I was recently asked to go and shoot in California and I said no… No?? No you say?? No to an all expenses paid trip to USA to do what you love? To be honest, it wasn’t a hard decision as at the time Leigh and I were new parents. We also don’t have a secret bunker filled with cash hidden either so that decision turned to a yes for the sake of putting food on the table. The primary job was to train our American counterparts in shooting energy infrastructure from the air as we do here in Australia. It proved to be a little more difficult than planned and a 6 week trip turned into 10 weeks. A lot of what we do can’t be shared here due to confidentiality reasons however there’s plenty to share around that from my time in the USA as California really is an interesting place with a lot of diversity.
Our home base was in Marina Del Rey which is just a stones throw from famous tourist destinations such as Venice Beach and a bit further up the road, Santa Monica Pier. It’s a vibrant mix of tourists, market stalls, street performers and legalized cannabis. In my time off I’d often grab a camera and cruise up the wide beaches on my beach cruiser bicycle taking in the sights. I think before we visit an area there is always a pre-conception about what it might be like. I have to say that the California coastline is exactly as you dream. Big tall palms, wide beaches, people working out at muscle beach and I even saw someone rollerskating in a g-string bikini. I seriously though that only happened in the movies.
We did all the usual tourist things like visit the Hollywood Sign, walk of fame and so on. An unexpected highlight was seeing Harry Connick Jnr and Renee Zellwegger on the hollywood walk of fame as Harry got his star. There is always a flip side to these sorts of places, It’s expensive, polluted with a huge amount of homelessness that is a whole other blog post to tackle that issue. Winter kicked in just prior to leaving for home making our work extra difficult especially when we’re reliant on good weather to get our job done. It was amazing to see the snow on the mountains overlooking California. In just a few hours drive from Los Angeles, one can be enjoying the snow. I think I’d like to go back one day just to shoot and no work, I think that would be even more amazing.
My most used gear whilst shooting in California was my Nikon D810, 24 mm 2.8 and 50 mm 1.4 Lens also my Mavic 2 pro drone.