Outside and Empty Places with Josh

Josh and I decided to go explore the the woods as well as a small pump house that I remembered. It was funny looking at these after the shoot. I didn't realize how tough work boots make someone look. Not that Josh isn't tough, just seemed like he doesn't project that side of his personality when he is talking with me. Really comes through in these images, but I couldn't see it through the lens. Maybe because we were laughing a lot. Can't wait to shoot him again.

Best hair ever.

Best hair ever.

Night Skates with Brandon Nguyen.

We've unintentionally been doing a tour of skates spots in San Mateo county. 

It started out in El Granada / Half Moon Bay along Highway 1. After Brandon told me about it, I read an article about the project to put a skate ramp in a dusty squarish piece of ground, right off the highway that probably serves as parking for when Mavericks is running. In some of the shots that I posted earlier, you can see the giant radar "golf ball" that dominates the point, off of which, when a big storm rages in the Pacific, the Mavericks waves are pushed 30, 40, sometimes 60 feet high by the reef below. Kind of a fitting for the wave of half-pipe.

But if I back up a little further, I met Brandon when he set up the skate board I bought last summer? The summer before? I'm not actually sure. He knows Kay, so he gave me a discount on the board which fits in so well with his personality. Really nice even if you barely know him, really patient with stupid questions, really willing to let me fumble around with my camera as he skates the shit out of wherever we are. He lets me know where to be to get the good skate shot, he tells me the names of the tricks which sound like they're spoken in a language that would have been developed  by the lost British boys in Lord of the Flies. Fakie, ollie, 50-50 grind, feeble, kick-flip, backside air.

So, of course, he was gracious enough to indulge me when I had an idea for a cool skate shot. A shot I have yet to get, by the way. I tried that first evening in Half Moon Bay, and failed.

After that I basically asked him to give me a heads up if he's skating in the area and he always does. And those are the photos below. First at the Foster City skatepark, then over at Shoreview.

We also always seem to shoot the shit a lot while we're doing this. Probably because I'm jealous of his life and want to know all the little details of what it's like to be a skater. This sometimes is hindered by the fact that I don't want to sound like a little high school nerd asking the popular cool kid dumb questions. Who wants to look dumb in front of the cool kid?

Anyway, was an awesome pleasure to get to shoot and to hang out with Brandon over the last few months. He's headed to on a trip to go skate the castles of Japan for November. Hopefully we'll get to try and take the shot I want when he gets back. And he's not really skating the castles of Japan, just skating in Japan. Or maybe he is... I have no idea. That would actually be really cool if he was.

And a few nights later, Shoreview Skatepark.

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Sunset Skate with Brandon Nguyen

I was on a quest to get a shot that I thought would be really cool. I failed. But I got some fun shots as consolation prizes.

Brandon Nguyen who, if you don't know, is an amazing local skater, sponsored by Adidas, works at Atlas Skate Shop, world traveler, etc., was cool enough to help me try to get the shot. What I had in mind was him, in flight, against a spiral or star trails. Yes, I could easily make the shot in Photoshop, but where's the challenge of that. I wanted it in camera.

He knew of a decent half-pipe just off Highway 1 in Half Moon Bay, so we met out there right around sunset.

I made a few misjudgments (putting the tripod on the ramp (it moved, duh), not compensating for as much light pollution as there was, and maybe the flashes set at too low power), so I didn't get what I wanted, but still got some shots that I really like. And Brandon was super cool and patient letting me try different things. You should follow him on Instagram as he has one of the coolest handles, @tokyo_school_girls.

We'll try again. I really liked combining the different types of photography I'm into, astrophotography, skate photography, etc. Maybe I'll get him to skate naked next time to combine even more genres. Haha.

 

Launching above the evening traffic on Highway 1.

Launching above the evening traffic on Highway 1.

With the Pacific and the Half Moon Bay golf ball in the background.

With the Pacific and the Half Moon Bay golf ball in the background.

Testing the setup with Kay.

Testing the setup with Kay.

Lift off.

Lift off.

Get a massage from these guys.

I shot Tyrell before. This time he brought his buddy Josh to Wrinkled Sheet Studio. They both are massage therapists and Josh wanted a few shots for his site: www.mannbodywork.com. They're good guys, funny, and warm. Book em!

Josh.

Josh.

He's doing a post on shoulder work on his blog soon. Check it out.

He's doing a post on shoulder work on his blog soon. Check it out.

Relaxing after the shoot.

Relaxing after the shoot.

Darker places.

Some shots from a the road trip I took this week...

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Mount Lassen, California.

Mount Lassen, California.

Kay on the Oregon coast.

Kay on the Oregon coast.

Eureka, California.

Eureka, California.

Oregon farm.

Oregon farm.

Long train chugging through the Sierras in California.

Long train chugging through the Sierras in California.

Abandoned train tunnel, Donner Summit, California.

Abandoned train tunnel, Donner Summit, California.

Kay on Donner Summit.

Kay on Donner Summit.

Spider, Oregon coast.

Spider, Oregon coast.

Star Trails and the Milky Way

This summer I was going to try and finally get a decent Milky Way shot. But in the SF bay area you have a lot to contend with. I mean, the moon of course. I love that my Apple Watch shows me the phases of the moon. Then there is light pollution, and when you get out to a place where it's darker (usually nearer the coast), you have the fog to deal with as it floats in at night to obscure that faint bruise of stars and rocks and gas. 

Don't get me wrong. I love the fog. I mean, really love it. Not sure if it's my northern european skin longing to be where it belongs, or if it's just that I run very hot, but that natural air conditioning spilling over the coastal hills in the afternoon is one of my favorite things.

Not only is it beautiful and ominous as it stacks up like snow drifts along Skyline Blvd., it's also what keeps the bay area from turning into a desert.

But I digress. And to shorten what would turn into an even longer story, suffice it to say that I got lucky a couple nights, the moon was new, the light pollution slightly muted out on Alpine Road, and the fog... I just got incredibly lucky one night.

This night, I saw the fog rolling in and gave up halfway down the road. Decided to grab the sunset and some passing cars up on Skyline.

This night, I saw the fog rolling in and gave up halfway down the road. Decided to grab the sunset and some passing cars up on Skyline.

Barely any fog, but a full moo, haha. The cars on Highway 1 made for a cool, fiery line in the trees though.

Barely any fog, but a full moo, haha. The cars on Highway 1 made for a cool, fiery line in the trees though.

So I turned the camera north and got star trails. The lights are Half Moon Bay.

So I turned the camera north and got star trails. The lights are Half Moon Bay.

Wasn't even going for Milky Way here. Star Trails above the Golden Gate was cool enough.

Wasn't even going for Milky Way here. Star Trails above the Golden Gate was cool enough.

First decent Milky Way. That's Crystal Springs Reservoir which marks the San Andreas fault line. The fog was politely waiting on the hills. The plane emerging from that fog in the far right of the photo was pretty surreal. This is barely out of the city, so pretty surprising that you can see this at all.

First decent Milky Way. That's Crystal Springs Reservoir which marks the San Andreas fault line. The fog was politely waiting on the hills. The plane emerging from that fog in the far right of the photo was pretty surreal. This is barely out of the city, so pretty surprising that you can see this at all.

Finally this night. I got this shot right away off Alpine Road...

Finally this night. I got this shot right away off Alpine Road...

But then the fog started to fill the small valley below me and splash up over the side in front of me giving all the stars a fuzzy glow. I was pretty upset and thought, oh well, that's over, might as well turn the camera and get some trails.

But then the fog started to fill the small valley below me and splash up over the side in front of me giving all the stars a fuzzy glow. I was pretty upset and thought, oh well, that's over, might as well turn the camera and get some trails.

This is about 10 minutes. Why only ten minutes? When you're out in the middle of the woods, the dark dark woods, every sound becomes very... well, creepy. I literally started to freak myself out. I swear I heard a woman cough somewhere in the tree. I about shit myself. When the sounds can be explained (in my mind at least) as sounds animals would make, I usually just clap my hands loudly, maybe shine my phone light in the direction of the noise to scare off whatever is rustling through. But when they are human sounds... oh fuck that. Get me out of there. You'll notice a bit of light in the lower right on the trees. This is where, finally, a car came and drove right at me, parked right in front of my car. I was thinking, well this is it, this is how I die. Some backwoods maniac is going to hack me up and toss me into the bowl of fog below. Then this old guy hops out of the car and says, "Hi, taking some pictures? Sorry, just gotta pick up my can," as he walks over to a large plastic garbage can that I was only vaguely aware of next to me. "Should have picked it up hours ago." I burbled some vague responses, a smattering of relieved, nervous laughter and bid him farewell as he packed the "can" into the back of his car and drove off into the dark trees, turning his lights on only after he was out of the photo. But, as he was futzing around, I noticed the fog had retreated a bit back down into the valley. I could see the galaxy again. So I took a bunch of shots.

This is about 10 minutes. Why only ten minutes? When you're out in the middle of the woods, the dark dark woods, every sound becomes very... well, creepy. I literally started to freak myself out. I swear I heard a woman cough somewhere in the tree. I about shit myself.

When the sounds can be explained (in my mind at least) as sounds animals would make, I usually just clap my hands loudly, maybe shine my phone light in the direction of the noise to scare off whatever is rustling through. But when they are human sounds... oh fuck that. Get me out of there.

You'll notice a bit of light in the lower right on the trees. This is where, finally, a car came and drove right at me, parked right in front of my car. I was thinking, well this is it, this is how I die. Some backwoods maniac is going to hack me up and toss me into the bowl of fog below. Then this old guy hops out of the car and says, "Hi, taking some pictures? Sorry, just gotta pick up my can," as he walks over to a large plastic garbage can that I was only vaguely aware of next to me. "Should have picked it up hours ago." I burbled some vague responses, a smattering of relieved, nervous laughter and bid him farewell as he packed the "can" into the back of his car and drove off into the dark trees, turning his lights on only after he was out of the photo.

But, as he was futzing around, I noticed the fog had retreated a bit back down into the valley. I could see the galaxy again. So I took a bunch of shots.

Light pollution was still pretty bad, but still pretty cool what I got given the millions of people who live right over the hill.

Light pollution was still pretty bad, but still pretty cool what I got given the millions of people who live right over the hill.

Naked Davenport with Luis

Been following Luis on Instagram for a while. He's an explorer and I noticed we were exploring some of the the same areas, but he was discovering much cooler parts, abandoned, tagged with graffiti, etc. And he was getting some great shots, as well as selfies that didn't look like selfies.

So one day we were both looking for something to do and decided to explore Davenport. California coast is so amazing and with his added affirmation that, "I don't care. I'll get naked right here," I knew we would get some interesting stuff.

If nudity and/or penises offend you, please navigate to another page now. :)

I love the post-apacolyptic feel of this shot with the pier skeleton in the water.

I love the post-apacolyptic feel of this shot with the pier skeleton in the water.

More butt, but now in color!

More butt, but now in color!

One of the crumbling structures we found.

One of the crumbling structures we found.

Tarzaning.

Tarzaning.

When you're holding it, does that cross from art to porn? Or is it the blissful expression on his face?

When you're holding it, does that cross from art to porn? Or is it the blissful expression on his face?

He also has some pretty sick ink.

He also has some pretty sick ink.

Best location was last, but I was rushing my shots, because we probably weren't supposed to be in there. But what a great place to shoot.

Best location was last, but I was rushing my shots, because we probably weren't supposed to be in there. But what a great place to shoot.

Ty at Wrinkled Sheet

Ty hitch-hiked across the U.S., booked a ticket on the QEII to London, bussed it through France and Spain down to Africa, to work for an organization that helps protect Lions, Gorillas, Bats, to name a few, in Kenya. He's hitch-hiked all over the country including Alaska and as a result has some great stories to tell and a healthy outlook on life.