The front of the John Ferraro Building. Los Angeles, California 2016 • Olympus E-M1, M.Zuiko 12–40mm f/2.8 Pro

I’d wager that most passionate photographers have at least one, if not more specific subjects that they just obsess over and never tire of. Wildlife, people, architecture or maybe something more specific like a loved one or favorite hiking view. Realizing this can often feel like a great new song you’ve worn out too quickly and lead to thinking you should move on from potential stagnation and branch out. And you should. But maybe also give in a bit to the urge to return to that same thing again and maybe… lean right into it more than you generally would…

The Wilshire/Normandie station. Los Angeles, California 2016 • Olympus E-M1, M.Zuiko 7–14mm f/2.8 Pro

When you think of subways and metro stations, Los Angeles may not be the first or fifteenth city that comes to mind. Legendary public transit of cities like New York or Tokyo is what many people think of first. In nearing a decade of being a resident here, I still haven’t really spent more than a few dozen rides in the sprawling (and rapidly growing) Los Angeles Metro.

A few years ago, on a whim with a friend, we decided to hop on the Red Line that in Hollywood and take it to Downtown Los Angeles. At the very next…

This photo will be edited many times over many years.

Before really diving into this I’m curious about a series of questions:

When is something done?
How do we get there?
How do we measure it?
Why is it important to find that point?
How does it make us feel when we hit it?
Or miss wildly?

There’s no inherent plan to answer these questions but rather they’re what I’ve been asking myself lately when returning to unfinished work.

We’ve all toiled over something we invested our time in. Whether that’s something as simple as adding a new piece furniture to a house and figuring out just where to position…

A stitched panoramic photograph taken through the glass in a very tall building in Tokyo. Shot on digital. Japan, 2009

This is it. The one and only photograph from an entire 10-day trip shooting almost day and night both personally and professionally. The ever-present, very scary, very real-life result of losing photographs. Whatever the reason — card lost, drive failure, accidental deletion — this is what remains. It’s not a particularly great photograph. In fact, it’s not even a single image but rather the result of stitching together a bunch of photographs taken from the top of a very tall building. This is pretty evident in the reflections near the top left and right. …

A sleek boat lazily makes its way along the water. Shot on digital. Amalfi Coast, Italy, 2016

Growing up, I was always around boats and the water. Living in Minnesota will do that. You can ask just about anyone who hails from the Land of Lakes where they went swimming as a kid and they will have an answer. A few years ago, I was in the stunning seaside area of Italy known as the Amalfi Coast just south of Naples. Original we had planned to use the cheaper buses to move from coastal town to coastal town but as soon as it was known boats could be taken, that quickly became the vessel of choice.


Beau, Marc, and Mark wandering the California desert in 2017. Shot on digital.

Alexa gave an inaccurate preview of the weather on this past Sunday morning. It ended up being much hotter than expected but in living in Los Angeles for nearly a decade, this shouldn’t have come as a shock. Dressed improperly for the weather and already overheating, I met up with Beau around 10:30 AM. While walking, we happened upon a rather large flight of pigeons eating what seemed like completely invisible food from the sidewalk. Beau started prepping his large film camera for a careful, calculated shot while I wait to grab a photo of the entire scene, photographer and…

A clean 3flip from Ben Campbell in Downtown Los Angeles. Shot on digital.

It’s all too easy to obsess over the details. In fact, it can be the most rewarding part of putting yourself into something. But what happens when the details break or fail to live up to our expectations? Do we start over? Try to fix it? Or just leave it as is?

Truth be told, the answer to all of those question for me is a pretty easy Yes, but knowing when to ask which one at any given moment is the real trick. And it applies well beyond photography and flows into daily work life or even at home…

Nick Ahrens

Fine art photography through life lessons. Producing games at MWM Interactive. Former journalist turned former art pusher. @robotpants on IG

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