I’ve been wanting to get this up on my blog for the better part of a year now. Back when my brother Eric and I were making our way through Bolivia, we stopped in mountain city of Potosi in hopes of buying some dynamite. This is a video of our expedition to seek out the rumors and purchase something that is pretty impossible to come across legally in the States. Here’s a link to my original post:


I decided after months of procrastination (and the fact that it was slow around the office today) to sit down and see what I could make out of the mess. I fused my photographs with Eric’s point and shoot camera video sequence of the event. I think you will all get a kick out of it. Happy New Year everybody. Let’s start this party off with a bang!

We left Monterey and stopped that night in Santa Cruz to catch up with a good friend of mine named JP who I worked with at a summer camp in Colorado years ago. Eric and I spent some time cruising the boardwalk killing time before JP would get back from a trip of his own. Night had fallen and we decided to explore the source of barking that was coming from an extended pier. These guys were bedding down for the night and it was funny to watch them fight and bicker for a coveted sleeping spot on this narrow bridge. Every now and then you would see one get knocked off and the arguments would ensue.

From Santa Cruz we continued north through San Francisco. I took Eric over the Golden Gate bridge and then up through Napa Valley on the final push back to Davis. It was really good to be back in the presence of by brother again. After spending half the year with him in South America, these last couple of months I had been going through a bit of a withdrawal not having him around. After 867 miles driven, we made it back to my house. Another successful trip.

Monterey Bay Aquarium is the perfect bridge encompassing all the bay’s wildlife, habitats and conservation efforts and then brings it to light in wonderful detail for it’s visitors. The Aquarium is built right on the edge of the bay and blends beautifully with the seaport town feel. From the outside it looks no different than any of the other old time fishing port buildings that line the shoreline. But inside they have built very impressive exhibits that really allows a person to leave feeling they have witnessed all of the different aspects that make the bay so special. I had a lot of fun documenting people exploring all its wonders.

After numerous stops to check out the epic shoreline, we arrived in Monterey. It’s a beautiful place. We decided it would be cool to check out the aquarium and so we shelled out the twenty bucks and spent half the day wandering it’s exhibits.

Eric and I said our goodbyes to the family and decided to spend the next three days driving up Hwy 1 on the California coastline. Our plan, or lack-there-of, was to drive up through Big Sur and spend some time mountain biking throughout the state park. Turns out the Big Sur area got hammered this summer with forest fires and the majority of it was close down for fear of landslides. Probably should have googled that one before hand. We were able to find one campground just off the shoreline and we built up a fire and nurse some cheap beer in conversation. The next day after realizing our bad timing we continued on northward and headed towards Monterey Bay.

There are few pleasure in life that can compete with reuniting with family during the holidays and rediscovering home cooked meals. Eric and I were treated to a Blum Christmas dinner complete with filet mignon and all the childhood favorite dishes that are whipped up only for an occasion like Christmas. For Eric and I being the poor, young professionals that we are, this was a real treat. In return for the gracious hospitality I offered to take some family photos of the Blums. We headed down to a nearby beach and walked around looking for spots to shoot. Not having any kids myself, I had forgotten what it was like to have my picture taken when I was Hannah and Ethan’s age. They were little more interested in getting back to their new presents from Santa and this photo interruption was not very appealing for them. As the photographer, I was focused on all the technical aspects of the shot. The kids were restless and becoming impatient. So I bargained with them. For every two or three serious shots we would do one goofy shot. The idea worked and with the help of Eric holding my lights and getting our two little cousins to laugh at the fart noises he was making, I got some nice photos out of it.

By some miracle I found out earlier in December that I would have five days off from work around Christmas. This came as a surprise because first year employees at my paper don’t get vacation time in their first year. Somehow the stars had alined in my favor and I decided to take full advantage of the sudden time off. My brother Eric unable to make the expensive trip home for the holidays, decided to drive down and have Christmas with me. We decided to follow suit with the past year’s tradition of adventure and we made road trip arrangements to explore the California coastline. We headed down to Grover Beach, CA on Christmas Eve to spend the big day with our cousins and their families. We had a great time with them. My cousin Karl has two children, Hannah and Ethan. It was the first time Eric and I had ever really spent a solid chunk of time with them. Now instead of being babies crawling around like in past visits, the two had grown up a bit and were never ending balls of energy anxious to play with their older cousins. These kids are hilarious and I spent some time photographing them as they played out side their house.

Besides the bombardment of Santa Claus and holiday fever, the last week before Christmas I found myself getting handed a lot of portrait assignments. Our sports department picked its male and female athlete of the year, a couple of local city employees were retiring at the end of the year and students from local high schools were signing commitment letters to play baseball in college. All of these assignments required a portrait to be shot of the subject. I have really been enjoying this part of my job lately. It has given me a lot of opportunities to practice and experiment with on location lighting which is something that I feel has been a weaker point in my photography. I had a lot of fun with these.

I have quickly found that there is a hidden sense of irony in the vacation time of Christmas. You think it is going to be a time to relax and catch up on things (like blog entries) when in actuality it tends to be even busier your normal routine. Hence my lack of blogging. I aim to remedy this situation. My week leading up to the Christmas holiday was filled with last minute Christmas events and stories. Veterans laying holiday wreaths at the graves of the fallen, school children participating in their annual Christmas themed play at school, and plenty of daily work kept me on my toes at work.

Our newspaper just got one of those little HD video cameras. Earlier this month I got to try it out for the first time for an assignment on a local dog park here in town. THis is my first solo video multimedia piece that I have done. I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. If you want to check out a larger version of this and other multimedia pieces go to: http://photos.dailyrepublic.com/

Pure Craziness! I’ve been super busy these last couple of weeks. Hence my lack of posts. A lot of Christmas stuff and of course high school sports. I can believe the year is almost over and that also means that I have had this blog going for a full year now. Time flies when your having fun. A lot of random shots in this post. This guy walked in off the street the other day after he landed a 47 lbs stripper bass in Suisun Bay. I got to play with baby African penguins at a nearby theme park. And of course ride with Santa on top of a fire engine.