I started work as a TV news stringer in the Los Angeles area in 2014. I covered local news stories by uploading my photos and media summaries to Demotix.com, an international photojournalism broker.
My first story was the 2014 ‘Nightmare Nanny’ dispute in Upland, California. After following leads from a KTLA-TV (the leading Los Angeles local news station) reporter, I was able to track down the nanny at the center of the controversy. I was the first journalist to record an on-camera interview with her, and KTLA subsequently purchased one of the recorded interviews. I covered the 2014 Murrieta immigration protests, the Lake Fire (a major southern California wildfire), and various other breaking news events.
I also covered the 2015 San Bernardino attack, providing valuable close-in live footage for KTLA-TV.
Despite having no formal training in journalism, I was able to turn my amateur attempt into a professional one, on my first try. Working alongside career journalists and negotiating with national news networks and TV shows gave me an opportunity to quickly learn the fundamentals of the profession.
I specialize in close-in coverage of chaotic breaking news events, filling in gaps in major network coverage. I designed a custom camera rig and equipment system that provides me with a more flexible platform to quickly record and upload media. In addition to field work,I'm currently working on several data-driven journalism projects. This includes stories I wrote about online flight tracking tools and their usefulness in uncovering notable, otherwise-unseen events in the Trump-Russia story.
Deserts are often mistaken as lifeless, barren lands — hostile to all but the most stubborn, foolish travelers. It’s not true. The great American deserts welcomely offer sublime, undisturbed and rugged wilderness.
The brightest colors, most alien-looking plants, and bizarre geological formations that I’ve come across in my desert travels are miles from even the slightest trace of humanity. Only after several days of cross-country backpacking through desert wilderness do I feel I can fully appreciate their surreal wonders. The further you venture and more vulnerable you are, the more visible nature’s rewards become.
Common examples of desert photography tend to focus on sweeping representational accounts of the landscape. This approach fails to capture unnoticed visual arrangements, colors and abstract geometries independent of obvious visual references. These are the qualities I emphasize in my work.
I tend to shoot in the middle of the day. Desert sunlight is usually harshest during these hours, presenting major challenges to a photographer. However, it’s important for me to show the viewer what the desert looks like in its most exceptional state: Intense, bright, midday sun. Surprisingly, overcast days aren’t rare. Cirrus clouds will blanket the afternoon sky, diffusing and softening the intense light. I take advantage of these moments whenever possible.
I don’t attempt to simply document what I come across. I like to take my time with my subjects as if I were taking portraits. Inanimate objects often seem to have a personality or character that’s important for me to capture. I want the viewer to have the same emotional reaction to nature that I have. A cactus may only be a plant, but the mysterious curves, colors and intricate textures in it belie a character that is as energetic as that of any animal.