Needed an afternoon pick me up yesterday so took a walk to get a dirty chai. I picked a spot my wife recommended about a mile from the studio so I could log some time on the streets. Bold, graphic elements are what presented. Take some time this Labor Day weekend to explore what’s around you. Immerse yourself, be present. But most of all enjoy the 3 day holiday!
Like many large American cities over the last couple of decades San Diego’s downtown has seen a resurgence and revitalization. Most areas of downtown are now safe and “happening”. This was not always the case. Prior to the Padres building and relocating to PetCo Park the area was blighted and dangerous. That, along with many other revitalization projects has transformed downtown SD into a destination for tourists and locals alike. People actually live downtown now. There are numerous hi rise condos - a new concept for San Diego where sprawl has always been the name of the game . Downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter is considered the Heart of San Diego. It’s teaming with restaurants, bars, clubs - hard not to be entertained. It’s a happening destination. The Gaslamp is often compared to New Orleans’ French Quarter. I’ve lived in both cities. The Gaslamp is no French Quarter. It doesn’t embrace it’s history the way they do in Louisiana. For that matter, it doesn’t have the history that the French Quarter does. But what little historical significance it has is whitewashed, as you often find in historic areas of California. There’s still enough happening downtown and in the Gaslamp to make it interesting and weird. Great place to explore with a camera, especially as the sun is going down.
More walking. More street photography. Stumbled on a bit of a transportation theme today.
How do you get around in the gig economy? E-bike? Scooter? Trolley? Or the quintessential Southern California ride, a Skateboard? Me? I’ve been walking. Slowing things down. Taking some time to observe what’s around me. What I’m seeing is a lot of people on the move. Moving fast. Lots of motion in all directions.
Ocean Beach, a small beach community in San Diego, CA is one of those unique beach communities in Southern California. Sadly, like so many other funky hideaways, it’s slowly being gentrified, with OBceans kicking and screaming the whole way. But when the sun goes down there’s still a a whole lotta flavor.
I’ve been walking a lot lately. I’m walking places I’d normally drive. I know, nobody walks anywhere in Southern California. I get the weird looks and double takes when people ask me how I got there and I say I walked. But it’s summer in Southern California The weather’s great and I’ve got a creative itch. I carry a camera. I’m looking to get back in touch with my roots. Every couple of years I need to scratch this itch. Back in school I carried a camera with me everywhere. I fancied myself quite the street photographer. I was inspired by the greats; Cartier-Brasson, William Klien, Walker Evans, and all the rest. So when I want a jolt of inspiration, I get back to my roots, I get back to the streets.
I recently listened to a conversation between environmental psychologist Ming Kuo and Shankar Vedantam on the podcast Hidden Brain. They discussed attention restoration theory which proposes that spending time in nature has a profound affect on mental and physical health. In short, spending time in nature improves your state of mind and boosts your immune system. Kind of a no brainer, but I learned that spending as little as a 3 day weekend in the forrest increases your natural killer cells 50% on average. And these benefits can linger up to 30 days after you return to the big city.
You need more reason than that!
Get out there and explore!
This summer @cindysaylor and I hit the road to restore and rejuvenate our natural killer cells in the furthest north reaches of California. The state has no shortage of natural wonders. The northern third tends to get lost in the shadow of Yosemite, Death Valley and Big Sur, etc. The area is exquisite and far less crowded. From the hot springs and mid summer snow of Lassen Volcano National Forrest to the many water falls, the lost coast and the great redwoods, we were able to immerse ourselves in natural wonder and build up our immune system too.
Nothing better than a summer road trip to recharge the batteries and revive the creative juices. Living in California, there's no shortage of destinations to explore. Death Valley, the low point in North America, is in California. Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the continental United States is in California. The oldest and the tallest trees, a bristlecone pine in the White Mountains and the General Sherman Sequoia, are also in California.
Besides the decade I lived in Louisiana (another state worthy of extensive exploration) I've spent most of my life in California. California is huge. 163K+ square miles big. Almost twice the size of the UK. I've explored the state extensively over the years. Yet there are still a couple of places I haven't been. Northern California is one of those places. Generally, when people refer to NorCal they're talking about San Francisco or the Bay area. However, geographically speaking, San Francisco is only about two thirds up the California coast. That leaves roughly 375 miles north of San Francisco to the Oregon border. This is the area I set my sights on for a summer rejuvenator. Since this area is also 170 miles wide (and I had limited time) I decided to stick to the coast; the Lost Coast and the giant redwood forests. So I fired up the Prius and hit the road with my partner in crime, favorite travel buddy, budding herbalist, and wife, C Saylor.
Day one and 665 miles later we made it to Fort Bragg. We then began the slow crawl north along the Lost Coast, into the Giant Redwood Forests, up to Eureka and then back down again along the coast to Point Reyes National Seashore and Marin County, where we ran out of time and high tailed it home. 5 days on the road plus 2 a day hikes in some of the most beautiful areas California has to offer and I am completely recharged, rejuvenated and ready for the next road trip. 4 weeks sounds about right.
Get out there and explore!
On March 25th 2018, over 200K people gathered in Washington DC in support of March For Our Lives: the youth movement challenging politicians and the electorate to action. Action to change gun laws in the United States. Below are a few of the faces from that march.
Independent filmmakers are by nature creative, tenacious and passionate. They embody all of the elements of craft, hard work and dedication that have inspired me to photograph and explore workers from all walks of life. I present here a selection of the passionate independent filmmakers featured at the 2017 San Diego International Film Festival.
I’ve been in DC a couple of times this year. I love the city. There’s an intensity there. The politics, obviously. The young go-getters. The hustle. Even the weather. But there’s also a calm serenity grounded in the throngs of tourists who slow the pace to their own agenda. Set to a backdrop of intense security, these groups commingle and collide daily among our national treasures.