you gots to chill

today was my last day of work before having no work for the summer.  well they may drag me in for a day here or there to help count stools and AS-15s but i felt a comical sense of relief and stoke as i literally ran off the golf course into my car.  comical because my job is a cakewalk compared to the full time drudgery most americans suffer under.  8 hours of sitting in the well manicured grass of a suburban golf course [without a book unfortunately] is a relative vay-cay.  anyways, summer.  neat.

i flipped my lid yesterday and then caught myself flipping it and then was disappointed in myself for the following half hour.  the vibes were rocky from there on out and i was generally dissatisfied so i took a time out.  i rode off into the sunset, sat on my skateboard against a dusty truck dock, and called my girlfriend.  im a lucky man to have such a willing and able partner in the reset process.  after so much time in solo limbo, i cant possibly take a thing like that for granted.  big fuckin xoxo.

all birdies, bogeys, eagles, sprinklers, popsicles, jock talk, wanna be tony hawks, dust, wax, sweat, skin and lid flipping aside, here are the photos...

we pick up where we last left off...  the mitch affirmative shredding the bench that would otherwise shred us...

fresh out of the bathtub and into your cyber periphery, its meeeey-otch on a switch five-o and its horizontal

and its meeeey-otch on a switch five-o and its vertical.

thats been the crew lately.  dugan, mitch, myself.  the booth st slackers.  the other guys are being more responsible, and therefore less accessible.  but i cant hold that against them.  these are just the strange and changing tides of skate.  mega banks at night.

mitch, switch tre

dugan, smurgle turtle

about 800 new fans of milwaukee bike polo all clamor to 'like' us on facebook, if only they could get off the boards.  fuckin gross.

according to my digital camera, the sky was purple.  the sky was purple that day my friends.  wasnt the spring strange?  are there standards anyways?  ill be damned.

hers and his.  exercising restraint in racine.

racine wi

was on a roof early one morn.  never had a bike helmet growing up.  but i didnt grow up in whitefish bay.

the 8th graders, collectively over it.  "this is gay"

odd tile choice for a catholic school.  got this for you.

st cats in racine

messmer high, milwaukee

its funny when you can tell that youre pissing off every single one of the seniors by taking your time putting the ladder in the right spot.  this was early morning in hinsdale.  after this photo i had 9 hours to kill before shooting the graduation that evening.  what the fuck.

steady thriftin

then i found a forest and walked around.  oh that felt pretty good.  already too hot for the kromer though.

organizing the forest, one of my favorite tasks

landscapes?  sure.  man, id even consider doing landscapes at a wedding.  but not a wedding.

just deciding what to take and where to put it and how and why...  in the woods your options are limitless, and even more fruitless does the practice seem, its almost a joke.  but i contend its a good practice, if only as practice.  there is also the challenge of getting the dead nutties exposure.  it was a hazy day.  not bad.

devils lake has one of these too.  does 2 constitute a collection?  you betcha.

on the way out of the woods i found a number 12 and a number 15 bird box.  a beekeeper lady at the information center helped me track this one down - she had a binder with a map of where all the numbers were.  this photo aint that great but its got a flying bird.

then i saw hangover 2.  yep.  and i edited a shit ton of photos at a coffee place.  then i went to graduation.  but i think the following pitchers are from a diff graduation.  as if that matters.

color guard

finally got my hat toss photo

drove to fondy and traveled alongside a train with a 'glen danzig' tag

i really do give credit to the people who can keep their cool while spraying up a train.  i be shaking in my boots.  anyways, i was fucking hyped on this and it made the drive to fond du lac worth it.  and then at the school, this kid had to go and do this...

and then the trip was double worth it.  he mooned the audience too but by that point the principal was yelling at him and my flash hadnt recycled fast enough to catch it.  wow.

and while were talkin hooligans, check out this little porker...

"hay mom, gimme more tchocolate!!"  i guess it should come as no surprise that i crave the shit daily.

 graduation in an old airplane hangar

fakie is the new nollie.  fakie was always the new nollie.  wait, whats a nollie?  i made my own punk point.

i always love this light situation

so many photos are shot from the perspective of my car.  one day they might change to the 'on the bike' perspective.  its an odd kind of honesty.  lee friedlander did a whole book of photos shot from in the car.  as did ed templeton.  as a photographer who spends a lot of time driving and cannot stop looking at the world [it really is amazing to view from a moving/stopping vehicle], it really makes a lot of sense to do it.  those books make sense to me.  so what im saying is im not insane because those books [and probably more] exist.  it does seem insane though still, and thats fine.  what the fuck else am i gonna do?

on the way back to milwaukee from the home turf, it finally made sense to me why my car was vibrating so bad for 3 months.  im getting good at changing tires!

so lucky that shit went flat on hwy 32 in the middle of the night as opposed to I94 rush hour or some crap.  it was the most chill tire change ever.  when you have nowhere to be and youre not hungry, tired, getting rained on or having to whiz, its actually kind of fun.  extra lucky that it went flat a stones throw from this nicely lit, spacious parking lot.  finally got new tires the next day.

one of the first images of dugan i ever saw was a photo of him ollieing off a truck dock at a walgreens in racine.  it was a 4x6 print on "b and dub" as he put it.  he was super fresh to skating, just stoked on "fighting the monster" of straight drops or 5 sets.  more than a DECADE later, not much has changed.  sure, a refined practice and technique, but the desire to get some remains.  ten years of jumping off shit.  neat.

the urban photographic equivalent to the baus painting in our living room

grandpa is crazy

so be it

on the seventh of any given month i do not skate.  i sent out a text that said "i want to shoot skate photos" and got a reply from p-smurph.  so i packed up the dork case and met up with some dudes at a place where that could happen.  i was so intent on remembering to buy fresh batteries that i forgot to take the thing the batteries go in.  why do i space out like that?  maybe i need to have a system.  one times out of ten i forget some crucial bit of photographic equipment.  so i did the special skate photo day with one flash.  dumb.

more structures, popping up at a snails pace.  but popping up nonetheless.

theres a pat murphy wallride in there somewhere.  6x7 brah.

switzer did one too and i shot it available light no-look fish just for fun

and obligatory.  jesus, that is some serious ascent off such a minimal slant.  i recall the word 'girth' was being thrown around, and rightfully so.

you have to be a rabid wolf to go after this vertical zone frontside.  pat gets it.  fs is a whole 'nother fuckin ballgame.

we had to kick the cops out.  they were naysaying, and the spot needed some serious creative prep.

this is where i warn you that im just going to post a shit ton of photos because i took a shit ton a photos because the light was so demanding.  i mean, it was super sweet down there.  it did stink like hell though.

fuck what youve heard, skateboarding - definitely not a sport

a damn was required to divert the flow out of the runway.  towels, rocks, styrofoam...  and finally the solution was actually one of aesthetic benefit.  plants, dude.

switzer farms, now offering fresh bundles of ditchweed, available by the handful for all your spot doctoring needs.  not really.  but thats a pretty sweet caption, right?

leeches.  sick.

after a purple candle was obliterated, a wax version of homer simpson was called upon

this guy doesnt think twice.  i havent been out skating with him much at all, but its clear that he is 100% mission master.  thats sick.

as if it were planned out on some cosmic docket of gnar, the spot was ready to be skated just as the sun slid into the proper position.  i hoped it would sort of function as my second flash.  smurphs ready.

she grinds!

light, dude

looked like one of those exhausting spots that youd not want to skate alone.  when you get another dude in there it gives you a chance to catch your breath between tries.

tj with one of those distance kickflips over the hole.  man, can you imagine a light laying up on the deck, lighting up those wheels?  dammit!

pat, no comply to crail.  i did a few at different times, and one on the 6x7...

i like this one with that front foot still tucked back

this is the winner.  its all in that front foot, and i think it helps to be up higher looking down on that elaborate scene.  i might have to print a big one for the wall.  such a good looking move.  pat murphy is a trooper.

thanks for ripping guys.  not bad for the seventh.

its fun to come home to shit like this.  dugans graduation balloon finally was put to rest, in proper form...

there they are - the booth st boys of 2011

mitch killing a skeeter, kipp holding the string, dugan putting in the a.c. backwards.  

i did a lap through locust st days.  no burritos to be found.  plenty of "street photography" photo ops but i was being a sourpuss about it.  this soap wall though - who could deny that?  then i went to nick and hollys house where there was a post b-double-e-double-r-u-n patio party happening.  i observed from the pseudo fringes, and took pictures of people.  maybe i was doing what i wanted to do on the street but just in the comforts of familiar company?  either way, it was a nice time.


nick and travis

good times, no doubt

taking this photo was somewhat of a nightmare, logistically.  but too good to pass up.

the most beautiful dog.  kind of sad and human.  i am projecting maybe.  still, i kind of want to cry.

dave, bonking a fs 180 onto the smallest possible landing strip of wood. 

a few years ago i saw this local bmx video on the internet - some guy posted it somewhere on facebook probably and i discovered through the comments that there was a spot at this school.  it looked not skatable on account of the huge cracks.  it also was hard to judge the dimensions and scale due to a super shitty fisheye filming job.  so we were in the area and i said fuck it, lets peep this thing before i move to reno, and it ended up being really fun.  there were indeed 3 huge cracks [im assuming they are anti-skate] in the bank but if you were hungry enough, it was fully possible to barge over them and up to the top into the trick performing zone.  we did just that.

dugan rode up a man, kickflipped, and came back a woman.  contemporary skate trickery, realllly pushing the gnar-envelope.  really though, perf trick for the spot.  in fact, if you can get anything here, its a pretty huge accomplishment.  two big cracks at the bottom and one in the middle.  looks like a drag but the extra challenge makes skating an otherwise perfect [boring] bank super fun.  its also satisfying on the "fuck you" level because we arent deterred by the cracks.  

it was one of those perfect days where everyone goes at it and gets a move on the video and on the still.  full satisfaction, and a new spot to boot.  thats so rare.  officially got me fired up to make a video.  that fire has since been snuffed by a number of variables which are both in and out of my control.  video schmideo.  

but it would be sick to make a video

the street lab

the spot even has a bgp's 13.  how sick.  dave shot my one foot, which has since attained smithgrind status.

when my kicks are on the way out, its easy to get a little carried away being reckless, not maintaining the preservative measures usually in effect.  the bank would shoot us down into the alley of rough ground, and a rather aggressive stopping method was required lest we crash into a retaining wall.  trying to style out my heel drag stops became as fun as the bank itself.  for the first time i said fuck it and went for the insole burner.


i went to oak park illinois several times in a row

we were there to shoot and print summer school id cards.  thats just insult to injury.

it seemed ludicrous to spend the whole day there and travel back and forth.  but i was actually getting home and being pretty fired up to get stuff done.  

like one day i went out skating with dugan and mitch

kids just wanna see shit

cant say i blame them though.  smitch, pretty comfy on this spot.

im not sure how he managed to not think about that pole during a noseblunt - a trick that would throw you right into a vertical ball racker if you dont lock in right.  fuckin a, he really blazed this one.  i could not resist this composition.  especially once i realized there was a perfect little nook for the flash to sit behind.  magic.

tuff titties, obviously

or maybe travis

is that a scrape job or a tropical landscape?  please, someone tell me im only 13% crazy

like i said, we were shooting id photos.  that means one light against a backdrop.  and no posing.  i really tried to take advantage of the loose format and just took the kids as they came.  as they presented.  it was a blast, and it felt more like a fun, honest project than work...

so good.  thank you kid.

summer school

im kind of taking that seriously

on the drive home...

i stopped to talk to these guys.  they had apparently taken down the wrong tree the week before and had been instructed to put it back together.  weird.

crazier things have happened i suppose

heres a bit from my sketchbook describing the final journey into oak park...

"...a predawn solo mission into oak park.  dramatic lightning and a talking heads soundtrack spouting the worlds most recent atrocities, corruptions, disasters and discoveries.  npr, not the band.  before the first toll i stopped to photograph.  in front of me, a double rainbow.  behind me, a fiery red dawn.  a cool rain fell, the wind blew, and morning commuters raced past me.  i basked for a moment that i knew would soon pass, as conditions, orientations, moods and mindsets continually do.  the red on the wet surfaces of the highway and hood of my car burned, somehow illustrating simultaneously the danger and beauty of my position in time and space.  a brief pause of recognition between the otherwise monotonous stretches of familiar highway travel, at 5am, when the brain and body are at odds as you reluctantly occupy and navigate that static purgatory, doing 65 behind an ever sub-par set of wiper blades..."

huey crowley lives beyond this door

possibly birds live beyond this door


there was a weekend that i went to racine.  started in kenosha for a springtide show.  arriving early, exploring the neighborhood...

guh.  why?

much better

sometimes the haphazard compositions of blind exposure tests are so much more interesting than the results of a ham-fisted order my brain tries to enforce

but you could argue otherwise

mike, thinkin pepsi?

tuning dance

they played a split set between a poet and another musical act.  there was also the photography of a truly insane woman which i could not bare to look at.  she insisted that the m.c. of the event keep urging us all to purchase her work.  if i was an asshole i would have told her what i was thinking about her flower photographs.

but an asshole is the last thing you could be at a springtide show.  good vibes.  

on the way back to racine i stopped at a magical place

dad used to play softball here when we were kids.  some real good memories of running around picking up old beer bottle caps out of the dirt, eating hot dogs, watching dads funny batting stance, and playing catch with cole.  there were no hot dogs for sale but the smell of that place hasnt changed.

i have no business being here really, but that cant stop me.  its good to finally be comfortable in that capacity.

so many 13s out there...

i will go to bars with you if you will go to baseball games with me

mike at dennys

springtide pins

essential c-ham

you know what?  i just really like taking photos.  we skated the dtp.  

then we climbed a tree.  

i had not ever photographed in a tree before.  at least not with another person also in the tree.  i have no "in a tree with someone else photo" standards so everything i took ended up looking super sick.

of course it doesnt hurt that c hammerson is handsome as he is

some lady came by to yell at us but then saw that we werent little kids

15 years ago, we would climb this tree every day

how do you follow up skateboarding and a tree?

we only had 3 baseballs.  cole went digging through all the trees and found 3 softballs and two more baseballs.  then we tried to crank one over the fence from home plate.  we got close - i hit the fence halfway up in straightaway center.  hitting and catching baseballs feels super good.  then we went to watch super8.  see that if you can - good summer movie.  so that was the epic summer day with my bro.  then it was fathers day...

there were some boat races at north beach but they were delayed due to fog.  
and just like everything else in life, the event was sponsored by monster.  what the fuck.

no seriously WHAT THE FUCK

im an asshole.  but youre interesting.  

thats about right

i like both of those

man i have lost this blanket so many times now

right before a gnarly whopper swept in

when you eat pink garbage do you like to sit on the top of a pole?  of course.

dude what is that

bike ride with cameras...

had to find a new spot for part 3

that aint me, but it was a good pep talk

milwaukee river

got a text from dave "13 sunset right now"

i think one of these might work

oh man

i finally realized it was the squeegee that has been scratching my negatives

stupid squeegee

killing the milwaukee art bucket list

you think this fucking salt pile has a facebook yet?