I had the opportunity to drive to Nebraska for the Total solar eclipse this past August to view it as it passed over in the path of totality just outside Alliance. My plan was to go to Car Henge, however that was a zoo of humanity by the time I arrived. So, I headed a little south and found a spot off the highway about 5 minutes before the event. I have never shot any type of eclipse before, so I was really winging it with how to set up the camera for success. I employed my Nikon D810 with a #2 ND filter on my 80-200 on a Gitzo tripod. It worked well considering how quickly it all took place. The whole event lasted maybe 2.5 minutes and then the traffic jam started. So Many cars! I was lucky to know the area and escape out a few back roads that most don’t know about. Alliance behind me, I made tracks to another destination-The Badlands National Park for a little night shooting before heading back to Minneapolis. It was a perfect night as right after the eclipse was the new moon. A completely dark night in a completely dark space. I even took the opportunity to do a little light painting trick on my car utilizing my iPhone as my weapon of choice. I do this trick by setting my camera up for either a 30 second exposure or BULB if I need more time. The lens is generally set to infinity. I take a base exposure set for the ambient scene at an ISO between 1600-4000 depending upon my intent. Once I get that set, I can start the trial and error that is light painting. I find the key to success is dark clothes, moving quick and flagging the light from the lens. That way the camera won’t see you. And a little magic pops up on your screen after a few attempts. Enjoy=)
My love for the Datsun brand of automobiles goes back to early childhood. I dug all their cars. The B210, 810’s and trucks were RAD. But, my true affinity was for their “Z” or “Fairlady” models. I spotted my first Z car when I was just a 5 or 6 years old. It was love at first sight. Sleek lines, European design nods. What a sexy machine! I never forgot how cool it looked flying down the road. At 16, the opportunity arose to own an 1981 Turbo coupe. I seized it!
Unfortunately, it had one of the worst cases of “cancer” I’ve ever seen in a car still on the road. Complete with holes in both the floor boards large enough to brake like “Fred Flintstone” using your shoes. The paint was a root beer brown metallic (commonly referred to as the sh#t brown shade). It had t-tops with cracks in the glass. The dash was cracked. I wish I had pictures. It was a sight for sure. But, she was a Turbo. And they were just as rare and awesome a find back then as they are today.
I only drove her for a few weeks before I had to concede that she’s was no longer road worthy. She was parked on the hill at my dads house until ultimately the scrap yard got it. Sure wish I would have saved the motor!!!
Bummed, I moved on and found a 1982 non turbo 5-speed. This one more suitable for fixing up. Over the summer of 94, a friend of mine helped me redo the body and we painted it Jaguar Hunter Green Metallic. It looked sweet! Again, I wish I had pictures. I drove that one for almost a year before I sold it in a lapse of judgement. Replacing it with a series of cars that never measured up.
That second Z taught me a lot about how to fix, maintain and improve the ZX platform. It’s powerful straight 6 coupled with a smooth manual transmission putting power out to a solid independent rear suspension system. It could easily match and often out drive a Corvette in handling. Simply put, this is one of the best sports/grand touring cars ever made.
Fast forward to my 40’s, I have a son of my own. I though, “how cool would it be to keep the tradition going?” I decided it was time to find a sweet machine to build as a father/son project. One I can pass along to him some day when he’s ready. I searched all over the USA for 4 months seeking just the right one. It was rather difficult as these cars were know to rust out after only a few years or be trashed out by people looking for drift cars. We lucked out when this absolutely beautiful 1982 Fairlady showed up for sale on the Oregon coast. After several messages between the seller and I, we agreed on a price and the adventure was set. You see, I wasn’t going to buy a car like that and have it shipped back to Minneapolis. My son and I were going to fly out west and drive it home. Together. And that’s exactly what we did.
We flew out to Portland, Oregon where the seller agreed to meet us with the Z. It was even better looking in person! After settling up, we loaded her up and headed home. I figured we should get a jump on those memories. So we headed up to Canon Beach, down PCH to Crater Lake. Across Idaho to Yellowstone and then finally to the Devils Tower where I taught my son how to shoot pictures of the Milky way and constellations. It was awesome. We had a 10 day adventure that I’m sure he’ll look back upon fondly for life. Especially from the seat of that car someday.
Master Guitarist, Keynote speaker, author, comedian. Mike Rayburn wears many a hat and can now ad Road Trips Session survivor to that list. Mike was looking to get some great photos of his keynote presentation to Nationwide Insurance in Phoenix, Arizona as well as some updated portraits for his website & promotional materials. Mike had planned to drive from his home in Vegas to AZ for the gig. He suggested flying me into Phoenix. however I though we would get a lot more time and opportunity if we met up in Las Vegas and made the trip together. After all, theres a lot of cool spaces out in the desert south west and it’s my favorite place to shoot on location. He agree’d and loved the idea. The Road Trip session was on.
My session with comedian Joey Cocozzello was by far one of the most fun experiences I’ve had in a long time. Joey’s a razor sharp whit, wild personality and ability to know the perfect punch-line leave you hurting from laughter and dying to hear more. Joey is originally from MN but spent the past few years out in NYC in the Bushwhick neighborhood working the clubs of the east coast and perfecting his game. He has recently moved back to MN to work on his new material and recalibrate. You can catch him headlining on stage May 19th at the Royal Comedy 2017 comedy festival in Hopkins, MN. He’ll be supporting national comedian Todd Glass as well as a host of other great local talents. Go support great local talent=)
I was hired recently to shoot a series of portraits for the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. These doctors are some of the best in their fields and work for one of the most regarded health care clinics in America. My crew and I flew from MPLS to VA and spent 2 days creating this series and enjoying the beautiful city of Richmond at night.
It’s not often in life you meet people like Leon Frankel. Simply put, he was an amazing human being. A man that we should all strive to reflect in our own potential. He was also incredibly humble, but behind that was the heart of a lion. Leon was a young man from St. Paul, Minnesota when “The War to End all Wars” called him to action. He joined the US Navy and became a hero in the Pacific theater during the battle of Okinawa. The letter from his award tells the story of his bravery.
-The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Lieutenant, Junior Grade Leon Frankel, United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism in operations against the enemy while serving as Pilot of a carrier-based Navy Torpedo Plane in Torpedo Squadron NINE (VT-9), attached to the U.S.S. YORKTOWN (CV-10), in action against major units of the Japanese Fleet off Kyushu, Japan, on 7 April 1945. Flying by instruments through a heavy overcast in a daring attack against an enemy light cruiser and a screening destroyer, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Frankel broke through the clouds and pressed home his attack to point-blank range in the face of intense anti-aircraft fire to score a direct hit and contribute materially to the sinking of the hostile cruiser a minute later. Subjected to a cross-fire of intense anti-aircraft fire from the cruiser and destroyer during his retirement from the strike, he brought his plane and crew through unscathed. By his superior airmanship and gallant fighting spirit, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Frankel upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
General Orders: Commander 1st Carrier Task Force Pacific: Serial 0308 (June 28, 1945)
Action Date: April 7, 1945
Leon not only distinguished himself in WW2, He went on to help form the Israeli Air Force. The was featured in the Netflix film “Above and Beyond”
In 1948, with the Jewish state about to declare its independence, Frankel traveled clandestinely to Israel. He joined the country’s first fighter squadron and flew 25 missions, ironically in the Czech version of Nazi Germany’s famed Messerschmidt-109.
He explained his motivation to fight for Israel in a letter last year to the Minneapolis StarTribune, responding to an Op-Ed column that labeled Frankel and his fellow volunteers as “American jihadists.”
“I could not stand idly by, with my experience, while a second Holocaust loomed, with the Arab nations telling the world they were going to destroy the Jewish state,” Frankel wrote.
In a 2012 article in the Minnesota Legionnaire, Frankel looked back at his time serving in Israel and its importance:
“One day during the war, I was in Tel Aviv, and planes were coming in from Europe, transport planes. I went over and the planes were full of refugees from the death camps. They were so happy to be in Israel. They were bewildered and bedraggled, and all they had were the clothes on their back when they got out of that plane. And you know what they did, they got down on their knees and kissed the ground.
“But at that moment, I knew why I had come to Israel. The Talmud teaches that if you save one life, it’s the same as if you had saved the entire world. That has always stood with me,” he told the Legionnaire.
Leon lived 92 amazing years. 92 years that he spent making life better for others.
Our latest shoot was reminiscent of my early mornings chasing surfers across the beaches of SoCal creating portraits for the Dawn Patrol series. Our client GX magazine commisioned us to shoot a series of environmental and stylized portraits of ROTC student and Womens Rowing powerhouse Brianna Dahm. Brianna is a bad ass and one great subject to work with. She allowed us to follow her to the Gym, to practice, out on the water, in the class room and anywhere in-between to create some stunning images. She will be featured in an upcoming fitness section in the magazine as well as online. A Huge thanks to The UW Women’s Rowing Teams, Robert Benson, Aaron Ansarov, Marc Acton, Alex Butterfield and Dustin Black. Stay tuned-more adventures coming soon.
We recently had the pleasure of working with San Francisco, California based Salesforce creating a set of corporate portraits for their marketing department. These are always a ton of fun as the shoots are rather fast paced and require quick reactions to catch just the right expressions. The clients were also coming from extended video interviews, so getting them thru without taking a lot of their time was key. Jayson, our creative director was excellent at directing the subjects and added a lot of good energy to the set. 2016 is of to a great start!
A HUGE special thanks goes out to J.Michael Tucker for recommending us. Check out his KILLER work=)