Travel Snaps

Two cities, two days. I shot in Seattle and then Albuquerque back-to-back and managed to sneak in a few frames between jobs. Looking at them now, I see the distance I sometimes feel traveling alone in someplace I'm not familiar with.

Sandia Crest, NM

Sandia Crest, NM

South Ship Canal Trail, WA

South Ship Canal Trail, WA

Old Town Albuquerque, NM

Old Town Albuquerque, NM

Lake Washington Ship Canal, WA

Lake Washington Ship Canal, WA

Sunset over the Cascades, WA

Sunset over the Cascades, WA

The jobs were very social (I can't post them as they haven't published yet)... meeting and getting to know people quickly, making sincere friendly portraits and candid at-work photos, and I think these shots here are the introverted relaxation in between. Yin and Yang / Chaos and Order.

Great Hiking Trails!

A while back I was car-camping at various spots along the Pacific Crest Trail making large-format portraits of through-hikers. One evening a storm blew in. Lightning crashed down and the sky turned purple and I took a few photos on my trusty old Yashica-mat before dashing into my truck for shelter.

One of those storm photos made its way into this new book Great Hiking Trails of the World, by Karen Berger, published by Rizzoli, celebrating epic hikes around the world.

Great Hiking Trails of the World - a coffee-table portal to various hard-earned heavenly views.

Great Hiking Trails of the World - a coffee-table portal to various hard-earned heavenly views.

If you flip to page 292 you can see that stormy sky I was talking about, moments before the hail hit.

Page 292 of Great Hiking Trails of the World!

Page 292 of Great Hiking Trails of the World!

I have to thank Jack Haskel, who connected me with Rizzoli as they sourced images for the book. Jack is the Trail Information Manager for the Pacific Crest Trail Association. His job as I understand it is to backpack around and tell people about how amazing life on the trail is. (There may be more to it, but when I imagine him going to the "office" I just see trees and dirt.)

I'll part with this self portrait I took in the back of my truck as the hail got truly fierce. I'll not bother to re-scan it or clean it up, so the dust specks and color shifts are here to stay.

Yours Truly, hiding from the hail.

Yours Truly, hiding from the hail.

In sum, the book is beautiful. I recommend it as a holiday gift.

Big, Big Sur

Weekend travels to Big Sur. I borrowed a little Fuji point-and-shoot for the trip and had fun playing with it. : )

Glen Oaks.

Glen Oaks.

It rained non-stop. So much so that Highway 1 slid in four places. We had booked lodging further South but with the road impassible, we changed plans and stayed in a small riverside cabin at Glen Oaks.

It was cozy. There was a noise machine next to the bed with all the usual settings, including "rain," which was funny while the rain fell all night and made a joyful racket on the roof.

Leland leaving the cabin.

Leland leaving the cabin.

Glen Oaks cabin.

Glen Oaks cabin.

Jellies at Monterey Bay Aquarium

Jellies at Monterey Bay Aquarium

My favorite animal is the octopus. I spent almost an hour waiting for him to unglue himself from the glass, but he never did. So I photographed the jellies instead. Borderline cliche in their drifty beauty, still remarkable.

Typical Carmel Abode

Typical Carmel Abode

In Carmel we wandered the neighborhoods. The houses are whimsical, of course.

Canada Verde Creek, Half Moon Bay

Canada Verde Creek, Half Moon Bay

Stopped by the Ritz in Half Moon Bay to walk on the beach, and had an old-school lunch at Miramar Beach Restaurant.

Great White Sharks

Took a shark dive in Hermanus, South Africa and learned a few things! Great White Shark teeth are basically arranged like an escalator; as soon as one's gone another rotates up into its place. They go through 1,000 teeth a year. But get this... Great White Shark skin is actually made of teeth. Dermal Denticles. I kid you not.

The chummer pours fish guts behind our boat to attract Great Whites.

The chummer pours fish guts behind our boat to attract Great Whites.

And yet, every marine scientist will assure you that Great Whites are not particularly dangerous to people. "More people die from toasters than from shark attacks each year!" They say.

These people are seasick. I don't think they saw any sharks at all.

These people are seasick. I don't think they saw any sharks at all.

Also, Great White Sharks have a sixth sense. Their snouts are covered in Ampullae of Lorenzini pores, which sounds like a problem, and it is, if you are swimming near a Great White Shark, because we all have a little electric charge, and the gel in these Lorenzini pores registers electrogradients as minute as a billionth of a volt across a centimeter. I'm no electrician, but that's shockingly sensitive. In fact, sharks are the most sensitive electrical sensors on Earth. They are more sensitive than any other living creature, and they are more sensitive than humanity's most advanced equipment.

This guy is betting his life on this garden fencing.

This guy is betting his life on this garden fencing.

The water here is about 54 degrees F. Cold enough to make you wish for a toaster. We put wetsuits on and got in this cage and waited for sharks to come check out a giant ball of fish-heads tied to a rope that the chummer was throwing around.

This is the boat for high IQ people who don't muck around with wetsuits and underwater cages. They came to watch our expert chummer work his magic.

This is the boat for high IQ people who don't muck around with wetsuits and underwater cages. They came to watch our expert chummer work his magic.

Sharks are very curious, because they are very hungry. They will check out anything that is moving or bleeding or electrical in nature to see if it can be eaten. Especially if it's a giant ball of fish-heads!

Our expert chummer got his ball of fish-heads stuck inside a Great White Shark.

Our expert chummer got his ball of fish-heads stuck inside a Great White Shark.

Great White Sharks average 15 feet in length, and can weigh up to 4 tons. That is equivalent to 3,600 toasters. Thankfully for our chummer, he is harnessed to the boat. Finally the shark let go of the fish-head ball.

Still seasick, but handsomely so.

Still seasick, but handsomely so.

I didn't get an underwater camera because there's a sign at my photolab that makes fun of people with underwater cameras and I don't want them to judge me. So, I don't have any photos of the sharks underwater. I can tell you and you should believe me that it was one of the most memorable things I've ever done. These sensitive monsters would just crash into the cage, rubbing their skinteeth along the bars, and you're just eye to eye, a few inches away. Unbelievable.

Cleaning seasickness off the boat back at shore.

Cleaning seasickness off the boat back at shore.

One last true fact about Great White Sharks. A mama shark holds 10-12 little babies in her uterus. But she only gives birth to one or two. BECAUSE THE STRONG BABY SHARKS EAT THE WEAK BABY SHARKS IN THE WOMB! Seriously efficient natural selection. Great Whites, after all, are at the pinnacle of the marine food chain. Also, take dramamine.