Aug 13 2016, Pyramid Lake Light Experience

We went to pyramid lake for the meteor shower. Arrived around midnight, took a right off pyramid hwy and pulled in at the sign for ‘cattle guard beach’, parked and walked down a steep hill to the beach. Sand filled our shoes as the moon lit the way. At the shore the waves seemed more energetic than I remembered in past daytime visits, with an ocean-like rhythm. For several hours the skies delivered views of all kinds of fantastic meteors periodically blasting through the grid of stars in the powdery mist of the milky way, the moonlight fading over the western horizon as the earth spun. The beach then lit faintly by a distant moon and the glowing sky, enough to see the features of a human face a few feet in front of you. Occasionally headlights would shine across the water and onto the beach, lighting edges of things from a low dramatic angle, the right kind of subtle, the right kind of strange. Other people were out at the lake viewing meteors but we never came into contact, completely solitary at the spot save for the bats which fooled us first into wondering why there were black meteors sailing across the sky. I was glad to have remembered my glasses with a prescription over a decade old but still powerful enough to sharpen everything into crisp photographic definition. Hours passed. The temperature was perfect. I was gazing south around 4am when I first noticed that a bright star which had caught my eye appeared to be moving. After a period of ten seconds it was clear the nature of the movements was not that of a plane or satellite. I stared at it for another full minute to take it in and assess my mental state, rub my eyes, take in the view without lenses, and prepare to confront the facts of the vision. I pointed out the light and it was immediately confirmed that I was not the only one seeing this. my first goosebumps rose at the realization that it was a shared and therefore much more credible visual phenomenon. For ten minutes we watched as it moved in a manner which defies everything I thought I knew about the physical and visual world. The light occupied a general area that was lower in the sky, at arms length your thumb and pinky finger in a sideways 'shaka' could make a gap 8 inches between the faintly visible top of the ridge and the light itself. The nature of the light was active, not a static continuous glow but an irregular pulsing of intensity, and never getting faint enough to lose sight of it. For the most part it was a white light similar to a standard star, but it had warmer hues shining at times, faint red or yellow periodic glints, which gave the impression that it may have been rotating or tilting, and with different 3 dimensional planes. it was the size of a large star or distant plane. The movements of course are what was most breathtaking and confounding. With no apparent pattern or purpose, it freely moved fluidly in a variety of aspects and speeds. It would ‘scoot’ in a start-stop manner to one side. It would ‘slide’ to a stop to another side. It would ‘dip’ in the path of an inverted rainbow. It would zip around, move in lateral zig-zags, shoot straight up and then quickly to the right or left, and then back down, and to either side. It would bob and hover. The energy was continuous but there were periods of lesser activity peppered in with a series of almost spastic bursts, impossible to anticipate what it might do next. I would lie if I did not imagine this thing all of a sudden coming towards us, or exploding into a bright light. I took extra care to keep my imagination at bay and observe with the most strict objectivity, just gathering the facts of a visual event - we are watching a light move in a strange manner, which is all we know - this is NOT the first stages of an alien invasion, though it couldnt hurt to mentally prepare for an encounter that close, right? For those ten minutes we wrestled with the preconceived bounds of reality and perception, we questioned our sanity, our safety. We gave thanks to both be there sharing a completely unprecedented, unexplainable and downright surreal event. I got a feeling about ten minutes in where I suddenly became aware that there was an entire sky above and around us which had been otherwise completely ignored as we stared at this moving light in the south. I said “keep your eye on this one, im going to have a look around…” my eyes left the general area directly south of us and up to the east, where first they stopped at orion’s belt, which sat in a pretty vertical orientation. then my attention was pulled to a pair of the same moving lights on either side of the belt, equidistant from the trio. The light to the left was red/orange and moved in the same manner as the light in the south but more active. The light to the right of the belt moved as well to a lesser degree. Each of these lights I recognized as stars in the orion constellation and could not understand now how things which should be stationary stars could appear to be so obviously moving around. To be certain, we used the trio of stationary stars in the belt as a reference point when viewing the moving lights. Even when the eye viewed the 4 stars as a singular shape the autonomous star would appear to continue dancing around on its improvisational course. We concluded that this was proof enough that the lights didn’t just 'seem' to move when we concentrated on them singularly, but that they were moving whether or not our focus was fixed on them. I took note of at least 3 other lights of the same size and color each making their own movements all across the sky from the NE to the direct S, with most of the action taking place around Orion, save for the first light which still jittered about in the southern sky. A few times it appeared that these lights or other smaller, slowly moving lights would separate into two or shoot secondary lights off of it into the blackness, and they would go streaming off in a straight line and mix with the other stars. To see these things break apart was as mind bending as it was to watch them shift around so freely. The feeling of being so completely perplexed was overwhelming. My mouth was dry and my body shook. As our gazes shifted from the south light to Orion we simultaneously recognized a new light, a much brighter orange, and a much larger, pulsating and slowly moving light directly on the horizon, appearing to sit at ground level, on the south east end of the lake towards marble bluff, not many miles at all from where we sat. this light was disconcerting in that it was at ground level and was clearly moving in small gestures from side to side and up and down, as if traversing or tracing the topography an uneven landscape. We kept our eyes on it as we monitored the other moving lights that by now had maintained their activity for over 20 minutes. We decided it was best to leave as there was something so unsettling about seeing an unexplained light event that was so obviously down on our level and at times appearing to be getting closer to us. We packed our things quickly and scurried back up the sandy hill to the truck. I was shaking and out of breath when we drove out to the road, and made the left turn east towards Nixon, with the hopes that we could get a better view of the ground level light, [from the perceived safety of a gigantic, bright, noisy, moving vehicle]. this large orange light was visible periodically as obstructions of the landscape would allow, but we eventually lost sight of it. As we drove, the south light was still visible and it kept on its movement as did the two larger main lights in the orion constellation. I kept making note of the time on the digital clock as we drove with the high beams on. Rabbits bounded across the road. A half mile later a great white barn owl flew out from the roadside about 20 feet in front of the truck and then took a turn back into the darkness. Its wingspan could have been 4 feet. Immediately I thought back to all the things in abduction lore I read about screen memories and the frequency of the image of owls. I had to chuckle a bit at the thought since the appearance of the owl was not limited to a static image or scene but was an actual event, one which may have ended in a collision if we were another car length or two further up the road. Regardless, it was damn spooky to see something large and white come exploding so powerfully out of the blackness of the night into view over the road. At the 447 junction in Nixon we stopped to view the orion lights continue their jittery movements. I felt sad to leave without any kind of resolution but also relieved to put the unsettling fears of facing something so odd and unexplainable behind me. As we drove south on 447 towards I80 daylight was breaking slowly. We stopped a few miles outside of wadsworth to catch our breath and stand in awe at the still vibrating lights of orion which eventually faded with the increasing morning light. I have no conclusions or even theories about what could have caused any of these experiences of perception. only the classic haunting conviction that "I know what I saw" actually means "I know I saw SOMETHING but have no idea how it was possible." 



in april classic had the element crew in for a demo. it turned into a skate jam. i took some photos.

last minute ramp transport logistics courtesy of our ace in the hole jack of all trades king of jamming stuff into trucks, chris carnel. and a guy with a big truck as well. 

this is totally a normal thing to do.

so we got the ramps there the night before. then we set em up in the morning. then the van full of professional skaters showed up while i was fixing the coping to my quarterpipe using two gigantic hinges that were laying around.

thats evan smith doing the pre-grab juke. 

a note on the quality of the images:
i have a demon that lives in the photo section of my head that often encourages me to fuck things up on purpose. hes pulled some real doozies in the past. this time he was all "yeah grab that one camera with the super long zoom lens that you know has a dragging shutter." and then he was all "yeah grab that super old film." and then he was like "hey does it feel like this camera is even advancing the film? better open up and check - its not THAT bright out here..."

so i grabbed this minolta x700 with the 35-200 and a roll of old shitty film and then i opened the camera 10 shots in. 

depending on how you look at it and what your expectations are when viewing photographs, you might think the demon is rad or you might think the demon is bogus. by now i dont really have any opinion on him, i just accept that he is a part of my creative process. we both agree on a few things - its important to keep things loose in this age of hyper-controlled media, and it is always virtuous to rock the boat, ruffle feathers, bunch undies, and upset peoples expectations. the demon is a punk rocker art history major dropout, in case you were wondering. 

so there you have it, totally fucked photos in spite of my "knowing better"

method into the shutter lag abyss!!

i hope these dudes liked the weird obstacles. nollie tail to probably 270 out on the sewage pipe.

julian davidson

heres a pretty good example of whats going on inside the camera - see how the tone of the ground changes from left to right? thats nassim guammaz catching a fs shove in a nosegrind on the element box that jason now has in the back of his truck. man i was so stoked to shoot with that crazy ihop building just looming all over the background. ive seen some photos from this parking lot of demos past. i think there was a toy machine demo here in the late 90s sometime and there may have been a photo of ed templeton boosting an ollie on a qp hip that i had on my wall for a long time - the whole thing was yellow and pink.

evan smith, bs 180 to fakie pivot. you might want to call that a 180 to switch crook but thats unnecessary turd polishing.

nassim chucking a bs 360. it was super weird to watch people launch off a ramp that until that point had only led your skateboard directly to a brick wall in a warehouse. thing is pretty beefy to be hucking off of. nassim's skate style had precise and deliberate motions that reminded me of geoff rowley.

bs 360 into the white. its reno, youre supposed to be rolling the dice. happy accidents of unprecedented weird/rad. nice job, photo demon.

didnt get this kids name but he was rad. die hippie scum jump.

lantto was all "evan smith is going to FUCKING DESTROY this quarter pipe tomorrow." i had not imagined he would do it with a fingerflip to tail 3 feet out.

also in my bag of shitty cameras that day was the kiev60 with a roll of hp5. the kiev is shitty in a good way though. jordan has some pretty elaborate smith stalls

never looked at the back of this qp either. we had it up against the curb but it was still rocking a bit. i wish my backyard wasnt grass. i wish it was cement, or like an old tennis court or something. i would just be back there nonstop building ramps like this, doing airs over my cat.

this is a kickflip. evan smith just toying with the super juker.

mitch haight, also getting blasty.

siouxsie and the frontside flips

we could have parked a honda civic or an f150 or an ecto1 behind the ramp. next time.

its been way too long since i watched a demo from a shopping cart

a highlight of the airshow was watching evan smith chuck a bs 360 kickflip

at some point the element dudes set some decks out and had a distance ollie contest...

tyler dewitt

seth hadsell

seth bs 180. its fun to imagine that was a shifty.

this youngster was barging around through all the chaos no prob. i watched her repeatedly fly off the virginia city kicker [not pictured]. pretty cool.

a lot of carcasses were hucked. boards were broken. dreams were realized and hopes were shattered. in the end it was gabe who traversed most p-lot.

skating is rad

once all the shitty film was exposed through the shitty camera i looked down into my bag and was like "ok i may as well run through the rest of the nice film in this one camera i have that works well, even though i only have this 50mm lens" and made the following last ditch effort at redemption photos...

nassim, fs blunt

chris colburn, bs noseblunt!

the comp is sterile, the move is classic, its framed, timed, and exposed properly, its my favorite photo of the day. almost looks like a trophy. even that rogue piece of paper [which it turns out was my plans for another ramp] is jammed in there at the right spot, at the same angle as nassim's leg. photography is sometimes as weird as skateboarding. 

after a day of standing in the sun trying to distill the chaos of a demo-turned-skate jam into rectangular fragments of relevant and interesting time/space it finally hit me that this was a rad opportunity to get portraits of people - an idea i am finally warming back up to. i missed a bunch of would-be rad characters but i managed to grab trevor bird, who has probably the raddest collection of completely destroyed band tshirts in town...

a goofy footer if ive ever seen one

andrew coia doin what he do

thanks to the element crew, classic, the dudes with trucks, and all the skaters. looking forward to a junk jam this summer!



From a recent show, silver gelatin prints in handmade frames, $150

warm prints, cold plastic, hot wood

the statement from the wall:

"pictures of the ground, hybrid moments, trashy scams and american nightmares.
desperate odes to achy cavities, the oozin ahhs of glowing garbage, infalible.
patriotic crimes, greener grasses, deserted desert ditch high fashion.
the vulgarity of living, democracy in grey, agendaless scavenging. i can see you.
like a one eyed cat. getting tubed. no ventilation, rustbelt boner sunbeam dreamin.
california my ass. nevada my ass too.
keep the dead raccoon outta my truck, please.
straight prints of crooked cops, shopping cart anarchy carbon-based wastage.
dine on all that is readily available. fuck around, survive."