Baja Travel Vibes ..

When I travel, I’m not looking for a place that feels familiar. I crave otherness. I look for destinations where you are so far removed from your daily routine that you can lose your sense of self and focus entirely on the experience in front of you.

Baja was that sort of place.

I traveled to Mexico with nothing in mind but surfing. When I arrived, I found the Pacific flat. The sand was inviting. The waves? The waves were nonexistent.

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No matter. I swapped the surfboard for a camera and went wandering.

I have to confess something to you, now: I’m a lazy traveler. I book a flight and jump on board without doing much research. In fact, I avoid it. Knowing what I’m walking into isn’t what I’m searching for. I’m seeking the unexpected.

The first unexpected thing I stumbled on was the terrain.

I came to Baja for the openness of the water, and I found myself drawn to the unlooked-for serenity of the dessert. It’s vast and barren, and yet it’s packed with cacti—so strange when you have become accustomed to the lush land of Redwoods.

A cactus is an odd plant in every way. It’s even odder when you don’t expect it to be there and then, on a morning drive out to the beach, there it is with hundreds of its brothers, standing taller than you are and looking far more at home than you and your rental car.

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You may have guessed that I’m not much for itineraries and guidebooks. I’m not sure what they would have been able to tell me about the little town I landed in. So, I can’t rattle off the history of Todos Santos, and I can’t tell you its five most popular tourist attractions or which hotel has the best rating.

What I can tell you is how blinding the light is at noon in the market. It cuts around the storefronts and the shadows they cast, which vendors and makers have settled into for the day. The sun-bleached streets spotted with shaded havens create a peculiar oasis in the middle of town. It’s the sort of dichotomy that puts you on the spot. “Are you going to buy something? Well? Hurry up, then!”—that’s what I can hear it saying as I snap.

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It’s a bright place, Todos Santos. Its walls are splashed in jumped-up pastels and its goods are beaded and embroidered and woven by hand, stacked in lines for tourists like me to meander past, hands cupped over our eyes against the sun.

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Todos Santos is one of those small towns that feels tiny. It has a wholesome sensibility to it. When you walk through the streets, you feel like you’re walking through real life—not your real life, but a life lived by those you spy through windows and garden gates. There are traditional papel picado banners linking stores to homes. They might be leftovers from a festival. I like to imagine they’re the remnants of a neighborhood celebration, a quinceañera, perhaps, or a wedding, but I’m probably being a bit dreamy.

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It’s the light that gets me.

As a photographer, it’s the first thing I notice about a place. As a traveler, it’s essential to what I remember about a trip. My memories are keyed to how Mother Nature lit a certain moment. The light is transformative. It’s moody. It tells the story of the place, and it does it all in a snapshot. A weak ray cutting through fog? Just the beginning of a cactus-strewn morning. A sunset piercing the rim of a margarita glass? The precipice between a day in the sun and a tequila-soaked night out in Todos Santos.

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The color of the light in Baja is different from what it is at home. Here, it’s hot. The temperature is balmy—comfortably in the mid-70s—but the warmth of the light makes it look like the sun is beating down on you. It makes the oranges more vivid and the blues appear ready to melt.

And that does feel so very much like Mexico, doesn’t it?

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Photo Tips - Straight Walls Please

I always encourage clients or potential clients to reach out to me no matter the size of a project. I'm always happy to try and help in any way I can.  However,  I understand that not all projects have the budget for a professional photographer but I still want my clients to have great shots of their hard work!   So I'm here to provide some easy tips for better photos!

These tips will focus on using your camera phone but the same principals apply no matter what kind of camera you use.   For our purposes we will discuss two main topics: Lighting and composition.   These are just tips and shouldn't be taken as gospel.  Some of them are my personal preferences. 

Lets tackle a quick composition tip first - architectural/design photography focuses a lot on lines. In this case the walls, floors and furniture create very distinct lines.  When you compose a shot of a room you want to try to keep all those lines straight.  This can often be a struggle because rooms aren't always level/perpendicular.   But try your best .. pay special attention to the vertical wall lines.  We want straight up and down not leaning.  Check out the examples below

 

See how the walls aren't straight ?  The bottom of the walls are being pinched in ... this happens a lot when photographing buildings.  Also see how it tends to lead your eye to middle of the chair?  So we miss out on seeing how the chair fits into the space.  It feels more chaotic. 

See how the walls aren't straight ?  The bottom of the walls are being pinched in ... this happens a lot when photographing buildings.  Also see how it tends to lead your eye to middle of the chair?  So we miss out on seeing how the chair fits into the space.  It feels more chaotic. 

Here we are a little bit more pulled back so we can the rest of the area and get a better sense of how the chair exists in the space.  The chair gets a little more breathing room and the area feels more organized.

Here we are a little bit more pulled back so we can the rest of the area and get a better sense of how the chair exists in the space.  The chair gets a little more breathing room and the area feels more organized.

 

Next on the list : tough lighting scenarios.   The one I believe is most challenging for people is when the light is really harsh and directional.  Examples would be, a couch with a window behind it,  a window with streaming light coming from the side.  In both these scenarios what the camera sees isn't the same as what the human eye can see.    So how do we fix it?   

The easiest way is to use an HDR app on your phone.   I don't use HDR but it can be a life saver in when facing tough lighting conditions for the layperson.   In case you are wondering what HDR is,  it stands for High Dynamic Range and it refers to a range of tones beyond what is normally captured in a single shot by a normal camera.  The app on your phone accomplishes this by merging several exposure into one image.  But don't worry about that part.  For this post all we care about is that it can help us with the blown out windows and really dark shadows.   A word of caution with HDR - you want to be as still as possible when taking the photo otherwise it will be blurry.  Additionally the native camera app on your phone my have an HDR option.  These situations are the perfect time to use it.  See Below.  

 

This is close to how your regular camera might take this photo.  There isn't much detail in the highlights/windows. 

This is close to how your regular camera might take this photo.  There isn't much detail in the highlights/windows. 

Here we have the same shot .. same time of day but shot with an HDR app.   You get better colors and better detail in the windows. 

Here we have the same shot .. same time of day but shot with an HDR app.   You get better colors and better detail in the windows. 

 That wraps it up for these quick tips.  If you have any questions or comments feel free to drop me a note via my contact page. 

 

 

New Cozy, Classic and Quirky Interiors from Storey Design

I love working with Katie at Storey Designs ... We have a little inside joke that our shoots are always a little jinxed!   Something always seems to go slightly wrong during the shoot.  Sometimes its hideously heavy furniture that requires 12 men to move and other times it's that our assistants forget to show up!  But we always pull it off and make some great photos together!!! Katie's sense of style really resonates with me and I wish I could hire her!

 

The Perennial - The design behind San Francisco's most sustainable restaurant

I'm a bit late to the game with this post because The Perennial has been making headlines since it opened it's doors back in January!   Karen and Anthony contacted me at the end of last year in need of images for their new restaurant.   When they contacted me and told me about the concept behind their newest venture (their previous ventures include Mission Chinese Food and Commonwealth) I happily jumped at the chance to shoot the new space located at 9th and Market.   

The Perennial focuses on sustainability from every angle from how their raw ingredients are sourced to their architecture and design (for more info on their awesome sustainability model visit SF Eater).

The Perennial was designed by Paul Discoe, who is also a master woodworker and works exclusively with reclaimed lumber. Paul Discoe Design built all of the wood in the space including the Douglas Fir bar, poplar chairs, cypress and black acacia tables, and posts made of wood recovered from the Transbay Terminal. (Insider tip: Paul also designed The Perennial’s aquaponic greenhouse located in Oakland near his studio). The dining room ceiling is woven from wood shavings produced during milling of the wooden posts.  The design team for the Perennial really did think of everything and their attention to sustainability is also present in the rug, tiling,  barstools, plaster,  glass, lighting, menus and even tableware (they feed their worn out napkins to their worms back the greenhouse)  For more info on the sources and design process you can visit The Perennial.  

 

The glass in the vestibule is made from bottles and jars from municipal recycling bins and internal recycling by Bendheim Glass.  The plaster wall was created with Rye Hudak from Level 5 Design and is made from marble-processing waste.   

The glass in the vestibule is made from bottles and jars from municipal recycling bins and internal recycling by Bendheim Glass.  The plaster wall was created with Rye Hudak from Level 5 Design and is made from marble-processing waste. 

 

In the center of the dining room, there is  a 100% recyclable rug, made by Interface from 100% recycled fibers. (Interface is currently experimenting with recycling used fishing nets into carpet fibers. Discarded fishing gear comprises about ten percent of all marine trash, according to the UN.) 

In the center of the dining room, there is  a 100% recyclable rug, made by Interface from 100% recycled fibers. (Interface is currently experimenting with recycling used fishing nets into carpet fibers. Discarded fishing gear comprises about ten percent of all marine trash, according to the UN.) 

The chefs table looks into the prep area of The Perennials kitchen which also features innovative energy effcient design and appliances.  The entire space is LEED certified. 

The chefs table looks into the prep area of The Perennials kitchen which also features innovative energy effcient design and appliances.  The entire space is LEED certified. 

The plates are made from a local (Mendocino) clay body by Jay and Rie Dion at Atelier Dion. The napkins are 100% cotton from local landmark Britex Fabrics and cleaned by a green laundry service

The plates are made from a local (Mendocino) clay body by Jay and Rie Dion at Atelier Dion. The napkins are 100% cotton from local landmark Britex Fabrics and cleaned by a green laundry service

Seating in the bar and the private dining room are Emeco's Alfi stools and chairs, made from 100% recycled materials.   

Seating in the bar and the private dining room are Emeco's Alfi stools and chairs, made from 100% recycled materials. 

 

Nicaragua and it's colonial gem - Granada

A few years ago I started taking trips at the end of the year and it has since become a tradition.  The trip that started it all was a birthday trip to Hawaii and since I've decided that spending one's birthday in a strange place with people you don't know is actually really great.  Don't get me wrong I miss my friends during the big day but I also feel like being away from home on that day makes me even more grateful for the comforts of home.   It's no coincidence that my trips are during the Bay Area's "winter" months.   The short days and the lack of sunshine pretty much drive me mad.... so I tend to head somewhere very warm and very sunny to load up on as much vitamin D as I can!  

This year was one of those milestone birthdays so I wanted to do something special.... a week long all women surf camp in Nicaragua was just the thing!  After not surfing in warm water for the last 2 years I was more than excited about the prospect of going into the ocean without being wrapped in a large piece of rubber (AKA wetsuit).  So after booking my surf camp adventure I figured I would take some time to explore Nicaragua's other offerings.  

First on the list was the town of Granada.  Granada is about 2 hours north of San Juan Del Sur and is a little colonial gem.  The town is still developing but has lots of great things to discover.  It's easy to enjoy the colorful buildings while you stroll along the cobblestone streets.   There are also some great spots to stop for authentic handicrafts: Tio Antonio's is a hammock shop where you can watch local artisans whip you up your very own hammock to take home. They even take special orders so you can choose the colors you like!

 

It's 98 Degrees!! No, not the boy band - Beyond Granada

A couple of days in Granada and it was time to head to my favorite place.. THE BEACH!  It's hot in Granada.. I love heat.. so when I say it was hot you know it was stifling hot.  It was time to be rescued by a cool ocean breeze and some surfing fun in San Juan Del Sur (SJDS) !  I'll warn you in advance that I did not take any surfing photos (you try shooting after 4 hours of surfing and see how motivated you are)

SJDS is your quintessential surf town filled with lots of surfers and yogis and a fair share of expats. This is not the best place if you are looking for an authentic Nicaraguan cultural experience.  It's a great place to enjoy a few days surfing your face off or just laying by the beach at one of their many wonderful beaches.  A great place for a lazy few days.   When you aren't being lazy head out and explore the town on foot and make sure to wear some sunblock!

 

Meanwhile Back at the Rancho .... Rancho Chilamate

The particular ranch in question is the wonderful Rancho Chilamate located near the beach town of San Juan Del Sur in Nicaragua.  After a week of surfing I was ready for some napping.. the Rancho was the perfect end to my Nicaraguan adventures. 

 The rancho is an off-the-grid horse ranch that will make all your cowgirl dreams come true (well maybe not ALL of them) but if you love the romance of riding on a horse at full speed on a deserted beach,  then this is the place for you!  

A nice quiet retreat in the hills near San Juan Del Sur

A nice quiet retreat in the hills near San Juan Del Sur

The Ranch

The ranch is the vision of Canadian expat Heather (Blue) van Doorninck.  She began building the property  from the ground up in 2008.  The ranch is not only host to beautiful horse but also at least two dogs, a turkey, pigs, chickens and maybe some puppies too.  The entire property uses only solar power. The staff at the ranch were some of the friendliest people I met while on my trip to Nicaragua.  Lennie and Joel are the ranch managers and oversee the day to day care of quests.  Their goal is to make your stay the best!  The staff at the ranch is outstanding and they love what they do!  While there I was feeling a bit under the weather and they went out of their way to check in on me several times to make sure I was doing ok!   It was really like staying with a friends who love to host!

Guests of the ranch get to enjoy a delicious family-style dinner.   I cannot emphasize how delicious the food was .. After about 2.5 weeks of lots of rice and beans I was so excited to eat a good salad.  Joel is a great cook as well as an avid surfer so hit him up if you want some surf info. 

The ranch is the perfect place to do nothing... their pool deck is filled with plenty of hammocks to lay around and read while you enjoy a nice breeze.   They will even cook you lunch if you decide to just lay by the pool all day.   If you do decide that you don't want to nap all day you can take a stroll to the nearby stables and visit with the horses and check out the stables (you will surely find some good Instagram material!).  Look for the turkey ! 


The Ride - Giddy Up!!

I'm a sucker for horse back rides.  Which means I've had the pleasure of doing them in lots of different places.  However, Rancho Chilamate is now the gold standard by which all future rides shall be judged!   For the sake of authenticity (or just down right fun) the ranch has a whole closet filled with cowboy hats and jeans to outfit you for your western adventure!   Hat, handkerchief, jeans and even boots will complete your transformation into a cowgirl/boy.  

The rides last about 3 hours and are hosted by some lovely cowgirls with tons of experience.  While on the ride you meander through the wooded hills of San Juan Del Sur .. sometimes passing small villages and other ranches.  Its a nice way to experience some local culture.   The turn around point is a secluded beach .. this is where the real fun begins!   Most horse back riding tours I have been on will maybe let you trot with your horse .. maybe.. but not at Rancho Chilamate!   With the expert guidance of your cowgirl tour guide you will be able to let your horse actually RUN on the beach. And by run I mean RUN... you know how you picture it in your minds eye.. hair flowing in the wind, heart pounding and the sound of the ocean at your side.   You won't leave disappointed!

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Cover Feature on Modern Luxury Interiors Winter/Spring 2016!!!

Very Exciting news!!! - A recent project I shot with my long time clients MAS Design , was featured on the cover of Modern Luxury Interiors California Winter/Spring Edition!  

This has been one of my favorite jobs ever.  The team at MAS Design contacted me months in advance knowing they definitely wanted to shoot the house once it was complete.  Once I saw the house on our scout day I knew why they were so excited!   Seven months later we wrapped the shoot and I knew we had something very special.  It's great knowing everyone else also loved the project as much as we did!

My Dream House in Sonoma!

This past summer I had the pleasure of photographing my dream house!   Well it wasn't actually MINE but a girl can dream.   The project was shot in the Alexander Valley area of Sonoma and is the work of the design team at MAS Design located in Oakland, CA.   

I asked Dawn Carlson of MAS design what their inspiration was for the space... their goal Organic Modern.

This project is near and dear to our hearts.  We worked with fantastic clients whose primary residences are in San Francisco and Tokyo.  Their vacation home is in a stunning part of the world, Sonoma County, and the home has incredible architecture and even more impressive views. 

Although the clients’ tastes are typically uber modern, we all agreed that the natural setting and views should be showcased above all else.  The organic world would be our inspiration, and although we always infuse an element of surprise into our designs, the focus here should rather be about subtlety and textures that would complement and showcase the natural surroundings. 

Our choices were either inspired by nature, or in stark juxtaposition with it.  We love the tension created by a strong juxtaposition (such as lucite and natural stone, for example).

The client had one great request:  That we find items with a story.  Don’t just create a beautiful/vapid space, but something that would also have meaning. The jumping off point was the pendant lighting over the kitchen island, which are a rare find.  They were once Indonesian water backpacks, converted into pendant lighting. There are a lot of special moments like this throughout the design.

From there we just kept with the theme, which we’re calling “Organic Modern”.  Chic, nature-inspired textures, strong juxtapositions, neutral hues, and the Japanese concept of “wabi sabi”, or perfect imperfection.  There was no shortage of inspiration.

                                                                        Dawn Carlson, MAS Design


The MAS Design team had some very clear design goals for the space and our goal was to make sure those were captured beautifully.  I always want my images to feel like you are in the room.  The viewer should get to experience the warm sun filtering through the curtains or the long shadows that cast along the wooden floor.   This is of course a bit of a balancing act because I also want to capture the details of each room accurately.  Additionally,  for this project it was essential to capture no only the design elements inside but also bring the outdoor into the mix as well.  No where is this more evident than in the kitchen.... who wouldn't want to cook in here???  Pasta Anyone?

This house was a dream to work with in terms of lighting!   I don't think I had to mutter the words " I need more light" a single time.  I really love all the images that we captured that day but my favorite of them all is the dining room.  I love the richness and silky, creamy feel of the lighting.  I can imagine sitting down to the table with some good friends and a nice bottle of wine and watching those long shadows move across the wall until they disappear as the sun sets across the valley. 

After watching the sun go down and would kick my friend so I could go relax in this amazingly serene master bedroom and bath?  Can't you just picture the cold beer or glass of wine on the edge of the tub? 

Ok! enough day dreaming... back to work!  I've been working with MAS Design for a few years now and each project just gets better and better.  We both agree that this has been our favorite butI have no doubt that they will continue to wow me with their designs! 

If you just can't get enough and would like to see more images from this awesome house check out the Houzz feature at the following link: Organic Modern

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

 

Desert Magic in La Guajira

Colombia is a magical country.  It has so much to offer any traveler;  jungles, cities, snow capped mountains,  architectural gems and amazing food!.  I recently spent 6 weeks traveling in this wonderful place. Colombia is my birthplace and this was my first time visiting since leaving when I was about 2 years old! 

When initially started researching my trip my mother told me of a region called La Guajira…. A quick search on Google produced an array of stunning images of this desert region.   I was hooked.   I knew that I would hit all the usual suspects like Medellin, Bogota, Cartagena during my visit but La Guajira would be the crown jewel of my trip.   Perhaps I was drawn by it’s remoteness and stark beauty.    I had to get there.

While staying a hostel near Tayrona Park I met two fellow travelers; a Frenchman and a Dutchman.  We had all read about the fabled La Guajira (I suspect that Lonely Planet had a hand in that).  We quickly decided that we would make the journey together.  So we departed early on a Friday morning not quite sure how to arrive to the Northern most tip of South America.   Getting there is probably just as you imagine it in your minds eye…. There was a bus, a cab and a 4wd vehicle involved and 8 hours of bumpy, dusty, hot roads.    The final destination was worth ever bit of effort.

La Guajira is a travelers dream. It’s the kind of place that reminds you of why you travel. There is open sky as far as the eye can see. The colors of the golden sand set against the jewel tones of it’s salty sea form an impossible contrast. As you drive through it’s expansive landscape you see small house used by the native Wayuu people. Their colorful dresses dot the landscape like desert flowers. Wayuu Children are so curious about strangers.  The set up “candy” Road blocks for your car as you travel through the desert.

 

The northern most point of the region, Punta Gallinas, is a place where giant sand dunes lead to warm aqua blue ocean waters. Bring some cardboard and you could slide down the dunes right into the ocean!

 

This place is for a certain kind of traveler…. if you like the idea of sitting undisturbed with nothing but the blue ocean and a good book while eating fresh caught lobster…. this is the kind of place you will enjoy. It truly is the end of the earth.

Homecoming ...

You know that moment when people ask you where you are from ?  I have to confess that I'm never quite sure how to respond.   I think when I was younger I used to just tell people that I was from Florida because it seemed like the easiest thing to say.  However over the last few years that response started to seem really weird.  I think it must have happened when I was in grad school.  During all those moments of wondering if I had made the right choice to leave my cushy corporate job to follow this crazy photography dream,  I began to question other things .... mostly related to identity and roots.    It was the first time in my life I really sort of began wonder about the place my parents had left behind when the emigrated to the United States all those years ago.   I knew it was time to finally make a trip back to Colombia.  

It took a couple of years to actually make the trip happen but this past January I finally went "home" for the first time in 36 years.  I traveled for 6 weeks why my family, by myself and friends I met along the way.   The trip was truly life changing.   There were relatives that I hadn't seen since I was 12 and there were ones I had never met.   There were things that I never knew about our family ; my grandfather had been a coffee farmer, my 80 year old uncle still has a ranch and rides horses everyday,  my mom and her sisters used to get in trouble for playing in piles of coffee beans!   My aunt Amanda (who I lovingly call the midget because she is a very tiny woman) is 70 years old and an unstoppable force of nature who wears heals no matter where she goes (even on hikes up a mountain).   She was my tour guide for the majority of my family time and she left very few stones unturned in an effort to show me every corner of Colombia.

I returned with close to 5000 images (and that was after some initial editing!)  I wasn't quite sure where to start with editing so I turned to Wonderful Machine and together we came up with the Down South gallery.    The gallery contains images from all over Colombia including Medellin, Cartagena,  Villa de Leyva,  Santa Fe de Antiquioa,  Cali, Salento  and the remote desert region of La Guajira (one of my personal favorites... check out the blog entry specifically about that part of the adventure)

My trip with unforgettable!  I really wish I could pack all my friends on a plane and take everyone together.  In the meantime,  I will have to share the good ole fashioned way... photographs!

 






Welcome to my new website .....

Phew!  It's almost the end of July!  Where does time go? 

Well as it turns out for the last few months I have been working with the lovely folks at Wonderful Machine.  If you haven't heard of Wonderful Machine consider this your official introduction. They offer all sorts of useful services for photographers and everyone else involved in the industry... some of their magic is in the branding and marketing arena.  They have a whole team of folks to help you get your S*&t together as a photographer  (marketing, photo editors, graphic designers)!  I cannot say enough about the awesome people that work at WM.  I began working with them early in the year and have been beyond impressed with their talent and professionalism.  The are responsive, creative, talented and most importantly just down right fun to work with!

For most photographers the idea of doing an "edit" of any sort sounds about as fun as sitting still through a dental cleaning (or maybe that's just me).   At the beginning of the year I was bound and determined to get a new website edit done and decided to check out WM. I had attempted to work with photo editors on two separate occasions and wasn't totally thrilled with their attempts at editing my work.  They just always seemed to miss the mark.  So I was very hesitant to have yet another person take a stab at it.  I finally found my photo editor match at WM ! I worked with Stacy Swiderski and she nailed it on the first try ( Stacy if you read this you are officially my photo editing guru!) I I don't know how she did it but she managed to do what two other people hadn't really been able to do properly.    The best part was she did it quickly and efficiently.  She listened diligently to my droning about bad past experiences and the "feeling" of my work.  It all payed off and resulted in and awesome web edit for this snazzy new website!

Thanks for stopping by and checking it out! Enjoy

 

If you are a photographer in need of someone to help you get your butt in gear... talk to these amazing people!

 

 

Oceans Apart .... Interior photography

Welcome to March! Last month I shot a new interiors project for one of my favorite designers, Katie Storey of Storey Designs.  Katie and I always have a blast working together!  She is fun, laid back and essentially lets me have a lot of creative freedom when it comes to making her design look best in camera.   Our recent project  spanned two days, at two very different homes owned by the same client!  One was a sophisticated  flat in San Francisco and the other a darling seaside house on the cliffs of Santa Cruz (aka my dream house!)

A sophisticated city escape in San Francisco
A sophisticated city escape in San Francisco
A cozy cottage by the sea... so dreamy and relaxing!
A cozy cottage by the sea... so dreamy and relaxing!

These two locations were a dream to shoot.  They both had great architecture and amazing light to work with.   However, no adventure is complete with some bumps in the road including a last minute cancellation from my assistant and a bed that weighed more than an elephant but absolutely had to be moved so I could try to get a workable shot.  So we put or back into it and got it done!

More gorgeous rooms from the location in Santa Cruz.... did I mention it's my dream house!
More gorgeous rooms from the location in Santa Cruz.... did I mention it's my dream house!
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I've been working with Katie for a while now and have shot other projects for her and we both agree that this is our favorite one.   I love shooting interiors for obvious reason such as great lines and light but part of my love affair with shooting a beautiful room is the collaborative process between me and the designer/architect.   I truly enjoy learning how each client sees the room and  watching how a their design evolve after we have worked together on several projects.  Truly the most satisfying part about the experience is knowing that I am helping them grow their business and hopefully get closer to their goals/dreams.  It really give me a warm fuzzy!

On the Road to Occidental

On the Road to Occidental A recent assignment sent me to Occidental, California .. what better time for a mini road trip! I love the area north of San Francisco. .. To me it conjures images of quintessential Northern California. I set out on my shooting adventure late morning to arrive at my destination by around lunch time. After a minor snafu at the car rental counter I persevered and off I went with my trusty Iphone plugged in and some great tunes I made my way towards Occidental, Bodega Bay and Petaluma... I was lucky enough to discover an awesome country road go from Occidental to Bodega Bay. I found some cute cows (and sheep but they stayed far away from me) .. who doesn't love a good cow photo?

Night

Night swimming

I've randomly been working on more fine art oriented surf images. I'm really interested in the relationship between surfers and their surroundings/landscape/seascape. The combination of the late evening light and the wetsuit covered surfer take on a very different quality. I feel there is a poetic elegance as well as another world feeling to some of the images I've captured.

Rome .....

Ocean_Beach-834 Today I attempted to paddle out at Ocean Beach.  Notice that I said attempted.  It wasn't a particularly gnarly day either but ultimately it is still Ocean Beach.  If you aren't familiar with Ocean Beach it is located on the west side of San Francisco.

The water at Ocean Beach is noteworthy for its strong currents and waves, which makes it popular among serious surfers. The water is cold, due in part to a process known as upwelling, in which frigid water from below the ocean surface rises to replace the surface water that moves away from the beach as a result of the Coriolis effect. The rapid rip currents and cold water make the ocean dangerous for casual swimmers and even those who simply want to set foot in it, and swimmers have been swept away and drowned.[1] Nevertheless, the beach is one of the Bay Area's top surfing spots." - From Wikipedia

So essentially it's a bitch to surf for anyone that isn't already great.  It isn't the place you want to try to learn to surf.  I've only been able to actually get to the outside a couple of times.  Most times I fail, but I try to go out in the hopes that I will get outside and maybe that I will even catch a wave.   I'm a big believer that surfing can teach you lots of little life lessons.  Today when I decided to throw in the towel I was annoyed that I didn't actually get to really surf.  I slogged my way back to the beach and sat down for a moment and watched enviously as plenty of other surfers made their way outside.   Then I was reminded that there was a time not too long ago that I wouldn't have even tried to paddle out at Ocean Beach.   Then I thought about how a goal always seems monumental when you see it from far away.  It's almost paralyzing to think about the effort required to achieve it.  However, Rome wasn't built in a day ... big progress is a collection of all the smaller moments of progress along the way; learning to pop-up, learning to stay out of peoples way, learning that there are traffic laws while surfing, learning to get tossed,  learning to get smacked by your board... each of these is a moment of progress no matter how it  sucks.

The same is true of creative work.  There is the place we want to be (out in the line up with the rest of the good surfers) and there is the place that we are (still struggling to find the channel to get to the outside). We know we have the skills, we know we have the basics down but it takes time and dedication to get better.   Paddle, Paddle,and Paddle some more and just when you think your done paddle a little bit more.  Do a little everyday and you will get closer to your goals.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/85040589]

As Darkness Falls

Ocean_Beach-686 There is a creative voice inside every artist that guides us to create the work we do. I find that often I don't honor that voice and instead I worry about work that I "should be" making. This year I promise to listen to that voice, to that intuition and see where it leads me. I've been asking myself what inspires me, what do I love shooting? Nature is one of my favorite subject matters. Especially the sea with all her many moods and faces. I think of the seashore as a representation of what it means to be human. There are days when the waves pound the shore with so much force it feels as if the entire beach will be carried away in the turbulent waters. Then there are days when the ocean lazily washes her water onto land almost as an invitation to come and play. There are days the sunsets are filled with the colors of peaches and tangerines and days of steely blue skies filled with menace. I love these cold steely sunsets as much as the others. I find them beautiful for all their mystery. The blue hours are my favorite time of day. It's those moments when the world is shrouded in hues of blue. I feel they are a prelude to what is to come with the next sunrise.