Grand Teton

I was traveling on my motorcycle to a campground that was located right off Jenny lake near the Grand Teton mountains when these clouds started appearing. I didn’t want to stop since I was so close to the campground and I knew that I needed to set up my tent once I got there. But I just couldn’t pass up this shot though, so I ended up pulling off to the side of the road to snap this one off. This route through Wyoming is hands down, one of the most beautiful drives that I have done. I went through the middle of Yellowstone to get here and this was my next stop. These mountains are one of those places is hard to believe how amazing it is until you actually see it. The clouds just added to the drama of the scene. I took this with my Nikon D810 mounted on a tripod. There are 5 bracketed photos for this shot and used luminosity masks in Photoshop CS6 in order to get the lighting I was looking...

Horseshoe Bend

While visiting Page, Arizona to check out Antelope Canyon, I also ended up stopping at Horseshoe Bend. This was right off one of the main roads going into Page and it was a really short hike, probably about a mile and a half or so. This is an pretty iconic spot for photographers because of the way the Colorado River loops around the canyon. I lucked out on the day I went because it had been cloudy every other day that week and I thought for sure I wouldn’t be able to catch a glimpse of the sunset, but fortunately the clouds broke at the right time. It was fairly packed for a weekday night and there were photographers lined up throughout this spot. I was able to squeeze between a couple that were right where I wanted to be without obstructing there view. I took about 7 different exposures for this shot because of the difference in lighting between the sky and the ground. I wanted to get as much detail as possible in this case. You can actually see a group of rafters at the bottom of the canyon if you look closely. I edited this photo in CS6 and used Nik Color Efex Pro which is now free since Google bought them out. Hope you like the...

Catalina Island

I recently took a short vacation that I had been long awaiting ever since I came to California, to Catalina Island. I never was able to get too much time off or would always forget about it when I did but fortunately I finally had the chance. Just a few weeks before I leave on my cross country trip too. This is Avalon, the port that we went to and I’m sure most people visit when they go here. This beach is called Crescent Beach for a reason and it is hard to do this place justice in just a single photography. But it was like a little vacation paradise. All the shops were owned by locals and it literally takes about an hour to drive around the whole island on a golf cart. So needless to say it is very small. Two days here was plenty of time to see everything though and I was fortunate enough to be able to snag this shot before it was too late. That little coliseum looking structure is called the casino although it isn’t actually a casino. It has a movie theater, a ballroom, and a island art and history museum. The reason why it is called the casino is because in Italian, casino means a gathering place. I took this shot on the side of a road that skirted the island. This is made up of 5 exposure and I used Luminosity masks for blending. Hope you like the...

Balloon Dog

After about four months of waiting, I was finally able to visit The Broad, in downtown Los Angeles over Valentine’s Day. This museum had just recently opened and ever since I learned about it’s conception, I had been looking forward to visiting here. This museum was created by by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad and offers free admission. The only tricky part is that it is so popular that you have to reserve your tickets months in advance. Represented here in this photos is Balloon Dog by Jeff Koons. This is one of the pieces that I had really wanted to see along with Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room which, come to find out, you need a different reservation for. Fortunately I was able to get it and get in almost four hours later…still worth it though. There were a lot of great pieces of modern art here and it was definitely one of the most interesting and coolest museums I have been to. I have pictures of the Infinity Room but I found that these photos turned out better, not to mention a giant balloon dog is fun to look at. There was nothing crazy done with this photo. I tried to take it when no one was in the area and also kept it as natural as possible in order to preserve the work of Jeff Koons as it was meant to be viewed. Hope you like the shot and get a chance to visit this awesome...

Leading Lines

It’s been a while since I have been out taking pictures and it has been even longer since I have posted any. Since I have gotten out of the Marine Corps and became a civilian I have been keeping pretty busy. Holding two jobs, a relationship, and keeping in touch with friends takes a lot of time but fortunately I was able to venture off the other day for a few hours to get some shots at this beach. This was shot at Corona Del Mar, my usual favorite spot to go to when I am short on time and I can’t travel too far. Every time I have visited this beach I have always gone to the area that is a little South of the beach that is next to the canal. This time I decided to try somewhere new and go a little further South past the second beach down that way. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. There were a whole bunch of different spots like the one shown in this picture where the rocks were leading into the water and it was amazing. The only down side was it was a little more crowded than my usual spot and I found myself fighting for a spot to take pictures with other photographers. Usually when I take photos at the beach I face towards the sunset, but this time I tried something different. There was a nice rock formation that was a little further out in the water that I really like and I wanted to include that in my picture, so instead of facing the sunset I actually faced away from it and I found that the colors were just as gorgeous and unique. This is a standard 5...

Balloon Glowing Jun06

Balloon Glowing

A little over a week ago a friend had told me about the Temecula Balloon and Wine Festival. Unbeknownst to me, I decided to check it out. Turns out it is this really cool event that is held in Temecula yearly. It took place over at Lake Skinner, just through Wine Country. The General Admission tickets get you into the event and even let you attend the concert at night (which I didn’t even realize prior to it starting). Once you are in you get to look around and go to shops or do what my friend and I did and just go straight to buying tickets for alcohol. The price isn’t terrible and you get to try all different kinds which is really cool. After being at the festival for a few hours, the Balloon Glowing started. I brought my camera specifically for this opportunity. I had never been to one so I literally Googled how to shoot a balloon glowing prior to coming. I didn’t find much advice unfortunately. So what method did I use? Shoot a crap load of pictures of course. Well…with at least some intention. I wanted minimal people in the picture and I wanted every balloon lit up from the flames as well. Now getting the balloons all lit up wasn’t too hard since all I had to do was wait for each one and snap a few pictures each, the people were a different story. It was pretty crowded around here and I still don’t have a wide angle lens so I couldn’t really get in front of everyone and get all the balloons in at the same time. So instead I literally took close to 100 images and masked the people out one by one. Quite...

Palm Tree Forest Feb14

Palm Tree Forest

Found this palm tree forest right off the road on our way to Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch. We weren’t going to stop initially but I thought that it was so cool how symmetrical everything was and I really liked how the trees looked all lined up with each other. I’m not exactly sure what they were growing all these pine trees for to be honest but I didn’t really care either. I just though it was nice to look at. There was a fence around the whole forest that blocked off people from going in so I ended up taking this picture from the edge of that fence. We just pulled over in the car and I set up my tripod and shot away. I wanted to get the right angle so I could show just how aligned all these trees were. They all even looked about the same size. It was really cool. Throughout this cross-California trip with my sister, we encountered some really cool things. One day we were driving through the mountains and hit the worst fog I had ever seen. You literally couldn’t see five feet in front of the car, it was nuts. Because it was so bright when I took this shot, I had to take a few extra exposures so that I could get the full range of light that I wanted in the final picture. I find that thinking about the end product when you are taking pictures is very important because you need to know what exactly you need to be able to complete that goal. I used my recently adopted technique of luminosity masks and combined the light values from the other exposures. I edited the whole photo in Photoshop CS6 and did adjustments...

Golden Gate Bridge

It had been almost two years at this point since I had been back to San Francisco. Needless to say, I was really looking forward to this trip out here. My sister and I came here on a holiday weekend and if you have ever been on a holiday weekend, you know just how packed it gets. This day was no exception. The route up to this lookout point had a ridiculous amount of traffic and we thought for sure that with how close we were to the sun going down and it starting to get dark, that we were going to miss our opportunity. Fortunately we found an alternated route under the mountain through a tunnel that was supposedly closed that made getting back up the mountain much faster. Also, we ended up renting an SUV so we were able to just ride over the curb on the side and park on top of it. We ended up making it with enough time to spare. This is one of my favorite viewpoints of Golden Gate Bridge because it really is the quintessential view you picture when you think of the bridge. It had been so foggy all day that we couldn’t even see the bridge when we were standing at the start of it. Lucky for us, it ended up clearing up sometime in the early evening and some clouds even began rolling in which added to the scene. I took various shots of the bridge from when it was brighter out to when it became darker and I liked this one the best. I think what made this one my favorite was because of the lamps that were lit up all along the bridge and all the car trails that you can...

McWay Falls

If you have ever been to California and for some reason haven’t visited the Big Sur Coastline then another trip is in order. This is one of the most beautiful drives that I have ever taken and I highly suggest. This was another one, of many spots, that my sister and I visited. If you travel up Highway 1, you are bound to run into this beautiful spot. This is McWay Falls. I had visited this spot the first time I traveled the coast but it was in the middle of the day when I got here and the harsh light didn’t do this spot justice, so I never ended up posting a picture. Fortunately, this time I had arrived at exactly the right time. It was literally less than 1 minute after sunset that we arrived here. I was booking it in our little rental SUV in order to get here with enough light. I was so relieved when I found that we had just made it. Upon arriving, I quickly setup my tripod and started snapping away. Turns out that I even had some time to spare because it wasn’t until a few minutes after I had started shooting that some of the best light came out. The sky started turning that warm orange glow, and all that harsh light that was splayed on the rocks had disappeared. I bracketed 3 photos as usual and applied luminosity masks to them in Photoshop. If you have any questions or comments about my technique or my work then feel free to...

Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch Jan25

Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch...

If you have ever been along Route 66 then I’m sure that you are familiar with where this shot was taken. This is the Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch. This is conveniently located in the middle of nowhere just Northeast of Los Angeles. My sister and I were on our way up North to visit Yosemite and Sequoia National Park and we figured we would go a little out of the way to take a stop here. Coming here from South Los Angeles, it seemed like there was a bit of driving with not much around. The town that this is actually located in was so small that I would imagine everyone knows everyone. I didn’t see any signs when we were looking for the spot where this was so we had to keep our eyes out. Once you get near it though it is hard to miss. This plot of someone front yard that this historic site is actually located in was larger than I had imagined. There were hundreds of bottles setup on little tree like arrangements that were made of re-bar. There was even an old broken down jeep inside that just added to the vintage effect. It was really bizarre and interesting to see at the same time. There were only two other people there when we first showed up who left soon after and the rest of the time we were on our own. I definitely suggest visiting it if you are in the area or going on a trip across Route 66. I took this shot mounted on a tripod with a remote shutter release. I shot directly into the sun because I wanted to filter the sunlight through the bottles so I could make them light up and bring...