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.

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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.

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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

Intuitive Counselor and Astrologer Melinda Peterson


I recently had the pleasure to photograph intuitive counselor and astrologer Melinda Peterson in Pocatello, Idaho.  I was fascinated by how this yogic philosopher ended up in such a conservative as well as Mormon town.  Turns out she was raised Mormon in Salt Lake City, only two hours south of Pocatello.

Her mother held very deep spiritual beliefs of her own though, beliefs she did not necessarily share with her church friends.

“My mother appeared to be very conservative. But, there were almost two sides of my mother.  She had the friends that knew her as the Mormon housewife raising children and then there were the other friends she had that were the mystics, the psychics, and the people that did yoga.”

In fact, it was an Indian doctor that was staying at their home that told her mother she would have a gifted child in terms of psychic abilities.

“For me I wasn’t predicting the future, I was just stating what I knew about what was happening or was about to happen in my physical reality and I was very accurate.”


She realized early on that the church she was being raised in was not exactly open or receptive to her abilities.  She recounted a story to me about telling her bishop when she was 9 or 10 about the visions and the dreams she would have that would come true.  He looked at her and pronounced that she couldn’t be telling the truth because only men could hold the priesthood, that what she was experiencing must clearly be coming from the devil or that she was fooling herself.

She says, “And I remember that triggering something at the very core of my being…that made me say look buddy you think you have all the answers, I don’t care how old you are or what you believe, you’re wrong. So there was a severing that happened in terms of the ability of the church to indoctrinate me into their belief systems.”

While listening to her story, I found it really hard to believe this woman was living in the very conservative and out of the way town of Pocatello, Idaho. The short answer is that being in Pocatello allowed her the peace and quiet to raise a new son.  On a trip to nearby Lava Hot Springs, she found herself exhausted from her work and commitments and the challenges of raising a new life.  While there, she felt guided to go to Pocatello and things seemed to fall into place for her there.  Even now, though, things change and move and there might be new places the Spirit tells her to jump.

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


Creatives Project – David Carson


I still remember my college roommate bringing a copy of Ray Gun Magazine home one day and how we pored over its pages  – wondering both why couldn’t we read the text and in the next second, marveling at how brilliant it was.  These first issues of Ray Gun were designed by the legendary David Carson and I’ve loved his work ever since.  I’m honored I was able to photograph him.  Though I am not a designer, I like to feel his own independent spirit has inspired me along the way.

It’s fitting I also got to photograph him the weekend Apple named him as one of their 30 Most Influential Mac Users on their 30th anniversary.

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 work on

The Future List for City Arts

I was lucky enough to recently get the plum assignment of shooting 12 of Seattle’s top innovators for the January issue of City Arts – their Future List. The artists and innovators included Joselynn Tokashiki Engstrom, Gifted Gab, Linas Phillips, Aaron Huey, Markeith Wiley, Sharon Arnold, Justin Huertas, Sam Anderson, Olivia McCausland, Alex Osuch aka DJAO, Matthew Parker, and Jeri Ellsworth.


It was a lot of work in getting all the portraits shot but it was an amazing experience getting the opportunity to meet and work with these incredibly talented people.

We shot tons of images for this and, of course, lots of good images get left behind. I’ve included some of my favorite outtakes below. Check out the images that ran in the magazine, on newsstands now or online 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 work on


Rose Marcus, Evolutionary Astrologer


Rose Marcus is an evolutionary astrologer/teacher/clairvoyant/tarot card reader based just north of Vancouver, British Columbia. She’s been practicing for over 30 years now and is focused on evolutionary astrology studies, which she describes as “the past lifetime dynamics that have brought the individual to present circumstances and level of personal development.”

Rose was raised in eastern Canada in the Eastern Orthodox church and as she told me, “It is very patriarchal – I didn’t take on any of that as I child but my senses were on overload with the mystical components – the multitude of candles, the incense, the Gregorian chants and solemnity of the rituals, some quite Pagan – (i.e. praying to all 4 directions), my favourite was looking up at the cathedral’s ceiling – it was painted as the night sky, with whisps of clouds and iridescent stars.”


The yellow-gold stone in her rings is the Citrine stone. Its healing properties are that of empowerment, and amplification of mental clarity, confidence, and the creative/transformative process.  It is also known as a success stone.

It was such a pleasure meeting Rose Marcus!  She is as kind as she is wise!

You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram, and like me on Facebook – if you’re inclined for those things! Or you can just check out my work on


Jim Barker, Palm Reader


Continuing with my psychic series, I met with Jim Barker, palm reader in Seattle.  I was curious as to how one discovered they had talents in palm reading. Jim told me he discovered a book on how to palm read in his grandparents’ attic in Ohio.  He, of course, wanted to try it on someone and his older brother was his first guinea pig.  His older brother immediately went and told their Catholic mother who was horrified of course.


Jim has come a long way from reading his brother’s palm in the attic. He’s studied and practiced his art for over twenty years now.  His readings tend to be on the more optimistic side and, if my impromptu reading was any indication, pretty accurate.   His mother no longer considers it evil, she now considers it a gift from the Holy Spirit.

You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram, and like me on Facebook – if you’re so inclined for those things! Or you can just check out my work on