In the spring I took an intro to digital photography class at Southwestern College to fulfill my art transfer requirements. In addition to exhibiting work in three student art shows, the class encouraged me to go out and take more photos in my free time and I met some great people both on and off campus. I shot more 120 film, tested the waters with 4×5 large format, and even got into some wet plate photography.

In addition to the occasional weekend drives out to Mt. Laguna, the Anza Borrego Desert and surrounding areas, I also went to Joshua Tree, The Salton Sea, and even made the drive out to Tennessee and back in the summer. In the fall I had a busy schedule again and didn’t pick up my camera as much as I would have liked, but I still managed to sneak into the dark room from time to time.

If you’ve looked around my site recently many of the photos may be familiar, but these are some of my favorite shots of the year.

(click photos to enlarge in a new window)

Mountains of industrial salt with clouds from a dramatic sunset

Salton Sea Love Seat

Steve the blacksmith

Salton Sea Garage

An abandoned double wide home at the Salton Sea

Ruby ambrotype of Samantha
(Thanks to Dave Smith)

Salvation Mountain Painted Truck says God Love

St Louis Arch

Ricky and his penny-farthing

An abandoned double wide home at the Salton Sea

modern tintype of a girl

Tennessee Forest


Stars at Kwimee Point

Gabe and his cat

Abandoned trailer with colorful graffiti

Abandoned television


An abandoned double wide home at the Salton Sea
Salton Sea Beach, California, 2012 (click to enlarge)


An abandoned double wide home at the Salton Sea
Salton City, California, 2012 (click to enlarge)


It’s not easy to stop and get the picture you want when traveling with others. While driving to Forth Worth back in July, I stopped with my brother and girlfriend at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo Texas. The ranch is a public art installation of mid twentieth century Cadillacs buried in the sand. Unfortunate for me, we arrived at the exact same time as two buses filled with teenagers, which made getting a clean photograph rather difficult. I ended up having to wait it out for about 20 minutes in the sticky July weather but in the end I think it was worth the trouble.

A spray painted Cadillac buried in a field
Amarilo, Texas, 2012 (click to enlarge)


Portrait of a man
Old Town San Diego, 2012 (click to enlarge)

This is Charles Halstead aka Crazy Charles from West Virginia. I was hanging out in Old Town San Diego after doing some tintypes and got into a conversation with him. It quickly turned into a one sided lecture on political conspiracies, Hitler, Obama, hats and of course his love of West Virginia.


Here’s a new favorite from a roll of film that I shot back in April. After classes ended last semester I didn’t have access to a darkroom for some time and I only recently got around to developing and scanning the photo.

The South Bay Salt Works is home to one of the only two salt pond systems that exists in California.

Mountains of industrial salt with clouds from a dramatic sunsetChula Vista, CA, 2012 (click to enlarge)

Here’s a behind the scenes shot and an anecdote from when I was scanning the film:

Scanning film at the SWC photo lab
Southwestern College Photo Lab

I was scanning some negatives earlier today in my photo lab and suddenly everyone in the room could smell smoke from a wildfire. It was pretty subtle at first but because of the 100 degree heat today we all grew concerned. We quickly realized it was from inside the building and instructors began surveying the building to locate the source. Campus police and building engineers were brought in. The smell was only coming from the ceiling of one room but no fire alarms were going off. The doors were closed and the AC was on full blast but there were no signs of a fire on the roof above. Finally after about 20 minutes someone realized that a guy in the photo studio down the hall was burning incense for his photoshoot. Oops.


In February, Samantha and I made a few trips out to the Salton Sea in California. This photo was taken from our first trip, exploring the western shores along the Salton Sea Beach. While the majority of the homes were abandoned and trashed (like this one), there were still some locals living in the area. We made it a point not to disturb anyone if the area was occupied, but with some dwellings it was difficult to tell whether anyone lived there or not. When the weather cools down I’d like to revisit Niland some more.

Abandoned RV surrounded by trashSalton Sea, California, 2012 (click to enlarge)


Since my introduction to wetplate photography earlier this year, I’ve continued to work with Dave, Nick and some other local photographers interested in the process. Here is a plate that I took last month while working with Dave and Omar. It’s probably one of the strongest plates I’ve poured yet. Catherine aka Clementine is a local photographer here in San Diego.

modern tintype of a girl
Catherine, 2012.

For reference, here’s a more troublesome plate I took earlier in the same day with Clementine. I still like it.

modern tintype with a bad pour
Catherine II, 2012.


I came across this waffle cone in a Mandalay Bay parking garage on the last day of a two week road trip I took back in August. I’m still sitting on a whole lot of unedited and undeveloped photos from said trip, but pretty soon they should start popping up on here!

crushed ice cream waffle cone
Las Vegas, NV.


Earlier this year I made a trip up to Joshua Tree National Park. Here’s a photo from a hike I took up to Wall Street Mill.

Black and white photo of rusted old car
Wall Street Mill, Josha Tree National Park