San Francisco’s 2017 Chinese New Year Parade

Early Morning at Point Bonita Lighthouse, San Francisco Bay, California

Not only has it been a really long time since I’ve updated my blog, but it has also been a while since I’ve been on a photography outing. However, I’ve had February 11 on my calendar for a while and have been hoping to make it over Donner Pass (the I-80 mountain pass that leads to western California). Thankfully, it wasn’t too bad other than a two-hour detour because of a mudslide near Colfax. San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Parade has been something that I’ve wanted to attend for quite some time, and I really enjoyed spending the weekend in my favorite city and having the chance to shoot with two friends: Derek Gregory and Steven Tze. Last year, my photographic goal was to post a photo on Instagram every day, and I pulled that off without much trouble, and this year my goal is to shoot a lot more video and edit footage for YouTube with the hopes of building a decent sized following. For this blog, I’ve included a few photos and the video that I made during the Chinese New Year Parade in the “city by the bay.” I’m hoping to make some new business cards, and I need 100 YouTube subscribers before I can customize my URL, so please subscribe if you can. Hopefully, I’ll make some videos that will entertain and educate viewers about travel and technology. I’ve already received my first dislike on YouTube, so it looks like more people are watching. Hopefully, the thumbs-down was not because of my use of the Hayward High School Marching Band’s rendition of “YMCA.” No, it’s definitely not fitting music for a celebration of Chinese / American culture, but the band provided it for me on the side of the road while they were warming up themselves and the crowd for the Chinese New Year Parade. Go Farmers!

Young girl participating in San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Parade


A Tribute to My Great Friend, Rusty Eastep


Rusty Eastep (right) and I posed for a photo at the North Rim of Arizona’s Grand Canyon the night before we started our rim to rim backpacking trip in 2001.


On March 25, 2016, my best friend passed away. I was returning from a camping trip at Death Valley, and when my phone was back in cellular coverage I noticed that I had several messages from old friends in Arkansas that I hadn’t been communicating much with lately. A few minutes later, I learned the terrible news and spent the next several days crying. Thankfully, I was able to cancel a couple classes and fly back to Arkansas for the funeral to pay my respects to this very unique and special person. His mother, Gail, asked me to give the eulogy, and while at first I didn’t think I would be able to make it through it, I am very honored that I was asked, and I tried to do the best that I could. I decided to post it on my blog as a tribute that will stay on the internet. My intention was to keep the eulogy as positive as I could.


Hello everyone, my name is Beau Rogers, and I have been a friend of Rusty’s since I was about 17 years old. We were roommates for a while, and we ventured out together during a lot of fun and exciting times. His death has been very difficult for me to handle, but I am honored that Gail asked me to talk about him, and I sincerely hope that I do a good job.

There are a few things that I want to praise Rusty about, and the first one is how he could easily make more friends in a minute than anyone that I’ve ever known. He was always the life of the party, and people who didn’t even know him were quickly drawn to his charisma, humor, and wit. A few of you who are in the crowd today are people from my family or people that I know from high school. The rest of the people in this room that I know are people that I met thru being Rusty’s friend. If it were not for him, I would have less than half of the friends that I have today. I would bet that for many of you here today, it is the same. Rusty had this magical ability to bring people together, and that was one of the most impressive things about him in my opinion.

I’ll never forget when he and I were 18 years old, and we went to New Orleans for spring break. Neither of us had ever been there before, but we basically acted like we owned the town while we were there. Within a few hours of us being on Bourbon Street, Rusty found two blondes, which were twin sisters from Austin, Texas to hang out with us throughout the week. Rusty was always hearing classic rock music while riding around with me in my car, and later that night, while we were hanging out with the twins on one of those famous Bourbon Street balconies, Rusty gave his public street rendition of The Beatles’ “I am the Walrus.” He stood up on the balcony and raised his arms up into the air and shouted, “I am the walrus. I am the egg-man, Koo Koo KaChoo, Koo Koo Ka Choo.” Thousands of people were below on the street, and after two or three times, everyone on Bourbon street was chanting along, “Koo Koo KaChoo, Koo Koo KaChoo.” He was not the least bit afraid of leading the party at the age of 18, and he continued to do so throughout his life. When he was there, it was fun and exciting. There were things to remember and stories to tell. Without him, something was missing, just like there will now be something missing in many of our lives.

Another quality of Rusty that I think was second to none was his ability to work hard. One time my parents asked him, Justin Williams and I to help them do some landscaping before we went to an Ozzy Osbourne concert, and Rusty worked circles around Justin and I. We weren’t going to leave until it was finished, and I don’t think we would have ever finished the job with out his laborious effort. I also remember during our senior year of high school, Rusty would always leave after lunch to participate in the work release program with the Sherwin Williams Paint store in Rogers. Several times, I would stop by the store after school, and he would be mixing paint like a champ or making deliveries or sales. Speaking of sales, Rusty was a terrific salesman. I talked to Chad Fisher on the phone a couple days ago, and he told me that he worked with Rusty for about 13 years, and he was consistently blown away by his ability to BS and sell whatever needed to be sold to anyone. He could sell bibles to athiests, T-bone steaks to vegans, or propholactics to nuns. It really didn’t matter. He was a brilliant salesman, and I bet that there are many people here today who bought a vehicle from Rusty when he worked as a car salesman in Pineville, Missouri. My Ford truck came through Rusty, and while it doesn’t really do all the things that he said it would, I absolutely love it and want to try to put a few hundred thousand miles on it before getting something else.

The last positive quality that I want to elaborate upon is that Rusty had a golden heart. I remember him often trying to help people through doing the right thing. In 2001, he and I backpacked from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to the South Rim. It was a 27 mile hike that was the favorite hike of my life. Most of the people we were hiking with on the trail were from Asia or Europe, and we ended up saying BonJour to hikers as we passed them instead of hello. We visited with a couple from France during part of our hike along the canyon floor, and the man had a fancy, decorated knife that was a family heirloom. We had seen it when they were cooking food at a campsite next to ours, but later that day I noticed it on the ground along the trailside. I picked it up and put it in my backpack, and we decided that we needed to do whatever it takes to get the knife back to it’s proper owner. Rusty decided to double his hiking speed and caught the couple before they crossed the bridge over the Colorado River. He didn’t speak French, and they didn’t speak English, but he convinced them to wait for me as I was a slower walker than they were. Later that afternoon, I saw Rusty trying to talk to the French couple on the side of the trail, and they were all laughing. I gave them back the knife, and they were very relieved to have it back.

I also talked to Dan Arrington a couple days ago, and he told me about The Founders Group, which involves, Dan, Shane, Brent, Keith, Jeff, Kendrick, Reggie, Chad, Justin, and some other guys that I don’t think I’ve met. The group started through a horrific tragedy when Reggie’s 4 month old son, Dominic, was killed. The group decided to try to work to together and to do something about this awful incident, and they started an annual crawfish broil on Dickson Street as a charity fundraiser for the Children’s Safety Center. I was a little surprised to learn that Dan was the cook because I have always considered Rusty as being the greatest cook that I have ever known, but every year while Dan broils the crawfish, the guys would get sponsorships with local businesses and bring people in to eat the crawfish and donate money to their charity. Dan said that this has been happening for about 5-6 years, and on average they raise 3-4 thousand dollars for the cause. He also said that Rusty was the king of mingling with the attendees and making sure that they signed in and donated the money. He also said that he thinks it is going to be really tough to do it without Rusty this year for their event on June 4th.

In closing, I would like to encourage everyone here today to remember the positive qualities that Rusty had. We know that there were some negative things, and that is the reason why we are here together today. But deep down underneath his struggles with addiction and his daily battles, was a hard-working young man with a golden heart who really cared about all of you. I am sure that he is honored to see us all here today celebrating his life, and he loves knowing that this was paid for by his family and friends in about 24 hours. Now that he is gone, and we all no longer have this special friend for the rest of our time on this planet, I would like to encourage all of us to try to bring some of these positive qualities of Rusty into our own lives, so we can share them with others.

Thanks for taking the time to listen to me, and I would like to thank Gail, Krystal, Diedra, and Kevin for allowing me to speak.


A few nights before our Grand Canyon backpacking trip, we had an overnight backpacking trip as a warmup in New Mexico's Pecos Wilderness.

A few nights before our Grand Canyon backpacking trip, we had an overnight backpacking trip as a warmup in New Mexico’s Pecos Wilderness.


Rusty sitting on an overlook of the Grand Canyon's North Rim.

Rusty sitting on an overlook of the Grand Canyon’s North Rim.

A New Arcanum Master

I had been teaching college level English classes for a few years at Truckee Meadows Community College when I met my supervisor’s mother at an on campus copy machine. She told me that she taught art classes, and I told her that I had almost twenty years experience as a photographer and had been published in some top-notch publications and worked at the summertime Lake Tahoe art fairs at Kings Beach. She told me that I should go talk to the art department because she thought they were looking for a new photography instructor.

A couple hours later, I did exactly what she recommended and was basically given an Intro to Digital Photography class to teach the following semester. The department asked me if I could teach Photoshop, and I said that I had been using it since 1995. Then I was asked if I could also teach Adobe Lightroom. I said that I could and basically fibbed because I had at the time never used Lightroom at all. I knew that I had enough time to learn it before the semester started and went and purchased a copy with my teacher’s discount at the University of Nevada, Reno. I read some blogs and watched some videos, and that was when I first learned about Trey Ratcliff.

I am surprised that I didn’t know who he was before then. He is currently the most famous and successful travel photographer alive, and he has a following on social media that is larger than Mick Jagger’s. He also has great tutorial videos on HDR photography and Lightroom, and I ended up purchasing both. Thankfully, that Lightroom tutorial prepared me to begin teaching it in my first photography class, and now I use Lightroom as my primary software for editing and organizing my photography catalog. Honestly, it is now my favorite software that I have ever used, and I wonder how I made it so long without it.

During my first year as a photography instructor, I continued to follow all the cool things that Trey was doing, and through him I was able to keep up with all the latest and greatest things which were going on in the photography world. If you haven’t noticed, and I really hadn’t at the time, technology has rapidly evolved in the photography world during the past few years, and many things are possible now that weren’t five years ago. For example, using high ISO for nighttime photography has improved so much that some cameras will shoot very well at an extremely high ISO which didn’t exist in the days of film. Also, many digital cameras can now shoot video that is much better quality than what video cameras could produce a few years ago.

Nighttime Scene from Nevada's Cathedral Gorge State Park

Nighttime Scene from Nevada’s Cathedral Gorge State Park

One day, while looking at Trey’s blog at, I read that he was going to start a new online photography mentorship program called, The Arcanum, and I became interested immediately and decided to sign up. While I felt as though I was qualified to become a master right away, I didn’t have all the required tutorial videos, and I thought it would be fun and helpful to initially take part from a student’s perspective, so I signed up to become an apprentice. My application was submitted in December of 2013, and I received my invitation from Angela B. Pan in August of 2014. I was already familiar with her amazing HDR photography of Washington D.C., so I accepted the invitation the day that I received it and have been involved ever since.

The Arcanum experience was terrific. The people in my cohort were all super fun to visit with, and I learned a lot from Angela, whom I like to call Angela B. Rad. She has an amazing eye for detail that has really helped me to improve my compositions while in the field, and I also learned some post-processing techniques from her that have taken the presentation of my photographs to a higher level. Besides the learning experience, it provided a great community aspect that I really hadn’t experienced as a photographer. Most of my friends aren’t photographers, and The Arcanum brought me new friends who liked to talk about all the technical stuff nobody else I knew wanted to talk about. In my opinion, the friendship and camaraderie makes The Arcanum different and sets it apart from other platforms of learning.

This past January, Angela recommended me to become a master and I started working on all the requirements in February. At the time, I really didn’t know much at all about shooting or editing video, but I put a lot of effort into it and am now comfortable with both. As an already experienced teacher, the rest of the transition from apprentice to master was relatively easy for me. I was assigned a supervising master, Jessica Lark, who is a famous boudoir photographer, and I found a second supporting master, Ron Clifford, who is an amazing landscape photographer from Canada and one of the nicest guys in the world. They, and Angela, helped guide me on the path to where I am today. I was able to merge what has been successful for me in the past as a photography instructor into a new form of learning through the merger of yesteryear’s master and apprentice method with the high-tech modern technology of today. It’s all so exciting, and I am so happy to be about to send out my first batch of invites.

Arcanum Masters (from left to right) Jessica Lark, Angela B. Pan, A.D. Wheeler, and Ron Clifford take part in the Trey Ratcliff photo walk in Philadelphia.

Arcanum Masters (from left to right) Jessica Lark, Angela B. Pan, A.D. Wheeler, and Ron Clifford take part in the Trey Ratcliff photo walk in Philadelphia. Photo by Zach Heaton

If you are interested in being one of my 20 apprentices, please fill out an application at and let me know. My cohort will be general in that all genres of photography will be covered and discussed, but there will be a strong emphasis on landscape photography, and two of my leveling-up assignments will be about nighttime photography. There will be a weekly, Theme of the Week, challenge, and I will be hosting at least three video hangouts on Google + a month. My goal is to level up the skills of all the cohort members while also building new friendships amongst likeminded individuals with similar interests. 

Please let me know if you would like to join or have any questions. Also, I will be participating in Trey Ratcliff’s photo walk on September 19 in San Francisco. If you happen to be there, please come by and say hello.

Nighttime in Nevada: Occidental Mineshaft

A couple years ago one of the best photographers I know, Neil Lockhart, told me how to get to the remains of this interesting mineshaft near Virginia City, Nevada. It requires going up a rough, steep road, but it is worth it because the mine is very photogenic and appears to be an old relic of a historical time in Nevada when gold and silver was on the minds of many, and getting rich quick was possible for some. It’s one of the things that I like most about photography in Nevada; the history can be just as visually interesting as the natural scenery.

Milky Way over the remains of the Occidental Mineshaft near Virginia City, Nevada

Milky Way over the remains of the Occidental Mineshaft near Virginia City, Nevada (Sony A7R ii — ISO 8000, f2.8, 20 seconds)

As you may know, I am very interested in nighttime photography and have been collecting images for my Nighttime in Nevada project for several years. In February, after getting my tax-return, I bought a Sony A7S to use as my main nighttime camera. It has been fantastic, but it has been my only camera since I decided to sell all the Olympus gear and switch entirely to Sony a few months ago. While the Sony A7S can produce amazing images in all types of light, the 12 megapixels can be limiting for someone who likes to print big. So in June I preordered their latest and greatest camera, the 42 megapixel Sony A7R ii, and it has been in my possession since August 11. My intentions were to use the Sony A7S at night and the new Sony A7R ii during the day, but I read a lot about how the Sony A7R ii is close to being as good in low light as the Sony A7S. I’ve been testing both cameras all week with the Perseid Meteor Shower coinciding with the new moon, and from what I have seen so far, the Sony A7R ii is close to being as good as the Sony A7S in low light, and in some ways I think it beats it. I don’t want to bore people with 100% crop noise comparisons, but the Sony A7R ii is the second best camera that I’ve ever had for nighttime photography, and I would probably use the Sony A7R ii’s 42 megapixels instead of the Sony A7S’s 12 megapixels if I knew that I would be making large prints.

Star Trails over Occidental Mineshaft (Sony A7S -- ISO 8000 f2.8 -- 100, 15 second exposures blended with Star Stax Software)

Star Trails over Occidental Mineshaft (Sony A7S — ISO 8000 f2.8 — 100, 15 second exposures blended with Star Stax Software)

One thing that I am really excited about now that I am rocking two very special cameras is that I can work on time-lapse stuff while also working on capturing a variety of stills. I won’t have to choose between the two; I’ll be able to do both. Here’s an example of a quick little time-lapse video that I put together. There might be one or two shooting stars with this, but most of the streaks going across the sky are from airplanes.



Nighttime in Nevada: Perseid Meteor Shower over Calico Range

This summer’s Perseid Meteor Shower has been on my calendar since I realized that it would be during the time of a new moon. Last year it happened when a full moon was out, and very little could be seen. For the peak night of the event this year, I decided to drive up to the infamous Black Rock Desert. Upon arrival, I was kind of bummed out because the legendary Burning Man event is already being setup, and there are bright lights all over the floor of the Playa which make the location horrible for my intended purpose. So I had to come up with a new plan and drove north on the lovely Soldier Meadows Road until the Burning Man lights were blocked by surrounding mountains. I then noticed being next to the Calico Range on the western edge of the Black Rock Desert. The Calico Range is really beautiful, and I especially like it because I had a photo of the range in the 2010 Wild Nevada Calendar. That was enough for me to make the location the photographic subject of the night. Besides, it was getting dark, so I parked for the night at a flat spot with a good view mountains and setup two different cameras to both shoot time-lapse footage all night long. I am still importing the files into Lightroom as I write. This photo caught my attention right away, so I thought I’d go ahead and post it. It is a 20 second exposure that captured several meteors.

Milky Way and Perseid Meteor Shower over Nevada's Calico Range

Milky Way and Perseid Meteor Shower over Nevada’s Calico Range

Reno Portraits: Tony Walker

As a derivative of Ton Loc, the famous rapper of yesteryear, Tony Walker’s best friend and brother, Devin Devontae Dinkins, gave him the nickname, “The Locus,” while they were “messin’ around with rappin’ or b-ballin.” He eventually shortened it up to just “Locus,” which is a scientific term that actually means the distance traveled from point A and point B. Tony loves to sing, freestyle rap, and paint, but above all he loves to hang out with his son who is his “light and inspires many things.” He is also a well-known man around Reno and has a lot to do with much of the city’s nightlife and art scene.

Tony Walker in front of Reno, Nevada's most famous sign

Tony Walker in front of Reno, Nevada’s most famous sign

I met Tony thru one of my former students who told me that he’d be interested in hanging up some of my photography prints at a popular bar in downtown Reno. I noticed right away that he is a hip and friendly guy who is very “coo.” If you check out his Instagram account @THELOCUS, you can see a lot about how much that he does around Reno and why he is so respected by those involved in The Biggest Little City in the World’s vibrant art and entertainment scene.

Artown with Friends of Nevada Wilderness

Stitched iPhone panoramic of my aluminum prints at the Friends of Nevada Wilderness office in Spark, Nevada

Stitched iPhone panoramic of my aluminum prints at the Friends of Nevada Wilderness office in Spark, Nevada

When my friend, Shevawn Von Tobel, sent out her notice about Friends of Nevada Wilderness looking for art to hang in their office during Artown, my first thought was to submit some images from my  Nighttime in Nevada project. During my spring break, I had been down in Southern Nevada shooting star trails, and I had plans to photograph a lot more nighttime scenes this summer. Thankfully, Kurt Kuznicki, my other friend over at Friends of Nevada Wilderness, told me not to submit any images with manmade stuff, so when I went out for my June nighttime photography outing, I only photographed natural locations. I setup a Dropbox folder for Shevawn and uploaded images from McDonalds WiFi while on the road in order to show her my submissions. It was a lot of work and a bit of a gamble, but it was a lot of fun and totally worked out. I ended up hanging six metal prints, five from my June nighttime outing and one from my March star trails outing in Southern Nevada.

Nevada's Blue Lakes are really hard to reach and in a very remote location. It is a white knuckle drive that I probably won't make again until I hear about the roads being improved.

Nevada’s Blue Lakes are really hard to reach and in a very remote location. It is a white knuckle drive that I probably won’t make again until I hear about the roads being improved.

Interestingly, Reno’s Artown began in 1996 as a festival in downtown Reno with the purpose of promoting art, and it has grown into one of the biggest art festivals in the country with over 100 businesses and non-profit groups like Friends of Nevada Wilderness participating. The intention, in my opinion, is to help promote Reno as a great town that is not only a gambling destination. Personally, I love Reno and think that it is a fantastic place to live and enjoy life, so I am more than honored to be involved with the Artown event.


Nevada’s Black Rock Desert is where I originally fell in love with nighttime in Nevada photography, so it was my first stop during my June run of collecting new images.

So if you are lucky enough to be a Renoite, or you just happen to be passing through “The Biggest Little City in the World,” my six metal prints and great art from other artists will be hanging on the wall for the rest of July at the Friends of Nevada Wilderness office at 1360 Greg St, #111 in Sparks, Nevada. The old maintenance man at my apartment building once jokingly  told me that “Reno is so close to hell that you can see Sparks,” but I totally disagree. Reno is so close to getting away from light pollution that you can see the heavens. Or, if you don’t want to drive an hour outside of town in the middle of the night when the moon isn’t out, you can see it on my metal prints for the rest of the month in Sparks.

Great Basin National Park really means a lot to me for many reasons. First of all, it's just flat out gorgeous, and it doesn't receive many visitors. Second, Wheeler Peak, the mountain featured in this photo, is the tallest mountain that I have ever climbed. Finally, it has terrific dark skies at night with very little light pollution.

Great Basin National Park really means a lot to me for many reasons. First of all, it’s just flat out gorgeous, and it doesn’t receive many visitors. Second, Wheeler Peak, the mountain featured in this photo, is the tallest mountain that I have ever climbed. Finally, it has terrific dark skies at night with very little light pollution.

Click Here to order prints:


Do Go Chasing Waterfalls: California’s Webber Falls

My life of landscape photography began with chasing waterfalls in Arkansas. I would wait until it rained and then rush out to one of the lovely waterfalls in the Ozarks with a handful of Fuji Velvia slide film. I’ve always loved waterfalls and think that just being around them makes one feel more positive and optimistic, so because of all the rain we’ve been getting in Northern Nevada and Northern California, I decided to try to focus myself on getting back to my roots a little bit. This waterfall is called Webber Falls, and it’s off the radar of most waterfall photographers. There are no signs, and the route is kind of sketchy, but I knew it’s location, and the early morning light was flat out amazing.

California's Webber Falls in the Northern Sierra Nevada

California’s Webber Falls in the Northern Sierra Nevada

Prints are available here:

Nighttime in Nevada: Cathedral Gorge State Park

After five days without a shower, the 25 cent hot showers at Nevada’s Cathedral Gorge State Park was what I was most anxious to see upon my arrival. It was the furthest south that I made it during this portion of my nighttime in Nevada photography trip, and I have to say that those showers are the nicest of any state park that I have visited. Most national parks and state parks don’t have showers at all, and it is really nice when they are available in the desert, where it is typically over 1oo degrees. Okay, that’s enough about the showers. I just wanted to let my fellow travelers know that they are available at Cathedral Gorge State Park, which is also a very beautiful and unique place to visit. 

I wouldn’t say that I’ve officially quit drinking alcohol, but I haven’t had a drop since the Superbowl, so after the shower I went to a bar in Caliente to watch the NBA Finals and drink iced tea. I’ve always been a California boy at heart, so I was happy to see them win. Once the game ended, I headed back to the park because it was dark enough to start my photography. I walked around for an hour while looking for a place to setup and even came across a couple rattlesnakes. I’m so glad that they have those rattles! Don’t hike in the desert while wearing headphones. Once I found a spot to shoot from, I shot some tests for a while and began my time-lapse. My camera was fairly well-hidden, and the park was relatively empty, so I set my alarm for 3:30 AM and went to sleep while the camera continuously shot 30-second exposures all night long.

Milky Way over Nevada's Cathedral Gorge State Park

Milky Way over Nevada’s Cathedral Gorge State Park

When I returned to my camera at 3:45 AM, I was really upset because a spider had built a web on the hood of my Rokinon 14mm f2.8 lens, my favorite lens for night photography. I hurried back to my laptop to process the images through Lightroom to see how bad was the photographic damage. Thankfully, the spider waited until after the heart of the Milky Way was in the best spot. If you watch the video below, you can see when it shows up. Once I use this for my real time-lapse video project, I will have to edit out the last 20% or so from this segment. You can double click on the video to view it in full-screen.

Nighttime in Nevada: Angel Lake of East Humboldt Range

I only have a couple days left for my June Nighttime in Nevada outing, and other than getting stumped at the Jarbidge Mountains because I took a wrong turn, the trip has been great. When I was driving through Wells, Nevada, I noticed how pretty that the mountains looked, so I decided to venture up to Angel Lake to take a look. It was super windy and hardly anyone was there, but the weather forecast said it would clear out around midnight, so I thought I’d give it a shot. It looked like the Milky Way would not be in the frame when it was dark enough to start at around 10 PM, but there would be clouds going over the mountains while the Milky Way slowly moved to the right. I ended up shooting several hundred 30 second exposures, and I quickly picked this one to use for the blog. Ultimately, I am planning to use the stuff from these shoots as a time-lapse video, and I believe that this section is my best so far. It will be a while until that is ready, so for now here’s one of the frames.

Milky Way over Angel Lake in Nevada's East Humboldt Range

Milky Way over Angel Lake in Nevada’s East Humboldt Range

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