Friday, December 28, 2012


I did a few paintings recently for a holiday commission.  They were a lot of fun to work on, especially since time was limited and I had to paint fast.  It had been a while since I painted for hours at a time and it was nice to get back into it.  I got a chance to do a few paintings this past week and will post soon.  

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Catch Up

The past few months has been so busy and here is my weak attempt to catch up.  

Over the Thanksgiving break, I went home to see my cousin (first of my generation) get married.  I didn't bring my camera, but the ceremony was great.  It was full of emotion, laughs and a bunch of inappropriate jokes.  

Most of my time home was spent surfing and eating, but on one of the days, I went on a little photo excursion in Kaneohe.  It was nice to spend some time on that side as that's where I grew up.

We got up at the but crack of dawn and headed to Kaneohe bay.   I was super stoked on the pictures I took there, but this one I like.

After the bay, we headed to Ho'omaluhia for some nature shots.  Originally, I really just wanted to get pictures of the Ko'olaus, the mountain range that separates Kaneohe from town, but I got a lot better shots of things close up.

I think the best part about walking around the park was getting to see things so familiar and beautiful from my perspective of being removed.  A few years ago, I probably would have just walked past this magnificent tree trapped with vines.

Hibiscus.   It's the state flower for a reason and in bloom all year.

 I'm lucky to have gotten this shot.  With a little help from Lightroom (Thanks Mom!) this one came out better than I had hoped.

We also went to the Japanese temple and Valley of the Temple. I was, as usual, more interested in the wild life.

Koi of all sizes and colors.   They are definitely conditioned to swarm when they see someone standing on the edge as they sell food to feed the fish.  I wonder if they think we are god, feeding them abundantly...

Here's a little pigeon, hoping for some of the fish food to miss the water.  

Black swan.  I got really lucky on this one too, with the depth of the water and the strong angular light.

Later that night, Mom had a few tricks to teach me with my camera.  Every Friday, the Hilton sets off fire works, which you can see perfectly from Magic Island.  

I took so many that is was hard to find a favorite, but I this one is up there.  I can't wait for new years to use what I learned again.

Here is a shot of Waikiki from the harbor.  Fun note, to the right of this scene is a surf spot named Bowls, which is where I learned to surf and was stubbornly loyal to, until everyone else got a board.

Last shot of home.  This is a view from Mom's apartment.  I think I might just find it a nice pictures because it looks a lot like something one of my favorite artists would paint.  Kim Cogan - look him up!

Of course, the last few months were filled with live music.  It always seems like fall is when all the bands come to San Francisco.  I didn't always have a camera on me, or at least not my good one, so here are a few.

Blasted Canyons played at Bay Brewed, an awesome music and beer festival put on my the amazing Bay Bridged.  

This is the guitarist from Bloc Party.  Not much to see, but it was cool to get this calm shot with the heavy music they were playing.

Bear in Heaven.  They played the Bay Brewed as well.  I love their music and am a huge fan, but the guy kind of creeps me out.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Music Extravaganza

Last week was filled with live music.  The fall is always great in the city as a lot of bands tour the west coast and stop by San Francisco.

First off was Grizzly Bear.  They are one of my favorite bands and just came out, after almost four years, with a new album that did not disappoint.  I was cautious not to get my hopes up too high for their live performance, but at the end of the show, I could have had them as high as I could imagine and they would have still blown that up.  It was one of the best show.

Here's a shot of those musical geniuses.

Next on the list was Treasure Island Music Festival.  In the past, Casey has worked the festival and all my music friends didn't live in the area.  Now, Casey was free to enjoy the music and my music friends plus a bunch of new music friends were all in attendance.  That, plus the most beautiful weather in months, gives us an amazing experience.

This brave soul had his entire head painted with the TIMF logo.  Pretty rad.

The superpowered indie group Devine Fits.

Flavor Flav from Public Enemy and star of one of the worst TV shows, Flavor of Love.  It was pretty awesome getting to see these legends.

Beth Ditto of The Gossip.  We pushed right up front for this show and danced hard.  It was a great show and a perfect festival performance.

M83.  These Frenchies know how to build it up.  Almost every song had an irresistibly suspenseful build-up that didn't disappoint at the climax.  We all had a ton of fun watching these guys.  Plus, I randomly got to meet them during the next show.  I turned to look behind me and there they were, just watching the show like any other normal person.  I shook both of their hands and awkwardly turned back to the music.

M83 again.  I just love this picture because it looks like a painting.

Part of why Treasure Island Music Festival is so awesome is because of where it's located.  Just to the west of the festival is San Francisco and you can see the whole city, with the buildings of downtown melting into the trees of the Presidio.

 Here's the iconic city outline.

This is a shot from the bus going to the festival.  I feel like everyone who lives here gets a bolt of nostalgia and civic pride when they get a glimpse of this view.

ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SUNSETS EVER!  The sunset just kept getting better, and slowly, everyone made their way up to the fence to watch.  It was spectacular.  If you look closely, you can see the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.   

Another aspect of festivals is the inclusion of art, which provides a nice break from the high energy music.

This one was here last year and it's nice to see her again.  The sheer size and mass of the installation still amazes me.

Rotisserie Heart on Fire.  You can't tell from the picture, but this metallic sculpture was spinning while on fire.  This stumped a few engineering brains that I was hanging out with.   

Flag art.  Such a cool design on a pretty large scale.  It seems so delicate yet is obviously pretty durable with the amount of tention that it needs to stay up like that.

Well, that was the festival last weekend.  This past week, we finished out the seven day whirl wind of music with Bob Dylan.  I unfortunately didn't get a good shot of him, but we were pretty far back in the balcony and there wasn't much to see anyhow.

What I did get was a decent shot of the opening band, Mark Knopfler.  To be honest, his show was better than Dylans, mainly just because of the age difference.  It was awesome to see Dylan, but he's getting pretty old.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Whale Watching

This past weekend, Casey and I drove down the coast to Moss Landing to do some whale watching.  I'd say that it was more nature watching, but we did get to see some whale action.

We thought that the morning fog would burn off and give way to a sunny, beautiful day.  But it's been pretty hot inland lately and the fog was pretty dense and didn't let up.

We started out of the harbor, and almost immediately got word of a humpback whale in the area.  We soon found it and the gasps began.

This was pretty much the most exciting part of watching the whale.  It was feeding and would stay under for about 12 minutes each time.  But between each dive, it would come up and take a few breaths.  When it was ready to dive back down, its back would arch and its tail would glide out of the water and slip back in.

After a few dives and with four other boats crowding the area, we opted to go closer to shore and try our luck with some dolphin watching.

After a short ride in, we soon found the playful pod, as interested in us as we were in them.  They came up pretty close to the boat and one even swam right under the bow!

Here's the shot of the day, with two baby dolphins swimming close to their moms and getting a peek at us.  The excitement on the boat was at its peak and we hung out with the dolphins for a good amount of time.

We got to see some other wildlife on our boat tour as well.

 Littered throughout the water were these Lion's Mane Jellyfish.  At one point they were everywhere and I couldn't help thinking about Finding Nemo.  It was pretty amazing seeing these in person as I've included them in a few paintings.

Here is what I'm going to call a seagull, but it seems pretty different than the ones I've seen.  This one looks more like a land bird of prey with sea bird wings.  

One amazing thing that we got to see, which I couldn't get a good shot of, was a 15 ft. Great White Shark.  This sucker was huge!  Mostly, we just saw a large, dark shadow swimming around, but at certain angles, we could see its white belly and make out its large silhouette.  It was more exciting because this was the first sighting the boat tour had ever had of a great white.  For that, it was even more special.  

As we headed into the harbor, we passed by a dock with a ton of sea lions.  These blubbery guys were growling and rolling and flopping all over each other.  

Here's another shot of a sea lion coming out of the water, climbing on the others and getting in a fight with this other guy.  Pretty interesting fight tactic with the upside down bite move!

I'll leave off this this shot of a pelican, posing for the shot.  

In the end, the whale watching was actually the least amazing part of the tour, although it was still pretty rad to see such a large mammal.   

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Over labor day weekend, Casey and I took a trip up to Portland to visit some friends.  Between the two of us, we know about six people there and we were overdue for a visit.  

The plane up and back was pretty small and by far had the smallest overhead compartments of any plane I've been on.  But, the flight was shorter than a drive to Sacramento and in no time we were hanging out with our old friends.  

The first night, we went to watch the Swifts.  It sounds like an awesome band, but its actually an amazing, natural phenomenon that occurs in September at this elementary school:

To set the scene, we got there in the late afternoon and set up a little picnic dinner with snack and drinks.  There were kids playing everywhere, with a soccer scrimmage of 10 year olds, which I admittedly got a little too in to.  Its been a while since I've watched live sports...

Anyhow, kids were sliding down the hill and having some well-supervised fun.  All the while, these tiny birds called Swifts slowly started to arrive and fly around.  Everyone now and again, they would collect in large groups and form a spiral.

Its hard to tell, but these little guys are about 2.5 inches long and probably weight a few ounces.  During this time, they migrate and this chimney at this elementary school is where they seek shelter for the night on their way south. 

By nightfall, there was a nice vortex of birds spiraling into the chimney while an outer circle protected their own.  It was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen, and that is saying something since I've got kind of a phobia of swarms.  I think this helped.

The next day was Casey's birthday, so we got our group together and headed to the "beach."  It was on an island that sits between two rivers and separates Oregon from Washington.  We soaked in some sun, ate some cheese and got a bit wet.  The water wasn't the cleanest, so most of us opted to not get too far into the water.

Here is Casey, Liz, and Shelly.  Old and new friends, but close nonetheless.  

Here is Casey wearing Shelly's sparkly cape and sparkly glitter.  It was a perfect day for some reflective accessories.  

After we had our fill of sun, we picked some blackberries to munch on for dessert before heading back into the city.  

Of course, we couldn't go to the City of Roses without seeing some beautiful roses.  Man, were they pretty!

If I were a bee, I'd feel my life was complete if I'd have seen this.

A short flight back, and we were back in our city.  At first I was a bit disappointed with the quality of this picture, but now I kind of like it.  It feels like an old, 35mm print.