Amsterdam as night falls. Some of these structures are hundreds of years old. I found that there were more than a few buildings that leaned a little to the side...kind of neat to look at. I'm using a wide angle lens here, so the edges of the photo are going to be a little rounded, but you can still see the way the buildings tilt in and away from each other. The illuminated dark blue sky behind these buildings looks supernatural because it is. There are hundreds of bars, cafes, and shops that light up the sky.
Saturday in Leiden. I set up on this little bridge over a canal to get a shot of a cathedral off in the distance. If you look closely on the horizon you can see it. It was the center point of this viewpoint when I was zoomed in, but right after I checked my exposure readings, this row team came up quickly, so I used the wide angle to catch the boat...lost the cathedral.
Amsterdam at dusk. The sight seeing boats are put to rest and the night crowd fills the streets. You can't hear it in this photo, obviously, but just behind these buildings is a buzzing energy of nightlife...pubs, restaurants, coffee shops, waffle shops, smoke shops.
Leiden, Netherlands. Every once in awhile, there will be a house boat parked on the side of the canal. From far away, it doesn't look ideal to live in, but when you get closer and look inside, these are as comfy as any apartment. I'd love to live on one of these!
Ordinary view from a canal in Leiden, Netherlands. The city is built around the canal system as far as the topography or architectural design is concerned, though the canals are hardly used as much as you'd think. I imagine they had a greater purpose years ago when bikes and cars were unimagined, but now they are mostly left for eyes to admire. Coffee shops and restaurants line the canals, perfect for sipping a cappuccino. But they don't dominate the territory. Chances are if you live in an apartment in Leiden, you have a front row seat in your living room.
Road Trip Roadkill
Very sad, but I never pass the chance to see a hawk up close, even if it is roadkill.
Road Trip Sanctuary
This random sanctuary had burning candles inside, miles away from any residence or human life.
Road Trip Beach Umbrellas vs Sky
Rocky Point, Mexico
Road Trip Cactus 1
Out of the thousands of cactus, this ones seemed to grow as much sideways as it did upwards. All the others resembled scarecrows.
Road Trip shack with satellite
This shack cant have running water and it's about the size of half a bedroom, but it has a satellite on top. Unbiased to whether it is a good or bad thing.
Road Trip Dunes 5
About 200 feet off the road near Arizona, I had about 15 minutes to run around before we had to get on our way. I'm going back with more time for sure!
Road Trip Dunes 4
Road Trip Dunes 2
Road Trip Dunes 3
Road Trip Dunes_
Friends at Joshua Tree
I was lucky enough to go to Joshua Tree with these four wonderful souls. I tried not to bother them too much with photos, but they agreed to pose as the sun was going down the first night. I had a great time guys! Thank you
Panther's Gold Coast
I ran outside with my friend "Panther" to catch the sunset. Nothing too naturally spectacular about it, so we experimented with Lightroom. She favored a more gold setting. Being surfers, we've both seen enough combined sunsets to know this is supernatural, but I like it.
I was on a "rain or shine" shoot that ended up being by the beach. Because it was raining a bit harder than we imagined, we decided to take the photoshoot indoors. The rain finally stopped about 15 minutes before the sun disappeared, so we ran outside to catch the final clouds of the storm, pass. It was as though the sun fought the battle of it's life against the storm...then 15 minutes later, went to sleep. Beautiful to see in person!
Leiden, Netherlands. An outdoor market opens up along one of the main canals every wednesday and saturday. Fresh farmed goods are brought to town for sale. Cheese is as popular as anything to the locals here. How would you display that you have goat cheese for sale...with a handwritten sign? And no, the porcelain goat wasn't for sale. Bummer.
Early morning harbor 2
Early morning harbor
Stormy Break 2
Nearly lost all my equipment to an oncoming wave, a few seconds after I snapped this photo. I had to get this angle. I waited and timed the swells just right before running out to snap it. Seconds later a huge blast from a wave came right at me. I've learned my lesson with this location...I need better weather proofing preparation. Glad I got this one shot though.
Seafood is common here in Leiden, but not in the way say Italy or Spain would make use of it. Here, people will hold a raw sardine size heron fish, by the tail, up in the air over their open mouths and dip it in for a bite. I can imagine if this was the first thing I saw when I arrived from the airport, I'd be a little intimidated. I have yet to try it. They smoke salmon, still raw, and put it on a roll like a hot dog bun. Then on the other hand, they will deep fry pretty much everything else and set it next to a pool of mayonnaise or tartar sauce. It's obvious that they find fish something to be eaten on the go and are less romanic with it when it comes to preparing dishes. This was a crate of fish heads at the outdoor market. I'm not sure why somebody would simply buy the head of a fish, but my guess would be that these suckers are going be dipped in boiling oil for awhile.
Leiden University, Netherlands. When I went to college, the buildings and campus looked closer to a prison than a place of worship or a historical landmark. Can you imagine walking onto this campus everyday, suddenly alert from a locally made cappuccino?
Nothing really the subject of this photo, but it kind of has many of the elements of Leiden...canal, bridge, brick housing, boats, bikes, small cars, bare trees, and a sky that can't decide whether it's sunny or overcast.
I'm not really a photographer that likes to focus on flowers or birds or scenic shots all together, but when in Leiden they all seem to force themselves on you. This swan was no different. The swans here are scattered around the canals and if you walk to the edge, they'll come up to you. They'll let you snap a couple of photos, in anticipation for a piece of your dutch waffle, then they'll lose patience and return back out to put the finishing touch on a postcard photo. This guy would bob his head under water to eat moss from the rocks, taking breaks to glare at me and my waffle with one eye, "you gonna eat all that?"
Probably the coolest tombstone I found at the cemetery.
A truly peaceful cemetery with headstones dating back hundreds of years. I found someone laying in the grass, reading a book. I tried looking at all sorts of different angles around the cemetery, hoping to find an eerie cinematic shot that gives you that creepy horror film feeling, but even the tombstones have turned green with life. The tulips didn't help. Tulips are all over Leiden right now. No need to set flowers in this grave site. I may have to go back when there is an early morning fog to get some dramatic B&W shots.
The trees in Leiden are different from what I'm used to seeing in southern California. First off, there are no trees here with leaves right now. Some trees have branches with pods at the end or covering their arms, but leaves have yet to rebirth. What's striking about some of these trees besides the massive girth of their base, is the beautiful green color of their bark. I took a lot of textural shots of the bark to use later in photoshop for special effects on portraits or backgrounds. I think this is a ginkgo tree??
I remember being a kid, comparing the dates on pennies in my pocket, with a friend. "Whoooaaa...1968! That's an old penny!". (I was easily amused and amazed as a child) I kind of had that same feeling with this church...whooooooaaaa 1321! The Dom Church in Utrecht, Netherlands.
In the time I've been in the Netherlands, I've come to make my own relationship with the sun, here. As a photographer, the sun is your boss. He/She's "the man". The sun mostly decides what exposure range you can use and where the shadows are going to fall. In Los Angeles, being closer to the equator, the sun has a dramatic rise and fall. Even in the winter, the sun can reach pretty high overhead, allowing you to decide what type of shadow you want on your subject or location. It allows for colorful sunsets and sunrises as it dives into the horizon straight on. The Netherlands, in May, is like a stubborn stoop dweller who yawns as I beg it to come play. It sits mostly at the same level for the most part of the day. Whereas in Souther California, you might look straight up around noon to find the sun, here in the Netherlands, it stays low, never making it a strain on your neck to look at it. This has been a great challenge for me, because I'll find a location that is beautiful, but the sun isn't quite right, leaving hard shadows where I don't want them. So I'll think, "I'll come back in a couple of hours, or earlier tomorrow". When I return, it's nearly the same...just slightly angled from left to right or right to left. This I have discovered makes the overcast days much better for daytime shooting when not wanting those hard side shadows.
The Ducth natives have their own relationship with the sun. Anytime the sun is out and they have a minute to burn, they'll make sure the sunlight is heating up their face. Cafes and restaurants will have no vacant seats on their patios, but inside every seat will be open. Can't find a patio seat at the cafe? No problem, move on to the next cafe. When all the cafe's patios are packed solid, get some snacks to-go and pull up a seat anywhere the sun shines. As is the case in this photo. The sun won't burn you like it will down south. If you forget to wear sunscreen, you can still soak in the sun and manage to walk away with only slightly rosy cheeks...a trend with many of these fair skinned locals; sort of equivalent to the way a valley girl will strut around, advertising her orange glow from a tanning booth.
The Tower in the background is about 700 years old. This area has been the city center of Utrecht for 2000 years.
On this particular day, I wanted to roam alone. I wanted to have my own thoughts and kind of just wander and analyze...not worrying about taking part in any experience. I happened upon a part of Utrecht that had been transformed into a small festival for the weekend. Perfect. I'll slide around and observe at my own pace. This festival was interesting, in the way it was designed for both adults and children. There were these artistic glass house structures plopped around a courtyard, about 15 yards from each other. Each glass structure had a performance art creation inside. One example is a punching bag that would light up and glow randomly. Each time you hit it, It would let off a thunderous sub-bass tone. The kids dominated it by swinging and kicking it til they fell over. Another glass structure housed a stage for rock bands. The usual lights and smog machines were present. Being in a rock band for eight years has dulled the magic of smoke and colored lights to a point where I almost immediately want to turn away when I see a pretentious set up in a room that can fit no more than 150 people. But I stuck it out for a couple of songs. Beer on tap was two euro. Dutch bands that sang original songs in English, but spoke to the crowd in perfect Dutch. It was pretty cool actually. So, after I had my fill of music, I wandered outside to sit and people-watch...still keeping to my fly-on-the-wall-state-of-mind. After a minute, I was approached by a writer with a notepad and a pencil. His job was to go around and take notes, to then hand over to a man(in photo) in a fedora, at a laptop, who would type whatever I said into cyberspace. I think there was some kind of artistic multi-media display that was to come of everyone's thoughts. He asks, "Where are you from?"
"Do you have news from Los Angeles?"
"What kind of news?"
Blank stare back.
Blanks stare with a "what do you mean?" furrowed brow.
Blank stare with a "what do YOU mean?" furrowed brow, back.
I said, "Well, i'm sorry, I don't really know. I mean, i came here to sort of get away for a bit."
I snapped to and realized this wasn't a meet-and-greet, but rather just another cute display for the festival. So I said, "The news is, headline: Too much smog in Los Angeles leads to a growth spurt of fresh air sabbaticals."....though it came out of my mouth, "LA has too much smog."
As he left with a half-ass newsfeed to give the writer...one of hundreds on the day, I was stuck alone, letting my words revolve around in my head over and over. It wasn't what I said, so much as the fact that I had no real news to give about the city I've lived in for 12 years. I had plenty of self-centered bits to share, but I couldn't tell you a thing about the politics of the city. I'm out of touch. I've realized for awhile that I'm not really a person that makes the most of living in LA. I like the Lakers, but I tend to disagree with a lot of the way the city is designed and I've noticed that much of the music scene out here isn't as good as in some smaller cities, like Portland, Oregon or Baltimore...Baltimore?! Come on LA! So, I sat there and knew that it's time to move and be in a city that I agree with. Somewhere peaceful, yet not far from the edge. Somewhere diverse yet united. Somewhere beautiful and inspirational to be part of. I'm moving to San Francisco in a couple of months! Thanks Utrecht.
Utrecht was like all other cities in Holland, as far as bikes being a signature to the landscape. But in Utrecht, I noticed a bit of self-expression. In Leiden and Amsterdam, I was surprised to find that most everyone rides the same sort of bike and there is practically no flare. How can that be? If there was a city in America that had more bikes than cars, you'd bet there would be all sorts of stylized ego-explained creations. It wasn't until I reached Utrecht, a city with a huge college scene, that I saw florescent colors on bikes. But even now, I'm having second thoughts, thinking that some crafty people have spray painted their bikes in order to find them faster in the mass pile ups. The bikes here are designed to be sturdy, not to be stylish. They frequently are banged and scratched against walls and railing, while the weather will strip any flare off other than paint.
Utrecht's canals are set a bit lower. Or rather, the town is lifted a bit higher. Anyway, the walls of the canals can reach as high as 30 or 40 feet in some spots of the city center, which gives it a totally unique feel from Leiden and Amsterdam. It makes a lonely boat, look a bit lonelier.
The signs of youth are more present on the walls of Utrecht than most of the other cities in Holland, so far. I also came across youthful people who were dressed more colorful. Saw some "punks", modern "hippies", and some "hipsters".
On the outskirts of the city of Utrecht, there are plenty of beautiful brick building homes and churches. The canal starts to widen and the city lowers to the water's edge. Huge trees covered in green bark and giant banks covered in grass line the sides of the canal before the bricks take over. I have yet to see tarmac in Holland. The endless stone and brick streets are never unappreciated, each time a make my way down a new street. This block faced the canal, and it shows. Most of the brick is covered in algae. Note: I added a setting to this photo in photoshop that gives it a bit of an HDR effect.
Can you spot the ducks in this photo?
The outdoor farmer's market in Leiden. Every wednesday and Saturday. The tradition of farmer's selling their produce along the city center canal, in Leiden, is centuries old. Feels good to take part in it.
Two weeks in Holland and I am still amazed each time I walk over a new set of brick laid flooring. This is a courtyard to a Leiden museum. It was open but it had to compete with the saturday open market a few blocks away.
A small port in Leiden. It was a gorgeous day, so I'm guessing many of the boats were sailing around.
This is one of my favorite spots to ride the bike. I love riding bikes in this town, Leiden. I truly feel that the fastest way to feel like you are a part of this town, is to get on a bike and zoom around town. This bell tower has an opening that cuts through the center of it...like a tunnel. The bridge leads straight through it to a road that opens to a port. It's a beautiful ride.
Pale Coneflower field against sky
I'm currently volunteering at an organic native plant farm. It's the first time I've set foot in an American prairie, outside the California grass fields. It's an experience that everyone should experience at least once. Walking through these natural grasses and flowers will make you think differently about the nature we've replaced with crops or livestock. But mostly, it'll put a smile on your face.
Pine Ridge Reservation sky show
Pine Ridge Reservation storms-a-comin'
Pine Ridge Reservation storm
Pine Ridge Reservation Volunteers
The volunteers I've met have amazed me each day. These guys work as hard as construction workers, without complaining in 100 degree weather. They all have 18 hour sun exposure each day and more bug bites than one can count. They sleep in tents that are more like kites because of the wind. Every bead of sweat is for the benefit of someone else, in need. They're intelligent, caring, and understand the importance of positivity and community. I've never felt as much respect for people as I do for the volunteers at Pine Ridge. I'm glad I got this picture. And it should be noted that this photo was taken in 100 degree weather in the middle of a hard days work. Directly after this shot, they were back at it, digging holes and hammering nails.
Pine Ridge Reservation-3
Pine Ridge Reservation-2
Pine Ridge Reservation
Panoramic South Dakota
Short Grass Prairie in Pine Ridge
Bombing Range Road
Part of the reservation was taken over by the government in the 40's, to use for military bombing. Today, they are still finding bombs buried in the land.
Bombing target on Pine Ridge Reservation
Keith at a Bombing Target
About half a mile from his home, Keith showed me a collection of 1930's vehicles parked in a circle target. The military would use this as a bombing practice site. They removed Keith's grandfather and grandmother from the land in the 40's for military use. They bombed the home that was on the property as well as any structure for miles. It wasn't until two generations later that Keith decided to take the land back.
Horses on a Pine Ridge Road
Sometimes the road conditions are impassible.
Pine ridge reservation purple dusk
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Pine Ridge Reservation-15
Pine Ridge Reservation-14
Pine Ridge Reservation-13
Pine Ridge Reservation-8
Pine Ridge Reservation-7
Pine Ridge Reservation-3
Another Storm Passed
My last night in Pine Ridge for the summer and the sky didn't disappoint. This storm was actually pretty intimidating for all it's 30 minutes until it passed. It dropped a good amount of water and lightning. After it passed, the sun was in place for a final sunset on the reservation. It's no wonder the Lakota believe we are connected to land and sky as one. For all of it is alive during the summer.
Prairie Flower Pond
Pine Ridge Reservation-2
White Clay March 2012-1
A volunteer medic uses a neutralizing solution to calm the sting for a young Lakota resident who was maced in the face by Nebraska police.
White Clay March 2012-2
DGR protesters chain themselves together and plant themselves across the main highway running through White Clay. The idea from The Deep Green Movement was to have white protesters make headlines by getting arrested. In past years during the march, only Indians have been beaten and arrested by cops, never making the news. DGR planned to spark a buzz by having whites arrest their own for a Native American cause.
White Clay March 2012-3
Pine Ridge residents and protesters from around the world join in on a 2 mile march to White Clay, Nebraska. The Pine Ridge reservation is a dry reservation, an attempt to help cure the amount of alcoholism that is damaging the quality of life for many Native families. White Clay is a town run by non-natives on the Nebraska border, only two miles from Pine Ridge. It's sole purpose is to sell alcohol, taking in millions of dollars a year from a poverty stricken community and never putting the money back into the reservation.
White Clay March 2012-4
A young innocent Lakota child is sprayed in the face with mace by Nebraska police.
White Clay March 2012-5
White Clay March 2012-6
Nebraska Sheriff and the police meet with the legal representative acting as mediator for the protesters.
White Clay March 2012-7
A young DGR rights activist leads a protest chant, hollering into the crowd and toward the police.
La Sagrada Familia Blended 2
Everyone's first trip to Barcelona usually involves a must-see trip to La Sagrada Familia. I hadn't planned on it and surely wasn't planning on taking any photos of it because my whole plan was to enjoy the food and culture. It just so happened that we were staying about 3 blocks away and this beautiful structure is hard to ignore. Photos, including mine, do it no justice. It's unique future-gothic design and alien-like human figures make it a bit hard to simply like or dislike when you first see it. But one thing is for sure, it is massive and very captivating. Even so, I was refusing to take photos of the standard tourist structures until I awoke one morning a few hours before sunrise. With nothing to do, I grabbed my camera and headed toward La Sagrada Familia.
I was the only photographer there before sunrise and I had no idea there was a pond on the other side of where the tourists typically gather. When the sun finally came up, I was surrounded by a few photographers and some morning joggers stopping to have a quick gaze. Apparently the construction is still going, since the 70's, so it is fairly rare to find a photo of the structure without some type of construction evidence in the shot.
This shot is actually a combination of about 30 photographs put together into one for extreme detail.