San Tan Photographs

San Tan Cactus

Saguaro Cactus | San Tan Park, Arizona

I picked up a new camera for when I’m out traveling and quite frankly, I’m in love with it. It’s a Fuji X-E2 and it’s shots out of the camera as so beautiful, they take very little if any post processing. I can literally shoot and print… or shoot and share. Pretty incredible what Fuji is doing inside these cameras.

I took a trip to Phoenix, Arizona and made a mad dash one evening to San Tan Mountain Park (just SE of Phoenix) to grab some sunset photos of the desert. Never really made into the park itself, as I came up the backside of the mountain and had to bail off the road to get some shots before the light dipped out of sight. I’d love to take a trip back out there when I have a bit more time. But loved these photos that I came away with.


Jumping Cholla Cactus | San Tan Park, Arizona


Saguaro Cactus | San Tan Park, Arizona


Ben Hester | San Tan Park, Arizona

Lots of photo opportunity as the area is very flat at the base of the mountain. Just put in 6533 West Phillips Road, Queen Creek, AZ into your GPS and it will get you close to the spot… just stop anywhere along the road into the park. It’s about an hour drive outside of Phoenix, but worth the time to go check it out.


Photo Location | San Tan Park, Arizona


Screamin' K Phillips

Screamin’ K Phillips | Austin, Texas

Subject. Light. Moment.

On occasion they will all be right.

On a rare occasion I’ll have my camera ready to shoot.

On a super rare occasion the photo actually gets close to how I saw it in my head.

A Time to Talk


Hwy 87, Texas – Ryan Hargrave

When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, What is it?
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

~Robert Frost – “A Time To Talk”

Wide Listener

Drew Kennedy brought me on board his new project “Wide Listener” to help him convey, visually, what the record would be about. It started early with a Kickstarter campaign and ended with this video that gives you a glimpse at the inspiration behind the writing, the writer, the words, the emotion and the songs of Wide Listener.

Drew is a hard worker and one of his greatest traits is that while he is good at alot of different things, he knows that he is best at songwriting and being a musician. That is where he funnels most of his energy and even from the beginning it showed up in this record.

I was excited to work along side someone with a strong work ethic and dedication to what he is making. The great part was that Drew didn’t just work along side me and let me shoot some crazy ideas, but he pushed me to think and react on the next level of where I am as a film maker that loves music. I think that what came out was some of my best work.

I strive to make visuals that compliment the sounds of music. It’s not easy and it’s not understood by alot of people, but when it comes together, it fills out the overall experience and doesn’t take away from the power of music.

I hope people watch this video and go buy the record. Moreover, I hope people go buy the record and then watch this video. It’s not just an introduction, it’s the inspiration… and I believe the later of the two will stir more of an emotion than watching it with no concept of the record.

If the video stirred something in you and you don’t have the record, please go to Drew’s website or iTunes and pick up Wide Listener. I love it.

1000 Words is Worth a Single Picture

Every once in a while you approach things backwards.

My friend Jamie lost her Grandma about two years ago and they are in the process of selling her house in Brookshire, Texas. It was a place that housed a few generations of her family and one that Jamie grew up playing in as a kid. Through a spark of inspiration, she asked me to come take some photos of her in the house to use as promo shots and maybe to also have as a memory.

Right after her Grandmas passing, Jamie wrote down her thoughts and memories and it’s one of the best things I’ve read due to the sheer honesty of it. But that’s Jamie.. a beacon of honesty.

I didn’t re-read it till I got back home and started looking through what I had shot that day. With most photos, you want them to tell a story, to take a life of their own… and I think we got a few really great ones that do just that.

But in some ways I feel like the story had already been told before we even pulled the camera out.

So as I read through the thoughts Jamie had written about her Grandma, I came to this…

I was thankful for her, for the love and respect that she gave all of us, even as children, and for having the capacity to appreciate true beauty when I see it.

Jamie Lin

This is Jamie sitting at her Grandma’s old Piano thinking about all those memories. And right now I could care less about all the rest of everything I shot that day… this photo is for those 1000 words she wrote two years ago.


Anxiety. I don’t get it much… I’ve learned processes and ways of Getting Things Done that remove tons of emotional overhead. Even simple things like making a to-do list will keep me emotionally stable in the midst of having 473 things to do. As long as I’m moving forward, checking things off, I’m good.

However, when my creativity is put on a deadline, anxiety starts to creep in. I get distracted by the other things I “have to do” and as time keeps ticking my anxiety keeps building and starts to crush the part of me that wants to create. It’s a downward spiral that is worse than a “Catch 22” as it speeds rapidly towards depression.

The well practiced movements of relentless creating we’ve developed in the past kick in and slow that spiral. On a good day they might even pull you out of it, but on a bad day they just prolong the touch of failure. I just want to hide away and not think about art, myself, my family, my job, my friends.. nothing… I just want to check out of life for about 5 years until no one remembers.

The answer is to forget about trying to work harder. Instead… sit down, block out any distractions, and fall in love with what you’re creating. That’s not some emotional pull to inspire you or idealize art. Far from it. You have to re-orient your to do list towards finding the Love in what you are doing and scrap everything else.

Love is the most powerful emotion we’ve been given and it will wreak havoc on anything in it’s path. Depression, sadness, fear, and even that bitch anxiety… will fall apart when pitted against the Love of what you believe in and what you are making.


What makes great art? What makes life good? What makes a best friend?

We ask ourselves these questions and quickly get lost in how complex they can be. If you are a sane person, you’d never have “perfection” as being among the answers, yet time after time we subconsciously try to make things perfect in our lives. We have a deep longing to own the perfect house, raise the perfect kids, take the perfect photo, create the perfect painting, write the perfect song, and have the perfect spouse. Perfection is warping our sense of reality and crushing our ability to feel like we’ve accomplished anything.

On the surface we might all admit to being imperfect, but to fully embrace it is another thing entirely. For one thing, embracing imperfection is really fucking scary. It means I have to tell people that I screw up, that I say the wrong things, I won’t be done on time, that I don’t understand, that I don’t know what I’m doing, that I hurt, I destroy, and I make a mess of things regularly.

Imperfection is the most human thing about life, creation, and art.

Imperfection is what bonds us and our work together. It reminds us that we are alive and free to feel, to question, and to react. It reminds us that someone actually made something with their hands and didn’t manufacture it with a bunch of machines just like the 500 before it.

Make it perfect!” is the battle cry of our generation. Auto-tune his voice. Overdub some drum beats. Auto contrast that image. Drop a preset on that photo. Grammar check those sentence fragments.
Make it Perfect!

Technology makes it almost effortless to get closer to perfection and further away from the humane nature of who and what we are. Sometimes being pitch perfect is what is needed… other times curling up with a Cormac McCarthy book might be a better option for you.

If we can admit that nothing we do is perfect… it frees us to start more projects, take more chances, love harder, forgive easier, and finish some things that we were too scared to finish.

Imperfection is the freedom to break the rules. Or at the very least it’s the freedom to not be bound by them.

Hidden Laziness

Laziness is spreading across the land like a plague, it’s being masked as “quicker – easier – simpler” and we are all relentlessly buying it.

Keep a vigilant watch that your work isn’t made lazy by “quicker – easier – simpler”, but rather that they help to create better work. The lazy are never respected and often ridiculed.

  • Facebook, email and texting make it easy to type “I’m sorry.”, “Can we go on a date?” or “I love you!”, but they are never a replacement for spoken word.
  • The internet is a great place to learn about photography, but it is never a replacement for pushing the shutter button.
  • Gift cards let your loved ones buy what they want, but don’t let it replace paying attention and giving them a gift they desire.
  • Pre-made dinners are fast, but don’t think that it takes the place of a meal made by someone that can wield a kitchen knife.
  • Consuming a fire hose of music is good, but don’t believe that you have become deeply intimate with a song until you’ve heard it a hundred times.

I won’t be lazy. And I won’t believe that the goal in life is to make my work easier just so that I can rest longer.

Work cures everything. ~Henri Matisse


I feel like I want to throw up.

I’m putting together a video of Jamie Wilson singing a new song in a small living room. I chose to give it some punchy color, but keep the frills out for the most part since it’s pretty much just a simple visual of Jamie singing in a brown room. I felt like the color was good and plus, she liked the brown… even mentioned it during planning.

However, if we rewind and look at when I pulled the piece in to start editing it… I knew I wanted to make it black & white. I even sent a text at 1:00am saying as much, because it just felt right.

But then I woke up the next day and surpressed it… I stuck to my plan to keep it in color, worked hard on it and sent it out for review, happy with what I made

Then I get the text… “What happened to the B&W?”

Ugh. Now I feel like throwing up.

What happened? Well… what happened is that I got scared. Scared that no one gets black & white. Scared that people will think that I can’t color so I go the easy route (even though good B&W is 10 times harder.) Scared that someone might not hire me because I only do B&W. Scared I was being selfish because I love B&W.

Fear & Uncertainty. Shouldn’t there be a pill to fix it? A drug that will make it all better?

I’m going to go throw up now.


A new day dawns when you seem to need it most and fortunately, it happens every morning.

This past year, I’ve sat in this chair for countless nights and tried to write something better than the last thing I wrote… better than the best thing that I ever wrote… or even just better than what some other person wrote. Rarely did I succeed and more often than not I went to bed scared to death that my best work was behind me.

For a year I’ve been thinking, “Something has to give. Something has to change.”

I’ve been stuck in a cycle of trying to restart or reinvent what I want to write about and who I want to write for. Nothing was working and creatively, it affected more than just my writing.

Clarity often strikes like thunder and today it crashed down with a sonic boom. I realized you can’t fix anything you do when you’re rusted and broken to the core.

Everything has to be leveled on the inside and started fresh, building upon on the lessons we’ve learned, the knowledge we’ve gained, the people we call friends, and the strength we’ve acquired.

There is no such thing as a quick fix. Not in writing and not in life. When you build either of those on a bad foundation, you can never feel confident to stand strong.

I’m starting fresh and writing about whatever I damn well please. There’s no foundation here. No rules. No personal roadblocks of previous success or failure. Only a clean slate to stretch my writing, my creativity and my life.

Hold fast to what you believe in and those that believe in you. A new day is dawning and leaving the dark night behind.