Sunset Cliffs at Sunset, 4/27/12


With not much else to do
on a Friday night, I decided to visit Sunset Cliffs during an actual
sunset instead of my usual full moon escapades.

Sunset Cliffs at Sunset 42712 © Michael Klayman-001

It’s easy to make long
exposure landscapes ominous because they naturally lend themselves to
that aesthetic. I included a black and white version of a photo below to
show how that feeling can burst out of a photo as an automatic
response. I have many examples of this type of mood in my photo
collection. But I think that there’s something to be said for trying to
elicit a different emotion than the one on the surface.

Sunset Cliffs at Sunset 42712 © Michael Klayman-005

12.5 stops of neutral density make 3 minute exposures possible, even in bright daylight. What I tried to do last
night was to capture the warm feeling of a Southern California Spring.
It was there all around me last night in the flowers and sunset glow, as
well as in the faces of the people that gathered on the cliffs to watch
it. By taking out the sharp waves, I wanted to focus attention on the
warm peace of the the land. Anyone who was walking through the frame
while I was shooting ended up as a faint blur in the final shot. No
model releases needed that way!

Sunset Cliffs at Sunset 42712 © Michael Klayman-002

Sitting absolutely still for a couple minutes at a time is hard. I only make bands do it for 30 seconds at most.

Sunset Cliffs at Sunset 42712 © Michael Klayman-004

Click on a photo to go to the full gallery.

————
All Images Copyright © Michael Klayman 2012, All Rights Reserved.
Please ask for permission before downloading or linking to them.

Hills Like Elephants, Darrows at Whistle Stop, 4/13/12

My new camera has been working well for me and my past couple shoots, but I wanted to see what it could do when I really push it. I had friends playing at the Whistle Stop on Friday and that’s the perfect place to practice dim club photography. For the Darrows, I used my prime lenses to test focus ability and speed.

Darrows at Whistle Stop 41311 © Michael Klayman-007

The new Zone AF mode does not work well in low light at all, evidenced by its inability to lock focus the whole time. I would have switched it back to my trusty single AF point mode right away, but it is a new feature for me and I wanted to give it a chance. This was its first and last chance. I don’t like fuzzy photos.

Darrows at Whistle Stop 41311 © Michael Klayman-010

Darrows at Whistle Stop 41311 © Michael Klayman-002

Darrows at Whistle Stop 41311 © Michael Klayman-006

I gave my old friend, Eric, a microphone mustache.

Darrows at Whistle Stop 41311 © Michael Klayman-008

——————————

For Hills Like Elephants, I popped the flash a few times.

Hills Like Elephants at Whistle Stop 41311 © Michael Klayman-001

Hills Like Elephants at Whistle Stop 41311 © Michael Klayman-002

The CD is steadily growing on me and the songs sound good live. Plenty of people were dancing.

Hills Like Elephants at Whistle Stop 41311 © Michael Klayman-003

Hills Like Elephants at Whistle Stop 41311 © Michael Klayman-005

Click on a photo to go to the full gallery.

————
All Images Copyright © Michael Klayman 2012, All Rights Reserved.
Please ask for permission before downloading or linking to them.

James Moore at Space 4 Art, 4/9/12

I had no idea what I would
be seeing Monday night when I walked into Space 4 Art for the next
installment of Bonnie Wright’s Fresh Sound series. I wasn’t familiar
with James Moore at all, and the samples I found online didn’t really
shed any light on this night’s music.

James Moore at Space 4 Art 40912 © Michael Klayman-002

James played a couple sets of solo National Guitar music, composed by several 20th century classical luminaries. Most of the songs were folk-sounding, sparse, and a challenging listen. The John Zorn compositions were a string of short, strange etudes that made use of drumsticks under the strings, balloons dragged across the strings, vocalizations, and percussive banging on the guitar body. It made me wonder how much of this was actually written out, and how much was just Zorn leaving instructions for the musician to make a racket. I’m generally not a fan of this kind of music that asks so much of a listener and gives so little in return.

James Moore at Space 4 Art 40912 © Michael Klayman-001 

That’s not to say that there weren’t a lot of interesting moments. James showed his guitar skills not by impressing with technique, but with his ability to add life to some pretty thin material. As Robert Bush pointed out in his review, the musical highlight was hearing a passage of James singing a melody over an almost random set of complicated chords that just kept building.

As impenetrable as the music was for me, James is a very open person who welcomed questions and audience interaction. I know a few other performers of “difficult” music who carry themselves with a certain amount of smug superiority- as if they get something that most people just aren’t able to comprehend. That kind of attitude put me off, and I didn’t feel any of it from the performer or the audience.

In fact, Bonnie Wright managed to pack the room with an older, more sophisticated crowd that I didn’t even know existed. It’s good to see that there’s so many people who like a musical challenge.

————
All Images Copyright © Michael Klayman 2012, All Rights Reserved.
Please ask for permission before downloading or linking to them.

La Jolla at Night, 4/5/12


La Jolla at Night 40512 © Michael Klayman-002

I came back the next full moon to the same place where my old camera died. This set was me finishing what I started.

La Jolla at Night 40512 © Michael Klayman-004

La Jolla at Night 40512 © Michael Klayman-005

La Jolla at Night 40512 © Michael Klayman-006

Click on a photo to go to the full gallery.

————
All Images Copyright © Michael Klayman 2012, All Rights Reserved.
Please ask for permission before downloading or linking to them.

Housewives, Silian Rail, Nicely, Roswell That Ends Well at Tin Can, 3/31/12

I finally got my 7D after a couple weeks, and I was looking forward to this show for a long time. I’m still getting comfortable with the new buttons and features, so I kept the post processing straightforward. Still trying to get used to the feel of everything and the new AF system. Click on a photo to go to the full gallery.

First up was Roswell That Ends Well. I have an instant affinity for any band name with a pun.

Rosewell That Ends Well at Tin Can Ale House 33112 © Michael Klayman-001

Rosewell That Ends Well at Tin Can Ale House 33112 © Michael Klayman-004

Tony the drummer also plays in Sleep Lady. He was so happy to see me, he brought me some weird shot, and I knew it was a mistake as soon as I swallowed it. As the clock struck midnight and it became the first of April, everything in my head lost touch with reality.

Rosewell That Ends Well at Tin Can Ale House 33112 © Michael Klayman-006

They played a great set of 80’s covers.

Nicely at Tin Can Ale House 33112 © Michael Klayman-002

By the time Nicely got on stage, my head was spinning from whatever was in that drink. I stumbled into Lain while I was taking a photo, and he spun his bass around to smack the headstock right against the back of my neck. My fault for getting to close to him while he’s creating, I guess.

Nicely at Tin Can Ale House 33112 © Michael Klayman-003

He sure looks pretty in pictures though. Too bad all the songs were about leprechauns and fairies. Despite the Barry White style vocals over the techno beat, Lain still managed to fit in an odd bass solo into each song. A bit overkill, in my opinion. I didn’t get too many photos of them due to the sharp headache I now had, and because Nick kept throwing his guitar picks at me from the stage.

Silian Rail at Tin Can Ale House 33112 © Michael Klayman-003

Silian Rail debuted a new rock opera for this tour. I like the 4 part harmonies- they really showcases a whole new side of this previously all-instrumental band.

Silian Rail at Tin Can Ale House 33112 © Michael Klayman-005

Robin also showed off some wicked harmonica skills during an A Capella version of Dylan’s “Hurricane”.

Silian Rail at Tin Can Ale House 33112 © Michael Klayman-004

I think what everyone loves about this band is how the drummer can say so much while playing so little. They make the perfect soundtrack for cuddling with a good book and a frothy cappuccino on a rainy Sunday afternoon, just some “me time”. Yeah, that’s my Silian Rail.

Silian Rail at Tin Can Ale House 33112 © Michael Klayman-006

I’ve heard a lot of good things about Housewives, but honestly, the gimmick is a bit confusing.

Housewives at Tin Can Ale House 33112 © Michael Klayman-003

First of all, I get it. You play nursery rhymes at fast tempos. That might be fun for one or two songs, but how many ways can you play “The Wheels on the Bus” with distortion and synchronized two-hand tapping before it loses all resemblance to the original version?

Housewives at Tin Can Ale House 33112 © Michael Klayman-004

Even though the nice girl standing next to me was telling me that this next song would be based on “How Much is that Doggie in the Window”, I couldn’t pick out the melody.

Housewives at Tin Can Ale House 33112 © Michael Klayman-007

I thought she was just messing with me at first, but when the bassist launched into a uptempo dirge based on the changes to “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, there was a bright spot in an otherwise reserved and soulful set.

Housewives at Tin Can Ale House 33112 © Michael Klayman-008

The guitar player tried to sell me a T-shirt in the bathroom. I said I didn’t really want to buy a Housewives shirt, especially in the bathroom. He said he’d give me a discount on the one he was wearing since it was already used. No thanks, I can put sweat stains in my own shirts.

Housewives at Tin Can Ale House 33112 © Michael Klayman-005

As I walked out into the rainy night, my head buzzing from a combination of the music and the blend of Guatemalan knockout drugs I was slipped, I felt dizzy with excitement. I grabbed the closest girl on the street and spun her around until I realized she was a drunk tranny coming from the bar down the street. That would have been embarrassing if anyone saw. Oh yes, the whole bar. Great.

————
All Images Copyright © Michael Klayman 2012, All Rights Reserved.
Please ask for permission before downloading or linking to them.

La Jolla at Night, 3/8/12, or The Shot That Killed My Camera


LA Jolla at Night 30812 © Michael Klayman-003

This is a cliff in La Jolla, looking South towards the cove. I shot this around 1am during a full moon and it took 336 seconds to record enough light.  But that isn’t the most noteworthy thing about this image. This was the last exposure my camera made before the mirror broke. This, my first DSLR, died four years to the day of when I first got it.

In that time, I have had many interesting experiences while shooting. I would say there have been countless bands, but it’s actually pretty easy to count them- 377 sets on Flickr, with another 120 or so sets buried in Google Photos somewhere. I’m happy some of my earlier efforts aren’t easily visible. I think I’ve improved a lot from where I started.

There are many more moments that happened in between the shutter clicks. There was all the great music, of course, but there are also lots of people that I wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for this camera. Fellow photographers, musicians, art lovers, and foodies, they have all enriched my life.

Before I had a camera, I thought I was a shy person. But, this camera had a way of dragging me out of my comfort zone and making me point it at interesting things. I couldn’t help but interact with the people I was shooting, and I always had an easy icebreaker if I wanted to talk to someone. I didn’t just grow as a photographer, I grew as a person.

I have come to accept the fact that I am not always an easygoing bystander. Sometimes I have to participate in life and make images that document and interpret just a few of the things that make it worth living. If that makes me an artist, then fine, I’m an artist. But my best work is yet to come, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

————
All Images Copyright © Michael Klayman 2012, All Rights Reserved.
Please ask for permission before downloading or linking to them.