PaulDimalanta

03/29/17 : 7:52 PM

Yes! I get to drive the cars. »

I had the engine revved to 5,000 rpm.  Our talent was sitting shotgun and my DP was crammed in the tiny back seat.

When I let go of the brake we go from 0-60 in under 4 seconds.  

The G-force from the acceleration was incredible and as soon as I let off the throttle we all sat stupidly as I rolled to a stop with our jaws dropped, chuckling as if we were a couple of 11 year old boys who just saw boobies for the first time.

Shoots like these never get old because the subject matter always inspires me to push way past my personal best.

For the last decade, I’ve photographed a majority of the hottest production vehicles in the 21st century, including Bugatti, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bentley, Lotus, Aston Martin, and many others.  It has been a thrilling experience to be able to drive these exotic rides.

Only Ferrari’s should be red — so I was so happy with this Lava Orange Porsche.

When discussing the project with photo editor, Lauren Schumacher, and director of Robb Report Studios, Bailey Barnard, we really wanted to create something that made sense for social media — it had to be informative, exciting, and beautiful.  
I drooled over the opportunity to teach people about the vehicle’s “launch control,” a feature that allows even a photographer to launch the Porsche from 0-60 in 3.7secs (Car and Driver).

On the day of the shoot, I was more excited to fly the drone than I was to drive the Porsche.  Using the drone allowed so much creative freedom and gave the shoot an instant boost of production value.

I was able to talk to a rancher in the Los Angeles suburbs to shoot on the private road adjacent to their empty corral. We had plenty of space to rev up the engine at high RPM’s along with a drone buzzing around as it followed the 911.  We shot until  twilight finding new angles and camera movements to tell our story, and we used every excuse we could to use the launch control.

I have a dream job.

I was hired to direct the film for this story, but the photographer in me could not resist capturing stills of this fine specimen.  My goal for this study was to capture the elements that displayed over a half century of refinement — The original 911 was made in 1963.

Creating images like these is why I became a photographer.

I was shooting these images for myself so I was only guided by my passion and creativity to create a story.  I used my curiosity to form a question — What makes Porsche iconic?  Then I explored further to find a solution and in this case I was trying to isolate fundamental shapes that were associated with the Porsche 911.

What I love the most about photography is when I see the final image and it tells a beautiful story that hints at your original question. At that point the image sings and you feel like you have discovered something true. Its the best.

Taking pictures and my love of cars began with my father. He always had a camera by his side while he taught me to fix cars.  My father was an aeronautical engineer and jet mechanic in the Navy. He would be out to sea on 4-6 month deployments. Much of my relationship with my dad was built from the photos he would send in his letters.  

While being stationed locally he would keep his hands busy by working on our cars at home.  He would show me how to do things like rotate tires, change brake pads and bleed the brake lines, it was our time together.

I love what I do.  Not only do I get to shoot these amazing vehicles, but I get to experience them behind the wheel.  I have always had a tremendous fascination about cars and how they can make a person feel superhuman.  A car can boost your confidence and make you feel powerful — faster, stronger, quicker, more nimble, and more free.  The 911 has had decades of refinement to bring out those qualities, and when I’m around a vehicle like this, either by video, stills, or VR I just want to do it justice.

02/21/17 : 1:34 PM

Fear and Wine Tasting in Mexico »

In nine hours we went from an underground jazz club to glamping in a vineyard just northeast of Ensenada, Mexico.  Nine hours after that, I wasn’t 100% sure I would be able to return back to the US with my wife.

A Single Tear

My wife is unable to hold back a tear feeling uncertain about her future.

Friday night we danced the night away on my friend’s 30th birthday in a speakeasy jazz-club in the Gaslamp District. The next morning we checked-out of the Solamar Hotel, in downtown San Diego, to continue our celebration. We met our 13 friends and piled in a 15 passenger van to begin our road-trip.  

We were on the road to Valle de Guadalupe (Guadalupe Valley) to go glamping and to do a bit of wine tasting.  We crossed the border and drove along the wall covered with razor wire that defined the US/Mexico border. As we traversed alongside the snake-like structure I thought about how lucky we were to be born on the side of that wall, that gave us the privilege to cross with relative ease.

Friends Arrive at Winery

Wine tasting in Mexico is about big pours, large tasting rooms, good food, and taking selfies.  It was so much fun visiting the various tasting rooms and I was blown away with what they had to offer. The wines were comparable to wines found at good Malibu and Temecula wineries.  I wished the wines had a more distinguished style, but the wines here were made to appeal to groups of people like us.  A diverse group of friends that were looking for a more sophisticated way of experiencing drinking coronas on the beach.  There wasn’t a spittoon in sight to discard any of the four full-glass pours during the tastings, keep in mind, 4 glasses of wine is roughly one bottle.

We rushed back to the the resort we were glamping at, Cuatro Cuatros, to go to their cliff-side bar with the a view of the sun setting over the endless Pacific. It resembled a sunset I once saw on the docks in Oia, on the crescent moon shaped island of Santorini, Greece. The tastings, led to dinner and dinner turned into a night of dancing.

 

 

Walk Our Way to the Cliffside Bar

Instead of waiting for the shuttle we decided to just Walk Our Way to the Cliffside Bar for sangria, margaritas, and mezcal.

When we logged on to the Wifi that morning my wife was struck by fear as she checked her social media feed.  This was the weekend President Trump had used an executive order to initiate a ban on immigration.

I can only imagine the confusion of someone getting this information without the law degree, or friends at the ACLU like my wife did — and even she was terrified.  There were thousands of people affected by this who were overcome with grief, anxiety, and confusion from this one executive order.


Reasons for Fear.

  1. Our first shock was due to her dual citizenship with one of the countries listed on the ban, and we were in Mexico.  We were concerned that she could be detained at the border like we read about her college professor that was detained that morning in New York.  
  2. Secondly, her parents just bought tickets to visit her grandparents in one of those banned countries and we feared that they would not be able to return if they took the trip.  
  3. Third, her aunt had been petitioning for 13 years to get her green card and had just received it a few months ago. We cringed at the thought that after all that time the rights she work so hard to obtain could be instantly taken away.

 

Walk in the Dark

That morning was a sharp contrast to the previous day where we freely crossed the border with no hesitation.

That swift executive action focused my attention to the fragility of this freedom.  Nothing is truly free and we must continue to participate to maintain the type of freedom we want to receive.

Glamping Yurts

Our Yurt at Cuatro Cuatros, King sized bed, sitting area, private bathroom with open air shower, hot water, wood burning stove, space heaters, and WiFi.

After my wife did all the possible research she could we took a walk around the property, past the horses grazing between the vines.  We then loaded our van and began to make our way  through Tijuana to return home. We crossed without incident. The silence only broken at the prospects of Churros, and it  was smiles on the street vendors faces allowed me to regain my perspective of gratitude.  

Smiles at the Border

Smiles at the Border

It was a luxury to be in the position we were in.  We have one of the most powerful passports allowing us to travel freely to most of the world.  Just based where our parents happend to be standing when we are born makes it more or less difficult to travel and see the world. My friends and I are lucky that way and I am thankful.

Please pass this along to anyone who might have experienced something similar. I would love to hear your story, feel free to email me.

10/01/16 : 7:14 AM

The Luxury of Touch »

Touch is one of the greatest luxuries we can give another living being—the quickest, most effective way to show warmth, care and love.

Intimate Moment

Intimate Moment

My wife speaks Farsi, and one of the words I’ve learned from her is naz. It means the act of giving someone physical attention—a tickle on the arm, a caress of the hair, a back scratch.

When two people touch, it’s always intimate. I love capturing a child’s chubby fingers wrapped around his mother’s hand while he sleeps as much as I love seeing a couple that’s been married for 60 years holding hands as they walk down the street.

Mother's Touch

Mother’s Touch

And the intimacy of touch extends to animals, too. I’ve had the pleasure of photographing and filming cats, dogs, horses and more, and it’s amazing to see how much a gentle pat on the head or stroke of the back can change an animal’s disposition.

Calming Touch

Calming Touch

To me, touch is one of the greatest luxuries there is. Whenever I’m able to capture it on film, I think, “These are the moments I live for.” I’m always grateful to witness and receive a kind and loving touch, and I hope you are, too.

09/01/16 : 7:14 AM

The Luxury of Fire »

In my opinion, September is one of the best months of the year. The heat of summer begins to fade and cool fall weather starts to creep in.

It’s the perfect time to be outside, to light a fire in the fire pit as the moon rises overhead. The light from the glowing embers is the perfect backdrop for drinking a beer or playing guitar, and I’ve always loved the complex, primal smell of smoke. Fire gives us light and keeps us warm; I love that.

Headlamp Guitarist

Campfires are much better with live music

One of my favorite things to do with friends is gather around a big bonfire, especially on cooler nights. It’s so much fun to grill fresh-caught trout, toast marshmallows for s’mores and take selfies using the light from the fire.

Father and Son Campfire

Father and Son Campfire

These days, our lives are filled with—almost overrun by—electronics. Our phones, Apple Watches and tablets run our lives. It can be such a relief to take a break from them; to rely on the light of nature instead of a blue screen for a change.

Campfire Selfies

Campfire Selfies

Don’t believe me? Try this: Turn off the lights and start a fire in your fireplace this month, or burn some candles, and see how the mood changes and how much cozier your home will feel. Wrap your arms around a loved one—your spouse, your pet, your child—and feel the warmth.

08/01/16 : 7:14 AM

The Luxury of Light »

As a photographer and director, light is everything to me.

Early in my career, my job was shooting products—high-end home electronics, rare motorcycles, luxurious accessories, etc. One of my favorite parts of it was manipulating light and shadows so that my items would jump off the page.

Braid in the Light

Braid in the Light

Nowadays, I also get to focus on photographing people, and I love applying the same technical principles to my subjects. My goal with them, though, is to capture authentic emotion—I want my portraits to feel like a memory; like a stylized perspective of a real moment in time. The light outside allows me to help my models’ inner light shine through.

Water Baloon

Water Balloon

And it’s not just portraits that benefit from beautiful, golden light. It’s simple, everyday moments—an evening dog walk, a sunrise jog, even a water balloon fight at a backyard barbecue. Perfect light can transform the most rote, everyday things into something special.

Backlit Drive

Backlit Drive

I’m especially aware of this when I’m taking a drive at dusk, when the golden light starts to fade to dark. That time of night is called the gloaming, and it’s when I’m most reflective and grateful for the light; when I most appreciate its transformative nature and raw power.

Light is an abundant gift that literally transforms the way I see. I hope I never forget that.

07/01/16 : 7:14 AM

The Luxury of Water »

Here in L.A., if people aren’t talking about movies, we’re talking about the drought. We talk so much about the lack of water that there are actually days that I forget that we live right next to the ocean.

Hang Loose

Hang Loose

I’m a beach kid by nature. I grew up right next to the water, and I feel homesick if I’m too far away from it. I’m always happy when we get to shoot near the ocean—the sunshine and the salt water create a beautiful environment for our talent and crew.  The air is so much cleaner, skies are bluer, white clouds are whiter, and sunshine is more golden.

Plane Flyby

Flyby

Experiencing the open ocean on various vessels is always a good time.  It does have its challenges—like bobbing up and down on the ship and making sure neither the crew, talent nor I fall off the boat. But at the end of the day, one of my favorite things to do is stand at the tip of the bow, watching the boat slice through blue waves and pretending my mind is steering the boat back to port. I love watching the occasional fish, or even dolphin, swimming just below the surface with the boat.

The Bow of the Ship

Bow of the ship

Water is so powerful.  I can recall a number of times I thought I was going to die from being pulled by the undercurrent—and yet it is an element essential to life. It makes me feel connected to everything. It’s a luxury to be able to experience all that it has to offer.

06/01/16 : 7:14 AM

The Luxury of Adventure »

I love the thrill of adventure—no matter how big or small. Having the luxury to explore, whether in a foreign country or just your own neighborhood, is something to appreciate. You never know what you’ll find, or where inspiration might strike.

Hot Air Balloon Cappadocia

Cappadocia, Turkey

I’m lucky that I get to travel for work and for pleasure. Recently, my wife and I visited Cappadocia, in Turkey, which is breathtakingly beautiful. We decided to take a hot-air balloon ride, and though she was deathly afraid, it was an amazing experience. It was a moment we’ll always have to share.

Tulum Mexico Swings

Tulum, Mexico

A trip to Tulum, Mexico, offered that same shift in perspective. It’s amazing how you can travel thousand of miles from home and witness moments both different and familiar.  Travel allows us to learn about ourselves and about others; to embrace our differences and our many commonalities.

Philippine Crossroad

Philippine Crossroad

As I think about these experiences, I’m reminded of standing at a crossroads in the Philippines.  I was on the other side of the world from my L.A. studio, in a foreign country, and I had to make a choice about which way to go. Each path offered its own adventure. It was a luxury to be able to choose.

05/01/16 : 7:14 AM

The Luxury of Falling »

Today I want to talk about the luxury of falling.

I know what you’re thinking: That sounds scary, not like a luxury. But having the peace of mind to allow yourself the option of falling—believing in a project so much that you’re willing to let it take on a life of its own—is something rare. It’s not often that those jobs come along. They’re worth losing control over.

 

Falling in the Pool

Falling In

People too often relate falling with failing, but there are many positives. It’s like a rush of adrenaline—the feeling of jumping off a 30-foot cliff into a dark blue sea. You don’t know how long it’s going to take you to hit the water, and you don’t know when your toes will touch the bottom, if they do at all.

Falling Up

Falling Up

It’s also the way a baby must feel when his dad tosses him into the air and catches him—or the way it feels to cannonball into the Pacific Ocean from the side of the boat. It’s terror and joy all at once. It’s also strangely calming.  It focuses the mind.

Jumping off a sailboat

Falling Over

I’m not afraid of falling. I know the unexpected always happens, no matter how well you plan. On more than one occasion, I’ve had a horse wander into a shot right when the sun is sinking below the horizon, or watched fog roll in just when I needed some moody atmosphere. Those unexpected moments are usually when we capture something truly authentic. There’s not much more magical or luxurious than that.

So here’s to embracing falling—and finding the thrills we’re looking for on the way down.

03/01/16 : 7:15 AM

The Luxury of Warmth »

After a long, cold winter, things are finally warming up. The days are getting longer and new buds are beginning to appear on trees and plants.

Warmth of a Kiss

Warmth of a Kiss

The light is different at this time of year, too, and I love documenting the change of seasons and all its nuances. The damp earth and the warm light encourage me to get outside and welcome the changing seasons.

Lexus RX

Ad for Lexus RX

The warmer temperatures make me think of all the ways we’ve weathered the cold to get to this point. In winter, we did everything we could to get warm, and share warmth, too. Now it’s time to start thinking about outdoor adventures—barbecues with friends and family; long days at the beach; and outdoor weddings on green lawns.

Looking back

I believe that luxury is defined not only as things we possess, but also by experiences we have.  Sharing warmth may be one of the greatest luxuries of all.

02/01/16 : 7:14 AM

The Luxury of Snow »

The sight of snow always amazes me.

You see, I grew up on the beach. In winter, the powdery white stuff under my feet was sand, not snow. And even as an adult—even though I’ve now seen snow dozens of times, and am decent snowboarder—it’s still amazing to me.

002-08_MG_6150-Edit

Snow is a luxury. The cold can be so harsh that it forces us to bundle up and cuddle with the ones we love. That need to share warmth, both physically and emotionally, equals intimacy and connection. Those are rare and precious moments—ones I find important to capture.

Couple Catching Snow

And, yes, snow can certainly cause frustrations, like slipping on icy sidewalks or getting stuck in traffic jams when we’re just trying to get home from work in the evening.

But the beach kid in me will always believe there’s nothing quite like riding on fresh powder after waiting out the storm in the cabin.

Traffic on the way home from a day in the snow

It’s all about perspective—about looking at even the most commonplace thing, like snow, in a brand new light. It makes you appreciate things in a whole new way. And that, my friends, is magic.

Older Posts »