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

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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

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Dating Naina

For the record, I’m not actually dating Naina (she’s waaaaay too hot for me). I am lucky though to count her as a friend and to have photographed her a number of times. A professional model and actress, she’s a delight to shoot. She is immensely creative and always has tons of great ideas.

The concept for this set was lovers at home for the day, playing with the camera in some of their private, happy moments (thus the “dating” title). We shot around my new apartment and got some really great photos. Naina also terrified me by sitting precariously far over the edge of my balcony. Anything for the art I suppose. :)

Naina Michaud

Naina Michaud

Naina Michaud black and white

Naina Michaud



Naina Michaud

Naina Michaud pool portrait

Naina Michaud

Naina Michaud

Naina Michaud

Naina Michaud

Naina Michaud

Naina Michaud


Naina Michaud
Naina Michaud

Naina Michaud

Naina Michaud

Naina Michaud pool portrait

Naina Michaud

Naina Michaud

Naina Michaud

Thanks for being awesome Naina!

birdy Viewing this as a single post? Check out the rest of my website here, yo.

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European Б-Sides

Most of my pictures never get published. Usually this is because I’m unhappy with the photos. Other times, it’s because the photos are redundant to other shots I like better. All of the items below are unpublished photos from a trip I took to Kiev, Chernobyl, and Paris (also London, but I hate most of those photos). I’ve got loads more images from Europe, so I’m sure I’ll do another one of these in the future.

Chernobyl kindergarten

If a town near Chernobyl “died” as a result of the nuclear accident, it was typically razed and buried to prevent people from visiting it. When this happened, a sign with the town name was erected and a red slash placed on it, denoting that the town was no more.

Dead town near Chernobyl

Eiffel Tower lights

Chernobyl toy

Chernobyl window toys

This is what a destroyed grocery store looks like.

Chernobyl grocery store, supermarket

Graffiti by an unknown artist in Pripyat, Chernobyl’s most famous lost town.

Chernobyl graffiti

Chernobyl gym ferris wheel

Chernobyl kindergarten

Paris tomb

Prypyat gym

I’ve published a photo of this refrigerator before, but since I love the subject so much I decided to post a second image. One of the great mysteries of my life will forever be why this home appliance came to be hanging out on the corner of a Parisian intersection.

Lost fridge in Paris

Chernobyl Prypyat bumper cars

France tulips

Kiev cathedral

Pripyat’s most famous icon is the Ferris wheel in the town’s amusement park, which was scheduled to open just a few days after the meltdown occurred.

Chernobyl amusement park

To finish up, here are two shots of the Eiffel Tower: one at sunrise and one not long after a stormy sunset.

Eiffel Tower sunrise

Eiffel Tower storm

birdy If you’re viewing a single post, don’t forget to check out the rest of my website or my prints gallery.

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Beach = mc2 (Also, tacos from the future)

This past weekend I hosted my family at the beach house (thanks FTS!).  Since my family is awesome and full of crazy people, and since the beach is open until midnight there, we decided to take my shiny new direct-from-KickStarter Pixelstick for a spin.

PixelStick Rainbow Beach

PixelStick Three Arch Bay

PixelStick Silhouette

In case you were too lazy to read the website I linked to above, Pixelstick is a modern take on the classic photographic technique of light painting. Basically, you keep your camera’s shutter open for a while and it will capture a light source as though it were floating, electric paint.  Pixelstick has 200 LED bulbs in a strip about 6-feet tall, and as it moves it blinks different patterns. These blinking lights and gradients get turned into interesting patterns, like so:

PixelStick blue ribbon

And sometimes the LEDs blink out a row of chalupas, as seen here behind my cousin doing mountain pose (IIRC).

PixelStick yoga tacos

PixelStick fade

PixelStick cartoon stars

My cousin Lauren has the best stories of anyone in the world. I could listen to them all day. A number of them involve “burrito shops” or “burrito stores,” so I thought burritos would be fitting for her.

PixelStick Sumo Burrito

PixelStick Rainbow Beach

Pyramid thug life 4-evah!

PixelStick pyramid cats

Making simple images is trivial, and to be honest, kinda boring after a while. Once we started getting better with the device we worked on more interesting concepts. This one was made by lighting Kayla first with an all-red light and then running around her position with a red ribbon pattern.

PixelStick Dress Dancer

This one was a 30-second exposure using a similar technique: for 15 seconds or so I ran around with a red ribbon image, and for the second 15 seconds I turned on a blue image.  I’m pretty excited about what I’ll be able to do in the future as I figure this thing out further. Anyone want to play with me?

Pixel Stick multiple files

I’ll wrap up with a very rare image of the Milky Way taken from Orange County. This stretch of coast line has very few houses and is far enough away from Laguna Beach and Dana point such that the sky is just dark enough for a Milky Way shot.  Not my best ever, but it was cool to see it here for the first time in my life over OC. In the foreground is whale rock.

Three Arch Bay, Laguna Beach, Milky Way

birdy Viewing a single post? Don’t forget to check out the rest of my website or my prints gallery.

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