Thursday, December 31, 2009

Raptor delight

Last week I spent 3 days filming a car review on the Ford Raptor SVT for First we hit the high desert to jump it then we headed north to drive it faster and splash through some water. It was a blast even in 18degree temps which wasn’t that bad. The High Sierra gave us the perfect backdrop to film and for me to snap a few photos in between. Here are few images for you right now and I’ll share more once the video is posted. Happy New Years!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

San Diego morning

Waking up at 5:30 am can be tough on anyone especially if you have to sit in traffic for an hour just to get to the office to sit around in a cubicle. I've done that and it drove me crazy. But if you are one of the hundreds of San Diegans who rush out before the commute or before school starts to catch a few waves this what you may see! And I'm sure it helps them get through all those TPS reports or surprise quizzes!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Salt it taste great

Explore, explore, explore! If you hear of a place thats sounds interesting go. If you are shooting with another photographer and he (Andrew Burns) says lets check out this place thats only a few miles away go! The lesson is you haven't been everywhere yet and sometimes you go past a place a hundred times and never see it so listen and go!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Clean and simple

Another image from Imperial beach down in San Diego. As this paddle boarder came into frame so did a fishing boat the two of them looked good together. But it wasn't until the boat left the frame that the subject took on a new meaning, I couldn't help but imagine this guy being miles from the shore looking for some glimpse of land. Its hard to see in this small image but that black speck is actually a seagull flying bye adding to the "Looking for shore" day dream.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Imperial Beach

I don’t visit Imperial Beach very often theses days. I used to spend more time down there shooting high school team photos. So I decided to take the short drive down that way this morning to see what I could find. I even brought along my 4x5 camera to shoot with, need to drop of the film to be processed. Here is one of the images (digital camera) from this morning. This seagull just kept following my camera I guess he wants to be famous.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The zoom test

I recently wrote about minimizing the amount of gear you carry when weight is an issue and you want to challenge yourself to be a better photographer, today I’m going to tell you how to create more opportunities while carrying less gear. First if you happen to own a prime lens, great they are usually sharper then a zoom lens, but to cover a larger viewing range you need to carry more of them. So leaves those at home (remember the weight issue) and bring along a nice zoom lens. If you shoot with a 35mm (film or sensor size) I like to have a 28-70 and a 70-200, if your sensor is smaller I would drop the 28-70 and bring a 17-40 along with the larger zoom. With those two lenses’ you can cover just about everything. Now here is the challenged a scene set up your tripod and camera then use the two zoom lenses and shoot wide work your way in tight. Let me know how it works.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Coastal waterfall

If you haven’t noticed I love water, I love to photograph it, play in it, drink it you name it if it involves water I’m for it. So when I found out a few of my friends had just come back from a little trip up Highway 1 in California and saw this waterfall I knew I had to check it out if time permitted. And time allowed me to. The area surrounding the waterfall was beautiful a bit dangerous if you don’t know what poison oak looks like. Remember leaves of three leave them be! But I have to admit when I got close to the fall my first thought was I have to rappel down this and there has to be more falls up above and below! I’ll share that adventure with everyone as soon as it happens for now the peaceful waterfall.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Coastal relaxation

Last week I drove up California’s Coast on Highway 1 to see what I might find. What I found was hazy over cast conditions and that just wasn’t what I was imagining. To be honest I was hoping for partially cloudy sky to block out the sun. Instead I got diffused light most of time I was there but I did what any smart photographer does and I waited and relaxed and napped along the coast. Then I got bored and found hard to get to places avoided getting soaked by the crashing waves in the attempt to find the perfect shot for another day. I think I may have. But as the sun began to set I had to attempt a few photos and here are two of them.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Storm over Bridgeport

Everybody loves a good sunset, watching the sun cut through the clouds as it sets over the mountains or the ocean. But don’t forget to look away from the sun and see what else is happening. I was just relaxing on a ridge after a day of hiking shooting photos and bit of fly fishing when a storm in the opposite direction of the sunset lit up. That’s Bridgeport in the distances I love this area of the Sierra Nevadas’ it has a little bit of everything.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cooking in the Dark

A typical photo adventure with me means two meals usually in the dark and one meal in the light. When you are up before the sun to catch the first magic hour it may just be some granola and water but it’s worth it. Which means dinner usually isn’t until the sun is well on its way to the other side of the Earth. A good headlamp helps when the moon and stars don’t give enough light to see if that’s a bug in your food or just pepper, either way its flavor! On this trip I stayed in a campground with picnic tables and the last group left a few rocks on the table, and who am I to move the rocks. They actually work nicely in this selfportrait.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Whats in my camera bag

People always ask what type of camera I have and state that it must be awesome to take pictures like that. My response is the camera is nice but I’m the one that tells the camera what to do and not to do. If I create a great image I used my tools correctly if I don’t create a great image then I failed, not the camera. So are you wondering what I carrying in my camera bag? That has a simple answer, my camera gear. Okay not a fair answer but more important then gear is how you use it. There are so many great tools on the market but if you don’t know how to use them they are useless. Two recommendations for you: first learn how to use everything in your bag well, second learn how to leave it all behind and only take one lens and a camera body. There well be times you don’t want to carry 30 pounds of camera gear into the backcountry. Don’t be afraid to try new tricks either for example try shooting through a fogged up lens you never know what you might end up with.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Vantage Point

Since I post a lot of canyoneering images I thought I would share a canyon scouting photo. Before we enter an unexplored canyon we gather as much info on it as possible. This can mean spending a day or two walking ridge lines to view as much of it as possible. You can never have to much information. This is Epic Canyon in Hawaii.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Location searching

Finding the right location to shoot photos or film a video/movie can be tough but as long as you are out there looking I guarantee you will eventually find something that works. We found this wonderfully dirty area to shot in by doing just that, looking. So get out there look around even if you have nothing in mind, you never know what you might find! In the photo here is Michael Delano filming a car review for Kelly Blue Book.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nature's Face

Some photos I would rather hear what others see then describe what I saw and why I photographed it. So I reverse the roll and ask you what you see. Feel free to comment.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Don't forget

I remember being at camp just getting ready to start cooking dinner when I noticed some clouds that had rolled in quickly. I grabbed my camera and ran up the mountain side to snap a few pics. What I forgot to do was to raise my food back up into the trees out bear reach. So when I returned back to camp I found my chocolate gone the peanut butter had bite marks in it and the gram crackers were sampled. Naughty bear!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Break the Rules

Brett Holman scouting locations in Anza Borrego.

Don’t be afraid to break the rules. I know the basic rule of thumb is photograph at the magic hours of the day, early morning and late evening. I also know that silhouettes should have some detail in the shadows. But sometimes you have to break the rules shoot when the sun is harsh and leave out the detail, painters do it all the time why can’t we? What I’m saying is if you are trying to create a certain feeling to your image throw out the rules and go for it, just be aware some people might not like that you broke them!

Note: Check out to see some of Brett's incredible photographs.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Calming Excitement

......Canyons can be very intense and calming at the same time. Since I had captured the images to show the intensity I decided to get up early the next morning (nothing new for us photographer types) and make my way back to that little ledge and create a few images to show the calming experience I have while canyoneering....... this was taken from a story I wrote about Lower Summit Creek last fall.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Behind the falls

...... As I dropped lower the intensity grew. After a good pounding I finally slide behind the main flow where water droplets ignore gravity and dance in front of my eyes. But wait at this point it gets really crazy since I’m behind a curtain of water raging into a bottomless pool (not really bottomless but I sure couldn’t find it) remember I’m still on rappel a few feet above a pool of water with a major under current that wants to pull me down against the rock and keep me there. The only way out is to push off through the wall of water and let go of the rope and send my body far enough to escape the undertow and grab a tag line to safety. We set up the rope to be just long enough so as we enter the pool the rope passes through the prana (rappel device) and you are free. The tag line is in the hands of long time friend Darren and he knows just what to do if something goes wrong. So I send myself flying through the waterfall and splash into the water, smiling big I forget to close my mouth and swallow a big gulp of water. I pull myself out of the pool and spit out a little water and laugh it up with my friends. Since I was the last down I look at them and say, “Lets do it again!” I do it once more then tell them they have to do it for a third time because I spotted a ledge I can shoot from down canyon. I climb up bust out my camera and grab some great images.......

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Epic Canyon

I put together a short documentary a few years back on a first descent of Epic canyon in Maui and although the purpose for being there was to shoot the film I had to carry my still camera as well. I was sharing filming duty so when the video camera wasn't in my hands my other camera was.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fruity Pebbles

After spending a week or so camping you start to run out of sweet things to eat and sometimes Mother Nature reminds you. I had been up in the Eastern Sierras for just about a week creating photos and exploring when I came across this beautiful scene. I instantly thought of Fruity Pebbles then of Skiddles. On the drive back home I made sure to find a box of Fruity Pebbles to snack on.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Living the life

I’m reminded of a passing conversation I had with a backpacker in the sierras every time I take the first step of an adventure “Aren’t we lucky to be out here doing what we love?” I always respond in my head YES and while I’m out capturing the adventure I make sure to involve myself and not just be a spectator. It’s always a blast trying to capture an image of myself living it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Water has sparked emotion in me since I was a kid playing Rambo in the rain waters near my house. When I was first introduced to the adventure sport of canyoneering I was excited, when I descended my first canyon with flowing water I was in heaven. Being able to create an image to show the excitement is icy on the cake.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Buttermilks

Another passion of mine is climbing and it is easy to find other people to share that with. All you have to do is go somewhere there is climbing and start talking to people. On this day I was actually climbing and shooting with fellow photographer and adventurer Brett Holman at the Buttermilks near Bishop California. What a great day for climbing and shooting! FYI this boulder is named Get Carter.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Key hole

I love adventure even if the adventure is returning to a familiar spot. On my way to visit my folks in their soon to be finished dream house in Utah I made a pit stop in Zion National park. I had a chance to visit with good friend and adventurer Darren Jeffrey over some food and while revisited Key Hole canyon. What a blast testing my healing Achilles tendon in the super slot canyons of Zion! Key Hole is an easy canyon with three short raps and a few down climbs but it gives you the chance to experience a super slot. Low light and tight walls make for some challenging shooting but how much fun would things be if they were easy?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

It only takes once

Most of us go to Joshua Tree National park to climb or see a Joshua Tree but if you don't remember to look down you may miss the beauty lower to the ground. But if you forget the beauty always finds a way to remind you.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Favorite places

I'm often asked where are some of my favorite places and New Zealand is always at the top of my list for just about everything. This image of a full moon rising was taken on the South island a few miles away from the ferry landing in Picton. A little note it was shot on Fuji Velvia.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Butterfly heaven

I try to always carry a tripod with me because you never know when you might need it. Macro shots can be tough add a moving subject and well you better have a lot of film or lots of memory left on your card. These Chalcedon checkerspot butterflies and about 30 more were in heaven!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Time to travel

If anyone ever ask you when is a good time to travel I say the best response is NOW! Whenever I get a chance to jump in my truck or on a plane to go someplace, anyplace I go. I was reminded of a trip I took a few years back to Thailand and Cambodia when my friend sent me an email saying get some money together and come on over. So I now find myself checking airfare.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Green Creek adventure

When I find a photo op it usually means that there are multiple images waiting to be created. Here is one of the spots and lucky me I had a video camera along with me.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Back hiking!

I love being around flowing water it doesn't matter if its the waves of the ocean a small creek or raging rapids get me there and I feel at home. After spending the last 6 months sitting around due to an injury I finally got the okay to go hiking! So I packed up my gear and headed to the Sierra Nevada Mountians to recharge my adventure batteries. I even took a nice little dip in this stream (look for the image here later.) I'm refreshed and ready to go back out for another hike......

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Gallery living

Every artist views his/her materials as something different. Recently I have been crawling into my sleeping bag and falling asleep in a studio that host a variety of different artist from metal workers and jewelry makers to world class wood workers. Last night while I was relaxing two artist used the same metal bands from wine barrels to create two different works of art. Above Gustaf Rooth and Benjamin Lavender do what they do best...... Create!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mustang Sunset

I love working in Natural light with moving objects. The constantly changing conditions keep me on my toes or belly in the case of this 2010 Shelby Ford Mustang Gt 500. You need to have a lot of trust in the driver if you are going to lay down flat on the ground as he comes zooming past you in a mustang with 540 horses! Oh and a long lens!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New show

Come on out this Thursday the 13th from 7-close and see some of my work and enjoy a nice cold one at the Main Tap located at 518 E Main St El Cajon, CA 92020

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Washington Canyoneering

One of the hardest parts of photographing a canyon descent is finding the right point of view. Often times you are shooting from the the top looking down or the bottom looking up. On this occasion I was able to find a little covey just about 10 feet below the lip of the fall and I was able to get there safely. I never risk the integrity of the group for the photo.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Summit Creek, Washington

I get the opportunity to descend a lot of canyons but I don't always have the time to set up and photograph the calm beauty of them. On this trip I did, after spending the day before photographing the descent I had a few hours early in the morning to snap a few shots before moving on to the next adventure.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The end of the day.

I try to always have my camera with me because you never know when you will get an opportunity to capture a memorable moment. I had spent all day helping to set up a 600 ft zip line for a TV show and my reward a beautiful view of the Channel Islands as the sun was setting.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

From the Sidewalk

As photographers more often then not we leave the comforts of our homes with a specific image in our minds. But we don't always create that image. I left my house last night thinking of a tree I scouted earlier and how I was going to photograph it. When I got to the tree it just didn't feel right so I drove past it. First to a one spot then another without even taking my camera out of its comfortable spot. I decided to try one more place before heading home and found a shot that defined my evening perfectly, a midnight Fisherman! Like me he was casting and waiting for the perfect catch. Thank you Mr. Fisherman!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

From the Sidewalk

5:45a.m Ocean Beach California. I pulled up to the pier and looked out over the ocean. I don’t think the ocean had woken up yet. The salt water lapped at the shore like ripples in a pond. A few lone surfers sat waiting for their day to begin and I sat on the boardwalk watching the ocean slowly stretch and wake from its slumber….. Living on the west coast I forget sometimes how beautiful the ocean can be early in the morning and I end up only photographing it at sunset. So last night when I saw a nearly full moon I thought about the possibility of an A.M pier and moon image. I was up early like a good photographer and on my way. However Mother Nature had a different image in mind and covered the setting moon in clouds. I didn’t mind much I was still enjoying the serenity of the ocean and had forgotten about the sleeping city behind me. I sat back and relaxed for a bit before I finally broke out the camera and fired off a few frames. This image is one of the first for a new series entitled ‘From the Sidewalk.’

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Breakfast with a View

When it comes to sitting down and eating breakfast I have been lucky enough to have had some beautiful scenery to enjoy. Here is a photo of Brett Holman doing just that, enjoying some eggs and the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Enjoying the rappel

San Antonio Falls flows down from Mount Baldy in Southern California and its always a fun descent. As I was deciding the next image to post on the blog I thought I better show some of the women that enjoy the thrill and challenges of canyoneering. Here is Michelle Carlson on the last rappel of San Antonio falls. I was able to climb up the canyon wall a little bit and shoot back across to catch her enjoying the rappel. This image also made it into the pages of Women's Health a few years back. Enjoy the summer!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Somewhere in a pool of water....

I won't say much about this image except we were on location filming a documentary on the sport of canyoneering when I took this image. Tell me what you think.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fall colors

While hiking up to West Lake in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains I stopped often to snap images of the fall colors and to just relax and enjoy the beauty.  I know most times when we go looking for fall colors we want an image that shows the entire mountain side covered with oranges, yellows and reds but we forget to simplify.  I try to always find a few images that show that beauty up close.  This is one of those images.  I hope you enjoy it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Zion National Park

Zion National park is one of the most beautiful places I have explored.  This image was taken near the Subway in Zion.  After a steep hike down the canyon wall and a long hike on a poorly marked trail fellow photographer Brett Holman ( and myself finally got to the section named the Subway.  We explored for a few hours waiting for the light to be just right but it never was.  We decided it would be best to be there at an early time so we started the long trek out.  Along the way out I was able to create this image of flowing water.  Often times when first exploring a new area its hard to determine when the best light is.  As photographers we learn that morning light and evening light is the usually the best. But in Zion where canyon walls shoot straight up for a thousand feet sometimes noon allows for the best image.  My suggestion give yourself a time to explore the same spot a few days in a row.