April 24, 2013 by Rob Hurlbut · 4 Comments
Rob Hurlbut Leaves Westward Seafoods Dutch Harbor, Alaska
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the last 3 months. I’ll tell you right now that I didn’t want to think a lot but what I was doing and where I was didn’t leave me with much of anything else to do. I just got back from a three month stint working for Westward Seafoods Inc. in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. It was not a good experience and I am struggling with how I’m going to relate my experience with to the world. Of course I have photos but what I went through can’t be adequately shown or expressed with photography. I had mental and physical degradation happen in way that should be investigated as criminal wrongdoing because the methods, manners and culture of Westward Seafoods Inc. are immoral, rude and racist. For me, leaving Dutch Harbor and the employ of Westward Seafoods was not the end of a job; it was fleeing the scene of a crime. Westward uses their isolated location to scare and bully their employees. They use the high cost of airfare out of Dutch Harbor as leverage against employees so they will give their full cooperation to any task they are asked to do. Employees of Westward Seafoods do this as the company buys fish and crab that have been caught by pirates in a way that is not sustainable, legal or ethical. I have so many more things to say and so many more photos to show that I’m not quite sure where to begin or how to end. This post is my way of placing the world on notice, I suppose. The photo above was taken on a flight out of Alaska, heading to the lower 48. I was watching the sunrise as I pondered what to do next and what I wanted to say about my Alaska experience. So, be aware; more posts and photos are coming.
April 2, 2012 by Rob Hurlbut · 1 Comment
Nightclub & Bar Convention 2012
Last year I went to the Nightclub & Bar Convention in Las Vegas as a patron of spirits and member of a group of old friends. This year I went as a member of the press and I was only in town for 1 night with 1 friend, so I packed light and hoped for the best.
Shawn Barnes In Las Vegas
The imposing fellow above is one of my best friends and has been so for almost 20 years. He’s a friend that’s always on my side, no matter how abrasive my personality happens to be on any particular day. Together we have cut a swath of mayhem from Hawaii to Mexico and from Dallas to Denver.
Las Vegas International Airport
Las Vegas Airport, also known as McCarran International Airport is quite vast, which gives you something to do if you have to kill 3 hours like I did. You can wonder through the terminals without having to go back through security, which is very convenient.
Slots Inside Las Vegas Airport
If you want to get any last minute gambling in, Las Vegas Airport will accommodate you. It’s all been arranged to get your money, make no mistake about that. Go ahead and hit the ATM a few more times, you’ll get it all back, I promise.
Rob Hurlbut In A Las Vegas Elevator
I’m really starting to get into self portrait photography while in Las Vegas. Mirrors and other reflective surfaces abound if you look around. I can’t wait for the days when DSLR quality photo capabilities are implanted somewhere behind our eyeballs because in a place like Las Vegas, carrying around a camera can be a real drag. Until then, carry your camera with you everywhere all the time. Cheers!
February 5, 2012 by Rob Hurlbut · 1 Comment
Most of the time I spent in Las Vegas, while covering CES 2012 was spent taking pictures. CES was unbelievably big and besides the physicality of the event a problem I had was finding a way to make all the cool things I saw at the show translate in a cool way in my photos. I failed and I say that with the utmost of dignity; being worthy enough to be issued a pass, being financed enough to make the trip and being experienced enough to survive five days in Las Vegas ended up being the nuts and bolts of my trip, so it was a resounding success.
I did take it upon myself to take some self portraits whilst walking around the Las Vegas Strip. While I was at Caesars Palace I came across the place of worship you see above. The Romans, the society responsible for the empire that paid for the original Caesars Palace were Pagans; they worshiped many different Gods and it was a Quid Pro Quo situation. I lingered at this place for a very long time, lighting & placing incense as I moved about the four stations of prayer. I asked for help and guidance with many things. The word I was looking for at the time was clarity and I do believe the time I spent contemplating at this shrine will give me the clarity I want to enable myself for the success I need.
I am a photographer that stays behind my camera most the time. Think of me what you will, but I see myself as a modern day gunslinger, so you will answer to my weapon before I answer to you. I really do love being a photographer, I love to travel and I love to show the world where I’ve been, things I’ve seen and things I’m going to do.
I’d like to take a break and talk a little bit about the public bathrooms in Las Vegas. They are awesome. Every casino, every hotel and every corner store has a bathroom and none of them will have any problem with you dropping a deuce or clearing your bladder at any time of the day or night. “The Bathrooms of Las Vegas” is probably the title of a blog post just waiting to happen and I’ll read it when it comes out but it’s just too shitty an assignment for me to personally take on at this moment in time.
Mercifully I had to get back to San Diego, so after 5 days and 4 nights in fabulous Las Vegas, it was time to get on a plane and get back to the real world. The photo you see above was taken with one of the last bits of strength I had, which was barely enough to press the shutter release button. I don’t remember any details after this shot was taken; I fell asleep and somehow made it from the airport back to my place without incident. After tending to all the bumps & bruises the laundry and the photos, I stand by my original assessment, which was that the trip was a five star, top shelf, resounding success.
Southwest Airlines is the airline I recommend for any air travel that begins or ends within the United States of America because their employees rock and their prices are the best in the industry. They’ll never hassle you about your carry-on luggage, they’ll let you travel with a small dogs or a cat and and they serve booze on their planes. No other airline is as cool as Southwest and that is a fact. I really do believe their business model is the way of the future and very much look forward to watching as Delta, American and all the other overpriced, baggage fee price-gouging airlines are forced to change how they operate, courtesy of Southwest Airlines. They photo above really was my last act and honestly, I don’t remember taking it, but it did seem like a great photo to anchor this post because travel always involves some form of conveyance and air travel is about the best there is when it’s on Southwest. Cheers!
January 31, 2012 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
A Lamborghini And Josh At CES 2012
Whether I’m in front of or behind the camera there is one type of photography I’ve never been a fan of: Evidence of being there photos. These are the photos people usually use as proof they were at a location or met a certain person and usually they’re just standing there looking at the camera. Years later do people in those photos look at them and reminisce about how they had to stop what they were doing in order to turn around and grin at the camera? I would much rather take a photograph that shows a person in a natural pose, held for a moment within a beautiful scene than a picture that represents an interruption of that moment. Of course for this trip to Las Vegas, my friend wanted some evidence shots, so I willingly obliged. The two shots in this post represent the work and the play side of the trip. I was there to cover CES 2012 which is where the Lamborghini above was displayed and the convention was in Las Vegas, home of casinos, liquor and gambling, which is what the photo below is evidence of doing.
3 Nines on 2 Machines Inside Hooters, Las Vegas
After long days of walking for miles at CES, enduring crowded monorail rides and walking even more miles to get to my room, I was ready to relax by sliding up to a video poker bar, feeding it some money and then drinking for free until the wee hours while catching up with my old friend, Josh. The evidence photo above was taken as evidence not of being at a certain place, but for us both winning on separate video poker machines at the same time with 3 nines in our winning hands. Something like that deserves a shot and a picture. The above photo was taken inside Hooters Casino, in the back bar. We weren’t staying here but we still spent a lot of time here because it is very chill, has a great restaurant and is just a great place to waste a few hours. Until next time, happy travels!
January 30, 2012 by Rob Hurlbut · 1 Comment
Grand Spiral Staircase Of Caesars Palace
Caesars Palace is an inspiring place to go to because you can’t help but plan a trip after you spend some time in there. I would very much like to travel to Italy and Rome in particular now just because of the walking I did through there. I’ve never been to Europe but now I really want to go and I think Italy is going to be my way in, with Rome being my first Las Vegas inspired stop. Caesars Palace and the Forum Shops are grand and decadent in an ancient Roman way and there are celebrities from time to time to add to the fun. Pete Rose and Dick Butkis were there and Dennis Rodman scheduled to appear later in the day. Last year, I posted a single photo of the fountains in front of the hotel so it felt good to walk through, get some decent photos and ultimately plan a trip to a foreign land.
The Non-Moving Statues Of Caesars Palace
The famous moving statues were not operational during my visit so I have a reason to return, which is not a bad thing at all. Since my actual reason for being in Las Vegas was for CES 2012, I didn’t have time to take in a single show, explore new food or do any shopping. I didn’t have the money to do those things either so it was a trip filled with busy days, hectic nights and lots of walking.
Video From Caesars Palace Forum Shops
Until I go to Rome, I suppose I have nothing for me to compare Caesars Palace to. It is unbelievably vast and is a photographers dream, especially a photographer w/ an 8mm fish-eye lens. While I was in Las Vegas my new lens was my constant companion and it was the only lens I brought. I have become hooked on the all encompassing view as well as the way it forces me to get physically closer to subjects than I ever have before. A prime lens makes you do all the work. That coupled with the fact that my lens is all manual made it feel like I was walking the Las Vegas Strip in 1955 with a film camera in one hand and a bona fide photographic assignment in the other. So get inspired and plan a trip somewhere, take pictures and then when you get back start a blog and write about your adventure using your photos as visual aids. Cheers!
January 23, 2012 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
The Venetian As Seen From Las Vegas Blvd.
Venetian Hotel and Casino sits on a very grand swath of land on the Las Vegas Strip. The curb appeal is the best in Las Vegas; it is beautiful and welcoming and once you walk inside you know where you’ll stay next time you come to Las Vegas. Everything about the place grabs your attention and invites you to come closer for a better look and once you do that, you want to walk inside and see what this is all about. One of the best things about Venetian is that you can quickly and easily walk in from Las Vegas Blvd.
Inside The Venetian, Looking Up At The Painted Ceiling
Venice, the ancient Italian city that Venetian is modeled after is a place of beauty where empty spaces are adorned with things of beauty such as art, marble and crystal. In the way the Victorians filled their space with clutter, Venetians filled their space with what is needed to make it beautiful, viewable and accessible.
Tao Asian Bistro And Las Vegas Nightclub
Tao is the restaurant and nightclub inside Venetian. I did not eat or party in either but I do have friends that have and they only had good things to say.
The Canals Of The Venetian
As you walk through the shops, you will see there are actual canals with gondolas that can be rented like a taxi for a relaxing and unique way to get from one end of the hotel to the other. The shops, the restaurants and the experience are all first class all the way and made a believer out of me; during CES next year, I’ll be staying at Venetian. Cheers!
Video Of Venetian Shops, Hotel And Casino
January 21, 2012 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
MGM Grand Lion Glares At New York Across Las Vegas Blvd
Less than a year after attending the Nightclub & Bar Convention I found myself in Las Vegas again, this time to cover CES 2012. This was my first time at the show so suffice to say it was a lot of fun and just about as close to overwhelming as you can possibly get. Now that I’ve had a week to think about the show and edit some photos I do have a prediction that will merge some of the most impressive things I saw at CES:
Waterproof 3D Eye Controlled Touch Screen Technology will be huge.
I’ll elaborate on that in future posts. For now, it will be all about photography and the 8mm fish-eye lens that was my solo companion as I walked through CES and the Las Vegas Strip for 4 days and nights.
In Front Of Luxor Hotel Pyramid, Sphinx & Obelisk
For me the Las Vegas Strip ends at Tropicana Blvd. so I never make it to Luxor or Mandalay Bay unless I make a specific trip just for those two places, which is exactly what I did for this trip. I hadn’t been to the Shark Reef aquarium in Mandalay Bay for almost 10 years and I had never set foot inside Luxor so this was practically a new adventure for me.
Inside Luxor Pyramid, Looking Straight Up
Luxor is has more curb appeal than anything else, so I just did a quick run through the place. A pyramid has a lot of attic space that you just can’t do much with other than stare at so I was not impressed and due to its location on the strip, I recommend you stay somewhere else, farther north on Las Vegas Blvd.
Jellyfish at Shark Reef Predator Aquarium In Mandalay Bay
On the other hand, Mandalay Bay was an incredibly vast and visually appealing place to spend a few hours. My reason for going there was their Shark Reef exhibit, which I finally managed to see on my last day in Las Vegas. It is to aquariums what San Diego Safari Park is to zoos. The place is dim but not dark so set your ISO at 1600 or higher, aperture at f/3.5 or larger and shutter at 1/60th or slower for some amazing results. You don’t need a tripod for this but you will want to hold your breath and remain still while releasing the shutter. If you take a knee or lean against something while taking your photos, it will help out a lot.
Shark Reef At Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas really is a street photographers dream because there are so many people and you have to walk for miles, even after you exit the taxi or monorail. Seriously, don’t bother with a tripod, just crank up the ISO and have some fun. There are plenty of inside things to photograph, so don’t be afraid to practice some low light photography indoors before you start roaming around The Las Vegas Strip, or your own hometown at night.
Prada, In Crystals On Las Vegas Blvd
Here are two things you might not know about Las Vegas; you can take your alcoholic beverages everywhere and gambling is not the only thing to do on The Strip. Shop until you drop if you so desire or eat your heart out. The retail stores and the restaurants are second to none and just as willing as a casino to take your money in exchange for goods and services.
Fountains Of Bellagio and Las Vegas Blvd
As I mentioned earlier, I had a single lens with me for this trip and that was a newly acquired 8mm fish-eye which gave me a full 180 degree field of view. As a photographer, it’s really cool to have EVERYTHING in front of me show up in the viewfinder; it really is amazing how a new lens at Christmas can turn me into a kid with a camera. Thanks Santa!
January 7, 2012 by Rob Hurlbut · 3 Comments
The Grand America Plaza Trolley Station
America Plaza Trolley Station is on the West end of Broadway and downtown San Diego. If you have just landed at the San Diego Airport and intend to take a train, bus or trolley, to your ultimate destination, America Plaza or Santa Fe Depot across the street are the stations to do it. The number 992 city bus is the “airport shuttle” that you will want to familiarize yourself with online. In a nutshell, it runs west on Broadway, turns north on Harbor Drive, passes the cruise ship terminal, loops through the airport and then heads back on the same streets in the opposite direction.
Inside America Plaza
You have two trolley lines, both going two directions on two different tracks at America Plaza so you must pay attention to which train you board. In the photo above and the first photo of the post, the track in the foreground will hold the blue line trolley going north to Old Town and the orange line trolley going to Gaslamp District. The other track will hold blue lines heading south through South Bay San Diego to the Mexican Border and the orange line heading to east county. If you need to get to a green line trolley, take the blue to Old Town for that connection. Just like with the 992, if you look at and print out available maps and timetables for the trolley online ahead of time and familiarize yourself with where the lines go, you’ll do just fine.
Dad Checks The Map As Son Watches The Trolley
The trolley is going through a $620 million renewal right now, so by 2015, this will be outdated information. The trolley cars in the photo above and in the video below will things of the past. San Diego will have sleek new trolley cars that will enable the green line to extend all the way to 12th & Imperial Transit Center. The whole project will make trolley travel more pleasant much faster and will make more sense than what we have now. I have a post that details the entire San Diego Trolley Renewal Project which includes a map of what the new route lines will look like. Living downtown is looking more appealing everyday and I think this new trolley system will make the America Plaza area especially desirable. Happy travels!
Trolleys & Travelers At America Plaza
May 27, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
On The Tarmac At San Diego International Airport
For the second time in four months I was fortunate enough to go on the San Diego International Airport Terminals to Tarmac Tour. This tour is a great way for you to involve yourself with and educate yourself about the larger than life role Lindbergh Field plays for San Diego. Back in February, when I went on the Terminals to Tarmac Tour for the first time I tried to be as meticulous as possible, recording video, snapping photos and taking copious notes. This time was a little different because I just wanted to have fun. And take pictures, so that’s what I did.
When you take a tour you are, in effect, gambling because you know what the best and worst case scenarios are, agreed to them and then rolled the dice. The quality of the tour, the tour guide, the weather and your tour mates are all beyond your control and that’s what makes tours into the unknown so exciting. If you don’t know exactly where you are going then you don’t know exactly what will happen and that should add some bloody EXCITEMENT to your life! The Wright Brothers made their first flight in 1903, nine years before my grandfather was born and yet here I am, for the second time this year, learning about an industry that didn’t even exist when my dad’s dad was in elementary school! Just imagine what American citizens in 2111 will be learning about. No one knows for sure, but what I can tell you is that on this tour you will learn why San Diego Airport is a leading economic engine region for the region, get to walk onto the tarmac and stand right under the west end of the runway as planes from all over the world make their landing approach and roar past you, right over your head. There is an interactive, multimedia employee blog featuring Lindbergh Field from the perspective of front-line Airport Authority employees called, The Ambassablog that is full of “in the trenches” info about the airport. It’s a great read and is a great supplement to what you will learn on the tour. The above right photo shows my tour mates looking skyward at a plane while the above left photo shows the progress of the new addition to terminal 2.
Flower, Shadow, Sunlight, Bee, Blue Sky
It’s worth noting that my tour mates on the San Diego Airport Terminals to Tarmac Tour (besides my cousin) where a group of about a dozen home schooled kids, along with four or five of their moms. My cousin & I were the only other adults on the tour so we had a discussion or two about home schooled kids. My opinion is that home schooling is stupid because the day a kid steps out of home school is the day they realize the real world has nothing to do with their home, or their schooling. Just like saplings need wind to develop bark so they can grow into a tree, children need to know that the funny part of a joke is called a punch line, which means that in order for a joke to be funny, somebody has to take one on the chin and that person might be them. I don’t believe that’s something that can be taught, I believe that’s something you’ll only appreciate after personally giving or receiving a crack on the jaw. You can’t accurately describe a rock concert or being in love to some one that hasn’t personally and physically experienced them because these are life experiences that are personal and different for everyone, as opposed to what your mom tells you it should be. Seriously, can you imagine being turned loose on the world at the tender age of 18 with only your mother’s knowledge as a basis for how to function in society? Maybe it’s not that bad but I’ll tell you what, I needed school and I had to take some licks that were real world lessons no home-school can provide.
April 5, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut · Leave a Comment
A Beautiful Golden Hour Scene In Utah
Somewhere in the wild blue yonder of Utah, in a location I would really have to struggle to find again is the canyon you see above. Seeing an unspoiled view like this, identical to what the pioneers saw hundreds of years ago keeps the spirit of exploration in me alive. Traveling is good, and I think the tiger inside me has awakened and wants to roam around. The tiger inside me wants to travel.
No Loitering! This Is A “Traveling Only” Zone.
I want to take quick, inexpensive outings like the trip I took to Las Vegas last month and I want to take them regularly. Going to new places is fun and since I take photos the whole time I become a better photographer, which enables me to make more money which enables me to travel more. This helps me to improve my photography because I take more photos while traveling than while at home because the inspiration and excitement I get from traveling to a new locale causes me to click the shutter way more often then when I’m in a familiar place. Traveling with your camera is a win-win situation for everyone… New places are seen and photographed, those photos are shared and inspire a whole new group of people to travel or pick up a camera.