skateboarding (88)

Tintype Portrait

Photographer Jenny Sampson shot this, along with portraits of other skateboarders last week at the Bolinas skatepark, using an 8″ by 10″ view camera and the tintype process — a 19th century procedure called wet plate collodion (invented in 1851).

I had to hold perfectly still for 20 seconds, during which time the shutter was open for 3-5 seconds. She then developed the plate in a portable darkroom she set up on site.

I’ve always felt that people in those photos from 100 years ago looked piercingly realistic, due to the shutter being open for a relatively long time, and getting more of the essence of its subjects.

More on Jenny and her books and photos (many of skaters) at

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Your Computer Is Not Going to Build a House for You

This the last part of a 7-minute video titled “Shelter – A Video about author Lloyd Kahn” made by Jason Sussberg (shooting 35mm film!) in 2009, when I was 75. He shows Lesley and me doing stuff around the homestead.
Jason included a minute or so of me skateboarding, with the sound guy on his crew (a skater) skating behind me and alongside me with the heavy 35mm camera.

Then I sat on the curb (in front of my skateboard) talking about housing.

Sorry this is so blurry, Jason’s work is clear, we copied this from YouTube.

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Transformation of Berlin Templehof Airport to Community Space


Last Saturday, Lukas, his fpur-year-old daughter Luna, and I walked over to the Berlin Templehof airport, which closed 14 years ago. The landing strip is intact and used by rollerbladers, skateboarders, cyclists, and runners. Lukas does a voiceover with the video here.

The Nazis did an enormous construction in the mid-1930s. The main building was once one of the largest buildings in the world.

On the perimeter are a series of gardens, shown here. Things look a bit bedraggled, since the growing season is over, but what a great idea: people growing their own vegetables in the middle of the city.

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“Janwaar” Is the Story of a Skatepark’s Giant Impact on a Small Indian Village

‘I feel lucky. Sometimes, very cool things come through my inbox. Like Janwaar, from filmmaker Danny Schmidt, a short, beautifully filmed documentary on a skatepark’s gigantic impact on a small village in India.’

Schmidt, who’s based in Salt Lake City and grew up skating, heard about the park in 2018. “I was immediately intrigued,” he told us. “Skateboarding was changing lives in this tiny far-off place. I wasn’t surprised necessarily – skateboarding changed my life too when I wasn’t much older than these kids – but I did think it was a story that the world should know about.’

From Maui Surfer

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On the Pavement Again


Breaking my arm (compound fracture) 2 years ago traumatized me (first broken bone in 84 yrs.). I gave up skating, but in about 2 weeks thought fuck it I’m not giving up.

Started skating after I was healed, but it was as if I’d aged 20 years. I felt awkward, tentative. I hoped no one was watching. Once I’m rolling I feel OK, but it’s the pumping then jumping on the board transition where I feel nervous.

But I’m easing back into it, poco a poco. Not pushing it any more. Just gentle slopes where I can carve.

On my way back from Louie’s last week I found a gentle down slope and a couple of guys filmed me from their truck.

What you gain in skating, as opposed to surfing, is the wave to yourself; no crowd problem. What you lose is a soft place to land.

And yes, Mom, I’m wearing safety gear.

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Classic 1975 Skateboarding Film – Huntington Beach, California

Oh man, this is so good! The rawness of the sport, the crudeness of the boards, the sunny (1975) SoCal spirit, the moves, the dream skating scene starting at 30:17. These guys had something that today’s hot skaters don’t have.

I think this belongs in the same category as The Endless Summer. Pure unabashed LA, in its still glory days of the ’70s.

“Amazing old skateboard documentary mainly based in California in the mid-70s. Shows the early days of skateboarding and show cases some of the main skaters of the day like Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva and many of the original Zepha Surf Shop team.”

From Leo Hetzel

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On the Road Again

Headed up the coast to hang out with my pal Louie in Pt. Arena yesterday. Was gonna leave at 7 or 8 AM, didn’t get extricated from office biz until noon.

But once rolling, I got the familiar burst of energy. Something about moving wakes my brain up from staying home. The different scenery, the people, the excitement from once again being a traveling photographer. It’s like hunting, whether its scanning the changing landscape for barns and the occasional bit of good architecture or walking down a crowded street in NYC.

I swear, the world is a a place of never-ceasing wonder to me. Photographing, talking to people, letting serendipity run the show, my chi kicks into overdrive.

I’m just gonna write a bit here because I can’t seem to download the 180 or so photos I took yesterday. Hey Instagrammers, remember writing?

At some point in my life I’d like to take trips and communicate (blog and Instagram) as I go, like Charles Kuralt used to do. Come along and ride shotgun with me.

Only problem: how to get paid for doing so?

I stopped at Hog Island Oyster farm yesterday, got a dozen, and left a copy of Driftwood Shacks for Terry and the crew. The woman at the counter said “I love your books.”

Also, along the self-aggrandizement lines, a woman came up to me a few weeks ago at Andytown Coffee in SFO, and said “My daughter still has that mini-book you gave her and she still looks at it.” I had given it to her 4-year old daughter Maggie maybe a year ago, and Maggie had looked through all the pages carefully, asking me which tiny house was mine.

The feedback on our books is off the charts. Everyday, no kidding. The people shown in our building books inspire others to build, or create — something. The idea of using hands to provide (at least part of) their own shelter and food.

On the Skateboard Again
I found a perfect place to ride my skateboard yesterday. Breaking my arm a few years ago was a trauma (first broken bone in 84 years). I’ve felt awkward, cautious, but for the first time yesterday, I felt into the flow. I need to find the right downslope, smooth pavement, feathering out at bottom. No more pushing the speed limit, but rather trying to turn gracefully, like longboard surfing. No slash and burn. For that, I’ll take up skating at age 3 (like my skate hero Jeremy) in my next life, rather than at age 65.

My Mercedes 320E
This is an as-yet undiscovered gem of a car. I bought a ’99 320E with 180K a few years ago, for $4k. Might be up to $7k now with new tires, repairs, tuneups, and I can’t believe not only the design and construction, but the luxury. I would never have thought of myself driving a “Cedes, but this fell in my lap and instead of buying a new Crosstrek (was about to do), I’m gonna stick with this as long as it runs. My first non stick shift ever and I love it. Especially going over the mountain. Gets 22-23 mpg. I read about a couple of 320 E’s with a million miles on motors.

I’m maybe 3/5 through laying out pages. It changes every day. It’s a book creating itself. I’m not gonna take time to go into specifics, but, in spite of the plethora of books on vans and nomadic living out there these days, this one will be unique, I kid you not. Now working on a couple’s 7-month, 20,000 mile trip through the Sahara desert in 1971 in a Citroen 2CV (Doo-sha-vo) van they bought for $1200 in Paris. Two cylinders, 36 horsepower…

Time to go skating. Sun shining, I love this part of the world. The farther north, the less lameness…

I’ll be putting photos up at: by tomorrow (Friday, Aug 27).

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