El Matador, Thursday Morning

A lot of morning shoots lately, in an unusually busy August! 8:30 am in Malibu this time. I’ve known this family for awhile, but this is the first chance I’ve had to take their family portraits.

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And what a trooper their son was! He’s almost two, which is a great age to photograph…when it goes well! 🙂 But he was sooooo well behaved, and we shot for almost two hours. He was pretty shy when we first started, but by the time we were leaving, he wanted to give me a hug. Can’t beat that.

We shot at El Matador State beach in Malibu, which is a favorite of photographers. I’ve only shot there a few times before, but it really is a dramatic location. It also comes with its own set of challenges. For a start, the five minute hike down the face of the cliff (there’s a path, and stairs, but I bring what amounts to a mini studio with me, so it’s a lot of exercise). Also, if the tide is anywhere near high, you don’t get any beach to shoot on. It pays to check a tide calendar beforehand.

One moment of equipment drama: I had my Bronica medium-format ETR-S camera set up on a tripod, as I usually do. I decided to hang my Norman power pack on it as a weight, to keep it steady and to keep the battery away from any rogue waves. However I didn’t have one tripod leg locked down tightly enough, and it collapsed under the weight! This sent the camera falling lens first into the sand. Fortunately the Bronica has a deeply recessed lens element, and even though the camera was covered in sand, it didn’t even touch the lens. A quick clean and it was ready for action (see the above shot).

And sometimes simple is good: On-camera flash as fill, but more importantly, dad and son having a blast on the beach!

One thought on “El Matador, Thursday Morning

  1. Excellent pictures once again in Malibu! You may have to open up an office near there Matt just to take care of everyone! Great pictures of all of them. Excellent lighting and those wonderous rocks. Great job.

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