A Floating Ghost in the Forest

Apparently, the shipwreck I was on was private property. The man who told me this was agitated, on an ATV, and on the other side of the river. He wasn’t the first agitated man I’d run across on abandoned/forgotten property, so I erred on the side of caution and told him I was leaving.  

He didn’t believe me I guess.

A few months ago I was on a business trip and had some time to kill. As I usually do, I went in search of abandoned places to photograph. I came across this ghost ship while doing research and decided to go looking for it. Since the shipwreck is apparently private property I’m not going to give out any additional information on its location, but I will say that in this particular state the mud is like molasses and mosquitoes and horses are in about equal supply. This river, a tributary of a much larger one nearby, is also pretty popular with kayakers apparently.

After a sweaty walk through dense forest and mud that was more like quick sand, I found her. As if the walk wasn’t bad enough, she was set slightly out into the river so I was going to have to get a little wet and super muddy to get aboard. Great.

Unfortunately, she was listing a little to starboard, so that made the climb interesting. Double unfortunately, the river looked like something evil and gigantic was lurking in it (and muddy! did I already say that?), so I was desperately hoping I didn’t fall. I quietly checked in with the patron saint of shipwrecks and climbed aboard.

Besides the first shipwreck forest I’ve ever seen, the vessel had several large holes in the deck, some of which were hidden. Falling through one would likely drown you. If you didn’t drown and didn’t have a friend to help you out, you would no doubt end up with a life-long fear of rivers: the hold was full of dark water, tree branches, and skeletons of long submerged equipment. In retrospect I probably shouldn’t have been there alone, but I’m pretty much Indiana Jones so it was ok. (I’ll give you a moment here to roll your eyes.)

The boat was pretty substantial in size, so photographing it took a while. After about 30 minutes I heard a noise in the distance which soon became a noise in the nearby. A man pulled up, killed his engine, and told me in no uncertain terms to leave (I’ve learned from experience that it’s usually best not to hide, which is how he found me). Even though I had intentionally parked far up river away from any houses and hiked in to avoid a problem just like this, one had found me.

I packed up my kit and rappelled down the side of the ship, almost losing a shoe to the sucking mud. After a few minutes of hiking it became apparent that he was crossing the river and headed my direction, so I stayed close to the water in thicker bush and stayed out of sight. (On the other hand, I’ve learned that sometimes it is in fact better to hide.) After he passed me I hustled out a little faster, positively coated the inside of my rental car with mud, and made my way out of the forest.

Below are some of the photos I took. Maybe in a future post I’ll put up a few more.

This was my view from the right side of the river as I approached. Because of how dense the forest is, the shipwreck just sort of appears out of nowhere. Abandoned ship in the woods

One of the holes in the deck. Note the submerged equipment inside just below the water.

Hole in deck of abandoned shipwreck

Engine of abandoned river boat

Abandoned ship

Another view of the inside, including branches that would make for a very bad day if you fell in.

Below decks on derelict ship

Portholes on abandoned ship in the forest

Engine room of abandoned ship

Submerged equipment

Since I almost never get to an abandoned spot before other people have, there’s inevitably graffiti on them (people suck). Luckily this wreck didn’t have much of it, and what was there was kind of interesting, like this piece.

Graffiti on abandoned ship

A view looking towards the bow; note the trees.

Looking to stern on abandoned boat

Because I’m dumb, I thought it would be a good idea to stand up on the narrow edge of the bow and take a photo of the river. I’m pretty sure it was full of concentrated evil.

River from the bow

And here’s my opposite view, showing how tall the trees on the deck were.

View from the front of the abandoned river ship in the forest

This next photo was the last one I took after I abandoned ship, and will be the last one I bore you with. Thanks as always for visiting my littler corner of the Internet. Check back soon for more updates!

Detail of abandoned ship's bow

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Random Jazz 9/17/2015

I went to some random places and made some photographs of them. Also of my pretty girlfriend. Enjoy.

Kayla, a mask, and the Milky Way-Alabama Hills

Milky Way and a shooting star (and my friend Kayla) at the Alabama Hills

Cheyenne Conner



Cheyenne Conner in Mexico


Lost balloons

Cheyenne Conner


Cheyenne Conner

Monterey Tree

Golden Gate Bridge sunset

Milky Way at Mono Lake

The Milky Way at Mono Lake

birdy Want more me in your life? Click here to see my prints for sale, or here to see the rest of my posts. If you’d prefer to stay right here and do nothing, click here.

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Reche Canyon: Destroyer of Worlds

In the relatively average town of Colton, California, is a relatively non-average thoroughfare called Reche Canyon Road. This road likes to kill people.

Strictly speaking, the road itself has no specific feelings towards people either way. What it does have, however, is a series of problems:

  1. It’s only two lanes, and does not have any safety dividers
  2. Besides serving local traffic, Reche Canyon also serves drivers traveling between Colton and Moreno Valley.
  3. Approximately 102% of these through-drivers are vision impaired, aggressive a-holes who enjoy passing each other despite the fact that it’s dangerous and illegal in most places.
  4. As an added bonus, the canyon has wild donkeys living in it. These donkeys are dumb.
  5. Various dumb people who are dumb feed the dumb donkeys, which then sometimes congregate on/near the road and pretend to be slalom poles.

In the multitude of times I’ve driven the road (my girlfriend and some friends live nearby), I’ve never seen a police officer on the road. I’ve never seen a construction crew adding safety dividers. I have, however, seen numerous people nearly hit each other (and me). I’ve also seen more roadside memorials than on any other SoCal road that I can remember.

There have been at least two fatalities on the road this year (1,2), as well as a number of other collisions, like this one. Lots of other people have died over the years, like this guy, this guy, and this guy.

After the most recent death in August I decided to document 5 of the memorials with a small number of photographs. Since the local transit authorities apparently hate their residents I expect there will be more memorials to come, unfortunately.

Colton roadside memorial

Reche Canyon drunk driver

Reche Canyon RIP

Colton memorial

Moreno Valley roadside memorial

Reche Canyon memorial

Colton traffic death

Reche Canyon death

Reche Canyon grave

As I was taking that last photo above, I heard two engines straining and then a horn. Looking up, I saw yet another person crossing the double-yellow to save 20 seconds on their commute.

Reche Canyon, Colton, bad drivers

Fortunately there was no accident this time, although the day after I first published this I heard that there was another collision in the canyon. Sigh. Life (and preventable deaths) goes on I guess.

birdyTake a look at the rest of my site for more photos, most of which aren’t sad.

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Random Jazz: Female Magic Edition

Women, as far as I’m concerned, are magicians. They somehow grow miniature humans and 4 out of 5 look better in a Chanel gown than I do. Some women, like my friend Anna Habrat, have the power to turn hair and makeup into art.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Anna on a few shoots dedicated to her work as a stylist. (Also, on one occasion I almost caused her to fall off a ride at Raging Waters.) This short post shows off a few of the looks from our last session for the 2015 NAHA competition. While it might be short, I hope you agree with me that these photos show some really cool work.

Thanks to our models Jeanine Romo, Jan Marie Valesco, and Dawnielle Huffman for being such good sports. Makeup was provided by the very talented Lindsay Dabalos.

Dawnielle Huffman - Anna Habrat

Anna Habrat

Anna Habrat

Anna Habrat

Anna Habrat

Anna Habrat

birdyFeel free to visit the rest of my website here. Also, did you know that I sell prints? I’m a little behind on adding items to the gallery, but you can find a selection of my work here.

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Bellas of the Ball

A heck of a lot of life has happened in the last few months and has kept me from posting. I’ve worked a ton, traveled a good amount (pro tip: don’t cross the Mexico/US border on a Sunday), and taken about 1 Brazillion photos. Now that things have slowed down a bit, I’m finally able to start clearing out the backlog.

These photos are from my most recent set, taken during the unusual thunderstorms that moved through SoCal this weekend. Basically, I had two pretty ladies at my disposal so we dressed up, got some umbrellas, and went outside for a couple of very short sessions.

The first of my two models is my lovely girlfriend Oiseau (Cheyenne). Here she is smiling at me:

Cheyenne Conner rain umbrella portrait

And here she is bored after I asked her to take too many photos:

Cheyenne Conner rain umbrella portrait

Cheyenne Conner rain umbrella portrait

Cheyenne Conner rain umbrella portrait

And this charming young lady is Bella–Cheyenne’s neighbor–doing her best Elsa impression.

8U0B1900-1I call this one “this seemed like a good idea a minute ago.”



For some of the shots I told her to act like a queen instead. I think she looks quite regal, don’t you? :)




Thanks for swinging by. Check back soon for more!

birdyViewing this as a single post? Check out the rest of my site here.

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Courir après les oiseaux

The young woman in this picture is Cheyenne. She’s 18 going on 19. I’m dating her.


Why am I telling you this? Because over the last few days and weeks, my relationship with her has cost me some friends and has resulted in some people (coworkers included) whom I thought were friends saying some very mean things. In some cases the comments were, quite frankly, disgusting.

Since the world has decided to take a very big interest in this relationship, I might as well explain the situation a bit and get it out in the open.

(Before I continue: Yes, I know it’s unconventional. Like, very, very, very unconventional. Believe me, I’ve heard it all, and there hasn’t been a single question asked about the relationship that I haven’t already considered.)

Here’s the story:

I’ve known Cheyenne and her family for several years. For most of those years she was just a nice young person who was on the periphery of a social circle that included her parents and mutual, older friends. Because she lived in Indiana during her school year, I only occasionally saw her during summers.


After completing school last year, I saw her more often because of that shared social circle, and because of some photography and videography projects that involved both of us. We became, for the first time, real friends.

In late 2014 and early 2015 we started collaborating on some photography projects and our friendship grew. Over time, she came to be a muse of sorts for me, and we took some beautiful photos. Our friendship grew closer organically as well as through the art we were making. Before long, it was obvious that we had developed feelings for each other.

I could just say that I’m another artist who fell for his muse. Certainly, the connection we have in our work is important, but leaving it at that doesn’t do Cheyenne justice: she’s a smart, funny, clever person that definitely doesn’t have as much life experience as I have, but she is a damn fine person for the point in life that she is at. At 18 she’s absolutely got her share of young person traits and quirks, but she’s also much more mature than a lot of older people I know.


Something I’ve learned through my own relationships and those of others is that compatibility has nothing to do with age or the life interests you might write down in a dating profile. Relationships between people of all ages fail, as they do between people in the same line of work, in the same religion, active in the same sports and hobbies, and so on. Perfect compatibility on paper is absolutely no sign of real compatibility.

I recognize that this relationship has much working against it. If you were to ask a relationship counselor about it, they’d probably say it’s doomed from the start. Maybe it is. However, every other relationship I’ve had hasn’t worked out for various reasons, so even if this one doesn’t, it’s no different.

Every woman I’ve ever dated has been remarkable in her own way. Heck, every woman that has been a close friend has been amazing. They’re tigers in a world of kittens. I don’t settle for average, and the women I’ve had in my life have reflected this. Cheyenne is the same. Yes, she doesn’t know as much about politics as me, but she is a genius about music and sports in comparison. She’s talented at architectural design, and she’s incredibly knowledgeable about orcas, for which she has a deep passion. She hasn’t had to make her way through a career yet, but many women closer to my age haven’t either and are actually lost in life. I could go on, but in short, my point is that age is a barometer of where someone is in life, but it’s by no means the only one.


I have no idea whether this relationship will last. For the moment we make each other happy, we have a good time making photographs together, and we both have a thirst for adventure and new experiences that helps us grow as people.

If it doesn’t work out, it’ll be no different than a relationship with a woman closer in age that didn’t work out. I still fret about many of the risks involved, and likely will continue to do so for a while. (And yes, next to her pretty little self I feel like a gigantic monster.) You don’t need to tell me or ask me questions about this risk or that complication. I’ve literally thought of it all.

Entering into this relationship was not a trivial decision for either of us, which is why it saddens me that people I care about have been so terrible about it. It’s not some kind of crisis. It’s not about sex, as some jerks have said. I talked to soooooo many people before deciding to make the leap–including my parents and her parents–because I wanted to make the right decision for us. Ultimately, what happens is between Cheyenne and me, but I’d hope that if you’re reading this you’d care enough about me to respect my decision.

In closing, I’ll say this: we might break up in a month for all I know. I have no bloody clue how this is going to work out. What I do know, however, is that I have chosen to date someone who is exceptional. She is pretty, humorous, intelligent, and dynamic. She just happens to be a fair bit younger than me. I’d like you to kindly get over it.


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In Search of the Promised Land

A few weeks ago some friends and I decided to go wander the desert (thus my mildly sacrilegious title). While we didn’t find any manna, we did find some really interesting places. When in the desert, it often pays to take the road less traveled. I’ve been working my tail off and am exhausted, so I’m going to stop talking and show you pictures. Bye.

Palm Springs from Keys View


Desert cabin


Desert cabin

Desert abandoned building

Desert cabin

Desert crosses

Jenelle and her pony

Desert headstones

Desert art

Cheyenne the patriot




Hello again. I did want to say this: if Toby’s friends sought fit to erect such an awesome roadside memorial, I feel like he or she was the type of person I would have liked to have known. Rest in Peace, person whom should have been my friend.
Toby roadside memorial

Joshua Tree sunset

birdyViewing this as a single post? Check out the rest of my site here.

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Random Jazz: Circle Gets the Square Edition

More unpublished stuff for you.

First up are some photos of my friend Tim Gill, who’s an amazing musician and leads a few different incredible musical groups, including the Tim Gill All Stars. You should probably go see them live or buy some of their music if you know what’s good for you.
Tim Gill

Tim Gill

Tim Gill

I did some work with my friend Anna Habrat (the Magical Blonde Hair Stylist) for entries in the NAHA competition. While I can’t show you the super rad styles she came up with until after the competition, I thought I’d throw in some interesting outtakes if for no other reason than model Dawnielle has amazing eyes.
Model takes a break

Crying model

I made this mermaid a few months ago with my Pixelstick. There’s supposed to be some dolphins in there, but they’re jerks and aren’t showing up well.
Pixelstick mermaid at the pool

Urban river

This one hurts my head to look at.
Urban fountain

Urban fountain

Tuolomne meadows

Moon reflected in a building

I know this photo doesn’t look like much, but I’m pretty sure it’s the most perfect photo I’ve ever taken. Some day when I die this will be sold for millions of dollars. Get your copy now for a mere $1,000.

And last but not least, a giant hole. See you next year!
Pentagon at OC Performing Arts Center

birdyIf you’re viewing this a a single post and have like 6 more minutes to kill, feel free to check out the rest of my work here.

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Ghosts of Thanksgiving Present

Over the Thanksgiving weekend I headed out to the Flagstaff and Sedona areas of Arizona. Unfortunately, due to an unscheduled, violent meeting between my foot and a wall at my apartment, I made the trip with a painful fracture. Since I was limited, things were a little more boring than normal, but I still got a few photos to share.

The first stop on our trip was to Flintstone’s Bedrock City. As I wrote previously, this place is so bad it’s awesome. An employee told me that it’s been put up for sale, so who knows if it’ll be around much longer. Best get out if you ever want to see it. I shot a lot of pictures, but they’re kinda boring so I’ve included a small selection.

Flintstone's Bedrock City

Flintstone's Bedrock City

I think this picture of a giant dog on a dinosaur slide is probably the best photo I’ve ever taken.

Flintstone's Bedrock City Dinosaur Slide with a Dog

Me and my busted foot on the same slide. Being metal and relatively steep, it was one of the best slide related experiences I’ve had since I was a child.

Flintstone's Bedrock City Slide

We met this guy at Grand Canyon.

Elk at the Grand Canyon

My brother, beer in hand, trying to get a closer look. (Not really; we’re both too smart to approach large animals, but we thought it’d be fun to take a picture like this anyhow.)

Nate Reinig at Grand Canyon

With the help of a cane (and my brother and cousin helping me through some tough spots), I made a painful hike to the top of Cathedral Rock in Sedona. It was hard, but wow, what a place. I strongly recommend that you make this hike at least once in your life. (Hopefully you’ll have a more interesting sunset than I did.)

Cathedral Rock sunset

Grand Canyon sunset

Grand Canyon sunset

I love pictographs and petroglyphs. I really like the solitude of the desert, so whenever I encounter native desert art I get this great feeling of camaraderie with the people who made them. Both of us chose to visit this quiet place centuries apart, but likely for the same reasons of tranquility and beauty.

Indian Petroglyphs near Laughlin

Cathedral Rock sunset

I *think* this is Bell Rock, as seen from the top of Cathedral Rock.

Sedona sunset from Cathedral Rock

On our last day we went to a place called “Bearizona” in Williams, AZ, which lets you drive through various animal habitats in your car. While there are a number of cool animals to see, the wolves were by far the best. Here’s one of them trying to steal my cousin’s soul. I think this was an Arctic wolf maybe?

Arctic wolf at Bearizona

This pictograph site near Laughlin was one of the most prolific I’ve ever visited. Dozens of huge boulders looked just like this one, with scores of images carved on top of each other.  Note how high up this rock is: that’s my 6ish-foot-tall brother in the lower right. Also note that I was standing in a horrible thorn bush to get this picture for you. I’m pretty sure that means you owe me like $5 or something.

Indian pictographs at sunset near Laughlin, Nevada

As my last shot of the post, here’s a picture taken near Desert View Watchtower. Thanks for visiting!

Grand Canyon Sunset at Desert View Watchtower

birdyAre you viewing this as a single post? Feel free to check out the rest of my work here if you’re bored and have nothing better to do.

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Random Jazz: Insert Clever Title Here Edition

I’m too tired to come up with a clever title tonight or to write words good. So, pictures look you. Bye.

Rock of the gods

Of winds and chains

Shady city



Industrial moonrise

Digital flower


Oregon waterfall

Beach bird sunset

Flag at sunset

birdyIf you’re viewing this as a single post, point your mouse here and then do a single click to see the rest of my stuff. If you’d rather click two or more times, you can check out my prints gallery over here. Thanks. :)

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