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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Light Trails

Are a very cool thing to photograph. Key is vantage point. Anyone can setup a camera on a tripod, but as Ansel Adams said best: A good photograph is knowing where to stand.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Big Waves, Sunsets, Long Exposures

Latest images from the killer winter waves in Newport Beach brought to you by Driftwood Photography Studios! Thirty second exposures makes for surreal looking ocean-scapes. Note the surfers dotting the lineup as they wait for head high barrels!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Great Day of Surf/Photography at Blacks Beach, San Diego

December 10th saw a great day of surf at Blacks Beach, San Diego. Over head surf, hollow barrels, blue skies. Great day to be alive. Pictures available at Driftwood Photography Studios' homepage

See more images in our FACEBOOK Galleries and our EPPICSURF Galleries!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Big Swell Hits Cali...Local Surfers Rip it Up, But Sadly Some Local Shit Heads Live Up to Reputation

Once again on reports of a WNW swell I ventured up to Palos Verdes. PV Cove, Indicator, Pipes, and Tubes all were breaking big, and the surfers/local crowd really friendly. A few even asked for my card and exchanged emails. Lunada Bay was quite the opposite.

As many mentioned they are apt to be, the locals at Lunada were very, very vocal about my camera. After a a few face to face sessions shouting at me, heckling, and a couple open ended threats, the 5 guys in their late 30's/early 40's called in local reinforcements. Once they started showing up...I decided I'd be better off leaving. Of course I waited another 20+ minutes for a lull in the surf, hoping to give the impression I was leaving under my own volition due to lack of quality. Waves were better at Indicator anyways.

I suppose 1 confrontation out of 3 visits is not so bad, but I got the strong impression that whenever the real swells hit, these guys are there, and they're probably the exact same schmucks who attacked that news crew in the 90s.

Most everyone else I crossed paths with today were nothing but amiable, so hopefully these guy's mentalities are not passing off onto the younger generation. That'd be a shame. I'll definitely be heading back there in the future, but maybe with a rental car next time, just in case...

Check out images from today's sessions from breaks where the locals WERE friendly on our:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

As the Rains End the Swell Builds...

Precursor to the swell to come, images from 30th Street, Newport Beach courtesy of Driftwood Photography Studios

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Utter Stupidity of Storm Water Engineering in Southern California

It is a wonder of engineering that the endless networks of concrete gutters lining the roads, highways, and parking lots of Southern California passed engineering review and were allowed to be installed anywhere, let alone on a mass scale.

During the dry season the concrete troughs (gutters) are a traffic hazard; bottoming out shocks; even scraping bumpers as cars cross them through intersections or into parking lots.

During the rainy season...water channels into the gutters, often flooding out of the channels into the street miring down the entire adjacent lane. Dirt and debris in the gutter cause the appearance of rapids in a raging river. On the highways the torrent of water causes lane closures, traffic, and accidents as drivers lose control in the deep waters and hydroplane/spin out.

Is this safe???

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Rail Jam at Stratton, VT

Stratton Mountain, VT started their season off with a rail jam in the Stratton Village. Though the mountain is closed this Thanksgiving weekend, as sadly most Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine ski mountains/resorts are due to lack of snow... Snowboarders and New School Skiers of all ages came out to show their moves as they hit the rails and grind boxes set up in village proper for cash prizes! More images by Driftwood Photography Studios on our Facebook Fan Page and our DWP Facebook Fan Gallery

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Need $15 to get away from here"

As seen at the corner of Cambridge Street and Staniford Street in Boston, MA...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Travels Back East

Hopping a plane back to New England for 10 days with all my gear!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Orange County Social Sports Club Football Plays Hard In Memory of Chris Wenkel

The final day of regular season games for the Orange County Social Sports Club football league took place this past Saturday at the 14th Street beach in Huntington Beach and Driftwood Photography Studios was there!

For those there it was a great day of hard fought competition, touched with the bitter sweetness of loss and the celebration of the life of one of their own.

Before each round of games, teams gathered on the center field to pay a moments silence to fallen friend and teammate Chris Wenkel, who passed away shortly after the previous week's game while biking from Newport to Huntington.

After the games the OCSSC crew all gathered at Beachfront 301 to once again pay their respects to Chris, hoisting many a glass of jagermeister, Chris' drink of choice, in his honor.

Click the following links for MORE IMAGES from the OCSSC Football Games and Chris' memorial at Beachfront at the Driftwood Photography Studios FACEBOOK Fan Page.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Rincon up in Santa Barbara, CA is definitely one of the sweeter surf breaks I've now been to. I'd never been there before, but it definitely lives up to all the hype and beyond! Endless rights stretching on forever; surfers, spectators, photographers, and videographers lining the rocky shore; dogs playing while their owners catch some waves...pretty amazing.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nikon vs. Canon...rehashing the old arguments with new cameras and sensors

There has always been 2 things differentiating Canon and Nikon in the digital world. first of all is image sensor size. Canon has always had a full sized image sensor for recording the image (full framed = sized the same as 35mm film). Nikon has always argued that you can slightly reduce the size, still fit the exact same amount of information/quality of image, and save costs all around. A lot of people switched to Canon because Nikon didn't have a full framed version to show as a comparison, and people just thought the bigger sensor must be better.

Nikon recently came out with a full frame sensor (FX-CMOS) in their newest, highest end camera, the D3 and D3x (costing over $5k). Many Canon enthusiasts have even sid that this is now the best camera on the market, even better than their Canons. BUT, truth be told...when looking at images taken under the exact same lighting conditions, of the exact same subject, with the exact same camera and lens, there is zero difference between image quality, clarity, color, sharpness, or apparent depth of field between the two Nikon sensors. So it appears Nikon was correct in their stance.

But a lot of photographer's still have/use Canon. Impart to there was no full frame Nikon for comparison until very recently, so people aren't going to switch over $15k worth of gear (camera body and lenses) over night, so they're sticking with their Canons. The other thing, most pertinent to Sports and Action Sports Photography, especially on the lower end/recreational and enthusiast level cameras, Nikon cannot compete wiith Canon in their power drive. The amature/enthusiast level cameras from Canon can continuously shoot 6 frames per second, where as the Nikon can only shoot 3 frames per second. Thats a big difference in action sports. At the upper levels the two camera brands are the same, but then you're spending $3-5k.

So, even though I'm a Nikon guy, for a non-pro photographer looking to do action sports, I'd say go with a Canon. If you were looking to do nature, wildlife, landscapes, etc. and some sports, I'd say the Nikon for sure. But being that you'll be doing skiing and the like, the Canon's power drive will be your biggest advantage.

OK, so actual cameras... Both companies have recently renamed a bunch of their models. They never seem to make thinks easy.

The "cheap" cameras by Canon are around $500. Those are the most basic level cameras they make (Canon EOS Rebel XS). They shoot only 3.5 frames per second. Nikon's equivalent is the D40, and shoots 2.5 frames per second.

Next level up is a broader price range, about $600-$1000. Canon has the EOS Rebel XSi (slightly tweaked version of the one above) and their EOS Rebel T1i (3.4 frames per second). Same price range, Nikon has a new group of cameras just out within the past 2 months (the D3000 and D5000), which have 4 frames per second- so actaully faster than the lower end Canons! At this price range Nikon also has the slightly older D60 (been around for a year and a half), with 3 frames per second.

After that I'd say is the $1000-$1400 range. That puts you into the range that has the biggest difference in power drive and largest advantage for Canon. This is also the level that most camera enthusiasts really start their comparisions between the brands on, as these are the most basic level cameras you would use on an advanced amature/beginning pro to try and sell images from. Does that mean the others are really that much worse? No. But magazine editors and such don't really look at images produced by cameras on the levels lower than this for some stupid reason. For Canon you'd be looking at the EOS 40D, and it has 6.5 frames per second! And though it has less megapixels than the T1i (the 40D has 10.1mp as opposed to 15.1mp on the cheaper T1i, but the lower mp 40D actually has BETTER image quality). The equivalent on this level for Nikon is the D90. A fantastic camera, however it only has 3 frames per second...half that of Canon.

In the end it really all comes down to personal choice. If you're looking to spend upwards of $1400, but not higher, go with the Canon. It pains me to say it, but its the truth. The power drive will make the biggest difference. If you're looking at one of the less expensive cameras, then there's truthfully no difference. At the lessor price ranges, the Canons will usually have a higher megapixel count, but with the image sensors used on those "lower end" cameras, a higher megapixel count won't always result in a better quality image, it can actually make it seem worse. So, if you're going for one of the two lower cost ranges of cameras, it basically comes down to two things: 1) do you already have lenses for one brand versus the other; 2) which user interface do you like using better?

Same thing with the higher my opinion. Power drive speed balances out again. Again, there truely seems to be no visual difference between Nikon's DX-CMOS sensor versus their newest FX-CMOS sensor...and the images are as good as the Cannon full frame the old issue between higher end Canons being than Nikon for the true full sensor argument is holding less water. So what cache of lenses do you already have? Which interface are you more familiar with/prefer? There's your answer.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Noah Alani ripps it up at 54th Street, Newport Beach

surf session with Lost rider Aaron "Gorkin" Cormican at 54th Street!!! Check it out at:

and view/purchase images directly from our page on!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New Surf Sessions!

Just a heads up to all you out there that Driftwood Photography Studios shot TWO separate surf sessions today in Newport Beach- 46th Street and 56th Street. Stay tuned for the soon to be posted session galleries on eppicsurf and at


Monday, September 28, 2009

Freebies Gone Wild

Everyone wants something for nothing. That in itself is nothing new. But given the current state of our's grown exponentially!

I know magazines typically pay for images used in print, and no longer pay for images used on their websites-at least not very frequently. But clothing and apparel companies should not be looking to skip out.

Unlike a magazine who uses an image to tell a story, clothing and apparel companies use image purely as advertising. Whether it's showcasing a product, one of their sponsored athletes, they are trying to position themselves as directly associated/responsible for the greatness portrayed, thereby enticing people to buy their goods.

And if you're using an image to directly stimulate interest in your company and increase sales, then you should be paying the person whose image you're using.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Where have the blogs been??? Well, they've been right here all along! Regularly posted Twitter updates are posted directly here on the Driftwood Photography Studios blog! Just check the left hand column! sure to check out the latest surf session images at the Driftwood Photography Studios profile on EppicSurf!

Direct link to the 2009.09.22 session at:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

2 new galleries at DWP

Driftwood Photography Studios has created two new galleries on the website!

The Gallery of Architecture and the Built Environment can be viewed at:

The Gallery of Landscape Architecture, Planning, and Communities can be viewed at:

Be on the lookout for new galleries added almost daily!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Twitter updates on Driftwood Photography Studios Blog!

Be sure to check out the Twitter updates from Driftwood Photography Studios now available on the LEFT-HAND SIDEBAR in our blog!

Monday, August 31, 2009


Driftwood Photography Studios is now on Twitter (DriftwoodPhoto)!!! Be sure to check us out and follow our Tweets!

O'Neill press center

Driftwood Photography Studios was just approved/accepted into the O'Neill press center! What does that mean? Access to inside info on events, team members, the works!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Analog surf team and other Newport Beach locals rip huge barrels at 52nd Street!

Check out the HUGE barrels the Analog team riders and other Newport Beach locals were pulling today at 52nd Street!!! Click here link to the Driftwood Photography Studios gallery and

Newport Beach and the Analog surf team goes off!

Wow, what a week of surf we've had here in Newport!

Had a great session with local surfer Shane Wisdom on Wednesday, and shot over 400 frames with the Analog Surf Team + friends today! Be on the lookout for the latest galleries on!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Just finished uploading high resolution surf photos from today's swell at the Wedge in Newport Beach, CA: 6-8 foot faces, some 10-12 foot standouts!

Be sure to check them out at Driftwood Photography Studios (, keep checking back for word on publications, and keep checking the DWP Image Galleries as well as the FACEBOOK Fan Page!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Magazine Submissions

It's truly amazing that in this digital age there are still major magazines out there that only take printed submissions for portfolio reviews! I can compose a nice layout. Not really an issue. But it is so much simpler and time efficient to package everything up as a PDF then email it. This 2009, right?

I suppose it can be an initial test to see who is serious about submissions to the particular magazine, and who is just your average, run of the mill person running around with a camera in their spare time.

So, looks as though Driftwood Photography Studios will be creating some portfolios, mailers, printing, and sending.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Burning the Midnight Oil

Still working hard to get the latest and greatest formatted and posted up on, online home of Driftwood Photography Studios!

On tap for this week: pray for surf! Looking to meet up with some of the Analog surf team riders Thursday morning. It'd be nice to have some bigger surf to take photos of them riding!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Starting Up

Who would have thought starting up Driftwood Photography Studios would entail so much time in front of a computer and so little time behind the lens???

It's actually very rewarding. I'm still taking photos, which always means time on the computer editing/cropping/formatting (I shoot in RAW, higher quality/more options, so I typically have to convert to jpeg's after), but it's getting my website redesigned and running that is now taking up the largest chunk of time.

In order to get the site up I'm learning a ton on web design, something I've truthfully never done before. If you haven't seen the new version of the website check it out here! The general layout/info is pretty straight forward to build, but image galleries are proving an interesting challenge.

I always could load an image viewer, but if I'm custom designing the entire site layout I would like for the gallery to work nicely within it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Biked on up to 54th Street this morning and the waves certainly were small. Those that held any size closed out real fast. So no photos today.

But a good morning regardless. Met some of the Analog surf team. Super chill. When your job entails surfing all day life is good, even if there are no waves that day. Driftwood Photography Studios will be out to shoot next time they hit the water for sure.

On an entertaining note my dog is sleeping with his tongue half under his chin and stuck to the floor.


It's 7am, a little gray out, and the surf is relatively flat. It's also low tide, but unfortunately the rising tide probably won't change much. Yet still there are guys out there surfing- or maybe more accurately trying to catch anything that resembles a wave.

A couple years back I traded my place in the mountains and snow for a beach side apartment. At times I'm amazed at how many people I see paddling out into waves that someone half my size would have trouble catching and riding. They're the die-hards. Out every day regardless of how bad the rest of us might think it is.

Then I think back to my days as a competitive skier. Was I that much different? Fifteen below zero, rain, it didn't matter. I was out there on the slopes, as still are a number of people I know.

Here's to all the die-hards out there. I think I'm going to grab my camera and hope you put on a show. Check back later at

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


If you haven't gone looking, let me officially tell you there's got to be a million different networking sites out there. And that could be low-balling it. I assure you I've never heard of most of them. It seems, however, that they all get fairly decent traffic, and those individuals that use a particular networking site and/or service are pretty loyal to them.

So what is Driftwood Photography Studios doing?

FACEBOOK has recently broken into the top 3 sites viewed on the web in the US, and is #4 in the world. Thats the entire internet. Wow. So of course you can find Driftwood Photography Studios' FACEBOOK page by searching the site for "Driftwood Photography" or following this link.

Blogger is the current #7 viewed site, so clearly if you're reading this blog you know we've got it covered. Hopefully there are enough links to our sites/profiles throughout our blogs that you'll find yourself on our page.

LinkedIn is becoming ever more popular. And you've got it- we've created a Driftwood Photography Studios profile there too!

Then there's a plethera of local ones out there. Look around, make a game out of seeing where you can find us! Then of course, book a photography session too!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Website Updates

Driftwood Photography Studios has been busy building/updating the website:!

Check out the new format, latest info, and cool links! Most recent/archived images can, as always, be found in their entirety on the DWP FACEBOOK PAGE

Monday, August 10, 2009


As I alluded to previously, Australia was a milestone for Driftwood Photography Studios. I'm sure I would have come to it eventually, but I happen to like that it was born out of my time over there. If you've never gone, take my advice- pony up the airfare, give yourself two weeks or more, and go check it out.

Whether you're a travel enthusiast, world traveler, foodie, artist, photographer, trekker, surfer, you name it, the land down under has more than you could ask for.

I began my travels on a surf trip from Sydney to Byron Bay, definitely one of the surf meccas of the world. Though there was plenty to point my camera at, I took a lot in that week. Surfed a lot too. After the week was over, I'd already fallen in love with the place.

Ever since my trip on the March I knew I wanted a camera with me to capture what I saw and experienced. Up until this point I'd certainly gotten some fun, "look at me" photos to send back home, but it wasn't until I got stranded in the tiny, isolated town called Rainbow Beach that I truly came to realize I shouldn't be taking the touristy shots. Instead I needed to capture the untouched beauty of the country.

I traveled up the coast to Cairns, stopped off along the way in the breathtaking Whitsunday Islands and Whitehaven Beach (one of the most beautiful places in the world), a detour inland at a cattle ranch, Magnetic Island (which looked like it was taken out of a Corona ad), the Great Barrier Reef via Cairns, Back to Sydney, to Uluru and the Olgas in the Red Center, north to Darwin and Kakadu National Park, Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road, and eventually home by way of New Zealand and Fiji.

I took close to 5,000 pictures.

And fatefully, on that return plane ride State-side, a woman looked over my shoulder from the row behind me, saw me editing/organizing photos from my travels, and wtih one inquiry planted the seed that will now hopefully grow into a flourishing business: Do you have a website or sell your photographs? They're spectacular."

To which I replied, "Not at the moment, no. But I will!"

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Random Encounter

It's great when you meet new people, especially when that new person can potentially help further your career...or new start-up!

Met a friend of my roommate's today who works for Ocean and Earth! Chatted it up a bit, got some tips on which surf teams surf where/when. In the end passed along some sample photos and business cards.

Here's to hoping Driftwood Photography Studios gets a gig or two with Ocean and Earth!

Saturday, August 8, 2009


There's a lot to think about. A lot to say. Do I make this a blog outlining my progression into photography, leading into the current transition into full time photographer? Do I chronicle my most recent accomplishments or share progress updates? I think it'd be most interesting to have a scattering of it all. The problem comes with trying to detail too much of it at once, with jumping back and forth between back story and recent efforts.

Some authors (novels, short stories, blogs, etc.) are quite accomplished at this. More often then not it just pisses me off. I'm all for a good aside, but some times, damn, just get to the point. I don't know about you but I'm only willing to get jerked around by authors so much, then I just tune out.

I live in an area where 20-somethings drive Porsches, high end Mercedes, Land Rovers, Escalades on 24-inch rims. It's a bit ostentatious. I drive a Ford. It serves me very well. Over the past few years I've put what money I've earned into photography gear and trips. Like my old Nikon N60, my equipment isn't the latest, most expensive gear out there. But it serves me well. I get the shot.

In a world where I see scrawny, tanned 19 year old's who've never done a hard day's work in their life carrying around a $5,000 camera that does everything for them courtesy of daddy, I rely on learned knowledge of what I'm doing. Proficiency in the skills I've used from fully manual 35mm SLR cameras applied to the digital age. And sure, sometimes a bit of luck.

But it's my background and experience that truly gives me an edge. I've got quite varied and eclectic past experiences. As a freestyle skier, surfer, kayaker, rock climber, and just general thrill junkie I've got a good handle on the world of action sports. I played Division 1 college football, some baseball and lacrosse growing up too. I've laid it on the lines with the best. They've beat me and at times I've beat them; the fact that it's weighted more so toward them is because, well, their the best.

Being the best is about perseverance. You have to have talent and ability. But not all of the most talented always suceed. Some of the more talented athletes I've ever met burned out of the sport, decided competition wasn't for them, or found their passions outside of the sports world and left to purse them. Talking about sports, you have to be able to pick yourself up when you fall down, bounce back from injury, all while actually finding a way to survive in the real world. Outside of sports the world is fairly similar...though mostly without the injuries.

This brings me to sports photography. It's one thing to take pictures of something cool you see. It's quite another to understand the sport or mentatilty associated with the sports from experience.

My internet has cut out twice now while writing this. Quite annoying.

I hold my degree in Landscape Architecture. I've worked for years at top-notch architecture, landscape architecture, planning, and civil engineering offices. Conceptual design through permitting, construction documents, and on-site construction administration. How many architectural photographer's start out designing and building the things they're taking pictures of?

Practical experience. It's key.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Driftwood Photography Studios

Welcome to Driftwood Photography Studios blog! This is to be the first of hopefully many blog entries as I work to progress my hobby/sporadic freelancing to a full time, professional photography service. I'll keep you up on how I got into this all, what I'm doing, inroads I'm making, notable contacts, publication, and in the end hopefully a success story!

Why switch career paths to photography, one might ask? The simple reason: it's my passion. Who wants to have just a job when your job can be what you chose to do in your spare time?

The Story:
For years I've loved photography. First using little point-and-shoot cameras as a kid, up until I was given my first SLR as a bar-mitzvah present by my uncle. He always had the best camera gear. All the new film cameras as the came out. The Nikon N90, then very soon after the N90s. Of course at the same time he also had the pro level cameras: the Nikon F1, selling and trading as the came out through the F5. Talk about a cool cameras. Lenses, filters, he had it all.

It was a Nikon N60. Not the fanciest camera in the world, but a solid camera nonetheless. 14 years later I still have it and it works as good as the day I opened the package! That's gotta say something.

One of the things that first really turned me onto photography was double exposures. Stand on the right side of the car, he told me one passover. Click. Ok, now go stand on the other. Click. An hour later we got the film back, and sure enough, there I was on both sides of the car! Blew me away.

So I had my N60 and a couple of cheap lenses. It was always a fun hobby. We'd go on family vacations and I'd have my camera to take pictures with. Thanks initially to my uncle and then further from my father I learned about shutter speeds, aperture pushing the iso, over exposing on the beach, filters, all the basics.

Flash forward to my senior year of high school. I went on a Holocaust remembrance trip: the March of the Living. 6,000 Jewish teens from around the globe converge on Poland, tour the work/death camps, hold a memorial service at Auschwitz/Birkenau, leave Poland as witnesses to the worst that man can do, then celebrate life for a week in Israel. Pretty emotional.

I lived behind my camera; my father's N90s, actually (formerly my uncle's, he'd sold it to my father and purchased the latest and greatest), capturing raw emotion, scenic vistas, and the evidence of death and murder. Quite a combination.

For me the trip was also my senior project, meaning that I researched the Holocaust, gave a presentation to my "March" group at on the history of Lodz, Poland while we were there, and kept a photo journal of the trip. In exchange I got to drop all my courses (save English) for the second semester of my senior year.

Two weeks, 25 rolls of film, one hell of a collection of journals. From then on I carried some sort of camera with me nearly all the time, least I miss something.

It wasn't until years 5 years later, in 2005 when I was on my way home from living abroad in Australia that the next big leap came. I was editing photos on my laptop at 30,000 feet (maybe it was 35,000 feet...either way, we were way high up crossing the Pacific), when the woman behind me tapped my shoulder. Those are amazing. Do you have a website or sell those?

And that was it, seed planted.