Gone Fishin’

Venice Beach Street Photography

Sometimes I liken photography to fishing. You just have to pick your spot and be patient. I know I’m not the first to make the analogy, but it’s often fitting. With varying success I’ve waited in one spot for close to an hour at times, hoping something would materialize in front of a background I’d found interesting. Some serious nature photographers have been known to stay in one spot for days. Yesterday an opportunity to go fishing arose after a rare hailstorm visited Venice Beach. The weather, which lasted all of 5 minutes, was enough to get me outside, but didn’t itself yield any great images. But the late-afternoon, white winter light light mixed with the overcast skies and freshly soaked pavement motivated me to stay out a while longer looking for photos. One of the first things to catch my eye was a beam of light illuminating some corner shops on the boardwalk, causing their bright yellow signage pop out against the dark, grey-blue skies behind them. I knew the spot would make for a great image if something interesting passed by and decided anchor myself, to continue the analogy, and see what would happen. A couple skaters passed by as well as a group of pedestrians who, after the rain, had reemerged in search of rainbows. I made some decent frames over the course of a few minutes before a cloud passed in front of the sun, taking the life out of my background. I figured that might be it and nearly moved on. That’s when I looked to my left and and spotted a couple walking my way pushing a bulldog in a pink-lined baby stroller. I decided to stay put. Just as they approached the sun re-emerged and everything lined up and I reeled in a big one. Okay, that’s enough of that. The point being, it’s nice when you put in the time and are rewarded with a nice fish. Er, photo.

The Stoop


“Want to buy a cookie?” a group of voices asked in unison, startling my wife and me. This was a few months ago and happened just as we were strolling home along Windward Avenue in Venice. Looking just to our right we saw a couple guys smiling through a rectangular hole in a whitewashed fence. On a platform above them, seated in lawn chairs were a couple young women in shorts and tank tops. After living off the boardwalk for so many years and regularly being approached by many random people asking for many random things, our initial instinct was to say no thanks without missing a step. Something about this was different though, and two steps after saying our rote “No, thanks,” we both stopped. “What was that?” I asked as we turned around. A blonde, long-haired surfer-looking guy named Kyle gave us the pitch from behind the counter.

“We’re farmers from Michigan, and we’re selling vegan, organic cookies using the wheat grown on our family farm,” he said, pointing to a display of four, slightly round drop cookies situated in front of him while holding up a glass jar full of whole grain wheat. “This is my apartment, and we do all of the prep and cooking in my kitchen. Want to try a sample?”

“Uh, sure,” we said. Why not? I could think of a couple reasons. However, they also informed us they were operating legally under a recently passed cottage food industry law that allowed the sale of l0w-risk foods, such as baked goods, to be prepared in people’s home kitchens and sold directly to the public. Another blonde, long-haired, surfer-type, who we learned was Kyle’s slightly older brother Wes, dropped back into the darkness and returned a moment later with a plate of small, pie-shaped samples of all of the cookies. We tasted as we talked.

“Where are you from in Michigan?” Erinn inquired. The cookies were good. Not incredibly sweet, but not bad for something described as vegan and organic and cooked by a couple of dudes in a studio apartment. They were from Custer, a small town of less than 300, halfway up the western side of the mitten. We told them Erinn’s brother-in-law was from Hart, only a few miles from there, and that we were going to be visiting her sister in Grand Rapids in just six weeks. “Cool beans,” Kyle said. Wes mentioned that at least one of them was going to go back in a month to help their dad with farming duties. We finished our samples, and they asked if we wanted to buy anything. I felt obliged at this point, but neither of us were carrying cash and the cookies were $3 a piece. “It’s okay. We take cards,” Kyle said with a shrug. I bought an oatmeal raisin and a peanut butter.

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Join me at the 2015 Venice Art Walk!

I’m very excited to be showing work during the 2015 Venice Art Walk’s Open Studio Tours this year. It’s a great event that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to help the Venice Family Clinic provide medical care to 20,000 low-income, homeless and uninsured patients. If you’re in the LA area please join us at the 1320Main Studios (1320 Main Street, Venice, CA) between 12-4pm. Again, big thanks to my sponsors, Printologie, who printed most of the show, and Venice’s Universal Art Gallery, who did an amazing job framing! Please visit them for any printing or framing needs.

Hope to see you Sunday!

2015 Venice Art Walk

California Rambling

Sunken City San Pedro

Whether for assignments or fun, I regularly travel throughout Southern California and constantly have a camera in hand. Here are some random images from recent travels throughout Southern California, ranging from San Pedro’s Sunken City, above, to Palmdale, Oceanside and San Onofre, which you can see after the jump…

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Truchas revisited

Double Exposure Southwestern Skull

Red Peppers

I’m happy to have found a couple of nice surprises after (finally) developing a couple of rolls I shot on a recently acquired 35mm Holga on my recent trip to Truchas, New Mexico. These are low-res, and sometimes scratchy (hopefully due to a cheap scanner and not a scratched emulsion), scans I had the lab include on a DVD, but will do for now. I hadn’t shot a Holga for years, but I loved the process of experimenting and not knowing exactly what I was getting. I’m heading out on the road again this weekend and will definitely bring it along!

Rock Shop Signs

Truchas Dog

Space shuttle and corn

Rio Grande Taos

Truck bed

Adobe Arch

Truchas Cross


Truchas Cars

Truchas sign


Scenes from San Onofre

San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant

Classic Volkswagon Beetle w/ Surfboards San Onofre

Tip for a great summer: self-assign a project revolving around surf culture. Even if the project’s a bust, at least you can spend a couple of days a week surfing and hanging at the beach and call it work. That’s been my plan this summer at least, and so far it’s yielded several great new photos and made me a slightly better surfer than I was a few months ago. These images have nothing to do with the project, but are just a couple I shot recently on an overcast day in San Onofre when I wasn’t making much progress otherwise. The San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant is an iconic landmark defining the south end of Surf Beach and has been in the news a lot lately following Southern California Edison’s recent decision to permanently shutter it after having provided power to SoCal since 1968. How the state will fill the void in the region’s power supply or how they will eventually dismantle the facility contains is anybody’s guess, but it’s pretty likely the soon-to-be abandoned plant will continue to mark the shoreline for years to come. Also, Surf Beach is the closest thing you’ll find if you’re looking for that classic 1950’s “Surfin’ USA” feeling, and is a great place to come see classic beach cars, from VW Vanagons to Woodies, and in this case, a beat up old Beetle. I couldn’t help but grab a shot as I left the beach one day last week. With several more weeks of summer left and probably several months of good surfing weather left after August, I’m planning on keeping this project going as long as possible!