Randomness in Portland

While we both really like Portland, we’re counting down until the day we can get back on the road and actually leave Oregon (we’ve been parked there for a REALLY long time). So as you can probably guess, this past week was mostly spent in Portland. We did see some new things though…like the vintage vacuum museum! No, that’s not a joke. We spent a day going out and seeing really random things, and this was the first stop. Karen didn’t know where we were going, and she looked a little confused when I took her to a back hallway inside a huge vacuum cleaner store. She knows me pretty well though, so when she started to see all the old vacuums she just shook her head and laughed.

VacuumMuseumA scene from the vintage vacuum museum.

We also went to another oddball place called the Faux Museum. I don’t even know how to describe it, but some dude (who may or may not have been on a lot of drugs) decided to create this home-made museum based on his “journey to the 7th dimension.” Yeah. It was weird…. on a whole new level. THEN, we went somewhere really cool. Portland has a classic arcade that is full of classic arcade games. You literally walk in and are taken back in time. They have full sized Asteroids, Tempest, Centipede, Joust, Dig dug, Frogger, Donkey Kong, Galaga, and many, many more, plus classic pinball! All the arcade games cost only 25¢ to play, just like the old days. To make it even better, they have a bar that opens after 5 pm. I had a blast in there!

PortlandArcadeAn iPhone shot from Ground Kontrol, the classic arcade in Portland.

This week, I also revisited a shooting location I had scouted before. It’s an old Signal Service Station that has since been turned into a pizza parlor. In order to photograph it, I had to move a lot of benches and other furniture, but hopefully, it will turn out pretty good. As soon as I process the final image, I’ll post it up here.

SignalStationiPhoneThe Signal Station I photographed in Portland.

This coming week, I’ll be spending a lot of time preparing for my creativeLIVE course on June 10-11. The class is called “Photoshop Mastery: Retouching & Collage” and is part of the Photoshop Mastery series I’ve been teaching once a month. As with all creativeLIVE classes, it’s completely free to watch while it’s live. If you like what you see, you can purchase the course to watch (and re-watch) whenever you want. As I mentioned above, the classes is June 10 and 11, and runs from 9 am to 4 om PST. I hope you can tune in!

More to come…

Portland to Jersey

This past week was pretty much divided between Portland, Oregon and South Jersey. The bus is still parked in the Portland area, as it has been for the past several weeks now. I spent the first part of the week working a lot and exploring a bit downtown. I’m looking into changing the general style of my wardrobe and wanted to check out some specific clothing stores. Portland is great for that. There are so many unique stores for every kind of style you can imagine. I didn’t buy anything though. I’m just starting to form ideas of what I like.

On Tuesday night, I surprised Karen by taking her out at midnight. At first, she was confused as to why we would go out so late on a Tuesday night, but eventually realized that midnight marked the start of our third anniversary! We went out to a fun little bar called Bye & Bye. Karen was especially thrilled because it was vegan (she’s vegetarian). Instead of your normal bar food, we got a bowl of brown rice, collard greens and black-eyed peas. We will most likely be making a return visit to this place!

The above photo was taken at the bar “Bye & Bye,” in Portland. The following is the caption I posted on Facebook: Today is Karen and my third anniversary. At 11:55pm the day before, I asked Karen if she was “ready to go in 15 minutes”. She said “yes”, but was confused about going out at midnight on a Tuesday. It was only after we got in the car that she realized that our anniversary started seconds earlier. Karen my dear, you are the best thing to have ever happened in my lifetime. Thank you for putting up with me and being so easy to get along with. I can’t wait for you to officially be my wife on January 4th. Life without you would be like life without air to breathe.

Mid week, we flew to New Jersey, where Karen’s parents live. The trip was planned around both Thanksgiving and Karen’s bridal shower. It’s been nice spending time with the family and catching up with friends. We payed a visit to the Heritage Vineyards tasting room to see our friend Carl, aka the wine wizard, and he was pouring some very tasty wines (as he usually does). It seems like just recently that we attended his amazing “cellar wine dinner,” which is an event to remember for wine lovers.

An iPhone shot of me and the fam out to dinner. Karen’s parents are at left and on the right is me, Karen and her sister, Laura.

Me and Karen with our friend Carl at the Heritage tasting room.

This weekend, Karen’s sister, Laura, and her friend Amanda threw her a bridal shower at a local restaurant. It was all ladies (as most bridal showers are) but me and the guys were invited to show up later. There was actually a lot of Karen’s family I hadn’t met yet, and they wanted to make introductions. I was just glad there was no name quiz at the end! The party was done so nicely, with a travel theme that matches our lifestyle. Each table had a different theme, which was based on a place that Karen and I have been together.

I’ll be spending most of the rest of the week in Jersey and will be celebrating Thanksgiving with Karen’s family for the first time. I hope you all have a great Turkey Day! More to come…

Be and Karen at her bridal shower (How many guys get to go to a bridal shower? 😉 )

Laura and Amanda set gave the party a complete travel theme to match our lifestyle.

Back to Portland

I my last post, we had just wrapped up the California Photo Festival and were heading south to San Diego for a few days. I wanted to visit my friend Mike, who is a SD local. Plus, Karen and I always enjoy spending time there. In fact, it’s one of our favorite places to “winter.” Speaking of winter, this is the first year that we’re not heading south for the cold months so this should be a very interesting change for us. On Wednesday, we flew back to Oregon, which is where the bus was parked and where we will be spending several of the winter months.

The main reason we’ll be hanging out in Oregon for a while is that my vintage bus will be getting its interior “installed” here. If you’re not familiar with my vintage bus project, you can read about it at CreativeCruiser.com. Right now, the bus has received an all new engine/transmission and is waiting for me to pick it up in Chattanooga. That’s how I’ll be spending the coming week: flying to Chattanooga and driving the bus all the way to Coburg, Oregon, which is about an hour south of Portland. You can see the tentative route below.

Once the bus arrives in Coburg, it will be getting its all-new interior at Paradise Coach. I’d like to be around for the start of this huge project, so Karen and I will probably be moving around between Eugene, Coburg and Portland so that we can be in the general area. We both really like Portland and Eugene, so we’re happy to be able to spend more time here. We’re also interested to see how the rainy season affects our opinion of the place. Up until now, we’ve had mostly sunny weather. That won’t last… not in Portland.

Outside of planning for this trip, I’ve spent much of the past week working with a corporate client and getting some personal work done as well. Here’s a fun story though… On Friday, I was out and Karen was at the RV park going for a walk. During her walk, she spotted a Flxible bus (The same brand as my vintage bus) parked in our same RV park. She had never seen one outside of a Flxible rally so she was thrilled and took a picture to text to me. As soon as I saw the photo, I recognized the bus immediately. I had been in it before! I knew that it belonged to my bus-nut friend and radio personality Dr. Dean Edell. What are the chances?! I sent Dean a message and the following morning we went out to breakfast with him and his wife, Sharon. We spent hours geeking out on bus-related stuff and catching up in general. He and Sharon are such great people… the kind that Karen and I could have spent all day with. We spent a lot of time marveling at this excellent coincidence.

Karen and I were so thrilled to be able to spend the morning with Dean and Sharon. That’s his beautiful Flxible behind us.

 Before I wrap up this post, I want to add a few other things:

I’ve got a free “Top 10 Photoshop Tips” PDF up on my facebook fan page. If you’ve already “liked” my page, then click the tips button near the upper right of this page. If you’re not yet a fan, then lick the like button first to gain access to the file.

Lastly, Karen posted loads of photos from last week’s California Photo Fest over on her blog, The Pixel Diaries. If you want a better idea of what that event is like, and what we were shooting, check out her post HERE.

That’s it for this week! Next Monday, expect an update from my cross-country journey with the vintage bus!


Waterfalls, Portland & Santa Barbara

It’s been a pretty jam-packed week, and we’ve covered a lot of ground. We started the week in Portland, Oregon, where we parked the bus after exploring Washington and the Columbia Gorge area. This was our second visit to Portland in less than two months, and Karen and I have been really loving that city. (Of course, we haven’t experienced any of the heavy rains yet!)

I spent the first part of the week  hanging out on the bus and getting a lot of work done. Then we went out shooting a bit, back in the Columbia Gorge area, less than an hour’s drive east of Portland. We had been wanting to hit up Multnomah Falls, which is one of the more spectacular waterfalls in the area. (Of course, it’s also one of the most touristy ones too.) We spent a while shooting there, and then moved on to Wahkeena Falls, which is only a half mile from Multnomah Falls. There are just tons of waterfalls in the area, and if you missed last week’s post, you can check out some more of them HERE.

Me and Karen at Multnomah Falls

Karen’s shot of Multnomah. (I’m still processing mine)

 My circular fisheye shot of Wahkeena Falls.

Later in the week, we packed up and hopped on a flight to Santa Barbara, CA, where my friend Chris and his wife, Tina, were on vacation. I’ve been friends with Chris for a LONG time, starting back when I lived in Minneapolis. It’s been over two years since I’ve seen him and Tina, so it was nice to spend a long weekend with them, catching up and exploring the Santa Barbara area.

Here I am with my friends Chris and Tina, with their adorable little girl, Sophia. We’re doing a tasting at Sunstone Winery.

While in Santa Barbara, we went to a bunch of nice meals and even spent a day touring and tasting at some of the nearby wineries. We didn’t do a ton, but my favorite of the day was called Sunstone. We also explored Solvang, which is a funky little town full of shops, restaurants and winery tasting rooms. What makes the town funky is that all the buildings have a very Dutch style to them. You kind of feel like you step out of the U.S. when you enter the place. It was a great place to hang out with friends and have some wine.

We wrapped up our stay in Santa Barbara with a sunset boat ride on a catamaran called the Double Dolphin. It was timed perfectly, and we got a beautiful sunset. For us, that’s the perfect way to end the day.

Karen and I on our sunset boat ride.

Karen got this shot of me and Chris enjoying the sunset.

After leaving Santa Barbara, we’re heading north to the San Luis Obispo/Los Osos area for the California Photo Festival, where I’ll be teaching several sessions. More to come!

Summer in Portland

It might rain most of the year in Portland, Oregon, but the weather is beautiful in July and August, so this is when we decided to visit. I have a lot of friends and business relationships in Portland, and we had a couple surprise meetups as well.

My friend Diane (a Maui local) was visiting Portland the same time as we were, and since we happen to both know some of the folks who work at Wacom, we decided to tour their facilities together. Wacom makes pressure-sensitive pen tablets that many people feel are essential for working in Photoshop. We were given a great tour of their building and I got to test drive their new Cintiq 24HD Touch, which serves as a touch screen while simultaneously allowing you to use the pen. Pretty cool, eh?

I got a chance to meet up with Chris Hurtt who is a photographer and educator. I taught with him a few times in Dubai and hadn’t gotten a chance to really catch up in quite a while. He filled us in on life in Portland and learned how many people grow their own vegetables have have chickens in their back yards so they have fresh eggs for breakfast.

Kristen from Lensbaby, Chris, Karen and that Ben Dude.

Tuesday was Karen’s birthday, and she unfortunately had to spend part of it on a last-minute flight to her family’s home in New Jersey. Her doggy (who lives with her parents) had to undergo some MAJOR surgery and she wanted to be there to help with the recovery. Her grandmother is also not doing well and she felt she should be there to help out and spend time with her. Luckily, before she flew out that night, we were able to do some fun things. I took her to one of the many McMenamins around Portland. Each one has a different theme and the one we went to was called The Baghdad Theater & Pub. It’s an old movie theater, restored with a funky vibe, a pub and a backstage bar. It’s a very unique place and we’d recommend checking it out if you’re ever in town.

It was also on Tuesday that we discovered that our great friend Judy Host was in town giving a seminar that day. None of us knew that our paths were going to cross in Portland, and we just happened to discover it through a facebook post. What a surprise! We went to the hotel where their event was to hang out with her for a bit. What’s even funnier is that there was another seminar the following day, and the presenter was Colin Smith PhotoshopCAFE, who was staying at the same hotel. So not only did we get a surprise visit with Judy, but we got to hang out for a bit with Colin too. We see a lot of coincidences in our lifestyle!

Our surprise Portland meetup. From left is Diane, Judy, Bron (Diane’s husband), me and Karen.

I mentioned above that I went on a tour of the Wacom facility, but Wacom isn’t the only photography-oriented business in Portland. I was also lucky enough to visit the headquarters of OnOne Software, makers of the Perfect Photo Suite 6 and a whole series of plugins geared specifically toward photographers. I usually only see these guys at events so it was fun to catch up with them in their home town.

At left, I’m trying out the new 24″ touch-screen Cintiq at Wacom. On the right, I’m out to dinner with the gang from OnOne Software. (It was dark in the restaurant, so we “attempted” to light ourselves with our iPhones)

To mix things up a little more, I visited the Lensbaby mothership, also conveniently located in Portland. I was given a tour of their place and introduced to all the new lenses in their growing product line. If you’re not familiar with Lensbaby, they make a series of creative effects lenses for digital SLRs. Definitely check them out. They’re a blast, and an excellent way to explore your creativity. (On a recent Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk, I shot the entire day with one Lensbaby and nothing else!)

An iPhone shot from the place where Lensbabies are born!

Some old trucks shot with a Lensbaby

Before leaving the city, I spent some time with my friend Chris Lang and she introduced me to the funky little shop she owns called Wells & Verne. It features a lot of steampunk and goth merchandise. Pretty fun stuff!

An iPhone shot of Chris’ store, Wells & Verne in Portland.

Near the end of the week, I left Portland and headed north in the bus. My next location will be the Seattle area, but I’m making a few stops along the way. At one of my stops, I found some funky old trucks and buildings to photograph. Of course, I couldn’t resist doing some lightpainting! Check out the shots below. (The Lensbaby truck shot above was also from this location)

Above are two scenes I lightpainted at a stop in southern Washington. If you’re interested in lightpainting, check out my upcoming 1-day online class at creativeLIVE.com. It’s Aug. 25th, and if you watch it live, it’s free!

 From here, I’ll be heading a bit further north to the Seattle area, where I’ll be presenting two online courses at creativeLIVE. The first is a 3-day class on Photoshop for Photographers and the second is a 1-day class on Aug. 25th on Lightpainting. Check them out at creativeLIVE.com.