Thirty-two

Exploring slo in this car with James. I pretended I was a race car driver then I pretended I was photographing it for a magazine.  

Exploring slo in this car with James. I pretended I was a race car driver then I pretended I was photographing it for a magazine.  

Thankful for some amazing and thoughtful gifts: a tripod (not pictured but used for the night photo), a 70s film camera, a customized CNN vest, and beer plus soap made from beer! 

Thankful for some amazing and thoughtful gifts: a tripod (not pictured but used for the night photo), a 70s film camera, a customized CNN vest, and beer plus soap made from beer! 

Shots from the Newport breakwall Sunday and the Redondo breakwall (I had to pumpout the boat) earlier.  

Shots from the Newport breakwall Sunday and the Redondo breakwall (I had to pumpout the boat) earlier.  

People usually don’t prefer their birthdays to be on a weekday but I saw an opportunity: use both of the weekends surrounding it to celebrate. 

Mia and I went up to San Luis Obispo the weekend before and her family made me an insanely good cake on Sunday, I got to drive a 911 turbo S as well as some scooters, and we hung out and watched the olympics.  

On my birthday, our friend Molly hosted a small dinner at her apartment and I was totally blown away by the generous and really awesome birthday presents. I felt really lucky to have spent the evening with such solid friends.  

And the following weekend, Presidents’ Day weekend, Mia and I went to Newport to hang out with Dante and Jenn who I’ve known since college and a new crew of friends I met for the first time. We cruised electric Pedego bikes around and then took a Duffy boat out during sunset. epic celebrations all around! 

Mia got me a tripod I picked out and I couldn’t wait to try it out - this was at 11pm on Saturday out in the cold.  

Mia got me a tripod I picked out and I couldn’t wait to try it out - this was at 11pm on Saturday out in the cold.  

King Harbor

Long story short my back went out and the pain was significant enough that I gained another new appreciation to be able to walk without wobbling and sporadically losing strength in my legs. I took advantage of it by walking...slowly... with a limp... from the boat to the breakwall just in time for sunset and took these pictures.  

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St Lucia

Mia’s cousin Sydney came up with a great idea to invite a group of good people to stay at an Airbnb in St Lucia. Who could say no? We went for 6 days and spent them in the house pool, at a couple different hotel / “public” beaches (the hotels make it very difficult to access the beaches on purpose) and we even chartered a 45’ catamaran and snorkel tour, then I rented a 16 foot Hobie from a resort. Overall it was a perfect balance of lazy relaxation and physical activities that were unique to the location.  

The view from the downstairs bungalow that the birhday girl, Sydney occupied.  

The view from the downstairs bungalow that the birhday girl, Sydney occupied.  

Kait, me and Mia, a patio view, a drone shot of Mia and I from Leif, the hobie sail departure taken by Leif, and Mia lounging in a hammock between the living room and backyard.  

Kait, me and Mia, a patio view, a drone shot of Mia and I from Leif, the hobie sail departure taken by Leif, and Mia lounging in a hammock between the living room and backyard.  

The Airbnb was just outside of Soufriere which was a small town with a natural harbor which yachts were rotating through each day.  

We went to the Viceroy resort which was insanely expensive but offered a nice clean beach between the Piton peaks, and some impressive mega yachts in the bay.  

We went to the Viceroy resort which was insanely expensive but offered a nice clean beach between the Piton peaks, and some impressive mega yachts in the bay.  

Trying night shots from the pool deck. The white light coming from the right of the first piton is actually lights from a 298’ yacht in front of the Viceroy resort (Sugar Beach)  

Trying night shots from the pool deck. The white light coming from the right of the first piton is actually lights from a 298’ yacht in front of the Viceroy resort (Sugar Beach)  

The catamaran charter was half snorkel tour and half booze cruise for just our group. The candid photos are Leif’s.  

The catamaran charter was half snorkel tour and half booze cruise for just our group. The candid photos are Leif’s.  

The catamaran cruise ended at this beach down the hill from our house so we hung out on an abandoned dock for sunset.  

The catamaran cruise ended at this beach down the hill from our house so we hung out on an abandoned dock for sunset.  

Playing with reflections from the pool.  

Playing with reflections from the pool.  

The house was very wide open to the Forrest surrounding it so every night lizards, frogs and other bugs made themselves at home.  

The house was very wide open to the Forrest surrounding it so every night lizards, frogs and other bugs made themselves at home.  

Leif, enjoying the sunset. He and I were technically add-ons to the trip after all the girls already booked and we couldn’t have been happier to be included.  

Leif, enjoying the sunset. He and I were technically add-ons to the trip after all the girls already booked and we couldn’t have been happier to be included.  

Lost Sandals in The Desert

We went to Joshua Tree for New Years weekend. A big group of us stayed in an Airbnb that Mia found which had a huge backyard stretching into the desert. We drove over to an art installation during the day.  

the art installation was mostly a collection of garbage thrown together in a creative or weird way.  

the art installation was mostly a collection of garbage thrown together in a creative or weird way.  

a lot of toilets, plywood and loosened nails.  

a lot of toilets, plywood and loosened nails.  

Pretty sure that’s a catamaran standing straight up... a nice looking one too.  

Pretty sure that’s a catamaran standing straight up... a nice looking one too.  

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I had my sandals on the roof and totally forgot, drove away at one point down bumpy dirt roads and they must’ve bounced right off  

I had my sandals on the roof and totally forgot, drove away at one point down bumpy dirt roads and they must’ve bounced right off

 

I didn’t actually go into Joshua Tree National Park, because that group outing took place around 6am the first day. But I’m determined to get back out there to see it in 2018, hopefully to camp too.  

This was all in the backyard of the rental, with a fire pit we all sat out by for New Year’s Eve.  

This was all in the backyard of the rental, with a fire pit we all sat out by for New Year’s Eve.  

Great way to end a year  

Great way to end a year  

Christmas 2017

Sophie and Andrew helping each other figure out a new toy  

Sophie and Andrew helping each other figure out a new toy  

The caption above applies to basically all the presents they opened. Matching pajamas were an awesome addition. 

The caption above applies to basically all the presents they opened. Matching pajamas were an awesome addition. 

By Christmas afternoon everyone was there

By Christmas afternoon everyone was there

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A hike on Christmas Eve when Mia was visiting, she got to see Sophie, Nicole and Scott. We hiked the Round Valley loop trail near Morgan Terrotoy which was full of cows and even a coyote 

A hike on Christmas Eve when Mia was visiting, she got to see Sophie, Nicole and Scott. We hiked the Round Valley loop trail near Morgan Terrotoy which was full of cows and even a coyote 

Andy making sure the toys aren’t edible 

Andy making sure the toys aren’t edible 

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This marked the first Christmas both of the babies were here so there’s just a ton of pictures.  

This marked the first Christmas both of the babies were here so there’s just a ton of pictures.  

Mia snapped this photo of me surfing in Shell Beach  

Mia snapped this photo of me surfing in Shell Beach  

James and I went surfing because the weather was unseasonably warm plus some swell was in the water, we traded boards too so I was trying some nose rides (top right)

James and I went surfing because the weather was unseasonably warm plus some swell was in the water, we traded boards too so I was trying some nose rides (top right)

Winter?

Holidays approaching but the weather in LA was warm and pleasant for a couple weeks. In fact, the Manhattan Beach fireworks felt like it was a 4th of July show instead. Dock neighbors Chris and Mandy brought Mia and I out on their boat to watch the show, the ocean felt like a lake. 

Sunset through the bow rail / wreath with lights  

Sunset through the bow rail / wreath with lights  

Unique view of the manhattan beach holiday fireworks on calm water  

Unique view of the manhattan beach holiday fireworks on calm water  

I’ve been getting good use out of the kayak. The boat parade in Cabrillo from my dads boat.  My kayak trips usually involve a good playlist on my cell phone, tucked inside a waterproof bag under the kayak skirt so I have music to go with the workout. I’ve only gone about 15 minutes outside of the harbor entrance so far but hope to take longer trips 

I’ve been getting good use out of the kayak. The boat parade in Cabrillo from my dads boat.  My kayak trips usually involve a good playlist on my cell phone, tucked inside a waterproof bag under the kayak skirt so I have music to go with the workout. I’ve only gone about 15 minutes outside of the harbor entrance so far but hope to take longer trips 

Personal favorite: peas on earth (bottom left) (green balloons were the peas) 

Personal favorite: peas on earth (bottom left) (green balloons were the peas) 

The boat parade wrapped through Long Beach / San Pedro for 2.5 hours and ended in front of where we were. 

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Thanksgiving 2017

Right back from the South America trip and I headed north to see everyone for thanksgiving, then to San Luis Obispo to wrap up the weekend.  

TG dinner table  

TG dinner table  

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Maybe I’ll go into the family portrait business  

Maybe I’ll go into the family portrait business  

A hike with Scott at Briones Regional Park  

A hike with Scott at Briones Regional Park  

Awesome seeing my twin being a dad and also showing Sophie what cows are...when they block the trail.  

Awesome seeing my twin being a dad and also showing Sophie what cows are...when they block the trail.  

My mom and I went to some close by winery’s that were preparing for upcoming Holiday events, the fall colors were everywhere 

My mom and I went to some close by winery’s that were preparing for upcoming Holiday events, the fall colors were everywhere 

This crazy peacock, these ranch dogs, Rosie and Journey

This crazy peacock, these ranch dogs, Rosie and Journey

Mia took Journey for a spin and riding lesson for the horse she said he required so much leg to keep in the right direction she was sore for a few days.  

Mia took Journey for a spin and riding lesson for the horse she said he required so much leg to keep in the right direction she was sore for a few days.  

Rosie and another dog chased one another around.  

Rosie and another dog chased one another around.  

Uyuni Salt Flats

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A Dakar Rally monument in the middle of the salt flat

A Dakar Rally monument in the middle of the salt flat

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Part II


Flying into Uyuni in Bolivia, there are mountains to the East with snow covered peaks and the vast bright white salt flat to the West. There are desert islands scattered around the salt flat and the small town is just on the edge of it. We were about to take a 3 day four-wheel-drive tour in a group with 3 Landcruisers, staying at a different location each night.  The first day they drove into the middle of the salt flat and had bikes waiting for us, so we road for about 15 minutes, all most of us could take because of the high altitude activity, something that wouldn’t even feel strenuous to us normally. Then it was a lunch made in the Landcruisers, and time to take the silly salt flat photos that everybody does. These are possible because of how vast, flat, and single-colored the salt flats are, it can give an illusion that people in the background are really tiny compared to a subject in the foreground. Then we drove for a couple of hours, everyone napping in the vehicle, to a couple of the islands. Our tour guide gave us the rundown and geological history of everywhere we stopped. These islands are essentially some of the earliest, tallest mountain peaks since Pangea and the salt flat was once an ocean slowly closed off by the forming mountains around it and made into a lake. The lake eventually dried up leaving us with the present day salt flat. Walking on the salt flats feels and sounds just like walking on crunchy ice. The islands now have existed with cactus on top of dried out coral reef as well as species of animals specific to just those islands. As the sun was setting we weren’t quite at the rest stop for the night, so the tour just stopped in the middle of nowhere for pictures. We continued on to a ranch with a house made completely out of salt to have dinner and sleep in. The floors were salt, the brick walls were salt, the tables and chairs were all salt. It was also my first chance to take night sky photos. One thing that became normal to us was seeing lightning storms on the horizons every night.

Sunset on the first day  

Sunset on the first day  

The next day we drove into the Andes mountains and towards the uniquely colored lagoons full of flamingos as well as some of the highest deserts and semi-active volcano peaks in South America. One lagoon, surrounded by desert and mountains even had the last remnants of a glacier, These lagoons are different colors due to the algae that blooms and is kicked up by wind. We spend about 9 hours in the Landcruisers, traversing up steep rocky trails, sometimes crossing small streams, and sometimes each vehicle making its own path across barren desert landscapes. Our driver, Abel impressed us with how fast he would take some of the hills while the SUV just bounced along the rocks. Towards the end of the day we reached an altitude of almost 15,500 feet and some geysers. It was chilly and windy up that high and I’m glad I was using my gator mask to cover my face from the sun and the bite from the wind, it also helped to cut down inhaling the sulfuric smell on the boiling geyser pools. That night we stayed in a rustic house with a tin roof using a generator for power. Despite the temperature in the 40s everyone went in the natural hot spring beside the lagoon and the lack of light pollution provided the most stars in the sky that I’ve ever been able to see. Some of the younger locals who used the hot spring as their bath made it pretty clear that everyone on our tour wasn’t exactly welcome, so Mia and I got out after about 20 minutes. The following day, we asked our guide if we could skip some of the regular sights and get back to Uyuni as quick as possible. Abel was cool with it, as our driver, because it meant he could pass through some of his family members towns and get off of work a few hours early. Our whole point was to get to a nice salt hotel on the edge of town and enjoy as many hours as we could there since we were paying extra for the accommodations. Really glad the tour guide was able to do that for us, so we dropped a couple of passengers off at the Argentinian border and blazed through the trails on the quickest route back to Uyuni - 8 hours. Even though these were Landcruisers, we couldn’t use any of the vent fans because of the constant dust and dirt so inside the car it was windows up and stuffy, about 80-90 degrees at points, and I still managed to inhale enough dirt that I was coughing it up for days after. The offloading tour was awesome and once in a lifetime experience for me, the funniest part is that we didn’t even know it was going to be like that when it was booked. Oh, and the total cost of the tour, lodging for 2 nights, and food for all 3 days was about $180. I couldn’t believe it. We arrived at the modern salt hotel with enough time to walk out onto the salt flats on our own and then have dinner.  Around this time I was getting some travel illnesses as the “bug” was going around and I looked forward to getting back to the same hotel in La Paz to rest a bit and pack for the second part of the trip.

The travel crew! And Mia kicking me  

The travel crew! And Mia kicking me  

Volcano view from an island. Starry sky on the first night ranch.  

Volcano view from an island. Starry sky on the first night ranch.  

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Couldn’t believe some of the things seen out in the empty mountains  

Couldn’t believe some of the things seen out in the empty mountains  

After the hot spring, which is at the bottom left of this photo. The stars were so bright they were reflecting off the lake. 

After the hot spring, which is at the bottom left of this photo. The stars were so bright they were reflecting off the lake. 

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(Bottom left - clockwise) The remainder of a Glacier in the red lagoon. Mia trying to block the wind and sulfur smell. Salvador Dali Valley. Geyser. Llama in the miles-long oasis along a creek. The green lagoon. The lagoons need wind to match their namesake colors. 

(Bottom left - clockwise) The remainder of a Glacier in the red lagoon. Mia trying to block the wind and sulfur smell. Salvador Dali Valley. Geyser. Llama in the miles-long oasis along a creek. The green lagoon. The lagoons need wind to match their namesake colors. 

Guanaco’s on the coral reef bed of the edge of the salt flat.  

Guanaco’s on the coral reef bed of the edge of the salt flat.  

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La Paz - Bolivia

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Part I


I recently got back from the longest vacation I’ve taken - 16 full days. I went with Mia and her cousins Madison and Sydney, they are well traveled and made for great travel companions through all the bumpy plane flights and surprise changes in our itinerary. We spent the first week in Bolivia and the second week in Chile to do the W trek in Torres Del Paine, Patagonia.

I’ll break the posts up by major activities - We spent the first non-travel day in La Paz, Bolivia, a city in a mountain valley between 10,000 and 13,000 feet altitude. Although we took altitude sickness pills to prevent headaches, there was nothing we could do to adapt out lungs to the thin air. During a walk around the city any time I encountered a moderate uphill incline I was out of breath and my heart was racing to try to provide my body with enough oxygen. We saw a glimpse of the traditional culture and old architecture right up against everyday city scenes and brand new skyscrapers. For the most part the city felt safe and was mostly inexpensive. We didn’t see a lot of tourists and Mia spoke all the Spanish we needed to get by and it didn’t feel like we stuck out too much. The plan was to aclimate for a couple days in city before we flew an hour south to a small town called Uyuni and the famous salt flats.

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Leif standing at a popular photo spot in Alabama Hills, a campground / rock formation near Lone Pine. Mt Whitney is in the background  

Leif standing at a popular photo spot in Alabama Hills, a campground / rock formation near Lone Pine. Mt Whitney is in the background  

Alabama Hills - now on my bucket list to come back and camp tucked behind these huge rocks.  

Alabama Hills - now on my bucket list to come back and camp tucked behind these huge rocks.  

Glad I carpooled up with Leif, he's a great photographer and was the inspiration to take dirt roads around the valley to find this spot.  

Glad I carpooled up with Leif, he's a great photographer and was the inspiration to take dirt roads around the valley to find this spot.  

It was the weekend of Kevin Tsuchiya's bachelor party up in June Lake. That's north past Mammoth lakes in the Sierra National forest, just east of Yosemite National Park. We drove up Friday and stopped at Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, in the valley between Kings Canykn to the west and Inyo National Forest to the east. I was happy to have an excuse to drive my truck on bumpy dirt roads just for the hunt to find a spot to take photos. An unseasonable cold front was happening during the last couple days leaving snow on all the mountains and also meant that it would begin snowing just as we were arriving in the little town on June Lake. Fortunately the snow wasn't sticking on the ground so we made there without problems. I slept in my truck bed both nights and it would get into the low-mid-20s. Saturday we fished along the Owens River where dirt roads lead to dirt parking lots, you park and walk through the bogs to find a spot away from other serious flyfishers. It felt like a completely different world and lifestyle than I'm ever exposed to so it was a great change of pace.  

Kevin scoping for the best fishing potential in the Owens River

Kevin scoping for the best fishing potential in the Owens River

Kevin using a new fly fishing rod along the small river  

Kevin using a new fly fishing rod along the small river  

Ian let us all crash at his family's June Lake cabin, taught people how to flyfish and shoot his guns - legend. View of and from our fishing setup. Arty played the biggest part planning the whole weekend 

Ian let us all crash at his family's June Lake cabin, taught people how to flyfish and shoot his guns - legend. View of and from our fishing setup. Arty played the biggest part planning the whole weekend 

Along the Owens River shooting north towards Mt Gibbs  

Along the Owens River shooting north towards Mt Gibbs  

A stop at a makeshift shooting range on the way to June Lake in the late afternoon. It's a different world out here, you drive down a dirt road for a mile and there's just trash to shoot at in front of a hill - that's the shooting range. Temps dropped about 20 degrees as soon as the sun was behind the mountains  

A stop at a makeshift shooting range on the way to June Lake in the late afternoon. It's a different world out here, you drive down a dirt road for a mile and there's just trash to shoot at in front of a hill - that's the shooting range. Temps dropped about 20 degrees as soon as the sun was behind the mountains  

I finally got a chance to shoot real starlight.  

I finally got a chance to shoot real starlight.  

It was a learning experience, I need to make sure to use a remote shutter and not shake the camera while it's open for a 30 second exposure. 

It was a learning experience, I need to make sure to use a remote shutter and not shake the camera while it's open for a 30 second exposure. 

Taken from the cabins balcony. It was so cold I would stand out there until my hands hurt, warm up inside, go back outside and try again  

Taken from the cabins balcony. It was so cold I would stand out there until my hands hurt, warm up inside, go back outside and try again  

Lost and Found

two rolls of film from May were lost in the mail for more than 3 months, a flaw in the 35mm process that further convinced me to buy my digital camera. Anyway they finally made it to the developer. They included photos of the puppy's first weekend, a trip to my dads new boat slip in San Pedro, a sail and Easter in Sierra Madre. 

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SCU and Early Birthday Celebration

Days before Sophie turned 8 months  

Days before Sophie turned 8 months  

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Mia and I flew up to San Jose early Saturday morning and met with her family to help in any way we could to get James moved into his first year housing at Santa Clara University. We were all super excited and happy be there and see such a big moment.  In the afternoon he had orientation meetings to attend and the rest of us went to Livermore to see my mom, scott Nicole and Sophie at Tenuta Vineyards. It was a perfect few hours to hang out, followed by a really fun dinner in Livermore and then back to San Jose. Sunday we hunt around to run any errands and finish setting up anything we could before catching a flight back home. 

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Scott, Nicole and Sophie make for a photogenic family

Scott, Nicole and Sophie make for a photogenic family

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