Travel Captures: A Weekend In Big Bear

Big Bear Lake
City in California

Big Bear Lake is a small city in Southern California. It sits on the banks of fish-filled Big Bear Lake. It’s known for Bear Mountain ski resort, with its terrain parks and learner slopes, and family-friendly Snow Summit ski resort. Boutiques, gift shops and restaurants line the streets of Big Bear Lake Village, the commercial area. (According to Google)

A couple of weekends back, I spent an awesome and relaxing weekend getaway in Big Bear – of course I had to capture some shots! You’ll have plenty of lively subjects to shoot when in Big Bear. From the beautiful coniferous trees aligned along the trails and roads, to the wood carved sculptures in front of most businesses; the mountains and lakes; you have a plethora of things to shoot when in Big Bear!
Here are a couple of my shots. I hope you enjoy them!

“Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift”

–  Albert Einstein

Do you like taking pictures when you travel? I would LOVE to see your work! Comment below – as always, I would love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.

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Meet The Artist Ep. 3: Eddie Santos

Welcome to Episode 3 of Meet the Artist! This week I am very happy to introduce to you one of the most genuine individuals that I have the privilege to know. He perfectly fits the characteristics of a good sound engineer: An overall positive person with a helpful heart. His calm, yet always happy demeanor, is infectious when you enter his studio. When you’re there, prepare yourself to receive great advice on how to better your craft.

As you may well have noticed, I always look for artists with inspirational stories. This artist is always inspiring others by motivating them with his positive attitude. I’ve watched him work with artists in different genres, and it is obvious as he works, that he is truly passionate about music.

Without further ado, please allow me to introduce to you, Eddie Santos!

Click Here To View the Interview on YouTube

“Calm Like A Bomb” – Zach de la Rocha

(Eddie’s favorite quote)

To see more of Eddie’s work, follow him on social media

What are some of the qualities you think every engineer should have? Comment below! We’d love to know what your thoughts.

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One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure




discarded matter; refuse.


Back end story: I was talking to someone about the importance of content on social media when introducing a new company to your community, and as a joke, I said “You can take pictures of trash and add a Geo-tag, and it will be useful content.” So I decided to put my lens where my mouth went. (I’ve been full of idioms lately).

This advise also applies to my fellow photographers: you can take pictures of anything, as long as you just shoot. If you’re one to attach a story to everything, there is always a story behind your image. The reason why you went for the shot is your story.

Why is it important to always shoot, as a photographer? For beginners, it’s practice. You’ll learn how to define what subjects interest you the most, and practice your skill at the same time. You’ll learn how to develop new techniques and what works best for you. And best of all, your photos will be the journal of your progress. Trust me, you’re going to want to document your progress; so that as you get better, you’ll look back and appreciate where you started.

Front Story: It took me no effort what so ever to find miscellaneous trash laying on the ground in random places. I was on my way to a friend’s house, and I nonchalantly stopped a couple of times to take these images.

I can look at the positive side, and be happy that it had become so easy to find my subject. To say the least, it is disheartening, and now I feel a bit trashy. In two different cities, that are miles away from each other. Makes you think a little, doesn’t it?

“To play safe, I prefer to accept only one type of power: the power of art over trash, the triumph of magic over the brute.”

– Vladimir Nabokov

Do you like taking pictures of random objects? If so, what are they? Comment below – as always, I would love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.

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Devil is in the Details

plural noun: details

describe item by item; give the full particulars of.


For those who have not heard the phrase “The devil is in the detail”, it’s a saying that refers to an element hidden in the details, meaning that something might seem simple at a first look but will take more time and effort to complete than expected

It’s necessary to remember the importance of detail when you want to tell a story through your images.

Take the picture from an art show below as an example.The focus is on the man viewing the art pieces on the wall – but the background tells the story of what is going on during the art show. Details that give sense of place, and the photo will always reveal the heart of any moment.


Pay close attention to the image I captured in Venice Beach, CA below. You may think that what I wanted to capture was the art on the face of the building. But what really captivated me was the man on the roof.

As for events, your clients will appreciate you capturing not only the candid moments of them and their guests, but they will definitely appreciate you taking the time to capturing things like the decorations, the desert and candy table, and anything else you notice that took time for them to create. This will ensure that you make their photos and the event memorable.

Lastly, another detail to consider would be the ones that are at far reach. Close ups are fun, but what about the distant images that require you to take out your long lens? (If your budget allows you to buy or rent different lenses, of course). You can either focus on a couple of elements, and create a soft background that doesn’t distract from the main subjects with a long lens – or you can also use a full-frame ultra-wide-angle zoom lens to help capture a crisp background and have a sharp focus on your subject in the same frame.


Technicality should only serve you as a reference. Your viewers will be able to tell if you were trying too hard, or if you allowed the creative within to capture an image that will translate what you felt during the very moment you went for the shot.

Think about the message you would like to express, and allow your instincts to guide you.

Do you have a keen eye for details? I would LOVE to see your work! Comment below – as always, I would love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.

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(don’t forget to try to spot the details!)

Tales of a Ghost Town: Llano Del Río

Llano del Río


commune (or “colony”) located in what is now Llano, California, east of Palmdale in the Antelope ValleyLos Angeles County.

Western Comrade

Recently, I moved to the Antelope Valley in California. Of course, the first thing I do is research the town, and it’s near by locations to find places to shoot. To my surprise, there are several great locations that yell out to be photographed. I’m inclined to capture the more eerie type of location, so the one place that I had to go first was Llano del Río.


To sum up the town’s story, the ruins are the remnants of a failed socialist commune that was officially launched on May 1, 1914. Colony grew in great numbers and was very productive the first 3 years, but then was threatened by the Board of Directors and the General Assembly. After some water shortages, false claims to potential buyers, and failed aspirations, the  colony decided to pick up and relocate to New Llano, Louisiana. In 1918, what was left of the colony in California, filed for bankruptcy – and now all that we have left is the decay of a failed colonial experiment.

I enjoyed exploring the ruins! I found a very interesting yellow flower bush, a well, as well as two under ground platforms. Rusty cans and old beer bottles (not from 1914) adorned the walls that seemed to have once supported a now long-forgotten stairway.  Definitely felt like an old ghost town.

Do you have any ghost town stories? Or better yet, have you ever photographed a ghost town before? Comment below! I’d love to hear all about it  – as always, I would love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.


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White Balance

white balance


in photography:

the global adjustment of the intensities of the colors (typically red, green, and blue primary colors).

title img

During my last shoot, the topic of “white balance” came up, so I decided to elaborate on the subject in this week’s blog.

Why is it important to know in photography? Well, you know that “WB” button on your camera? That’s referring to your white balance. And your white balance will determine if your images come out warm (yellow temperature), or cool (blue temperature).

Although our eyes are good at judging what is white under different light sources, our cameras have the tendency to create a different color cast when setting the white balance in “Auto White Balance” (AWB).

I briefly talked about it in Reina en Rojo Pt3: Color Tones: To understand white balance, I’ll have to explain a little about color temperature.

Color temperature is measured in units of Kelvin (K) – this will help when choosing the light bulbs for your shoot (and your light bulbs at home too!)


So how do you obtain white balance? Instead of appearing blue or orange, the whites on your images should appear white after correctly white balancing them.

Indoors – Next time you’re in a room, take a look at the lighting; Depending on the lighting, you should set your camera to that temperature. For example (look at the far left section of the graph), if the room is lit by common household tungsten bulbs, the color temperature is at  about 2700K – set your camera at that Kelvin.

I used two different color temperature light bulbs for this shoot. Take a look at the backdrop. You’ll see a yellowish tone on the left, and a blueish tone on the right – white balance on both images was set at AWB.


Outdoors – Now take a look at the middle section of the graph on the right. Set your white balance depending on the time of day, or if its cloudy or sunny.

WB Setting was at 5500K during sunset to balance the blue sky

White balance may seem a bit trickier than what it really is. All it takes is a bit of practice. I suggest you screen shot the chart above, and use it as a cheat sheet. I’m also including a picture of how your WB display balance looks like so you can match them both.





I am always here to answer any questions, so please feel free to comment below – and as always, I would love to see what you create. Please leave a comment with the link where I can follow your work.


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Meet the Artist Ep. 2: Tony Handley

Welcome to Episode 2 of Meet the Artist! This week I have the pleasure to introduce to you someone I always enjoy having a conversation with: A great friend of mine who is also a great human being, with an even greater story; A living example that it is never too late to follow your dreams, and like he says, “It’s never too late to teach an ol’ dog new tricks”.

Please allow me to introduce to you, Tony Handley!

-TH– Hi, my name is Tony Handley, and I’m an actor.  And welcome to ‘Meet the Artist’.


-DG– So, when did you start acting?

-TH- Um, my family owned a movie theater when I was very young…  I believe I was in the first grade.  The first you know, sort of experience of going to the movies or free, and all the popcorn and sodas I want.  Then watch THE MOVIE, and pretend that was me up there.  I knew then that I wanted to be an actor.

    (DG– That’s great!)

    Yeah!  Um, when I was in the fourth grade, I had a teacher who, uh, was very much of a free spirit herself.  And she allowed us, at a certain time of the day, to get up and tell stories.  And for those of us that had any kind of imagination, we became the class clowns, the class favorites.  And, uh, I ended up being one of those because I learned how to work the crowd.  I loved the laughs.

    (DG– That’s awesome!)

    Yeah, I loved it, uh but I didn’t start doing any community theater until, like, until the 1970’s, yeah.

-DG- That’s great.  …And what inspired you to begin your journey?

-TH- Um, I would say that, between my family having the movie theater and Saturday morning Westerns.  You know Gene and Roy and all the guys.  But being a character actor like I am, um, I have found it to be very rewarding not to have be me all the time.

   (DG- I like that.)

    Yeah, uh, when I was a kid, I would one week I’m watching this guy on the screen. This next week I’m watching this big guy on the, you know on the big screen.  And so, that was always a drive, to try to be somebody different, other than myself.  I mean I like me, but its fun not being me,(*wink) you know.
    (DG- Always a fun thing.)


-DG- How has acting affected you spiritually?

-TH- Um, by far it has made me a lot more in tune with, not only myself, but the universe itself and how the universe operates.

    (DG- Funny thing, huh?)

    Yeah, it really is, it really is.  It’s wonderful when we are fortunate enough to figure it out.

-DG- That’s true.  Very, very true.  Emotionally?

-TH- Well, I’m by far the most stable I’ve ever been in my life.

    (DG- Ah, that’s good.)

    It’s also made me extremely happy to be able to do, number one, do what I’ve always dreamed and wanted to do with my life.  To be able, at my age, to go and do what I wanted to do, has made me a very very happy person.

    (DG- That’s good.  Not a lot of people could say that.)

    No, and I’m very very blessed, very fortunate.

    (DG- That’s awesome.)

    Very fortunate.IMG_5077

-DG- Mentally?

-TH- Mentally, uh, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

    (DG- Oh, Really?)

    Yes, I found that out.

    (DG- That’s awesome.)

    Yeah, I, that was something that I was, I knew I was up against.

    (DG- Okay *chuckles)

    Because I hadn’t exercised this (points to head), in the ways I knew I needed to, as an actor….in a lot of years.  I took like twenty years off, you know.  And now I’ve come back and I’ve been at it for three years and I’ve been in more classrooms, workshops and so on, than I have in…

    (DG- That makes a huge difference.)

    Yeah.  You can work that muscle, and it will… it’s amazing what it’ll do.  Yeah.

-DG- What has been your biggest struggle?

-TH- Well, let me throw you for a loop here.  But it was getting into the second grade.

    (DG- Okay?)

    My parents were like Gypsies, and we were just all over, at that time and period in my life.  Went through a lot of schools, a lot of different cities and towns, and…

    (DG- A lot of different people, huh?)

    It’s happened so often that they put me back in the first grade.
    (DG- Okay.)

    And I had to take the first grade over.

    (DG- Aww.)

    So, my biggest setback in life was getting into the second grade.

(Both laugh)

-DG- So what are some projects you’ve worked on?

-TH- Um, did a Western last year, had a lot of fun doing that.

    (DG- That’s fun)

    Yeah, had a lot of fun.  Played Sheriff Tony.

    (DG- Oh great.  And there again came the Cowboys and Indians, and you got to…)

    Got to be right out there at Paramount Ranch, and play one of the bad guys.  You know, the bad guy Sheriff, you know… yeah.vengeance.002

-DG- That’s fun.  It was definitely fun watching you.  How about currently?

-TH- I’ve got two other Westerns, that are in development for probably 18 and 19.  2018 and 2019

    (DG- Okay.)

    Um, I’ve got a pilot that we’re gonna shoot in May.

    (DG- Okay.)

    Yeah, it’s written, produced and directed by ladies, females.

    (DG- Beautiful!)

    –TH- Yeah, and it is a Western, and it is a pilot for TV and I’m very excited about that.

    (DG- That’s exciting!)

    -TH- Yeah, it really is, and I just, uh, I play just a… The most lovable, rotten dirty character you could ever play.

    (DG- Lovable, rotten is great.  Must be a fun character.)

    -TH- Yeah, he will be remembered, yeah.

-DG- So I love ending with a quote.  What is your quote of all time and why?

-TH- “Lay in the weeds, and wait.  And when your chance comes for you to say something… say something good.”  Quote, Merle Haggard.

   (DG- That’s great)

    Yeah, I had the good fortune to work for Merle, years ago, when I was in the music industry.

    (DG- Oh, no way?)

    Yeah, and one night over beers, uh, and probably a few other things… uh, he shared that with me,  and ever since I have applied it to my life, and never so much as I have the last three plus years.

    (DG- That’s awesome.)

    I’ve based my entire career on those fine words.  I figure, if it was good enough for Merle, it was good enough for me.

-DG- That is so awesome.  And where can people find you online?

-TH- Uh, that’d be, TonyHandleyActor, and Handley is like ‘hand’ (shows hand), ‘L’ (makes L with hand), E (makes E with hand), Y (makes Y with hand).  Tony Handley.

-DG- Perfect!  Thank you Tony.

-TH- Thank you, I’ve had a lot of fun.  Thank you very much

-DG- It was a lot of fun.

-TH- Thanks for havin’ me.

To see more of Tony’s work, follow him on social media:

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