Instagram: @alex__swanson

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Largest Dead Snake Ever Found

Watch with headphones

Stop and Hear the Music

"A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the
Violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for
About 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was
Calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of
Them on their way to work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother
Tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the
Violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to
Walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by
Several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced
Them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and
Stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk
Their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and
Silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there
Any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best
Musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces
Ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a
Theater in Boston and the seats average $100.

Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by
The Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception,
Taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace
Environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we
Stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I love eHarmony

New Ando fin for Cap'n Fin

Phot Credit: Ando and Friends

Monday, September 28, 2009




An Appreciation

When Kodak announced they were discontinuing the film that put color photography on the map, the news was somewhat akin to hearing about the loss of an old friend, someone with whom I shared a history. Kodachrome was my film of choice for over 2 decades, as it was for many photographers I crossed paths with over the years, one of whom went as far as having 'KR135 36' on his license plates.

Kodachrome had a terrific run. Seventy-four years to be exact. Oddly enough, two unemployed jazz musicians concocted Kodachrome - one of the most complex film processes ever created - in the bathtub of the apartment they shared. What's also striking is that the film that brought us "nice bright colors", "the greens of summers", and made "all the world a sunny day", was born during the Great Depression, a place in usually viewed in grittier shades of gray.

What's interesting is how many advances were made in the field of camera technologies during Kodachrome's seven-decade reign as the finest color film money can buy. At the time of its debut, cameras had three basic controls, none of which required batteries. There was a shutter-speed dial, aperture ring, and focusing barrel. That's it. And autofocus was still a good 50 years down the pike.

As for exposures, you used a hand-held selenium-cell light meter or a variation of the sorts clipped onto the camera's accessory shoe. It wasn't built-in, and in many cases it didn't even link to the aperture ring or shutter dial. Nor was there a choice of Program mode, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority, or any 'creative' (sic) Scene modes designed to eliminate the need to think before taking a picture. But thinking is something you had to do when shooting Kodachrome.

Never a truly fast film – the original Kodachrome emulsions had single-digit ISO ratings – most pros stuck to the ISO 25 and 64 versions, while keeping a few rolls of the 200-speed version tucked away for light-starved shooting scenarios. Not having the option of cranking up sensitivity levels to 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, or beyond, Kodachrome shooters learned to navigate carefully among their exposure options when shooting under lighting conditions less than optimal. A few independent labs advertised 'pushed' processing for Kodachrome, but the results usually had the look of last-ditch attempts at covering up one's mistakes.

And as tight as Kodachrome's grain structure was, that's how tight its exposure range could be under contrasty lighting conditions. While you could afford to be 'sloppy' when shooting negative film and to a lesser extent other slide films, with Kodachrome you only had about a third-of-a-stop wiggle room. Over or under a half-stop often made the difference between a dead-on exposure and a blown exposure.

The passing of Kodachrome reminds me of a day long ago when my father and I stood on the rooftop of our Brooklyn apartment house and watched in the distance as the first commercial jetliner, a Boeing 707, lifted off the runway at Idlewild Airport. For my father, who was a master mechanic who could dismantle, repair, and rebuild anything containing pistons including P-51 Mustangs and Hellcats during WWII, the event was particularly poignant. As we watched the gleaming silver jet bank over our home he wistfully said to no one in particular 'They finally got all of the kinks out of propeller-driven aircraft engines… they finally got it 'right'… and soon there'll be no need for them."

The last time I shot film was August 2000. Fittingly it was photographing a couple of antique speedboats on Lake Hopatcong. And though I learned the art and craft of photography using sheet film and a 4x5 camera, I've never looked back. Is digital perfect? Nope, and maybe it never will be. But just as jets have relegated piston-powered aircraft to private enthusiasts and regional puddle-jumpers, film will always be around, and considering our culture and human nature in general, we'll surely be seeing numerous revivals of various photographic processes.

And just as we'll never see another Lockheed Constellation or DC-3 taxiing down the runway at JFK, so goes Kodachrome. But then again, no aircraft from Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, or Lockheed can ever lay claim to having a best-selling record or state park named after it.

-Allan Weitz


"yo man, i was in charge of my apartment's electricity bill and i forgot to pay it, and now the electricity

company shut down all the power in my apartment and needs like a week to clear it! ahahha."

-My friend Trevors former roommate, Christian.

(this is outside the dormroom) ^^^

The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future

"The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future"
The title to the latest Los Campesinos song is easily relatable to wave sliders all around the world. If you've been surfing for 40 years, or for 40 days, you have more than likely felt that connection with the Ocean. The calming effect it has on the soul. The way it clears your mind. The absolute, raw power that is exerted from the Pacific herself. It brings you down a level. It raises you to a surreal place.
When you're out there, by yourself, or with 100 other guys fighting for that "perfect" wave, just close you're eyes and sit and think. Take a deep breath and think of how insignificant you really are. It is a humbling experience to think of how powerful the Ocean really is.
I paddled out in the deepest fog I've ever been in last week. I couldn't even see the shore, but I knew it was there. That was comforting. But the fact that I was out there, by myself, with only my thoughts, was a little overwhelming. The fact of the matter is, whenever you need to get away, an escape, go for a surf session to clear your body and your mind.
The sea really is a good place to think of the future.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I hate narcissism. But aside from that, lets talk about me... I eat Mexican food. I surf with surfboards. I wear wetsuits to class.

Star Wars Forever

When I was 14, I got into Star Wars. Little did I know that this was the best birth control my parents could've hoped for. The most action I got in four years was Princess Leia's skimpy outfit in Episode 6 Return of the Jedi...

Friday, September 25, 2009


NeonDream from SDRW on Vimeo.

Nutrigrains are so delicious

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Linda Vista Revisited: East LA's Abandoned Hospital

"Last year, while scouting for a short film that never came to fruition, some friends and I talked our way inside an empty, run-down hospital in Boyle Heights. The short was supposed to take place in a hospital, but after a few minutes wandering the halls of Linda Vista — alone and decidedly creeped-out — it became obvious that there was no way the place would work. It had been closed for twenty years, and it showed: there was dirt caked in layers on walls and mysteriously wet floors; windows were broken and doors hung off their hinges; ceiling tiles had fallen victim to moisture and gravity, and rats had chewed through the walls. We didn’t have the money to make Linda Vista look like anything more than a horror movie — a few of which had actually been shot there over the years.

I was only inside for 45 minutes or so, running through the place snapping photos on the fly with a crappy point-and-shoot. I featured some of them in this post from last year, but promised myself I would go back with a DSLR, a tripod and a few hours to kill, and really explore the place. Last week, I finally did."

-Ransom Riggs

Past and Present

To me. From me.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Check-Out Woman: Are you here all by yourself?
Kevin McCallister: Ma'am, I'm eight years old. You think I would be here *alone*? I don't think so.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ghetto Grill

you want that medium rare?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Sports Videos, News, Blogs


A couple of weeks ago, Me, Erica, and Trevor all drove to Oceanside to check out The Capt. Helm; Mitch Abshere (of Capt. Fin and Raen sunglasses) new shop. Our friend Mason Dyer is the manager there so he showed us around. After that, we all surfed Cardiff for a couple hours. Overall it was a pretty successful day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Al Knost

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cats rule

Joy Division

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Point of view

“Great is the man who has not lost his childlike heart.”


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Biggie vs Tupac vs The Xx


This afternoon I had a dream. A weird, funny, and just plan weird dream.

I’m at Young Hall and Cody almost gets in a fight with a young beefier freshman

We are looking for my Viper fins

There seems to be a coalmine

And I want to get in it

I need to get some film developed and Mahoney does it

I want to get in the caves in the school so I crawl in this little cave and the guy next to me is taking Polaroids of himself while we are waiting for the group in front of us to leave.

I don’t know what’s in the cave, but I want to find out.

The surf looks good so we all paddle out

There is an over passing sign by the break

But we don’t seem to be waiting for any waves because its right by the shore and this ledge

I start climbing up the over pass sign and wanting to jump off, but Tasha screams no

I jump back in with my life vest and my bike is starting to sink to the bottom

I dive down to get it, the water is pretty clear, the bottom looks sandy with some reef.

We are sitting and all of a sudden a cat shows up the size of a small seal, I pet it, let it bite my hand: bad idea.

I walk away from it but continue to pet this water cat that swam to me.

It hops back in the water swims to Edward and scares him.

The water-seal-cat swims away.

5 Frames of Summer


Lis's original shaping room

I found this the other day... Super sick.

"Since I took those photos, Mr.Lis passed away, the property was sold and all has been torn down and hauled to the dump. The only thing that remains is the ideas that were born there. "

Monday, September 07, 2009

the talented mr tyler warren

soo barreled...

Phot Credit/ Copyright: Ando and Friends

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Black Hole/ Liddle Hull

A couple weeks ago my brother, Greg dropped off his 9'4 Webber to get repaired at the Froghouse in Newport, they called us a week later saying they had "misplaced it"... but in return until they found it, one of the guys that worked for the Froghouse said we could use his 6'8 Liddle Hull. We were a little stoked to say the least. They eventually found Gregs board, but that Liddle was one of the most fun, and quickest boards I've ever had the pleasure of riding. Another part of the roll of film I shot was of Trevor talking to Tanner about a new board deal at Tanners shop, The Black Hole