Happy Trails

Location: Pacific Coast Valley - Big Sur, CA

happy trails

I can't do a place like this justice in photographs. 

a nice sunset

For these kind of moments you just have to experience it first-hand. 

pacific coast valley

Blue-hour at the Pacific Valley Bluff trail in Big Sur, CA.

coast valley at night

I hope some of these images will encourage you to take a long drive to somewhere you are curious about

Here's a link to the trail I took this images at.

Pizza Reaper

Location: Big Sur, CA / Settings: F7.1, ISO 100, 339 second exposure

The pizza-reaper was an idea my friend Jeff Morris said I should try out a few years ago. He's got a great drone video he just released called 'Above San Diego' that has some really unique shots - you should watch it.

Anyways, I liked his idea and tried a few photos years ago but they never came out quite the way I wanted - they were rough and un-practiced back then. 

Fast-forward a few years of practice and take that same idea to Big Sur, CA and now you have something worth looking at! Here's the fellow offering a slice, any takers?

You can download the wallpaper-size version of this image (iphone 6 size) in case you might want a pizza-reaper phone:

pizza-reaper wallpaper


Helter Skelter

Location: El Mirage, CA / Settings: (Composite of 13 images) F7.1 ISO 3200, 4 second exposures

I came to this location in order to try out some fun optical illusion ideas, but my focus switched after I saw the first bolt of lightning.

These images were shot at blue hour (after sunset) that's why the clouds have a purple hue to them.

For the Birds

Location: Bodega Bay, CA / Settings: (Composite) Light art at F8, ISO 100, 456 second exposure, stars at F2.8, ISO 3200, 15 seconds.

What trip up the coast of California can be complete without a look at one of the most iconic horror-film locations?

This historic schoolhouse in Bodega Bay used by Alfred Hitchcock in 'The Birds' was one of the places I thought my light-skeletons just had to visit.. Here they are with a few unwanted guests invading their group photo. 

Still made it to the church on time.

The best kind of Space-Invader

Location: Avila Sea Caves - San Luis Obispo, CA / Settings: F4.5, ISO 1600, 133 second exposure

space invader

This place is a short walk from the parking lot and I'm sure there was a lot more to explore if we had more time. 

For this shot, I used a black glove to hold a single G-technology rugged external hard-drive in place for roughly each pixel used in the notorious space-invader icon.

I shot with a fairly open aperture of F4.5 and an ISO set to 1600 because I wanted the ocean to be visible along with some nice and bright hard-drive pixels for my invader. In addition, I hit the entrance of the cave with a bit of pink and blue light to work with the black and blue invader.

Here's the location on a map in case you feel inspired to check it out for yourself:

location avila sea caves

This is the hard-drive I was using for each pixel in the invader, and yes it is on a sea-glass beach (different location than the invader):

G-tech drive glass beach

Two-tone Styracosaurus

Location: Bodega Bay, CA / Settings: (Composite) Light art at F8, ISO 100, 250 second exposure. Stars at F2.8, ISO 3200, 15 seconds.

After illustrating so many different dinosaurs, I'm happy to have found a new way to do the same thing. The two-tone colors and the myriad combinations they present make me stoked on creating a new style of light-fossils.. Upping the ante a bit I hope! 

Initially, I came to this spot in Bodega Bay because of it's unique geographic features and sweet views down the coast:

bodega bay location

You've got the beach on one side, bay on the other and walking distance between both. 

It's good to have options, and I wasn't as impressed with this view of the beach as I was with the back-lit sand and grass in the direction I had just walked in from. The ambient light from a nearby campground's street-lights were casting a yellowish light on the beach, which you can see here:

bodega beach

To sum up my feelings of Bodega Bay - it was a quiet historic town on the water, and a great place for seafood. More to come from this location.

Two-tone Parasaurolophus

Location: Big Sur, CA / Settings: F7.1, ISO 100, 270 second exposure

I've recently turned 32 and wanted to commemorate the passing of time (as I've done for every birthday since 30), so I took a trip up the coast of California with my girlfriend Astrobandit - 540 miles from Los Angeles to Fort Bragg. I will be sharing images from my trip over the next few weeks, and here is the first at the Riverside campground in Big Sur, CA. That water was cold!

Something to Bragg about

Location: Glass Beach - Fort Bragg, CA / Settings: F2.8, ISO 6400, 15 second exposure

Here's Astrobandit and I at the end of a long road-trip we took up the California Coast to Glass Beach at Fort Bragg, CA. It was cold and windy that night, so we were glad to have our Poler Napsacks - we went straight from our car to the beach wearing these warm and funky numbers.

Bone Dry

Location: Fossil Falls (Off Hwy 395) / Settings: (Composite of 2 images) Stars at F2.8, ISO 3200, 15 seconds / Light-painting at F8, ISO 100, 141 second exposure

This is one of those guided-by-intuition kind of spots, the kind that stick out like a sore thumb and curiosity gets the best of me, so I go in for closer inspection.

One of the more interesting aspects to this image besides the cool texture, is the lights glowing in the background.

If you want a good example for how light-pollution effects the landscape just look to Las Vegas (it's the strong background glow pictured here), over Death Valley national park and past some more desert over 140 miles away.

In Living Color

Location: Tree Tunnel - Point Reyes, CA / Settings: F3.5, ISO 800, 119 second exposure

This is one of those places every photographer wants to visit, and so many have already at different times of the day, dusk, dawn, and in the fog. 

However, when researching it - I hadn't seen a single photo of the tree tunnel at night - what a shame I thought! So, here's one.

Special thanks to the Ranger who parked his truck behind my camera and left his brake-lights on long enough to illuminate the long tunnel of trees with the brilliant red glow you see here. 

Tide-pools

Location: La Jolla, CA / Settings: F8, ISO 100, 196 second exposure

The texture at this spot in La Jolla, just south of the cove a few miles and popular tide-pools, reminds me of something you'd be looking at under a microscope rather than the life-size it is here.

It's interesting to see relations between the infinitely large and infinitely small, maybe we can learn something.

Another feature to this place is the abundance of tiny sea-snails, you can barely see them as small black specks surrounding the small pools. They were sharp enough to cut the bottom of my feet as I traversed the slick rock!

Drunk Boots

Location: Red Rock Canyon, CA / Settings: F8, ISO 100, 231 second exposure

Any man of age or not knows the best way to find their way home without remembering how they got there is to put on their drunk boots. It's like a compass of sorts where inebriated intuition takes hold and with any luck you will end up at home - across town or across the desert onto your neighbor's lawn. It won't be pretty, but drunk boots will get you home every time. 

Stairway to the Stars

Location: Waterpark - Lake Delores, CA / Settings: F8, ISO 100, 316 second exposure

Walking up this rail-less tower in the dark was sketchy enough, but add in some serious wind and now you have a real challenge.

Factors like the wind rarely come across in my long exposures, I'll try to velcro some fabric to posts next time for added effect.

Rainbow Plesiosaur

Location: Torrey Pines State Beach - San Diego, CA / Settings: F5.6, ISO 200, 292 second exposure.

This is a bit different from my other light-fossil work, this is the first one where I've used the full color spectrum.

The reason behind this is that I've been working on a new light-pen tool with the help of a 3d printing space in LA to make a light-pen that can toggle through colors of the rainbow with the click of your thumb as you draw - without changing writing tools or fidgeting with awkward buttons.

There's a long road ahead toward the goldilocks model of this tool, but it's well on it's way and you can start to see some of it's progress here. Very excited to share more about this project soon.

Ultra-violence

Location: Badwater Basin - Death Valley, CA / Settings: F11 at ISO 100, 608 second exposure

Blue hour in Death Valley is a great time to photograph and I selected Badwater Basin for it's notoriously cracked and flat expansive surface. Because this area is basically a huge deep bowl, it gets incredibly hot in the summer and even in Winter when we were shooting it was around 90 degrees out!

This translates to: not good for camera sensors. I had a difficult time cleaning up some of the noise for this exposure that took nearly ten minutes to shoot. That said, I'm pretty stoked on this ultra-violent creation.