A catchup post: Back in Los Angeles after nearly six weeks abroad

Exhale. That is what I have been trying to do for the past week.

I just had the most incredible, crazy, up-and-down, exhausting month-and-a-half of my life. At the end of May, I had a spate of shoots that just fell into place one after another. At the beginning of June, I was slated to leave Los Angeles for over a month to travel to Israel, Iceland, and the Bahamas for a string of shoots and workshops. 

So I've been going nonstop since about mid-May. And it's absolutely exhilarating and exhausting, hilarious and fun. What a trip!

I'll give you a quick recap, with more detailed posts to come as I get through more images. First, I was off to Tel Aviv, Israel, as an invited guest of Kinetis, to experience and photograph Israel, a country I had honestly never thought too much about. It was just never on my travel radar - and I guess this is what Kinetis aims to fix. They're a non-governmental organization focused on getting artists, opinionmakers, and bloggers into Israel to create, write about, and experience the country. And for some crazy reason they liked me enough to bring me over so I could do my thing, photograph the country, and see what it's all about. And, in short: It was nothing like I ever expected. Just a truly incredible place, full of generous people, beautiful sights and some of THE BEST FOOD I HAVE EVER HAD. Yes, that good. I am by no means a foodie, but I was totally blown away.  I was joined by a few other photographers as well: Adam Lerner, Jared Polin, Rebecca Litchfield, Simon Pollock, and Ben Von Wong, as well as many talented Israeli photographers who really helped make the trip amazing. We saw (and photographed) some amazing sights all throughout Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and around the Dead Sea. Many more of those pictures and experiences will come in a later writeup and video segment that I'm putting together. For now, here's a shot of a Byzantine Empire-era set of ruins near Ein Gedi on the Dead Sea:

And the courtyard of the Design Museum Holon, which comes from the mind of Ron Arad. Truly incredible stuff.

Of course, this is just a few of many - I just need to find the time to get everything together. I've got a serious amount of material to synthesize from this trip - about 5,000 images total, from which I will piece together all the elements in order to make 20-30 final shots. 

From Tel Aviv, I flew to Reykjavík, Iceland, by way of Copenhagen, to continue work on my Living: Island Style project, which is coming along nicely. I worked with a few of the country's best architects to get access to a number of great locations and the images seem promising as ever. On this trip, I spent a lot of time focusing on the industrial architecture of the country, something I overlooked on the last trip in favor of more residential stuff. Even though I was there in May, the weather was nothing short of crazy. Rain, snow, sleet, sun, hail, and everything in between, on every day. Just completely bonkers. After two weeks in Iceland, driving around the country the exact opposite direction as my last trip, I left with (another) 5000 or so images and way-too-many-gigabytes to get through. I am already incredibly excited about some of the results from that trip - here's a quick preview of the Reykjanesvirkun power plant, a geothermal plant about an hour outside of Reykjavík, set in an absolutely surreal lava field at twilight.

And from Reykjavík, it was off (in the POURING rain, mind you) to the Bahamas. I am always pretty bummed to leave Iceland and its  (seemingly) eternal twilight, but I had a workshop to teach! I was working alongside some of the best photographers in the industry, which is totally a humbling experience. I taught three classes, all focused on interiors and architectural photography, and gave a quick lecture about personal work and all the benefits that come along with it. I had a group of wonderful students for each class and it seems that everyone had a few big takeaways which was great. I opted to teach in a more informal setting, just letting everyone ask questions and letting me demonstrate as I felt appropriate to flesh out concepts. It must have been entertaining enough because every day of the workshop we stayed until well after the technical 'closing time' for classes! We did a bit of everything, from hotel interiors and exteriors, to shooting restaurants and penthouse suites and twilight exteriors. It was definitely one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had in terms of photography. It was just so great to see so many people so excited about photographing architecture. Once again, I'll do an in-depth wrap up post in the next few days but wanted to just get down on paper some initial thoughts. Here are a few of the shots we made as a group - before and after - showing all the work that went into them. We covered everything from location techniques to post techniques, and hundreds of things in between.

Here are some of the shots from the Bahamas Workshops, created with the help of my wonderful students:

So now I'm back in Los Angeles, and of course, stuffed to the gills with work. Feels good to be back in the swing of things but I really cannot wait to get my paws on the images from Iceland and Israel, and really get some personal work cranking again! In an effort to revive a bit of the creative juices, I've been going up in a helicopter to get some shooting done...here are a few quick shots.