My Hollywood Adventure – Part 1 of 3

A 3-Part Story…

Introduction to how I got a Hollywood agent

Over the next few days, I’ll tell you an unexpected story… and when I say unexpected, I was the least suspecting of all.

The details and magnitude of everything may be understated, and I don’t know if the gentle reader will take this as false modesty or not. This is not really a tool of mine, since I drift in and out of situations with a boyish enthusiasm.

In any event, I’ll tell the story how it happened, and I’ll be sure to include a collection of photos, since that is an expectation, even while in the middle of unexpected events.

Insofar as I was able to capture what I was seeing and thinking at the time, I’m happy to share it with you.

The Story

So here I was, in famous Beverly Hills. Just me and my camera. How did this happen? How did I find myself inside the most extreme agency in Century City, surrounded by really famous Hollywood stars? I’m sure all of them were wondering the same thing when they saw me there. Their faces flashed with, “Who let this guy in?”

I’ll start from the beginning of the day.

I stayed at a little boutique hotel in Beverly Hills, and I decided to walk from the hotel to the CAA (Creative Artists Agency) offices in Century City, which were only a few miles away. I gave myself an extra hour for photo-slack as I strapped on my Nikon with a prime 50mm to capture the some of the scenes.

My walk started on the north side of Beverly Drive. I slingshotted my way around Rodeo Drive, went straight down Santa Monica Boulevard, and then finally turned on the Avenue of the Stars. All along the way, I thought about things as I snapped photos to and fro…

This all began quite a while ago. It turns out that I had a little closet fan. In fact, you can see her hidden in yesterday’s photo of the day, linked via the image below.

HDR Photo

Amie's hiding in a mirror...

Her name is Amie Yavor (contact her jaunty assistants for speaking engagements or Nigerian estate documents to [email protected] or tweet her @amieya). She was a lurker on the site… people that come visit this little haven on the internet on a regular basis are usually very interesting people — I have never had a bad conversation whenever I meet someone that pops out of the woodwork in real life!

I assume that at some mysterious point, Amie consulted with The Illuminati, and it was thusly decided that I should visit LA to have some meetings.

On this particular day, the day recorded in these photos, I had already come out a few times, so everything was well in hand. Perhaps like you, I’ve always been fascinated by the Bubble of Hollywood and all the dynamics that pervade it. Personally, I have no desire to be famous or anything, but I am happy to use whatever tools I have at my disposal to help spread the good word about the New Age of Photography. Now, anyone can make beautiful photos… it’s a very interesting opportunity to be able to bring this message to the world.

Actually, if I can indulge myself a bit for a brief aside. After reflection, and after talking to thousands of people about these sorts of matters, I believe that people don’t just want to take better photos — I believe they want to make art. They want to capture the world around them and present it to others in the way they feel it.

Maybe that sounds silly and just doesn’t make any sense at all.

I believe we all remember a magical time in our youth when we would sit down at a table with paper and some colors. We’d go crazy for a bit, and then shake the paper vigorously in the faces of anyone that could share in its beauty. Kids don’t have egos — they just like to make pretty things and share them with as many people as possible. And so it is with many of us.

I believe that many people do see the world in a rich, romantic, cinematic manner. Everyone, everywhere, has a camera nowadays. They capture this and that and record their lives. But, sadly, all of these recordings don’t really do a great job of truly capturing the moment. This recording of our lives is reminiscent of a staid drawing by a courtroom reporter. We do indeed end up with a photographic record of places we’ve been, people we have been with, and things we have witnessed — but rarely do they ever capture the “feeling” of being there.

I believe that new techniques in photography allow all of us to record our lives in dramatic new ways. We can all make art. And, at times, that art can help you and others transcend beyond a typical photograph into something that is deeply emotive.

So, these are of course the sorts of things I am thinking as I am walking through the streets.

Now I’m moving from the glamor of Rodeo Drive to the throwback 50’s architecture of Santa Monica Boulevard. I pass a bundled newspaper with big news about healthcare… I’m not sure that anyone around here is really too worried about it all.

The street is full of buildings – new and old. Brand-new built to look old, and old buildings re-fitted to look new. Nothing is ever what it seems around here.

I pass Beverly Hills Rent-A-Car. The tiny lot is filled with a pod of Rolls-Royces and colorful smattering of other exotics. I’m not a car guy.

P.S. If you like these “different” sort of photos like the ones with this story, let me know… and I can endeavor to include more of them on the blog in the future. I sometimes worry about “overloading” with too many photos, but if you like ’em, then maybe so! I do pop them onto Twitter from time to time, but I tend to save the “major production” art photos for the daily post. Anyway, obviously I’m in a quandary…

This was Part 1 of 3


I wonder if the designer of this classic sign had any idea how famous it might become some day.


I rarely post these sorts of shots, but I do collect bits and pieces as I go throughout my day. I even do my best to take notice of seemingly mundane activities, like going down the stairs of my hotel.


The heart of Beverly Hills is filled with idyllic stores of sophisticated and simple design.


An abandoned gallery of some kind on Rodeo Drive. I don’t know what used to be inside, but the stone etching was quite elegant, if not confusingly spelled.


A smallish rental agency had a full assortment of luxury cars, just waiting for a vainglorious rapper to stop by.


The sounds, streets, and sights in every direction remind you vaguely of scenes that you might have seen somewhere before.


The outside of one of the 1950’s style retro building was covered with these tiny metal discs that would shimmer in the breeze.


The paparazzi are out in full force, scoping out the key locations. They look at me strangely with my big camera…they haven’t seen me around before and there is some alpha-male paparazzi posturing.

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  • Love the story so far! And these photos are AWESOME! While I love your HDR stuff, I tell others not only do you do amazingly fantastic HDR, but you are a first class photographer and even your everyday photos are wonderful! Yes, please include these type more and can’t wait to hear the rest of the story!! 🙂

  • What you said about capturing the world in a way that others can feel it the way the artist does… dead on. I’ve said the same thing, almost word for word, whenever I’ve been interviewed; it’s what drives me as an artist/photographer. Can’t wait to read part two, you lucky duck!

  • nice story so far. can’t wait for more!

  • Kim

    I’m am intrigued by the story so far! Personally, I really like the “different” photos you are including in this post. I particularly like the ones of the signs, especially #1, 3, and 6! Especially #1. 🙂

    I totally agree that people want to transcend just taking photographs and go into creating art and emotion with the pictures they take. I know for myself, I want my images to be more than ‘pretty’. I want them to be thought-provoking and cause people to experience the emotion of the story or subject I am portraying. I don’t always accomplish this in my photos, but photography is a journey! 🙂

    Anyway, I am looking forward to part 2! 🙂

  • I like the bit about the alpha male paparazzi posturing – so true! I had a few stares recently at the British Open Golf with these guys with their bazoooka-like cameras! I guesd they thought I was an imposter with my little Canon DSLR.

    Thought i’d put the links to some of my London pics up over the next few days for anyone who is heading down there soon for the Photowalk and workshop to help get the creative juices flowing.

  • Dayton

    Great “different” photos. 2, 5, and especially 7 are my favorites.

  • Simply put: You’re awesome!

  • I’ve had other photographers look at me like a poser when I’ve run into them before too…but never in Beverly Hills! Love the shots. The last one is my favorite.

  • Colleen

    Yes, I really enjoyed this story too. I’m looking forward to the ending

  • Chris

    More please!

  • Gail in Montana

    Ok, now I’m waiting with baited breath for the “rest of the story”, Trey. All the little photos are great. Still wondering where yesterday’s photo was taken, lol. Have a great weekend, all!!

  • Bianca

    Ready for Part 2!

  • I love this. Goes to the point we were talking about yesterday. You nailed it… we want to make art – seeing something in a different way, expressing it in an emotive way whether it is hyper-real HDR or grunged and yellowed polaroids or light smeared Holgas – rather than just record it. Our memories are not precise and there is a rounding-of-the-edges as it were until we have this romanticized notion of what we experienced. I think that’s why we connect with the Impressionists’ works of art. We know it isn’t a realistic depiction of a scene yet it resonates with the way we remember things.

  • I think that you just reinvented yourself!

  • THanks – glad you like the new photos… It’s not a new permanent style or anything… just thought it would go well with this little story. Part 2 soon enough! And thanks again for all the nice comments – reading them all ! 🙂

  • Great story Trey! The way you described it I felt like I was right there. I love the little side pictures as well and look forward to seeing more of them as well as the rest of the story! Have a great weekend!

  • I really like these random photos. It gives us, the readers, a chance to see how you see the world.

  • Trey, like the photos – nice antique and vignetting effects. Looking forward to the next part of the story! The paparazzi should be very nervous with you in their midst!

  • Great pictures as always Trey, looking forward to Part 2!

  • Interesting tale so far…..looking forward to what comes next…..and yes, definitely like the “different sort of photos”, and would enjoy seeing more like these from your travels !!!

  • I moved my daughter to LA a year ago and have spent some time visiting right in the area you were. I find that LA is so full of cool design, I was constantly taking photos of all kinds of things: buildings, signs etc. It’s all around. Beverly Hills, Sunset Boulevard and all those iconic locations are easy enough for anyone to visit and walk around freely. We discovered the Beverly Hills hotel has a nice little park right across the street. I spent an entire day in Santa Monica and Venice, two of my favorite areas in LA, along with the Farmer’s Market. See some photos from those areas in the “California Dreamin'” gallery on my site. Had a great time shooting motion blur photos at a skate park on the Venice beach. And freeze-frame water motion of waves and fountains. Endless possibilities!

  • Trey. This is a nice addition to your work flow my friend. Can I ask how you achieved these almost “Hipstamatic” tones with your D3x and 50mm prime. We are not seeing the HDR workflow here are we?


  • I was wondering when you would post rodeo drive….such a weird part of this here planet. Until you visit this area…one does not realize that it just a few blocks of very expensive stores. I remember seeing through the window bartenders making drinks for customers….help sell more….LOL
    Do you any HDR’s of this area? Seems with all the lights and neon would make for some interesting stuff.

  • I just noticed that this is part one….I will wait and see….happy shooting trey.

  • Yes…please DO include more of your “bits and pieces”! They’re wonderful!

  • Trey,

    Really digging the storyline for a change and the detail images of the location. You are a great writer and its nice to see this format now and then. LOVE IT! Nice to mix it up. Its fun to watch the artist in you evolve 🙂

  • People love stories…tell more of them! (A new career is born) and it’s easier than having us all over for cocktails 🙂

  • casusan

    Super story Trey and love the new photos – does seem like you are taking us along with you on your adventure!! Can’t wait till tomorrow!

  • Love the “alpha-male paparazzi” comment!

    I love your photos–HDR, non-HDR, just all of it 🙂 You may be known for your HDR work, but I’m definitely interested in seeing more of your non-HDR work too.

    I have a small tiny suggestion–or request, you might call it. While I live in Colorado, and there’s LOTS of places to take pictures around here, I would LOVE to see a full post of images that you’ve just taken around your house of regular objects and stuff. HDR, non-HDR, doesn’t matter–or maybe both 🙂 Might be an interesting challenge 🙂

    Definitely more pictures 🙂 Both here and on Flickr–I added you as a contact a while back and I watch as you post 🙂

  • I definitely like these photos in addition to the major production art photos. Keep up the great work.

  • Trent

    As always I am very impressed with your creativity. You inspire me to think outside of the box with my photography. I can’t wait to read part 2. Hollywood is always an interesting place to photograph.

  • Kari – thanks – hehe… maybe i should do some “around the house” stuff. Actually, I do – I just don’t post it! I should do that more – thanks

    And thanks everyone else for the interesting comments… reading them all – sounds like you want more of these sorts of photos on occasion… well you will get your fill in the next two days! hehe

  • I really like the 1:1 shots. Ever since I started to dabble in medium format I’ve realized that when you shoot 6×4.5 or 6×6 you have to think differently but that’s good! It helps with working on composition and balance. So whether these were shot in 1:1 or cropped (assuming cropped) it gives a great new feel to them. Intrigued about the story as well…will I be able to say that I met and hung out with a Hollywood Star in Tokyo one day? 🙂

  • I like the story and these shots. Will you be doing a photo walk when you are in Dallas later this month?

  • You’re absolutely right. Everyone with a passion for photography wants to create art. Some of them just don’t realize it, and that’s got to be frustrating.

    For me, photography is a passion of trying to express the beauty I see in things to other people. It’s exhibitionism of the soul.

  • Harbles

    Can never have too many photos in different styles. And thats one of the things I really like about Mr. R. Is his eclecticism. HDR landscapes, Slow mo video, arty urban snapshots, actual paint on canvas art, etc, etc, and on and on.
    And that why I want you to do NASA. History is being made as the last 3 shuttle flights come up over the next year or so starting in early November. You like Florida, KSC is fairly close to Orlando and Disney World etc. Anyway think about it.

  • Blake

    Much appreciate the non-HDR snaps posted today. Hopefully many more to come.

  • Pat

    Love the story, love the photos…you are a LONG WAY from having too many photos…waiting…waiting…

  • Mike Paolini

    Love the non-HDR shots Trey – you should include them more often.

  • love the story love the photos, top class!

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  • Jamiezeez

    And now, to paraphrase the late Paul Harvey, for the rest of the photos and story…..

  • Tim yes – hehe

    Todd – well nothing planned… maybe not a horrible idea though ! 🙂

    Harbles – I’d love to get over there… but I need NASA to invite me in (like a Vampire)

    And thanks everyone else! 🙂

  • No worry about photo overload. I love the way you can walk down one of the most photographed areas in the country and come up with photos that are totally fresh. Not an easy task. You are truly an artist! A Fellow Texan, Mike

  • grover woessner

    If we see, no matter where we go, what the adventure, every where we turn, there is world class photo. This is one of my mantra’s. I see it also working in your work. A small flood of photos is always very good.

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  • love the pictures

  • Harbles

    Ok I heard that like a vampire before and my best suggestion is the Nasa tweetups. It’s like u’r a vampire impersonating a space faring Twitter Bird. Launch in early nov 2010, Feb 2011 and july- aug ish 2011. The empire is all Annie Liebowitz so this may have to be casual. I know u have long term shoot commitments in the cue already. Just be open to opportunities. Just like Disney World only Real.

  • I like these photos-they remind me of mine, especially the more abstract and textural ones, like the discs. I wonder if those discs are by Ned Kahn who is quite a famous sculptor here in Sonoma County, CA.

  • Trey, it’s great to see these kind of pictures. It shows what a great photographer you are. They are simple and beautiful and shows that your eyes see much more than just HDR.

    Wonderful to look at. Each one of them.

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