Back to the Streets - Little Italy / Downtown

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!

Back to the Streets - Downtown San Diego

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.

Back to the Streets - Transpo

More walking. More street photography. Stumbled on a bit of a transportation theme today.

Back to the Streets - City in Motion

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.

Back to the Streets - OB at Night

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.

Back to the Streets - Harbor Drive

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.

Get out there and explore - 2019

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.

Get out there and Explore

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!

Filmmaker Portraits at the San Diego International Film Festival

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.  

Selling Isobel   Writer and Lead Actress Frida Farrell  "What you are about to see is not just based on a true story, it's based on my story."  The most chilling line I've heard delivered in a trailer in years.  There was a lot of chatter surrounding Frida's film - must see, couldn't watch it, too intense.  I wasn't sure what to expect when she arrived for her portrait.  She was engaging and absolutely delightful. Her film is intense and worthy of the San Diego International Film Festival's 2017 Break Out Feature Film of the Year.

Selling Isobel Writer and Lead Actress Frida Farrell

"What you are about to see is not just based on a true story, it's based on my story."  The most chilling line I've heard delivered in a trailer in years.  There was a lot of chatter surrounding Frida's film - must see, couldn't watch it, too intense.  I wasn't sure what to expect when she arrived for her portrait.  She was engaging and absolutely delightful. Her film is intense and worthy of the San Diego International Film Festival's 2017 Break Out Feature Film of the Year.

Dog Years  Writer and Director  Adam Rifkin   Winner of the 2017 Chairman's Award 

Dog Years Writer and Director Adam Rifkin

Winner of the 2017 Chairman's Award 

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Resistance is Life   Executive Producer Goran Zaneti (top) and Writer / Director / Producer Apo Bazidi  Audience Choice for Best Documentary

Resistance is Life Executive Producer Goran Zaneti (top) and Writer / Director / Producer Apo Bazidi

Audience Choice for Best Documentary

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The Lonely Italian   Domenico Nesci (top) and Writer / Director Lee Farber  Winner Best Comedy Feature  Domenico leaps from the screen.  The story is original and well played.  Both he and Lee were thoroughly engaging during their portrait session, bringing the same high level of energy and humor they did to the film.  Ben Fatto!

The Lonely Italian Domenico Nesci (top) and Writer / Director Lee Farber

Winner Best Comedy Feature

Domenico leaps from the screen.  The story is original and well played.  Both he and Lee were thoroughly engaging during their portrait session, bringing the same high level of energy and humor they did to the film.  Ben Fatto!

GUN  Writer / Director / Producer  Sam Upton     What can I say about Sam, incredibly gracious and giving on my set.  I can't wait to see his passion project GUN.  I just hope it's on the big screen where it's meant to be seen.  

GUN Writer / Director / Producer Sam Upton  

What can I say about Sam, incredibly gracious and giving on my set.  I can't wait to see his passion project GUN.  I just hope it's on the big screen where it's meant to be seen.  

The Last Animals   Director Kate Brooks (right) with Leed Keeper of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Jane Kennedy  Winner of Best Documentary   A must see film for anyone living on planet earth!  Yes, you...

The Last Animals Director Kate Brooks (right) with Leed Keeper of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Jane Kennedy

Winner of Best Documentary 

A must see film for anyone living on planet earth!  Yes, you...

Butterfly Caught   Writer / Director / Producer manny Rodriguez, Jr.   Winner Best Ensemble Film

Butterfly Caught Writer / Director / Producer manny Rodriguez, Jr. 

Winner Best Ensemble Film

Juggernaut   Writer and Director Daniel DiMarco

Juggernaut Writer and Director Daniel DiMarco

And Then There Was Eve   Director / Producer / Co-Writer Savannah Bloch

And Then There Was Eve Director / Producer / Co-Writer Savannah Bloch

Apache Warrior   Pilot Allen Hahn  Winner Best Military Film

Apache Warrior Pilot Allen Hahn

Winner Best Military Film

The Streets of DC

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.  

Torso - The National Gallery
Standing Guard at the National Gallery
Moving Walkway
The Metro
Zoo
Washington Monument
The National Mall
The White House
Flowers & Roses