Fall ColorsAlways Be Creating. Always Be Focused. They say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert. It’s a falsehood, based on a hole-filled theory (theory != fact) disproved many times through both scientific and practical methods. If you spend 10,000 hours performing a task ad nauseam you’ll have developed muscle memory, and if you’re unlucky, carpal tunnel syndrome—nothing more. You don’t become an expert by going through the motions until they become an easy habit, that’s not enough: you have to pay attention, and learn.   There’s no insta-filter that can take the place of doing the fucking work.   Becoming an expert is not a destination, to reluctantly use the cliché, but a journey. When it becomes easy, great: that’s progress. Now increase the difficulty and keep growing, because the moment you stop learning and put your mind on autopilot is the moment you’ve settled for “good enough.” Good enough isn’t creating. Good enough isn’t expert. Good enough is stagnation of worst form. I’m reminded of this as I sit here doing lat-pulldowns—not just mindlessly repeating—focusing on my precision and fluid motion. And trying not to let my mind wander to the enticingly obvious progress Dani has made with her own fitness routines, as she stretches out in one of her impossibly graceful, borderline-erotic stances across the gym…… NSFW · Explicit
MisplacedFrom the archives of Lost Arizona Have you ever shot an entire set, then completely forgot you have it? These have been gathering dust in Lightroom since April. It was a scout-and-shoot trip, and we were loaded for bear: lenses, strobes, stands, umbrellas, sandbags, and three duffel full of wardrobe…not counting the shoes. Gotta have the shoes.   We’d use none of it.   A frustratingly boring blue sky gave way to one of the warmest slow-motion sunsets we’ve ever experienced. It lingered for what seemed like hours, burning everything in sight with an ever-deepening and otherworldly golden glow. No strobes, no wardrobe, no makeup. Just the Nifty Fifty (50mm lens) locked in at f2.0. Just a coat and the flip-flops she’d worn for the drive up. Oh, and a pair of aviators for good measure.  … NSFW · Explicit
NY18A champagne-fueled exploration of fluid dynamics Aside from Halloween, which only matters because it was my first date with Dani, the next most important holiday for me is New Year’s Eve/Day. It’s not because I care about it. In fact, I don’t particularly care about any holidays—most are merely attempts by one religion to snuff out another, or inventions to fuel sales, and seen in this light NYE is the most honest of the lot. Sure there’s the silly tradition of resolutions no one follows, but the date is sold as little more than an excuse to stay up late partying. I challenge you to find me one holiday, birthdays included, that is this honest about it’s history and core nature. The hustle cliché was strong this ‘eve: Sunday night, and both of us scheduled with projects for the first day, the first Monday, of the new year. I love that. This was the last sunset of 2017, and our forecast clear-and-calm had been swallowed up by overcast gloom. Not dissuaded by a little weather we made the three-hour round trip to the viewpoint anyhow, determined to improvise and make it work. Epic skies greeted our arrival, the sun popping through between layers of clouds and setting them aflame for a show of colors far better than any bluebird day could have offered. The makings of my perfect New Year’s Eve? Two bottles of bubbly, a thrift-store flute, a second-hand outfit, some cheap sunglasses, a cliffside viewpoint with storybook sunset to match, and a pretty redhead. These were all shot on a Canon 80D with my back-in-action Canon 50mm f1.4 lens (the nifty fifty), a proper high-speed-sync strobe (I’m so done with speedlites), and the laser-assist auto focus from the strobe’s transmitter. Aperture bounced between f2.8 and f4, ISO100, shutter floating around 1/1000th, with the single AD200 strobe set from 1/4th to 1/8th power and a small dish reflector/diffuser. There’s a few shots from the new-to-me Polaroid 600 as well, but those are for another time… Happy New Year! Yes, “year.” Not “years” and most definitely not “year’s.” You only get one new year at a time, and you should never let it own you.… NSFW · Explicit
Just a Scouting TripWe got a little carried away When I took these I thought they would just be rubbish test shots—all of them were taken with a brand new and uncalibrated Canon 80D and Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 Art, and focus was all over the place. At the time I didn’t much care: this was supposed to be a quick afternoon outing to check out a spot I found on Google Earth, and see if it might be good for a sunset shoot later this summer. It’s a good reminder to always review photos on the big screen before deleting anything.   I guess it was a good spot, as those few test snaps quickly turned into a few hundred exposures. No planning, no hair, no makeup—just goofing around with a few different poses, getting way too cold, and finding our way home through the dark over unknown roads.… NSFW · Explicit
One Wow, it’s hard to believe this shoot was six months ago. This was really where the recent changes in my photographic style began. We’d casually fooled around less-than-clothed with the camera before, but this time Dani wanted to put in real effort and see where this kind of shooting might lead us. After picking and scouting a location that afternoon, we raced the setting sun through the abandoned desert facility to capture this set. It was my first time shooting the person as the main subject. It was her first time playing model. She was nervous. I was nervous. We both set that aside, knowing the minimal risks—snapping a few photos you aren’t required to share—would be well worth the potential rewards…… NSFW · Explicit
Relics: The Richardson HomesteadIt’s amazing what you can find just off the highway. Highways have been standardized to keep the flow of traffic moving swiftly and smoothly onward. White lines flash by in time with the gentle hum of the motor, yellow lines keep you subconsciously floating down the right side of the tarmac, and the repetitive consistency brings on a state of semi-hypnosis. Most of the time the system works, commuters arrive safely, and travelers continue on oblivious to the treasures that might be hidden over the edge of the manicured medians. Over one such edge, on the eastbound side of Arizona Highway 68 as it winds through Union Pass, rests a crumbling gravel ramp. At the end of that ramp stands a nondescript ADOT gate—standard issue, except that this gate is unlocked, and what’s left of the road beyond is open to the public. At the bottom of the hill lies the abandoned Old Kingman Highway, and not far beyond that the ruins of an unnamed town homesteaded by Jonathan Draper Richardson and his family. Originally licensed to American Adventurist for publishing on May 11th, 2016.… NSFW · Explicit
Destinations: Dale Mining DistrictDiscovering an overlooked gem just outside Joshua Tree. Once upon a time I lived in California, moving every year in search of a place I liked enough to settle down (and expecting, perhaps hoping, never to find it). Before crossing the river into the Arid Zone I lived in Twentynine Palms, about 15 minutes from the northeast gate to Joshua Tree National Park. The Dale Mining District was stumbled upon during an outing that was one-part “Where’s that road go?” and two-parts not wanting to pay the entrance fee at Joshua Tree (a mere $10 at the time, I didn’t have a pass yet). Just outside of National Park boundaries, Dale can be reached (for free) via Gold Crown Road from Highway 62 to the north. Access from the south is within the park, via Old Dale / Eagle Mine Road from Pinto Basin Road. The region can be appreciated in a long weekend, but it’s just as easy to spend a week wandering through the various mines and abandoned structures. I leave discovering the rest to you, exploration is half the fun… Over the course of a few days we wandered to and fro, dazzled by the drastic color changes the desert experiences over a matter of hours, or a matter of mere yards. Old Dale is about as isolated as one can get in the south Mojave, particularly so while baking under the summer sun. The O.K. Mine, seen above, is one of two larger gatherings of abandoned structures, shafts, and equipment. Opportunities to explore the remains of this operation are ripe, but venture in at your own risk—help is many hours away, as is cellular service. Darkness swept in fast on approach to the National Park border, and with it another dramatic show of shifting colors and fading light. The decaying carcasses of dead classics litter the floor of Pinto Basin below the site of the abandoned Goldenrod mine, which was well worth the short climb to explore. Crossing the next ridge revealed the best campsite in the entire Joshua Tree region—Gold Rose Cabin features a huge raised patio, fire pit, chairs, tables, a fire place, cots, supplies, and no pesky roof to block out the night sky. The owners of the nearby claim have set this up adopt-a-cabin style, with a leave-it-if-you-can-spare-it, use-it-if-you-need-it policy for visitors passing through (we borrowed chairs for the night and left cases of water, fair trade). Morning required a swift, calm, creative evac—bees, thirsty in this parched terrain, arrived at… NSFW · Explicit