After a weekend in wine country we decided to take a drive back via the Sonoma coast. I remembered that there were sometimes bald eagles by the Russian River in Jenner, so we swung by to see. There were a couple down by the harbor seals, but they were too far away to get a decent shot. When they flew up to an old fallen tree on the beach I realized if I was quick in getting round to Goat Rock Beach I might catch them from the other side. I crept along the beach until I was close enough to get a shot. Just as I arrived, and with a break in the rain, they took off, but I managed one sharp shot at that exact moment. Some days you just get lucky.
A c90 MCMLXVI mixtape for blow up dolls.
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them."
Small Faces, Left Banke, The Kinks...
A c90 MCMLXXVI mixtape for taxi drivers.
"One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is, I think, to have a happy childhood."
Blue Öyster Cult, Thin Lizzy, Stevie Wonder...
Over the last couple of weekends I made two trips to Point Reyes. On the first I came across a beautiful great horned owl. After taking some photos I was really pleased with I promptly lost my memory card and the images are seemingly gone forever. Typically that would really bother me, but four incredible encounters with the wildlife later I was feeling truly grateful for my experiences.
In each occasion I was able to spend a lengthy period with each animal, watching from a reasonable distance and observing their behavior. Elephant seals tussling on the beach, a hawk scaring turkey vultures away from her kill, and a northern harrier surveying his land calmly from a rocky perch were special moments. My favorite, however, had to be the tiny burrowing owl standing over his underground nest. The photographs were worth every second lying in the wet grass.
This year on Instagram I created 135 posts and received a surprising 15,383 likes. I'm not ashamed to say that's a number I'm proud of. These numbers were generated by 2017bestnine.com. My favorite nine are shown below.
Arctic Monkeys — Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
The 1975 — A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships
Jungle — For Ever
Blossoms — Cool Like You
Gorillaz — The Now Now
DMAs — For Now
Matt Nathanson – Sings His Sad Heart
Johnny Marr — Call The Comet
Gruff Rhys — Babelsberg
Paul Weller — True Meanings
Close Quarters – Angus McAllister
Oasis the Truth: My Life as Oasis's Drummer – Tony McCarroll
Now You See It and Other Essays on Design – Michael Bierut
Elegantissima: The Design and Typography of Louise Fili – Louise Fili
Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity – Kim Scott
Draplin Design Co.: Pretty Much Everything – Aaron James Draplin
Any Road Will Get Us There (If We Don't Know Where We're Going) – Noel Gallagher and Sharon Latham
The American Soul: Rediscovering the Wisdom of the Founders – Jacob Needleman
Creating Signature Stories: Strategic Messaging that Energizes, Persuades and Inspires – David Aaker
Lost Cat – Jason
This week we’ve been visiting Nashville. The primary reason was for a wedding, and thankfully we got a day to explore and be tourists too. You can’t visit Music City without visiting a few honky tonks on Broadway (where we caught the amazing Johnny Hiland playing a cool set), and we had to check out the Country Music Hall of Fame too. As a designer though, the highlight for me was the Hatch Show Print tour.
Hatch have been producing beautiful letterpress designs and gig posters since the 1800s, and in all that time the technology has stayed pretty true to the traditional methods. As someone who’s been using a Mac for their entire design career it’s truly eye-opening to watch these designers concept, set up, and print their designs themselves without ever opening Photoshop.
As part of the tour we got to print our own small piece. It would have been great it we could have designed something ourselves, or even typeset our own names, rather than print the Hatch logo, but the experience was great.
A few weeks ago I talked about all the missteps I had trying to capture an image I was happy with for the Mill Valley Click-Off. The image above is the one I finally created on the last possible opportunity I had before the deadline. It wasn’t exactly the photo I set out to capture, but that’s the nature of, well, nature. It doesn’t always cooperate. And I was really happy with how it turned out.
This week the winners of the Click-Off were announced at a small ceremony. There were five categories and I’m honored to say I collected first prize in the Black and White category. It felt even better when I saw the quality of images. There were some amazing photographs included, and some very talented photographers taking part. I was also proud to have won in that specific category given that my photography is almost always in color.
I hadn’t entered any photography competitions before this year, but I’ve gained a ton of confidence having been selected for a monthly feature by Lee Filters, collected third prize in a Visit Marin competition, and now this recognition. I’m also really grateful for the encouragement from Allison too. Now I’m looking forward to what 2019 has in store.
A c90 MMVI mixtape for little miss sunshines.
"Opera? Just what the world needs: more fat women screaming."
Amy Winehouse, The Fratellis, Pop Levi...
This year I’ve had a lot to be thankful for, so on a very autumnal Thanksgiving weekend it was great to #optoutside and enjoy much that I have to be grateful for.
Shooting an image for the Mill Valley Click-Off competition really tested me! For my first attempt I went up Mount Tamalpais looking for a dramatic sunset image. The cloud cover made it difficult, and while I got a couple of images I liked in color, I didn’t manage to get one that felt right in black and white.
On my second stop I headed to San Pablo Bay looking for a sunrise shot. That got off to a bad start as the clocks went back that night and I mis-timed daybreak by an hour. Conditions weren’t great either and I new my window of opportunity for the competition was closing.
My third attempt was at Black Sands Beach in the Marin Headlands. I found a great composition, but the tide was moving in fast. Every time I got set up and began my long exposure a rogue wave would surge up the beach. I had a few lucky escapes with my camera until one wave drenched me up to the waist and my camera got soaked. I was very lucky it still worked the next morning.
In a final, desperate attempt I went back to Black Sands Beach the next day. I like the additional layer of meaning with black sand and white water on the theme of a black and white and white image. I’ll share the results of that image soon.
I recently entered a photography competition, the Mill Valley Click-Off. Competitors are randomly assigned a category by drawing a theme from a hat. My theme was ‘Black and White’. I was pretty enthusiastic about this as I could still shoot the kind of photos I love to take and have been evolving as style around, but It’s been years since I shot in black and white so it give me a chance to take it in a new direction.
The competition rules state that the photo needed to be taken in Marin County between two dates, so selecting something from my archive wouldn’t work. I thought it would be fun though to take some of my past images and revisit them in black and white for inspiration and get a better sense of what might work. Here’s a few of my favorites.
A c90 MMIII mixtape for lost translators.
"Success is having to worry about every damn thing in the world, except money."
The White Stripes, UNKLE, OutKast...
From the desert to the mountains in one week was quite a contrast. Winter is definitely on the way along the Tioga Pass Road in Yosemite. It was worth braving the cold though for these views from Tuolumne Meadows.
Another supernatural c90 halloween-themed mixtape for super creeps.
"You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of the mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!"
The Ventures, Sonic Youth, Rockwell...
Joshua Tree is a long drive from the Bay Area, but with a spare weekend I took a notion to go down there and try to photograph something different. It wasn’t as fruitful a trip as I planned, but, even with getting a bunch of cactus needles jammed in my leg, I’m still glad I went. It’s always special to see the Milky Way.
Today, up at Point Reyes, I pulled over at the side of the road and got my car firmly stuck in a ditch. Nothing I tried worked and I only succeeded in getting the wheels stuck further. There was no signal on my phone either so I had to walk across a few fields to reach a dairy farm and ask to use their phone. The one person working showed me to the office and I called AAA.
By the time they arrived and pulled me out I was tired, dusty, and frustrated. I was so close to calling it a day and going home, but something told me to keep going, and I’m so glad I did. I saw two norther harriers; one hunting low over a field, the other in a bush. For the second I waited patiently and caught it looking straight at the camera during takeoff. If that hadn’t been enough I came across a herd of elk, and coyote sleeping in a field. He got up, scratched, bathed, and went back to being a badass. Not bad for a day I almost quit on.
On a couple of occasions recently I’ve gone to Point Reyes to see what I could photograph, but it’s been the drive home through Inverness and Nicasio where I’ve been really inspired.
Point Reyes never disappoints. Some days I go up there and all the wildlife in the area comes out to say hello, and sometimes I’m just pausing to take a landscape shot, but even if nothing is leaping out at me it’s still a special place to be for a few hours. Luckily today there was a some inspiring wildlife and landscape opportunities.