Although I still prefer shooting on my own, I've got to say that I have met some pretty cool people through shooting with them. I met Salt and Chrissy through a string of Mighty Killers meets and events but I've never really gotten out there and shot with these guys. You have to admit, being at an event and hanging out is completely different than going out exploring and shooting with a group of people. These two are super chill folks and super down to Earth; not to mention they are a very talented couple. You rarely find a couple who both love to shoot, especially as much as these two do and it's inspiring to see them work. They swooped me up from BART and headed down to one of my favorite locations in Northern California, Shark Fin Cove. I've probably mentioned this a hundreds times by now but shit, this spot jus never gets old to me. I love everything about it and everything that surrounds it. It just has so much to offer, photo-op speaking. One day you find a washed up dead baby whale, another you find a gang of people pitching tents, then you have a bunch of people playing volleyball and kicking back, and then theres times where its completely quiet and you have the entire place to yourself.
If someone says, "Let's go catch sunset at Big Sur" you always say yes. No matter what, even if its the wedding weekend of a Mighty Killers member.
This past weekend many of the Mighty Killers team gathered for the wedding celebration of Elissa and Marvin. We all had duties to fulfill to help the wedding run smoothly, but when you're 15min away from the most amazing coast line you find time to sneak away. Sam (@thesamgraves) and I had no idea where we wanted to go; we just knew we had to catch a dope sunset. The anticipation of driving through the winding roads of Big Sur to Pfeiffer beach was filled with uncertainty.
The uncertainty of each outing is what makes a great ending that much more worthwhile. If you always knew that you were going to head out to catch nothing but bangers each time the photos wouldn't have as much meaning. Everyone would have dope pics and the pic you thought was killer wouldn't be that special. It's always the stories that you tell about how you got the shot is what makes the shot that much more amazing.
The anticipation of driving around countless turns to only see a grey blanket of fog brings about a sense of frustration. But the moment that the blanket lifts, and the sun beings to descend below the horizon that sense of frustration immediately turns into a rush of excitement.
It should always be about the journey and never the destination...
Whenever I embark on a new adventure I always have a place in mind that I want to go. However sometimes things don't always work out that way. Now this doesn't mean that it was a failure, but instead I like to think of it as an unexpected detour. As long as a forward step was taken and a new experience was learned no adventure can ever be a failure.
This past weekend a friend and I decided we should hike to Shirley Lake in Tahoe National Forest. The destination was an amazing scenic lake that was completely isolated by surrounding mountains and lush green fields. The water was calm, crystal clear, and untouched by any outside elements... This is what I gathered from Google images. You can probably guess that I actually have no idea what this lake looks like in person because we never made it there. I am not proud to explain the reason for not reaching our destination because the inner Boy Scout in me would be ashamed, but we were simply not prepared. We brought water and food, but like Harold and Kumar when we remembered we've gone too far.
My old Boy Scout pack leader Mr. Wong would probably disown me for not bringing the basic necessities, but I have channeled my new role models in the form of Harold and Kumar and their excursion to White Castle. Similar to Harold and Kumar, we had an amazing experience with little to no resources. The scenery along the way filled with giant cascading waterfalls and vast flowing rivers surrounded by enormous boulders eroded over time by the elements... but from the pictures it looks like I was simply dehydrated and delusional to remember what it actually looked like. Either way it was an experience for both my creative side and my commonsense side.
With the lack of free time in the past couple of weeks, I just haven't been able to shoot as often as before. The frustration of not having the time, and when I did have time, I had no energy.. all that gets built up and I feel like I'm about to lose it. Yesterday I actually had a free day, a completely free day with no obligations to do anything at all so of course I had to cap on the opportunity to go out and shoot. I forgot how much I missed just hitting the road and aimlessly explore. Somehow, I just always end up back here; Davenport. It's definitely getting a bit too popular these days. The past 3 times I've been back, I've ran into people and its cool and not cool at the same time as one of my favorite spots is becoming a place I try to avoid now. It's definitely sketchy getting down to the arches, and only the brave will take on the climb down. Definitely give props to the people I've met down on the beach here because I remember the first time I climbed down, I was pretty fuckin' scared. It's always entertaining watching people climb down and climb back up for their first time, but just be warned.
The first time that I ever shot the Milky Way was about 3 years ago up on the west side of Lake Tahoe. I can still remember that experience, it definitely felt like a lifetime achievement for me. It meant a lot for me back then because it was something that I never thought of capturing since it was definitely unexpected. These days, I see Milky Way shots way too often but I'm glad that I caught it when I did because it really meant something to me. As we approach the end of Summer, I decided that tonight would be the perfect time to try and get it. Clear skies, chill night, New Moon, couldn't have asked for anything better. The experience of shooting stars and the Milky Way is always awesome. When you see your photo process, you're immediately in awe.
fuck, there it is.
Back to back 100° days, dry heat, and a drought. If anyone asks you to visit Sacramento these are the things you have to look forward to. So when the idea of hiking to a swimming hole came up I jumped at the chance, but since I've never actually been to one I had no idea what to expect. But I didn't care because at the time the only thing on my mind was getting away from the heat.
When we arrived at Lemkey's Lagoon, it took us all a second to realize where we were. We all looked at each other and knew right away we ended up at a giant playground. The amount of abnormally large natural structures scattered throughout the river was ridiculous. We all knew the right thing to do would be to take the long way along the rivers edge to the lagoon. We had to climb over any and everything just to challenge each other on who could find the most creative path through.
Surround yourself with people that challenge you to do the things you may not have done on your own. It's these people that will make you realize your true potential. Diving head first into the clear refreshing water and opening your eyes to see a school of fish swimming past you can make any stressed person feel worry free again. A lot of times we get so caught up in our daily lives that we forget what it's like to not worry about if we have health insurance or not, and to just jump off a cliff. It's moments like these that you start to not worry about the consequence and begin to think the most clearly.
Last week the girl and I made the drive down to SF for a couple days. After we checked into our room I found out that my good friend @jakechams was staying in Santa Cruz at the moment. So we decided to make the drive down and meet up for a sunset shoot at Big Sur. Once we got to Santa Cruz to grab Jake I realized that I left my battery for my DSLR on the charger in the hotel room back in SF... I was furious. At this point Big Sur was still another 2 hours away and there was no way we would make it in time for sunset. Jake recommended a spot just outside of town called Shark Fin Cove. So we went to Best Buy and grabbed a new battery and we were on our way. In the end we made the best of what we had and that's what you gotta do sometimes.
Social media is a pretty powerful tool.
Whether your intentions are to creep on your next date or to find the next hot photo spot, too much of a good thing is sometimes a bad thing. That’s exactly what happened to the highest bridge in California. Foresthill Bridge in Auburn, CA recently became a mecca for Instagramers from all over. The beauty of this bridge was that you used to be able to climb to the top and get some surreal shots looking into the horizon with a 750ft drop into the valley.
But as fast as the word got out about the views, the authorities responded that much quicker with their own actions. It wasn't until the last month that they fenced off the access point with barbered wire, grease, and metal bars, a bit over the top if you ask me. As I made my way through to the bottom of the bridge, I couldn't help but wonder would this have happened if social media didn't open its big mouth? Maybe so, but it’s events like this that push the envelope of creativity and force people to a find new solutions to an old problem.
Unfortunately my day ended there, but as I was leaving the area I saw two people walking across the catwalk of the bridge. So maybe there is hope after all..
Ever get done shooting and realize the place you were just at could be in a movie?
That was the feeling I got after we got done shooting Muir Woods. We walked into a misty fog filled forest where the light rays were beaming through the trees overhead. Everything looked like it was taken right out of Disney's Into the Woods.
The morning didn't start out the best, it was raining and nothing spectacular was catching our eye. As we made our way through the forest, the rain started to clear out and the sun beamed through; this is when things started getting interesting. Until this day, I've never been able to catch good light rays, but once the sun burst through the tree tops it just took things to another level. The tourist and families a around us were even trying to get in on the action. They were scurrying along trying to get to the front of everyone to get the best shot. We continued aimlessly into the woods and it was almost like Mother Nature knew we were getting bored, so she brought in some fog to mix things up.
We ended the day with sunset at Mt. Tam, which wasn’t the fog filled rolling hills that we’ve hoped for. But I think today was all about mixing it up
With a 1967 Ford Mustang at my disposal, how could I not take advantage of the situation! Recently took a road trip with some friends up to Fryman Canyon Park. I've never been before and was excited to see what kind of shots I could get with one of my friends Alysia during our trip up. I've shot her previously before but her hair was bright purple, now that its a little more natural I wanted to shoot her again and see what results i could get. Things got a little nerve wrecking at first because we couldn't seem to find a good location to shoot and as you can tell by some of the photos, time wasn't on our side. But finally we just drove as high as possible until there were little people around to get in our way. Once we got there we just shot away and i'm glad it took so long because the lighting ended up being amazing. Nothing like a mixture of twilight, golden hour, and a little artificial light from the head lights to create some great shadows and reflections. This is my first blog entry attempt for Might Killers so I thought this might be a good one to test the waters with. Hopefully more to come.... -Nolis
I begin to crave it, being above the clouds and the feeling of walking in a dream. It has become an addiction and one that I'm profoundly satisfied with. This is my place. This is where I find my peace.
Overshadowed by the more widely known and mainstream tourist locations in the Bay Area like the Golden Gate Bridge, Mt. Tamalpais sits at 2400 feet and hovers above the northwestern coastline of the San Francisco Bay. With everything in sight. Hence my addiction.
One of my favorite things is having the opportunity of playing tour guide and bringing people up to Mt. Tam for the first time. As we begin to creep above the cloud line; their reaction is priceless. Every time. On this day, it was my long time Instagram buddy Dexter who had come to visit and had yet to meet in person after corresponding via social media for the past two years. Naturally, I wanted to show him my favorite place as he's from New York and doesn't get to see this kind of nature....ever. In the same moment that I was deciding the logistics of the trip, I received a text message from my good friend Alex Tavani telling me that a group of photographers were going up to Mt. Tam and that I should meet up with them. Perfect.
There are few things better than experiencing this place with a group of people who have two common interests: friendship and photography. And this is where the fun begins....
So this is heaven? I can definitely get used to this. Had to have been one of the most surreal places I had ever been to, some of the most surreal views I had ever witnessed. You know that feeling when you stare out the airplane window, and you're just gliding above a huge fluffy blanket of clouds? And before you know it, the view sucks, or you're inside of the clouds, or it's clear, and you never had the chance to really just soak it in. Partly because you're in a congested plane, with a piece of glass pressed against your forehead, the experience really just sucks if you really think about it.. but this... this was breathtaking. We sat up there for a couple of hours and waited for sunset. It was crazy watching the fog take over and surround us completely and trap us at the top. The sweeping views of fluffy white clouds just floating around was probably one of the most relaxing things I had ever seen. I wish I could just wake up to it every morning...
I believe that one of the greatest things photography and Instagram has done is the ability to bring us all together. Photography has been around forever, Instagram hasn't. And if you have been into photography before Instagram, then you would know that getting together with other photographers rarely ever happened. Everyone either shot on their own; or had a group of friends to shoot with, but never was it so casual to just hit someone up out of the blue and say, "yo. I'm in town this week, lets link." I think because of Instagram, it's broken down that wall and allowed us all to share with the world, and it's amazing. What used to be weird and awkward (and typically ended up being ignored) for some stranger to hit you and ask to link, is now an opportunity. An opportunity to collaborate ideas, share stories, gain experience and learn, to teach, to build relationships, meet new friends, the list goes on. It's been such a dope experience to see all of this change and happen in my time, and to experience and really take advantage of it.
This past Monday, Nikk and I had the opportunity to be reached out and to shoot with young gunner Antonio Jaggie, a.k.a. @KOSTENNN. Such a chill, talented and humble dude. Not really sure the extent of what I can say about the whole project and filming so I will just leave all of that part out till it actually happens. It was Kosten's first time out in San Francisco so it was dope to show him around the spots. Some definitely a lot harder to get to than others.. Having to military crawl through a 2' by 3' hole was not what I had expected but we did it anyways. Our first stop was Treasure Island, of course. Some of the dopest views are right on this island, however, definitely been over saturated in the past few years but the challenge to shoot this original location in a new creative perspective was fun.
Next stop... Mount Tamalpais.
Many people often overlook their own backyard when out searching for new spots to explore.
We're fortunate to be in Northern California, and the bay area especially because so many different types of landscape surround us. To the east we have the mountains of the Sierra Nevada and to the south we have beaches all along Highway 1. This scenic drive is one of my favorite because there are so many different areas where you can stop.
The weather in the beginning of the day didn't start out the best, but as the day went on the fog and overcast cleared out and the skies ended up being perfect. We made our way from Pacifica and headed towards Davenport right out side of Half Moon Bay. Along the way, we made a bunch of random stops and detours just because one of us might of saw something worthwhile in the distance. One of our final destinations brought us to these concrete arches right on the beach. In order to get down to the arches you had to hike down a sketchy trail that essentially dropped straight down the side of the cliff. We eventually made it down and spent a good half hour trying to climb the rope to the top of the arch. Once we finally admitted defeat we decided that Shark Fin Cove might be a better location for sunset.
Wee got to Shark Fin and saw a bunch of other explorers leaving the same area. I didn't get a chance to stop and get everyone's name but I think we all had the same mindset of trying to get to the location to catch sunset. It's awesome seeing other people out sharing the same passion for exploring. The sunset wasn't as epic as I hoped it would be, but that's all part of exploring. Someone times you get lucky and the weather clears up for a perfect day, and other times the sunset just turns out shitty. But the people you explore with and the unknown of how the day will turn out are what push me to constantly go out and explore. Putting together a group of people to go out is dope, but finding people who are down to take detours and stop randomly is even better. Not everyone is down to make random strops and prolong the journey, but when you do find those down you might stumble across something you could of easily missed.
been wanting to hit this spot for the longest. came across this location in a traveling magazine a while back and have always had it down on my list of locations to hit up and shoot but just never got around to it until now. it's one of those hidden gems that not a lot of people know about. it's not on the top of the list for most simply because it's not put out there as much as other spots in northern california; which is what made me want to come to this place even more. it, to me, was untouched territory to explore. i didn't see much photo of this place so it allowed me to be clear of any inspired shots that most places have. you know? like, if you go to yosemite, there is the cliche shot that everyone, i mean... everyone takes when they go there. but here, its clear of all of that. all you got is your thoughts, your camera, and your creativity. after hours and miles of uphill climb in the heat, temptations of turning back came into mind several times. part of the reason was because the entire climb up, there wasn't much to see so not really knowing what was at the top was definitely a coin flip. the chances of getting to the top and not having much of a view would have been devastating but that's the chances you take when you go out and explore. you never know the outcome.
you never know what you're going to be able to capture, it could be complete shit...
or it can be something like this, beautiful.