Been wanting to start a new personal project for some time now. Get back to writing and updating my blog as well. But no idea really kept my interest, that is until I saw a post, of someone hanging a California flag in their office. It got me thinking of how much I love it here. Having travelled to 48 countries, I'm asked where I would like to live quite often. My standard reply is, I love California, this is home. For so many reasons. 

Not many places in the world do you have the variety of life that we do here in California. I can surf and snowboard in the same day. Some of the worlds most famous cities are all within a relatively short drive. I have another country 2 hours south. I can be in the mountains, desert beach and city all within 2 hours. We have perfect weather 300 days a year. The list could go on and on. But  don't want to have you here reading a novel. So i'll get to the point. 

One main thing I love, is that California is such a melting pot of people. I myself being born in Mexico city, yet coming to Orange County at the age of 1.  I feel its so rad to be mixed among so many different types of people, personalities and cultures. Even more so now, shooting portraits, I meet a variety of California natives to new residents, all with their own story to tell.  One way or another we always end up talking about some of our favorite places and things to do here. So I searched the internet for a Vintage California flag so that I could incorporate into a portrait and share some of the awesome excerpts  from a few natives and new comers with you.

One rule, they must live here. Project #localsonly🐻

To help me kick it off,  the lovely, Jess Harbour 

 "San Diego will always have my heart, but the sunsets and beaches in Laguna are a close second. I've traveled to 33 countries but I'm always happy to come home to California" (click the image to be taken to Jess's IG and add her) 

"San Diego will always have my heart, but the sunsets and beaches in Laguna are a close second. I've traveled to 33 countries but I'm always happy to come home to California" (click the image to be taken to Jess's IG and add her) 

Art n Stuff - 52 project - Week 52!

Have you heard of The Broad yet?? Well, let me tell you a little bit about it.  The highly anticipated 'The Broad' Museum opened its doors exactly one month ago today, with free admission to its permanent collection. The Broad houses a nearly 2'000 piece collection of contemporary art, featuring 200 artists, including works by Cindy Sherman, Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and my new favorite artist, Takashi Murakami.  There is a few installations there as well, one being Yayoi Kusamas Infinnity Mirrored Room - The souls of millions of Light Years Away. Which is truly something awesome! But make sure to arrive there early if you want to see it because reservations for the room fill up quickly and if you are not there in the first couple hours of opening, your ass will be out of luck. 

As soon as I could, I tried to reserve some tickets as there is limited reservations available each day. Earliest slot I could get was November 19th. TWO MONTHS! ugh... 
But last week I had an early meeting in LA with a mellow day afterward. So I went on a little solo adventure and tried to wait in line as a walk in. I arrived 30 mins before opening and had a pretty good spot about 40 people deep. But right before they opened the doors someone from the reservation line asked me if i was solo, to which I replied I was, and they gave me the lone extra ticket they had. I spent the next three hours enjoying all the rad art that was there. 

The Broad is definitely up there in my top favorite Museums now, maybe #2.   I don't think any museum will beat walking through the Van Gogh Museum on mushrooms in Amsterdam. That was a trip, literally! 

This post marks the end of my 52 project! Thank you for following along and reading my weekly stories, even if it was one or all of them. I appreciate it. Its pretty rad to look back and see your whole year in review with each weeks best moments, seeing my photography improve and learning many things along the way.  While it may not be every week, I will keep this going, so feel free to follow along. Thanks again!


Which are you ? - 52 project - Week 51

Are you more of a sunset or sunrise person?? 

While I love both, I'm more of a sunrise guy. For me, a sunrise takes more effort. You got to stay awake all night or wake up real early to enjoy it. With less people willing to do that, you're rewarded with a quieter and serene moment.  And with a amazing fresh start, you now have the rest of the day to enjoy. 

That being said, the Greek Island of Mykonos threw out a daily dose of these to try and sway my opinion. 

and DAMN 😍😍😍😍

Platinum - 52 Project - Week 50

Platinum is the symbol for a 20 year anniversary. No, I'm not married. But for me, this summer and trip, symbolized 20 years since I made a promise to myself. To visit  at least one new country every year. We traveled a lot growing up. Trips to Mexico to visit our family, vacations and our Dad  taking turns with my brothers and I to go on his business trips around the U.S.. and I still get just as excited to board a plane or pack up for a road trip. 

My promise started in 1996 with a surf trip to Costa Rica, with my GF at the time, brother and 2 of my friends.  40+ countries, too many cities to recall, and priceless memories later, I believe it's the best thing I've ever done for myself.

Turkey was my new frontier this year and it did not disappoint. I can't wait for "where" the next 20 hold. 

"Become friends with people who aren’t your age. Hang out with people whose first language isn’t the same as yours. Get to know someone who doesn’t come from your social class. This is how you see the world. This is how you grow. Appreciate the world beyond your doorstep"





Wow- 52 Project - Week 49

Some things and places never lose their "Wow Factor". This is my 4th time in Paris and the Eiffel Tower is one of those things for me. Every time I see it, my eyes light up and I think to myself "WOW, I'm in fucking France! 🇫🇷 


Hurley Pro - 52 Project - Week 48

Managed to get to the Hurley Pro for opening day last week. It's an official stop on the WSL tour with all top 32 surfers competing. The men finished their first round and a few heats for the women. Hurricane Linda blessed them with a swell and the G.O.A.T,  Kelly Slater kicked it all off. 


Frenemies - 52 project - week 47

If you're into Fantasy Sports playing, then you also have frenemies. You know, most of the time you love them, but as soon as that season starts you hope to see them in tears as their team goes down in a ball of flame. Well these are my Frenemies and in about 2 hours "Dead Men Walking" and the NFL officially starts.  

I would wish them good luck, but F##k that! 

Magic Hour Foundation - 52 Project - Week 44

August 17, 2015

This weeks post differs because it is a photo of my computer screen. I know, not exciting or special to look at. Its what is on the screen that got me pumped! I decided to write about it rather than post my favorite photo from the week. It was an email from the Magic Hour Foundation.

The Magic hour foundation is a 'national network of professional photographers who want to serve the individuals and families who are fighting cancer by providing them with the ability to celebrate the truly important things in life through photography. These charitable portrait sessions will provide an opportunity to be normal – just relax, smile and have fun with loved ones. Above all, we will strive to express compassion and love as we support them no matter the outcome of their battle.'

About a year ago, I assisted my friend Andy in a Magic Hour Session and it was quite a rewarding experience. We had a great shoot with Raquel, filled with laughs. Followed by her thank yous to Andy and even I on helping, for this gift.  I knew that eventually, I would love to be the photographer volunteering and being able to give a person in need, a portrait they loved. So when the Foundation started accepting applications from Photographers again, I submitted myself. I didn't have high hopes on being accepted, as I don't have the years and body of work/experience under my belt that the photographers in this network do. But I took a shot anyway. Well, they reviewed my work, information and I am now an official Magic Hour Photographer! Can't wait to help individuals and their families celebrate the truly important things in life through my photography.  

U.S. Open of Surfing - Project 52 - Week 43

Hello you!
Its that time of year again, when some of the best surfers in the world congregate in Surf City USA, better known as Huntington Beach, Ca for the U.S Open of Surfing. The U.S. Open of Surfing is a week long surfing competition held annually during the summer. Generally on the south side of the H.B pier, the U.S. Open is part of the qualification process for the WSL World Tour. What that means is that it is open to more than just the 32 top ranked surfers in the world to gain points in order to become a part of the WSL World Tour the following year.  It is the largest surfing competition in the world. 
I had the chance to spend a few weekday mornings and the finals weekend shooting the event and although the waves were small, the talent still brought an entertaining show. These guys are incredible with what they can do on even the smallest of waves.  
Some of this years highlights for me was  seeing people I've met the past year taking photographs at the different contests. Leaving  at 5 am to building our  viewing area before the crowds showed up. Friends meeting up with me throughout the day and having cocktails after.  Meeting and having a chat with two surf photogs whose work I enjoy.  Zak Noyle & Willie Kessel (look them up on IG to add some awesomeness to your feed) and lastly was pretty stoked when Carlos Munoz ranked number 20th on the World Tour started following me on IG. hahaha 

Looking forward to the next contest in September at Trestles in San Clemente. Its is an official stop on the WSL World Tour and the top 32 surfers in the world battle it out.  One being this crowd favorite, Filipe Toledo. 

Congrats to this years winners Hiroto Ohhara, Johanne Defay, and Juniors, Griffin Colapinto & Caroline Marks. 


Buddy Trippin - 52 Project - Week 42

Hey you, still here, huh. AWESOME! Glad you're enjoying my little project. Can't believe I'm ten short weeks away from completing it. I hope I can finish off  with some epic images and stories for you. Let's get to it. 

Last week I took off for 6 days on a Road trip with, Andy. Buddy, professional wedding photographer and main influence / teacher into this awesome world of photography I've decided to pursue. Thanks Buddy!  

Lately we've been talking more and more about taking a trip every few months to places near enough that we can travel to for an extended weekend specifically to photograph.  You see, when traveling with friends, a lover or pretty much anyone who is not a photographer, they absolutely LOVE having great photos of their vacation. What they don't love is pulling over at random times, waiting for the light to be perfect, for you to set up a shot or waking up super early / going out really late to get one picture with no one else around. They want those great pictures, with little inconvenience and time, which will rarely happen. But take a trip with another photog and you get to do all of those things with no complaints, but with enthusiasm! These trips will keep our inspiration high, creativity flowing and satisfy that ever thirsty travel bug. Our first trip we headed to Utah to visit 2 National Parks, Bryce Canyon and Zion. Neither of us had been. 
Bryce was awesome. The major feature of the park is Bryce Canyon, which despite its name is not a canyon, but a collection of giant natural amphitheaters along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. 

Although Bryce was stunning, our next stop, Zion took the cake. Man is this place amazing!  Doesn't matter if you're really high or almost underground, the sites this park has to offer are incredible. So much that we decided to buy an annual pass to the Utah parks!

Here is one of my favorite images from the trip. It was atop the hike called "Angels Landing".  A 2.5 mile trail that follows the path of the Virgin River,  slowly gaining elevation in sandy terrain. As the trail gets steeper and leaves behind the river, it becomes paved with a series of switchbacks through the area between Angels Landing and Zion Canyon. Then "Walter Wiggles" a series of 21 steep switchbacks before you hit "Scouts Lookout"  the turnaround point for those who don't want to make the final summit push. The last half mile is intimidating because it is strenuous and littered with sharp drop offs on narrow paths to the top at 5'790 feet. While this hike is not long, it is steep, intimidating and tiring. But once you reach the summit you are greeted with an absolutely stunning view of the park.  So pull up a seat and appreciate the beauty. 

Looking forward to future trips, images and a big endeavor coming at the end of the year for us that will soon be revealed! 

Now, can someone pass us a beer? 


(To see more pics from our trip, follow both of our Instagrams @arodphoto & @reallysortofamazing )


Milky - 52 Project - Week 41

We are located in a corner of the heavens of a galaxy we call “The Milky Way.” The Milky Way stretches all the way across the sky and some part of the Milky Way is present every night, indeed every star you see in the sky is within our Milky Way.  I’ll try not to be too poetic, but when you have clearly seen the Milky Way, it is hard to describe how awesome it is without breaking into song. Unfortunately there is little chance that you will see the Milky way because most places we live are mildly to horribly light polluted, so location and phase of the moon is also important. The best viewing time in the Northern Hemisphere is in the summer when the sun is on the opposite side of the sky and there is a "New Moon" phase. Unfortunately summer in the Northern Hemisphere is also when hot, stormy, cloudy weather is doing its worst and also when the nights are the shortest.

As we learned this weekend with Hurricane Doloris wreaking havoc. My friend Chris and I had plans to go to Joshua Tree ( a great location for star gazing anytime of year) on Saturday night. But due to a rare summer storm headed to So Cal, we had to change our plans to Friday night. As we entered the park there were already clouds rolling in and we thought our chance would be ruined. But on a tip from one of the Rangers, his wife had mentioned to him that it was still clear on the opposite end of the park, near Jumbo Rock Campground.  While clouds started to arrive there as well, we  set up camp anyway, enjoyed some beers,  bonfire and within a few hours the sky began to clear. We became increasingly optimistic.  With a new moon phase and now clear skies, we gathered our gear around midnight and with headlamps headed away from the camp grounds and into the Jumbo Rock formations. We spent the next two hours capturing the magic that is our universe. 

Sometimes its good to feel small. 

Sano - 52 Project - Week 40

"Summer time and the living is easy" holds no truer than here at San Onofre State beach. A 3,000 acre state park located in San Diego, California.  With over 2.5 million visitors per year, it is one of the 5 most visited parks in California, hosting Swimmers, campers, kayakers, fisherman, off duty Marines, sunbathers, surfers and the sacred Native American Site of Panhe. Along this 3.5 miles of state beach are included some of the best surf spots in California: Trails, Surf beach (which has 3 breaks - The point, Old Mans & Dog Patch), Church and the World famous Trestles. 

While I visit San Onofre all year long, nothing beats Summer days down here. Especially at Surf Beach. Its like a time warp back to that 50s,  Gidget surf era. You are welcomed with smiling faces from young groms to Old men that have been surfing here since the 50s. Campers are bbqing. long boards spread out all over the ocean and beach alike. VW buses, bugs, other classic surf cars to todays luxury rides with soft racks or vans fully loaded with anything you need to go off the map for a few weeks. Reggae & classic rock playing as surfers take multiple sessions in and out of the water.

Drop in on someones wave here? no problem, Every wave can be considered a party wave and no one here tends to be upset, rather they'll throw up a "shaka" at you. As the sun sets in Sano the bonfires light up until 10 pm when everyones is kicked out till the next day.

My ideal Summer days are spent like this, friends, surfing, and bbqing. Sano Days are the best days

 Present day 

Present day 

 Old School. 

Old School. 

As you can see, not much has changed. 

4th of July! - 52 project - Week 39

4th of July falling on a Saturday. Most people getting Friday off. U.S. Womens Soccer team in the World Cup Finals on Sunday. What a fun filled 3 days. Enjoy your BBQs, Friends, Family and Festivities. 

Wishing everyone a happy fun filled Week-END. 

Red, White and Blue - AMERICA, fuck ya! 

Nom nom - 52 project - Week 38

When I was growing up, our family would travel to Mexico at least once a year to visit our relatives. Other than getting to see family, I would get excited for three things. An ice cream parlor that was no joke, my Grandmas next door neighbor.  2cnd was a place called Sambores, they made incredible Enchiladas . Third and probably my favorite, the fruit carts. Fruit doused with chile and lime juice. AMAZING. They just didn't have these in my neighborhoods here in the U.S (still dont).  But they are around LA county.
The other day I was on a shoot with Sarah and I saw one. I mentioned how much I loved them growing up and she replied she had never noticed or tried one. "WHAT!?"  I pulled an immediate U-TURN, ordered two up and created one new fan!

She finished every last bite.