July 30, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut ·
Ken Marino & Lake Bell At Comic-Con
The cast of Children’s Hospital was at Comic-Con for a signing at the WB booth, so I grabbed a few photos of them. Comic-Con is really growing and it seems like every year at Comic-Con there are more and more TV shows full of actors I’ve never heard of. I can’t help but wonder what it’s like to be an actor in Hollywood today, knowing that actors used to be iconic, world renown, royal demi-gods that have devolved into the performing millionaire monkeys of today. Do you know why there are so many channels on TV now, yet the golden age of TV had only three? They only needed three! What? Do you think all of a sudden the networks had too much talent to handle so they NEEDED 300 other channels? Of course not, that’s why now, 300 channels later, there’s nothing good on TV!
Aside from their salaries, which are a slap in the face to middle class Americans, I would not want to be an actor, not in Hollywood anyway. I’d rather be an independent star, via photography on my website or videos I post on YouTube. All of the celebrities and stars doing signings at Comic-Con didn’t happen to be there all at the same time. They were there, performing and smiling for strangers, their kids and their kid’s cameras because their boss told them to do it. Sound familiar? It does to me! I’ve had to do TONS of stuff for jobs I didn’t want to do, but I did it anyway. The difference is the salary and the slap to the face.
Why are people shown on TV paid so much money? Why do people have to pay so much money to watch other people on TV? I suppose my not understanding why our system allows us to value a day’s work based on the person doing the work, rather than the work being done has jaded my opinion but, come on! Flipping burgers for real pays $50 a day out here in California, but, flipping burgers in a MOVIE pays tens of thousands of dollars per day. Hmm, now that I think about it, that must be why I like cartoons so much, but then those voice actors are overpaid too. Bloody Hell! I guess I should just turn the TV off and get some fresh air, eh? Ok, I’ll do that but remember this: You are not any better than a celebrity, but any celebrity is better paid than you! Below are Rob Corddry and Erinn Hayes with some fans. I have many more photos and posts from this year’s Comic-Con as well as photos from Comic-Con 2010 that you may like to see, so be sure to check them out. Cheers!
Rob Corddry And Erinn Hayes At San Diego Comic-Con
July 28, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut ·
Kevin Smith At San Diego Comic-Con
Comic-Con was a catalyst for me taking a trip down memory lane; all good memories and all good things. Besides being able to catch some candid photos of John Cusack, I was also able to see Kevin Smith, who pulled a J.D. Salinger on our asses by introducing himself to the world by writing, financing and directing the movie, “Clerks.” I was a 19 year sailor in the United States Navy the first I saw that movie and like most people I thought it was brilliantly executed and watching people my age languish in a job they hated while the world seemed to pass them by resonated with me as well.
Back then (in 1993) I was stationed on the USS Fletcher DD-992, home ported in Pearl Harbor, HI which was a dream location and the setting of countless tales of reckless military youth that will never be told. The problem was that all those fun times, all those adventures that will one day be presented to the world as a movie took place amidst days of chipping & painting and nights of standing watch, and that was while we were in port. Out at sea I had to do those things AND do general quarters & firefighting drills at all hours. In the movie version, all those good times take place over two hours so it would seem like it was a nonstop, party time enlistment. Wrong! Those good times were spread out like a razor thin coating of jelly over a FOUR YEAR slice of toast; that’s not enough jelly for some people, like me.
Kevin Smith, by writing “Clerks” and bringing it to the world when he did helped me see one more thing, and that was how humor can make a shitty job more fun. If you don’t work at a funny place then bring it to work with you, just like Dante & Randall did in the movie. “I’m not even supposed to be here today” can be the start of a terrible day or the beginning of a mantra where you make the best of being at work, despite the grumps all around you and your constant odor of shoe polish. Cheers!
July 27, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut ·
The Zen Of Homemade Costumes
There is nothing that allows for a greater form expression of your own personal individuality than a homemade costume for Comic-Con. I really like to see what people can create from scratch and present to 130,000 people that all have cameras, blogs, TV shows and opinions. It takes a lot of sand to do that and in my opinion is infinitely superior to buying or renting costume in a store. The homemade costumes we all saw at Comic-Con started out long ago in a dream or from the love of a fan for a character or a creator. These cosplayers are among the elite inventors of the world that actually get to see their inventions conceived, planned & executed to realization. They get to see their creations loved, viewed and used by the public before their very eyes. It is so ridiculously fantastic to support the creative community in that way that I think Comic-Con should be awarded some sort of Nobel Prize for being such a catalyst for pulling in support of the arts. If you haven’t seen my photos and posts from Comic-Con last year, take a look at them and you’ll see that year after year the cosplayers bring just as much to the table as the movie studios.
Boba Phat At Comic-Con
Of course, extra credit is always given for Star Wars or any type of hot girl themed costume and you would think that would tip the scales unfairly in their favor but extra credit is also given for originality and attention to detail. Between those four things you will discover that Comic-Con is a location for some of the most advanced cosplay in the world. Cosplay is short for “costume play” and it’s nothing like what you do on Halloween or at a football game. Boba Phat handed me his business card which turned me onto his website, which will direct you to his Facebook profile: BobaPhat.com. I would suggest sending him a friend request because Boba Phat is not a person to trifle with. Besides, if people know Boba Phat is your friend, I’m sure that comes with perks.
Steampunk Explorer Captures Predator
A Steampunk explorer with a captured predator was a great idea as were a trio of medieval men that cosplayed as the coconut clacking crusaders from Monty Python & the Holy Grail. Tiny details in the costumes are what make them stand out. The instantly recognizable sound of the coconuts could be heard from 50 feet away, so people were actually being drawn to them. I can’t believe that in all this time I have never “heard” a costume at Comic-Con before. It was a brilliant idea and the highlight of the con for me.
A Steampunk explorer with a captured predator was a great idea as were a trio of medieval men that cosplayed as the coconut clacking crusaders from Monty Python & the Holy Grail. Tiny details in the costumes are what make them stand out. The instantly recognizable sound of the coconuts could be heard from 50 feet away, so people were actually being drawn to them. I can’t believe that in all this time I have never “heard” a costume at Comic-Con before. It was a brilliant idea and the highlight of the con for me. Comic-Con is one of those events that you can’t see everything at. There are so many things going on at the same time that no matter how you plan it, things will have to be sacrificed and missed. It’s tough to deal with at first but you find out really quick that there’s plenty to go around for everyone (unless you want to get into Hall H) and the forced moderation will prevent your brain from exploding. Just take a look at my photos from last year’s Comic-Con and then look through my photos of Comic-Con this year and you’ll see there’s no repetition because the event is just that grand. What a great problem to have, eh? Cheers!
July 26, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut ·
John Cusack and Alice Eve were at Comic-Con this year, in support of their new movie, The Raven, in which Cusack plays the brooding poet, Edgar Allen Poe. It was during the ‘80s that I entered manhood, high school and took my first photography class so the early movies of John Cusack were around during my own youthful adventures. Back then when I left the theater, I couldn’t wait to have my own crazy summer, in the spirit of those awesome flicks.
Edgar Allen Poe was introduced to me during this period as well, thanks to high school teacher. As a person that became a teenager during the twilight of the Reagan “Just Say No” era, it was amazing and outright fucking radical to me that a man became famous, revered and wrote and accomplished amazing things while being an alcoholic that was also addicted to hard drugs. I was being shown movies in gym during first period (yes, I had first period gym) with all the president’s men telling me my brain would fry like an egg and why I’d end up in jail for doing terrible things if I was on drugs. After lunch, during language arts, we were learning the opposite. We were learning that you could pen, create and craft wonderful, poetic works of literary art with the words formed inside a brain that was train wrecked by drugs. I’m pretty sure that’s when the word “irony” really hit home with me. I was watching John Cusack in those adventurous, coming of age movies at the same time as all this so it was ironically weird to see him in person and to learn that he’s portraying a man whose drug influenced work influenced me over 20 years ago. Cusack was there with his lovely co-star Alice Eve.
July 25, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut ·
San Diego’s Gaslamp District During Comic-Con
This Comic-Con I was a roamer, always on the move between the streets of Downtown San Diego and the convention center. I walked so much over the 5 day span that my feet, on this day rest are straight up sore. For the second year in a row I didn’t wait in any lines because I didn’t go to any panels, movie premiers or after-hours parties. I much prefer the crowded confines of the Gaslamp District streets and the mass of humanity that flows like a clogged artery on the exhibit hall floor. I have sadly accepted that you just can’t see everything at Comic-Con but I really do feel that you see more if you roam instead of wait in lines for panels and premiers. I you haven’t seen them, check out my posts and photos from last year’s Comic-Con.
Power Rangers & Fans
Of course, I’m not knocking panel and premier goers at all, not one bit. In fact, it’s an amazingly awesome experience to walk amongst people that are gods among fans. The people in those lines arrive in San Diego from farther away and sacrifice more to get to Comic-Con than anyone else so they can sit in the same room with people they admire, love and adore. Since I’m not the star struck type I think the best things I can do for everyone at Comic-Con are not take up precious seats and instead take their picture at what might be their only time in San Diego or at Comic-Con.
I did have a favorite moment during Comic-Con and that was when I came across three dudes with a dead-on balls accurate cosplay of King Arthur and his coconut clacking men from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I followed them around the convention floor for a few minutes, which is harder than it sounds because it’s always so crowded. These guys were able to navigate well, drawing attention long before they were seen thanks to the banging together of two empty halves of coconut. Something I will say about my own preference of what makes for good cosplay is that the costume be homemade. These guys made their duds from scratch and won my vote for best in show! I’ll have many more post and photos in the coming days. This year, I decided not to do daily posts and instead do posts that are a little more off the cuff and spontaneous. That way I can spread the photos and posts over a greater period of time, prolonging the afterglow from that magnificent event that was San Diego Comic-Con 2011. So, what would you like to see next? Celebrities, more costumes, the crazy streets of San Diego during Comic-Con? Let me know in the comments. Cheers!
July 21, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut ·
San Diego Convention Center During Comic-Con 2011
Here we go again! Comic-Con 2011 has officially rolled into San Diego and I was there with my press pass in hand, to bring you all the photos and insight from preview night you could possibly desire. The view you see above was taken from the new pedestrian bridge that spans over Harbor Drive. This new bridge offers people a second option across Harbor Drive besides the Gaslamp Trolley station to get to the Convention Center. The white tents you see (on the left) provide shade for the people in line for Hall H screenings. Yes, people had already been camping under them for over a day!
The Crowds Gather
They started handing out badges at 3 p.m. but the doors didn’t open until 6 p.m. which meant every security person in the building had the job of keeping 100,000 people out of the exhibit hall… For the next 3 hours! Here’s the thing about Comic-Con, it creates a mob mentality at every turn. Look at the scene above. If the people in front can’t talk their way in, do you think the people in the back will be able to? Of course not, yet the mob has now formed. Meanwhile, about 100 feet away…
A Better Way To Enter The Exhibit Hall
I joked with these two security guards about how people were already acting crazy. They agreed and then let me into the exhibit hall. The lesson here is that you will be able to see and do more things at Comic-Con if you DON’T do what everyone else is doing. If there’s a crowd, there will be a line and that means you have now been demoted to “sheep.” Wander around and look for doors that are guarded but don’t have a crowd, like the one above. I did so I got to roam around Comic-Con, practically all alone for about 30 minutes. Until the crowds finally came crashing in.
Sail Pavilion At San Diego Convention Center
The Sail Pavilion is the main area where autograph signings take place. I would imagine this area has more celebrities per square foot that any other part of Comic-Con. There can be upwards of 20 signings going on at a time, and they go on all day for four days! This is really the place for great, candid shots of your favorite Hollywood stars. Of course, you won’t be alone when you attempt to do this. The chaotic scene above is what the Sail Pavilion looked like last night, and the celebs were not even in the building yet!
Comic-Con is not just for fans, it’s for the celebrities and those who will become celebrities as well. The Winner Twins (above) are sisters that have, at the age of 16, become award winning novelists and created the Strand Series of books. They have a youthful enthusiasm about their lives and their work that is very inspiring. Most people are still trying to bang out their first novel when they’re old & grey, so I can only imagine what these two will have done by the time they reach their golden years. Andrew WK (above right) was in The Cartoon Network booth doing TV promos and generally just being cool!
Slave Leias are an overplayed, overused and very welcome part of Comic-Con. I’m serious; keep ‘em comin’ ladies and encourage your friends to cosplay as slave Leia too because it’s hot and you just can’t get too much of sci-fi’s greatest fantasy. The dude in the photo above was trying to record an intro bit where the slave Leia seductively slides her chain over to him while he’s talking. I think it was the highlight of his night! Spiderman, in many different shapes, styles and sizes can always be seen hanging around Comic-Con. It was Spiderman that introduced me to comics back in 1990.
Actual Car From The Movie “Back To The Future III”
That wraps it up for preview night. There are two Back To The Future cars on display. The car in the photo above is the actual car used in the third film. At that booth they have a lot of other props too like Bif’s cane, Mr. Fusion and the hoverboards. Elsewhere in the exhibit hall is a replica of the car from the first movie. I hope this post gets you excited for Comic-Con because this was just the preview night… We still have four days to go! Be sure to look at my posts and photos from Comic-Con 2010 for pics of celbs and costumes. Cheers!
July 17, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut ·
Matt Mullenweg & WordCamp San Diego 2011 Organizers
WordCamp San Diego 2011 was a success for the WordPress community, and for me. WordPress is a website and blogging platform, or a content management system (CMS). It is 100% what I use the run this blog. All the content you see; the photos, the text, the fonts, the sidebar, the header, the footer and their arrangement on the site are all done by me, with WordPress. It’s the best way to beautifully publish your words and photos to the internet for the whole wide world to see. If you want to publish or sell something, anything on the net, do it with WordPress and people will not only see it, they will be amazed by what you’ve been able to do.
Dre Armeda and Matt Mullenweg
Practically by sheer luck, I was able to attend the sold-out WordCamp San Diego 2011 convention as a live blogger. WPCandy.com had reached out asking for volunteers to contribute to the live blog so, if it included a ticket, I said I would. My offer was accepted so the next thing I know I’m on the SDSU campus early yesterday morning with my bag, camera, pen… and no laptop! Yes, I forgot to bring it. No problem, Dre Armeda managed to rustle one up for me. After he did, there I was, live blogging for WordCamp San Diego 2011.
WordPress Founder Matt Mullenweg At WordCamp San Diego 2011
Matt Mullenweg is the founder of WordPress, among other things and he was gracious enough to hold a town hall Q&A that acted as the close of WordCamp San Diego 2011. The problem with blogging before WordPress was that it was a royal pain in a ass to do because it was very technical. You had to know as much HTML and CSS as you did English so for a person like me that just wanted to put some photos and words on the net, I didn’t like being forced to learn blippy and bleepy computer languages just to show people my photography. That problem is what Matt solved with WordPress. It democratized publishing on the internet by allowing anyone to do it, and do it beautifully. WordPress knows that you want to show words and photos to human beings, not speak cyborg to a data-machine. You can’t start a conversation if you can’t speak the language, right? Wrong! With WordPress you can.
WordCamp San Diego 2011 Attendees
For the next 8 hours or so, everyone present and those watching on the live webcast were blessed to listen to 16 or so people give talks and lectures about all things WordPress. Users and developers of WordPress and WordPress plug-ins converge on these WordCamps to learn, to mingle and help each other out. That “helping out” atmosphere of the WordPress community turned out to be my best lesson of the day. This was a convention of the people, by the people, for the people.
Matt Wraps Up WordCamp San Diego 2011
This really is revolutionary. WordPress allows anyone to publish a blog or a website and do it beautifully. It allows anyone to speak in their own voice in their own language and be understood by all. Awesome! So, a very big thank you to everyone involved for making this WordCamp happen right here in San Diego, all the WordPress people I met and to WPCandy.com for sorting out the live blog, which enabled me to go to the convention in the first place. Cheers!
July 13, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut ·
Spreckels Mansion On Coronado Sealed Off With Police Tape
Update – September 2, 2011: Her death has been ruled a suicide. See my new blog post with my murder-by-suicide theory.
Across the street from the Hotel Del Coronado at 1043 Ocean Boulevard, is Spreckels Mansion where earlier today I caught an impromptu press conference of San Diego Sheriff Homicide Capt. Tim Curran speaking about a woman that died in the mansion earlier in the day. The woman turned out to be Rebecca Zahau, the girlfriend of the owner, Jonah Shaknai.
He described how paramedics and firefighters responded to a 911 call at Spreckels Mansion to find a woman in distress, attempt life saving measures with the help of firefighters and ultimately pronounce her dead. He went on to say, “The scene indicated a suspicious type of death.” This gave Coronado police cause to contact the San Diego Sheriff to investigate the scene as a homicide, which is normal procedure since Coronado PD has no standing homicide unit. He would not say what “in distress” was but he did say, “Right now I’m not going to go into details but suffice it to say it appears to be some kind of a violent death.” and later on added, “Obviously she had been injured.” He also added that whoever made the 911 call knew the deceased, that no one reported hearing anything such as screaming or gunfire and that police had no subjects of interest or suspects.
When I take all this in and it leads me to believe that Rebecca Zahau, the dead woman inside Spreckels Mansion committed suicide. You heard it here first. The sheriff didn’t say we have to worry about a murderer running around Coronado and they have not arrested anyone, including the reporting party. That means anyone else in the mansion at the time has been cleared. Capt. Curran actually seemed to indicate that the reporting party was the only other person present anyway. I wish I would have had the presence of mind to ask Capt. Curran if there was a weapon found near the deceased.
The Scene In Front Of The Spreckels Mansion
When I arrived, at about 11:30 a.m., there was still a great view of the mansion since the Coronado Police and San Diego Sheriff’s command center RV’s were parked slightly up Ocean Boulevard, as you can see in the first photo for this post. While I was there, the police filled in that space with large Coronado PD SUVs. The photo above shows the police moving their yellow tape to allow for their vehicles to park, as well as beautiful Coronado beach right across the street and Point Loma in the distance.
July 5, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut ·
Flower Shaped Fireworks On Imperial Beach Pier
Imperial Beach hosted a gigantic fireworks display, launching fireworks off their pier for 2011 4th of July Independence Day celebrations and guess what? That’s a 7 minute bike ride from my house! I’m serious; my total commute time was a mere 30 minutes (because I made two trips) while automobile traffic was a parking lot nightmare. Getting out of Imperial Beach and Coronado; the entire Silver Strand looked like a cross between a drive-in movie parking lot and a Taco Bell drive-thru line at 2am. What is the lesson to be learned here? Next year, if you go to Imperial Beach or Coronado to see the fireworks on the 4th of July, ride your bike!
People At Imperial Beach On The 4th of July 2011
Most people start arriving during the day, and even though it’s more crowded than usual, it’s never out of hand. In the photo above you can see people patiently waiting for darkness and fireworks as well as being issued a ticket for having alcohol on the beach.
IB Woman With Amputated Arm
The lady above is always around Imperial Beach pier and was enjoying the live music when a phone call interrupted her. I snapped this shot because the way she’s holding her phone, her white wrist wrap and the color of her fingers matching her hair did a trick of the eye on me, making me think she was a double amputee. The tattoo on her right arm is a classic frontier star with the word, “SHERIFF” in the center.
Flower, Shadow, Sunlight, Bee, Blue Sky
IB pier was gated off by the time I arrived due to the large amount of pyrotechnic booty that had been carefully placed about. Sunset was to happen exactly at 8pm and the show at 9. This is where the magic was going to happen, this is where we can all say, “Boom goes the dynamite.”
During summer it’s not exactly dark at 9pm, so the opening barrage of fireworks had nice wisps of clouds behind them. The opening volley of fireworks is where you’ll find some golden moments of photography because during the explosion of the first set is the ONLY time you’ll have a smoke free sky, so you can actually include the sky in the background of your fireworks shot. As you see in the photos above, smoke becomes a problem very fast. The pic on the left was shot at 3200 ISO & the right at 1250 ISO.
I didn’t have a tripod so I had to find a combination of ISO and f-stop that would work with my self-imposed handheld photography shutter speed limit of 1/20th of a second. The f-stop turned out to be easy, wide open! For the lens I had that meant f/3.5. I wanted to include a lot of foreground/people in my photos so my ISO was determined by the lighting of the foreground; I cranked it up high, from 1600 to 3200 if the foreground was dark or dropped it to 200 if there was already ambient light around, such as those taken with people seated under lights. Whatever my ISO was, my shutter speed was always slow, 1/20th of a second or slower so I made sure to stand still, hold my breath and press the shutter release button with a surgeon’s delicate touch for each & every frame. What that did was keep my own personal movement and the movement of the camera to a minimum. These are the problems that I have to compensate for by not using a tripod. I sacrificed stability in favor of mobility since I was going to spend the entire 16 minute show running around.
Imperial Beach Portwood Pier Plaza Sign
The photo you see above is the main sign at the foot of the pier, in the center of Imperial Beach’s Seacoast District and is an example of planning ahead in order to get ahead. I knew the show would last 16 minutes, so I made sure I was near the Imperial Beach sign at the 16th minute for two reasons: First, because I wanted shots of the sign silhouetted by the fireworks and second, because from that spot I was already off the beach and the pier. In other words it made for a great shot and a great escape! Cheers!
July 4, 2011 At Imperial Beach, CA Pier
July 1, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut ·
South Bay Power Plant At Golden Hour
Bayshore Bikeway enjoys scenery from two large bodies of water; San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean. In other words, the trail is a perfect place to go for some golden hour, sunrise or sunset photography. The path goes all the way around the bay and even runs between the ocean and the bay for an eight mile stretch along Silver Strand Beach and Coronado Cays. The peninsula that Coronado and Silver Strand sit on creates the western shore of San Diego Bay and is the reason we have a nice, safe harbor for Navy ships and birds. The bay is a bird watcher’s paradise.
My favorite bird watching area is along the southwest portion of Bayshore Bikeway, between Imperial Beach and Silver Strand. California least terns nest in that area during the summer too so bring a bicycle and you’ll be able to cover the entire bay in a day. The southern area is also a nature preserve, so you are just about guaranteed to see birds, small rodents & reptiles and even some dragonflies if you are lucky. Since the path is only for walkers, cyclists and inline skaters, all the scenery and sites along Bayshore Bikeway are uncrowded and have a feeling of exclusivity about them because only people that use their own power get to see them.
Birds Hunting In South Bay San Diego During Golden Hour
Golden hour is that time of day when the sun is very low in the sky, just about to set. The sun is so low that objects and contours on the earth block some of the sun’s light creating areas of shadow that are still bathed in yellow light. This is what we call, golden hour. It also happens to be the time when a lot of birds and other wildlife go hunting so photographically speaking it is a goldmine. If you have taken some landscape photography but weren’t happy with the result, go back and try the same shot again but wait until sunrise or sunset to do it. You have to pay attention to light if you want to make your photography pop.