Dell Grove

Dell Grove

This last week, I went to San Luis Obispo, California.  It was a vacation of sorts, a chance to get away from the computer, the work, the editing, and fall in love with spending time with my family AND my camera all over again.

My goal was to make images in sets of threes.  Find a them, take some photos, and group them together.  Maybe to sell, maybe to hang in my home.  The intention was to practice something different.

Walking down the street, I saw a man eyeballing me.  He was sitting on a bench about half a block away, dressed in a way only he could dress.  Not bad, not good.  Everything about him was just him, and that’s how it needed to be.  As I walked closer, he said to me, “You can take my photo right here, but you have to listen to my story first.  It’ll only take three minutes.”

He wanted to be heard, he needed someone to listen.  He began telling me a story about his life, and how he is an artist, and other things that I’ll save for me and my memory, and before I knew it, it had been ten minutes.  I didn’t mind a bit, my friends and family were hungry and restless, but they are champs.  They know I can’t ignore an opportunity to know someone.

So this man, I’ll call him Dell Grove, posed for me.  I made his photo, he reached his arm out for a fist bump, and we went our different ways.

Sadly, he never showed me his art, but his hands were covered in paint.


Switchfoot: Live at the Casbah, San Diego

There’s a little band from a quaint Southern California town that I have been, following … for lack of a better word, since 1998.  I was 15.  To really put things into perspective, I am now 30.  Half of my life.  In those 15 years, I have seen them perform, in a number of formations, 60 different times.

This sounds slightly psychotic, but to clarify, these guys are extremely accessible.  One of my favorite qualities in a band.  I say this because egos are the death of respect, in my opinion.

On a quiet Monday night, the 3rd of February, Switchfoot packed out the Casbah in San Diego to celebrate the release of their ninth album, Fading West.   A show like this, for a band like this, is a rarity.  The Casbah is the size of a large living room, with a stage that is maybe 2 feet high without any barriers.  You could actually sit on the shoes of the band if you so desired.  But despite the lack of production (including lighting, sorry about the darker photos), Switchfoot flawlessly pulled off a sound deserving of an arena.  They are top-notch musicians to the core.

WIth a set list spanning 8 of their 9 albums, the guys (Jon, Tim, Chad, Jerome & Drew) were in this for fun.  It was evident as they smiled and goofed off during songs, and even forgot how to play one of their own songs while remembering a Beastie Boys cover.  If they ever stop having fun, they need to stop plugging in.  This is why their fans love them.

Before the encore, they left the stage and headed outside.  With just the 5 of them and their stage manager standing around, they hugged and encouraged each other on a set-well-played.  It was an honest moment, a thankful moment.  They love their home town, they love their fans, and they love what they do.

Take a look at what the night looked like to me.


If you want to catch Switchfoot on the road this spring, you’re in luck!  They are hitting the road on February 20th for 46 tour dates across the country.  There’s a great chance they are coming close to you!  Find your city and get your tickets here: TOUR DATES


Amal McNew – Woodworker

This man does incredible work. He (along with his brother) run a high-end custom woodworking shop out of San Diego called McFinn Designs.  I have had the pleasure of knowing these brothers for a few years now, and have had the chance to see their work first hand.  Top notch stuff here.  Most recently, their work was featured in the San Diego Home & Gardens 2012 home of the year.  You can see an image of their work, from that home, posted below.

So the portrait is a little fun, which reflects in their work quite a bit.  If you’re not enjoying the space you’re living in, then you need a piece of their art in your home.  They are just that good.

Hot Nerd Girl – Babe Lincoln Edition

As the personal photographer for Hot Nerd Girl, we had a few more photoshoots for some exciting projects coming up.  She’s a busy girl, and with nearly 40,000 fans on facebook, you’d better believe the need for photos is bigger than ever.

The above shot is a sneak peak from the Babe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter shoot … and I’m probably showing too much by even posting this.  So consider this your true sneak peak, and don’t tell HNG you saw it here.  😉

Despite not posting much, I have been terribly busy!  Please forgive me, and keep checking back!

A Worthy Update

So what I do here is take photos of creative people.  This post isn’t about that, however it does involve one of the more creative people I have ever met in my life.  Today I met a man named Joe Hale.  I walked into his home, and immediately noticed a piece of Disney artwork and said, “Oh, The Black Cauldron. You don’t see many posters for that film around these days.”

He replied simply with, “I know. I produced it.”

Now let me tell you one thing.  I meet celebrities often.  I am in their homes often.  I don’t get nerdy, sweaty shaky starstruck.  Sure, I name drop.  But that’s normal.  This, oh man, this is Disney.  If you didn’t grow up on Disney, you didn’t live.

A little history, after talking for a bit, about Joe.  He is an amazing artist, and animator.  He worked on Marry Poppins, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, Pete’s Dragon, Peter Pan, etc.  You name it, he’s had a hand in it.  In fact, the lamppost in front of his home is from Mary Poppins.  Disney just let him take it home and put it in his yard.  So as I wandered around his home, I noticed one of a kind artwork (from Tim Burton even!).  But this is nothing compared to the amazing experience I had next.

He walks out from his art studio with a piece of paper.  It’s large and folded.  It’s an original piece of press material from his movie, The Black Cauldron.  I was floored.  I told him I would have him sign it before I left.  But before I could finish my sentence, he leaves again.  This time returning with a one of a kind, hand-sketched piece from the movie (of Gurgi).  He hands it to me and tells me to take that home with me too.

Now I’m sweating.

This man, who I had never met, showed such generosity.  I know he’ll never read this, but I wish I could begin to thank him.  I tried, trust me on that one.  But nothing seemed enough.  I am honored to own a piece of Disney history.  Something that has a story, and is unique to me.  Don’t be surprised if you come over to my home and see this behind glass.

Disney still makes magic.  Even to this 29 year old with a chance encounter.

FUN. – Band

As a music lover, I was a big fan of a band called The Format.  They were talented, energetic, poppy and new.  They made music you could feel, yet sing along to.  One day in San Diego, September 1, 2006 to be exact, The Format had a band called Anathallo open for them.  I sweet talked a dude named Andrew (keys for Anathallo) into getting me into the show to photo. I inconvenienced him quite a bit, and I had shot very few concerts at that point. But somehow I got in. I enjoyed myself, shot some horrible photos (trust me on this one), and left.  Never did a thing with the photos because they were so bad.  Fast forward to November 15, 2009.  Nate from The Format had formed a band with this dude named Andrew (from Anathallo) and a guy named Jack (from Steel Train) and the rest is history.

Or is it.

I somehow got a photo pass for this show as well, except nobody knew who they were.  I brought my wife, then girlfriend (for 6 more days at that point) with me and we rocked out.  However, with very few people attending the show, I decided to sit on the stage and enjoy from there while snapping photos.  The lighting was horrible, but they were great.  Energetic. Excited. Thankful.  It was nice to see Nate with a microphone again.  These are my photos from that night.  Now Fun. is coming back to San Diego and I’ll do my best to photo this show, but you just never know these days. Their following is quite large.  I have many connections to the band, so we’ll see.  Here are my photos, and turn on the radio, you’re bound to hear them in the next 5 minutes. (ps. did I mention that the lighting was awful?)

Model – Amber

I had the honor of shooting with a friend from high school.  She was the dorky girl in high school (she said it, not me).  Now 10 years out, she is getting her feet wet with some modeling.

Side note:  Don’t tease people, you don’t know what they’ll grow up to be like someday.

So here ya go, I present to you … my dorky friend, Amber!

Album Art – We Shot The Moon

Let me set the stage. I’m asked to shoot an abandoned restaurant, for insurance purposes, destroyed by the previous tenants.  I walk down a tiny, sketchy hallway to a bathroom with a single light dangling and flickering overhead. I look to my left and see a hole where the toilet once was.  I look to my right, and that’s where I saw the image that would become the cover art for the new EP of b-sides from We Shot The Moon titled We Are All Odd.

Next, I came here. To you. And convinced you that $5 for 6 songs was a STEAL of a deal. And you went and bought it.  Right?  Let me know what you think, I happen to love it!