Vitalic Noise

Last year I had the idea for a collaborative photoshoot event that was pulled off beautifully by my friend Justin Katerberg via his agency Vitalic Noise. The shoot was a blast and I loved a lot of the pics that came out of it. I've had a few on my portfolio for a while now, but I was just digging through the rest of the files from the shoot and edited a few more & decided to put them on my new photo portfolio site (www.breezybaldwinphoto.com). Anyways without further ado here are some of the pics from that shoot!

Olivia

Olivia

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Daysha

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Cowboy and Indians

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Stacey

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Olivia

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Living In La La Land

On and off for about 9 months now I've been living in Los Angeles. I say on and off because although it was short-term I did live in London last month and for a few months before that I was traveling all over the world. I'm finally re-adjusted to living here after all the travel though, so I thought it a good time for this blog post!

The City of Angels is many things, but I can tell you what it's not - it's not like the movies. Except for the palm tree lined boulevards. Up until March last year I had never visited LA - and now I've lived here the better part of a year. The biggest misconceptions I had about LA is that it had a warm/hot climate. It really doesn't. In the shade it's always cool. And the beach/ocean is always cold, even during summer. Another misconception is that it was more big-city like. Technically speaking, 10 million people is a huge city. But driving around the surface streets in LA it doesn't feel BIG at all. It stretches on forever and ever in every direction, but almost every corner of LA has almost a small city or big town feel. It never feels overwhelmingly big unless you are driving or flying across the entire expanse. It's compartmentalized very nicely, with dozens of great neighborhoods that are like their own little bubble.

Having been tour guide to many visiting friends, and doing lots of exploring on my own, I've become well acquainted with my lovely city. Here's my little guide/review of the city so far complete with some fun stories.

One of my favorite spots is Santa Monica Pier & the 3rd Street Promenade. The pier is especially colorful at night - and I don't just mean the lights! The crowd and people watching are top-notch. I went with a large group of friends when they were visiting and we had a blast...

The Getty Center has an amazing collection of art, but the building and view itself is well-worth the visit. The architecture is modern and clean and blends with the landscape so wonderfully. I've only been once when my friend Jess was visiting, but I plan on going back many more times!

My friend Jess & my sister Ally with Century City & Downtown LA in the backdrop.

The Venice Canals are well-known by some, and completely unknown to others. If you've seen the movie "Valentines Day" then you know about them! I think they are one of the most amazing touristy destinations in LA, but they aren't a tourist destination at all! They are always empty. I rarely run into more than one person when I'm wandering around them. They were built in 1905 by an eccentric millionaire who wanted to make the area like Venice, Italy (one of my top 5 favorite cities) and they used to have Gondoliers and all. Unfortunately they don't anymore, but you'll see the occasional person rowing in a little row boats down them. There are lots of unique, gorgeous houses along them too.

Paramount & FOX Studios are two of the highlights of what I've done in LA, but they are kind-of a tease and overrated at the same time. Then again, I've never had a proper studio tour, so I might feel differently if I had one. I've heard the WB tour is the best, and I only live 2 miles from the studio and I've never done it. Someday!

My sister Ally works at FOX and has given me a few tours of the lot, which is awesome since it's not an open lot. You have to know someone to get in. That also means no pictures. But I did get to take TONS of pictures on the Paramount lot, since I was on that one for a public event: The Invisible Children Design for Humanity Fashion/Art Show, which was incredible.

Hollywood Blvd, Walk of Fame, Grauman's Chinese Theater - fun, but a little overrated. It's just stars, with people's names on them. When you think about it, that's a pretty silly thing to get excited about. Grauman's is fun for about 2 minutes. The shopping and people watching on this street is great. Probably the best thing to do here is go to a movie premiere if one is going on while you're here. I was visiting when the Oscars were going on in March, and while waiting around all day to see celebrities for 20 seconds wasn't the most exciting thing I've ever done, it is fun in hindsight to say I touched George Clooney's hand and saw Steve Jobs, Quentin Tarantino, Kirstin Stewart, Queen Latifah, Zoe Saldan and Sigourney Weaver all in one hour.

Zoe Saldana from Avatar

Kristen Stewart

I also went to the Inception premiere, which I'm so happy I did since I hadn't seen the movie yet so I didn't even know how incredible it was. I just thought "hey, let's go down to Grauman's and see Leo DiCaprio! Why not!" now that I've seen the movie and it's one of my all-time favorites, it means so much more to me that I was there!

Leonardo DiCaprio & Ken Watanabe

Beverly Hills & Rodeo Drive - I think the picture below about sums this place up. That's a $2,000,000 car parked on the side of the road. A Bugatti Veyron. Yaaaa.

Celebrity Home Tours are highly overrated and a huge rip-off if you pay money, unless you don't have a car. If you have a car at your disposal, just google a few address and go gawk yourself. Chances are you won't ever see the celebrity you're stalking, and if you do, they probably won't be happy about it. If you're a fan of expensive homes like me and you just want to see big, pretty houses, than just driving through some of the neighborhoods the celebs live in is fun - since most of them are ungated and up in the hills with great views of LA.

NoHo / Studio City / Toluca Lake - The south area of the valley north of Hollywood where Disney and Warner Brother's studios are. There isn't much else here except some celebrity homes (which I would know nothing about... cough...) I drive through here almost every day to take Ally to work and pick her up. The Cahuenga Pass through the hills is a cool little scenic drive that passes by Mulholland Dr & has great views when you're descending into the valley on the north side. Passing by Warner Brothers is fun too because they have a huge superhero mural complete with pop-out superheroes on one gigantic wall of the studio.

Downtown Burbank - Nestled in the corner of the valley on one little section of San Fernando Blvd. is one of my favorite areas of LA; Downtown Burbank! It's also where I live. It's got a super small-town feel with big-town amenities like 2 movie theaters, a huge mall, an IKEA, tons of great restaurants and beautiful weather. Even if it's smoggy in LA it usually isn't in Burbank.

Universal City -  I can't speak non-objectivly on this one because I grew up with Orlando's Universal which is way bigger and way better. Going here just reminds me of Orlando which is fun, but it just isn't as grandiose. The Gibson Amphitheater is cool to see shows in, and the CityWalk is decent here. I haven't been in the park, but I hear it's just like Universal Studios Orlando but smaller... no thanks! I rather see the real studios.

Griffith Observatory & Park is another one of my favorites because I absolutely love space & astronomy. I took astronomy in college & fell in love for life. The telescope here is historic and magnificent. The planetarium and the show is also spectacular. An added bonus is the great views of the Hollywood sign & downtown LA. I once had to walk down the hills to Hollywood from Griffith Observatory with my friend Britt when we found out after we had gotten dropped off there that there was no public transportation down. That was a fun & scenic walk.

Venice Beach - best place for people watching, hands down. Very diverse and colorful culture. You've got crazy old men playing piano on the sidewalk, a skatepark where you can watch people falling off their skateboards for hours, surfers, lots of street art & craft shops, tattoo parlors, cafes, pot "clinics", and basically one of the best beach cultures in the world.

That's it for now... I'm going to do Part II someday with some more obscure, less tourist-y spots.


Christa Black

I had the privilege of working with the insanely talented Christa Black the past couple months on a photoshoot and a website to promote her new book & album. Christa has had an amazing career as a violinist, background singer & writer for lots of high-profile acts such as the Jonas Brothers & Jordin Sparks. Her new book & album, God Loves Ugly, are both incredible works and I highly recommend you purchase them. I really can't adequately explain with words how incredible they are. Just take my word for it.

For Christa's photoshoot we kept it really fun and chill. All the locations were in and around Venice Beach, one of my favorite spots in LA.

Here are a few of my favorite shots...

And here is a screenshot of the website I designed & built for her, using wordpress as a CMS:


Filming Locations - Stourhead Gardens

*This is an ongoing series of posts featuring some of my filming location escapades, if you enjoy it please check out the others! I travel a lot, and one of my favorite things to do while traveling is track down and visit filming locations from my favorite movies/shows. It's really not just the fan element that compels me to do this - I love sightseeing and many times filming locations are beautiful places to visit and sometimes a nice off-the-beaten-path challenge to get to as well. Another reason is practice - being a photographer, location scouting is a skill I'm constantly trying to improve. What better way than to follow in the footsteps of the pros?*

This quest was by far the most challenging and rewarding of all the filming location hunts I have been on - it was for the key locations in the 2005 adaptation of Pride & Prejudice starring Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen. One of my favorite movies of all time, not only because of the story and fabulous acting but because the cinematographer and director so perfectly captured the character of the locations as well - the fields, the houses, the moods and colors of the English countryside... there's a reason Lizzie likes walking so much, the countryside is as much a part of her as her wit and pride, and when you're there it's easy to see and feel why. There is a magical element too it that can't be expressed verbally.

Without further ado here are the places I visited along with stills from corresponding scenes:

Chatsworth House - Mr. Darcy's "Pemberley"

Film Stills:

I was fortunate that part of Chatsworth was open, even in the middle of winter. This was the first year they have ever been open in winter at all. That being said, I was very unfortunate that the parts of the house used in filming were closed, including the garden/pond area with the best view of the house (the view that Lizzie sees on arriving for the first time), I did however hike far enough down the river that I got a view of this side of the house, even if it wasn't the exact view from the film. So if you're wondering why my pictures don't look exactly like the house from the movie, I can assure you they are, just not the view seen in the film. The house is absolutely spectacular and I cannot wait to visit someday when the entire estate is open. And when I don't have to track through 6 inches of mud and sheep poo to get a good photo of it!

My photos...

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Shades of Pemberley

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Stanage Edge & The Peak District - Where Lizzie stands in a sweeping view of the Peak District

This entire area was so magical I don't even know how to explain it. There is something about the air, the earth, the feeling you get there. "What are men, compared to rocks and mountains!" It's true. The rocks here look as though a giant just picked them up and stacked them in a game of Jenga.

The Peak District

Again, this wasn't the exact spot from the film, but the exact spot is impossible to find unless you hike along the entire edge to find it, which is many miles. I would have been down, but it was already getting dark (sun sets at 4PM in the winter in England!) and in classic English fashion the ground was extremely muddy and I wasn't in boots.

Stanage Edge

the edge.

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Stourhead Gardens - The scene where Mr. Darcy confesses his love to Lizzie in the rain

This was the only spot I got dead-on to the film, and it was also my favorite location in the film and in real life. It was just as magical in person! I also grabbed a video at this location too... couldn't help it! This was also the hardest location to get to, since I couldn't afford to rent a car for another day I decided to take public transportation, and no route took you straight to Stourhead - it's in the middle of nowhere. I got a train out of London Victoria to Salisbury, then a connection to Gillingham which is still 6 miles from Stourhead, so I took a taxi the rest of the way, and arranged for them to pick me up again an hour 1/2 after they dropped me off (I hit up Stonehenge later that day so I was on a tight schedule!)

It was about 30 degrees F the morning I was at Stourhead, and I had practically the entire garden to myself which extends all around the lake you see in the backdrop and beyond. It's a huge estate/garden with many temples and sculptures, but the Temple of Apollo used in the movie was by far the coolest feature of the garden. It sat on a hill overlooking the entire property that was a nice hike to get to. I was freezing cold but the hike warmed me up!

Stourhead Gardens

Lastly here is a video of my journey to Stourhead...


Artist Profile: Peter Jaworowski

For the first Artist Spotlight I chose an artist who has influenced and inspired me for many years, since I stumbled across his work on DeviantArt, the first large online artist community. He has since become an extremely successful graphic designer and started his own design agency, Ars Thanea. They are based in Poland, and do work globally for clients like Nike, Discovery Channel and Visa among others. Here are some highlights of Peter's work:


newsboys & The Write Brothers

Over the past 10 months or so I've been involved with what has become the most awesome project I've ever worked on. It's actually been dozens of different projects but they all had one common theme - the new newsboys album, Born Again. Newsboys have long been one of my favorite bands... and this is one of their best albums ever.

I've worked on two newsboys albums in the past but this time around I was given a bit more creative freedom. Newsboys were working with a few new writers on this album - Juan Otero and Seth Mosley (The Write Brothers) who are both so nice and amazingly talented. I'm so thrilled I got to be a part of this project from it's infancy when we were listening to Write Brothers demos at Inpop. I had the pleasure of going to a recording session at The Write Brother's studio when they were tracking vocals for Born Again with Mike Tait way back in September of last year. Then around December of last year I started on the packaging, was involved in the cover shoot with my friend David Molnar (who is a crazy talented photographer) and then began the whirlwind press onslaught... I'm pretty sure I made over 100 banner ads, print ads, website splash pages, email templates and more to advertise the album.

Around early May I believe is when we finally finished packaging... which ended up almost exactly how I wanted it to look, which is rare. I also got to use a bunch of my live photos of newsboys from the 2 festivals they brought me to in Europe in the inside packaging. I love it when I get to use my own photos in my design work.

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The album finally released last week to rave reviews and the best newsboys street week ever - 45,311 units. It was #4 on the Billboard overall chart, beneath only Sting, Eminem and MIA.

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Right before we hit street date, July 13th, Juan Otero contacted me to do a website for the Write Brothers so they would have something online once the album dropped. I was thrilled to get to work with him yet again, and a few days ago we launched WriteBrosMusic.com. Check it out to hear some of The Write Brothers amazing work and keep up with their projects... you won't want to miss anything that they work on!

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Haiti Part II

On the third day I helped with the feeding ministry and my job was to peel and then crush garlic cloves - it was awesome. The aroma the garlic was producing made me extremely hungry for something with garlic - but alas, the garlic was for the kids food. Our lunch was spam sandwiches with ketchup and lettuce and fried plantains. I actually didn't hate it. I did, however, hate the spicy coleslaw that I didn't realize was spicy until it was burning a hole in my esophagus. Haha. Other activities that day included playing with and watching the kids, teaching them songs and making them feel loved :)

Here are a few photos...

The week went by way too quickly. Just when I was starting to feel like I had settled in and felt comfortable, we were on our last full day. We got a huge open air bus to take to the beach, and filled it so full of people that some of us decided to ride in the luggage rack on top of the bus. I was one of those smart people. Ducking for power lines and branches is really fun.

The beach in Jacmel was absolutely stunning. I felt like I was in Hawaii or Jamaica or some place where there should be 5 star luxury hotels dotting the coast. But there isn't. In fact - there's nothing but lush palm tree lined coast with grass huts for gathering in the shade. Artists sell paintings and carvings to tourists and families bring food and soccer balls for a day of relaxation. No pools, no rentals, no scantly clad people, no behemoth hotels or planes flying overhead advertising anything. The water was warm and the waves were small and non-threatening. Many of us went out for a swim and just wadded in the water far off the coast for a long time before we reluctantly swam back to shore. We all got pretty bad sunburns, but it was well worth it. We ate under the shade of the palm trees and shared stories and memories from the trip.

On our way back to the airport on our last day, the drive made a lot of us sick. Including the guy in front of me, who had to lean over me to puke out the window at one point. It was pretty epic. Thankfully my friend Brian had some ginger and that seemed to keep my sickness at bay. Since we drove through most of Port-au-Prince at nighttime before it was even more shocking to see it in daylight. The devastation is remarkable. Even the main road through Port-au-Prince is still torn up and almost impassable in some areas. You see normal citizens with wheelbarrows full of rocks trying to fill in the potholes themselves.

I left Haiti with a feeling not of sadness, but of regret, that I couldn't stay longer. That I couldn't do more to help. That I didn't do enough. So hopefully in some small way the photos I took help. Maybe they will inspire the one or two people who read this blog to donate to the ministry I went with. Resoration Ministries and Conduit Mission have almost no overhead, unlike the big relief orgs like Red Cross. More than 90% of the money donated goes directly to aid and relief, not advertising or building or administrative costs. If you'd like to donate it's very easy - just go here and give whatever amount you can. ANY amount helps.

Thanks so much for reading :)


Haiti Part I

Streets of Port-au-Prince

My journey to Haiti actually started a few years ago. A friend brought me to a bible study called Conduit so I could hear a presentation on the mission trip he had just arrived home from - the mission trip was to Jacmel, Haiti. This was in 2008. I kept attending the bible study, and every time they took another trip to Haiti I would ask for information and try to go - but each time the scheduling conflicted with work, or I didn't have enough vacation time. In December of 2009 they announced there would be a trip going in April 2010. Something told me this was the trip. No matter what, I had to sign up and go on this one. So I did. I wasn't sure how I was going to pay for it or if I would be able to take off work or anything - but I put down the first deposit and signed up.

Then on January 12th, 2010 the earthquake hit, and Haiti suddenly needed more help than ever. It was hard waiting so many months after the earthquake to leave - I wanted to go help the next day. April 10th was slow in coming. I remember waking up at 3:30am that morning to catch my flight out of Nashville. After a full day of travel in which I ended up taking a nap on the floor of the airport in Miami, we finally arrived into Port-au-Prince a few hours later than expected. The sun was already setting when we embarked on our 3 hour drive through the mountains to Jacmel. Crammed in the awkward middle seat of the front of the van between the driver and a brand new friend, it was an uncomfortable and bumpy ride. We got to see a lot of the tent cities the earthquake refugees are living in, and we drove through the mountains and lush tropical landscape of Hispaniola. Even in the pitch blackness of night people were walking along the roads... men, women and children... without any light. We really take cars, bikes and flashlights for granted. We finally arrived at our hotel in Jacmel late into the night, had dinner, got our room assignments, and headed to bed. Or at least all the smart people did. I stayed up for a while to catch up with my good friend Ben who had already been in Haiti a few weeks and remained there until a few days ago.

Sunset in Port-au-Prince

Our church and the organizations we partner with have a feeding center, a church and a child sponsorship program. A lot of what we did was centered around those three outreaches. The first day we visited a school where a lot of the kids in our sponsorship program attend. We visited their dark, un-airconditioned classrooms and had a translator deliver messages of encouragement to them while we distributed toys, bubbles, bracelets, candy and more.

Haitian Girls

We also helped with the feeding program at the ministry center where we feed about 150 kids what is sometimes their only meal of the day. It was amazing to see that some of them even save part of their food to give to the kids outside who aren't part of the feeding program.

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Most of our days were spent simply playing with the children. While most of them aren't, a lot of them seem like orphans - you never see their parents anywhere in sight - and some of these children are very young... 1,2,3,4,5 years old... ages you typically wouldn't see kids running around outside by themselves barefoot. They were all fascinated with my camera, and I taught them how to take pictures of each other with it.

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The second day I helped paint the house we are building for the pastor of the church we are partnered with there. It's also going to house families in need. Painting a house with white paint is an interesting experience on an island in the Caribbean. Sunlight reflects off of white paint like it's a mirror held up to the sun. You are practically blinded if you look right at it. It was super gratifying to see the end result of our day of painting... that's why I love painting - instant gratification.

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Theresa & Darren in front of the house we are building. Theresa heads up the child sponsorship program and Darren heads up Conduit Mission, the non-profit that sponsors the building, the relief efforts and the trips. Darren is also the best pastor ever.

Stay tuned for part II, coming soon...

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California here we come...

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So that cat is finally out of the bag. I'm moving to Los Angeles with my twin sister Ally after she graduates from UCF in May. We've actually sort-of been planning this move for years. I just always assumed after moving to TN a few years back that it was an impossibility unless I quit my dream job that I worked for so many years to get. Then I realized that there is absolutely no reason I can't do that job from California. A lot of fun perks like being on the set of music videos and getting to go in the studio for the recording process I have to give up - but I'll still be doing what I love, and I'll have a lot more time to pursue other passions of mine that I haven't had the time for... like mission trips. So after 2 1/2 years in Nashville I will be saying goodbye.

I’ll miss Nashville terribly... I usually complained about the less-than-perfect weather, the cold, and there being no beach or Disney World... but overall it’s been an amazing place to live. The culture is one-of-a-kind and it still amazes me how almost everyone you meet is a musician or songwriter.. or they work in the industry... this truly is “music city” ... what better place for a person as obsessed with music as myself?

Anyways... I’ve been getting a lot of the same questions from people and I thought I’d address a few of them here.

Q: Do you have a job out in LA?
A: No. I’m going to be freelancing full-time in the fields of photography, graphic design, web design, videography and video editing, illustration and hopefully doing gallery shows with my paintings and photography... and hopefully even some music/acting.

Q: Are you quitting Inpop?
A: Not really. I won’t be a full-time in-house employee, but I’ll still be doing contracted freelance work for them. My roll and job description are changing but I’ll most likely continue to do the work I’m currently doing for them from California.

Q: When are you leaving?
A: My last official day in Nashville will be the 12th of April as the following day I’ll be going to Haiti for a week, then I’ll be moving back to FL for a few weeks to spend some time with my family and attend my sister’s graduation on May 7th. We’re then moving on the 10th-15th of May. I’ll be stopping in Nashville on that drive (10th-11th) to clear out the rest of my stuff, so this will be the last day I’ll get to say goodbye to anyone if I haven’t already. The official move-in day in Cali will be the 14th of May.