Washington State Fair!

I love the Washington State Fair (though in my head, I still want to call it the Puyallup Fair!). We try and go every year and every year I bring my SLR camera. This year, I went without that and relied solely on my iPhone. At first, I felt like I was forgetting something but as soon as we made our first stop at the Fisher Scone booth (always the first stop) and I took a picture of the nice woman handing me my scone, I completely forgot about the SLR and just had some fun with pictures.




And, one of my favorites:


You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram (where many of these were first posted), and like me on Facebook - if you're inclined to do those things! Or you can just check out my web site on hipphoto.com.

Client Work -The Not Its!

RYHLayer This week, ‘kindiependent’ band The Not-Its released their new record, Raise Your Hand. When they asked me to shoot some promo photos for them, of course I had to say yes – they’re only of my daughter’s favorites (she insisted I get paid in a new Not-Its T-shirt for her, which they graciously obliged for me). Plus, I was a huge fan of singer Sarah Shannon’s 90’s era band Velocity Girl (I still remember being at my parent’s house for Christmas and seeing this video for the first time and thinking I had to get that record!), bassist Jennie Helman’s old Seattle Band Micro Mini and drummer Michael Welke played for Harvey Danger.


Plus, did I mention they’re one of my daughter’s favorites?  Here she is wearing her shirt, plus a foam finger that was generously added for her!  You can check out one her favorites songs here.

(You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram, and like me on Facebook - if you're inclined to do those things! Or you can just check out my web site on hipphoto.com.)

Costa Rica Adventure, Part III

261-smallArmed with delicious packed lunches from Bosque del Cabo (hummus sandwich for me and an amazingly delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich for Sam), we began a two and a half mile hike down to the beaches of Matapolo. The hike down was pretty slow going – we startled a small group of peccaries (which startled me in turn!), a giant tree had fallen on the trail and obscured most of it, the trail was slick from recent rains. Once we got down to Playa Matapalo, it was clear the trek was well worth it – the rainforest meeting the clear turquoise waters was amazing.

We trekked on down to Backwash Beach where there were several surfers out in the waters. Seemed like a perfect place to stop for a lunch break and watch the surfers in the waves. As we ate, one of the surfers got out of the water and I waved at him. His motorcycle was on a pathway behind us and it seemed like the perfect picture to take here at Matapolo, a surfer’s paradise.

Rolando Munoz Contreras was a dentist practicing with his father in San Jose. After his father chose to retire, Rolando was faced with a decision to make: he could stay in San Jose or practice somewhere else in the country.


“The city lifestyle was something I don’t want for me for the rest of my life, being a boogie boarder since I was 14, I used to go to the beach every time I could to ride waves, camp and enjoy the beach life style,” he told me.

He used to come down to these southern beaches when he was a kid and had fond memories of being down there with his family. He came down to the area armed with his backpack to scope out locations and fell in love with Puerto Jimenez.

“Life here is so different than a city; no heavy traffic, here there is no people on a rush like in the city, simplicity is what I like from the people on this town. But Puerto Jimenez is a multicultural place where some people from other countries live here, too. (They used to have to go to) Golfito or San Isidro to get private dental services.”

He tries to get out and surf as much as possible, sometimes as many as five times a week. This picture sums up life in the Osa Peninsula nicely I think! 254working-small (You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram, and like me on Facebook - if you're inclined to do those things! Or you can just check out my web site on hipphoto.com.)

Costa Rica Adventure, Part II

photo2At the airport, everyone was glued to the television – Costa Rica was playing England in the World Cup. I was a little nervous because I knew we’d be getting on a super small plane and I also could clearly see everyone was glued to the soccer game. I just hoped the air traffic controllers were on top of their game! The pilot leaned out of the open cockpit and said, “Buckle your seat belts, we're about to take off,” and that was it, we were off to the Osa Peninsula. Everyone we had talked to said pretty much the same thing when we said we were off to the Osa: ooooh, that’s a wild place. And, as we approached the runway, it was clear we were out there! There was no airport per se, just a small landing strip surrounded by a low fence with the town cemetery on the right. A handwritten sign announced we were indeed in Puerto Jimenez and a driver from where we were staying was there to pick us up in a white jeep-like vehicle. I don’t know how far we drove but it was down a bumpy dirt road and we occasionally splashed through fast running streams. Finally, we turned off the main dirt road onto another and we were at Bosque del Cabo. The property was amazing – encompassing over 750 acres of rainforest and overlooking the Golfo Dulce, it felt like we were in an episode of ‘Fantasy Island’ - complete with a woman offering us glasses of ginger lemonade as we entered to check in.

There’s not a lot of hustle and bustle going on here – no bars, no restaurants, no neon nightlife – just howler monkeys, spiders, snakes, and jungle. Every day was another hike through the jungle down to one of the several beaches or just walking through the jungle. We saw a ton of monkeys, hundreds of different kinds of ants, and I freaked out when we surprised a group of peccaries. In my defense, we were told that the only animal to be really afraid of in the jungle are the peccaries – especially when you see them in packs. We saw a group of maybe 4 or 5, which I would assume was a pack. However, the resident biologist Phil told us a pack of peccaries is something like 100 of them. blogwioldlife BLOG2-2

dogOn the last day there, we left the grounds of Bosque del Cabo and decided to rent a boat with Carlos down the Rio Esquinas. One of the owners, Kim, had told us a boat down the Esquinas was like the Jungle Cruise ride at Disney World – and she couldn’t have been more right. We crossed over the Golfo Dulce watching spinner dolphins dance in the boat’s wake, made it to the mouth of the river and cruised in. Carlos had an amazing ability to home in on the snakes and birds that lay in the mangroves – he would point and steer the boat in there and sometimes we still couldn’t see what he was pointing at! I have no idea how he managed to find all these creatures. Both he and the boat operator Ronnie were incredibly knowledgeable about the flora and fauna around us. We headed back to the mainland with the daily 4pm storm rapidly trailing us back to land.

(You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram, and like me on Facebook - if you're inclined to do those things! Or you can just check out my web site on hipphoto.com.)

Costa Rica Adventure, Part I

blog3aIt took over three hours to go the 75 kilometers from San Jose to Arenal Volcano.  It wasn’t that the roads were bad (though the last 10 kilometers were on a bumpy but fairly well maintained dirt road).  It was that every five minutes our GPS unit would loudly DING and announce that we were approaching a “dangerous bridge.”  The bridges weren’t necessarily dangerous but they did necessitate that we slow down, they were often one-lane bridges, and there were a lot of them to slow us down.  That and the constant curves and winding roads that led us up from the valley to the tropical mountains. We arrived in the dark and couldn’t see anything – but the sounds coming from the animals and insects in the rainforest surrounding us was pretty deafening.  When we woke, the sounds were still there but we couldn’t see the famous Arenal Volcano – clouds obscured it and the rain was pretty intense.  We squinted to see if we could see lava or a hint of steam from the volcano but we could not see even an outline of the mountain.  We later learned that the pool of lava that seeped from the top of Arenal for years had stopped flowing three years ago or so and that it would probably be another three hundred years before tourists could see red lava spilling down its slopes.

We’re from Seattle, so we’re not afraid of any rain.  Out into the rain we went, covered with our cheap $5 parkas purchased from the Arenal Observatory Lodge where we were staying. The volcano was sooooo close to us but we couldn’t’ see it so why not go into the forest to see what was lurking in there.  Hanging bridges, heliconias, and strange beetles with headlights on their heads that looked like glowing LED lights.  And, aside from these things, the rainforests here looked remarkably like the rainforests up here in the Pacific Northwest – wet, very green, tightly compacted.  The hike was wet but not too bad – though we heard some fellow hikers at dinner say their hike up to Cerro Chato was horribly chilly, wet, and “tortuous.”


blog5The next day, the clouds parted and the volcano showed herself.  It was stunning – I had no idea that the volcano was lurking THAT close to us behind the clouds – it was amazing.  The story behind the lodge where we were staying is that, because of a valley hidden in the depths of the rainforest it was determined that the lodge was a safe place to observe the goings-on of the volcano – even though we were super close to the mountain.  This was where Smithsonian researchers stayed to watch over the mountain and monitor its seismic activity – close enough to have an amazing viewpoint but safe from the lava flow and spewing rocks.

It was not sunny by any means but we opted to go for a horseback tour to La Fortuna waterfall.  Our guides, Joel and Harrison (though they insisted their names were actually Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas), didn’t make too much fun of me since I was a novice and pretty petrified of my horse, Miel.  Miel was a little feisty and not really that interested in letting me have a slow and easy ride.  It’s not that she was running or anything, but in my nervous state of mind, her little gallops grew in my mind to be out of control stampeding or something.  There were lots of steep climbs down into creeks and streams and Miel would speed up the opposite bank to a fast trot that made my heart race a little bit.  After about an hour or so, we arrived at the top of La Fortuna waterfall – and it was a steep 500+ steps down.  The sun was peeking in and out of the clouds and swimming at the base of the falls was amazing…the water was cool, the current not too fast where I was a bit downstream from the falls themselves, everything felt so clean and cool after a humid horse ride and steep trek down to the falls. Getting back up to the top, of course, was another story – heart pumping fast up the steep and slippery steps. 



The next day, we explored a little down in the town of La Fortuna. I had spotted this abandoned water park next to a steak house.  I was intrigued of course and went into the steak house, greeted by a smiling woman.  I asked about getting into the water park – she responded yes of course and opened a chain link fence for me, and let me in.  It was quiet and the perfect place for a horror movie to be set. I swear I heard a shower running in the empty bathrooms.  As I was leaving, I was talking with the woman in my broken Spanish and her in her broken English. I think we may have misunderstood one another, but I swear she said to come back later as the park was going to be open that night at 6. 



Then, it was back down those treacherous roads – this time, in addition to the dangerous bridges and curving roads, we ended up behind a rickety truck hauling a giant cow in the back, the truck listing from side to side threatening to capsize at any moment.  Finally, they pulled over to the side of the road, the driver getting out to chat to someone on his cell phone. I was hoping he was calling for a bigger truck.  We would never know – we were on to the wilds of the Osa Peninsula.

(You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram, and like me on Facebook - if you're inclined to do those things! Or you can just check out my web site on hipphoto.com.)