Road Trip with the Northrups

We recently returned from our second not-long-enough road trip with Tony and Chelsea Northrup (and their producer Justin Eckhert!), helping them put together another season of Wanderlust. I think... we were helping, right? It's hard to say. We had so much fun, were so busy enjoying everything, that I often neglected to get serious with the cameras. But I did remember to stay out of the way most of the time.

We adore the Northrups! They're an absolute delight.. having connected with them is serendipity being amazing and ineffable again. They've been instrumental in thwarting my encroaching curmudgeonliness, if I may speak plainly*, and I'm heartened that people like Tony and Chelsea and Justin exist.

The new Wanderlust episodes are probably on the way-- I don't ask my friends about such things because it's not my jam, it's theirs -- but for now, here are some of the shots I took during our road trip up California's Central Coast region. I hope you enjoy the shots at least an infinitesimal fraction as much as I enjoyed making them.

*I know, I can't speak plainly, I know



I'm working on documenting the beginning moment of a brand new California State Park, the Los Angeles State Historic Park. It's been a labor of love, as my wife Stephanie works there, and I began shooting it for a friend and co worker of hers, the architect behind the beautiful park buildings. But it seems to be growing into a larger story. Stay tuned for that... I'll deliver the story to the people who commissioned it and then post more about it here afterward. But for now, here's a teaser. I hope you can see from these images what a lovely and interesting open space this park is, sitting as it does in the middle of one of the largest urban sprawls in the world.

Salvation Mountain and Slab City

Out California's Sonoran Desert lies a place called Salvation Mountain. It is a monumental work of outsider art, born of ecstatic spiritual convictions and built over many years by the late Leonard Knight. Since Mr. Knight's passing, volunteers have been working to preserve the site.

Adjacent to Salvation Mountain lies Slab City. Named for the ubiquitous concrete foundations left by the US Army when they abandoned the area, it's now a squatter's paradise. Everyone in this village lives here for free, and a vibrant offbeat community of artists, outsiders, street philosophers, snow birds, and burnouts commingle here

The Mojave After Rain

The smell of wet creosote bush is in the air, and vast and ephemeral lakes dot the land. This is the first serious flight of Mojave Morning's new drone, The Beagle.

Desert Sky in Autumn

While camping at Red Rock Canyon in California's Mojave Desert last night, I noticed some clouds moving in from the west just at sunset. I had assumed they would ruin my plans to take a photo of the Milky Way setting over the red rocks of the desert badlands so I shot this as close to the end of astronomical twilight as possible, perhaps even catching the end of twilight. Soon after, the clouds moved in completely, and today it's raining there.

Balloon Ride

We're recently back from an amazing trip to northern and central New Mexico. We did a lot of things there, including visiting ancient Anasazi ruins and modern reservations, hiking in the Colorado Plateau and along the Rio Grande river, visiting old shrines and holy sites of the Spanish conquistadors, exploring Santa Fe, the country's oldest state capitol, and searching for wildlife on the eastern face of the continental divide. One of the highlights was taking an hour long ride in a hot air balloon in Albuquerque.  Points go to our great pilot, Murray, and World Balloon for a great flight. Here's what it was like:

Stephanie Time

Three headshots of Stephanie.

Her pic and bio are going to appear in the credits for an exhibition at the Gene Autry Museum in L.A., so it was time for an updated head shot.

Weapons of Another Age

What do you do when you want to take landscape pictures but the sky is a perfect, boring blue containing nothing but a piercing white sun? Take pictures of something else, of course! Here are four images of classic warplanes that were left to decompose on the smouldering late-summer tarmac of March Air Force Base.

A twin jet nacelle on a long range bomber looking very surprised. This plane was used by the Strategic Air Command to carry nukes around, looking for something to bomb. Never happened, thank goodness.

Smile! "How bad could it be," asks this Air Force bomber that once spent its time scattering cluster bombs on eastern jungles.

This is the rocket launcher on a Vietnam war era combat helicopter. The light at the end of the tunnel is the concrete landing pad. Though the tubes are parallel, the close distance to camera and extreme wide angle of this shot makes them look like they converge in the distance.

There is something utterly appealing to me about the esthetic of this B-29 and other WWII bombers like it. Although, I'm sure the people who lived and worked underneath them weren't as charmed.