So this is a little uncharacteristic of me, but this time, I’m going to try to go easy on the words and let the images tell the story. Yosemite is just one of those places…the type that no matter who or what you are, will be affected by it. It’s simply impossible to turn that final curve on Highway 41 and exit that 1/4 mile tunnel 30 miles past Yosemite National Park’s South Entrance, without feeling like time slows down, at least for a split-second, to work out whether or not your eyes and senses have failed you as you try to come to grips with the sheer scale and beauty of the surreal valley that lies before you.Read More
For the lucky ones who managed to snag an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, I figured I’d throw together a collection of my images sized and optimized to serve as background wallpapers to grace the face of your new device. There are several scenes covering various locations from Yosemite to Venice to a gorgeous Grist Mill in Washington. Hopefully there’s something in there that’ll tickle your fancy.Read More
In honor of Apple’s latest operating system announcement, OS X Yosemite (which, if you know me, that word alone gets me excited) I figured I’d rehash some of my images from my Yosemite adventures last year. In case you don’t want to (or can’t) wait until the fall for the official release, after the 'read more' break below, you'll find a few of my favorites optimized for your desktop backgrounds, and below those are the iPhone-optimized versions. To save them, just right click and choose ‘Save Link As...’Read More
So this is pretty sweet. The Roosevelts just published a post entitled "45 Photos That Will Make You Want To Visit Yosemite National Park." That first picture look familiar? It is just about that time of year again...might be time to dust off the ol' packs... Anyhow, click here to see all 45...
I suppose the silver lining in this whole thing is, Yosemite can take the day off on her birthday, for the first time ever! Enjoy this one because, no offense, but I hope you never get that day off again!
Thank you SOOO much for the years of incredible experiences and adventures. I can't wait to celebrate with you, as well as the rest of the national parks, again...
Looks like I took that "3 National Parks, 3 States, 2 Weeks, 1 Crap Bag" trip at just the right time...
I made my first proper art print from one of my digital images.
When I attended Scott Kelby's "Shoot Like A Pro" seminar here in Los Angeles a few months back, one of the perks was that we got a coupon code for a free 16x20 print from one of the sponsors, Mpix, on some madness they call Fuji Pearl photo paper. Regardless, I couldn't bring myself to do it.
Despite the fact that I took photography in high school, my father taught it, we had a darkroom at the school that we'd use on the weekends, he had a darkroom at home that I wasn't allowed to touch, and hell, my first science fair entry was a shoebox pinhole camera, and from all of this, I spent a good chunk of time developing film and photos, all in black in white, none of which I still have before taking off to college where my time got eaten up by…ahem…studying, I held off for a while because I was nervous about how it would come out - perhaps dealing me a blow if it came back and thought to myself 'this is shite!' I had made 8x10s at Costco and they actually turned out fairly well (especially considering the price at $2 per), but twice the size? Never. Will the pixels and my processing hold up?
But I finally suppressed the nerves to a level low enough and for long enough to upload the image and hit 'checkout.' And boy am I glad I did! I got the thing delivered to my door in a few days, opened it and just stared. Smiling. Immediately hit up target and grabbed me a frame for the sucker. I've been so caught up in devices and screens and i this's and i thats strewn about from our pockets to our coffee tables to our desks, I forgot what it's like to hold up a tangible physical print. It felt great. And hanging it up on the wall felt good. Real good. Was actually a nice little confidence boost.
I don't need to say it, but it's pretty apparent photography has come quite a long way since them there high school daze. As has the paper. This stuff was slick, shiny, and elegant. I purposely chose an image (that you've all seen here before) that i thought would best do that sort of feel justice - my 'Slice of Yosemite Layer Cake', an image that has 3 starkly contrasting layers and textures; a background of slick snowy mountainside, a foreground comprised of a set of silhouetted pine trees, and a layer of rolling clouds that just hovered right in between them. Proved the perfect centerpiece for a few other 8x10s from that infamous winter Yosemite trip…
Onward and upwards!! Next stop...canvas?
In a word: frickin' brilliant!
Ok, that was two words. Well, one real word and one, eh…you get the point.
It was a common frustration for DSLR shooters such as myself that the only means of checking for focus and composition is on the LCD screen on the back of the camera, at least until you get home and look at them on your computer and then want to shoot your computer in the face because that critical point was actually in soft focus!
Sure, that's a huge step up from no screens at all and having to wait to get the prints back from a lab hours, or even days, after, but still, this is 2013, and we're demanding madness, so Eye-Fi has delivered, well, madness (optimized for mobile of course).
So I was recently sent to photograph some rental cabins on property in the National Forest bordering Yosemite, and I've been reading and hearing so much about this bugger that I figured it was finally time to make an upgrade to my camera bag that I can afford. Their new Mobi card was right within that budget. 50 smackeroos.
Best thing ever. Well, that and tacos.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with the basics of what it is and what it does, the Eye-Fi is an SD memory card for you camera. The magic in it rests in what else it contains - wi-fi, effectively turning it into an adhoc wifi network between your camera and your mobile device, be it a smartphone or a tablet.
Why? Well, when you snap a photo, it automatically send the jpg version to your mobile device. GONE are the days of the 2 inch LCD monitor and RUE THE DAYS of excitedly uploading your recent batch of photos only to realize the BOOM one wasn't in focus. Now, you can immediately, no matter where you are, use your mobile device as the viewer screen for your shot as soon as you take it. Not only that, but if you feel so inclined, you can now immediately Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/smoke signal your DSLR images from your device as if you shot them on your phone...
For my process, I set the Nikon D7000's LCD screen to show just the histogram, and then used my iPhone as the viewer screen to check for critical focus and composition. It took me 5 minutes to set up in a taqueria parking lot, and now it never leaves slot 2 in my camera. While the Mobi is designed for mobile use, if you'd like a version where the RAW images can be sent directly to your computer as well, they have the ProX2 version that covers that base!!
The one thing that took me a minute to figure out was that I shoot in RAW in order to post-process later in Lightroom and/or Photoshop, so wasn't sure how that would work, but a quick Google search gave me the 'duh!' answer to shoot RAW+JPG. Then it beams the jpgs to your device, and you have your RAWs for later. The Nikon D7000 conveniently has two slots, so I set it to shoot RAW to slot 1, and JPG to slot 2, and that was that.
And the slideshow below is a selection of what happened.
For the full blog posts on my escapades in the Sierras (less fan-boy, more gushy), start here with part 1:
Now go and get your Eye-Fi card by clicking here.
And tonight…I write by candlelight…
So yeah, the power on the trailer went out so I'm left with a few candles and just enough charge to offload today's photos and jot down today's haps, so, again, I'll try to keep it as short and sweet as I can and hopefully let some of the images do the talking…
I must say, waking up to a symphony of birds singing, mist evaporating, and the soft golden sunlight beaming through decades old redwoods, bouncing poetically across wildflowers outside your window…does. not. suck.Read More
The stillness is a tad unnerving at first…but then the fact that there is absolutely no noise coming from anything other than the keyboard and an occasional distant howl, the source of which I've yet to determine, begins to quickly become soothing. Once your brain gets past the fact that you've decided, on your own will, to drive through the central valley during one of the most scorching heat waves we've seen in these parts (I watched my car thermometer climb from 103 and end up at 109 before finally beginning to gain elevation after passing through Oakhurst and winding my way up to the Far Meadow on tires that should have been changed 5000 miles ago), and you catch sight of the foothills of the High Sierras, and you start heading in their direction…everything begins to fall into place.Read More
So this is pretty neat! You may have seen me post this photo of Sentinel Rock in Yosemite before, but I got served a bit of awesome sauce today because of it! It was just picked to be critiqued for another popular photography podcast. Check it, it's the Digital Photo Experience hosted by ridiculously respected photographers Rick Sammon and Juan Pons, and they talk about the image at the 56:22 mark. That's the third image on three podcasts in the past few weeks, including a different image on this same podcast a few weeks back for one of my oak trees. People seem to be digging some of this stuff, now, hot dammit how do I turn this into something tangible!? Get me outta this shack!
Anywho…in case you're bored and at work, here's the podcast link: http://dpexperience.com/2013/06/03/dpe-podcast-06-01-13-all-questions-from-you/
While you can skip to the critique, I recommend listening to the full thing, and subscribing to these guys, especially if you're a photographer. They provide valuable insight and tips and information and ideas and inspiration in every episode. A good listen while you're in the lightroom.
So this is a short and sweet one, but every now and then it's nice to see things like this…I suppose it's a bit of a validation that perhaps, finally, I'm on the right track. To have two of my images used on a billboard and a label is pretty satisfying encouragement to keep going with this thing. It's a damn good feeling to know that others are appreciating what you do.
Anyway, so I know a few weeks back I brought up that the two beef jerky companies reached out to use some of my images for various purposes…the local gluten-free jerky company, Topanga's Finest Jerky, and then there was Oh Oberto. Well, worked out a deal with Topanga's Finest and here's a version of the label below. Crazy stuff!
And the billboard…that was interesting…it's in Scotland of all places, surrounding a town of about 40,000. Yeah, I know…it's for a church…but still, it's pretty neat to see one of my images on a BILLBOARD.
[Update: 01.22.14: Topanga's Finest Beef Jerky is now available, and the label has been finalized! Click here for more madness!]
TWICE IN ONE WEEK! This is crazy exciting for me on the inside...so earlier in the week one of my favorite photography podcasts picked one of my images to critique. That was my oak tree image that I was using to bring attention to the non-native borer that is threatening to rid california of all of its oaks. It was featured on the April 1 episode of the Digital Photo Experience podcast and that blew my mind.
Well, earlier today, I was sitting here editing photos for work, listening to another of my favorite photography podcasts, this one is the April 5 episode of Frederick Van Johnson's 'This Week In Photo,' and all of a sudden, at about the 51:04 mark, I hear my name (butchered, but they gave it a good effort) when they announce their first ever photo critique on the show. They picked my image 'a slice of yosemite layer cake,'Read More
So started a new gig this week. It's just a part-time thing, and I've only been there 3 days, but I must admit, it's kinda nice to be doing something robotic that I know how to do and an competent in. I'm the new photo editor for a boutique-home rental website, so basically editing and sizing photos of rich people houses around the world. Does nothing for my extreme wanderlust other than add locations to the list, but perhaps it's getting me closer to that goal of making a career of traveling and making photos and telling stories. Who knows.
Cool crew, cool location in the hills of Topanga, the hours and everything about it are extremely flexible, the bosses are avid travelers and artists and have made a life and career of it, and from what I can tell so far, super cool and down to earth, so can't complain.
I can also get a vibe that the bossman knows I have more to me than just being a robot-drone at a computer, so it should be interesting to see how he decides he can utilize me and where and how tightly I can fit in. But not going to get ahead of myself. Just keep stepping on each stone that's put in front of me and see where the path leads me I suppose.
Ok then, today was a light one. But I'm tired. But not to worry, won't leave you without another image. This one, as you have probably already guessed, is from this month's winter trip to Yosemite as well. My closeup take of tunnel view.
One of my best friends, who shoots a completely different style than me, mostly street photography with human subjects, asked me a few days ago…what do I see when I look at one of my pictures? Is it just a pretty picture? Or is it more? I knew what i wanted to say, but had to think about it for a little while before figuring out how to say it. I had to think mostly about what I was trying to capture. Then it just started coming out...
What I'm trying to capture is what seems to be pushed in the background more and more and more as technology begins to take over our lives in a singularity-esque fashion. While most people are so narcissistically involved in themselves and their cell phones and their tablets and their computers and their feeds and posts and status updates and whatnot, they're increasingly becoming less and less aware of theirs surroundings and those things that are outside of their little bubbles…just outside of their little bubbles. We are forgetting more and more those things that are bigger than us, those that are more magnificent than any blog post or new app or making sure everyone knows what they're having for lunch.
My intentions with my subjects and photography are to try to do what I can to counter-balance that to the best of my abilities. What I'm trying to do is bring attention to those very things that we're paying less and less attention to, and those things that have been here long before us, and will be here long after we're gone.
The natural world.
I'm trying to document nature and life in its magnificent glory to the best of my abilities and hope that maybe, one person that sees it, will be inspired enough to unplug for just a little bit and look around them. see and feel and experience these things that we so take for granted. all these things that are more incredible and more amazing and more vital to our lives and our well-being and our survival as a species than any tablet or feed or pair of glasses we can ever find ourselves engrossed in. none of that stuff…NONE of it…matters in the least. but all the stuff around us that we selectively ignore…that stuff does. that is the basis of our existence. that is the source of our happiness and our relief. and that is what i'm trying to bring attention to.
So with that, here's another one from last week's snowy trip to Yosemite. The peak of El Capitan peeking through the clouds. The grandeur of that chunk of granite is so ridiculously awe-inspiring that it has galvanized scores of ridiculously strong-willed people folk to climb the bloody thing with nothing but their bare hands. It's like that.
So I just got 'fired' from my job. Long story, but it is what it is. I truly hope the best for the company, I wholeheartedly believe in the product and plan to work with them on a freelance basis for sure. But I suppose I lost a bit of enthusiasm over the past few months. Probably has a lot to do with my personal situation. Not good financially, coming off a long and arduous year of a rocky relationship that ended in epicly hurtful fashion, live alone in the hills so don't really have much interaction with humanity these days. But something about getting fired was ok with me. Granted I haven't been fired from a gig since Trader Joes in high school, but still, I was okay with it.Read More