Clint Walker, 50-50 in Denver

Clint Walker
Clint will tell you that he likes to skate stuff that noone else wants to skate because he’s not good enough to do good tricks, so he just does sketchy tricks. But don’t let him fool you, he’s really good at skateboarding. On this rail that’s inches from a jagged wall in Denver, Clint’s 50-50 is both sketchy and good. It’s also the first photo we shot together this past summer on Hometown, and hopefully when he has a break from zig-zagging the globe with the Birdman we’ll shoot some more soon

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Welcome to My Blog’s New Home!

My old Blogger address has served me well for the past few years, but in the interest of increased creative and technical control, and maybe a touch more professionalism, I have built this new blog in WordPress from the ground up to serve my needs. I’m happy that you have found your way here to, and I would like to direct your attention to a few of the new features I’ve added to this blog.

First, if you scroll to the bottom of this page you’ll notice a new way to explore all of my past posts. I transferred all of the old content from PhilBlairPhoto.Blogspot, and those posts, along with every new post going forward, are filed under a category. You can choose from Lifestyle, Product, Skateboarding, Tear Sheets, and Uncategorized to just the posts in that category. You also have the options to explore by date, or enter a specific term and search for it.

The other feature to notice is just to the left of this post. I have included three links to my other micro-blogs/social networks. On the left is Twitter, then Tumblr in the middle, which is the home for my camera-phone photos, and the orange one on the right is the RSS link for this blog. If you’re unfamiliar with RSS, it is a way to feed updates from sources all over the internet into one place like Apple OSX’s Mail or Google Reader. It’s like the difference between subscribing to a magazine and having it delivered, versus having to go to Border’s every time a new issue comes out. RSS is definitely the best way to keep track of lots of regularly updated information on the internet, and I’ll tell you from personal experience, it’s very addictive.

In non-blog news, my portfolio site, which when visited on a computer leverages Flash, is now fully iPhone/iPad compatible, and has a non-Flash fallback so you can check out my work on the go.
That should do it for the technical housekeeping. Check back (or subscribe!) for a fresh crop of photos coming up soon!

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Aaron “AJax” Johnson, Front Blunt

A-Jax, Front Blunt
It’s always cool to meet someone for the first time and then to find out they know a bunch of people you know. One degree of separation becomes none. That was the case when I met AJax last week through my roommate Donny, and it turned out he knows all my buddies from the éS Game of SKATE. This past year AJax won the local Game here in California and then went on to place 2nd in the international finals in Texas.
Here, Ajax puts to rest the generalization that kids who win Games of SKATE can only skate flatground.

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Good Morning

Time to wake up!
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More Tearsheets: Editorial Work for Newport Beach and Laguna Beach Magazines

I promise there are some skateboard photos coming here soon, but in the meantime here are a few tearsheets of my work featured in the most recent issues of Newport Beach Magazine and Laguna Beach Magazine.

These images, along with more that I shot, can be seen in the January-February 2011 issues of Newport Beach Magazine and Laguna Beach Magazine, which are on Southern California newsstands now, or online at

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Los Angeles with Steven Farmer

Like myself, Steven Farmer is a recent transplant to sunny Southern California, but it was in his hometown of Portland, Oregon where I first met Steven this summer while I was on tour with Hometown Heroes. So when I heard that he had also moved to the LA-area I hit him up, and on a particularly hazy day we met up in LA to go skate.

Steven Farmer warms up with a Front Board.

We shot another trick on this rail, but I am going to hold on to that photo for now…

After a fairly polite kick-out from that rail we made our way across UCLA’s campus to another spot, this brick out-ledge, and with the last rays of golden sunlight Steven quickly landed about 4 tricks, including this Back Blunt and Crooked Grind.

I’m sure you’ll be seeing much more of this dude.

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Tutorial: DIY Sandbags

This post is a break from the normal kind of content I post here, but one that I thought might be helpful to fellow photographers and filmmakers who have a bit of DIY spirit in them.
I now live in California but I grew up in Chicago, and while most true Chicagoans know that our Windy City moniker had more to do with our politicians than our weather, it does in fact get pretty windy in our Midwestern city. Inclement weather has never done much to keep Chicago skateboarders indoors or off our boards, and on an especially windy day last spring I was reminded why I had been meaning to make some sandbags when a gust toppled one of lightstands, along with the flash that was atop it.
Sandbags (like these) are a staple on photo and video production sets to keep things from toppling over, and protect both the expensive gear and the people beneath it. It makes sense to me that when setting up 8 foot tall lightstands around fast-moving skateboards one should do something to ensure those stands stay upright. The store-bought sandbags are great, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay $30 a piece for a zippered sack, so I set out to make some of my own, and thought I would share my process with whoever reads this blog.

Calling these “DIY” might conjure images of two rocks with a string between them, but my goal was to make some sandbags as close to the store-bought quality as possible. That said, I am by no means a skilled seamster, so this project is nothing you can’t do with your mom’s sewing machine and a 5-minute introduction on how to use it.
1. For the size I determined would be best for my stands and purposes you will start with two 11″x17″ rectangles of Cordura, or a similar fabric. I got mine on eBay for about $5 per yard, and one yard is way more than enough to make a few sandbags.
Put right-sides (the the side of the fabric you want to face out) together and pin them. Sew along one long edge about 1/2″ form the edge. (If you know what basting is, do that here, if not, normal sewing is fine.)

2. Remove the pins and open the fabric so it lays flat. Pin that 1/2″ of fabric on the edge down flat.

3. Lay your zipper right-side facing down along your seam. Pin it down.

4. With your machine’s zipper foot sew along both edges of the zipper, then across the bottom of it, removing pins as you go. (If you’ve had any trouble up to this point just google “How to sew a zipper” and you’ll find lots of tutorials that probably describe it better than me.)

5. Fold the fabric back in half, right-sides together and pin it together. 

6. Make it a pouch by sewing along the 3 non-zipper edges 1/2″ from the edge.

7. Open the zipper, and it will still be sewn shut behind that. Using a seam-ripper take out the stitching behind the zipper so the pouch is open. With that side open, you can remove the pins and flip the pouch right-side out. If you have done everything right up to this point you will now have a functional zipper-pouch with no holes.

8. Now we’ll separate the pouch into two separate areas for sand with a crease down the middle for hanging. To do this, fold the pouch in half (perpendicular to the zipper) and crease it so you can see where the middle is. Sew along that crease, stopping just shy of zipper.

9. Now you have two compartments for sand, and all that’s left is to attach a strap for carrying or hanging. Take a 20″ length of nylon webbing in your color of choice and sew either end to the under-side of the bag right along that middle seam you just sewed. When carrying the bag this strap will be holding the weight of the bag so make sure you sew it on securely.

(Pictured here is the finished product. The two on the left are the size I describe here. The one on the right is bigger and turned out to be way too big to be practical, so I’d stick to the size I describe or smaller.)
That’s it! Open the zipper, put a zip-lock bag full of sand in each side and close it up. You’ll feel a lot better putting your $400+ flash at the bottom of a stair set with a couple sandbags helping keep it upright, and having made them yourself you’ll be stoked to have an extra $90 in your pocket over the guy who buys a few sandbags.

For any any questions or clarifications feel free to comment.

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2 More from SF, Pat Binkley and Mike Davis

Patrick Binkley, Nosebluntslide, San Fracisco, CA

Pat Binkley slides a long Noseblunt while two lovers walk back from their tryst in view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Mike Davis, Ollie, San Francisco, CA

Mike Davis Ollies the big gap at the San Francisco Library.

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Skateboarder’s Sunset Rampage

Skateboarder Magazine's Suset Rampage at The Standard Hotel, Hollywood, CA

Back in Illinois I had a mini-ramp in my folks’ backyard that was host to some pretty epicly good times. Something about mini-ramps just brings out all kinds; street skaters, tranny skaters, lurkers; all just there for a mellow good time. So when Skateboarder Magazine decided to put a mini-ramp on a Hollywood hotel’s pool deck it’s no surprise that the event was such a success. Everyone from Louie Lopez to Andrew Reynolds to Lance Mountain was there, and my friends at Skateboarder had me out to man the party-cam for the evening. Check out the recap with photos from Jaime Owens, Jonathan Mehring, and myself online here, and next month’s Mag.

Skateboarder Magazine's Suset Rampage at The Standard Hotel, Hollywood, CA

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Pat Binkley in Frisco

Slowly but surely I am going through all my street photos from tour this summer. Here is one more for you from early June. Patrick Binkley reps his Couch-Tour-VIP-orange while blasting a big ollie on a little hip in San Francisco, CA.

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