Few powder days

Been enjoying some good snow these past couple weeks, trying to get in as many days as possible despite having some real world responsibilities holding me back...

Anyway, heading down to Vegas/Death Valley this weekend to see some old friends and work on some photography in the desert, until then...

View from Mt Judah

Hiking the ridge


January in the Sierra's

Living in Lake Tahoe has been spectacular for the first month.  Our house is tucked up on top of Tahoe Donner, sitting at around 7000 feet and gets tons of snow.  We are about 3 miles east of Donner Pass, in the western part of Truckee, California.  The month started out with a lot of snowshoeing trips up to Castle Peak and Mt. Rose (10,000 ft+) and a handful of ski days to Sugar Bowl, our local mountain.  Katie tweaked her knee and has been out of commission for a couple weeks now, but after a visit to the ortho she is on track for a quick and speedy recovery.

Tahoe National Forest

Lake Tahoe

We've now had snow for the past 9 days, thanks to an El Nino weather pattern, absolutely battering our mountains with upwards of 7 feet of snow in a week.  I'm lucky enough to be working in a school and getting some snow days, which allowed me to ski 5 out of 7 days last week, all amazing knee and waist-high powder, many times first tracks when the lifts fired up in the morning.  

Emerald Bay

I haven't been able to branch out to many different ski resorts yet, staying pretty loyal to a couple hills.  However, I've got a handful of visitors coming this weekend and will hopefully be hitting up some new spots.  

Chute @ Sugar Bowl

Putting in Driveway Work


Westward expansion

For the 3rd time since my college graduation, I'm switching coasts, this time taking up residence in Truckee, California on the Lake Tahoe border with Nevada.  We packed up the car and drove 4 full days to our destination.  The trip included driving through Massachusetts, across upstate New York and by Niagara Falls and the border with Canada, a little bit of PA, an over night in Sandusky, Ohio (where Tommy Boy sold his Callahan Auto Parts), Indiana, Illinois, overnight in Iowa, Nebraska, some bar-hopping in Rawlins, Wyoming, a quick trip through Salt Lake and Park City, Utah, a long way across northern Nevada and our eventual arrival in eastern California.

Ohio Sunset


full car

car wash, Wyoming

I-80, Nebraska

Salt flats, Utah

I-80, Nevada

Happy New Year everyone..next post will have Tahoe National Forest photos



Leaving tomorrow, driving back to where the sun sets on the ocean.  Been waiting for this day for a long, long time, couldn't be more excited.  Merry Xmas everyone!

x-country travel pics to come next...

Manhattan Beach, California


Fall in New England

Moving back to California in 2 weeks so I've been making an effort to take some New England photography before I leave.

Conservation land in Mass.

Conservation land in Mass.

Pedo-mustache + shotguns


more from oz

List of current Australian trends:
1. Having a mullet or a rat tail.
2. Wearing jean shorts.
3. Having an arm sleeve tattoo
4. Wearing singlets, also known as tank-tops or sleeveless shirts with the spaghetti size straps.
5. Driving a half pick up truck/half car that looks like an El Camino with a hitch and hauling a trailer.
6. Saying "How you going?" what appears to be a mix between "How are you?" and "How's it going?"
7. Picking up and paying for your check at the front register, no matter how fancy the restaurant

I'm going to add to this periodically over the next week or so.  For now, watch this wonderful video...


aussie aussie aussie! oy oy oy!

Spending 3 weeks in Aussie...not my favorite country in the world but definitely has a few redeeming qualities, namely BEACHES.  Lots of unspoilt, empty ones for 1000s of coastline-riddled kilometers.

Example 1: Booderee National Park

Evan and I started off in the official government capital, Canberra, located in ACT (Australia Capitol Territory) which is a small landlocked area in the middle of New South Wales, about 500 miles north of Melbourne and 200 miles southwest of Sydney.  Canberra was developed about 50 years ago to become the governing capital of Australia when there was a battle of prominence between Melbourne and Sydney occuring.  To keep both cities from feeling sleighted, they just created a new territory in between the two, based similarly on the United States' District of Columbia/Washington DC.  The city is super empty and has a weird vibe.  It's like a giant park filled with pockets of suburban areas, but somehow still maintains a population of a little less than a half a million people.  We stayed in a "serviced apartment" in the city center and kept sane mostly by using the fancy gym in the mall and going out to crappy dinners.  I can't say Australia really has much in the way of good food.  We went to the National Portrait Gallery, which was cool because it had the Sheperd Fairey "Hope" posters, made famous by the Obama illustration he got in so much trouble for.  I hadn't seen this exhibit in Boston, so it was cool to catch it on the other side of the friggin' world.  There was a really nice black and white photography exhibit in there as well, although it was a portrait gallery and I can't say I'm familiar with many of Australia's finest historical figures.  One thing I did learn is that it might be the only country with less western/european/civilized history than the United States.

After our week in Canberra, we jetted down the coast on the 1 (AKA Princes Highway) to check out some of Australia's famous remote beaches.  The southeast coast of the country has some of the most famous surf swells and is home to a ton of well known riders.  There was actually a surf competition and event in Manly Beach on Sunday, which we came across in the rain, but unfortunately didn't stay long.  .  First leg of the trip, however, was to Jervis Bay, about 250km's south of Sydney.  We grabbed a motel room in a town called Huskisson, which had one big pub, a beautiful beach and a real nice sunset cliff walk that Evan and I tramped along with a couple 22oz local beers from the drive thru bottle shop.  The night ended up being way more lively than I would've expected.  The pub got busy (can't say enough about zero competition for venues in town) and I woke up feeling not well enough to jump on a board, so we hit Booderee national park the next morning(questionable) and passed out on some white sand.

That night we busted up to Sydney and spent the next 24 hours in Bondi Beach.  Finding little accomodation available on the waterfront, especially with parking, we went up the hill a bit and found an interesting little bed and breakfast run by a sweet, older couple.  It was basically like putting up in someone's house, a nice break from living out of hotels and "serviced apartments" for the past few weeks.  We went out to dinner for Evan's birthday, had a few drinks at some uber trendy cocktail lounges and then hit the beach the next day to dodge rain and clouds.  Bondi is an interesting place.  I had only been to Sydney CBD previously, seen the Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge, but this was a totally different vibe, which reminded me a lot of my days living in Manhattan Beach.  We skirted over to Manly Beach, on the other side of the harbor, which was a way cooler, down-to-earth, heady vibe beach, with tons of surf shops, cafes and breakfast joints.  Manly is a super cool part of Sydney to say the least.

South Coast, NSW

Oh, somewhere along this trip I bought a pink, hannah montana beach towel.

sex, drugs, rnr

Anyway, splitting up with Evan and heading off to Darwin and Perth on my own to finish off the November survey quarter.  Will update with some new photos in a week or so.


South Island, New Zealand

Upon finishing the survey in Wellington, my coworker/amigo and I took a ferry over the Cook Strait to the South Island at night.  We picked up a rental car in the morning and drove it 1200 km's (about 700 miles) down to the bottom of the island, Fjordland National Park, made famous by the stupid Lord of the Rings movies.  Along the way we hit the West Coast, which is dubbed one of the Top 10 road trips by Lonely Planet's Blue List.  After that were the glaciers in Franz Josef and Fox, where we chartered a helicopter and did a day hike on our crampons around in the ice and snow.  The next day's drive winds past Mt. Cook and the Southern Alps, finally arriving in Fjordland National Park.  We stayed the night in the coastal town of Manapouri and then embarked on a cruise of Doubtful Sound with a ton of senior citizens.  Below is photographic proof of this trip/adventure/journey.

Ferry Map to the South Island

Franz Josef Glacier from heli

Franz Josef Glacier from cramp-ons

Farm/Mtns. South Island, NZ

Sound reflection, South Island, NZ

Sheep Crossing, NZ


Maori life in NZ

This quarter of the year it seems to be a common occurrence to find myself surveying in the South Pacific.  After my first exposure to the area, coupled with my ancestral background and interest, I have found it to be the part of the world I enjoy visiting most.  The beginning of my trip leads off with New Zealand, the country where my grandmother on my mother's side originates from.  Although New Zealand is most commonly known for geographic isolation, sheep and the Lord of the Rings, to me it is a country of cultural heritage for my family.

Wellington Cable Car

New Zealand is one of the most recently settled major land masses, with a history even younger than the United States.  New Zealand was settled by eastern polynesians 1000s of years ago, much like the North American Indians, but wasn't settled by westerners until the 18th century.  At this time, there was an abundance of aboriginies living there, known as Maori's.  The European settler's began to come in droves and after a short while, outnumbered the local people.  After many disputes, they signed a treaty giving Maori's rights, but they have developed into a minority in New Zealand.

Due to the arrival of Westerners, the Maori culture was affected tremendously, similarly to many other indigenous people all over the world in the persistent forcing of Christianity upon them.  The introduction to weapons and new diseases to their society is a major cause in their decline in population after the arrival of Europeans. In the past 50 years, the Maori culture has experienced a great revival due to agreed western assimilation and the introduction of education and some progressive Maori politicians.  Now there are designated seats in the NZ Parliament and considerations and consultations with Maori officials have become the norm for government organizations.

Despite these social and economic advances, Maori still register low percentiles on many health and education statistics, as well as labour force participation.  They register high in criminal and imprisonment figures and like many indigenous cultures, are affected deeply by institutional and direct racism.

Maori culture is probably most well known for Ta Moko which is the permanent body and face markings  that they seem to be heavily covered in.  It differs from common tattoo art in that it is done with chisels, rather than punctured by a needle, leaving the skin with grooves, rather than a smooth surface.  In the early years of Maori culture, it was a symbol of power or social status and they were received ritually to show passages into adulthood.  This form of art has popularized in recent times, and Maori tattoos can be commonly seen on people who have no affiliation with the culture.

Maori Ta Moko

The Te Papa museum in Wellington is a wonderful place to check out information on Maori history and heritage, as well as all of New Zealand.

Later this week, my coworker and I are taking a ferry over to the South Island and renting a car to drive from tip to tip.  Passing through the west coast, Fox and Franz Josef Glacier and heading down to Fjordland National Park to check out Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound.  Some links below on where we're headed, pictures soon to come.

Franz Josef Glacier - Glacier frontier with hiking, skydiving and tons of open space
Doubtful Sound  - Cruise around Fjordland
West Coast - Lonely Planet rated this one of the top 10 coastal drives in the world