Late in 2016, I had the opportunity to go to Colombia for my birthday. While Medellin was amazing, a little town about an hour and a half east of there called Guatape stole the show. It was an amazing little resort town situated on a huge man-made lake. The weekend we were there, it seemed that it was mostly Colombian tourists, which was very cool and different for me.
We started our adventure that day by heading out paragliding above Cocorna, then went to El Penol to hike the huge monolith there. However, for me anyway, the highlight by far, was the trip to one of Pablo Escobar’s vacation homes. It’s completely burned, overgrown and bombed out and they even play paintball there now, but it was a completely surreal experience.
There was an energy there that was undeniable. It was like you could feel his presence and only imagine what it was actually like in its heyday. Pablo was certainly a murderous drug dealer, but he is an indelible part of Colombian history. From the pool and bbq area, to the horse stable and soccer field, to the main home and garage , you could almost see and hear all the things that happened. For me, it was like going to the Colosseum in Rome, only this history was less than 30 years ago, not 2000.
Here are the images I shot that day. Enjoy!
Once the Sweden portion of the Ice Hotel trip was completed, I decided that if I’m that close, I can’t skip Estonia or Finland. I flew from Lulea to Tallinn on surprisingly shortly, easy flights and caught the city bus into Old Town. As anyone who knows my work can see, I really enjoy the dusk time of day, so most of my images from Tallinn were shot either at dusk or dawn. Because there were so many narrow winding cobblestone streets and I only had three days, I had to take advantage of dawn as well to walk the streets. The entire city has a completely different feel in the morning, but equally beautiful and amazing. Tallinn, Estonia is like taking a trip back in time and something out of a fairy tail. It’s definitely one of the best places I’ve ever been and would certainly go back anytime!
I love when opportunities sort of drop in your lap. I was having a beer with a few photo friends when the subject of personal projects came up. My colleagues are working on theirs called “Buck the Cubicle“, but more on that later. I mentioned an old friend from my Colorado days that makes musical instruments from ice in Lulea, Sweden. Within a few minutes, we were all on board to make the trip. I decided that if I’m going that far away, I had to check the Ice Hotel off my list and finally go see it. While the task of getting there was not easy, sitting 200km north of the Arctic Circle, it was entirely worth it upon arrival. The fact that it’s truly an architectural marvel is one thing, but the shear logistics in actually pulling off this trip and gaining access to this amazing hotel was another thing altogether. Having the opportunity to photograph the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden was an absolute dream come true and a trip that I would highly recommend to anyone with the spirit of adventure.
I am fortunate to work with some really great and loyal clients. We have been working Pinnacle Mountain Homes in Breckenridge, Colorado for about six years now. They are the most prolific home builder I’ve ever seen. At any given time they probably have about 10 custom homes under construction and they are all amazing. They won the residential home builder of the year in 2012 and continue to garner awards at every turn. When you have a chance to photography architecture like this, it makes the job of creating beautiful pictures that much easier. It doesn’t hurt that we also get to go to Breckenridge, CO several times a year!
Every week we get to see some amazing places. I’ve probably photographed half the homes in Rancho Santa Fe. Occasionally, we come across a truly unique and amazing home. The first rule in real estate, as we all know, location, location, location. I have no idea when this owner purchased this land, but it’s definitely one of the best lots in all San Diego County. The home was designed by Ken Ronchetti Design of Rancho Santa Fe, CA. I love the way he incorporate the coastline into the home. Inspired design to say the least.
The people at San Diego Premier are so nice as to tout a few of my recent covers in their blog! Thank YOU!
San Diego Premier Magazine is one of the top local resources for high end luxury homes!
- On my last trip to Houston, Texas for one of my regular clients, Newland Communties, I was tasked to shoot aerial photography from a helicopter. In todays world, that is mostly done with the Phantom Quadcopters. It seems that everyone has one and since the judge recently ruled that the FAA law was invalid, the sky has opened to anyone with a couple grand. I have heard of more than a few accidents due to these flying out of control, or people just not knowing what they are doing. It is my own humble opinion that this entire industry desperately needs to be regulated before someone is seriously hurt or killed by improper use of these “toys”. (btw, I am about to order mine)
The old school way of shooting, from an actual helicopter, was an absolute blast. Hanging out of the door, several thousand feet up was exhilarating. And because we were right next to Sugar Land Airport, and the client wanted something more than simple overviews or flybys, this was really the only way to do it.
I think we need to do this for all of their communities!
By the way, we got some other pretty good shots of the community as well!
Ron Neal Lighting Design has a way of making you feel right at home. Whether it’s a commercial property, restaurant, hotel or custom home, his lighting techniques do wonders for any space. It makes my job very easy! We shot Puesto at the Headquarters in San Diego at dawn, because, well, that’s the only time it looks like this. Dusk is the perfect time for this type of work and it’s packed every evening. I’m not a big fan of the 4:30am wakeup call, but it is nice to have a complete shoot under your belt before breakfast!
Well, it actually took them about 10 days, ground breaking to handing the keys off, but still very impressive. Granted the home isn’t that big, but these guys worked their butts off in 90 degree heat from sunrise to sunset.
The island is Caye Caulker, about a 45 minute boat ride, or 8 minute flight from Belize City. We shot time lapses on several different nights to show the process.
Tobar Construction‘s crew is efficient, personable and extremely skilled to pull this off.
Bob Fleet of Hollis Fulton teamed up with Si Teller Architect to create an absolute beauty in Solana Beach! I was fortunate enough to have a friend of a friend that connected us. They had a vision for the photography for this property that was a little different that I normally shoot, but it’s always fun to get our of your comfort zone. With minimalist artificial lighting and spending most of our time over a couple of days taking advantage of the exact right time, we finished with several great shots of this exceptional custom home. This is the result of what scouting, timing and a great team can accomplish!
I don’t shoot for many realtors anymore, simply because most don’t appreciate the value that I bring and simply want cheap coverage for their homes. I’m not sure I can understand that, especially on the high end. The visual is the first impression you have with a potential buyer and it seems that for a little more money, to make that impression a great one, high end professional photography would be essential. Laura Barry gets it. She realizes that for her listings, especially the ones that end up on covers, nothing less than professional work will do. I’ve been working with her for several years now and her brand epitomizes high end luxury. Here is the latest collaboration and cover of her listing in Del Mar, CA.