Indonesia pt1

I’m working in Bandung, Indonesia at the moment. It’s a large city about three hours from Jakarta. I’ve really been enjoying myself- the food is great and the people are wonderful. The skinny city streets can become quite crowded during the busy hours. But if you can manage to make it outside the city, you’ll find a very lush and exotic landscape.
Bandung Indonesia
Indonesia is at the beginning of their rainy season. And rain, it does! I get the impression that everyone here is used to being wet for a good part of the year. Fortunately there are moments in the morning hours when the rain isn’t as bad. But fog still rolls through, giving the mountains a misty, otherworldly appearance.

We heard about a beautiful tea plantation in Lembang- around 30 minutes north of Bandung.
Tea Plantation in Lembang
It’s open for people to stop along the road and take photos. Anyone can wonder through the fields, and the workers seem used to having visitors around. I saw many young couples pull over for a quick picture, and families taking a break to let the kids stretch their legs.
Tea Plantation in Lembang
The workers harvest the tiny new tea leaves at the top of the plant using a device that looks like a giant electric shaver that they hold above the rows of tea plants. As the three men walk along, the machine collects the leaves in a bag like a vacuum cleaner.
Tea Plantation in Lembang
Near the plantation is the volcano Tangkuban Perahu. It is mostly dormant and last erupted in 1983. But there has been volcanic activity the past year. The park was closed for a few months because of recent activity. It just reopened a few days ago, but unfortunately I didn’t see much. The clouds moved in again and mixed with the steam coming out of the crater lake. I saw it for about 45 seconds before it disappeared in a thick haze. Below is an eerie photo of the market that is set up near the top of the crater.
Tangkuban Perahu

Chicago Models

I had a great time recently taking some photos of of Crystal and Eileen in Chicago. It turns out that might have been one of the last nice days of the year, so I’m glad we made the best of it. Hair and makeup was done by Jenna Brieva.
Chicago model
Chicago model
Chicago model

Florida Keys pt 2 – Off The Beaten Path

There are still a number of places in the Key West area that aren’t overrun by people. One of my favorite places is also one the few remaining free spots left (although I would encourage you to donate.) The Key West Garden Club is located inside an old unfinished fort right along the beach. It dates back to the Civil War and is filled with all types of tropical and exotic plants. The beautiful arches, doorways, and solid brick walls that were designed to withstand cannon fire make it look like something just ripped out of a history book. And the Garden Club has done a great job of integrating the plants into the setting. Key West Garden Club

Key West Garden Club
I’ve never been to the Key West Botanical Garden before, but we were scouting it as a possible location for a shoot. While there, we ran across a collection of home-made Cuban refugee boats. They called them “Cuban Chugs”, and looking at the crazy construction and sketchy motors aboard them I can see how they got their name. Some had hand-pounded metal frames, others were inflatable with rolls of styrafoam strapped to them for support.
Cuban Chug boat in Key West
One or two looked a little sturdier, but they all gave me the impression that they were built to go exactly 90 miles from Cuba to Key West… and no more.
Cuban Chug boat in Key West
My last place to recommend is far enough off the beaten path that you’ll still get a taste of the Keys like it was back in the day. No Name Pub is on one of the backroads of Big Pine Key. It’s an old joint that has the sort of off-color history that you want when you’re looking for a place with some character. Yes, the food is very good. But what the pub is mainly known for now is the decor. Every inch of the walls and ceiling is covered in one dollar bills that have been stapled there by bar patrons over the years. The bills have all been decorated, drawn on, and otherwise defaced. Sorry this isn’t the greatest photo… but I was there for lunch, not photos. The bar staff said that there’s about $60,000 tacked up there.
No Name Pub

Florida Keys Pt 1 – Bahia Honda

The last time I was at Bahia Honda in the Florida Keys was during a really great college Spring Break camping trip. Luckily a project in Key West gave me an opportunity for an overdue return visit. Bahia Honda is often ranked as one of the top beaches in Florida. I only had one free day, and my goal was to roam around the island taking photos of the wildlife and scenery. Just as I arrived storm clouds moved in, delaying my photos and soaking me whenever I thought the rain was slowing down.
Bahia Honda, Florida
The dark clouds finally moved off about an hour before sunset. And now I had the whole place to myself! I quickly ran to the North end of the island.
Bahia Honda, Florida

Sunset on Bahia Honda, Florida

Sunset at Bahia Honda, Florida Keys

Then I hustled down to the south end in time to get the last bits of light against the remains of the old Flagler Rail Bridge.
Sunset over the Rail Bridge, Bahia Honda


What’s it like to ride along with NASA’s elite SWAT Team? Photographer Rhonda Barczak and I got to find out when we were allowed to accompany the SWAT team during one of their helicopter patrol missions. They¬†cover all 220 square miles of the Kennedy Space Center.

This is just a small sampling of what we got to witness during our hour long flight. You will see several well known NASA sites, including the tiny (but legendary) Astronaut Beach House around 0:44 in the video. It was a great experience and we want to thank the NASA SWAT Team for all their help. This footage was captured during our work for the Last Shuttle Project.