Death Valley-Running

I've been living in San Diego for a lot of years now, and have no excuse for never visiting Death Valley until just a few weeks ago. With all the cross-country driving I do, it seems ridiculous that it took this long to visit a place less than 5 hours away. Either way, I was more than excited when a client asked me to shoot some running images out there. And can't wait to go back for more. It's a very unique place. Obviously. Massive and desolate. You could argue that is almost seems like another planet, and not many people would argue. We came out of there with some awesome shots, but this has to be my favorite. This style of image is something I've been working on for a while now. Trying to show the scale of a place compared to the athlete and what they are doing. About 70 yards away from the runner in this shot, I still wanted to use strobes in order to really make him pop. So we ran a 20ft sync cord from my camera to the Broncolor transmitter, and set it up on top of a rock, which was in direct line of site to the strobe. Have to admit, when we first started testing, I thought the distance was going to be too far. That, and the very nature of Death Valley, seemed like it would mess with the radio frequencies between transmitter and receiver. Hoping to head back in a few weeks to push the envelope. Stay tuned. 

Nikon D800e and Polarized Nikon 70-200mm lens. Runner lit with Broncolor Move Pack and MobiLed Head. 

Click HERE to see more RUNNING images. 

 

Steph Curry- NBA MVP

Steph Curry was just named the NBA MVP. And it couldn't be any more deserved. If you have watched him play this year, then you know why. He's just operating at a different level. I shot this image of Steph last year for NIke Basketball and Foot Locker in Los Angeles. He was a pleasure to shoot with. Genuinely nice dude. Big fan of the "Dark Knight". 


Barbershops of America

It's been really rewarding to see the reach that my book has had. When I started this thing over three years ago, I hoped for exactly these kind of results. It's been written about in a number of places including CBS News, The Chicago Tribune, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Gaurdian, Photo District News, and Shutterbug (to name a few). Which I'm very proud of, but not as proud of the fact that people have purchased the book all over the USA and in 9 foreign countries. Very humbling. If you want to check it out, or pick up a copy for yourself, go to barbershopsofamerica.com 


Boulder, Colorado-Trail running

If you live in Boulder, Colorado, then chances are you spend some time outdoors. It's a town that's just as famous for being active, as it is for marijuana. Which seems kind of contradictory, but whatever. I've been a fan of Boulder (and the rest of Colorado) for a long time now. So on my last visit, I made it a point to shoot some trail running. Red Rocks Trail is a cool spot with a great backdrop for this type of thing. The shoot was a lot of fun despite having one Elinchrom strobe shit out on us about 3 minutes in. Luckily, I also had some brand new Broncolor gear that I was testing. Huge fan of it, by the way. Looking like the Elinchrom's will be taking a backseat. These first three images were lit with strobes. The last one is all natural light. All shot on the Nikon D810. 

 

Deontay Wilder-World Heavyweight Champ

Deontay Wilder, the current Heavyweight boxing champion. Shot with him a while back in New Jersey for Everlast. Really great shoot. The client and crew were awesome. And i'd kill for this location everyday. Deontay gave a ton of energy. His punches were so quick and powerful, that it took a little bit to catch up with. The sound his gloves made when they hit the heavy bag was like a wrecking ball slamming into the side of a building. Can't imagine that being someone's face. Guess that's why he's the champ? 




Pacific Crest Trail-Running

Drive about an hour east of San Diego on the 8 and you'll find the Sunrise Highway. Explore up there for a bit, and you'll be happy you did. Lots of fun hiking with great views. Especially on this section of the Pacific Crest Trail. 


Aquatech Elite Sport Housing

Picked up an underwater camera housing from Aquatech a while back, and just got around to shooting with it last month. Thing is a blast, and opens up incredible opportunities that would otherwise be completely out of reach. Just like anything, it take some getting used to. I chose the Aquatech over others in the field because it seems to offer the most options when it comes to camera operation. You can tell right when you get the rig set up, that it's solid. And (knock on wood) you have very little worries about leaks. After playing around a bit, you easily get a feel for it, and understand how get comfortable with it.  I only have the widest angle lens dome port, because I only want to shoot things like you see below. I'm not a surf photographer. What you see was done close to shore and lit with strobes. That to me, is fun. Don't get me wrong, I'll get out in the waves with my friends, but I have more fun with strobes. The shutter button is a little hard to push down, but probably necessary. And it's also a little awkward to hold with two hands. So I definitely recommend getting the trigger handle. It will make your life a lot easier (looks cool too). Another thing you definitely wanna pay attention to is the back piece. It has to be precisely in place or the buttons won't operate the camera properly. Again, something that just needs a little getting used to. Overall, I love the rig and can't wait to use it in clearer waters. 


DeAndre Jordan

You never know where your images will get picked up. I shot with DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers) a few years ago, before he really blew up into the beast he is today. It was only his first or second year in the league, but you could already tell that he would be a force. Awesome to shoot with, as you can see from his energy in the pictures. Very willing, and has an infectious smile. Huge dude, but seams like a teddy bear off the court. I think he's my wife's favorite player, just because of his smilie. Anyway, these images from a couple years ago got picked up by another media outlet recently. And ran alongside an article about DeAndre, written by DeAndre. Pretty cool. 

You can check out the article here.

 

TRAVEL PORTRAIT

One of my favorite things to do on the road is make portraits of people that I randomly come across. This is Larry. He's a farmer in Blanca, Colorado. Which is a place you've probably never heard of. Neither had I, until driving through it last week. There isn't much to be said for it, but quite the opposite for Larry. Really jolly guy, and proud owner of that mustache since September 8, 1971. "The day I got my shipping papers to go state-side". Saw him out of the corner of my eye while passing his farm, and knew a portrait had to be made. Really gladded I stopped. 

Nikon D810 with Nikon 17-35mm lens. Lit with a Broncolor Move Pack and MobiLED Flash Head. 


Fishing-British Columbia

Fishing and golf are two sports that seem directly related. Not because of the skill set needed to perform each of them. Although you could argue that the motions are at least a little similar? Rather, they seem alike, in that you can totally suck at both of them, and still have a great time doing it. Beer is usually involved too, for whatever that's worth. A bunch of us went up to British Columbia last month intending to snowboard/ski. Unfortunately, BC is setting records for bullshit amounts of snow. It's sad really. Driving up there felt like spring, not winter. Half of the mountain was dirt. Whatever. The trip was booked a while ago, and we couldn't do anything about the weather. So instead of cry about it, we focused out efforts elsewhere. Those efforts happened to be fishing. And despite all the effort, the desired outcome was not achieved. There were no fish caught, but each day felt like a success none the less. Lots of laughs, good food, tasty beer, incredible scenery, and great company. 

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Rob Hammer


Glacier Point-Yosemite National Park

The more time you spend in Yosemite, the more you think it's an artificial world. An enormous movies set with perfect views around every corner. Send a chimp into Yosemite with a camera, and he'll come out with cool pictures. On this last visit, we spent the better part of a day hiking up to Glacier Point. And my only regret is that we didn't camp up there. It would have been all ours. This time of year the road is closed, so the only way up is to hike. Which cuts out the majority of tourists. Next time I guess? Either way, it was an awesome hike. All of the images below were made on the fly. Just snapping while Emily was hiking. Nothing staged. I got some cool stuff, but looking through them makes me want to go back and actually set up a few shots. Maybe even with some strobes. Although the light in Yosemite is pretty hard to beat. See for yourself....

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Rob Hammer




Yosemite National Park

Try all you want, you'll never find a place like Yosemite. Last week was just my second time to the park, and the whole time there, I kept questioning why? It's only a 7 hour drive from San Diego. The trip was great. One of those times where everything seemed to add up. The weather was great.The hikes were amazing, Perfect visibility. And the best part, there were barely any people there at all. We hiked up to Glacier Point one day, which took about 6 hours round trip, and we might have seen 10 people? Note to self: mid-week in the middle of winter is the time to go. Much more to come next week  from the hike up to Glacier Point. Stay tuned. 

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Rob Hammer

Niagra Falls

On New Years Day, I was driving through upstate New York on my way back to San Diego. And found myself close enough to Niagra Falls that I shouldn't pass it up. Why not? Had never been there before, and figured it was a good time to cross it off the list? My expectations weren't that high, as I sort of expected it just to be a tourist trap. And it was definitely that, but it also couldn't have been more impressive. I had heard that the place to see it is from the Canada side, which I did. The power was amazing. As you walk in, you're eye level with the huge river of water that takes the turn into the falls. Then you keep walking, and you're right at the end of the falls where everything drops. And it's almost impossible to wrap your head around how big it is and how much water is flowing over the falls as any given moment. A very cool thing to see.  If you ever find yourself in that area, put in the extra effort to stop in. Depending on the time and day of the week, crossing the border is not bad at all. Well worth it. 

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Rob Hammer


Travel Portraits

There are so many things to love about travel, but high on my list are the people you meet. Most of them unexpected. And making portraits of these people is something I love to do. Even if it's a brief encounter, you can learn so much about a culture by talking to the locals. This woman was set up on a roadside on our way in to Rovinj, Croatia, where fruits are a major commodity. And she made the most of it. Her whole "stand" was filled with tons of dried fruit and homemade jams, which we left with plenty of. Lady knew what she was doing, because it was all delicious. Just by looking at her, you can tell she knows. The late afternoon light was just flooding in her stand, so I couldn't help but ask her for a portrait. Glad I did. 

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Rob Hammer

The Jam Lady



Buffalo, NY

One of the many great things about road trips is the food you can find along your way. Some of it is totally random. And then there are places which are obviously known for a certain kind of food. Buffalo, NY is one of those places. Birthplace of the chicken wing. I'm originally from NY, so naturally have a deep appreciation for the chicken wing. Now living out in San Diego, it's hard to find a proper wing. So while traveling through western NY, I thought it only fitting to try the best. I'd never been to Buffalo before, and it seemed like a good enough excuse? Buffalo itself was a pretty cool place. Has a very "neighborhood" feel to it. Like everything is friendly and local. The outskirts though, were much different. Lots of deserted old factories. Great for shooting. And had it not been for the chicken wing, I never would have stumbled on this scene. Sometimes it pays to eat. 

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Rob Hammer


Hoops

Back in my hometown now, after a cross-country road trip. Photographically it wasn't the most productive. I got some cool stuff, but not as much as I was hoping for. The main focus was BASKETBALL HOOPS, which is something I've been shooting all over the country for the past year and a half. It's a lot of fun and brings me to some amazing small towns that are completely off the grid. The longer I do it, the harder it gets to find unique hoops. That all part of the treasure hunt though. 

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Rob Hammer

Joseph City, Arizona

On Wednesday I started another cross-country road trip with Mojo (dog). They are always an incredible experience, with an almost therapeutic effect.  There aren't any parts of the country that I don't enjoy visiting, and Arizona is no exception. The light in AZ is just phenomenal. Rivaled only by New Mexico. I guess it's all that flat wide open space. The late day light just rakes across everything. I found this scene in Joseph City. Really awesome looking clouds until you realize it's smoke from the Cholla Power Plant. 

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Rob Hammer

Road Trip

One of my favorite forms of travel is the road trip. It's the best way to see what ever part of the world you are in. And the only way to really experience local cultures/foods that you would otherwise miss by flying. Next week I will be starting a cross country road trip back to New York to be with family for the holidays. It's something I've done many times and always look forward to. As of this post, I have road tripped through all 50 states (flew to AK+HI) for my Barbershop project. And this time around will be working on my most recent project, Basketball Hoops. Being on the road with other people is always fun. For these however, it's just me and Mojo (dog). Which I prefer, because it allows me a lot more time on my own to shoot, without worrying about inconveniencing anyone else. It's something I really encourage every photographer to do on a somewhat regular basis.

This image is from a road trip last September to Colorado. We stopped to "use the bathroom" and our car happened to be in the perfect spot with perfect light. Love Arizona. Anyway, I'll be regularly posting to this site during my trip, so be sure to check back. 

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Rob Hammer