I bought a 05 Dodge Sprinter Van a couple weeks back. Wooooo!!!! (definitely click that hotlink) It has 181,xxx miles and is pretty well empty in the back. It was insulated before I owned it, but it doesn't look pretty. Definitely going to redo it. The goal is to make this into a gear/adventure/fun van to take out into the wild.
I drove it for a while to figure out all the oddities and what needed to be done. Now over this Christmas weekend I spent my holidays ripping it apart! Because I am in a giving mood, and maybe some person will fall onto my website from google, I am going to give a highlight of what I did, and how I did it (with links to sprinter source and various videos)
Also if you are buying a sprinter van check out this link here to see some issues to look out for. I definitely am experiencing a few of them.
- Blower Heater Resistor
- Viper Security System Removal (dash take apart)
- Shitty "I wired a radio before bruh" radio system removal
- Fan Selection Knob loosening
- New Radio Wiring
- If you are going to be working on a sprinter van create an account at Sprinter-Source so you can access all the attachments. If it has broken before I guarantee someone else has fixed it on that website.
The blower heater resistor is this funky looking guy, and can be found in the engine compartment and it is snugly flush with the blower fan. The reason I know it is bad is because the one I pulled out looked like S@#! and also the heater only works on the "4" setting (full blast). Directions to fix are there. If by some miracle enough people stumble upon my website and need photos from me I can add them.
The previous owners (K2 Skis....) wired in a security system that was tapped into the starter, and various other electronics. To make sure I got ride of it all I followed this dash removal guide, and ripped it all out... gently. Also while I did this I took out the fuse block, and completely disassemble it and check all the soldering connections since I have had a blinker issue recently. It can be because the turn signal relay on the bottom of the fuse block can become loose, or the whole fuse block is shot. Check it out here
While the dash was apart I lubed the blower fan selection knob because it felt so stiff that I was going to break it. Easy just spray some lube of choice up into that system.
The old stereo system with an amp was ripped out because it was wired horribly and also only one speaker was working.... useless....
I put in a new stereo that can connect to my phone now and also all the speakers are wired correctly as the new wiring harness tapped straight into the standard one built with the car. All of the guts ripped out can be seen above.
I also spray painted the grill black since it was looking like junk and falling apart. Sweet.
I am realizing I should have taken photos of each and every step... I will do next time I tear into this van.
This was hands down the hardest concert I have ever shot. I'm used to being able to push around in a loud and rowdy crowd while a performer runs constantly all over the stage. This was entirely the opposite. I had to take the best photos as fast as possible with a very still performer. All while being as silent and unnoticeable as possible. Not too happy with the results, but I hope I have a chance to try it again. Always learning something.
For a bar/happy hour piece I took some photos of drinks at Occidental on Thanksgiving Eve. The article from 303 magazine is here. I need to get my own tripod along with a remote shutter activator robot assistant transformer. When I want to keep my ISO nice and juicy I can't be touching the camera to activate the shutter. After I was done taking photos of the drinks I asked a few bartenders if I could take their portrait since I hadn't done portraits in a while.
I feel like I really botched that one. It was a good reminder and learning experience of a few things that I forgot. The photos did not come out great (the bartenders did awesome though. Thank you!) I just hadn't snagged portraits in a while. I broke the brick wall rule (Brick walls look horrible and extremely tacky). I didn't use a tripod. I also felt rushed and obligated to go as quick as possible. I should have reminded myself to slow down and ask if I could take 15 minutes of their time. All good reminders and I'm glad I did it, but I should have done a better job. My bad.
I guess I did not post these photos. Here they are. This venue is very intimate and close. By close I mean the band walks past you and up to the stage to begin their performance. It doesn't work exactly like that, but it brings the idea of intimacy. Lewis Del Mar did stay afterwards to chat up pretty ladies (I.E. ignoring me. I thought I was pretty, but guess not). Their music is SO GOOD. It is also SO GOOD live. Super underrated band. Photos are meh, but I did get a very nice quiet photo that I'll probably throw in my portfolio. Prinze George did a great job as well. Not a lot of moving from them, but that also fits their music. The venue was very dark and hard to shoot because I did not want to sacrifice my image by bumping up the ISO too much, but I think they came out alright. Lighting wasn't super strong too, but this is a bar with a raised stage. Makes for a super awesome venue but a hard shoot with lighting.
Some of my favorite pictures I have taken in a while. Super proud of these and they look awesome.
Sick show. The openers, Dilly Dally, have an amazing crew. Lead singer has an awesome voice and a super cold and harsh rock sound that I am really into. I listened to all of their music the next day. MUNA was also lively and very upbeat which is more similar to Grouplove. They all had a great chemistry with the crowd and everyone was getting rowdy. Super great show, and a fun night. Grouplove killed it of course for their first sold out show. Article is here
Cold War Kids slayed The Boulder Theater. Had to apologize to some high school kiddos for stomping on their toes to get around the venue. It was a very odd and intimate place to shoot from. No pit just me and the crowd and a lot of "Sorry.", "Excuse me.", "I'll be gone after the third song.". I felt rude tromping around, but most people are nice enough to slide by if you have a camera in your hand. I would rather have a pit, but still very cool experience. Strumbella's also slayed as well and were super fun and upbeat live. Canadians eh?...
Gallery is here
Super rowdy show full of "Technicians". One of the livelier crowds I have seen at Red Rocks. Link to the article is here. Don't know what else to type. It was loud. It was fun. Look at the pictures they are cool.
First time at the Ogden. Super awesome venue. It is always great to get close to the stage and overall the atmosphere is perfect for a concert. Took Cashmere Cat a while to get on the stage, and also Kaytranada. I left before the show was over and it was after midnight. Here are the selects. Not stoked on these photos either. Maybe I'm losing my touch.
Shot this concert at Red Rocks. It was..... alright. They didn't let us shoot from the front and put us next to the soundboard. Very Exciting (sarcasm). Not stoked on the photos, but here they are.....
Went right across the river from work and shot the Rino Music Festival. It was the inaugural event, and was quite an awesome lineup. Bishop Briggs, 888, St. Lucia, and Silversun Pickups. Here are my selects from the event.
If I find myself in a job position that requires a suit and tie every day I might struggle to adjust for quite some time. Boa has a "wipeout" event (this being the second year) that is a fun and competitive afternoon to enjoy working at such a great company. I offered to do the photography for the event instead of compete this year. I always am having fun behind the camera though.
I don't know what your immediate thoughts are when I say the word "homeless". I don't know what you feel when someone brushes past you while "Spanging". I don't know what you say when the politics and logistics of our fellow human beings sleeping on the streets is brought up in a rhetorical or heated conversation. Although I can tell you what I do know. I do know that I am learning more about the homeless and the gentrification of Denver.
I fumbled with my cash and eventually found myself in a seat on RTD's L line to Longmont from Denver. It was Saturday, and my options to get 60 miles north were extremely limited. I had gone out around Denver the night before and stayed at a friends house. The L line is not a popular activity for the weekend in Colorado as you can imagine. Trying to get 60 miles north by bus is also not a go to weekend activity in Colorado either, but somehow by chance I met Jean.
Jean was speaking aloud to himself and to whoever would give him the time of day as he found his way into the seat across from me. Initially I wasn't sure exactly what he was complaining about, but slowly I gained interest as it was about the flood of people coming to Colorado. Jean and I then talked about Colorado History and Rail lines (Check out his hat. He is a big fan of trains), and about the changes occurring over the past few years within the state. Finally though the conversation tilted in the direction that brought me to take these photos, and that was about how and why Jean was homeless.
Jean told me how he worked hard and tried to find full time jobs anywhere and all the time, but it was difficult for him as he grew older and also the labor market bulged with the influx of people. He also told me about how he was pushed further and further out of the city and into areas that were not hiding because it wasn't affordable to live near work any longer. Jean was unfortunately made homeless because of the influx of people who could afford to live near the highly employable areas. Jean was also then made homeless because of his kindness to bring a heroin addict in off the streets during a storm. A heroin addict that then squatted upon Jean's property. Jean asked him to leave and the young homeless heroin addict refused to leave. Because of this conflict neighbors became involved and Jean was pushed out to the streets yet again. Unable to catch up with the losses he has had since then it has been nearly impossible for Jean to get a roof over his head. He wants to work, and he has a problem with those asking for spare change (spanging) and those that are too aggressive with him and try to steal his belongings. He has a passion too for trains, and attempts to chase that passion as often as possible. Jean creates small steam engine trains that are fully operable and made of various metals and steels. With the small amount of money he does have he pays for a storage unit to house the intricate and very detailed miniature trains. He one day hopes to have enough land to run the tiny trains on tiny tracks. I too hope he has enough land one day.
I don't know what you think of all this. I do know that I was truly amazed by Jean. This conversation was so insightful and so enlightening to me. I once again was reminded to follow the cliche of not judging a book by its cover. Everyone has a story. Jean left the bus in the same fashion of getting on it. He rambled to himself and to anyone that would hear him. As he disappeared down the stairs he yelled back, "It was nice to talk to you." and that was it. He didn't want anything else from me but conversation. No money, no food. That wasn't like Jean to ask for help. Jean was not the stereotypical homeless. Stereotypes suck.
Warning, all photos were shot on my old Nikon D60. Please do not cry since the megapixels are not as juicy and glamorous. I understand if you feel the need to throw your computer out the window, but please refrain. I'm not paying for that sh**.
Just got back from a quick trip down to Puerto Rico to visit my good friends Laura and Victor. I was lucky enough to get on a boat and explore some cay's and mangrove islands with Laura and her cousin, enjoy some waterfalls in the rain forest with Victor, attempt surfing con todos mis amigos, and of course was smart enough to forget to apply sunscreen to all parts of my body. After that a layover in Charlotte was best spent getting some BBQ at Midwood Smokehouse
I recommend trying the dish that represents myself very accurately, The Hot Mess,
"The Hot Mess Our custom chuck & brisket burger patty with creamy bacon jalapeño spread, Monterey Jack and caramelized onions on a bun. +Make it a Hotter Mess + 2 Bacon wrapped jalapeño" - Midwood Smokehouse
A few thousand calories later I enjoyed some coloring at a twenty-two, a bar that had some dope art and also of course.... cool furniture. Expected something else? Well of course they had beer that tasted good, so why would I bring that up, but looks like I did. I just ruined my own joke. This is going nowhere. If you're still reading this post props to you, and I recommend you leaving a comment of what your favorite animal is below.
It was real, it was fun, but it was not real fun when I boarded my final plane to Denver and they forgot the pilots.
Extremely excited by the opportunities I have found within Denver for my photography so far. I didn't imagine myself taking photos at a Red Rocks concert so quickly. Here I am though, and here are the photos from that concert. Short and sweet copy. I have been very busy with work, applying to graduate school, and still trying to have fun in between.
Never did I think I would find myself leaning over the railing of the stage at Red Rocks with my camera a burp's direction away from Lil Dicky. I guess my pictures aren't too horrible if someone gave me a press pass to do that.
The show started out Sunny and relatively empty. I hadn't been to a concert with mostly DJ's before and the crowd was definitely.... interesting. Right towards the end of Lil Dicky's set the clouds began to spit on the amphitheater. Then with Tchami next the photographers trudged out into the downpour with cameras undershirt.
Not the biggest fan of DJ's and their electronic thump thump since the interaction between the crowd and the music is mostly directed by the LED lights and screen images. I think the crowd was definitely into letting Lil Dicky freak and he was much more lively and enjoyable to photograph.
Tonight I photograph Umphrey's Mcgee at Red Rocks
Yesterday while I was riding to lunch I stopped and had a conversation with Gavin. Gavin is from California and just moved to Colorado around three months ago. He currently has lived in this spot for..... the past three months. Gavin used to work construction in California and is your typical handyman. . He is struggling to find a job due to his lack of transportation which consists of only his bike currently, and also a cantankerous open container ticket..... (Seems like the ticket didn't do much other than just set Gavin back). The photos and conversation started off light, but as the hardship and struggle of Gavin's ticket and job surfaced so did his true feelings as seen in the series above.
I explained to Gavin that I ride the bus 50 miles to work every day and then just cruise the last stretch by bike (Also the reason the project started) . I recommended checking out the RTD system that runs around Denver, and Gavin mused at the possibility of public transportation and mirroring the current model I follow. His career coach told him to handle the ticket and he would be on his way to working. Plenty of people are moving to Colorado, and plenty of work needs to be done on our infrastructure if the influx is going to stay at that rate. I hope Gavin can be part of that construction. I wrote this on my bus ride into work, and during the bike stretch of my commute I saw Gavin in the same spot getting ready for the day. I imagine he and I will be speaking again soon.
Fourteener, 14er, 14,000 feet. Air gets paper thin, shade and trees disappear, and extreme weather can roll in within minutes. Below freezing windchill in the middle of summer, and a climb in elevation that brings a brisk walk to a snails crawl. A sufferfest, death march, and anything but fun, yet such a satisfying pain. Thoughts become cloudy and the mouth gets bone dry. Water sources deplete, and now there is the hike back down.
There are 58 peaks over 14,000' in Colorado. These high peaks are not your afternoon hike and require a bit of experience and planning. Although they may not be the most technical and difficult hikes, the altitude bites into your fitness fast, and inexperience can leave you in a dangerous place within a lightning storm. I wanted to show with this group of photos how exposed and how raw climbing a 14er is. I wanted you to feel the sun relentlessly beating down on you, and the dryness of the air sucking away any last bit of hydration within your body. I wanted this batch of photos to capture the raw struggle of climbing these peaks. We climbed the tallest peak in the Rocky Mountains in North America this weekend, Mt. Elbert and it was awesome.