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behind the scenes – SD train station

lulight blog

It’s friday at 5pm and the train station is packed. You can see the different feelings of people racing through the platform and the waiting room. The feelings are mixed: anxiety, to be already home; expectant joy, for the weekend ahead; release, because the week is over the work is done; dread, to get in a crowded train before finally getting home.

Us, we are a little apprehensive to set up the camera in front of the crowds. That mood vanishes quickly as we get going  and set up the tripod in front of the entrance door. Nothing better than a little action to stop over thinking. Anya runs and stands right in front of the camera, put on the glasses, opens the book and peacefully stands, reading, not caring about anything else. We are right in front of the main entrance door so there are a lot of people coming and going. That is exactly what I want. In two clicks the master image for the final composite is done. Now the fun part starts. It’s time to get silly. We run and dance in front of the camera trying to get the perfect motion blur. We throw papers and magazines in front of the scene. We look silly. Some people look, some stare. Others point while sitting on the benches.  Someone gives us a rose saying it would look good in the character. Some completely ignore us. Taking the opportunity  of an unsupervised camera, a random man plays the photographer role for ten funny seconds.

The train arrives. Everybody on board. The door closes. The station is almost empty. With no crowds, we continue to play.

Below you’ll see the pictures we created. The first one was planned, the second was improvised, there is no way we were going to go thought those tiles without capturing them.

Hope you like them!

Buen fin de semana <3 Lu.

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Rosebud

heart castle tiles, lulight

A Photographic Journey to Hearst Castle

-”Rosebud”

I am sure that I am not the only person who thinks of Citizen Kane or W.R. Hearst when I hear this word. Ok, turns out that “Rosebud” is actually not connected to W.R. Hearst at all. He was born in San Francisco, where it gets freaking cold but still, no snow, so no sleds. Citizen Kane was also based not only on Hearst but also on Samuel Insull and Harold McCormick. Still, the majority of  us think the movie is based mainly on Hearst. Maybe the reason is the media war Hearst started against the movie and Orson Wells himself. After the movie was released Hearst made sure that the movie wouldn’t get the exposure it needed to succeed. That is why the movie took decades to get the consideration it deserved. Hearst is considered the father of Yellow Journalism and he built his mighty empire with his newspaper business, peddling half truths and sometimes outright lies. Long before the movie was ever made, Douglas Fairbanks asked Hearst why he didn’t consider going to Hollywood and he responded: “Because you can crush a man with journalism, and you can’t with motion pictures.” Ironically, a 24 year old Orson Wells set himself out to crush the arrogant Hearst in his movie, and it make quite a big dent.

This week, on my fourth visit to Big Sur I finally visited Hearst Castle, the Xanadu of Kane. It was quite amazing, mostly to get to know a little more about Hearst,  Julia Morgan (the architect that built Hearst Castle, and the first woman architect in California) and all the craziness that went into the building of the castle. I had many misconceptions about Hearst thanks to Wells.

I really don’t like taking pictures at midday but not even the harsh light stopped me from coming back home with  two hundred images. Every single detail of this castle, that looks more like a cathedral, has it’s own story.  I wanted to share here some of the pictures I took in this enchanted place.  Hopefully these images transport you to movie like places, just make sure to place Chaplin, Greta Garbo the  Marx brothers or your favorite  movie personality from the roaring twenties in the setting.

Enjoy!

Mucho amor <3  lu

Hearst castle pictures, tennis, lulight

The guests at the castle had it made. If you wanted, you could start the day with a tennis match and after the match,  and then take a few steps down to the indoor pool, if the weather wasn’t nice enough to use the legendary “Neptune Pool”. You’ll see a picture of the other pool a couple of pics below this one.

Hearst castle pictures, pool, lulight

The gold tiles on this pool were hand made with glass and a thin layer or 14k gold. Throughout the room, you can find many different patterns made from the gold tiles.

hearst castle pictures

hearst castle pictures

hearst castle pictures

hearst castle pictures

hearst castle pictures

One of my favorite things about the castle was the great variety of patterns made out of tile. Indoors and outdoors the different colors and shapes are delightful.

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Below are some pictures of the dining room. Hearst wanted to “keep it simple” and made the long table pretty rustic as a reminder of the days when he used to go camping in those same hills with his parents. After all, as he said, those were some of his happiest moments.

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Hearst castle pictures, lulight

The Neptune Pool, below, was almost dry because of some bad leaks and the Californian drought.

Hearst castle pictures, Neptune pool, lulight

hearst castle pictures

Thoughts on Portraiture

Portraiture Photography, Lulight, blog

The blue hour is here, the sweet light, the twilight. The blue colors are scattered through the air. We are done shooting what we planned to. Stephanie is still here. We don’t have anywhere to go anytime soon. I have to take some portraits of her. Not doing it would be a waste of light. A waste of an opportunity to keep her portrait. The mood was already set by the pictures we took before. With not much direction, I snap a couple of up front, straight forward portraits.

The scarf Stephanie is using to protect herself from the chill becomes a subject too. She plays  around with it,  she plays different characters.

portrait photography, lulight

Today, I look at the portraits on my screen. I wonder: what is our fascination to look at somebody else’s face? Portraits are all about people. And, people usually love people. But, are portraits about the subject of the image or are they about you and I?

The portraits look back at us, like an observant image, interrogating us. They seem to say:

- This is me.

- Who are you?

Portraits connects us to the humanity in people we don’t know and will probably never get to meet. But they also connect us with our own humanity. They seem to remind us we are all in this together. With our good and bad days, with our hopes and fears.

Through portraits we can look at strangers straight into their eyes observing every little detail, wrinkle, and angle. We can get lost in their gaze and wonder how their life is like, how they are feeling in that particular moment, we can feel compassion or shared joy.

Ultimately, what matters is the felt experience that we get to meet someone, through an image. We get to feel our shared humanity.

portrait photography, lulight

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