Kristen on the Queen Mary

Working at a media/publishing company often comes with some much appreciated perks. One being the opportunity for travel articles. Kristen Schott, Web Editor at Churm Media, was given the article lead for a piece on Hotel Maya in Downtown Long Beach, California. Within walking distance is the historic Queen Mary. Stopping for a blood sugar test, I seized the opportunity for this low light, wide-aperture shot with my 50mm.

year 29 || day 47 – Irvine rooftop overpass

Long exposure Irvine rooftop skyline

a calming nightly stroll atop the parking garage of our apartment building led me to a series of shots which I’ve aptly named ‘the rooftop’. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “but Luke, a parking garage isn’t a rooftop,” to which I can only agree, but remain steadfast in my ignorant naming scheme. So there’s that. But there’s also some amazing shots I got form the night life in Irvine. My original plan was to shoot the old hangars that still remain from the retired military base, but in an unexpected turn of events I got some even more intriguing shots, although the long exposure help to do that to pretty much ant night shot.

Setting up my tripod, prepping the cameras timer and blasting King Charles from my iPhone, I frame the shot and let the camera do the rest. After a couple ill-exposed images I got the right exposure and the series was underway. I’ll be posting some more from this shoot later, so enjoy. Or don’t. Its really your prerogative.

  • Focal Length: 50mm
  • Shutter: 30sec
  • Aperture: f/9.0
  • ISO: 100
  • Notes: When setting up for the long exposure shot, I had to find a sturdy, even shooting area. There was a slight breeze and my tripod isn’t the best thing in the world (hey, it was only $17, I can’t complain), so i had to find an area that i could steady the camera so that my images could stay crisp.
  • Tip: When shooting any type of long exposure shot it’s very important to keep the camera steady, otherwise your images will be blurred. For fun, try some setting while purposely moving the camera with the shutter open. You can get some pretty unique shots.

year 29 || day 31 – Fuego menu

Fuego Long Beach Menu

This summer on a press trip for OCMETRO & OCFAMILY, Kristen and I got to stay at Hotel Maya in Long Beach. Part of the all-inclusive stay was a dinner at Fuego, the in-house restaurant boasting the largest selection of tequila in the region with more than a couple signature drinks.

As we sat oceanside for our dinner by tea light candle our conversation drifted to the amazing view of downtown Long Beach and the excitement of the upcoming meal. Salmon and fiery scallops were the plates of choice, with a guacamole trio to kick off the evening … and a couple of cocktails of course.

Not being a fan of guacamole in the least, my reluctancy to try the dips was on high, but the chips were too delicious to not give them a sample. Much to my surprise I actually liked 2 of the 3. Now amped up for the entrées to come we slowly picked at the chip crumbs not wanting them to end, but the seafood delights were coming to the table and were ready to dwarf the flavors of the starter. Fork to flakey grilled salmon and into my mouth and the heavens sang. Still to this day, one of the best grilled salmon dishes I’ve ever eaten. Just the right amount of spices to not overwhelm the fish and the perfect doneness to please my palette. Leaving me with a slight burn on my taste buds, we ordered one last round, contemplated ordering a table hookah and sat with good conversation and an unforgettable (because I have pictures of course!) view.

year 29 || day 30 – ode to the firefighters

Orange County Firefighter Helmet

Living in Southern California, we all know the dry seasons bring some of the worst brushfires in the country. Our hillsides are left littered with black soot from past rages and lives are threatened by encroaching flames. Every year our firefighters put themselves on the line to save our state, our homes and our families.

This is a small ode to those men and women who risk everything for others. One more ‘thank you’ may fall onto a pile of thousands of others, but from one SoCal native to the entire force of selfless firefighters, thank you.

year 29 || day 22 – Patina Boutique Green Dress

Patina Boutique Newport Beach California

Given the chance to be published in print for my photography, I took an assignment for OCMETRO’s Style department. The task was to highlight a little boutique in Newport Beach, Patina, and it’s Fall fashions. Operating without a flash (note: I’ve since gotten my hands on a 580ex II speedlight!) I had to make use of all the available light in the kitschy vintage shop. Luckily I had my 50mm to eat up the light in there like a monster. Shooting at 1.4-1.8 has it’s distinct advantages in low light! In the end, 4 of the outfit shots made it into ink and archive … a very nice win for ninethree!

Thank you economy! and Time Warner! 1¢ Movies!

Any of you Southern California residents out there that may have taken a nice roundhouse kick to the left temple may appreciate this little slab of cold steak to nurse that wound! Time Warner Cable is offering 1¢ Movies on demand from a pretty decent selection of 30 movies through their On Demand service. Being a So Cal resident myself… and being a poor artist… i salute you Time Warner. We may have had our feuds in the past, like that one time when you locked up on my and fast forwarded my DVR all the way to the end of my show while i got a nice 2x speed, soundless viewing of Top Chef (and again during 24), but this totally wipes the slate clean. Thanks!

The service seems to be only on Valentine’s Day, but what else are you doing in So Cal? I mean, you could go to Morton’s Steakhouse any old night, right? Pfshhh.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “But, Luke, why are you promoting Time Warner Cable? That doesn’t have anything to do with design!” to which i would reply “You’re right, especially judging by that landing page, yuck! but, this is pure MARKETING genius.” Here’s a company that realizes that most of it’s viewers will be out of the house, or not watching television, so they give them a great incentive to keep the viewership high in the times when they predict it being low. All my speculation of course, but that’s why I’m featuring this, my dirty little secret is that i am in love with marketing.

Click here for details from the mouth of the horse itself.

Thank you @ADramaticMommy via Twitter for the tip!

Portfolio: 10-11-07 OC Life: Stage Layout

10-11-07 OCMETRO OC Life LayoutTitle: 10-11-07 OC Life: Stage Layout

Client: Churm Media, in association with OCMETRO BUSINESS Magazine

Program(s) Used: Phototshop & Quark

Time Span: 1 Hour

About: Prior to the redesign of OCMETRO BUSINESS magazine, the section OC LIFE was the place to get on the pulse of what’s going on in Orange County, California. This particular layout was was written for a review of the Slidebar Rock N Roll Café.

Designer Notes: Early in my career at Churm Media, as a Graphic Designer (Now Art Director), I played things safe, by the book. I soon learned that i had a lot of insightful, fresh new ideas to lend to the editorial pages that had been assigned to me, whereas previously i was strictly designing ads. This was one of my early chances to show the company something new, something they’d shyed away from before, for whatever reason. Large images are ALWAYS eye catching, so with my newfound responsibility I set out to make a name for myself in the staff boxes and directories of Churm Media and OCMETRO BUSINESS magazine.

Portfolio: 1-08 Feature Story Spread (ADHD)

Title: 1-08 Feature Story Spread (ADHD)

Client: Churm Media, in association with OC Family Magazine & Inland Empire Family Magazine

Program(s) Used: Quark & Photoshop

Time Span: 3-6 Hours

About: A small feature story (full story on that was run in OC Family magazine.

Designer Notes: Point. Set. Match. I wanted to design something fun, but serious. I think the content speaks for itself, thanks to the editor Lynn Armitage, and the layout lent itself to the imagery making it fun to read, even though the subject matter is anything but. Children’s health issues are always a huge concern for parents and i wanted them to get a sense of connection with the story, not just pages of information, but something showing that there’s people out there who care and have dealt with this issue too.

Memorial Day Weekend ’08

Memorial Day Weekend, Huntington Beach PierMemorial Day Weekend, Happy at the BeachMemorial Day Weekend, Feet in the Sand
This memorial day was relaxing, fun, and educational. Had some time to sit and tweak the inner workings of the site, spend some time with my lady friend, and relax at the beach! What more could someone ask for? God, i love Huntington Beach!

Check out the new “Lytebox” plugin i have on the photos and let me know what you think. I did some minor tweaks to it and adjusted some of the settings off of their defaults.

Portfolio: 2-08 OC Family Cover

Title: 2-08 OC Family Cover

Client: Churm Media, in association with OC Family Magazine

Program(s) Used: Photoshop & Quark

Time Span: 5 Hours (Including the photo shoot)

About: Cover for the February 2008 OC Family Magazine. The feature was “What is Love?”. Students from 4 different grades were asked the question and the best/cutest/most heart-warming answered were published as the cover story.

Designer Notes: This cover and January’s cover were for a photo shoot all rolled into one day, my first. Needless to say i was a bit nervous, not 100% sure what i was doing, but had some great guidance from Sonia Chung (Art Director for OC METRO BUSINESS magazine) to help me along my way.

Portfolio: Trigelle Women’s Golf Clothing Ad

Title: Trigelle Women’s Golf Clothing Ad (Full Page Ad)

Client: Churm Media, in association with Southland Golf Magazine

Program(s) Used: Illustrator

Time Span: 2-4 Hours

About: The client, through proxy of Churm Media, wanted a new look for their company, with not a lot of direction other than a logo (*shudder, it’s papyrus) and their product/model photography.

Designer Notes: Using some free download organic brushes in Illustrator i was able to give the client a fresh look for their company. Keeping in mind that they are strictly women’s golf clothing really helped to choose a palette and theme… women love flowers!

Portfolio: 2-08 Feature Story (Full)

Title: 2-08 Feature Story (Full)

Client: Churm Media, in association with OC Family Magazine & Inland Empire Family Magazine

Program(s) Used: Quark, Photoshop and Illustrator

Time Span: 4-8 hours

About: Feature story layout for the OC Family’s annual travel issue (February). The full story can be read here, on

Designer Notes: The challenge with this feature story was to really break the boundaries of Churm Media’s regular layouts for OC Family & Inland Empire Family magazines. I tried to look at it from the point of view of being tired of the same old thing. Using a mix of stock photography and some great photographs taken by the writer, and then Executive Editor, Craig Reem, i was able to really step out on my own and land a great layout design. The push of deadline nipping at my heels was always a reminder as well of how it IS possible to churn out great product when deadlines are creeping up around the corner

Full story layout after the jump

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Artist Spotlight: Albert Szukalski

My parents recently took a trip for their 31st (i could be wrong on this, great son, i know…) anniversary through california up into Nevada. On their trip they passed through a little ghost town in the middle of nowhere, in Death Valley, and got some amazing shots of some artwork that, unknown to them and myself, had a series of sculptures to follow up the series. Artist Charles Albert Szukalski (Born April 4, 1945, Furth im Wald, Poland — Died January 25, 2000, Antwerp, Belgium) Had a sculpture of “The Last Supper” (Pictured Above). When my parents were showing me the photos i was blown away by them; one, that my folks were savvy enough to capture such great photos (i kid, i kid), and two, that something so amazing would be set up in the middle of the desert, without graffiti, intact and seemingly unguarded. When i got near a computer again i started to do a search for “Death Valley Last Supper” and discovered the other sculptures in the series.

UPDATE: After doing a little bit of research, i found out that this isn’t just ome random little ghost town in Death Valley. It’s actually called the Goldwell Open Air Museum.

Watch the video of the artist and a little of how he made these sculptures.
Video after the jump… JUMP!

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Portfolio: 12-07 Cover Story Layout Spread

Title: 12-07 Cover Story Layout Spread

Client: Churm Media, in association with OC Family Magazine & Inland Empire Family Magazine

Program(s) Used: Quark, Photoshop

Time Span: 4-5 Hours to completion (entire layout (8 pages))

About: Every year Churm Media puts out it’s annual issue in OC Family & Inland Empire Family Magazines. This year was the “20 Best Totally Terrific Toys”. Yes, I know, that’s two too many adjectives, but what are you going to do? What client wants, client gets.

Designer Notes: This entire layout was quite the piece of work for photoshop clipping masks! Boy do i love still having to be lulled down by the back and forth of Quark to photoshop… when will they learn that InDesign is the bridge between that gap! But, what doesn’t kill us as designers, will make us always remember the golden rules…. never, EVER, EVER use Papyrus in your designs. You have (or should have) and entire library of fonts, GET CREATIVE! And also, learn from our clients blunders. By the time i finished this layout i knew the intimate ins and outs of the photoshop pen tool. I even “took it out for a romantic seafood dinner… and never called it again!”

Champ Kind: I will take Dorothy Manstooth out to a nice seafood dinner and NEVER call her again!
Wes Mantooth: Dorothy Mantooth is a Saint!
Ron Burgundy: Hey, let’s leave the mothers out of this.

Portfolio: 12-07 Feature Story Spread

Title: 12-07 Feature Story Spread

Client: Churm Media, in association with OC Family Magazine & Inland Empire Family Magazine

Program(s) Used: Quark, Photoshop

Time Span: 2-4 Hours

About: OC Family & Inland Empire Family Magazine’s ran a special “Fire Feature Story” after the huge fires in Southern California this past year (2007). One of Churm Media’s writers (Pictures in the spread) was directly affected by the fire and was one of the families that had to evacuate their home. Luckily everyone was safe and she still writes for the magazine today.

Designer Notes: The text overlaid over a full truck spread was something new for OC Family Magazine, at least in my time at Churm Media. I wanted to really capture a readers eye as they were thumbing through the pages of the magazine. Great photography and subject matter really helped to pull this whole spread together.