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Random Jazz: Guy of Thrones Edition

I’ll admit, my title is terrible. Like, probably the worst title I’ve ever come up with. However, sometimes it’s hard work to be an international man of mystery and part-time saint and also have to come up with blog titles. The reason I did pick that is because I’m starting off my post with portraits I took of my friend David Peterson, who’s probably the most famous person I know (in an understated kinda way).

Here he is:

David J. Peterson, Game of Thrones and Defiance

The reason he’s famous is because he’s the inventor and “curator” (I guess?) of the Dothraki language spoken on the Game of Thrones TV show. He also does the language work for SyFy’s Defiance, writes books, speaks at conventions and seminars (including Comic-Con), invents languages, and once upon a time had a pretty decent three-point shot. You should watch those TV shows or buy any of his books so that he can continue to be famous and maybe someday introduce me to a beautiful young starlet.

Plus, I mean, isn’t he just a dream boat?

David J. Peterson, Game of Thrones and Defiance

Now that things are sufficiently awkward, let’s move onto more random stuff. Here’s a photo from the time I went to Mars.

Toadstool Hoodoos

This is Amanda, a lovely young lady from our planet who I might be taking more photos of soon.

Amanda, headshot, future model

Let’s get even more random now. I was bored and decided to take pictures of numerically significant groups of items at the beach. Bet you didn’t think you’d be seeing this today, did you? Well, here you go:

Corona Del Mar

Corona Del Mar seaweed

Corona Del Mar

I decided that this is the metaphorical equivalent of what it feels like to be in your house when an earthquake hits:

Seaweek inside a brick

Bam! Random red panda! P.s. these are probably the best animals in existence.

Red Panda

Since I really need to use the restroom, I’m going to shut up and leave you with a few pictures of other random things. Oh, actually, one last thing: if you haven’t already noticed, I relaunched my prints gallery, featuring work by myself and other artists, including my talented brother Nate Reinig. Take a look if you have 23 seconds. If you’re my friend on Facebook, hit me up and I’ll give you a limited-time discount code if you’re interested in anything.

Otherwise, thanks for stopping by!

Bird silhouette

Bird silhouette

Meerkat

Totem pole, Monument Valley

Sky buckets and the moon

Want more photos? Head to the home page and scroll on down.

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3,000 Miles to Ghostland, Part II

I think that most visitors probably don’t care about my commentary (like in part I), so I’m going to keep the chattiness to a low roar. The photos below come from various places in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico, including Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, Shiprock, Zion Canyon, and more. If you would like more info, post in the comments or better yet, let’s go have a beer (or wine, as the situation warrants).

Horseshoe Bend sunset

A rainy sunset, somewhere in Utah

A hoodoo in Mystery Canyon near Kanab, Utah

Watchman sunset, Zion National Park, taken from Canyon Junction Bridge

I love pictograms/pictographs and petroglyphs, and seek them out whenever possible. Navajo and Hopi lands seem to be full of them, with many dating as far back as 3,000 years.

Petroglyphs inside Monument Valley

It’s interesting to think that these hand prints might be from someone who died 1,000 years ago.
Hand print petroglyphs in Monument Valley

Here’s one thought to be Kokopelli, a Native American god that combines Johnny Appleseed, the pregnancy stork, St. Patrick, and Loki all into one, much cooler figure.

Petroglyph of Kokopelli

Sand Island bluff, a short drive north of Monument Valley, has a large panel about 100 feet in length just covered with thousands of petroglyphs. It’s pretty neat and only takes about 20 minutes of your time to see it all.
Sand Island petroglyphs

Some are more modern and occasionally humorous (if you find petroglyphs, please don’t do this):
Sand Island petroglyph graffiti

Note the icon high up on the wall. It’s maybe 25 feet off the ground, so it’s kind of a mystery how it got up there. What’s not a mystery is that some idiots have tried to hit it with firearms, thus the bullet damage in the surrounding rock. Dear random morons: I hate you.
Petroglyphs at Sand Island, including bullet damage to one

Below are a few shots of the hike to Angels Landing in Zion Canyon (here’s an overly dramatic video that shows the view and some of the dropoffs). The hike is very strenuous and the final approach to the landing is basically a cliff ledge. It’s not for the faint of heart. (Sorry about the photos; to save on weight I didn’t bring my big cameras with me).

The final steep, narrow spine to get to the top of Angels Landing.

The final steep, narrow spine to get to the top of Angels Landing.

Part of the trail.

Part of the trail. Note the tiny white car on the road near the top-right of the photo.

Taking a break at the top of the Landing.

Taking a break at the top of the Landing.

The view from the top. Worth the effort and anxiety.

The view from the top. Worth the effort and anxiety.

The whole reason I planned this trip initially was to photograph Shiprock, a huge, 1,500-foot-tall monadnock in northern New Mexico. The day I went to visit, that part of the state was absolutely nailed by torrential rains. The closest I could get was about 7 miles out, as the roads became impassable. I had to slog through deep mud and deal with non-stop rain to approach these horses. Thankfully, they stayed still long enough for me to get a portrait.
Horses in the rain near Shiprock, NM

The Watchman in a boring sunset. Zion National Park.

The Watchman during a boring sunset. Zion National Park.

Two views of the Monument Valley “mittens”:

Dusk at the Mittens, Monument Valley

Dusk at the Mittens, Monument Valley

Dawn at the Mittens, Monument Valley

Dawn at the Mittens, Monument Valley

Here’s a few shots from the unspeakably beautiful Upper Antelope Canyon. Go here before you die.

Sunbeam, Upper Antelope Canyon

Upper Antelope Canyon

Upper Antelope Canyon

Upper Antelope Canyon

Sunbeams, Upper Antelope Canyon

"The Heart," Upper Antelope Canyon

“The Heart,” Upper Antelope Canyon

"Sandfall" in Upper Antelope Canyon

“Sandfall” in Upper Antelope Canyon

And to close, sunrise at the “totem pole” in Monument Valley. Thanks for visiting, and let me know if you’re interested in prints or want to give me a high five.

Sunrise at the Monument Valley "totem pole"

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Random Jazz: Melancholy Ghost Wolf Edition

Another day, another “where the heck do I pust this stuff?” post. Since most of this has kind of a forlorn feel, I figured it made sense to group it together. The next post should be happier, including some photos I did for my awesome friend and her new business.

First, some photos from the ol’ abandoned Griffith Park Zoo. Built in 1912 and closed in 1966, the zoo was probably a terrible place to raise your animal family.  According to Wikipedia, it was constructed in the “caves-with-iron-bars style,” which as we all know is how most animals in the wild have built their homes since the discovery of iron in the 15th-century.

Abandoned Griffith Park Zoo

Old Los Angeles Zoo

Abandoned Zoo Cage

Old Griffith Park Zoo stairs

This is the view looking up from inside one of the iron cages. The view out the front was pretty much the same sad thing.

View from abandoned cage, old Griffith Park Zoo

Abandoned Animal Cage

It’s hard to see in this shot, but that thing at the bottom is a gigantic wolf dog. Members of a wolf dog rescue group were at the park with several of these magnificent animals, one of which was apparently curious as to what I was doing.

Ghost Wolf at Old Griffith Park Zoo

Up next is a random road-side display I found when visiting a friend. I really hope the owner of that car didn’t have a run in with a drunk driver, although seems to be somewhat common these days unfortunately.

Drunk driving car

To close, a few beach photos.

A child's lost bucket at Crystal Cove

Crystal Cove sunset

I wanted to take some photographs on New Year’s Day, so I figured that a good way to start off 2014 was to visit my “memorial rock” and do some reflecting on the past. I said hello to my lost friends, took some pictures, and headed home thinking of the future. As always, thank you for visiting.

Corona Del Mar Rock at Night

 

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In the Flower Fields the Poppies Blow

Jake Reinig, travel photography

My brother—the failed alchemist—and I went to the Carlsbad flower fields today. Despite having lived in San Diego for exactly 0 days, I never knew this place existed. I’m not sure what it’s actual purpose is, but it’s pretty cool. I do wish you could actually walk through some of the fields, but that aside, it’s still a nice way to spend an afternoon.

(Note: I don’t think there are any actual poppies. I just like McCrae’s poem about World War I.)

On the way home we swung by Trestles to see if any good sunset photos presented themselves, but not a whole lot came along. After a few bird photos we turned and trudged up the long path back to my motor coach.

 

The aforementioned brother takes a stroll.

There was a surprisingly small number of bees. With millions of flowers onsite, we expected to see more than the 6 or so we did encounter.

Signs everywhere tell you to stay out of the fields, but apparently the rules aren’t always adhered to.  :)

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Livin’ Hard in the Big Easy

Jake Reinig, travel photography

Location: New Orleans Subjects: Cemeteries, French Quarter, Garden District

After my trip to San Antonio I flew to New Orleans for a few days.  I’m not a great architectural photographer, so I looked at the French Quarter as a great place to work on this. I don’t know that I improved a whole lot, but I had tons of fun!

Two quick notes: First, Bourbon Street is insane and loads of fun. Don’t bring the kids or yourself if you’re easily offended.

Second: I want to say thanks to Chris at American Photo Safari. He normally gives walking workshops in the French Quarter. In my case I hired his company to show me around and give me some background on the city. Chris is a good guy with great knowledge of New Orleans. If you’re in town and have a camera, make sure to give APS a call!

I spent most of my time in the French Quarter, but as you’ll see in the photos below, I took loads of photos in the cemeteries. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I have a background in History, so cemeteries are a fascinating place for me, as morbid as that may sound. The cemeteries in New Orleans are amazing, if not for their history, then for their numerous above ground crypts in all stages of celebration and decay.

My favorite part of the trip was walking around the Garden District. The architecture there is breathtaking and the history of the residents is pretty interesting (for example, Jefferson Davis died here, and Ann Rice lives and has set many of her novels here). Unfortunately, I didn’t do too well photographing the houses since the landscaping on most of them prevents wide angle shots. If you don’t have the money for a tour guide, numerous walking tours of the area are available on the web, and thus, on your cell phone.

On to the photos, presented in no particular order.

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It’s odd to say this about a city, but New Orleans has lots of interesting shadows.  This is one from a cross on a grave.

Many of the houses in the French Quarter are in a state of moderate disrepair. I suspect that it’s intentional; the colors and distressed paint actually add to the appearance of the homes in my opinion.

 

 

 

 

Edited with Comic Sans for your amusement. Also, so my mother doesn’t get mad at me. (Found on the banks of the Mississippi.)

Apparently, this grave is one of about three reputed to belong to Marie Laveau, a well known Voodoo practitioner. People leave stuff for her and write Xs on the tomb, which represent wishes. You’re supposed to come back and circle your X if the wish is granted, but I didn’t see a whole lot circled. Either people are lazy, or Marie’s not pulling her weight.

The cemeteries in New Orleans are in terrible, terrible, TERRIBLE shape. In a way though this makes them more appealing. Many of the tombstones are broken or warped. In this case, some kind soul took the time to piece together a gravemarker that had fallen and shattered.

Everything in New Orleans is crooked. I kept thinking that I was doing something wrong, but as Chris pointed out, the whole area has shifted from being built on what is essentially swampland. Doors and windows change shape, and whole buildings tilt one way or the other.

The area around St. Louis Cathedral has a great flea market as well as some open air vendors. This was one of the more colorful displays.

One of the houses in the French Quarter has a special perch in a window for its cats. Apparently, they just sit there most of the day and check out all the activity.

Note the busted and warped grave markers. This is typical of the graves at many of the cemeteries.

These horse heads show up in many places in the Garden District. I wonder if they were originally actual horse ties? The area is certainly old enough.

Although the grave was interesting for its design, I was puzzled by the period after “Gerhard.”

 

Shot from across the Mississippi at Algiers, looking back towards New Orleans. I tried to catch a sunset over here twice; each day I was shut down. Note the ship: there is a ton of traffic on the river at all hours.

Exterior of St. Louis Cathedral.

A house in the Garden District. I think this might actually have just been the garage, with the main house behind this.

After Katrina hit, Banksy did some pieces in different parts of the city (I’m not sure how many). This one was near the French Quarter. Note the plexiglass over it. I admire Banksy’s pieces, but it’s a strange thing to think that graffiti in come cases gets protective coverings.

Another interesting shadow.

I’m not sure if it still is, but this garden (and the huge house behind it) was at one time owned by Nicholas Cage.

I originally planned to show this photo at a much wider angle. However, before publishing I happened to zoom in and noticed the decay. It’s more haunting this way I think. The poor girl is showing some age, although she’s still beautiful after all this time.

These last two photos are my favorites of the trip. They’re not necessarily great photos themselves, but they’re reminders that even though we eventually die, we’re a part of something much bigger than ourselves.

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Rocky Mountain /R/oad Trip

Long overdue for a break from my day job, I took a 4-day weekend to visit friends in the Denver area. And, thanks to the good folks over at /r/Denver I had a plethora of ghosts to chase down. Weather worked against me a little, but I worked against me more. I mis-timed arrivals, couldn’t find landmarks, left needed filters in the car, and just generally avoided finding my groove. Fortunately, Colorado’s a beautiful place, so it’s virtually impossible to come away empty handed.

The advantage of nature and travel photography is that even on days when you get it wrong, you’re still amidst nature and enjoying travel. If nothing else, it’s research for next time. Not a bad way to spend time….

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Day 1  was a calm one: lunch with Brian’s in-laws (great guys!), coffee with Brian, Tracy, and new friend Kristen, and then a barbecue with more in-laws to celebrate a birthday.

Day 2 found Brian and me on the hunt for the ruins of abandoned mines, but alas, we were skunked. On the way up to the city of Idaho Springs we happened across the grave of Western icon Buffalo Bill Cody. Three thoughts came away with me:

  1. His grave was not particularly attractive as graves go.
  2. “He was a Free Mason, really?”
  3. It felt odd in this day and age to read on his grave that he was an Indian fighter. What a different world we live in.

As mentioned, we didn’t find much in Idaho Springs to photograph (besides touristy ruins), primarily because I did far less research than I normally do on an area. Fortunately, Brian introduced me to a pizza parlor that gives you honey with which to dip your leftover crust. Oh, and we also found this waterwheel and waterfall across the street, so that’s cool.


On the last day of my trip, we went to a Renaissance Fair not too far from the house. I found this guy on display at a booth for Colorado’s predatory birds.

The Idaho Springs graveyard: difficult place to drive a wide vehicle; lovely place to spend eternity.
We headed south to try and catch sunset at the ruins of the Castlewood Dam, which burst in 1933. Alas, we started the hike from the wrong spot so we didn’t make it to the dam. However, we did enjoy hiking along the bottom of beautiful Castlewood Canyon.

Day 3 found us in the neat little town of Estes Park before heading into Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). This place is a real gem, so if you haven’t been I’d encourage you to go. Elk (?) are quite abundant throughout, and I spent some time stalking them. Here, a group enjoys an evening snack.

One of my favorite subjects is moving water, whether it be at the beach or in the form of a waterfall. High on my list of targets was Alberta Falls, near Bear Lake in RMNP. We got there late and the still abundant amount of snow on the trail made it a race to beat sunset. In my rush to get the shot I didn’t notice the copious amounts of mist on the lens, dust on the sensor, and the vignette resulting from stacking filters. It also didn’t help that the exposure is too dark! This is a junk shot, but it was a lovely hike and a nice way to end the evening, so I present it anyway in all its junk glory. :)
Whilst walking around the Renaissance Fair looking for subjects I paused at the numerous shows. The performers and guest in the foreground were supposed to be the real focus of the show. However, the little one in the back (did she belong to the performers?) caught my eye as she repeatedly wrapped herself in the banner and tried to stay out of trouble. How rad are the red and zebra-striped tights?

I enjoy shooting architecture as well, although I didn’t have much time on this trip. One of the shots I did want, based on recommendations from Reddit, was the skyscraper at 1999 Broadway. A desire to retain the historic Holy Ghost Catholic Church resulted in the office building going up mere feet from the church.

I wanted a high angle of the buildings, so Brian and I scouted out nearby parking structures. To get this photo, I had to climb up and stand one-legged on the skinny outer wall of a structure, some 7-stories up, and then shove my camera through railing. I was less afraid of falling than I was of someone calling the police on me as a jumper, so I climbed down post haste. An unintended consequence of shooting through the rails was a sort of fake tilt-shift effect that I didn’t notice until I got home.

Note the tiny little church just to the right of the center tower.

Here it is from a different angle. Even from this side you can’t really appreciate how close together the two buildings are.

Bear Lake. It occurred to me just now that I don’t think I’ve ever seen a frozen lake. Weird.

Local, RMNP.

Castlewood Canyon again. 

I wasn’t expecting snow on this trip, and there was still a lot of it throughout RMNP. We found this guy hanging out at around 11,000 feet at the Forest Canyon overlook.

My good friends Tracy and Brian, who put me up (and put up with me!) for four days.

Finally, another shot from Castlewood Canyon. Bloody ‘ell is that place great for photography. I’m looking forward to another trip, which will definitely need to be longer.

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An Uncut Weekend

My weekend started off with an early trip to photograph the US Uncut protest in LA. Unfortunately, the group never got very large while I was there, so I opted to take off and didn’t take any photos.  On the way home I stopped off in Long Beach to take photos of my friend’s puppy Gnocchi, and then met my cousin towards sunset to capture OC from on high.

My associate and friend Bruce arrived from the frozen lands of Scranton, PA Sunday morning. Whilst in the LAX area we drove to the Getty museum followed by the Huntington Beach pier so that he could tell his friends that he’s been to Huntington Beach. Also, to take photographs at sunset. Without clouds the pier sunset was sort of boring, but it was nice to be outside and not in the office.

This first shot is from Lemon Heights.

A view from the Getty.

Shooting puppies is more difficult than shooting hyper children. About the only time you can get a still portrait is when they’re too exhausted to continue. Here’s Gnocchi, dreaming of baby tennis balls.

Without much variety in the sky, I made my own. This shot has a slight shutter drag.

A resident at the Getty.

“Buildings on Mars.” An attempt at the unusual, looking inland from the shoreline in HB.

Lemon Heights again.

You got seashells in my pier photo. No, you got a pier in my seashell photo! (Sigh, I know I’m not funny.) My favorite of the weekend.

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2010: Year in Review

2010 was probably the most challenging year of my life, with a number of personal and work events that pushed me to the brink a number of times. But, it was also the most productive year of my life in a number of areas, certainly with respect to photography. By the time the year was over I felt that I had reached a new level in my ability to capture the world around me. Additionally, I found a new calling in life on a political and social level, traveled and “adventured” like never before, and most importantly, spent an incredible amount of time with a diverse group of amazing people. To all of you, even those who aren’t represented here, thank you for letting me into your lives during the best (and worst) year of my existence.

Even though this is a pretty darn big post, the photos below are only a small selection of some of my favorites from the year. Click on a shot to go to the full post it was originally found in.

Ireland and Italy

I traveled to Europe with my sister and cousin, stopping first in Ireland to visit my brother before heading off to Italy.

Robin and Laurie

Two incredible women who are a true pleasure to be around.

Section 8 at the House of Blues

I got to shoot my cousin’s band from the stage at the House of Blues in Anaheim. That was definitely a cool experience.

Corona Del Mar

I’ve spent a lot of time doing photography along Corona Del Mar. This photo seems to be the one people like best.

Los Angeles Arboretum

I made a number of trips to the arboretum this year. I started the year barely knowing what an orchid was, but thanks to the arboretum and Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, I’m pretty much an expert now. :)

These are from two different trips.

New York City

One of the most amazing places I’ve ever been to, and I barely scratched the surface.

Studio Chaos

2010 was the year that I finally got a handle on studio lighting. I’m certainly not an expert, but this once mysterious discipline has let me in on some of its secrets. The first two photos are from some of my first sessions at my new studio. The self-portrait of me isn’t published elsewhere on the site, but since it’s the most obnoxious photo I took all year, I figured I’d include it.

San Diego Ruins

I spent a long time scouring the desert near San Diego this year looking for ruins and pictographs. I didn’t find either; instead, I found this ghost train amid some adventures too crazy to share.

St. Louis

The weather in St. Louis was hot and miserable during my trip, but the stay was one of my best photo experiences to date.

Khmer New Year

Thanks to a connection through my friend Nita, a temple in Riverside asked me to capture their Khmer New Year celebrations.

Huntington Beach Pier

The third most viewed photo I took all year. Having grown up in HB and spent considerable time there, I actually find shooting the pier pretty boring. This one afternoon with my cousin and brother, however, made me feel like a first time visitor.

Scranton, PA

Pennsylvania is awesome. If it didn’t get to negative one million degrees in the winter, I might consider living there. Thanks to Aislinn and Bruce for joining me on some fairly crazy adventures.

Lake Shrine

An unusual retreat in the chaos of LA. Take a blanket and spend time reclining near Gandhi’s ashes.

Team Chaos: Action + Danger

I’ve been single forever, so taking photos of my own kids isn’t possible, given that I have none. Luckily, my good friends have two adorable children that I’ve been fortunate to photograph on a number of occasions. The first photo shows “Danger” Declan in James Bond mode, smooth talking the ladies already. The photo of “Action” Abby in her tiger costume is one of my top 5 favorites of the year.

Christmas with the Moores

In pursuit of a Christmas card, I spent a day with my cousin Dan and his lovely bride Kim, as well as their two very big dogs. After we were done for the day and driving home, we lucked into an amazing sunset and a great place to capture it.

Trenton, my favorite photo of the year

As part of a photojournalism project, parents Wendy and John let me into their family for a few weeks as I documented life with an autistic son. I haven’t published the full set yet, as I’m still working with some other families to get a larger body of work together. For various reasons, this photo of their son Trenton, a dynamic and incredible little guy, is my personal favorite  of the year.

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Peacock Sunglasses 2: The Revenge

Location: Los Angeles Arboretum Subject: Flowers, birds, insects, waterfall

After my first trip to the Los Angeles County Arboretum, a friend asked me to take her. We drove up on a beautiful California afternoon during a brief window of free time I had. This time, rather than just stealing my sunglasses, the peacocks actively tried to kill me. Everywhere I turned there was a peacock lurking in the bushes, digging holes to hide lower in the grass (presumably to launch a sneak attack), and climbing trees, ready to lunge. In the end, we survived, but only barely.

Ok, so maybe they weren’t trying to kill me, but those things were true. The peacocks had the uncanny ability to be everywhere, and they really were in the trees, on buildings, digging holes in the grass, and so on. Next time I go I’m going to bring peacock food so that I can corral them in one place, you know, just in case.

While taking photos of the Queen Anne cottage, we paused to enjoy the curious turtles heading in our direction. We also noticed a bird diving repeatedly for something. After about 3 minutes of this, it surfaced with this catfish in its mouth.

Ants, walking on the very edge of a carnivorous plant; a small gust of wind and they would be lunch.

Another, wider take on the beautiful waterfall.

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