A quick Vegan photoshoot

Yesterday after I got home from the shop, the fambam went to the Chino Hills Farmer's Market located at The Shoppes. I haven't been here in months and it has gotten much smaller from the last time I was here but the good news is... they had everything I needed. Bread, veggies, fruits, nuts, etc... small but enough. Sorry I didn't take any photos... didn't think I was going to be blogging about this but now look at me :(

Got home and put together a quick meal... although not vegan, it was a delicious vegetarian meal. My good friend Shelly (@artistshelleybruce) dropped off a beautiful loaf of jalapeno cheese bread all the way from Bishop, CA. Fried up some portobello mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes and spread with jalapeno and cilantro hummus. Did a side of organic carrots and potato sprinkled with kosher salt and Ms. Dash. 

The photo got a lot of likes in a short period of time (with all things being relative of course). 

Shot on Canon 1dx, Canon 50mm 2.5 macro lens

Shot on Canon 1dx, Canon 50mm 2.5 macro lens

On my way out to the shop today, I grabbed two carrots, packaged roasted seaweed and a white apricot. I asked Pro if he could cook my carrots with whatever he was cooking today but it ended up being a whole journey to make a vegan burger. I wish I took some more BTS photos but we just got caught up in the moment and I ended up faking one BTS shot for you guys. lol

Here are the other shots I took. I really wish I documented the cooking and building process but there is always next time. 

Thank you Pro for making this bomb ass food!
Til the next time,

Andrew Manley
Food Photographer

Our very first Monarch Butterfly...

So a few weeks ago, my wife found a handful of caterpillars in her mom's backyard. Apparently Monarch Butterflies love milkweed leaves and apparently my mother in law has them lol... So my wife brings a handful of them home. 

She was so diligent in making sure that they were comfortable and had enough leaves, driving back to her mom's house to grab some more. Then apparently butterflies like a nice cool environment, how convenient since I do too and it is right in the middle of summer. So I lose a fan and they gain a happy cool place. 

It didnt take long for the caterpillars to turn into a cocoon. Suppose to take 10 days but the first one ended up taking 7 days. It turned into a chrysalis this morning and within the hour, the butterfly was out. Of course my wife freaks out and screams "She's out! OMG!"

So I grabbed the Canon 1dx and Canon 50mm 2.5 macro lens since I was using it in the morning to shoot my breakfast. Here are the photos. Enjoy


Impromptu boxing shoot with Arri Fresnel Lights

So last week, I got some Arri Fresnel lights in... 750's and 300's... these lights let off some beautiful light and is used commonly by videographers. However I was intrigued to use them for photography because some years ago at a wedding reception, a videographer left it running during the whole reception and it produced such great colors. 

Just to test the power of the 750's, I plugged it and shot it towards the opposite wall. Super bright but more than I needed so I changed it out for the 300's. The 300's were perfect for bringing in some of the ambient light we had. I needed a test model so I told Leonard to stand in front of the light. I tried a few different positions with the light beaming as a rim light and a kicker light for flare. Below is a gallery of the various angles and such. 

The very last shot in the gallery we used a reflector to bounce some light back on to the right of his face. You can see there is a huge difference from the previous photo right? There is no right or wrong. If you wanted to go with a darker/mysterious shot, then the one on the left would have been ideal otherwise the last shot produces some good detail with the fill light. 

Leonard had his Canon 5d Mark III already out with the new Sigma 24-35mm 2.0 Art series attached to it. It was a great time to put the lens to the test. From what I can tell, when it hits its the focus, the lens is pretty sharp at 2.0 but my keeper rate was not high. I will have to spend some more time with it to see if it was just too dark to focus properly. 

I ended up directing Leonard and he was playing the role pretty well so I told him to take his shirt off and pose like a Street Fighter. He was a bit self conscious since his hair wasn't done and he felt like he needed to do some push ups to tense up his chest and arms... lol. However I think all of it ended up working since this shot is more raw and grungy versus the other final shot below. We had a Lastolite difflector to the right of his face to bounce that light and pick up that beautiful fill. 

Since I was already feeling where the shoot was going, I had Leonard setup both the 750 and 300 in a larger space. Then we had him oil his arms and chest with Pro's vegan coconut oil... lol. He smelled like a Hawaiian dessert... must be nice. We then proceeded to wrap up his hands and wrist with black elastic. 

I am usually an anal bastard when it comes to backgrounds. Although I was a fan of how the previous shot came out, there were lots of distracting elements apart of the background. For this one, I wanted to use the lines of the garage to give it a symmetric texture. 

I ended up placing the light in the final shot... to some its a bit distracting but I wanted to spice it up just a bit. Perhaps the flares were too much but I'm just having fun for now. 

Let me know which one you liked better. The first or the second portrait.

I hope you guys liked this one and learned something.

Til the next one,
Andrew Manley

Playing with the White Lightning X1600 and photographing Calvin the Cowboy

So the other day, I found some old gear and brought it out to do some test shots. Since my boy was around, he was the perfect test subject to test some different lighting setups. Went with a simple White Lightning X1600 with a PCB Large Octobox. 

It's been awhile since I shot strobes outside and I wanted to try a few with the sun as a rim and kicker light. I didn't have my trusty Sekonic L358 light meter on me so I had to eye ball the exposure and the light separation from the strobe to the sun. I set the ISO to 200, shutter speed to 1/200th, f/8 and shot the strobe at full power. I did have a 82mm Marumi Circular Polarizer on the Canon 24-70mm 2.8 Mark II I was using. Typically polarizers stop down the exposure about 3 stops. I will explain my setup below. 

Started off by setting the strobe just left of camera and the sun was behind and high over my son's right shoulder. I didn't want to overpower the sun too much.... If anything, I was going for ambient to be half stop under the strobe. 

The light had a hardware malfunction as the clamping mechanism broke off so the light kept drooping downward. Good thing my model is only 3 feet tall... lol

The shot on the left is a BTS photo of me directing Cal to commit to the shot. I need a nice stern face and that is what he gave me. You can see examples by scrolling down. The other two shots I did with the sun actually behind my left shoulder. You can see in the portrait of him looking straight into the camera that he has apart of his cheek overexposed by direct light. Although this was not an ideal setup for me, I am glad I was able to give it a try. I think it created more shadows by shooting with the sun that high up

This is one of the first shots that I took and I could barely tell if the shot was good or not cause the 1Ds Mark II has such a tiny screen and it has a terrible viewing angle but I like how the light looks in conjunction with the ambient light. 

Since this is just for practice, I used a few different editing methods. If it were client work, I would have made all the edits consistent with each other so there would of been a nice flow from image to image. All of these had the sun directly over Cal's right shoulder. When I was outside, I wasn't really feeling the shots but when I got to the computer, they turned out pretty good. 

It was burning hot and I wanted the angle of the sun to be lower than it was earlier in the day. So we let 2 hours burn by and got the sun directly behind Calvin. Of the 4 images, can you tell which three were shot with a strobe and which one was ambient only? Go ahead, take a gander 

If you guessed the top right, you are right. You can tell that the light on his face is flat (no contrast) and doesn't have a gradient of light running left to right. The light was on the left side of the frame at full power. It was about 1.5 stops brighter than the ambient so that is why the background is darker than the one without the strobe. 

Although most portrait photographers don't like to shoot mid day cause it creates the harshest shadows, I think shooting high noon adds a certain character and mood that you don't see in late afternoon shots. 

I hope to utilize a few strobes on an outdoor shoot with a Fiat 500e electric sometime in the next few weeks. Should be a good one. 

Thanks for checking out the blog and make sure to read a few of the other posts I have.

Andrew Manley

Last minute NSX cruise from La Canada Flintridge to Lake Arrowhead

It's been awhile since I have participated on a drive/cruise and was informed of the Angeles Crest to Lake Arrowhead cruise at midnight the same day of the drive! Usually the meet up is pretty early but since I had to drive out to La Canada Flintridge, a buddy and I had to wake up at 5am and head out the door by 6 but you know how it is on a Saturday night... sleep late and waking up early is very difficult. So I think in reality we woke up at 6am and left at 6:30am but made it on time.... yay for procrastination!

A little backstory... last year in August, I blew the motor on my 2002 NSX while jammin' down ACH.... it sucked and it was expensive. It took about 7 months to get the car back and then there was the break-in period which I just barely made it over. The valves still have to get their final adjustments and such so driving the car hard wasn't an option for me. I wish I could say that I was sad to think about the unfortunate incident last year but I think I am over it as I wasn't really affected much by the thought. 


I keep my gas intentionally low in most of my cars since I do not drive them as often as someone drives a commuter. So I have to fuel up almost everytime I drive her.... just so the gas inside doesn't get too old. I love shooting at Chevron gas stations because they always have nice clean light.

Odometer is just over 78,000... check engine light due to test pipes... hopefully my builder will have a fix for that. 

Had to fuel the body after refueling the car... so headed to this McDonald's.... I knew that the food was gonna be terrible when I saw the large vinyl print they had of some guacamole burger... looked like some 3rd grader who learned how to use photoshop last month did the photoshoot and editing. Terrible. Perhaps I can lend my services to this franchise owner. BTW the sausage was over-cooked and dry. SMH 

When we got to the meeting spot, 6 others have gotten there before us and then we were met by another 8 cars I believe. Mixed crowd of young and older NSX owners. 

Since I was driving and not able to shoot, my buddy Frank was handed my Canon 1ds Mark II and I had him knock out some images with the Canon 35mm 1.4 L. Frank did a good job getting the feels for the drive. 

After an hour long drive, we stopped off at location #2 where we re-grouped and gave the cars some rest. After 30 mins, we hopped back on the road thru Silverwood Lake on Highway 138 straight to Lake Arrowhead. I was just at Lake Arrowhead last Sunday but life clusters so once again a revist to a nice little place.


Do not text and drive people... but wait... is SnapChatting ok?

VIP parking is always nice.... star treatment!

Lunch at a local Pizza joint... I guess I should have photographed some of it but I was distracted. My apologies... The thing with documentary photography is that you have to take photos of everything! You start talking to friends and this is the end result. No photos.

No need to talk to each other anymore... we have smartphones... just text/chat/message/snap each other instead. It's the only way


Well that was my Sunday.... I hope you guys had a good one. Keep chasing your passions and work your ass off during the week so that you can party during the week and work on the weekends... wait what? So confusing. 

Andrew Manley

Porsche 911 Carrera 4 (964) with the Pixelstick

So I didn't have too much lined up this week and in keeping up with the blog, I decided to do a shoot with my 964 and The PixelStick and try to create something fun and different at the same time. 

So this is what I used this time around. All items can be found at IE Photo Rentals website:
1. Sony A7RII
2. Metabones Adapter EF to E Mount
3. Pixelstick
4. Canon 24-70mm 2.8 Mark II
5. Westcott Ice Light
6. Marumi 82mm Circular Polarizer
7. Gitzo Tripod with RRS BH-55 (my personal tripod)

BTS and Assistant:
Assistant: Phil Awad @handsomeandphilthy - Website: http://www.handsomeandphilthy.com
BTS Photo: Zach Patino @zack_p14 - Website: http://www.imaginationvisions.net
BTS Video: @parchen_iv - Website: http://www.imaginationvisions.net

So above is the final shot that I picked and edited. I am pretty happy with the outcome but here is everything else that happened that night.

Earlier in the day, I spoke with Zack about doing the BTS for the shoot tonight. He also brought along Matt who does a lot of video work. They both do quite a bit of drone work at major music festivals so make sure to check out their work. 

About 90 mins before meet up time, I call Phil and invite him over to shoot tonight... since he has gotten back from Lebanon, he's need a good 'pick me up' so I told him to grab his gear and shot over. Of course, this guy comes late as he usually does. 

Zach and Matt show up on time (thank you guys for doing that) and since he had some time to kill, I asked them if they knew how to drive stick. Sadly they both answered 'no' and that didn't sit right with me. So I ordered them into the driver seat and taught another two people how to work the art of driving manual transmissions. lol

The location I picked was perfect for the Pixelstick because it is extremely dark and would of been perfect for light painting... only thing was, the moon was out and it was oh so dark but no worries, we got it covered.

I'm pretty sure we probably had over $40,000 worth of gear out there that night. This game is too expensive not to make some money, you feel me?

Even with the moon out, it was pretty dark. I know it is hard to tell from the finished photo cause it looks like it was taken late afternoon but trust us, hard to see what was in front of you... and to give you an example, Phil tripped over his own tripod and broke his Rokinon 85mm with a BW 77mm Circular Polarizer worth $200... that's how dark lol

On my out from the pad, I saw my trusty old aluminium ladder and brought her with us. I set my tripod on it's highest setting and shot down on the Carrera but this angle was not ideal. I ended up scrapping it. 

Finally brought the tripod down to a knee level. I think the Carrera looks best at this level. Easy does it.

Started to edit on the spot but was not happy with it so we changed it up.

So we tried a few different lines to get the light paint right but it ended up being a waste of time cause the ambient light with the moon is ultimately what I stuck with. I should have light painted my final composition but I guess I was delirious from being hungry. Phil just kept talking about McDonald's... lol jk Phil, I love you.

Finally pulled out the Pixelstick once we got the angle that worked for us. 

Below you can see all the various designs we tried out.

We also did a roller video but at the time of this blog's release, it wasn't done yet so keep an eye out for that.

Thanks to Phil, Zack and Matt for coming out. It was fun.
Below are some shots from the 3 of them as well.


Check out The Pixelstick's website for more information on their product and you can check out IE Photo Rental's website to rent the pixelstick

Day trip to San Bernardino Mountains: Lake Arrowhead

Sometimes you dream about being in other places in a far away land but sometimes where you are may have places undiscovered. Today is not one of those days but a re-visit to a place visited long ago was pretty nice. 

Got a text from our sister-in-law Marlene about heading up to Big Bear since my mother-in-law was gonna watch our kids. Basically a free Sunday without the kids bearing down on us... so we decided a little day trip to the mountains was a perfect idea. We were really going to scout for a home to rent for the winter time but a relaxing and slow paced day was really needed.

My brother-in-law Billy is a big fan of Harley Davidson's and as an enthusiast of any motor vehicle, finding that special moment to take out your "baby" can only lead to good times, right? They ended up getting a head start on us since we still had to get ready. Had the grandparents come pick up my boy and then we hopped in my Honda S2000 with the hardtop removed and the soft top down. It's probably been 3 years since I had the top removed but today was a perfect reason to roll top down. Stopped by IEPR to grab the Sony A7s, generic EF to E-mount adapter and a Canon 24-70mm 2.8 Mark II. Because I didn't have the Metabones available, the generic one didn't allow for aperture control so everything was shot wide open. 

Filled up at a Chevron in Claremont off the 10fwy. Took this with an iPhone since the A7s was packed away in the trunk. My wife is not familiar with using the new system so most of the way up was shot on my iPhone 6. Fancy I know...

S2000 is still a baby with only 23,857 miles for an 06. 

S2000 is still a baby with only 23,857 miles for an 06. 

It's been a long time since I have driven the S2000 up into the mountains. Seems like every time I am in the mountains, I am driving some slow commuter car so today was a real treat, at least for me... the wifey was getting sick. Sorry babe.

One of the best parts about driving up to Lake Arrowhead are the double lanes. No need to worry about getting caught behind a family in a mini van driving the speed limit. I ain't got no time for that. Life is a race, need to get to the top fast!

Look at these roads... beautiful... anyone with any kind of sport vehicle needs to come up here frequently. 

After we climbed most of the mountain, pulled over to snap the landscape and let the S cool down for a minute. I have to say that I still have to get used to the focus peaking on the A7 series... the camera definitely showed the car in focus but when I got home, the bushes are in focus. Had to put the soft top on cause I was getting burnt up!


The generic EF to E mount adapter showed some significant vignetting and since I could only shoot wide open, it was what it was.... adds to the mood of the sky. Look at all that LA smog! Breathe it in folks, breathe it in... lol 

Leather brown Chuck Taylors

Leather brown Chuck Taylors

Setting the camera up, test subject... my trusty old leather Chucks

MBN (must be nice) to have a view like this in your backyard. I am guessing that is one of the perks of living all the way up here

Look at that smile... gazing out into the the world... next stop, Lake Arrowhead 6 miles away. 

If you look close enough, the wifey spotted a rock climber. Yup, some guy decided that right over there would be a nice rock to climb. Maybe one day I will understand the fascination of climbing rocks.... maybe... lol

When we finally got to the village, we got super lucky finding parking right away. It wasn't until after we started to walk towards the businesses how many people were driving around looking for a place to park. Life is always about timing... Met up with the bro and sis. I was starving and without jumping on my phone to look for a place to eat on Yelp, I just walked into McDonald's and grabbed a double meal combo. Double cheeseburger and small fries for $2.50? Sold. Yes @manleyeats will occasionally eat fast foods... it's ok, its fast and hits the spot... don't judge me.


After the fuel up, we were people watching by the dock and noticed something hilarious. I have to admit that dogs that live up here have lives better than most elsewhere. I want to be a dog like this in my next lifetime. You ready for it?

Without hesitation, Marlene was rushing me to get a photo of these dogs. The owners were real cool about it... but look at these dogs... they have sunglasses! I'm pretty sure they were more expensive than my Chilli Bean glasses. Will you just look at how happy they are?!

People were doing all sorts of happy things.... I need to be doing what they are doing... it's on the list of things I need to do. 


So one of the things I do best is critique shit... this drives some people crazy while some people like that about me. For me, it's what I do. If you don't like that, try talking to the tree at your nearest park, you might get a better response. jk #sorrybutnotsorry. The other thing is eating... I love to eat but I usually can't eat without doing the thing I do best, which is critique.... so I am kind of an asshole when it comes to food. At least that is what everyone thinks but in reality I just have a set of standards that needs to be met. That's why people get confused when I can enjoy a meal at McDonald's and a steak at Vic and Anthony's. You see, it is like this, you can take the same french fry from McDonald's, throw them in the fryer, fry until golden brown, remove them from oil, salt and serve. If you eat those fries within 3 mins, they will be amazing. Let them sit for 10 mins, game over. Just throw them away. I don't need to eat no 10 min fry. Timing is everything as I mentioned before. Of course freshness, balance, flavor, butter and salt are a must. Yes I can just do butter and salt as a meal lol.

They had a some interesting stores if you had a need to spend money... i.e.: a dinosaur store, dog desserts only, knickknack store but I was quickly drawn by the beef jerky woman. I mean all commercial beef jerky is so nasty in terms of flavor and texture. When I find a small business where they actually care about the quality of their product, I support. 

Sky Ranch Specialties has all sorts of high quality beef jerky for your desired palette. Since I enjoy things that are spicy, salty and vinegary, I opted for the Peppered jerky since that is my favorite. I bought a bag and when I chewed into them, I had to get another bag. What I didn't take a photo of is their Southwest BBQ Jerky... the semi-sweet but hickory smoked flavor got me... and this is coming from someone who doesn't like any sweets in my meats. Killed two bags before the end of the day. Get some!

Next stop was The Grapevine Store which was a very nice stop to cool down with some beer and wine. We ended up getting a sampler of their hard ciders. Two of the four tasted like candy.... on our way out, we ended up grabbing two bottles of their sweet beer later to find out we got the wrong one. We ordered Doc's Draft when it was really the Rekorderlig Berry we wanted. But no fret, we still handled it.

Look at how the ladies smile with glee when presented with cold elixir of a very sweet caliber. In combination with the beef jerky, all was good.

After the beer consumption, we headed out to the deck to check out the sights. Not sure why I posted a photo of the red umbrella... Red is my favorite color and I like the tones of this one I guess lol. 

As stated before, I am not a fan of sweets usually but I am a sucker for toffee... perhaps its the butter and sugar combination but that tickles my fancy. I am all about it. So walked into Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for a bit of a sample. 


Next on the list was a short cruise over to our dinner spot. So we jumped into our cars and bike and had a beautiful scenic drive over. 

Did a quick photoshoot of my bro and sis chillin' by his Harley. Didn't go for a dramatic photo, just something to remember the day by. 

For dinner, we check out a restaurant on Yelp rated with a 4.5 star review called Stone Creek Bistro. Very hipster-ish restaurant, small but cozy, lots of wood decor and a nice and easy vibe. Our waitress was pretty funny, with her sassy spirit... made it a nice enjoyable evening. Billy ordered the New York Steak (it was funny to see the waitress' face when he asked for A1 lol), Marlene got the Pork Chops, Methuse got the Carbonara and I got the appetizer BLT. 

After dinner, there was still some daylight left. We walked out to this beautiful landscape.

We were debating about heading to Temecula Wineries but we started to get tired. Got home, put my head on my LoveSac to get a little nap in at 8:30pm and then woke up at 8:30am. LOL... it was a great day.

Andrew Manley

Star gazing at Leo Carillo Beach, CA with the Sony A7s & A7r II

Leonard Holland, one of our guys at IE Photo Rentals loves doing landscapes and he has been talking about shooting with the group for some time. He came into the shop one day to show me a photo of his last trip to Leo Carillo Beach, CA. I was blown away with the ideal of laying out at the beach and looking at the stars. He told me that he wanted to go again to try and get a better shot since he wasn't happy with his last encounter.

I figured it was a great time to take a short trip out with the team and take photographs as a group. We agreed to meet there at 10pm but we actually met closer to 10:30pm or so. Our group ran late cause we got caught up in the Santa Monica 3rd Street Promenade traffic, Pro was coming from the "hood" and Leonard's group was about 5 mins behind my group. Hector and Nancy made it there 20 mins before anyone but Hector started to get a bit of anxiety cause it was so dark. Our group originally planned to eat a nice meal in Santa Monica but cause we were running late, we ended up eating Jack in the Box. Felt like I was in high school again... in a car packed with people eating Jumbo Jacks with their famous buttermilk sauce. Good times. Below is a map of where Leo Carillo Beach is.

As soon as we arrived, I could already see the stars shinning brighter than they have ever in my entire life. I could even see traces of the Milky Way Galaxy... that was all a big trip for me. Part of why the stars were so bright, no ambient light pollution. I am guessing light pollution is about 3 stops of light brighter than the stars way above. When our eyes adjust for street lamps and such, the weaker light of the stars recede. 

It was pitch black out there so in an effort to keep the photos representing the feel out there, I left the images mainly untouched. We ended up shooting for 2.5 hours or so but people started to get cold and sleepy as we were getting closer to 3am. I felt like I could shoot another 2 hours. 


I didn't like the composition of the shot where the Milky Way was so instead, I probably did a big no-no and ended up making my own composition. I stacked a shot of the Milky way into a landscape that I liked better. I know a lot of you Purist would probably scoff at me but hey, it's what I do. It took me about 40 mins to properly blend it in but I got it to where I was happy.

Definitely worth a trip out there.

©2015 Copyright Andrew Manley

©2015 Copyright Andrew Manley

A quick California Lifestyle shoot with two teens in a vintage VW Bug

Some time in 2012, I stopped contributing to an agency I was with due to a lot of corporate bullshit that was going on. Sometimes you have to know when to collect your chips and walk away from the game. This was one of the last shoots I did at that time back in Sept of 2012. I accidentally ran across the folder with these images so I wanted to put a little BTS post since people love to see what goes on behind the scenes. 

My original goal for this shoot was to express the young California spirit of these teen girls. I thought an old school VW Bug would fit the bill right so that's what I went with. I asked a buddy of mine who collects vintage Vdubs and found some girls that my old assistant Lloyd knew from High School. 

Due to time restraints I had at the time, my goal was to shoot by the shop but try to pass it off as if we were somewhere that was not Pomona... lol. So shooting tight was mandatory. The girls at the time didn't have much modeling experience which many times is a double edged sword. Double edged because they have little experience and they need a lot of direction but at the same time they have genuine emotions so it feels more "real". 

Normally I didn't have people shooting behind the scenes but that day we had Paul (owner of the VW) out with his camera so that is the only BTS we have. We had the car parked right along the building so that we could utilize the shade as much as possible. The light outside the window were blown out but it ended up working for me since I was trying to make it seem we were closer to a "beachy" area. Is beachy even a word? IDK. Only other piece of gear we used was a large fan to replicate the car moving. Some of the shots are not as consistent with the wind but it worked for the most part. 

Shot with a Canon 5d Mark III, Canon 35L and shot mainly these settings: f/2.8, 1/200th and ISO 400. Easy breezy. This was a short shoot as I had a few other looks I needed to get. 

The images turned out well... this was quite some time ago and I will be bringing some new shoots up in the future that work on the Cali Lifestyle... so stay tuned with that.

Thanks for reading. Share and comment if you liked this post. Appreciate it!

Andrew Manley
Lifestyle Photographer