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  • Welcome to my blog!

    I know there''s a bazillion places to surf so thanks for dropping in here. Here you''ll find irregularly-timed irregular posts about all the things that interest me or I think might interest others. Mostly the content will be about photography, cinematography and the such, but I'll also occasionally diverge into my personal life and share slices what I do in my spare time.

May San Francisco Trip Part 2

…this is continued from part one of my May San Francisco trip…

..So the bouncer waved me up a dingy set of stairs to a loft area above the bustling brewery below. Up in the loft I found a space about 50 x 80 with a long bar, lots of comfy low chairs and couches and lots of kitschy hippie-esque stuff adorning the walls and environs. A mellow non-vocal jazz band was grooing away in the far corner. “What a cool taproom!” I thought. I sat down at the bar and ordered their flagship beer, Lagunitas IPA. I noticed the bartender didn’t charge me. Hmmmh? Perhaps he was going to settle up at the end? Well, soon I noticed no one was paying. So I asked the young lady next to me what gives. She told me it was “Industry Night.” and there was free beer and food. Score. But how did I get in? But then I realized I am in the industry since I’ve now done some work for The Bruery out of Placentia, CA.

Unfortunately I could not partake too much as I had to drive back down to Mill Valley to hang with Lenlee and the roster for dinner and a comedy show. So as it turns out my luck was good that day. Ordinarily the taproom is closed Mondays and Tuesdays but I stumbled in to the first “Industry Night.”

On the back to The City ran across this guy in foreign territory.

On Cinco De Mayo we did a big afternoon show at Butler Shine Stern & Partners in Sausalito. We catered some tasty Mexican munchies including duck tacos and grilled lime-shrimp skewers and quenched the creative’s thirsts with real margaritas! We had a great turnout of creatives to com out and look at our books and party!

Wendi Nordeck mixing up a mean margarita.

Rhea, Wendi and Lenlee prepping the tasty Cinco De Mayo food.

After our week of portfolio shows the roster parted ways to other parts of the country but I stayed on for a bit longer in the Bay Area. Over the next few days I roamed around Marin and north of their on the coast. I loved the drive up through Lucas Canyon. Rolling grassy hills dotted with coastal live oak stands and little puffy white clouds. I’ll have to bring my mountain bike back to ride here. There are cool trails everywhere! The first day I spent up by Bodega Bat and ended up staying at the Bodega Bay Lodge. Nice place. The view wasn’t bad either.

View from Bodega Bay Lodge

Please forgive the heavy-handed HDR-look applied by my iPhone. Better than completely backlit I guess though.

Next, I spent a couple days in Pt. Reyes National Seashore driving and hiking alot, taking photos. This place is one of my favorite places on Earth. There’s something about it. The open spaces. The wildness of the place. The beauty of it. I love it.

Cows roaming in Pt. Reyes


Breakin' the law! Breakin' the law! Waiting for sunset.

It’s only about 1000′ feet down to the ocean directly behind me! Here’s  the view beyond the fence…

One of the historic ranches in Pt. Reyes.

I ended staying in town at The Motel Inverness. The room sucked but it had a shared lodge area with a huge fireplace that I took advantage of at night. The motel was in a nice spot on the water-side of the main road, facing out on the marsh and Tomales Bay. The place even had it’s own walkway and duck blind for birding.

For the next couple days I enjoyed full days of hiking around getting photographs then racing back in to town for last call for grub. Most places in these small towns close at 9pm. There are no 7-11d in town. So if you miss dinner. You miss dinner. Absolutely loved the Bovine Bakery in Pt. Reyes station and subsisted on their blackberry-buttermilk muffins for breakfast.

Before I knew it I found it was time get myself to the 5 for the long drive south. I have a ton more photos from this trip that I still need to work on and post so keep stay tuned for update alerts. Here’s a teaser…

The latest image I just finished is one from Pigeon Point Lighthouse (between Santa Cruz and San Francisco).

Pigeon Point Lighthouse, CA ©2011 John Early

JQ - May 24, 2011 - 7:08 am

Fantastic lighthouse image! Glad you had a good trip north. I sure wish I’d had a couple more days out there…

May San Francisco Trip Part 1

Our show @ GSSP

Last week I got back from a two week portfolio-showing-stock-shooting trip, or “photo-cation” as I like to call it. My rep Lenlee Jenckes had assembled her entire roster of five photographers from around the country for a week of portfolio shows. Rather than duplicate her efforts, you can read the whole story on her blog. I’ll just hit the highlights and fun stuff.

After our second review at Goodby we headed to Union Square for a photo shoot. We wanted to thank Clorox for our show the day before and introduce the three photographers that were unable to make it. So after enjoying an adult beverage or two in the magnificent summer-like weather, we donned white t-shirts and started getting dirty. I took to the streets and rubbed my shirt all over the dirtiest tires I could find. I’m sure some people found me as looney as some of the other loonies in town.

Fellow photographer James Quantz Jr. shot the picture and has a great account of his retouching process for the shot on his blog. Excellent job and thank you Jay!

After we wrapped the photo shoot we took a cab ride that nearly cost us our lives or at least the urine our bladders. We were headed to La Mar for drinks and maaaybe a table when Ali our cabbie du jour arrived. This guy loved to drive fast with reckless abandon, and wanton disrehard for public safety.

Look out people!

He never hit anyone but he came close and he must have broken hundreds of laws in less than a mile! But personally, I loved it. The guy was actually a good driver just going waaay to fast for the amount of traffic and pedestrians around. I rode shotgun and was getting into it, taking pictures. Kind of like being in the front car on a roller coaster. The ride is always fun up there. In the back, sometimes not so much.

The boys look to be enjoying themselves.

Just after the picture above was snapped the girls pleaded for Ali to slow down. He thought they were joking at first but then eventually slowed it down a bit.

The food and drinks at La Mar were spectacular.

The next day before our shows, I treated myself to lunch at The Slanted Door. This wonderful up-scale Vietnamese fusion restaurant is right in the Ferry Building. A beautiful location, delicious food and steep city prices to match. I only wish they had some local beer offerings on draft instead of all bottled foreign beers. I had the grapfruit and jicama salad with shredded slaw. It was divine.

Grapefruit and jicama salad @ The Slanted Door

After the roster left town I checked out a couple of the local well-known craft brew locations. The first was The Monk’s kettle in San Francisco. This gastropub is the first place I have seen with such an extensive beer menu. They have 24 taps and a six page single-spaced menu of bottled beers including many that are aged. That is a first for me to see as well.

Beer menu @ The Monk's Kettle

The next day I drove north looking for beautiful subjects to photograph in the Pt. Reyes area. Along the way I stopped in at Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma. I figured I’d drop in and sample a beer at the taproom and then buy a pint glass and hat for my collection and be on my way. I rolled up around 5:15pm on a Monday. After eventually locating the Beer Sanctuary, I headed in.

Lagunitas Brewing Beer Sanctuary

After passing through I came upon a rather large gentleman strategically seated next to the entrance to the taproom and beer gardens. “A bouncer?” I thought. What for up here in the country? Well, when I got waved upstairs into the employees-only “Loft” above the brewery I should have known something was up….

…. to be continued….

Lots of New Work Added To My Portfolio

You may not have noticed but my blog has gone silent for a little while. That’s because I’ve been in the studio for weeks shooting a whole series of new work for my product and beverages/liquids portfolios. A bolt of creative struck and I took advantage of the situation. I have added about 15 new images to my portfolio. Here are some of the images:


Here are some of the liquids shots I did.

These two were shot for one of my favorite craft brewers, Fullerton-based The Bruery. They were stoked with the final outcome and we should be seeing them on their website soon.


Please check out them all out and more new stuff in the automotive book as well on my main website.

Breaking Through Creative Roadblocks

18 Imaginative Thinkers Break Your Creative Block


It happens to all of us at some point – you are driving along the creative highway unaware of some oncoming cerebral roadwork slowing the road down to one lane. You lose your focus for one second and BAM!!! You slam headlong into a creative wall. I asked seventeen of the most creative photographers, designers, bloggers, and creative industry professionals I know (and threw myself into the mix for good measure) to weigh in on how creative difficulties affect them and what they do to beat back the tide of artistic fatigue.

…This is just an excerpt from a great blog panel Luke Copping did this week. To read the whole blog post surf over to Luke’s blog

or you can read my contribution to his blog panel below…

JohnEarly LG 525x 18 Imaginative Thinkers Break Your Creative Block

John Early

Most creatives talk about how they sometimes find themselves in a creative rut, and search for ways to spur their creativity to produce new and captivating imagery. I am the opposite. I don’t think in terms of creative ruts, but rather creative peaks. I usually float along in a creative steady-state so to speak. Then every once in a while a creative peak will occur, and that is when the good ideas and inspiration flow freely. I’ll use the analogy of an author. Most authors can’t just sit down and write an award-winning novel on command. Similarly, a photographer cannot expect to produce a great shot on the spur of the moment. Of course one can and this does happen occasionally, but it is not the norm.

As many photographers know, often too much of our daily time is spent running the business, shooting bread and butter jobs, promoting, blogging, social media, etc., and not being creative. These activities usually won’t foster the arrival of a creative peak so when I want to try and bring on a creative peak there’s three things I’ll usually try:

• I’ll get on my mountain bike and ride a good, long, hard ride. I’ll push my limits and ride at least twice as long as usual which for me means three or more hours. It’s not that I can think creatively while I’m riding, because if I did that I’d end up with dirt in my teeth at the very least. I like to mountain bike because I cannot think of anything while I ride – or I’ll crash. So, I am basically doing a clean sweep and optimization of my brain (like a hard drive). When the aprés-ride endorphins kick in and I am in a state of bliss, is usually when I tend to be able to think more creatively. I’ll put on some mellow music and just start brainstorming.

• Or I’ll change my location to somewhere unfamiliar. I might go into a part of town I don’t usually visit and shoot some street scenes or architecture. The point is to experience something different than what I am used to. I find that just putting myself in a new “world” so to speak, get’s my creative juices flowing. Most often this is personal work for me since I am primarily an automotive photographer. But I firmly believe photographers and artists must also create for themselves to keep up their creativity, even if they never show that work. The old saying is true: Use it or lose it. This applies to creativity as well.

• Lastly, I’ll exhaustively scour the internet and magazines for what photographers/cinematographers are currently shooting. I’ll regularly do this 3-4 times a year and sometimes more often. While I would never advocate stealing someone else’s ideas, I find that my creativity is often sparked by viewing great work done by others. It’s just another component in the R&D of furthering my creativity.

John Early is an award-winning automotive and product photographer based in Los Angeles.