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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Over the summer I drove from Los Angeles to Denver to visit one of my best friends, and since the gorgeous drive through Utah wasn't enough to satisfy my love of big western rocks and skies, I decided to detour to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Located in Eastern Colorado, south of Interstate 70 and north of Durango, the park is home to 12 of the most dramatic miles of the Gunnison River. Getting good lighting and angles with canyons is tricky, but I managed to get some good shots hiking and driving around the south rim at sunset. I also chose to develop them in black and white to really highlight the dramatic sweeps of the canyon walls.
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Sunday, October 27, 2013


Back at the beginning of the summer I did a 3 day backpacking trip through the crater of Haleakalā National Park on the island of Maui in Hawaii. It's a land of extremes: dense tropical jungle and barren volcanic remains hidden in the clouds. The weather was equally drastic. Thick swirling mists gave way to torrential thunderstorms, which burned up enough moisture to make room for direct, drenching sunlight. Somehow impressive plants can thrive in this unique, mercurial landscape. I became particularly enamored with the silverswords, shimmering succulents found nowhere else in the world. The two nights I was out in the wilderness I camped out at back country campgrounds that were rustic, but cozy, and fairly secluded. Outside of befriending the pack mule train of the rangers that were on patrol, I spoke to almost no one. It was simply several days of walking alone in the wilderness.
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Sunday, June 30, 2013


Greetings from the newest national park, Pinnacles! Early this year Pinnacles was upgraded from national monument to national park status, so I thought I'd finally go check it out. Besides being an excellent example of California's more western mountains, it's also home to a California condor recovery program and a series of caves. Not too shabby! I must admit I was pretty excited to see the condors. They aren't the prettiest birds, but they're massively magnificent and fantastic flyers. I did get to see some from afar, but without a telephoto lens there was no way to capture them.

Instead, I've been trying to focus on the little things more lately, turning my camera away from sweeping vistas to focus on nature's tiniest details. There must be thousands of varieties of lichens in the world, and I want to know more about all of them. For serious.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Make More Noise (Hometown Heroes Edition)

AWESOMESAUCE, dear listeners! It's the 50th episode of Make More Noise. To celebrate I put together a special 2 hour show featuring some of the best local, indie acts from Delaware, Philadelphia, and the general Mid-Atlantic region. This is the DIY scene that raised me, and shaped my musical tastes. Without these artists and friends, I never would have been able to DJ show after show, week after week, for the past two years. Press play and hear a myriad of aural influences from new folk to crust punk to experimental noise to electro pop. Originally aired on KXSC.org, a service of USC.

Make More Noise 50 (Hometown Heroes Edition) by Orsosachisays on Mixcloud

Firefly - Travel Songs
Division - Fiance
Quakes - Sam Nobles
House - Thunderhank
Bok Choi - Rick Martel
Sister - Shane Palko
Dolphin Boy - Em McKeever
Don't Be Cruel - Dead Professional
I Wish I Could Lie - Stallions
Been A Long Time - Happy People
Heavy Home - The Spring Standards
Santa Clara - Brujo Magick
Down and Out in Delaware - Dustin Scobell
Way Up North - New Sweden
Rewind - Nathan Robinson
The Base of My Heart - The Hundred Acre Woods
What I Love - The Spinto Band
A Glitch Is A Glitch (NoSirE Mix) - Flying Lotus
Nights In - Nigro
Made Iridescent by a Passing Swan - Sun Airway
Toi Piano - Sacajaweeda
Seedstomper - Larhonda
Bed Bug - Point Breeze
Skygazer - Laika
Dinoye - TRTGA

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Old Crow Medicine Show plays the El Rey

Opening with a rip roaring rendition of "Carry Me Back" the title track of their full-length release last year, Old Crow Medicine Show brought the house down for a sold-out show at the El Rey on Wednesday. The song's title and lyrics reference a tune from an older tradition "Carry Me Back To Old Virginia", which has roots dating back to the 1800s, and was popularized by many famous musicians including Jerry Lee Lewis and Louis Armstrong. These are the musical customs that inspire Old Crow Medicine Show, who reinterpret the sounds of folk long gone to speak to a new generation. In the digital era, Old Crow Medicine Show was discovered in a decidedly unmediated way. Doc Watson heard them busking on the corner where he used to play in Boone, North Carolina, and immediately asked the band to play his music festival. This band doesn't just talk the talk. They walk the walk.

Keeping true to folk traditions, frontman Ketch Secor regaled the audience with local tall tales while the band tuned. He went so far as to tell a story about driving down the Miracle Mile with a beautiful black haired Chicano girl...named Caroline, and as soon as he said her name, and the crowd laughed, the band launched into a song of the same name. The mood was thoroughly uproarious. Who would have known that Angelenos had such an appetite for old timey country music? During the foot-stomping "Mississippi Saturday Night", a single off the latest album, Secor and Chance McCoy wheeled off the original arrangement for a little double fiddle duel. Another song featured a mouth-blistering harmonica solo. If that sounds like something that would suit you, then you would have also appreciated Gill Landry's entire rack of resonator guitars, the upright bass solo, an audience singalong of "This Land Is Your Land", and the mason jar chandeliers that decorated the stage.

Just as the big old string bands of yesteryear would take turns leading songs or introducing members, the six guys that make up OCMS all had at least one chance to bring the crowd to a thunderous applause. This diversity made for a fantastically dynamic show that tackled everything from political songs that ended in a cry to bring the troops home to a George Jones tribute to a special mariachi inspired song complete with accordion to country cover of "American Girl". All that might sound a little crazy, but the authentic, warm, jovial personality and swagger of OCMS smooths everything out into the best time you could ever have on a Wednesday night.

I mostly write positive reviews on here, because I'm too busy for extra negativity. However, I don't always write over-the-ever-loving-glowing-moon reviews. This is a rare exception, because OCMS's live show not only put the biggest smile on my face and left my hands sore from clapping along, but it also pulled my heart strings. Their songs mention some of my favorite places in the world, like the Blue Ridge Mountains, the New River, the Cumberland Gap, Shenandoah, and the roads of North Carolina wreathed in dogwoods and pines. Not only do they sing about them, they capture the soul of soft blue-green mountains that roll on forever wreathed in mist. Several days later, and OCMS's harmonious lyrics are still leaving me homesick for the East coast.