Happy Holidays!



I’m thinking this might be an appropriate image to highlight this holiday season. It’s one of my favorite images from the Creatives series and I love it because El Vez saved the Christmas tree for several months specifically so we could set it on fire. We were definitely worried about burning down the neighborhood and I knew we’d only have one shot really at a great image. As we’re about to set the tree alight, El Vez says to me, very seriously, “If my hair catches on fire, KEEP SHOOTING!”

El Vez will do anything for his art!

Jane Abbott Lighty and Pete-e Petersen


In honor of the Supreme Court’s decision not to take on the gay marriage issue this year (and, in effect, making same-sex marriage legal in 30 states now), I want to show some of the first images from a new project I’ve been working on about gay and lesbian elders. Their stories are all fascinating and important to remember and document. These are incredibly brave people who made the decision to live their life on their terms and many never thought they’d see the acceptance and tolerance that is everywhere these days – and the beginning of celebrating their love in marriage.

Here are the very first couple to get a marriage license in Washington State when gay marriage became legal just after midnight on December 6, 2012 – Jane Abbott Lighty and Pete-e Petersen. They have been together for over 37 years now, raised a daughter together, migrated from California to the great state of Washington and have many tales to tell. I am inspired by their adventurous life and sense of humor, their bravery, and their warm friendly vibe. I had such a great afternoon hanging out with them and learning of their stories – I will definitely be sharing more on this project as I move along on it.

You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram, and like me on Facebook where I’ll most likely post about updates to this project and others. Or you can just check out my web site on hipphoto.com.

Washington State Fair!

I love the Washington State Fair (though in my head, I still want to call it the Puyallup Fair!). We try and go every year and every year I bring my SLR camera. This year, I went without that and relied solely on my iPhone. At first, I felt like I was forgetting something but as soon as we

made our first stop at the Fisher Scone booth (always the first stop) and I took a picture of the nice woman handing me my scone, I completely forgot about the SLR and just had some fun with pictures.




And, one of my favorites:


You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram (where many of these were first posted), and like me on Facebook – if you’re inclined to do those things! Or you can just check out my web site on hipphoto.com.

Client Work -The Not Its!


This week, ‘kindiependent’ band The Not-Its released their new record, Raise Your Hand. When they asked me to shoot some promo photos for them, of course I had to say yes – they’re only of my daughter’s favorites (she insisted I get paid in a new Not-Its T-shirt for her, which they graciously obliged for me). Plus, I was a huge fan of singer Sarah Shannon’s 90’s era band Velocity Girl (I still remember being at my parent’s house for Christmas and seeing this video for the first time and thinking I had to get that record!), bassist Jennie Helman’s old Seattle Band Micro Mini and drummer Michael Welke played for Harvey Danger.


Plus, did I mention they’re one of my daughter’s favorites?  Here she is wearing her shirt, plus a foam finger that was generously added for her!  You can check out one her favorites songs here.

(You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram, and like me on Facebook – if you’re inclined to do those things! Or you can just check out my web site on hipphoto.com.)

Costa Rica Adventure, Part III

Armed with delicious packed lunches from Bosque del Cabo (hummus sandwich for me and an amazingly delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich for Sam), we began a two and a half mile hike down to the beaches of Matapolo. The hike down was pretty slow going – we startled a small group of peccaries (which startled me in turn!), a giant tree had fallen on the trail and obscured most of it, the trail was slick from recent rains. Once we got down to Playa Matapalo, it was clear the trek was well worth it – the rainforest meeting the clear turquoise waters was amazing.

We trekked on down to Backwash Beach where there were several surfers out in the waters. Seemed like a perfect place to stop for a lunch break and watch the surfers in the waves. As we ate, one of the surfers got out of the water and I waved at him. His motorcycle was on a pathway behind us and it seemed like the perfect picture to take here at Matapolo, a surfer’s paradise.

Rolando Munoz Contreras was a dentist practicing with his father in San Jose. After his father chose to retire, Rolando was faced with a decision to make: he could stay in San Jose or practice somewhere else in the country.


“The city lifestyle was something I don’t want for me for the rest of my life, being a boogie boarder since I was 14, I used to go to the beach every time I could to ride waves, camp and enjoy the beach life style,” he told me.

He used to come down to these southern beaches when he was a kid and had fond memories of being down there with his family. He came down to the area armed with his backpack to scope out locations and fell in love with Puerto Jimenez.

“Life here is so different than a city; no heavy traffic, here there is no people on a rush like in the city, simplicity is what I like from the people on this town. But Puerto Jimenez is a multicultural place where some people from other countries live here, too. (They used to have to go to) Golfito or San Isidro to get private dental services.”

He tries to get out and surf as much as possible, sometimes as many as five times a week. This picture sums up life in the Osa Peninsula nicely I think!
(You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram, and like me on Facebook – if you’re inclined to do those things! Or you can just check out my web site on hipphoto.com.)

Costa Rica Adventure, Part II

photo2At the airport, everyone was glued to the television – Costa Rica was playing England in the World Cup. I was a little nervous because I knew we’d be getting on a super small plane and I also could clearly see everyone was glued to the soccer game. I just hoped the air traffic controllers were on top of their game!

The pilot leaned out of the open cockpit and said, “Buckle your seat belts, we’re about to take off,” and that was it, we were off to the Osa Peninsula. Everyone we had talked to said pretty much the same thing when we said we were off to the Osa: ooooh, that’s a wild place. And, as we approached the runway, it was clear we were out there! There was no airport per se, just a small landing strip surrounded by a low fence with the town cemetery on the right. A handwritten sign announced we were indeed in Puerto Jimenez and a driver from where we were staying was there to pick us up in a white jeep-like vehicle. I don’t know how far we drove but it was down a bumpy dirt road and we occasionally splashed through fast running streams. Finally, we turned off the main dirt road onto another and we were at Bosque del Cabo. The property was amazing – encompassing over 750 acres of rainforest and overlooking the Golfo Dulce, it felt like we were in an episode of ‘Fantasy Island’ – complete with a woman offering us glasses of ginger lemonade as we entered to check in.

There’s not a lot of hustle and bustle going on here – no bars, no restaurants, no neon nightlife – just howler monkeys, spiders, snakes, and jungle. Every day was another hike through the jungle down to one of the several beaches or just walking through the jungle. We saw a ton of monkeys, hundreds of different kinds of ants, and I freaked out when we surprised a group of peccaries. In my defense, we were told that the only animal to be really afraid of in the jungle are the peccaries – especially when you see them in packs. We saw a group of maybe 4 or 5, which I would assume was a pack. However, the resident biologist Phil told us a pack of peccaries is something like 100 of them.

dogOn the last day there, we left the grounds of Bosque del Cabo and decided to rent a boat with Carlos down the Rio Esquinas. One of the owners, Kim, had told us a boat down the Esquinas was like the Jungle Cruise ride at Disney World – and she couldn’t have been more right. We crossed over the Golfo Dulce watching spinner dolphins dance in the boat’s wake, made it to the mouth of the river and cruised in. Carlos had an amazing ability to home in on the snakes and birds that lay in the mangroves – he would point and steer the boat in there and sometimes we still couldn’t see what he was pointing at! I have no idea how he managed to find all these creatures. Both he and the boat operator Ronnie were incredibly knowledgeable about the flora and fauna around us. We headed back to the mainland with the daily 4pm storm rapidly trailing us back to land.

(You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram, and like me on Facebook – if you’re inclined to do those things! Or you can just check out my web site on hipphoto.com.)

Costa Rica Adventure, Part I

blog3aIt took over three hours to go the 75 kilometers from San Jose to Arenal Volcano.  It wasn’t that the roads were bad (though the last 10 kilometers were on a bumpy but fairly well maintained dirt road).  It was that every five minutes our GPS unit would loudly DING and announce that we were approaching a “dangerous bridge.”  The bridges weren’t necessarily dangerous but they did necessitate that we slow down, they were often one-lane bridges, and there were a lot of them to slow us down.  That and the constant curves and winding roads that led us up from the valley to the tropical mountains.

We arrived in the dark and couldn’t see anything – but the sounds coming from the animals and insects in the rainforest surrounding us was pretty deafening.  When we woke, the sounds were still there but we couldn’t see the famous Arenal Volcano – clouds obscured it and the rain was pretty intense.  We squinted to see if we could see lava or a hint of steam from the volcano but we could not see even an outline of the mountain.  We later learned that the pool of lava that seeped from the top of Arenal for years had stopped flowing three years ago or so and that it would probably be another three hundred years before tourists could see red lava spilling down its slopes.

We’re from Seattle, so we’re not afraid of any rain.  Out into the rain we went, covered with our cheap $5 parkas purchased from the Arenal Observatory Lodge where we were staying. The volcano was sooooo close to us but we couldn’t’ see it so why not go into the forest to see what was lurking in there.  Hanging bridges, heliconias, and strange beetles with headlights on their heads that looked like glowing LED lights.  And, aside from these things, the rainforests here looked remarkably like the rainforests up here in the Pacific Northwest – wet, very green, tightly compacted.  The hike was wet but not too bad – though we heard some fellow hikers at dinner say their hike up to Cerro Chato was horribly chilly, wet, and “tortuous.”


blog5The next day, the clouds parted and the volcano showed herself.  It was stunning – I had no idea that the volcano was lurking THAT close to us behind the clouds – it was amazing.  The story behind the lodge where we were staying is that, because of a valley hidden in the depths of the rainforest it was determined that the lodge was a safe place to observe the goings-on of the volcano – even though we were super close to the mountain.  This was where Smithsonian researchers stayed to watch over the mountain and monitor its seismic activity – close enough to have an amazing viewpoint but safe from the lava flow and spewing rocks.

It was not sunny by any means but we opted to go for a horseback tour to La Fortuna waterfall.  Our guides, Joel and Harrison (though they insisted their names were actually Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas), didn’t make too much fun of me since I was a novice and pretty petrified of my horse, Miel.  Miel was a little feisty and not really that interested in letting me have a slow and easy ride.  It’s not that she was running or anything, but in my nervous state of mind, her little gallops grew in my mind to be out of control stampeding or something.  There were lots of steep climbs down into creeks and streams and Miel would speed up the opposite bank to a fast trot that made my heart race a little bit.  After about an hour or so, we arrived at the top of La Fortuna waterfall – and it was a steep 500+ steps down.  The sun was peeking in and out of the clouds and swimming at the base of the falls was amazing…the water was cool, the current not too fast where I was a bit downstream from the falls themselves, everything felt so clean and cool after a humid horse ride and steep trek down to the falls. Getting back up to the top, of course, was another story – heart pumping fast up the steep and slippery steps. 



The next day, we explored a little down in the town of La Fortuna. I had spotted this abandoned water park next to a steak house.  I was intrigued of course and went into the steak house, greeted by a smiling woman.  I asked about getting into the water park – she responded yes of course and opened a chain link fence for me, and let me in.  It was quiet and the perfect place for a horror movie to be set. I swear I heard a shower running in the empty bathrooms.  As I was leaving, I was talking with the woman in my broken Spanish and her in her broken English. I think we may have misunderstood one another, but I swear she said to come back later as the park was going to be open that night at 6. 



Then, it was back down those treacherous roads – this time, in addition to the dangerous bridges and curving roads, we ended up behind a rickety truck hauling a giant cow in the back, the truck listing from side to side threatening to capsize at any moment.  Finally, they pulled over to the side of the road, the driver getting out to chat to someone on his cell phone. I was hoping he was calling for a bigger truck.  We would never know – we were on to the wilds of the Osa Peninsula.

(You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram, and like me on Facebook – if you’re inclined to do those things! Or you can just check out my web site on hipphoto.com.)


Client Work For Teatro Zinzanni!

BlogTZ3I love the circus.  When I was maybe in second grade, my family took me to one of those circuses that come to towns every summer for a weekend or so.  The acrobats were so cool I wanted to be one, swinging from ring to ring (randomly, I still remember they were blasting the song “Strawberry Letter 23″ during the performance).  Shortly afterwards, I checked out a book on the Ringling Brothers from our school library and read it obsessively.  I was so obsessed with it, I stole the book and tucked it under my bed.  But, my guilt over the attempted theft overcame me and I confessed in tears to my parents about wanting to keep the book forever.  Cue to a few breathless weeks later, I had my very own copy of the book – my parents had to special order it from the bookstore at the mall. I still have the book to this day awaiting to hand it over to my kiddos!

So, I was overjoyed when asked by Teatro Zinzanni if I could do some promo work for their new late-night show, Wake the Night.  The cast and crew were just as enthusiastic about their work as I felt when I was a kid — their talents and joy with what they were doing was infectious and made this such a fun shoot to be a part of!


Yes, there are acrobatics.  Yes, there is a lot of dancing.  There’s even, yes, an elephant!  But, you’ll have to check it out to see what I’m talking about….



Show at Glasswing: “HOME: Artists of the El Capitan”


From their press release, hope to see you there!:

Home to a large number of artists, designers, people who’ve lived there for 30 plus years and the occasional ghost (There’s rumor of one who likes to hang out in the elevator), the El Capitan apartments is an iconic Seattle residence.  Building owner Alvin Hendricks has supported the artistic community in the city through offering and maintaining affordable housing to those residing there.  Photographer Mike Hipple has gotten to know and photograph some of the many residents of the building. His newest show, HOME: Artists of the El Capitan is a series of portraits that give a glimpse into the lives and overall tightknit community of the creative minds that inhabit the El Capitan. The list includes: Sierra Stinson & Graham Downing, Kevin Ellis, Doug Newman, Stacey Rozich, Lynda Sherman, Amber Murray, Kate Bailey, Tina Randolph & Shawn Brown, Erin Frost, Olivia McCausland, Andrew Berg, Ruthie Haskell, Beth Martini

Glasswing is excited to host Hipple’s one-week exhibition that spotlights some of our dearest friends and well respected in Seattle. HOME: Artists of the El Cap runs Thursday May 8th – Thursday May 14th. Join us for Capitol Hill Art Walk this Thursday 6pm – 9pm for an opening reception.

For more information contact Glasswing: 1525 Melrose Ave Seattle, WA 98122

Creatives Series – Mona Superhero


Mona Superhero is an artist whose medium is, believe it or not, duct tape. When I visited her studio in Portland, Ore. a few weeks back I was surprised to see how non-duct tape it looked – I never would have known the vibrant colors and lines were created with only duct tape. The pieces are large and can take hours and hours of intricate and back-breaking work – you can check out some of the prints for sale here.

Mona was raised in Texas and landed in Portland after her car broke down there when she was driving across the country, working in strip clubs along the way to earn money. I asked how often she got back to Texas and she replied, a bit mysteriously, “I don’t go back to Texas.” I immediately thought of Thelma and Louise – I’m not sure whether it was Thelma or Louise that said something similar about avoiding Texas but Miss Mona had a similar vibe of toughness and vulnerability of both characters. Her work has a similar outlaw quality about it as well.

I asked about how all of this affected her work – being a stripper, not going back to Texas, and she replied, “It’s all just made me who I am. It’s made me tough and angry and sad but it’s also slowed me to see beauty in the bad and ugly things in life.”

(You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram, and like me on Facebook – if you’re inclined to do those things! Or you can just check out my web site on hipphoto.com.)