namphan

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For the longest, I have wanted to photograph a Tesla Model S. For about a 3 month span, I looked high and low for a Model S like you do with a lost set of car keys. As I was turning over every box and couch cushion on this hunt the quandary that I was in hit me. I didn’t know someone that might know someone that hopefully knew a special someone with a trimmed out Tesla. Every other vehicle was available and offered up to me. I would ask for a Tesla and the response would be “No, but I can get you a Ferrari.” The whole Tesla project was pretty much turning into a unicorn hunt. I pretty much gave up. Then out of nowhere, Warren from Concavo Wheels contacted me to photograph a customer’s Tesla Model S repping a staggered set of CW-S5. At first, I thought he said a Mercedes since I had succumbed to the idea that Teslas are the unicorns of the automotive world. It was too good to be true, my hopes were fulfilled by the needs of my client’s. My personal project coincided with my assignment. This is what every photographer hopes for-to be able to shoot what you love and get paid to do it!

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As I was waiting for the client at our hippy Tampa Heights randevú, a stunning white Model S rolling on the set Concavo CW-S5, that I mentioned earlier, appeared as it approached our meeting spot. My unicorn had arrived!

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The location for the shoot took place in an area that I would consider Tampa’s equivalent to Portlandia. I’m surprised no one decided to put a ‘put a bird’ on the outside of this all electric vehicle ride.

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-Equipment List-
Body: Canon 7D
Lens: Canon 17-55 f/2.8
Lighting: Alien Bees B800
Support: Manfrotto 055xb w/ Manfrotto 496rc2

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Be sure to check out the rest of the line-up of wheels from Concavo at www.concavowheels.com and be on the lookout for these photos on their website and in future publications.


Peugeot 208 t16 Pikes Peak Morning Prep

Being in the element and photographing on location can be a tricky affair. Even more so when you need Mother Nature on your side and you’re trekking 9000+ feet of elevation! While I was preparing to shoot the Pikes Peak Test Run I had to pack some key essentials and, as I mentioned in my previous Blog, also mentally and physically prepare myself.

Here are my 5 key pieces to make my Early Morning Shoot, and I do mean Early Morning-3am, a bit easier for my body.

1. Wicking Base Layer Shirt – Shooting started around wee morning hours of 3am. Dressing in layers help to keep your body warm and comfy yet also makes it easy to stay cool by peeling off the layers as it warms up like an onion. It all starts with a wicking shirt as your base layer. A shirt that has the capability of wicking- Absorb or draw off (liquid). I personally like the ones from The North Face and Under Armour.

2. Various Munchies & Amp food (Energy food for me: Almonds, A couple Granola Bars, Smart Water, Unsalted and No Sugared Organic Trail Mix {no need to sugar shock or have salt dehydrate your body}, Bananas, Apples and if I need something sweet but natural small pieces of Dark Chocolate) and of course Liters of Water –Need to keep over hydrated. Drink about 2 bottles before even heading out…and leave ample time to relieve yourself!

3. Cross Training Shoes – Hiking boots might be a better option for some, but I feel most comfortable with my Nike Cross Trainers as they’re fairly light, provide a great amount of stability and pretty much match all of my workout and outdoor clothes. Yes Ladies, us men do look at our wardrobes too-We don’t need you clowning on us any more than you already do for looking like fools.

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4. Radios – To keep in contact with your Shooting or Production Team (if you have one). If you don’t have a team it’s still a good idea to have one to tap into an Emergency Channel in the event you need it and you have no cell phone signal. And for those thinking that radios are a thing of the ancient past and still wanting to rely on cell phones, if you saw the title above, the word mountain is in there, the possibility of you being lost in an abyss without cellular signals is a pretty fair chance!

5. Stretches -Or for those like my wife-Yoga. Yes, you read that right. The movements you do before and after working out are what I’m referring to. You need to stretch your muscles for all the movements they will be doing-even the ones you haven’t thought of. Walking may not seem like much but at high altitudes with lower levels of oxygen, for extended amounts of time and moving over long distances, the long steps you have to make while walking takes a toll on your body, specifically your muscles and your lungs. Imagine this-Your standing on the side of the mountain swapping out batteries, drop it and while bending over to pick it up feel extremely nauseous, like you want to faint and there is a shot that you want to capture about to take place in less than 60 seconds. Now you feel like crap both mentally and physically not to mention you most likely blew your shot because you’re recovering from your exhaustion over picking up a freakin’ camera battery! That would suck. This has a little more to do with what I spoke about in the previous blog on being in shape and working out and I tie it in here with the stretches and yoga as one of the things you learn to do and put into practice when you incorporate this into your daily routine is breathe control. You learn how to relax when you’re stressing out and in a rush. You learn when and how to properly breathe slower or faster. You condition your body over time so that when you finally meet the elements it automatically knows what to do-you don’t have to think about it and definitely don’t overact or overexert yourself.

6. Bonus: Patience – This ties into point 5. Don’t rush to a spot so quickly. I have a 3 Year Old Tot at home and think back to her bedtime stories as I type this. Think about the “Tortoise and the Hare”. Plan out the shots you want-or at least try to anticipate them in order to be where you need to be when you need to be there. You might be a little slower in getting there but if you plan to be there and take your time getting there-pace yourself I don’t mean Sloth mode, you’ll be where you need to be (unless it’s some crazy unplanned action shot and well, you just better pray and hit the shutter). Also, there’s lots of loose gravel on the ground and when trekking at high grades while carrying an equipment bag on your back you don’t wanna go tumbling down the mountain side, I for sure as hell don’t.

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Being a Professional Photographer is so much more than just pressing a button and capturing a shot. I’m constantly in the elements, being submerged in my subject and living that lifestyle. Just as photographers spend a large amount of time on what type of camera equipment they have and constructing the “right arsenal” I believe in investing just as much time into prepping your physical and mental well-being. We maintain our gear; we need to maintain our mind and body too.

Concentrating on my Physical State, Mental State is later. By no means am I a model! Frankly, if I could have pictures of me taken all the time from my shoulders up that would be awesome-I always get compliments on my smile and the faces I make. However, that’s not the case. And although, I’m not a model, I realize that I should photograph well and even more importantly, project the lifestyle that I sell constantly through my photography. As I said, I’m no model, so when I say this I don’t mean that if I shoot models I myself have to be a model but I do mean that I should be healthy, in shape and decently put together.

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When I was younger I did not have to put as much effort into working out and staying in shape as I do now. I used to play sports and run and that was pretty much it. As I got older and went onto college my wife, who I was dating at the time, and I would work out and run together. And let’s face it, being Asian I was just naturally thin and had a high metabolism. Then we got married, my wife got pregnant and we had our beautiful daughter. I don’t know what happened after Sharonne got pregnant but I inexplicably began to gain weight alongside her. Lifting weights shifted to lifting bottles and jogging morphed to sprinting to the bathroom so my daughter didn’t have a potty accident on herself and I’d have to clean it up. I was slowly losing touch with my physical state being in the green zone. As a matter of fact it was so far into red that green was on the opposite side of the color wheel! But the most important thing that I noticed was that it began to not only affect my personal physical state but also my professional physical state. Yes, I’m throwing myself under the bus and possibly my wife too…

As a photographer I’m constantly moving around on a shoot. It could be the smallest thing as crouching down several times to get a low hanging shot. You know what that crouching motion is- A SQUAT. Do that 50-60 times from different angles with a camera in your hand, so keeping your center of balance is even more crucial, while shooting multiple items over a couple hours and see how you feel 6 hours after the end of the shoot! I realized at that point I needed to hit the gym again and get myself back in shape, if not for the sake of my internal organs and self perspective, for my professional work. Funny thing is it really is the smallest things that make or break you. You would think it would be me having to run a little chasing after skateboarders to get a shot or moving stuff around like a mad man on a car shoot. But it was those little squats that worked unused, dormant muscles really made say “Ohhh,” and not in a good way.

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Over the past couple months I’ve done a detox, started stretching, practicing Yoga, lifting weights and created a workout regiment for myself that does not include lifting Lego blocks. It’s even more comical that looking back at it now, the whole “lifestyle” thing that I’m preaching (and practicing), when incorporated into your “lifestyle” it’s not as hard or impossible to fit in as you think. What I do, what I shoot really is my lifestyle and because of that makes it easier to get done. Find your inner Chi and you will be taken to a place of balance and self fulfillment!


Favorite Professional Photography - Nam Phan Photography

Nam Phan Photography nominated and voted as Favorite Professional Photography by the Tampa Bay Business Journal 2012

Yes, you’re reading that right! The people has spoke and voted! We’ve made it to Tampa Bay’s Business Journal 2012 as Favorite Professional Photographer.

Professionally, I’ve been in this big dance less than two years but I love every minute of it that I’m in it to win it. I would never expected myself to make any list of some sorts. Anyone can shoot great photos but I try to do more than that by crafting lasting relationships with anybody and everybody no matter if they’re photographers or stay at home moms. Every businessman/businesswoman can scream that is rule #1 but that should be the golden rule as a caring human being.

Again, from the way bottom of my heart, like the bottom of the cereal bowl where all the nice bits sugar from the Frost Flakes is waiting for you to slurp down, THANK YOU!

With Much Love, Nam Phan!

P.S. Follow you dreams


Introducing Photo Culture: The Culture of Kids

Going down on the 24th of October @ the Beaux Arts Gallery (11252 Winthrop Main Street). 5 artist sharing their own interpretation of the show’s theme: The Culture of Kids. Through this event, hopefully we create and unite photographers to share ideas, techniques and enjoy the company of friends and family.

More information coming soon. Stick around through this youtube channel, nam phan photography facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nam-Phan-Photography/104090697823) and namphan.com for more info.

Thanks and hope to you there!
Nam Phan


27Jul

Cliffs Notes

+ Headed to Colorado right after the day where we all ‘Merican’s set the sky on fire to celebrate our independence.

+ Due to the fires set on the land of Colorado, my beloved Pikes Peak Hill Climb race was canceled which brought a lot of sad faces including me.

+ Did a lot of fishing. Curse you whomever you are that set those fires.

+ Hip-Hip-Hooray! Congrats to Chris + Lauren. Francis and I photographed their union right behind the ridge line that once held the fire behind the city of Boulder. (see following post for more details).

+ Curious: X-rays

While waiting in line with the other cattle to be processed through airport security, I always wondered, ‘how would it be like to be scanned through the x-ray machine?’. Granted, I wanted to go home, not to the detention center, so I enlisted my trusty ipod to give me a glimpse of the wonderful yet mysterious airport x-ray machine.


Last night, I decided to rollout with my brother, Viet, to a session on campus in downtown Denver. A decent amount of people were on deck throughout the night but plenty of raw talent and dedication. I didn’t take too much video but decided to squeeze and puree my creative mojo for all you guys/gals.

As for the video, I pieced it together via Windows Live Movie Maker (gasp!) and then slightly tweaked via Youtube (double gasp!!). Did I spill the secret sauce? Scoop it while you can.

Enjoy!