. . . and burns a very wet tobacco mixture indirectly.

Day 175 - Hookah

The base is hand-blown glass . . .

Day 174 - Hookah

My hookah is hand-made in Jordan; I filled the base with ice water for a cooler smoke.

Day 173 - Tri-Tip

. . . and tri-tip.

Day 172 - Bratwurst

Fourth of July should always be a three-day weekend . . . more time to eat barbecued brats . . .

Day 171 - Fireworks

Day 170 - Fireworks

Day 169 - Fireworks

Now I'm just getting artsy, moving the camera with the shutter open . . .

Day 168 - Fireworks

Day 167 - Fireworks

Considering I didn't use a tripod, these aren't too bad.

Day 166 - Surfing

Not bad surf for such a dreary day.

Day 165 - Rats With Wings

Even though they're an annoyance on the beach, there is a small amount of beauty in gulls . . .