santa barbara

portrait of Constantin von Jascheroff

Natural light portrait of German actor Constantin von Jascheroff in Berlin.

Constantin von Jascheroff by Jonas Jungblut

Constantin von Jascheroff by Jonas Jungblut

I was in Berlin recently and met up with Constantin von Jascheroff for a quick portrait shoot. We have been working on these portraits for over a decade now. Everytime I am in Berlin we meet and take some portraits. I’ll post some more over the next weeks, but this one stood out. We had shot for a while and ended up in this location (his front door with a long dark hallway behind him). He shaved his face except for his mustache for this last set up. and when he told me that he had just finished dubbing Tarantino’s latest release “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (starring Brad Pitt, Leo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie) I couldn’t help but tell him he reminded me of Pitt.

Editorial publication in Naturally Danny Seo

Lots of new work in the summer issue of Naturally Danny Seo

Over the last months I photographed a piece on LePrunier, a Sacramento based brand that makes plum beauty oil, a story on GT’s Kombucha that featured GT Dave, the founder of the brand and a travel story about my very own, Santa Barbara! The Santa Barbara story featured great local spots like East Beach Tacos, Garde, Jake and Jones, Make Smith Leather, the Lark, Satellite, Bibi Ji, Lotusland, Auto Camp and the Hotel Californian. And last but not least my good, artist buddy Nelson Parrish.

Check out the tearsheets below:

NASCAR at Auto Club Speedway

NASCAR - photographing and vlogging a racing series like no other

NASCAR at Auto Club Speedway

NASCAR at Auto Club Speedway

I am a portrait photographer. I photograph people. Most of the time in a studio setting. Controlled lighting, background, props. But then I also travel quite a bit and shoot editorial stories for magazines. I have been all over the world to shoot editorial stories and photographed while riding an elephant, 60 miles off the coast on a fishing trawler, hanging off a vertical cliff, while having food poisoning, underwater, the list goes on…

So naturally I am interested in the story. I try not to decide what to photograph based on my opinion on the subject matter. Actually, let me rephrase. If anything, I like to explore topics I either don’t know much about or have an opinion on which isn’t based on first person experience. If you really want to learn about a topic dive into it and experience it.

Queue NASCAR.

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Through a close friend I was invited by Aric Almirola to watch the 2019 race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Full access to the pits and drivers area. This is how you go experience something you don’t know much about. Now, full disclosure: I had been to a NASCAR race before, in Sonoma. But this one was a track and not an oval. (Yes, both are in California and both are NASCAR races…).

So what did I learn? Well, you can watch the video linked in this post to follow along. Otherwise what I can tell you is that the viewer demographic is rather narrow. And it is what you would expect.

Aric Almirola at Auto Club Speedway in 2019

Aric Almirola at Auto Club Speedway in 2019

But there is something else I noticed here and also the first time I went in Sonoma. NASCAR is a racing series that operates like it is the 1970’s. While Formula 1 cars and teams are run by technology stock cars aren’t. They fuel the cars during pit stops by gravity fed canisters and they don’t have much data on the car while it is on the track. What this means is that the driver is mostly responsible to deal with the car. Driving as well as communicating how the car feels and if something may need adjusting in the pits. I call it out in the vlog, it’s good old driving. No readings on the screen in the pits and then a command on how to drive. The driver actually has to feel it out and do it. (Now going around an oval, which is the large majority of events probably doesn’t require as much input as a regular track but I wouldn’t know that… I can only assume. And assumptions can be dangerous.).

Aric Almirola taking off after a pit stop at Auto Club Speedway in 2019.

Aric Almirola taking off after a pit stop at Auto Club Speedway in 2019.

Sooo… what did I take away from actually going to a race and experiencing it myself? It’s a lot of things that you have to go experience for yourself. You reading my account is just like reading any other. My point with this whole post is that to really learn about something you actually just need go experience it first hand!

You should still watch the video. Do it! It’s fun! It’s entertaining! It’s NASCAR!!!

Photographic prints on wood

How to mount prints from a laser printer on wood

Here is a video I created to show how I mount laser prints on plywood. This is a way to create wall art that doesn’t break the bank but has a pretty edgy, cool look to it. I printed the photographs here in Santa Barbara at one of the local FedEx places. A black and white 8.5x11 print is $0.14!!! Doesn’t get any cheaper. And you can go up to 32” wide depending on the printers at your local FedEx office!

Laser prints are cool because they have strong contrast and there is no ink that can bleed or fade. By no means would I consider these archival but I have some hanging in my house and studio that are over 10 years old and they haven’t faded! Laser prints became popular in the street art scene for wall pieces and murals and if you haven’t played with them, give ‘em a try.

The video above goes through me making a set of 15 outside my Santa Barbara studio so follow along there but I’ll also give you a quick list of what you need:

-laser print
-1/2” to 3/4” plywood (cabinet grade if possible)
-modd podge glue and sealer (get it at Michaels or on Amazon). I like the matt option. YOU ONLY NEED A SMALL AMOUNT!
-a roller to flatten the print and squeeze the glue around

This does take some practice and you’ll find your own ways of doing it but since it’s so cheap you can play quite a bit. I recommend doing a couple to figure out what works for you.

Most important: Have Fun (and I hope you get some entertainment out of my instructional video…)!

HD cinemagraph from Santa Barbara

HD high quality cinemagraph shot in Santa Barbara

Here is another HD high quality cinemagraph I shot recently. It took me a while to figure out how to make these cinemagraphs HD. There is of course flixel but as far as I can tell they are putting out a video file instead of a gif. Making video files is easy to do yourself in Photoshop. The tricky part is to code the embed code to loop and autoplay. It is not as universal as a gif but rendering the cinemagraph as a high quality video file just makes it look so much better.

We shot this HD cinemagraph in Santa Barbara. The creeks are all full of water these days so it was easy to find a pretty waterfall and put this together.

At the Bookstore

stock images photographed at a bookstore

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Finding a good bookstore these days isn’t that easy. In Santa Barbara we can call ourselves lucky to have Chaucer’s, an amazing bookstore. During a stock photo shoot a little while ago we were in the area and so we stopped in and I took this image of the model browsing the collection.

HD Cinemagraph from Nojoqui Falls

High quality HD Cinemagraph by the creek at Nojoqui Falls

playing with a cinemagraph during a quick excursion to Nojoqui Falls. The trail was closed and we were told by the ranger not to disregard the closer since it was raining heavily and the hillside was in danger of sliding. Anyways, I set up the camera by the creek and took footage to create this cinemagraph.

This is an HD cinemagraph as well. Not a gif. I created it in Photoshop and exported as a video file. Some creative embed coding later and here you have a high quality hd cinemagraph!

Dos Pueblos High School Engineering Academy

Amir Abo-Shaeer and Emily Shaeer for The Townmarket

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It’s always amazing when you find out something about your town that you had no idea about. Cue the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy. Founder Abo-Shaeer and Emily Shaeer run a program that teaches high school aged kids all kinds of fantastic skills and knowledge in the greater realm of engineering.

I was perplexed when I visited. The amount of resources available to students is fantastic. From CNC machines to computers, tools and of course most importantly knowledgeable help and not to mention space, lots of it! Teenagers were programming machines, writing code, building things and discussing projects within teams. I wanted to stay and join!

The Academy is linked to Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta but students from Santa Barbara also visit the school. Overall a very healthy mix of kids, lots of girls and ethnic diversity. I felt like I had discovered a Santa Barbara gem…

Arlington Peak aka Dragons Back above Santa Barbara

Adventuring in the Santa Ynez Mountains above Santa Barbara

on the way to Arlington Peak above Santa Barbara

on the way to Arlington Peak above Santa Barbara

How do you avoid the kids going crazy inside? Take them on a big hike!

Likely my favorite hike in the Santa Barbara foothills is the adventure up to Arlington Peak. Colloquially known in the community as Dragons back (you climb up what looks like a spiny Dragons Back) this hike offers some good adventure without having to go far out of town. Crawling through tight spots and trying to stay on trail is fun and this is a pretty serious achievement for kids. My son was 7 the first time we went up.

For a special treat I like to leave early in the morning when it’s still dark and time it so that the sun comes up while I am halfway up the spine. The sun rises over the peaks in the south and everything slowly gets bathed in orange light. Makes for some fantastic photographs!

Santa Barbara trail running

photographing running on and off trail in Santa Barbara

trail running in Santa Barbara by photographer Jonas Jungblut

trail running in Santa Barbara by photographer Jonas Jungblut

I am lucky to have a solid runner as a buddy so we head out every now and then to photograph some running for stock or portfolio images here in Santa Barbara. The terrain is perfect for running of all kinds. From trail running to urban running, Santa Barbara has it covered. Difficulty from easy to painful, all here…

urban running in Santa Barbara by photographer Jonas Jungblut

urban running in Santa Barbara by photographer Jonas Jungblut

In addition to all the terrain, Santa Barbara also offers pretty ideal weather year round. Running in shorts and only a shirt is usually possible throughout the winter.

All these elements combined make for a perfect backdrop to photograph running around here.

trail running in Santa Barbara by photographer Jonas Jungblut

trail running in Santa Barbara by photographer Jonas Jungblut

portrait of Kyle Korver

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Over the years Kyle and his family had become good friends. I documented a personal challenge that he was part of, stand up paddle boarding across the Santa Barbara channel, a 26 mile adventure. Other adventures and evenings around the dinner table followed.

I photographed him working out in the off season but I had never taken a proper portrait of Kyle. He is rather private and I wanted to respect that. It got to the point though where I just couldn’t hold back so I asked for a short session in my outdoor studio.

For what I had in mind there is only a 20 minute window of the light being right. That window is towards the end of the day, right around sunset. I built the studio to face north and direct light is not really the issue but right within those 20 minutes it just looks right. Anyways, there wasn’t a lot of time since I was also photographing Kyle’s wife.

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Kyle is tall. I am not. And shooting with the Hasselblad I lost another couple inches since I was looking down into it. So I was scrambling to gain some height with the help of apple boxes. We are comfortable with each other but he is not an extrovert so I was trying to find the moment, the opening. I chose a wider angle lens so I could get pretty close and gain access just by proximity. It’s hard to disregard something within 2 feet from your face. I also used a diy light panel so I was able to control the light on his face very precisely. I shot a few frames with my Fuji XPRO2 from a little further away and got what I would call a very clean and safe shot. It’s good but then I also added another light to the background that created a very random shape. I went back to the wide lens on the Hasselblad and I got this portrait that wasn’t so safe. Kyle had just come out of the NBA finals arguably bruised and this shot captured his state of mind a lot better. Vulnerable and under scrutiny but strong amongst a chaotic scenario.

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