Cloudy days make great photo days!

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Nothing like some clouds to add drama to a scene! If you’re looking for a great vantage point of downtown San Francisco check out “Ina Coolbrith Park.”

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The Journey to Nine Mile Jamaica

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Being the HUGE Bob Marley fan I am, visiting the House of Marley in Nine Mile Jamaica was an item I had on my bucket list for a very long time! (Glad that’s one item crossed off) The drive to the compound took about two hours from where we were located. The roads were rough and consisted of narrow lanes that ran along the mountains of Jamaica. I loved every minute of it! What’s not to love when you’re in a bus filled other fans just as excited as you are, and all singing to the tunes of Bob Marley?!? Good times, good times… and now for the photos:
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The view from Mt. Zion

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A photo of Bob Marley’s meditation rock.

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Of course had to get a photo with our guide. I tell you, I was so excited/happy to be in Jamaica I was choppin it up with everyone!
Nothing but love!
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Jerk chicken, pork with red beans and rice!

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These dogs definitely have the right idea… feeln’ irie!

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“The Sun is Shining” ~ Until we meet again Jamaica

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Copenhagen


Welcome to Copenhagen, my first trip out to Europe and it was one a good one! Freezing, wet and adventurous are a few words to describe my experience in Copenhagen. Not to mention, Bikes! Everywhere! I really loved seeing people use bikes as their chosen form of transportation. Not only that, it was nice seeing people not having to lock up their bikes since the crime rate is extremely low. (never going to see that in San Francisco!)








Being into the craft of Beers, the Carlsberg Brewery was definitely on the list of places to check out. Lucky for me it was “Culture Night” in Denmark so all museums were open late with free admission.










Tivoli Gardens was another stop on the list, a theme park right in downtown. Pretty cool spot actually, a nice easy way to blow off a stressful day maybe? They do say that Denmark is the most happiest country in the world.








Here are some random photos photojoaqing around town, which of course is always a lot of fun.































On our last night in Copenhagen we decided to have dinner at Resturant AOC, a two star Michelin restaurant. Pricey as hell!!! might as well enjoy this once in a life time opportunity! Here are a few photos from our meal, I really enjoyed how creative and friendly they were.












Sushi Boat Sunday

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My first time trying out “Fuji Sushi Buffet” and I’ll have to say definitely not bad for $17.99 all you can eat sushi boat.  One recommendation get there early! The restaurant opened at 11am and there was already a line of people waiting to get in. Lucky for us, we were second in line so there was no problem grabbing seats at the sushi bar. The service was quick and the staff was friendly, not a bad way to enjoy Sunday.

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This Hamachi cheek was…. “hella good!”

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One Last Picnic

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About a week ago I found out that the Tomales Bay Oyster Company will be removing their picnic tables and barbecue grills because of a Marin County code enforcement. Sadly their current hours of operations from 9am to 5pm everyday will be cut down to only half days on Friday, Saturday and Sunday effective October 16th, 2015. KPIX News on Channel 5 also showed up while we were there and interviewed the owner along with some of their customers. My family and I visit a few times during the year so we decided to come one last time before they shutdown their picnic area. Here are some photos from the day.

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“Bar Hop x Photojoaq”

(Here is a blog post I posted to photojoaqers.com , a new blog I started up with a few friends.)

Once upon a time there were 5 “techies” (Adrian, Sonny, Brian, Andrew, & Robert from in Austin TX) who loved to take photographs. They said to one another other, “if we ever are at the same location at the same time, we should go on a bar hop photojoaq!”
Well… That day finally came when Robert came to visit San Francisco, we were finally able to make this a reality. First stop on our list was suggested by Brian, the Mandarin Hotel. At first glance the lobby / bar looked pretty simple with not much going on. In fact it looked so boring we were giving Brian a hard time for suggesting this location. We headed over to the bar for our first round of the night. The funny thing was, once we got there we looked at each other and thought ugh…. now what do we do? You know, like that awkward moment when you’re at a school dance clinging to the wall like a “wall flower.” Fortunately for us, Adrian broke the ice and described our mission for the night to our bartender. From that moment on we were ready for an epic night! Now for photos of our first location. The Mandarin Hotel SF, head up to the 38th floor where you’ll be greeted by amazing aerial views of downtown San Francisco. (BTW after seeing these amazing views Brian earned his street cred back with us.)







Next stop on the agenda, the “Rickhouse” which was suggested by Adrian. A nice little trendy looking spot with a hip crowd and decorations with character. There weren’t amazing views of the city here but that didn’t stop us from capturing photos and “geeking out” about photo gear.






Finally our last bar of the night, “The Buddah Lounge.” Yep just as it looks, a total dive bar! Most people walking by probably think “what a dump!” Surprise! It was rated one of the 33 best dive bars in America. Mark the bartender is really the one who brings this place to life! He’s insane, funny, and one really cool guy. We tried to order their signature drink called, “Three Penis Chinese Whiskey,” thankfully they were out of it. Mark ended up bringing out this crazy looking Chinese bottle and poured a round of shots for us. It was definitely a crazy drink with a crazy taste. There was also a jukebox there where I loaded it up with Hip Hop songs from the 90’s, aka the “Golden Era” of Hip Hop. This is one of those places you’ll just have to experience on your own to really know.






 

Lastly we concluded the night by having dinner at this Vietnamese restaurant in Chinatown called “Golden Star,” where Brian repeatedly stated… “this is the best damn 5 spice chicken I’ve ever had!” The food was good and cheap! Two words that rarely go together! All in all it was a fun night with each location offering us a different experience.

San Diego

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San Diego! The land of the Sun, beaches, Sea World,  carne asada fries and some of the best Micro Breweries in the country. The minute I touched down in San Diego I only had one goal, to visit as many Micro Breweries as possible. All in all it was a great trip and I was able to check out a total of seven breweries. (Ballast Point, Iron Fist, Green Flash, Belching Beaver, The Lost Abbey / Port Brewing, and Mike Hess Brewing)
Hands down Ballast Point was my favorite and the first brewery I went to, literally right after landing. My two favorite craft beers from Ballast Point had to be the Dorado Double IPA and the Grapefruit Sculpin IPA, smooooooth and tasty! The Ballast Point Miramar location even had an “R&D” section on their menu of brews that might not be out on the market yet, which of course is totally awesome! Out of all the breweries I visited this time around Ballast Point by far was the most busiest, and the only one with a restaurant in it.

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Iron Fist Brewery was another fantastic brewery I got to check out, not to mention they had the best looking growlers I’ve ever seen!  Sadly I was so amazed I forgot to even snap a shot of their growlers! The staff was really friendly and welcoming, even more so when they found out I was visiting from San Francisco. (I even got a free sticker)  I’m an IPA fan so they recommended their “Counter Strike” IPA for me since the weather was hot and humid. I have to admit the “Counter Strike” IPA really did go well with how hot it was that day.

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Green Flash was one of the larger breweries on my trip, and had the most variety of IPA’s available. I had to go with the taster sizes here just so I could get a sample all of their IPA’s. I can’t remember which ones I tried but I do know they were all pretty good. Also their cross street is “Top Gun Street” how dope is that!

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Belching Beaver the funniest of all the breweries I visited, everything from their logo to the names of their beer (ie: “Me So Honey” Wheat Ale) . The “Me So Honey” Wheat Ale was pretty refreshing, a good summer beer no doubt. I also tried their “Great Lei” IPA which tasted like a Pina Colada, definitely an interesting beer with the taste and aroma of coconut.

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The Lost Abbey, home of the “Agave Maria.” I came here to check out one of their brews called “Agave Maria,” a description quoted from their website: “a blend of Anejo and Reposado barrels and aged for a minimum of ten months, Agave Maria has hints of black pepper, sweet sugar, oatmeal, and oak with an earthy, bitter smoked chocolate on the finish. The base beer, a new Agave strong ale, was created specifically to pair with the spiciness of the Tequila, adding a sweet honey-like quality to the beer.” Basically beer aged in tequila barrels which equals 13.5%ABV! I took a small sip of this and had one of those “spidey sense” moments Spider-Man gets right before something goes wrong. Yup one small sip was all I needed with this one.

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Mike Hess Brewing, the last brewery on my trip and the smallest of the bunch. Mike Hess might have been the smallest but I could tell it was filled with a good amount loyal regulars. They also give you a nice pint glass if you do a flight of 5 tasters @ $14. There was also a couple of dogs hanging out, if only I had my equipment with me to take some portraits of them. Maybe that should be my next project, “Brew Dogs” portraits of the dogs that hang out in breweries. I’ll have to say this trip was epic, I will have to visit more of San Diego’s Micro Breweries next time and yes Oregon is on the list as well!

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Sailing on The Bay

I often get disappointed with myself for not taking advantage of all the amazing things one can do here in the San Francisco Bay Area. So when my wife asked me if I’d like to go for a ride on her co-workers sail boat, of course I responded with a “HELL YEA!” From calm waters to rough waters, to dodging  boats on the bay while listening to music ranging from Classic Rock to EDM  (electronic dance music) it was the most fun I had in a long time.