Capture Intigration Workshop

Just a quick casual Friday post of a photograph I snapped last weekend.  I had the good fortune to attend a “workshop” put on by Capture Integration and hosted by plenty of nice folks.  I quote the word workshop because the attendee list was full of full-time professional and advanced-amateur photographers.  It was more of a gathering to play with some really amazing photographic tools – like Phase One’s IQ250 – graciously supplied by Capture Integration.  Somehow I failed to link up with the crew for the sunrise shoot on Saturday, so I had to use my lowly Nikon D800 (just kidding – I am loving this camera every time I use it.)  Driving around Highway 1 at 5:30AM, I made the call to pull over and capture what I could, where I was, with the system I had.  This is one of my favorites from that crazy 30 minutes of light.  Zero scout time + steep terrain make this a keeper for me.

When I first got into photography, landscape photography really drew me in.  But the more I pursued it, in a way, I less interested I became.  Maybe my pictures sucked? I dunno. I think I craved stories that changed, and changed quickly.  In the words of one famous engineer, “I’m a people person!  I have people skills!”  But with all first loves, they somehow have a way of re-kindling the flames in your heart.  This coming year I am looking forward to some early mornings, along with pushing myself to learn and progress with an art form that captivated me from the very beginning.

Happy Friday!

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2014 Mavericks Invatational

Our weather has been fantastic the last few weeks.  Shit, the last few months have been great for the SF Bay area.  So of course when the swell and the talent showed up, we’d get some haze in the air and crappy light for the morning location I had scouted.  But after editing the photos and changing most of the surfing shots to black and white, they sort of fit the bill.  Mavericks is cold and shitty most of the time.  The for horn blows a consistent rhythm that neither ebbs nor floods with the tide.  And even when it’s pumping, it’s a hazardous, grind you down, “I don’t give a fuck about you” place.  It’s killed people, and will continue to do so as long waterman challenge it.  I think there were at least two two-wave hold downs, even as the guys were equipped with on-demand inflatable vests.  There’s so much power and water moving out there, the concept is hard to grasp until you see it in action.  A pretty good example, if you’re a non-surfer, is to look at the 2nd wave shot.  Look at that barrel!  That’s a 40ft face pitching out over a shallow reef.  Tons and tons of water.

When I quipped on Facebook to Peter Taras, the  photo editor at Surfing Magazine about getting me on a boat, he fired back, “Get some photo-journalism stuff before the main event, and I’ll run it.”  Cool and ’nuff said.  The dock was pensive at O’dark thirty.  All the big names of big wave surfing were prepping their gear, selecting boards, slugging coffee, and getting in the zone.  No one could see how big it was, but everyone knew the swell was pumping.  Just how pumping was the question.  Be your own judge.

See you out there.

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Craig Falls

The title has a double meaning.  Craig really did take a fall, of sorts, but it’s also his actual name. Craig, my neighbor down the street, was hit by a Chevy Silverado just over a week ago.  He was cruising around 32 mph when the truck made a left turn but didn’t see Craig coming the opposite direction.  He impacted the passenger side fender, and his face and helmet cratered in the windshield. His carbon frame broke into pieces and his alloy handlebars are twisted and mangled. So was Craig.  He told me all he remembers thinking was, “I’m not going to miss this…”

His list of injuries includes but is not limited to:  Lots of fractured face bones, a torn rotator cuff, most likely torn ACL, broken wrist, facial lacerations, broken nose + displace septum, and all kinds of bruising.  For all this, he is remarkably well and healing.

I thought a photo of the carnage would be a good idea and memento for when he’s back in the saddle.  Get well soon buddy.

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Filing through the database and cleaning out some files to make room for more, I came across this pic of Yukon.  This was a hike we did in June after that weird late season rain.  The wind was blowing on top of the ridge, but the light was good.  He sat still just long enough for me to grab a few nice frames.   He’s grown so much since then – mentally and physically – and he now weighs in at a little over 60 pounds ( he’s not done yet!).  He retrieves like nobody’s business, and duck season is only a few short weeks away.  I can’t wait for his first hunt, and many more to come.  Of course there will be more photos following his progress, but in the meantime…

Yukon, giving his best "Blue Steel"

Have a great day everyone.

See you down the road.

– Todd

Incessant Babble Can Lead To Good Things

White out conditions.  A 2 hour drive turned into 6.  Possible accidents and a new change of shorts needed.  Who wouldn’t want to drive in these conditions? My parents asked themselves the same question when it came time to pick me up from Denver International Airport.  Thank god for Kiwis.

“I have you scheduled for the 6 PM bus, but you could leave right now.  Do you wanna do that?” asked the guy at the counter.  I wondered if it was a rhetorical question.  I grabbed a seat alone, close to the driver.  As we pulled out, the two randoms in the back started talking about their portfolios while disclosing all kinds of personal financial information with specific dollar amounts gained.  I thanked the heavens I wasn’t involved in the stroke-fest that was going on.  I mean, how many times do you have to mention that you have a 2nd home in Vail?  We get it…

But sometimes pomposity has it’s attributes, like keeping decent people away from douchebags (warning, the definition may make you chuckle).  Building up my wall of energy to keep Smith and Barney from asking me anything, I struck up a conversation with Ray, the driver.  I just kept chewing his ear off, and pretty soon it lead to a question about my profession.  I waited another half hour before I threw it out there, that hey, let’s make a day of it and get some good shots.  Now I am always wary of inviting myself into other people’s days, but I knew I could deliver.

It was hard charging in 0 degree Fahrenheit temperatures – cold fingers and toes, watching out for powdery snow that wants to ruin your camera sensor, and bears – but we managed to get a few keepers.  And yeah, bears…

Here are a few from the day.  Enjoy!

Ray, tail grab off a nice little boulder.

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Phew, I am glad to be back home after a busy week of traveling, photographing, and oh yeah, surfing.  It’s been far too long since I have been in the water, but I got a few gems to last me quite a while.  I can thank Churches for that! Anyway, I am into the studio for an exciting Friday night – to frame up some work for a gallery show at Cafe Royale. Show’s opening party happens February 3rd and can be found here at 8PM.  If you are in the neighborhood, stop by and say hello, grab a drink, and enjoy.

Here’s a picture that sums up my week.

Southwest and San Diego

See you down the road.



South of the Border – Not the one in South Carolina

Recently ventured down south of Cancun to visit with family at a little place where my parents could spend the rest of the years.  It was a nice break from the rain and gray of SF, and of course it was great to see everyone, including my little nephew Easton.  What else was great?  It’s great to know that some things don’t change.  There’s a venerable list of things to do, see, hear, and eat in Mexico.  Here are a few in no particular order:  Tacos, little old ladies, power lines sticking out of the ground, peddlers hawking everything from jaguar noise-making thingys to nose candy, a latin wedding, siestas, needless construction, construction workers wearing jellies, man powered stop lights, and the always audible accordion – somewhere in the background.

Poquita Iglesia

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A Heavy Drinker, Churchill Still Had It Right

Mine and Jen’s Smithsonian weekend was a crazy world-wind of a trip.  It went a little something like this:  Fly cross-country and go to bed.  See sights and go to bed.  Fly back across the country and go to bed.  Whew.  I wish we had more time to hang around and explore the sights and sounds of DC and the Mall area, but perhaps another time.  But, even with our limited time, we packed in quite a bit.  Here are some photos from the trip…

The elephant in the main hall of the Museum of Natural History. The hide alone weighs over 2 tons!

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Santa Cruz – Zoomed In

In this second part of a two part series “Why I need the big huge lensI traveled to Santa Cruz and back along it’s coastal road north, Highway 1, to see what I could find. It’s pretty amazing what a pre-conceived “mundane” day can bring about. All I can say is man, I wish I had more days to just photograph.

For those who didn’t catch the first part of the plea with myself and financial responsibilities, I am currently weighing the option of investing in a substantial piece of photographic equipment.  Whether my want will become my need, which may become my remorse, has yet to be seen, but it sure was fun using Nikon’s 200-400mm VR F4 lens.

The sign says it all. That's where I am headed.

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