Censorship is the Opposite of Education – Stop SOPA

I’m so proud that the site that hosts this blog – wordpress – is blacking out for a day to protest SOPA, aka the censorship bill.  The bill seeks to provide our government with an overwhelming “hand of God” that can create and destroy internet access as they please.  Sure, the bill is targeted at specific piracy problems, but the unintended consequences that could limit free access to information as well as freedom of speech.  Censorship is the opposite of education.  It limits instead of educates.  It allows for a small agency of really powerful people to decide what we can access.  Sure, the intent is to stop only “specific piracy sites”, but we all know how good intent can get misappropriated for bad uses.

Does this censorship battle sound like another place, another time in world history?  Well, actually it’s happening right now.  Right here.

Please take a second – well actually 3 minutes – and educate yourself on the SOPA/PIPA issue here: http://fightforthefuture.org/pipa

Thanks for reading.



Turning a new leaf, growing a garden in 2012


Thanks everyone for all the amazing support in 2012.  My wife, Kaya, my dear friends have all been a blessing.  I love you all. 

Here are a few thoughts for 2012.  New leaves, new gardens. 

-Be a role model.  I’ve been lucky and fortunate, and I want to share the fruits of that.  I want to grow a kind,attached community.  This includes: be a great dad, inspire the next generation of land stewards, provide love to my wife and dearest. 

– Define physical structure in my life. Get into a pattern and groove with climbing, running, biking.  Do it regularly. Create a practice. 

– Take the extra time to explain.  Don’t rush through the teaching moments.  Cherish them as they are what I most strive for on any given “scheduled” course. Even if I’m late or stressed, take the time.  Identify and embrace these moments.

– Reach out and connect with new people.  Go beyond talking.  Communicate and reflect.  Return again once some time and perspective have blossomed.  Limit the one-and-done interactions. 

– Take time to find the light.  It’s always worth it. 

– Diffuse anxiety.  Don’t let the emotions of others cloud over my sun.  Be aware of the situation and digest it. Be independent in spirit and will.  Create leadership – create my own weather. As appropriate, be sensitive, but immune. 

– Start a conversation with forgiveness. Find its role in my life.  Most importantly, find ways to access it in the toughest of situations.  Create a path, walk it, maintain it. 


*Writen in Pasadena, CA. Rose bowl RV campground.


Native for the Holidays

We wanted to wish a warm and generous holiday season to all of our friends and family.  We feel blessed to have shared another year with you.  Thank you for the community that we grow into together.

This year we decided to throw a curveball into the age-old traditional of the Christmas tree.

Frosty, Santa, and the Cherry Tree

We decided to purchase a live tree, and at that, we decided on a beautiful locally-native holly-leaved cherry (Prunus ilicifolia).  This is a native rose that my botanist buddy Chris Thayer believes is fading from our area: the vanishing rose phenomenon.  These comely shrubs are getting pushed out by normal (and maybe abnormal) climate change.  As they cede to other vegetation, so do their wonderful March blossoms and yummy Cabernet colored fall berries.  Here’s our native tribute to Christmas. Go Native Santa!

Pujols: A True St. Louis Tragedy

Albert, Welcome to Loneliness. Albert in the heart of the Mojave desert. Photo collaboration w/ Karen Blaha (CC)

Dear Albert,

This isn’t going to be a love letter.  It’s really not intended to be hate mail either.  I, as a former St. Louisan, huge baseball fan, and believer in good graces of the universe would like to say that I’m officially heart-broken.  You “LeBroned” us.  Let me explain this formula in case you’ve forgotten about LeBron James, like I have: Continue reading

Toro Nagashi, the Lantern Festival

Thousands of lanterns on the lake

While in Boston visiting family (Yana and Talia) last night, we were lucky to stumble upon Toro Nagashi, or the Lantern festival, held annually at the Forest Hill Cemetery of Jamaica Plain.  It immediately sounded like a great photography venue, but it was so much more.

When we arrived at sundown, the crowds were already heading for the exit, and we thought we had missed the main event. Rather, we were arriving at the perfect time since the park was completely packed and we could actually catch a few square feet of prime lakeside real estate. The sky was just fading into a dark blue and the lanterns, drifting around all parts of the lake were a brilliant little boxes of gold.  Truly, this was amazing and a not-to-miss event in Boston.  Um, it’s really a not-to-miss event for anywhere.

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Big Congrats to the Monteau Family

Log Cabin, Surfboards and Jeriel

So I’ve been shooting these friends for many years.  From engagement shots to some wedding action to lil’ bump to baby.  These two (now three!) serve as a real testament to courage and caring winning out the day.  Both have endured some major hiccups (like Ariel can’t drink hoppy beer, jk) and they’ve found a way to make their lives full and help other people fulfill their dreams at the same time.

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Kaya swims with the turtles, and other nature revelations

It's like I'm growing up at the zoo

So it’s been a little over one month since my life really took off.  Nope, not my photography career, or my latest book peaking on the NYT bestseller list, but rather the birth of lil’ Kaya Evelyn.  It’s been an amazing ride and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Truly a miracle – truly its impossible to put into words. Continue reading

Wisconsin Ho!

So it’s been a few years since I’ve called Wisconsin home.  I enjoyed by undergraduate work there enormously.  The University was a buzz with great things from outstanding programs in the Sciences and Liberal Arts, to social demonstrations, to wonderful art and great community.  In case you’re wondering, University of Wisconsin Madison is the number one place to do your undergraduate degree AND get an education.

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