portrait photographer

portrait of Constantin von Jascheroff

Natural light portrait of German actor Constantin von Jascheroff in Berlin.

Constantin von Jascheroff by Jonas Jungblut

Constantin von Jascheroff by Jonas Jungblut

I was in Berlin recently and met up with Constantin von Jascheroff for a quick portrait shoot. We have been working on these portraits for over a decade now. Everytime I am in Berlin we meet and take some portraits. I’ll post some more over the next weeks, but this one stood out. We had shot for a while and ended up in this location (his front door with a long dark hallway behind him). He shaved his face except for his mustache for this last set up. and when he told me that he had just finished dubbing Tarantino’s latest release “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (starring Brad Pitt, Leo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie) I couldn’t help but tell him he reminded me of Pitt.

Natural light portrait

Natural light portrait of artist Nikola Bartenbach in Austria.

portrait of Nikola Bartenbach

portrait of Nikola Bartenbach

I am currently in Austria working on a few personal projects. One of those is portraying local people and recently I photographed artist Nikola Bartenbach.

This was photographed with no light modification. He was standing in a doorway with a dark garage behind him and the light just wrapped around him like this. Finding the right light for portraits is often times easier than one would think, or maybe I have done it for long enough to where it just seems to be like that.

When you are on the road and can’t bring light modifiers or don’t have access to any being able to see the light is essential. Travel portraiture mostly relies on the right light but the same practice can be applied to a more organized portrait. Just spending a few minutes looking around the area and locating a spot that is naturally suited for a portrait can make all the difference.

Editorial publication in Naturally Danny Seo

Lots of new work in the summer issue of Naturally Danny Seo

Over the last months I photographed a piece on LePrunier, a Sacramento based brand that makes plum beauty oil, a story on GT’s Kombucha that featured GT Dave, the founder of the brand and a travel story about my very own, Santa Barbara! The Santa Barbara story featured great local spots like East Beach Tacos, Garde, Jake and Jones, Make Smith Leather, the Lark, Satellite, Bibi Ji, Lotusland, Auto Camp and the Hotel Californian. And last but not least my good, artist buddy Nelson Parrish.

Check out the tearsheets below:

Social Media Photography

Shooting for social media and what to charge for it

It’s been thrown in to the usage for a while but I was thinking about it more recently and then started looking into what people charge for social media photo use at this point. Are people charging based on reach, engagement, time? The numbers are so easy to access for social media I was wondering if a post that will receive an average of 500K views will be priced similarly as an ad in a print magazine with a circulation of 500K or half that, or a quarter? Which is it?

I dug in a little and found this article on aphotoeditor.com. It’s from 2014!!! In social media terms thats ancient! Instagram had 300 million users then (It now has over 1 billion)! I was surprised, though. The rate was much higher than I would have thought. Also, take note of the graph: YouTube is huge!!! And it still is! Don’t forget about YouTube!

There was also THIS article, from 2014 as well, but still worth the read. The main thing I got out of it is that rates were rather all over the place at that point which makes sense. But what about now?

I found THIS article on PDN (from 2018). It has a lot of info in it and I suggest you check it out. One thing that I hadn’t considered as much, but this article talks about it, is this idea: Once a photographer posts an image endorsing a brand, competitive brands may not be interested to work with this photographer for an unknown time. Thus taking the photographer out of that marketplace which requires a higher rate to make it worth it!

Keating warns, “Understand that when you’re attaching your name to a brand that there’s a reasonable expectation that a competitor will no longer be interested in hiring you. It’s probably not forever but it’s a period of time, maybe a year, maybe less, it depends on the client.” While clients might ask for some exclusivity, she has to explain, she says, “This is why you need to pay more for this. They [the photographers] will be out of the marketplace for a while.” This applies equally whether the sponsor is paying the photographer a fee or bartering free gear.
— https://www.pdnonline.com/photography-business/photo-clients/how-photographers-charge-for-social-media-advertising-jobs/

I then looked at a couple photographers that came up in google searches for social media pricing. They were all local portrait/wedding photographers across the US who offered social media packages. Not really what I was looking for but still interesting to see. The average prize for around 20 photos was $1500. I don’t know what goes into those shoots but I would think they have small production if any. If you are a local photographer and do 3-4 of those a week you are doing pretty good!

It seems photographers have started treating social media for what it is: Advertising. There is still a lot of education that needs to happen out there but I was relieved by what I found. One thing that the graphs really drove home is the size of Facebook and especially YouTube. I knew the stats but seeing it in this graph really made me realize the power there.

I’d love to get some input on this from anyone who has it. Leave a comment!

Photographing 20 Strangers in Isla Vista

Step out of your comfort zone and photograph 20 random people on the street.

I studied photography at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara. Known for educating students on the highest level of technical skill when it comes to photography there was one (amongst others) infamous assignment that dealt with approaching a stranger in order to photograph them. This was obviously not intended to teach a technical but a communication skill. It also forced you to deal with your fears and doubts. It challenged your comfort zone. It was called 25 Strangers.
Basically you had to produce a portfolio of 25 random strangers. Build a pop-up portrait studio in a park, photograph the strangers in a bar, at the pool, the retirement home or at the law firm on the corner of your street. I don’t remember the specific rules of the assignment but I put up a white background and had each of my strangers add a word to a sentence on a small chalk board and then I photographed them with the chalk board. I called it: 25 Strangers build a sentence. Surprisingly they didn’t. The sentence was grammatically and logically just … not a sentence. No idea what went wrong there…?

Anyways. The other day I remembered this assignment and decided to revisit it. 15 years and many strangers in front of my lens, from celebrities to homeless people in the back alleys of Mumbai, later I figured I should be a lot better at this. But it still was challenging the comfort zone a little. No control over the situation and you have to talk a random stranger into taking their portrait.

So Hugo and I went into Isla Vista on a Friday morning and approached a bunch of strangers. Isla Vista is a blend of University students, homeless people and middle aged surfers. Generally a demographic open to random experiences. This worked in our favor I think. Still, it took a little time to get groovy with.

The amazing thing about doing this was people opening up and telling stories. As you can see in the video some of the strangers shared memories, vented or maybe simply wanted to chat. It was amazing to see how quickly one can dive a lot deeper into a community by simply striking up a conversation with random people on the street. And using a portrait project like this is of course the perfect ice breaker.

I do this type of thing on assignment all the time but it is different when you go into your own community and when there is no agenda or story that you need to tell. Just letting your ego go, the creative juices flow and welcoming any input with open arms. Fun!

Publication in Naturally Danny Seo

Sweden for Naturally Danny Seo


In December of 2018 I traveled to southern Sweden to photograph an editorial story for Naturally Danny Seo Magazine. Just like you are probably doing right now I was asking myself why we were going to Sweden in December but surprisingly it was rather pretty. Not too cold and the light had this late afternoon quality to it all day.

The story is published in the current issue of the magazine. Some highlights from my part: Moelle and it’s National Park. Climbing around the cliffs was amazing and there was nobody there! Just beautiful!

NASCAR at Auto Club Speedway

NASCAR - photographing and vlogging a racing series like no other

NASCAR at Auto Club Speedway

NASCAR at Auto Club Speedway

I am a portrait photographer. I photograph people. Most of the time in a studio setting. Controlled lighting, background, props. But then I also travel quite a bit and shoot editorial stories for magazines. I have been all over the world to shoot editorial stories and photographed while riding an elephant, 60 miles off the coast on a fishing trawler, hanging off a vertical cliff, while having food poisoning, underwater, the list goes on…

So naturally I am interested in the story. I try not to decide what to photograph based on my opinion on the subject matter. Actually, let me rephrase. If anything, I like to explore topics I either don’t know much about or have an opinion on which isn’t based on first person experience. If you really want to learn about a topic dive into it and experience it.



Through a close friend I was invited by Aric Almirola to watch the 2019 race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Full access to the pits and drivers area. This is how you go experience something you don’t know much about. Now, full disclosure: I had been to a NASCAR race before, in Sonoma. But this one was a track and not an oval. (Yes, both are in California and both are NASCAR races…).

So what did I learn? Well, you can watch the video linked in this post to follow along. Otherwise what I can tell you is that the viewer demographic is rather narrow. And it is what you would expect.

Aric Almirola at Auto Club Speedway in 2019

Aric Almirola at Auto Club Speedway in 2019

But there is something else I noticed here and also the first time I went in Sonoma. NASCAR is a racing series that operates like it is the 1970’s. While Formula 1 cars and teams are run by technology stock cars aren’t. They fuel the cars during pit stops by gravity fed canisters and they don’t have much data on the car while it is on the track. What this means is that the driver is mostly responsible to deal with the car. Driving as well as communicating how the car feels and if something may need adjusting in the pits. I call it out in the vlog, it’s good old driving. No readings on the screen in the pits and then a command on how to drive. The driver actually has to feel it out and do it. (Now going around an oval, which is the large majority of events probably doesn’t require as much input as a regular track but I wouldn’t know that… I can only assume. And assumptions can be dangerous.).

Aric Almirola taking off after a pit stop at Auto Club Speedway in 2019.

Aric Almirola taking off after a pit stop at Auto Club Speedway in 2019.

Sooo… what did I take away from actually going to a race and experiencing it myself? It’s a lot of things that you have to go experience for yourself. You reading my account is just like reading any other. My point with this whole post is that to really learn about something you actually just need go experience it first hand!

You should still watch the video. Do it! It’s fun! It’s entertaining! It’s NASCAR!!!

Photographic prints on wood

How to mount prints from a laser printer on wood

Here is a video I created to show how I mount laser prints on plywood. This is a way to create wall art that doesn’t break the bank but has a pretty edgy, cool look to it. I printed the photographs here in Santa Barbara at one of the local FedEx places. A black and white 8.5x11 print is $0.14!!! Doesn’t get any cheaper. And you can go up to 32” wide depending on the printers at your local FedEx office!

Laser prints are cool because they have strong contrast and there is no ink that can bleed or fade. By no means would I consider these archival but I have some hanging in my house and studio that are over 10 years old and they haven’t faded! Laser prints became popular in the street art scene for wall pieces and murals and if you haven’t played with them, give ‘em a try.

The video above goes through me making a set of 15 outside my Santa Barbara studio so follow along there but I’ll also give you a quick list of what you need:

-laser print
-1/2” to 3/4” plywood (cabinet grade if possible)
-modd podge glue and sealer (get it at Michaels or on Amazon). I like the matt option. YOU ONLY NEED A SMALL AMOUNT!
-a roller to flatten the print and squeeze the glue around

This does take some practice and you’ll find your own ways of doing it but since it’s so cheap you can play quite a bit. I recommend doing a couple to figure out what works for you.

Most important: Have Fun (and I hope you get some entertainment out of my instructional video…)!

HD cinemagraph from Santa Barbara

HD high quality cinemagraph shot in Santa Barbara

Here is another HD high quality cinemagraph I shot recently. It took me a while to figure out how to make these cinemagraphs HD. There is of course flixel but as far as I can tell they are putting out a video file instead of a gif. Making video files is easy to do yourself in Photoshop. The tricky part is to code the embed code to loop and autoplay. It is not as universal as a gif but rendering the cinemagraph as a high quality video file just makes it look so much better.

We shot this HD cinemagraph in Santa Barbara. The creeks are all full of water these days so it was easy to find a pretty waterfall and put this together.

At the Bookstore

stock images photographed at a bookstore


Finding a good bookstore these days isn’t that easy. In Santa Barbara we can call ourselves lucky to have Chaucer’s, an amazing bookstore. During a stock photo shoot a little while ago we were in the area and so we stopped in and I took this image of the model browsing the collection.

Everest in a Stairwell

Climbing 29,097 feet in a LA skyscraper


The idea is simple: climb 29,029′, the equivalent of Mt. Everest’s elevation, in a skyscraper in downtown Los Angeles in one day.

Obviously when one climbs the real mountain there is much less vertical elevation to deal with. But the lack of oxygen and exposure to the elements more than make up for that. Let’s just be clear from the beginning. Climbing Everest is much harder on every level.

Still the idea is enticing so a group of nine men entered a very tall building in downtown Los Angeles one morning after driving down from Santa Barbara and got ready to ascend the 55 floors via the stairwell over and over… and over and over and over again. It would take 40 ascensions to make the 29K feet of elevation gain. There was also a cut off time since the building was shutting down and the security guards who had to be in the building wanted to go home.

I was one of those nine men but I wasn’t there to reach the goal, I was there to document. To photograph the ordeal. Capturing the climbers required me to sit and wait in the stairwell for extended amounts of time and carrying my camera gear up the stairs didn’t help either. At the end of the day I did 10 ascensions and was perfectly fine with that.


One of the unforeseen challenges that started impacting climbers was motion sickness. constantly turning right in the stairwell started really messing with them. To the point of puking. Not pretty but part of the game.

Mid-day everyone had their groove going and in the early afternoon there was a scheduled break so that one of the climbers could propose to his girlfriend on top of the roof. This solid hour of break time would bite the remaining climbers (the newly engaged left after to celebrate) in the end. At 33 ascensions they ran out of time. They had climbed a respectable elevation of 24,000 feet.

The Young Man and The Island

a story about Barbuda

On the night of September 5th to 6th, 2017 Hurricane Irma made landfall on the Caribbean island of Barbuda. A category 5 hurricane, the strongest ever recorded, its destruction of Barbuda was practically complete with 97% of all structures rendered uninhabitable.

This body of work is as much a personal response as it is a document of an event. I approached this project without an agenda and the product aims not to point fingers, I just wanted to tell a story of a man visiting a place.

The day before I left for Antigua I went to the local bookstore, explained my adventure and asked if there were suggestions for books by Hemingway to take on the trip. The Old Man and the Sea walked out of the store with me that day and by the time I boarded the plane the next day I had mostly finished it. It immediately consumed me and became the inspiration for the narrative part of the project. Little did I know at that point how well my adventure was going to align, if only in my head, with the old man’s.


He had never been to The Island. He had been close. One hour and a half by motorboat close but never any closer. But he had felt an odd attraction towards it. The name of The Island had felt so exotic to him back then. The first time he was close and even more the second and third time.

Now it was destroyed. Wiped clean by winds so fast one could not experience them by sticking a hand out the window of most cars going as fast as they will go. Gusts as fast as the wind blows in a sailors worst nightmare, and faster. Wind like he had never experienced, not even close. He grew up in a city and lived by the sea now. But a sea that does not rage like the sea raged when The Island was destroyed. The only rage he had felt that could compare to the rage of the sea and the wind that day was the rage of the earth. The rage of the earth that made buildings swing and crumble, bridges collapse and brought with it death. Death in the literal sense for many people but also death in the conceptual sense for him. He had never experienced certain death before, nor after. It had changed him. He had also learned that certain death was not certain.

When he learned about the destruction of The Island he had not thought of it in a while. It came as a shock and he was deeply saddened for days. Then he learned more and saw a report about it on TV. Then the reporting stopped and the world lost interest. About 1600 people lost everything they had and the world watched and then changed the channel. The world that was likely responsible for the pain did not want to feel it. Pain and suffering were nothing new to The Island but this time The Island had nothing left to give and it’s people had to leave. There was nothing there for them anymore. Of course the sand and the rock on The Island didn’t care, nor did the shells and the water in the lagoon. They were just part of it all, have been forever. But the soul of The Island felt the pain. It felt betrayed, it felt sad, powerless. He felt like he wanted to go to The Island. But it was far away and going there wouldn’t make much sense. He was busy, his wife was even more busy. His kids needed him, who was he kidding?

But The Island didn’t let go. It kept calling. At night he would lay awake, his wife deep asleep next to him and he couldn’t stop thinking about The Island. He couldn’t really make sense of it but for weeks his mind kept going back to it.

Then he went for a run on a trail. As he was running his mind became very focused and it got stuck on The Island again. Why was it calling so strong? He ran through a dried out creek bed. He realized that he knew someone on the island next to The Island. She had just returned there and oddly the day before she left he had talked with her to learn of her departure. He was running uphill through a bunch of sage bushes now, running his hands through the dried out leaves and taking in the scent on the skin of his fingers. Maybe he could fly there on miles, stay with his friend, it would be much easier to convince himself if the trip didn’t cost much money. Twentyfour hours later his trip to the island, the one his friend lived on, was booked, he couldn’t believe it. It was impulsive and a little out of character and it also wasn’t.

For a week he arranged transportation to The Island and assembled his tools and the anticipation built. He had been looking for this. For many weeks and months he had yearned to find a project for the soul. A project that was his, a project he could dissolve in. He had produced valuable work but nothing like this. It had been nagging him, keeping him up at night but now his aim was focused. He knew what he needed to do.

On a Monday evening he kissed his family good-bye and boarded a plane to go far out, far out of comfort, far out from home. To feed his soul. To find what he was looking for. To follow the penetrating call. The sun set and the orange glow dimly shone through the airplane window when they took off. And the familiar mountains disappeared below.

On the plane next to him there was a man. A very social man and they were in conversation for the entire duration of the flight. The young man saw it as a good omen even though he did not necessarily believe in omens. But it was exactly what he was looking for. Connecting with the world. So he was happy.

The young man arrived on the other island, the one he was staying on since The Island was destroyed and nobody could stay there and he was excited but also nervous. He felt clumsy. He was hungry since he hadn’t eaten during his whole trip which had taken many hours. He also had not slept much. He felt that his interactions with people had an undertone of insecurity. Finally he got into a taxi and got more comfortable, finding his groove back.

Then he met the architect. At first the architect looked like Andy Warhol to the young man but it faded over the days. He immediately liked the architect. Over the course of the next two days the architect showed him around, and told him many stories. Some of the stories were outrageous, some sad and some funny. But all of them stemmed from experiences that make a man wise. So the young man appreciated them. And he learned that the architect was a wise man, having experienced so many stories.

Every night the young man would eat fried chicken and pre-cut watermelon and cold beer. He would sit on the patio in a comfortable chair and eat the chicken straight out of the paper bag. When he glanced up, there between some branches and many leaves, perfectly framed, was yet another island. A small one. But it had a little shack with a bar and chairs on it for people to picnic at and a small but perfect little beach of white, clay-like Caribbean sand mixed with tiny little pieces of broken down shells. The young man paused upon this view every time and the world around him would disappear for a moment. He then would take a sip of his beer from the can and continue with the chicken.

For the first two nights he slept on the couch in the living room. He could not sleep though. All the windows were open and a strong breeze cooled him but it was still too hot to be under the sheets. And without the sheets the young man was getting attacked by what seemed like an army of mosquitoes. The young man hated mosquitoes. It was because they loved him. They loved him like anything hungry loves a meal, but more. He was a tasty meal. He fought. He cursed. Half awake, half asleep. He covered himself with the sheets completely, over the head. It was too hot and he had to face the bloodsucking creatures again.

The area he stayed at made him dependent on transportation. He had to accept the fact that he was not mobile. For two days he mentally prepared for the day on the island. He spent much time looking at the sea. He watched the rain and took walks along the coastline.

The young man was a photographer and normally he would have taken many photographs and made a big effort to move around and capture scenes, people’s faces. But he was too consumed with the island and so he just observed and prepared, taking a few photographs here and there just to keep the muscle memory sharp but nothing that took away from his mental focus. He had traveled many miles and invested a lot of energy for this and he wanted to be sharp in his head and strong with his body when it came time to go to the island and photograph it.

The night before he was going to the island he slept in a proper room. On a proper bed. There were less mosquitoes and he slept good. He woke at first light and lay in bed for a few minutes collecting his thoughts. He was excited. He was nervous. He also felt like something was a little off. He knew the feeling of excitement and nervousness. It always happened before an important project was about to start. But the other feeling concerned him.

It was raining hard outside. A storm system was moving across the islands but he was prepared for that. It didn’t bother him. It wasn’t ideal but he could deal with it. He got up. His pack was assembled and ready but he was concerned with its weight and once he added his drinking water to it he realized it was too heavy. In a quick decision he shed a lot of weight by taking out his back-up camera. The one that was in a watertight bag for the case that it was raining too hard to use his main camera. This was better and he was still confident in being able to do what he came for.

At seven o’clock he was waiting outside for the taxi he had scheduled. At 7:10 he got nervous. The boat he had secured a ride out to the island on was to leave no later than 7:45. The wife of the governor of The Island had personally initiated the aid he had received which had made his trip possible. The boat captain had agreed to take him under these conditions. The car ride to the boat would take about 20 to 30 minutes and the young man had given himself almost double this time. He hated to be late. He was never late. He was known to always be early or right on time.

He reached out to the cabdriver. After a few painful minutes the cabdriver apologized and insured him that he was on his way. The bad feeling the young man had felt earlier came back. Or maybe it had been lingering. He could not miss this boat. No way. It would be disaster. He felt it. The fight. It had intensified. He was aware of the need of it. He had been seeking it out. This whole undergoing was intended to challenge him. No challenge, no real success. He wanted this fight. And it had just intensified.

The driver pulled up at 7:25, barely enough time to make the boat. A young guy. Apologetic but immature and not a man. He had no fuel in his car and had to stop to fill his tank. The clouds were dark and evil looking. The young man was getting very nervous and communicated to the kid that there was no time to waste. The kid then started driving like a madman. Passing rows of cars stuck in traffic and speeding along the narrow, pothole-lined streets like a mad kid. Rain pouring out of the dark sky.

At 7:52 they were coming down from the mountains and towards a bay and a harbor. But it was the wrong one. The kid in his immaturity had not listened to the instructions and gone to the wrong harbor. The young man was feeling afraid. This fight had picked up intensity yet again and was overwhelming him. The kid was driving even more mad now and the world was falling apart. Fear crept into the young man’s mind. Fear of losing this fight.

At 8:06 the greenery outside the window was a blur. The raindrops hit the windshield and were rapidly pushed across it by the air rushing at the flying car. The young man was holding on and the boat had left.

He had been writing text messages with the captain and had just received the final message. The message that meant that he had lost the fight. The message that rendered all his efforts useless. His body went from tense to slack.

At first he didn’t believe it. It couldn’t be. All this and a dumb kid taxi driver destroys it? That wasn’t even a fight! That was getting shot in the back! He told the kid. He looked out the window, out at the sea. It sank in very slowly. He could not believe it. It just could not be! The kid got on his phone while still driving frantically. The young man didn’t care. He couldn’t look at him. He looked out the window. He thought about what this meant. What he would do now. What would he say to the many people that had been involved in making this happen? He was not sad. He was not angry. He was numb.

After about five minutes of mental break-down he switched back into fighting mode. This was not happening!

He got back in touch with the captain. And after some back-and-forth he miraculously found another boat that would take him. They raced to yet another harbor.

The events had taken a lot of energy out of the young man. He was tired and felt weak but he knew what he had to do.

The new boat was supposed to leave at ten. He got to the dock just after nine. The boat got to the dock at 10:36. The young man feared of losing valuable time on The Island but this crew did not care about him or his needs. The girl at the dock who signed everybody in walked so slowly it looked like she did it intentionally to piss someone off. And once everyone who had come in on the boat had left it, the boat left as well. To get fuel.

When the young man finally boarded the vessel he had waited for three hours. He was really worried about how much time he would have on The Island.

There had been a few very nice islanders waiting with him who told him stories about the big storm and how they had survived. Running for shelter during the eye of the storm since the roof had blown off their house. One of them was sitting near him on the boat and she told him that her nieces two-year-old son had died when the ocean came into their house, swept him away. So much about a fight he thought to himself.

The noise on the boat was deafening. The young man was mentally exhausted. The engine was emitting a constant high-pitched, whining sound on top of its deep rumble. Outside waves were getting hit by rain and the boat was climbing the waves and then sinking into the valleys. Loud island music was blaring out of metallic sounding speakers. The whole thing was an insult to the senses. The whole boat vibrating from the impact of a large wave, the music, the events of the recent past. The young man was tired.

But then during the heaviest of downpours of rain the wind died down and the waves calmed and he looked at the sea and it looked so peaceful, so inviting. Large raindrops hitting the glassy surface in the fog. It reminded him of a time when he was surfing in these same conditions back home, with a close friend. A fantastic memory. They still spoke fondly of that time whenever it came up. Sitting in the sea with water below and above and in the middle. The glassy surface broken by large drops of rain, in the fog. Magic. It revived him. It got him excited! He was on his way. It was happening. The fight wasn’t lost!

And then the fog lifted. And he saw The Island for the first time and it was hit by the rays of the sun. And the dark clouds parted and were behind The Island and it looked incredible. Emotions overcame him and he cried a little. And out of the metallic loudspeakers came:

“I can see clearly now, the rain has gone, I can see all obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) Sun-Shiny day...”


It overwhelmed him. He had made it. Now it would be easy. He was the first person off the boat. He only had 50 minutes to do his job. Laughable considering the amount of time he had spent to get there. But he knew what he was doing. He was a young man but he had decades of experience on him. He went. And he saw. It was overwhelming but it was what he had come all this way for.

Dos Pueblos High School Engineering Academy

Amir Abo-Shaeer and Emily Shaeer for The Townmarket


It’s always amazing when you find out something about your town that you had no idea about. Cue the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy. Founder Abo-Shaeer and Emily Shaeer run a program that teaches high school aged kids all kinds of fantastic skills and knowledge in the greater realm of engineering.

I was perplexed when I visited. The amount of resources available to students is fantastic. From CNC machines to computers, tools and of course most importantly knowledgeable help and not to mention space, lots of it! Teenagers were programming machines, writing code, building things and discussing projects within teams. I wanted to stay and join!

The Academy is linked to Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta but students from Santa Barbara also visit the school. Overall a very healthy mix of kids, lots of girls and ethnic diversity. I felt like I had discovered a Santa Barbara gem…

Arlington Peak aka Dragons Back above Santa Barbara

Adventuring in the Santa Ynez Mountains above Santa Barbara

on the way to Arlington Peak above Santa Barbara

on the way to Arlington Peak above Santa Barbara

How do you avoid the kids going crazy inside? Take them on a big hike!

Likely my favorite hike in the Santa Barbara foothills is the adventure up to Arlington Peak. Colloquially known in the community as Dragons back (you climb up what looks like a spiny Dragons Back) this hike offers some good adventure without having to go far out of town. Crawling through tight spots and trying to stay on trail is fun and this is a pretty serious achievement for kids. My son was 7 the first time we went up.

For a special treat I like to leave early in the morning when it’s still dark and time it so that the sun comes up while I am halfway up the spine. The sun rises over the peaks in the south and everything slowly gets bathed in orange light. Makes for some fantastic photographs!

Adventure on Santa Rosa Island

Beauty on the beach of Santa Rosa Island

Beach Beauty on Santa Rosa

Beach Beauty on Santa Rosa

yes, yes, of course this is a staged photograph… But it’s pretty, right? Wouldn’t you want to be there?

I photographed this on Santa Rosa Island during a fun adventure to the Channel Islands. Santa Rosa is about 30 miles off the coast from Santa Barbara and depending on your boat and the surface of the Santa Barbara Channel it takes at least an hour to get there. You can’t land the boat so be prepared to travel to the beach by means of swimming. Once that is achieved you will enjoy peace and serenity! …and maybe a wandering beach beauty!

Encounter at the Salton Sea

when a photograph magically presents itself

fisherman at the Salton Sea by Jonas Jungblut

fisherman at the Salton Sea by Jonas Jungblut

A few years back I went on a photoshoot for L1 Premium Goods at the Salton Sea in California. I drove my Vanagon from Santa Barbara down there so it could be used as a prop. The moment I pulled up to the water’s edge this scene presented itself to me. All I had to do is press the shutter and take the photograph. The image was later selected by the Creative Review and printed in their annual book.

It’s amazing how having your camera always on your side can allow for images like these. In this case it was my Fuji Xpro1 rangefinder. The camera is small enough to just carry around with you all the time and I photographed many scenes with it and its follow up model, the Xpro2, simply because I had the camera on me when the image presented itself.

Santa Barbara trail running

photographing running on and off trail in Santa Barbara

trail running in Santa Barbara by photographer Jonas Jungblut

trail running in Santa Barbara by photographer Jonas Jungblut

I am lucky to have a solid runner as a buddy so we head out every now and then to photograph some running for stock or portfolio images here in Santa Barbara. The terrain is perfect for running of all kinds. From trail running to urban running, Santa Barbara has it covered. Difficulty from easy to painful, all here…

urban running in Santa Barbara by photographer Jonas Jungblut

urban running in Santa Barbara by photographer Jonas Jungblut

In addition to all the terrain, Santa Barbara also offers pretty ideal weather year round. Running in shorts and only a shirt is usually possible throughout the winter.

All these elements combined make for a perfect backdrop to photograph running around here.

trail running in Santa Barbara by photographer Jonas Jungblut

trail running in Santa Barbara by photographer Jonas Jungblut

Portrait of Santa Barbara Supervisor Das Williams for The Town Market

Photographing local politicians

Das Williams by Santa Barbara portrait photographer Jonas Jungblut

Das Williams by Santa Barbara portrait photographer Jonas Jungblut

I have been working closely with The Town Market here in Santa Barbara and part of what we have been doing is documenting (in this case taking portraits) of local people that are having an impact on the community. Das Williams came up and having run into him from time to time over the past decade I was excited to finally be able to photograph him.

We met at his house and I found a spot to put up this blue background. I lit him with a Profoto monoblock but then also decided to use natural light for a variation. The above portrait is the natural light version, it worked well with the pastel colors of the background and his shirt. Shot on the 501cm Hasselblad and Kodak Portra 400 film.