Meet the Intern
Feb06

Meet the Intern

After spending a couple pretty chilled out days in Valencia getting caught up on work and taking some time to relax, I headed to the city of Alicante.  The reason for my visit to Alicante is that I finally decided on an intern/assistant to work with me on certain projects, and he’s based in the city.  We’re not really planning a project to do together until April, but since we were both in Spain at the same time it made a lot of sense for me to drop in and say hi and do some planning together. Cheap Tapas in Alicante What a better way to get to know someone than over cheap tapas and beer?  Greg (check out his YouTube Channel) and his girlfriend Nellie took me out to a local spot called d’tablas which must be the best cheap tapas in Alicante.  The prices are ridiculous. A beer is 60 cents, and the tapas are 90 cents.  Essentially a beer and a tapa is a buck-fifty. I love the tapas culture in Spain.  I’m the type of person that would rather sample a dozen different things at dinner than have one giant plate of the same thing.  It just works for me. Q&A with Greg Snell My second day in Alicante, we basically took a work day.  But, we also headed up to the castle around sunset. Since I want you guys to get to know Greg a little bit, I ran through some “lightning round” Q&A questions for him.  We talked about everything from gear to travel.  I’ll do another full-on Q&A with Greg once we get down to Patagonia in April. After the Q&A we stayed up at the castle for sunset.  The light was insane.  The location was cool too, there was plenty to shoot in a small little area, so I ended up with a couple cool photos of Alicante I really like. The city is bigger than I was expecting, but it’s cool.  And, it seems like a pretty decent place to be based in Spain. What’s Next? I’ve got less than a week left here in Spain before I’m off on an adventure to The Philippines.  I’m so excited about that trip that it’s actually been a little bit hard for me to concentrate on work and shooting Spain.  It’s not that I’m not loving Spain, I am, I’ve just never been to The Philippines before – and haven’t even spent a lot of time in Asia – so I’m looking forward to the change.  I do, however, still have time here and will be hanging out and shooting some images...

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Getting Settled in Spain
Jan26

Getting Settled in Spain

I’ve said it a couple times over the past few blog entries, but the theme of 2017 is home. Or, at least the idea of starting to look at options for a future home.  Spain has always been the obvious location for me to start to put down some roots.  It’s centrally located, I speak the language, I like the lifestyle, and it’s fairly affordable to live in as well. However, logistically, it doesn’t make a lot of sense this year.  I have projects in Argentina, Peru, and Iceland already sorted out for this year.  And, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to be jumping back and forth across the Atlantic when flight prices are so high.  But, I still kind of want to explore the idea of Spain as a future home.  So, I have given myself nearly a month to wander around Spain looking at different towns and getting a feel for what it would be like to live there. The first place I’ll be checking out is Madrid. Welcome to Madrid! After about a week of full on travel that had me jumping from Medellin, to Las Vegas, to Los Angeles, to London, and finally to Madrid, I was exhausted.  I was also extremely jet-lagged. The truth is, I wasn’t going to go out and explore or shoot photos, or do anything on my first day in Madrid.  But, I got the feeling that if I stayed tucked away in my hotel room all day I’d have a harder time getting over the jet-lag.  So, I made the most of my first day in the city.  I got out and had a really nice lunch off of a set menu.  It’s so nice to be back in Europe where you have the option of eating street-side and watching the world go by.  Then, in the afternoon I wandered around town doing some location scouting and shooting a little video. Some Photography of Madrid Day 2 in Madrid, I wanted to get out and do some shooting.  So, after taking care of some chores in the morning, I wandered out into the streets of the city to do some photography.  I hit a lot of the same places I scouted the day before.  And, for a little while I got some really fantastic light. Honestly, I somehow remember the last time I was in Madrid I had a hard time finding photography locations that I liked.  This time in the city, I feel overwhelmed by the amount of different locations there are to shoot.  In one afternoon – or, really, in just a couple hours –...

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Getting to Spain
Jan24

Getting to Spain

My trip down to Colombia was so necessary.  But, it also created a whole set of logistical challenges, and an array of travel diversions.  I had already bought tickets to Spain from Los Angeles, so it meant flying back to the US for a couple days.  Of course, if you know me, and you’ve been following my life long enough, you know that I didn’t take the easy way back to the US either.  It was a mission.  These are the travel diaries from my journey from Colombia to Spain – the long way, as usual. Winning Big on a Layover in Las Vegas My flight back to Los Angeles was set to a miserable schedule.  I booked a flight through Copa Airlines that had 2, 10+ hour layovers just to save $400.  The first layover was spent in Panama City where I didn’t leave the airport and instead just sat in the business class lounge all day doing work. By the time I got to my second layover, in Las Vegas, I was stir crazy from all the time sat in airplanes and airports.  And while I didn’t really feel like going out into the streets of Vegas in the middle of the night, with a 10+ hour layover there, I decided to head out and shoot some night photography. I wandered along the strip of Las Vegas for a couple hours getting some shots.  But, it was cold and I wasn’t dressed or prepared for the cold.  So, I decided that I’d head into one of the casinos and chuck down $80 to play until the money ran out, or I warmed up; whichever came first.  Somehow, though, within about 30 minutes I managed to turn that $80 into $200.  I decided to walk away from the table.  But, when realizing that I still have about 7 hours to kill, I put my initial $80 investment into my pocket, and decided to gamble away with the $120 I earned.  Within about 90 minutes, that $120 became $2320.  And, after losing two hands of blackjack betting $100 a piece, I decided to call it quits with a night’s profit of over $2000.  I’m still a little in shock that it happened.  I always seem to hang on for a while playing blackjack, as I play the odds.  Sometimes I win a little, but never do I turn out a profit like that.  I’m still amazed. I only gamble about once every 3 years, and it was fun.  But, believe me when I say that I won’t be changing my career from professional travel photographer to professional blackjack player....

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Travel Diaries: Colombia
Jan18

Travel Diaries: Colombia

There’s this funny thing that happens to you when you travel the world. At first, you start to feel like you don’t really belong anywhere. You feel like you’re searching for your home, but can’t seem to find it. Then, after a while, you start to realize that there are a dozen of different places pulling you in each direction. When you travel so much, different destination, people, and experiences that you know, and are comfortable with, start to make you feel like you want to be in 10 different places at once. Before heading to Colombia, I felt that way. And, honestly, that feeling beat me up a bit. Obviously, I couldn’t be everywhere at once. Obviously, I couldn’t be with all the people I wanted to be with at once; not when they’re scattered all over the globe. I’m a believer that you have to listen to the signals that your mind gives you. You have to give in to the ideas that spring to life in your conscious.  And for whatever reason, it felt like the energies of the world were all pulling me back to South America. In the end, I decided I needed to make a trip down to Medellin. I needed to see if I still had the same love for Medellin I had back when I was living there. And, so on a bit of a whim, I booked a flight to Colombia. A Colombian Road Trip I landed in Medellin after a sleep-free night flying from Phoenix via LAX and Panama City. As soon as I got there, I rolled over to the family finca (country home) of an old friend. There, we sprung plans to head out on a road trip. Because, you know, sleep is over-rated when you can drive across a country. So, we drove through the night to the city of Pereira. The next day, we drove out to Salento and the Valle de Cocora – both places I’ve been before. With no desperate need to take photos, I kind of just enjoyed spending time with friends and not worrying about getting shots. It’s kind of nice to be a tourist every now and then. I need to remember to do that more often. It reminds be that travel is about more than just getting some shots. That night, we went out on the town. And, yeah, we kind of over-did it. We woke up complete disasters. But, we had a long drive ahead of us back to Medellin. On the way, we stopped at some hot springs in Santa Rosa de Cabral. It was actually the perfect...

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Travel Diaries: Home for the Holidays
Jan09

Travel Diaries: Home for the Holidays

It’s been a funny couple of months.  The end of 2016 was crazy. In just 2 months I spent time in 11 different countries on 5 different continents. I was a part of two big campaigns – one in India and the other in Spain and Italy.  I taught a travel photography workshop in Cuba, and also solo travelled all over Southern Africa.  If I’m being honest, by the time I got home to Phoenix, I was exhausted. Home in Phoenix? Now, you’re probably thinking: aren’t you Canadian? How is Phoenix home?  Well, to be fair I use the term “home” fairly loosely.  And, I have plenty of “homes” around the world.  Phoenix is one of them.  My parents bought a house there a few years ago when the housing crisis in the US meant for extremely good deals on properties.  They’re retired now, and spend the winters there playing pickle ball and avoiding the cold weather of Canada. It was so good to be back around family.  I’m pretty sure I drove them mental though.  My past couple months of craziness left me a little rough around the edges, I think.  And, I think my levels of patience and “chill” were at an all time low.  Still, it was so good to have them around.  There’s nothing better to ground a person than being around family who really reminds them where they came from, and who they really are.  I’m very thankful for them.  They always keep me humble – or at least, they try. Patience at the Devil’s Bridge I didn’t just chill out while in Phoenix, though.  There are so many places to see and so many awesome photo locations that I had to get out and do some shooting as well.  Plus, I was way behind on some work for a couple clients, so getting out and shooting was kind of a priority. One of the locations I really wanted to shoot was the Devil’s Bridge in Sedona.  I’ve been up to Sedona a couple times, but never knew about the Devil’s Bridge. So, when I saw some photos I realized that it would be a great place to get some cool shots, and also get some images for my clients. Of course, like nearly every photogenic spot in the US it took some patience to get the shot I wanted. The Devil’s Bridge was packed with people right up until the minute the light disappeared.  It was a Friday right before the holidays, so it might have been more busy than normal.  But, the shots came out cool – despite a lack of good light...

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Shooting the Stars in Joshua Tree National Park
Dec28

Shooting the Stars in Joshua Tree National Park

I love being based in Phoenix. While there’s not a massive amount of things to do in the city itself, it’s surrounded by really cool locations all within about a 4-5 hour drive.  One of those places is Joshua Tree National Park.  It’s a place I’ve been wanting to go back and shoot under the stars for a while now.  So, while here in Phoenix, I’ve been checking the weather and the moon cycle for the past week waiting for a dark night with clear skies.  As soon as a clear night came, I jumped at the chance to make the 3 hour drive to the park to shoot the stars. Testing the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 Lens Another one of the reasons I wanted to make the run to Joshua Tree was because I got a new lens.  I picked up the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 lens which is a bit of a specialty lens for star photography.  It’s manual aperture and manual focus, but at an aperture of f/2.8 it’s great for star photography.  And, at only $290 it’s not a heavy expense either. Overall, I’m really happy with the lens. It’s sharp and crisp, and from a technical standpoint I haven’t noticed any major issues of vignetting of chromatic aberration.  I’m very pleased. Although, I do want to use it a few more times before I come to any conclusions. Star Photography I feel like star photography is one of the skills where I still have a lot of growing to do.  So, I love heading out and shooting the stars because it’s always a learning experience.  On this trip to Joshua Tree, I really focused on putting myself in the frame as often as I could.  So, I set my camera up on an intervolemeter and raced around to different parts of the image to capture myself in the scene.  I’m so incredibly happy with how they turned out.  Especially this first photo.  I shot it on December 26th, and I think it’s my favourite photo of 2016. What’s Next I’ve got a lot of new gear coming, so look for some reviews as well as some new vlogs.  I’m only in the Phoenix area for a week longer, and I have a few more areas I want to explore. Then, I’m off to Colombia for 2 weeks before heading back to Europe.  After a couple weeks of catch up over the holidays, it’s about to get busy...

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