So I finally did it. I finally broke down and made a blog/portfolio. No more excuses for not sharing my personal photography, like the images below that I took during my trip earlier this year to Field Trip, a photographer's summit held at the El Capitan Canyon campgrounds in Goleta, CA. (Breathtaking view pictured below!)
I was previously running a music blog, Ocean of Noise, on a different platform while I kept my portfolio and work on yet another platform. It was tiring trying to keep up with the different links, and I realized that it made me less accountable for updating them as frequently as I should because they weren't located at the same address. It was actually a New Year's Resolution for me to do this, and I'm honestly glad it was better late than never.
Of course, this trip helped light a fire under my ass. I was reminded that, in order for my work to reach the world, I must first put it out there. I've decided to keep the name, "Ocean of Noise," because it has a dual meaning when it comes to music and photography, and that's something I've always loved about it.
So here we are. My name is Alyssa, I'm an adult with a real website now, and I'm gonna use my first official post to sort of reminisce and share some words regarding my most recent travel adventure.
In October 2014, I applied for and was accepted to Field Trip 2015 -- a camping summit for professional and amateur photographers. Last week, I hopped on a plane from Houston to Los Angeles, then drove up the coast to the campgrounds with my friend, Andrew, who flew in from Canada.
I learned a lot, met some new friends, and came back with my passion reignited.
While I was there, I took some classes from some pretty talented photographers. Yan Palmer gave me some fantastic tips on posing and directing family portraits, Braedon Flynn helped open my eyes about the business side of this photography nonsense, and Ben Sasso gave some great advice on streamlining my personal style + brand. I also got some great pointers on connecting with clients from Wyn Wiley, while Joel Fox reminded me that just because it's art doesn't mean I can't play and explore.
I admittedly even skipped a class or two to walk around and explore our camping grounds so I could play with a Hasselblad 503cw that was generously loaned to me by the wonderful folks at Indie Film Lab. (For those of you that don't know, a Hasselblad is my dream camera, so getting to walk around such a magical place and be alone to explore and play was a dream!)
I think, however, that one of my absolute favorite moments of the entire trip was being photographed by Trevor Christensen for his project, Nude Portraits. I'd seen his work before, but because I had never seen a photograph of him, I had no idea that he was there. One morning, I heard Whitney announce that Trevor needed subjects for his series and I couldn't volunteer fast enough.
As the day went on, I got a little nervous. I couldn't go anywhere without overhearing people talking about his series and asking me what I was going to do during our session. To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect. Often times, I let my thirst for adventure drive my decision-making skills, and though they are usually calculated risks, I still sometimes find myself in the midst of situations where I'm not quite sure what I was thinking when I agreed to something.
What I wasn't expecting, however, was for the experience of being photographed by Trevor to resonate so deeply within me. He is so incredibly kind, and despite the fact that he strips naked, there is a timid quality about him that makes the process non-threatening. It was a very therapeutic thing for me, and though we weren't able to talk much outside of that experience, I feel closer to him than I do with a lot of people I know and see every day. I'll probably sit down and write him a letter about it soon, but looking back, it was probably the single most inspiring moment of the entire trip.
Other times, I was eating and mingling with some of the 400+ photographers and artists that were also there, learning and playing alongside me. At times, it was surreal how much fun could be packed into four nights and five days. First there was a karaoke night, followed by a talent show. Then we all threw on jumpsuits and gathered in the big tent for our Lazers + Blazers party on Saturday evening. Even the copious amounts of dust couldn't keep us from partying our asses off with the help of vodka, pizza, and Cereal from a Van. Then, by the grace of those pesky music gods, we had the amazing experience of getting a soulful Phosphorescent performance that echoed throughout the canyon on our last evening there.
I will admit that at times, it was a little overwhelming; like when we all met at the beach for a sunset group photo on our last evening there. Luckily, when I needed some time alone to unwind, I could take advantage of the hiking trails and get lost while I regrouped and reflected on everything I was experiencing. One day in specific, I took off after breakfast on a four-hour hike, and ended up on the top of of a hill overlooking the ocean where they kept llamas, goats and sheep. It was just what I needed, and I didn't even know it.
The trip lasted from Thursday, March 5 through Monday, March 9, and I've been having withdrawals ever since. I can remember opening my suitcase and putting on my jacket only to catch a whiff of the fresh, California woods, and I realized that this trip was carved in my heart deeper than I thought it would be.
When headed back to LAX on my last day in California, I had a few hours of down time, so I met up with my friend Jon and we grabbed some pizza at Tomato Pie Pizza Joint in Los Feliz. I highly recommend this spot if you're ever in the area - it was such a cute little place that smelled like fresh dough, and the pizza was actually really delicious.
After that, Jon took me up to Griffith Observatory. Sadly, neither one of us know it was closed on Mondays, so we had to settle for a walk around the grounds before we headed out to try and find Joseph Gordon Levitt's house on our way for frozen yogurt. We agreed for a redo the next time I'm in town, which will definitely not be on a Monday.
Before I end this, I want to give a big, special thank you to TOMS, who provided endless coffee, a pair of sunglasses, and a canvas backpack to each camper, while Krochet Kids International provided us each with a beanie. Other great sponsors included Fotofafa, Squarespace, ONA, SmartAlbums, and Eric Junker, who made some sick designs for our silkscreened shirts and leggings.
I already can't wait until next year.
Let me know if you'd be interested in ordering prints in the comments. I'm thinking about selling some, and I'd love to get feedback on your favorite images.