MIGHTYKILLERS

ROWENA CREST

Connor Surdi

The LA squad came into the PNW and decided that we should leave at 2AM to get to Rowena Crest at 6AM for sunrise....It was a crazy idea but damn, it was a great one. 

#MKEXPLORE FEATURE OF THE WEEK

MKFOTWMarvin King | @MIGHTYKILLS

Taylor, aka @apolitik captures some of natures most impressive work of Death Valley National Park.

MILKY WAY IN PARADISE

TravelMarvin King | @MIGHTYKILLS

I think this is the fourth or fifth consecutive year my wife and I have traveled to Hawaii, but its our first time in Maui. The previous years, we've always gone to Honolulu but this time around, we really wanted to escape the madness of Waikiki. Hyatt Regency in Maui was kind enough to let us crash at their resort.  Did I mention that also had some kick ass views of the Milky Way right in their backyard?

West Side Exploration 3/5

Connor Surdi

I slept in the Walmart parking lot the night I got into Page, AZ....and as soon as I woke up I went straight to a Lower Antelope Canyon tour. I've done it before but this time I had a Sony A7RII with more dynamic range and ISO control compared to my 5D Mark III...And I wanted to take another stab at getting different shots. The lighting was beautiful and there was barely anyone on the tour. Perfect! After I finished shooting at Antelope I went to the infamous Horse Shoe Bend and waited for the sunset. Once the sunset, I was off again...This time I was on my way to Zion.

Camp. Glamp. Same Shit.

Marvin King | @MIGHTYKILLS

What's funny to me is that I got a hand full of negative comments on when I posted some of these photos a while back, telling me that this isn't camping. To my knowledge, camping is an activity spent outdoors, in a tent. And I actually went that far to as looking up the definitions of camp and camping..

  • camp - a place with temporary accommodations of huts, tents, or other structures.
  • camping - the activity spending a vacation living in a camp, tent, or camper.

sooo.. technically, it is camping.
and when Toyota invites you out to spend the weekend outdoors, and you arrive at the airport with a driver waiting for you, in a brand new Toyota Tacoma, filled with snacks and drinks, and when you get to the campgrounds there is a concierge, that checks in your bags, and chauffeurs you to your tent in a 4x4, and when you get to the tent you find out that its as big as my bedroom, with a bed with a down comforter, with a gas heater, with a Patagonia bag full of goodies, and then get to the base and find a gourmet dinner prepared over the fire, with a huge campfire, with an open bar, and you get to meet Olympic gold medalists and kick it with Bryan Greenberg from How To Make It In America... what would you say? I would say it's the best damn camping trip I have ever been on in my entire life.

Moody Southern Utah

TravelEric Luis | @ericluis

... & a little bit of Page, AZ!

When a friend hands you a voucher for Alaska Airlines, allowing you to get half-off on round-trip flights to certain airports (from SFO) on certain days, you most definitely don't want to take that voucher for granted. I was fortunate enough to find a round-trip to SLC for less than $90, and as soon as I found out that my good friend Braden (@imbradenolsen) was able to take work off on the days I had selected, I immediately hopped on the opportunity and booked my flight.

It's always fun and exciting to explore new states, but the deserts of Southern Utah were definitely something else. As a Chemistry student (USF c/o '15, represent!), I often found myself geeking out at the orange/red colors of the desert thanks to the manganese, iron oxide, etc. that was so abundant in the rock formations throughout. Having been only exposed to the shiny, golden deserts of Southern California, this was surely a treat. In just 4 days, Braden & I were able to drive through and explore Zion National Park, Monument Valley, Horseshoe Bend & Upper Antelope Canyon (which are both located in Page, AZ -- pretty much along the border of Utah and Arizona), Arches National Park, and Canyonlands National Park. We were also able to meet up with our good buddy, Zac (@seahola), on our first day in Zion, and upon heading back to SLC when all was said and done, meet up with Kyle, Zack, and Jacki.

Despite the rain and insane amount of cloud coverage we had during the entire trip (the only time we really saw sun was when we left and came back to Salt Lake City, as well as during some brief moments in Zion National Park), which made for some truly moody captures, Southern Utah did not disappoint. This gives me a reason to come back however, albeit soon, and experience these things over again -- hopefully next time, with more sunshine! There's nothing like catching the sun as it rises over Mesa Arch or Monument Valley, and likewise with watching the sun set of Horseshoe Bend... And let's not forget about the noon light shafts that you can only catch at Upper Antelope Canyon. Nevertheless, I'd like to give Braden a huge thanks for the hospitality, good laughs and conversations, and for simply being down to hang out and show me all of these beautiful places that Southern Utah has to offer. If you told me a year and a half ago that I'd have the opportunity to visit most of the photo-relevant spots of Southern Utah, I'd think you were crazy -- merely because I was so ignorant and uninformed of the beauty it contained. This weekend was a brilliant reminder of how nature can humble us all in ways unexplainable, and has left me nothing shy of inspired for what's to come.

You can view more of Eric's work by visiting his Instagram and Blog.

West Side Exploration 2/5

Connor Surdi

This was the view I woke up to in Death Valley. So. Much. Salt.

After I took some levitation photos and walked around Dante's View, I drove around the rest of Death Valley. The textures and colors were insane, much different than any other park I've ever been to. Everything had super epic names as well like "Devil's Golf Course" and "Bad Water Basin"....So cool! Definitely felt like I was on another planet. I only had one day to check out Death Valley and the super bloom so I made sure I saw everything I could before the sunset!

After Death Valley, I woke up early the next day and drove to Phoenix to hang out with my mom, sister, grandma, and my cousins. Very random but it was lit! After those two days of no photo taking....I was off to the Grand Canyon!

Exploring Porto with the Leica M-D

Nicholas La | @NIKK_LA

I’ve anticipated sharing this new camera with you guys since the very first day I got to play with it. I was one of the lucky few to be able to test this camera out along with my two extremely talented friends Rui Palha & Daniel Arnold. They flew us into Porto, Portugal for several days with a film crew. We had a few days to capture this amazing city with the new camera. It was quite a excitement because we didn't know what camera we were getting. This new Leica camera is a digital rangefinder with no back display, providing the feeling as if you were shooting on a film camera. The city was one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to, not knowing what my shots were going to look like was a bit nerve-wrecking, but made it just as exciting at the same time. Overall, I love the the simplicity of this camera. It doesn't offer much options like all the new cameras that come out today, but it helps make photography so much more enjoyable. Less is sometimes more; making you concentrate on what is most important and that is capturing photos. I’ve been shooting with this gem for a couple of months now and am absolutely loving the experience. 

West Side Exploration 1/5

Connor Surdi

The first part of this West Coast road trip started off by leaving Washington and making the long trek down to SF. That was short lived as a bad weather front was rolling in and I would much rather be somewhere that's hot! So after one night in SF, I made the next long drive all the way to Death Valley (it's a little hotter there than SF haha) The drive was filled with luscious greens, lots of desert and an insane sunset. I drove into Death Valley National Park at night time and wasn't able to see any of the beautiful sites since it was pitch black. When I woke up in the morning.....What a site that was!

GET/TOGETHER @ MUIR WOODS/MT. TAM

Travel, GET/TOGETHER, Lifestyle, EventsMarvin King | @MIGHTYKILLS

Our very first GET/TOGETHER meet was by far one of our favorite events we've organized. It definitely wasn't the biggest nor did we make any sort of profit, but that is part of the reason why it was as successful as it was. We went into planning this event without the intention of bringing in the largest crowd or trying to make as much money as possible through sponsors. It was just us, and a small group of people getting together and connecting through a shared passion; photography. We were blown away at the amount of commitment these individuals showed for hanging out with us all evening. Even though we hit some dead ends along the way, we hit them together. When something came up, we made decisions together. When we were freezing our asses off on top of Mt. Tam, we froze together. No one voice was left unheard, and that's what makes this easily one of our favorite times. We really got to bond with everyone there and just chill. We've learned so much about others and we were hella lucky to have randomly chosen such a diverse crowd. From all over the Bay Area, and even ones from Los Angeles, from different backgrounds and personalities, and of course, all different types of shooters. It was just a dope melting pot of a evening. We are definitely looking forward to our next GET/TOGETHER and you should be on the look out. Here is a compilation of images taken by our team.

You can see more images from the evening here.

MAKE YOUR CAMERA AN EXTENSION OF YOUR VISION.

Lifestyle, TravelMarvin King | @MIGHTYKILLS

I've learned so much through photography just based off of my on-going personal experience with it. I almost never ask anyone how they shot something, how they edit or anything along those lines. I feel like the best part of doing any sort of art is figuring things out on your own. No tutorials, no instructors, no advice or tips. Just gun for it and see what happens. One of the things I've been most stoked about is finding out what hides in the blacks in a photo when you first shoot it. Of course, as soon as you take that picture and look at your screen, you think that the photo is super underexposed so you end up knocking up the exposure more, and more, and more until you feel like its correctly exposed based off your screen but find out when you get home to edit it, you've lost so much of the photo that can't be saved. This is different for all shooters, and all cameras. For me, I've really pushed the manual settings on my Sony a7ii to its limits so that I could really make the camera the tool of my vision and creativity.  Once you know your camera, and trust it, magic happens. This is a shot that I took at Monument Valley right before the sun peaked over the horizon. The silhouettes of the the monuments were what I really wanted to capture and to really bring out the perfect gradient of a clear morning sky so I did just that. Even though that the other half of my other was completely black on screen, I knew what was hiding in the dark. Check out images in comparison side by side.

[square cropped- unedited vs square cropped- edit]

Follow the Light

SaltComment

When there's an opportunity to check out an exhibition or gallery opening, I usually try my best to attend the show before they end. PACE Art + Technology was definitely a treat to check out; the visual light installation really capture the essence of light and dark within a confined space plus I was able to capture a selfie through the experience. Cheers!

FROM A TO B

TravelMarvin King | @MIGHTYKILLSComment

Everyone knows that the heart of Tokyo is often a city that most believe never sleeps; but it does. If you stay up late enough, streets are deserted, and a place that was so full of life just a few hours ago is now seen as a pretty lonely place. The amount of unique lights spread across all over Tokyo makes it easily one of my favorite places to photograph at night. Our first night in Tokyo, we were pretty whooped from all the traveling so we decided to just take it easy, roam around a bit then call it a night.

EARLY MORNINGS IN TOKYO

Travel, LifestyleMarvin King | @MIGHTYKILLSComment

Going to sleep early and waking up even earlier has been rough but it's had its advantages of catching Tokyo dead silent and watching the sunrise. Was up and out at sunrise yesterday and decided to get some time-lapse shots outside of our room. It was pretty damn cold. I didn't expect it to be in the 30's and 40's here but which means I definitely didn't pack for cold conditions like this.

NO SLEEP TIL SHANGHAI

TravelMarvin King | @MIGHTYKILLSComment

Wasn't the smartest move to stay awake on a 12.5 hour flight to Shanghai. I figured since we land in the evening, it was a good idea to stay awake so that I can fall asleep easy and counter the jet lag and I guess it sort of worked but I was dead ass tired by 8:00PM in Shanghai. Didn't spend anytime out exploring at all. Just checked in and slept. Much needed.