Aloha from Barcelona! How the heck did I get here?

Aloha from Barcelona! How the heck did I get here?

This fund started some weeks ago with the goal of bringing a few places around the globe to you via my lens. The plan was for NY to Dubai and the Philippines. How did I end up in Barcelona?

Opportunity knocks when you pull off the blinders and find the right doors. Opening this fundraiser was me swallowing my pride and asking for help. Creating art is expensive and I was at the point of go big or quit. So I asked for a bit of money and went ahead as if I had it already. A very generous sponsor reached out and, instead of investing in the art, offered to pay for accommodations in Europe while traveling on their own journey.

Now I’m in Spain after spending a week in Italy. We are driving the Spanish coast down to Tarifa where we will catch a boat to Morocco and then a train to Marrakech! I am excited for Marrakech especially because it is my goal to do more work in the middle east and Morocco is my gateway.

There is still opportunity and a need for more investment in this expedition. The fund is 30% fulfilled. I have a wish list including a wide angle lens for landscape, a new tripod head and, most importantly, time. This is an investment, not a donation, so check out what I am giving back at the completion of this travel!

Mahalo for your kokua

You can invest in the art here:

Mahalo for your kokua


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Posted in Journal, Life, Photography

Visual Space

What if you could think of time in terms of volume. Instead of the turning hands on a clock face you think of the evaporating water from a canteen. At 4pm you wouldn’t think about it becoming evening; you’d think of only having one quarter of your day left. Do you accomplish something? Are you closer to your goals than you were yesterday? Can you really afford to let your time evaporate? Think about the days of 2014 past. Were they meaningful?

Four things you can’t recover:
The stone… after the throw
The word… after its said
The occasion… after its missed
The time… after its gone.


Posted in Photography Tagged , , |

Photography Tip: Shoot in Black and White

Photo tip: shoot EVERYTHING in black and white. If you’re using a modern DSLR and shooting in RAW you can shoot in black and white settings and still keep all the color data. A RAW file is not a photograph. It is data only. Your camera interprets that data and displays a JPEG in your camera display. If you switch to monochrome on your camera all the color data will be saved in the RAW file even though it is not displayed.

Why shoot in black and white? Shooting in black and white will help you focus on tonality and improve your photography. It will force you to compose with light. How does light fall on your subject? Does your eye really travel to the places you need them to? Do you have the full spectrum of mid tones?  The viewer will see colors and vibrancy in your photography but his or her eyes will follow  the light in the image from the brightest area on down.  Don’t believe me?  Study the master painters’ works.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 2.14.27 AMOriginal photo after processing in Camera Raw

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 2.15.49 AM

original in black and white

I even edit my photos in black and white. I place a white layer at the top of my layers in photoshop and change it’s blending mode to Color, turning everything black and white. I use this layer to check the tones and make sure the image is smooth and catching. Beware: adjusting tones with sliders and curves will also adjust saturation. Is you pull the RGB curve down you will also saturate the colors on say, a red wall. You will need to go to the red adjustment curve and correct for the saturation by pulling the reds out of the shadows.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 2.13.49 AM



Here is the edited image.  It still feels a bit flat to me.

Here is the edited image. It still feels a bit flat to me.

I use curves to create a vignette-like adjustment.  I mask the adjustment layer from the door way.  Compare the tonality of this black and white to the first.

I use curves to create a vignette-like adjustment. I mask the adjustment layer from the door way. Compare the tonality of this black and white to the first.

Final Image

Final Image


Not all black and white images make nice color photos. But all great images in color look great in black and white, too.

Posted in Photography

I don’t know what you’re saying…

I have a list of ‘things’ I say about traveling:

“Traveling the world is not only about going places; its about leaving them too.”

“You can only grow as large as your cage.”

I’d like to add another, simply because I say it so often:

“I have no idea what you’re saying.”


A common theme through the last three months and three countries (soon to be five!) is that I find myself in rooms and at tables not understanding anything that is being said, yelled, or spoken in passion around me.  Its amusing, more often than not.  Like listening to music in foreign languages, I take the words as notes and try to appreciate the rhythm of the day.

Some times it is not so fun.  I asked a bus driver in Caticlan to drop me at our restaurant in Miagao, Philippines and he took it as if I were some stuck up American asking for express service to dinner on a public bus.  He made a joke out of it and the whole bus was enjoying a laugh at my expense. All in some version of Tagalog, of course. I knew what was happening but didn’t understand a word.  Screw it.  I asked a guy to translate that it was my restaurant and everyone shut up real fast.  The driver intentionally missed my stop and I had to walk half a mile in the rain with two weeks worth of luggage.  Being an outsider sucks sometimes.

Most of the time, however, it has been to my advantage.  I get to be the elephant in the room while not bearing bad news.  In the Philippines that meant I got a lot of answers and solutions to places I wanted to see.  But I spend most of my days looking at people like this:


This is my 'immmmm' face

This is my ‘immmmm’ face


Or nodding my head absentmindedly and forcing a smile (which has been good practice for me).


Posted in Journal