Superstar photographer Ben Von Wong joined SmugMug on our epic company retreat this year in…
Photos of pretty people
Back in May I was lucky enough to travel to the Big Island of Hawaii for a week long vacation. We did a lot of really amazing things … like scuba diving with Manta Rays, or jumping off 40 foot cliffs at the southern most point in the U.S.A … but by far the most breathtaking part of the vacation was our visit to the lava! The lava flow moves east and west along the coast and you can never predict where the lava will be flowing at a given time (see map below). Lately, the flow has been about 2 miles from the town of Kalapana. This meant a fairly easy 4 mile roundtrip hike out to the lava and back. It is highly recommend that you go with a trained guide, should you choose to go to the lava.
A while ago I joined the meetup.com ”Bay Area Model Photo Shooters” (BAMPS) group … the group hires models and several photographers sign up to split the price of the model. Each gets time with the model and it’s a great way to learn. Unfortunately the guy who organizes it has different opinions on models than I do: usually they’re not very pretty, look like whores (excuse my language, but it’s true!), don’t know how to pose, have awful make-up, or are hired strictly to be naked. Not my kind of thing.
Enter Shanza … when I saw the event to shoot with Shanza as the model it was the first time I thought to myself ”I want to sign up!” It sold out in 5 minutes. Oh well, I missed my chance. I began to follow Shanza on Facebook. She began to follow me back. One evening I got a message from her: ”I love your work. We should collaborate on a shoot sometime!” The first thing that went through my head was ”Shanza! No way she just emailed me! She wants a LANDSCAPE photographer to shoot her?!” Instead I replied ”when?!”
After way too long figuring out a free day we met up on Treasure Island and spent about 2 hours shooting. After playing in front of some old doors, sneaking into a steel structure area, playing in a trolley, and 3 costume changes we came home with a gazillion images.
I’ve always thought my friend Nicole was super photogenic and we’ve talked about doing a photo shoot for over a year now. It took her getting a new job and moving away for us to make this happen. While I’m sad to see her leave California, I’m glad that I was able to capture her amazing smile before she left.
She had the idea of doing a 1950’s themed shoot. She found a dress online that she just had to have and pinterest’d so many additional ideas! She was absolutely amazing — despite neither of us really knowing what we were doing she spent 3 hours at the stylist getting her hair and make-up done. I think we spent 3 hours outside laughing, giggling, and just having a great time. You can see it plastered all over her face!
Who knew pay-phones still existed?! Apparently at this random park in Palo Alto they do! We had some fun with it!
My oldest friend, Zack, served as my amazing assistant and also reserved the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 lens. It did some amazingly wonderful things with these photos 🙂