Archive for the ‘Travelogue’ Category

Travelogue: ITALY – Pisa and the Square of Miracles




Pisa, Italy is one of those places that just feels familiar whether you’ve been there or not. Iconic images of its’ leaning tower burned in our minds since childhood, it is truly a wonder to experience live and up close.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Pisa and marveled at the dramatic nature of its architecture (leaning aside). The Piazza del Miracoli (Square of Miracles) is a walled city containing several spectacular examples of Medieval European architecture—all built between 1064 and 1319—including the Duomo (Cathedral), the Baptistery and the Leaning Tower.

Climbing the tower is an adventure unto itself. A narrow stone spiral staircase ascends roughly eight stories to the top, and the tight passage is barely wide enough for one person—certainly not for the claustrophobic. Atop the tower is an incredible view of the Square and the surrounding city.

Storm clouds must have sensed me coming and positioned themselves gloomily above the landscape just as I started shooting. Special thanks to the weather for lending the mood. Enjoy!

Photography by Nick Saglimbeni. © Slickforce Inc. All rights reserved.

Travelogue: ITALY – Masquerading at Venice Carnival




This week, Carnival is being celebrated all over the world. In nearly every case, the annual five-day event ushers in a party of historic proportions. And while celebrations in Brazil and New Orleans typically involve record levels of infamous wild partying, Venice, Italy instead transforms itself into the ultimate masquerade ball.

I recently had the pleasure of experiencing Venice Carnival, and it is truly a magical experience. A feast for the eyes in every way—from giant marionette spiders in St. Mark’s Square to cobblestone alleys lined with sorcerers, enchanters, and mystics—the Venetian gala champions art and artists from the arcane to the downright creepy.

Perhaps most fascinating is that none of the celebartions’ colorful players ever break character. If costume balls are your cup of tea, mark my words, this is one you want to experience. Eyes Wide Shut has nothing on Venice.

Travelogue: INDIA – Visiting Contus in Chennai




Over the last five years, the online presence for SlickforceStudio’s family of companies has grown dramatically. It has allowed us to connect with our clients and fans in more effective ways and reach a rapidly expanding global audience. And with the creation of those new avenues comes the need for solid servers, bug-free programming and round-the-clock technical support.

In 2008, I hired the newly founded Contus India team to help us code the SlickforceStudio website redesign. I wanted something artistic and clean for the galleries, and they came up with the fluid animated thumbnails that we still use today. (See it in action here.) Six years later, they have the been the programming backbone behind,, the Melanie Iglesias Store, and many more. So on my recent trip to India, I knew I had to finally meet this amazing team, and personally thank them for helping us stay connected with the world.

When I arrived to the Contus offices in Chennai, I was stunned to see just how large their company has become. In 2008, they were a founding team of five. Today, they boast over 100 employees, and have expanded into app development, 3D interactivity, virtual motion and mobile optimization. The team extended wonderful hospitality to me during my visit, and it was wonderful to be able to finally meet the people we’ve worked so closely with over Skype and email these past six years. I can’t recommend them more highly, and they are an absolute pleasure to work with.

1: Managing Director Sriram Manoharan, Programming Supervisor Rajesh Ravichandran and Cheif Operating Officer Bala Murugan
2: Clockwise from bottom right – Sriram Manoharan, Balasubramaniyam Kandaswamy, Thiaghu Radhakrishnan, Amal Raj. U, Bala Murugan, Dinesh kumar Soundararajan, me.
3: The Contus team hard at work.


Travelogue: INDIA – Lazy Days in Goa




At the end of January, I had the pleasure of visiting someplace I’ve wanted to go for years—the Indian province of Goa. The once-Portuguese colony has a vibe unlike any other in India, drawing visitors from all over the world for its trance music, beach parties and hippie culture.

Nightlife aside, I found the Goan experience to be serene, particularly in the south in Palolem and Agonda. I spent most of my time wandering the tropical beach villages, and kayaking along the coast. I even accidentally crashed an Indian wedding that I mistook for a rave. Perhaps my favorite experience was sitting on beach with the wild cows, watching the sunset in peace. It was a welcome pace adjustment from the hustle of Los Angeles—one that I will keep with me for as long as I can.

VIDEO: A Look Back at PhotoKamp Germany

Last august, we took our photography and lighting workshop to Germany. Here’s a look back at the amazing locations, the beautiful models, and the talented next generation of photographers. (See the PhotoKamp Germany photo gallery here.)

PhotoKamp 2014 is coming up April 4-6 in Los Angeles. Be sure to grab one of the last spots at!

Special Thanks to Carsten Simon at Luminanz Studio for providing the time lapse footage, and also to Stefan Rasch, Vanessa Sofie, Joelle Lahr, and the wonderful photographers who allowed us to follow them around for this video. Enjoy!

PhotoKamp Goes Global in Germany


In late August, we packed up our bags and headed to Germany for our fourth PhotoKamp workshop. Being our first PhotoKamp outside the US, this weekend workshop drew participants and crew from 9 countries—some traveling from as far as Nigeria.

On day one, we met at Luminanz studio in Saarbrücken, near the French/German border for a meet and greet with the photographers, followed by an informal Q&A. As a sign of the changing times in our industry, a majority of the questions this year focused on brand building, marketing one’s art, and making a living as a photographer at a time of unprecedented competition. We then all headed for a real German meal in downtown Saarbrücken.

On Saturday morning, we met at Luminanz studio for a full day of studio lighting. I divided the room into two setups. The first was a commercial fashion lighting setup, similar to what I’ve done for Kardashian Kollection and Neiman Marcus. The second, by popular request, was my “pinup glamour” setup, which I all but retired in 2010 when I stepped down from my last long-term magazine contract. I also covered several “one light” setups that produce striking (and super affordable) results.

On Sunday, in classic PhotoKamp tradition, we ventured out for a day of location lighting. Our German coordinators arranged for us to shoot at a vacant coal mining facility, complete with all kinds of industrial madness. We again split into two setups. The first involved lighting a massive space with minimal lighting, using a combination of natural light, strobes and fog. The second focused on mixing strobes with outdoor elements, positioning your model relative to the sun, and—an unplanned lesson—shooting in the rain.

I continue to marvel at the good fortune we’ve had to attract such amazing talents and personalities to our PhotoKamp workshops. Being that even I was out of my Los Angeles-centric comfort zone, it was a wonderful opportunity to eat, talk and bond with both new friends and old. My sincerest thanks to our German coordinators Stefan Rasch, Carsten Simon of Luminanz studio, our four wonderful models and makeup artist Miriam Regitz. Also to my amazing international SlickforceStudio crew Scot Fortino (US), Hayden Phoenix (NZ) and Peter Major (Hungary).

We’ve just created an official PhotoKamp Facebook page to learn more about PhotoKamp and for past students to stay in touch. New dates for upcoming workshops will be announced in the next few weeks on our Facebook page and at!

CREDITS: Photos by Hayden Phoenix and Carsten Simon.

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