Masthead header

Case of the Fridays – Illusionist Nick Ivory

I’ve chosen Illusionist Nick Ivory for today’s interview for “Case of the Fridays“.  Nick delivers performances at venues or private events during which he will showcase a variety of illusions or “magic tricks” to a crowd of entertained guests.  I’ve personally seen him in action and he’s never failed to bewilder me with what he does.  His career is fascinating to me in the way that it delivers such entertainment and curiousity – and frankly, I thought it would be really interesting to hear more about his perspective about what he does!

Nick travels the country for events including Las Vegas and New York, but resides in America’s finest city.  If you’d like to meet him in person or catch a live demonstration of his work, you can see him at Syrah each Saturday night 7-9 PM.

Tim King Blog


I met him for our interview at his home here in San Diego.  I particularly like this “visual” photo of us because of the shadow cast upon him.  There’s an element of mystery to his personality, and I feel like this photo brings a bit of symbolism that represents that certain quality about him.


Tim King


What is your name/age?


Nick Ivory is my business name (piano longer than magic, hence the “Ivory”), my real name is Serbian…”Nenad Plavsic” and I’m 33


What is your occupation?


Illusionist – I feel conveys more of a sense of mystery than the term “magician.”  People think of a guy taking a rabbit out of a hat when they hear that.


Where did you grow up?


Chicago, Il


What level of schooling have you completed?


I got an associates degree in the business program in web development, and I studied piano at Sherwood conservatory.


How long have you been doing what you currently do?


About 20 years – right around junior high age I started doing it for my friends.


I started making money when I was 16 – cruising around restaurants/bars – my parents were against it and told me to “get a real job.”


I moved out to Vegas when I was 21 – I thought that’s where magicians were supposed to go.  When I got there, I was like “Holy Shit there’s a lot of magicians here.”  And there’s a lot of competition – and mediocre competition at that.


Did you have a 9-5 job before that?


I’ve had a few – I worked at a gym, a furniture store, all sorts of odd-end jobs.  Not your typical office cubical 9-5 – I’ve never done that, and I don’t think I ever will.


How did you become involved in the work that you currently do?


In Elmhurst – there was a magic shop.  I would always ride my bike up there and buy a trick or two.  The shopkeep eventually hired me to work there and it felt like Harry Potter.  A lot of pro’s would come in and I’d absorb as much as I could, learn as much as I could.  I felt like a human sponge.


In vegas I apprenticed for some big pro’s – menteed with some big names in the magic industry (not ones most people would know…a lot of underground guys) but big in the magic community.   If you absorb from the best of the best, it can truly help.


What is it like working with other magicians?  In my industry, photographers refer work out when they’re already booked for a certain date – is it like that in your line of business?


Magicians are very competitive and very secretive.  They come up with a trick and want it to be theirs so they can be as original as possible.  We do share and refer out, but for the most part, magicians don’t really like each other and they compete.


I heard there are magician conferences…is that true?


Yeah, totally.  International Brotherhood of Magicians, Society of American Magicians, the Academy of the Magic Arts in LA which is the Magic Castle (Neil Patrick Harris is actually the new president of Magic Castle – he was a magician before he was an actor).  And then there’s FISM – a magic competition in Europe.  That’s always a lot of fun.


A lot of magicians, a lot of dealers, a lot of people selling their tricks, selling DVDs.  People want to be known in the community – so that’s a quick way to get known.  We have scientists and psychologists that come in and talk about how the brain works.


I was at Magic con last year here in San Diego, met the author of this book “Sleights of Mind – What Neuroscience Reveals about Deception” and heard them talk about how the mind perceives things – and how we can affect someone’s reality.  Perception is reality, and we can bend that significantly.


“Perception is Reality” has a great deal to do with marketing and how the public perceives you…where do you draw the line?


I never claim to have a paranormal ability, etc.  I don’t want to mislead the audience too much.


How much longer do you envision yourself working in the field that you’re in?


Forever.  I’m never going to retire.  There are magicians in their 80’s that still perform.  And it goes back to “if you love what you do…you don’t work a day in your life”


What is it that you love about your work?


Everything.  I love the creation, the performing, the social interaction of it all.  I meet thousands of people per week.


Now that I get to mix my piano with magic, it makes it even better.  I can take my passions and make them into one.


You mentioned you meet thousands of people each week – do you ever have trouble remembering people’s names? 


Totally.  Haha.  But sometimes I’ll actually incorporate that into my work and ask someone that looks familiar to write their name on a card, and I’ll start a trick – so that way I know their name again, haha!  It works pretty well, and avoids any embarrassment.

Have you ever had someone react in a strange way to one of your tricks?


Well, there’s that really analytical type of person – engineers especially…they get so frustrated because they figure EVERYTHING out.  And of course they get pissed off because I wont tell them how I do it.  Some people actually call me the devil, or religious people that have taken it very seriously.  One guy got set on fire in the Dominican republic by religious fanatics because they thought he sold his soul to Satan.


What is your least favorite thing about your work?


I think my least favorite thing is when a client contacts me and is all excited, and then they just DON’T contact you back.  They don’t respond…or don’t follow-up.  It can be frustrating.


I suppose that’s the only thing though, so that’s not too bad!


What are some of the advantages of your job compared with the regular corporate career?


Flexibility for sure.  It’s not 9-5, I don’t have to be at work right now – I make my own hours…my gigs are a couple hours, and I make sure to set some time aside to focus directly on piano or magic – I really work well with schedules.  Everything has to be penciled in at a certain time frame.  I like to be very organized.


What are some of the disadvantages compared with the regular corporate career?


Benefits – insurance.  I have to pay for all that on my own.  I guess that would pretty much be it.


How different is the dating scene for you?  Is it easier/harder to make time to be with your significant other?


Well I’m single so it’s fantastic.  It’s easy for me to make time.  If I want to take a day off and go do an adventure – I can do it.  Right now I do 8 venues 6 nights a week, so I’m pretty busy.


Do you tend to prefer to live paycheck to paycheck or with a savings plan accounted for?  Is your income predictable and regular, or entirely dependent on what you produce?


Savings, budget, bills paid one month ahead – you CAN’T live paycheck to paycheck.  It’s very uncomfortable, very stressful.


How do you imagine your retirement, or lifestyle past 60?


Still performing.  Still playing piano in some of the biggest venues in the world.  Copperfield’s still goin’…Magicians, or musicians never retire.


Do you see your career facilitating a lifestyle suitable for a family, or do you have the desire to have a family?


Eventually down the road, yeah.  Right now I really don’t have time for a family.  It might sound selfish, but “you gotta do what you gotta do” to provide for a good future.  If I had kids and a family, I wouldn’t be able to work the way I do right now.


What are your top priorities in the ‘big picture’?


Helping people – I love to see that what I do put smiles on peoples faces.  I get a lot of people getting in touch wanting to know how to get started because they love seeing me do what I do.


There’s a group of kids that comes in to see me at one of my venues each week – and their mom tells them that “only if they’re good in school, can they come in and see me perform” - and that’s awesome.  That really feels awesome to bring that kind of highlight to these kids’ week.


If you had any advice to someone just graduating college or thinking about switching careers, what would it be?


Everyone has a passion and a dream – and it might sound cliché, but you should go after a life of your dreams.  Shoot for your passion in any way possible.


If someone wanted to do your job, what is important to maintain a position?


You have to be very social.  There are a ton of magicians that are fantastic, but you put them in front of a crowd and they just can’t entertain.  The psychology of how to figure out how to control where people look and what they think.  You build a personality out of that.


Who inspires you?


Lang Lang – a classical pianist.  A couple underground musicians inspire me.  Musicians.  I get inspired by everything.


The bujikan martial arts.  I go once a week.  I wish I could go more.  I try to be as disciplined as I can.  I focus on learning about self defense, protection, maintaining health, eating healthy.  I’m now 100% vegan.  Got rid of meats (that was tough).  Now I can notice the difference in terms of clarity, quickness.


What do you think of authority?








What did you want to be when you want to be when you grew up?




What are some of your favorite sounds?


The sound of a piano, violin.  White noise.  Music, sound, classical music.  Anything with orchestra.  My favorite classical piece is “Franz Lizts – Liebestraum (dreams of love).”


What’s your favorite curse word?


It’s in Serbian – my brother and I speak fluent Serbian – what it would translate to in English would be “what the fuck?”


What’s your favorite memory from your past? 


Fishing with my dad, and camping with my parents.  I love outdoorsy stuff.  Now that they’re getting old, and life is getting old – I miss that more.


If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be, and why?


I would be a cat – nimble, quick, sly.  I got a Persian here, and a little dog Ralphy.


What are some of your favorite smells?


Cleanliness.  Clean.  Fragrance.  A woman’s smell.


What did you get into the most trouble for when you were young?


Being a smart ass and having a temper.  Now that I’m older, I’m still a smart ass but it works to my advantage.


If you were a character in a famous movie, who’s role would you play?


Merlin from the TV show “Merlin.”  It had cheesy special effects, but it was about Merlin which is cool.


If you could go back to any point in history for a month, what time period would you visit?


Absolutely classical era…the romantic era – when Chopin was around.  ”The harpischords with the big dresses and suits.”


If there was one celebrity you’d like to punch in the face, who would it be?


Criss Angel.  I’ve had a lot of friends work for him, and I’ve just heard a ton of stories of how he’s a dick.  All his stuff he does on TV is all stooges stuff.


If you had to obtain $1m illegally, how would you do it?


I’d turn 1’s into 100’s until I had a million.


Which long lost childhood object would you most like to find?


The first piano I played on – it was a blue Casio…didn’t have any feel to it, every key made the same sound…but that’s where I started.


What age do people become “old”, what’s the secret to staying young?


I always think you’re young at heart – my grandfather was 87 years old and he was like a kid – he was always young at heart.


With people working later and living longer – I’d say 80’s or 90’s.  Be happy, be social.  You gotta socialize with people…


What’s your favorite quotation?


“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” – Albert Einstein


If someone wanted to get in touch with you and ask you more about what it takes to get involved in your career, what would be the best way?


Absolutely.  I don’t teach, but I’m always willing to point people in the right direction. is the best way to find out more info on how to get in touch – I’m also at Vin de Sarah downtown every Saturday at 7 PM if anyone reading this wants to come by in person.


On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to get back to them?


10.  Usually within 24 hours.



Here’s a video of Nick demonstrating some of his work on live TV. Hope you enjoyed the interview, and have a great Friday!

#Throwback Thursday: My first engagement session ever

Throwback to 2010. My career as a nightlife photographer was thriving, I was making the big bucks…you know, $150 a night vs. the average $75 that most other club photographers were making at the time.

In my eyes, I was “living the life.”

A client of mine, Evan – approached me to do an engagement session for him and his fiancé.

(A little bit of background – Evan regularly hired me to shoot photos for a local “scene” magazine.  That consistent work contributed a lot towards helping me sustain my career, and allowed me to use that money to invest in myself when it came to learning, practice, and upgrading my equipment.  And for that, I’m forever thankful to him.)

In response to his request, I said “Sure!  Why not?”

At that point, I was doing almost everything under the sun when it came to photography (architecture, families, sports, cat fashion shows) and I figured I could just “wing it”.

They requested to go to La Jolla cove for the shoot – assuming there would be some awesome photo opportunities as it’s one of the most popular tourist spots in town.  And granted, there were *would have been*.  (I crossed out “were” because had I known back then, I would have scouted the area beforehand and made sure the weather & conditions were optimal to get the best out of their shoot.)

But I figured I could “wing it” and everything would work out.

Long-story-short, we did the shoot in stormy weather and my posing came off-the-cuff.  As the saying goes, “a blind pig will find an occasional truffle”.  There were a few good photos from the set, but he didn’t end up hiring me for his wedding.  And I’m not surprised either.  Looking back, I noticed fly-away hairs I should have corrected, lens distortion on close-ups, people in the background, awkward posing, and several other characteristics that a beginning photographer would be oblivious to.

**My Lesson Learned**

When it comes to someone’s wedding, photographing such an important event takes on great responsibility.  And as my experience above can serve as an example, it makes me cringe when I hear of a couple that has a friend or family member with a ‘nice camera’ and just figures they can “wing it” on their big day.

It’s not just weather conditions or posing that your photographer should be familiar with, but several other factors.  They should have a STRONG grasp on their camera, settings, off-camera lighting, composition, ability to anticipate a moment, on-your-feet problem-solving, attention to detail like fly-away hairs or exit signs in the background, and very importantly – have a sociable attitude.  A lot of times the bride is with their photographer more than their fiancé on the day of their wedding.  Better be sure they’re not an “Andy Warhol” who creeps out your bridesmaids.  And bonus points if your photographer takes the time to scout your venue for the best locations, light, and variety for portraiture.

Here’s a photo from the session that I feel best represents my mindset at the time.  Here I am trying to be all “artistic” with all that negative space on the left.  To add to it, I thought, “Hmmm – let’s have you guys go back-to-back and look up towards god.”

To Evan – thank you so much for all your help early on in my career.  And thank you even more for not hiring me for your wedding – because looking back, it would have been a mistake.  You hired someone more competent and more experienced – in the end you received better photos.  And as a result, I have this experience to look back on and share as an example to all those out there thinking about hiring someone novice for their wedding day.

PS – I’ll be posting a current example of what a beach engagement session looks like with me on Monday – so stay tuned.  In the meantime, enjoy tomorrow’s Case of the Fridays.

Lisa - Yes. Why haven’t you posted Cat Fashion? Who isn’t interested in that?August 25, 2013 – 8:38 am

Phil Lambert - PLEASE tell me you saved some images from your “Cat Fashion Show” days?August 18, 2013 – 9:48 pm

How to make a bucketlist

2 years ago, I was sitting at an office desk in Madrid – distracting myself with plans to visit one of the surrounding cities.  I was working 9-6 Monday-Friday, so I wanted to be sure to “make my weekend count.”

I came across the city of ‘Pamplona’ during my search, and got carried away into reading about one of the cities most well-known traditions.

The running of the bulls.

I had always wanted to do this.  However, for some reason – it always remained in the back of my mind as an idea I would do “someday“.  It never set in as a REALITY of something I would actually ‘do’ at some point.

Maybe it was the fact that I was in Spain at the time…maybe it was the fact that it was only 5 months away…I’m not sure what it was.  But I decided right then & there – I was going to do what I had always talked about.  THAT VERY SAME YEAR.

So in a heat of inspiration, I jumped on Facebook and made an announcement to my friends to invite them to join.  (There’s something about telling the public that you’re doing something that REALLY puts the pressure on you to make it happen.)

How to make a bucketlist


With plans set in motion, a strange sense of accomplishment kicked in.  It felt good.  Committing to something that was a goal of mine for SO LONG…and finally putting it into action gave me a high.  A high that motivated me for MORE.

Over the next week, I went on a spree of searching online about “how to make a bucketlist” and “the best bucketlist ideas” so that I could make my own “BEST OF THE BEST BUCKETLIST IDEAS!”

And I found that when I posted my final list online, several people offered their resources to help me accomplish some of the goals.

Who knew doing awesome stuff could come so easily??  Just tell people what you want to do and see how eager they are to help you achieve it!

So with that…here’s how to make your own killer bucketlist!

(Note – I’m not claiming to be the expert on bucketlists or anything like that, but I’ve achieved a lot of success with crossing items off my list – and am happy to share the insight that I’ve gained during the process.  Don’t take my way as being the ‘ultimate way’, but rather a suggestion on how to make it the best – coming from my point of view)

1.  Find resources to start compiling your list

I strongly feel your best references will come from people you know and admire, and who’s experiences you’ve heard about on a personal level.

Think about the people in your circle, and make a list of the ones that are highly experienced in the different areas you’re looking to include in your list.  Ask them for recommendations of their most memorable experiences, and jot down some notes on what they say.  Most importantly, ask those that are interested in the same kinds of experiences as you.  

Are you into art?  History?  Maybe going skydiving over Everest isn’t in your bag of fun, but it is in someone else’s.  Are you into thrill-seeking & adventure?  Maybe going to the louvre and visiting the Anne Frank house wont be as exciting for you.  It’s important to get recommendations from people who lead a similar lifestyle, (or a lifestyle you’d like to experience) so that you don’t end up with a life full of unfulfilling adventures.

france bucketlist

Here are some great lists that I’ve come across that’ll help you get a good start:

-I’m guessing that if you’re a long-time reader of my blog, you like the things I do.  So first and foremost, here’s mine.

-My friend Bryan made a list categorized by continent.  He loves to travel (maybe even more than me), and it makes a lot of sense to try to knock out several on the same trip.  While you may not be interested in travel as a main priority, perhaps it will give you some ideas on how to categorize your own in a different way.

-1000 Bucketlist Ideas - it’s a bit overwhelming and diluted in terms of significance, but has some good ideas to get you started.

1000 Places to see before you die - my girlfriend got me this book and it has a lot of lesser-known places which aren’t so commercialized already.  I feel like the well-known landmarks are over-commercialized & their value is diminished as a result…so this is perfect for me.

Follow the Matador Network and The Coolhunter on facebook for original ideas and inspiration to help you continue your list.


2.  Organize your bucketlist

Most of the bucketlists you’ll find online will be divided into categories to help suit readers from all backgrounds.

The most important thing is that you make your items SMART.  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.  Having vague goals or something on-going won’t give you a *definite* point to consider something ‘checked off’, so doing it this way makes the list easy to conquer & celebrate.

To give you a general idea, most lists divide items into the following areas of life:

-Health.   Think marathon, specific body composition, or how many pushups you can do in a row.  Goals like “eating healthy” or “do archery 5 times a week” don’t give you a certain point to look back on and say “I did it!” – so make sure it’s concrete and has a clear point of accomplishment.

-Travel (specific places/countries, a road trip across Canada or sail from Denmark to Sweden, run across the US like forrest gump)

-Work/wealth (earn a certain level of income, speak at an international convention, run your own business)

-Thrillseeking/experiences (skydiving, running of the bulls, bungee jump, swim with sharks)

-Relationship/family (get married, have a child, throw your parents a surprise vow-renewal ceremony)

-Learning (learn a language, learn how to play piano, learn how to stunt drive a car, learn how to dougie)

-Food (eat NY pizza, eat at IN-N-OUT, eat a foreign delicacy like guinea pig)

Russian Cuisine

3.  Write it out

When you write something down, it creates a difference in the way you perceive it.  It’s out of your mind & on paper, and taking it’s baby steps towards *action*.

My roommate wrote his out on paper and hung it up in his office to look at each day.  The feeling of ‘actually’ crossing off an item with a physical pen adds a little bit of satisfaction that you can’t get online.  (Someone told me about a pen that you can have custom made to include your own blood in the ink – if you can find it, let me know!)

I wrote mine out online so people can share along the journey with me, and use it as a reference point (such as this blog post).

Which brings me to my next point…

4.  Share it

Sharing your goals online often motivates others, and what better way to accomplish goals than as a ‘team’?

When I first set out to do the running of the bulls, I didn’t realize it – but 2 awesome friendships really grew as a result of the experience.  While I had known Bryan and Jason prior, we hadn’t gotten to know each other to the extent that we did on that trip.  Running for your life from 2,000 lb animals creates a certain bond you don’t find other places.

Since that trip, we’ve also gone to Iceland, Sweden, Peru, Chile, and Argentina together.  I actually photographed Jason’s proposal to his fiancé this past June.

Who knows what will come from you ‘putting it out there’…but I’ll tell you this – it’ll only be GREAT things.  I’m excited to see what you come up with, and I’d love it if you’d comment & link to yours once you have it posted.

An important note - while revising my current bucketlist, I realized that after having experienced certain things – my perspective has changed.  I no longer want to visit certain destinations and my priorities for what I feel will value ‘most’ in my lifetime have also changed.  And if your list changes after the first go-round, I’d be surprised if it didn’t!

Caroline - I’ve started a bucket list here : 29, 2013 – 7:57 am

Fiona Campbell - Good post! You have made me think differently about bucket lists, which I’ve always rather dismissed. I might even make one! In the meantime, I’d like to hear how the running with the bulls went??August 14, 2013 – 5:38 am

Vanae - Great suggestions for bucket lists! I’ve had my bucket list for a few years now and posted it on so that I can keep track of them easier. Love it! About to cross off “travel to Iceland” off my list!August 13, 2013 – 9:59 pm

Phil Lambert - I really just want to know if Law actually went???? I had started my bucket list at the end of turn of the year, I’m not getting any younger. My first item, that I will accomplish mid spring next year, is the Isle of Man TT race. I have wanted to shoot this event and found it to be a possibility and I am DOING IT! Your posts/blog is always inspiring sir, I wish I would have had the drive for my photography years ago and not the drive for retirement from a career. Thanks for keeping us looking up and not settling for a mundane life.August 13, 2013 – 8:26 pm

Jason Kirby - Great post and it is funny because I make it a lot into your blog posts, usually regarding bucket list type things, but yet, I do not have one. For me, life brings opportunities (or sometimes it’s Tim) and I don’t like to say no to opportunity. I could make my own opportunities by putting together a list, but I feel I have crafted a life surrounded by awesome people that I will get to do most of my what-would-be bucket list items with the people I care about. Maybe I will eventually create one, but for now…I will just keep saying yes.August 13, 2013 – 8:03 pm

Case of the Fridays – Corporate Jet Flight Attendant Erin Marie

I’ve chosen Corporate Flight Attendant and Chef Erin Marie for today’s post of “Case of the Fridays“.  Erin works wherever her job offers her to go – everywhere from Vancouver to Paris to Madrid to South America.  Her work is structured in a way that she can accept or reject offers for certain trips, and comes frequently and sporadically at times.

I chose Erin because her lifestyle has provided her with the opportunity to see the world, meet some pretty incredible people, and share her experience with friends back home.  Her kind hearted nature and outgoing personality that contains a never-ending curiosity has piqued my interest to find out more about her story.  When she travels, she makes it a point to ‘really’ explore the land, culture, and customs – and has some unique insight to offer anyone that’s curious about traveling.

During our interview she gave me a tour of the jet she works on, and got to meet a couple of the pilots as well.

Here’s an image to give you a visual for the following conversation taking place.

What is your name/age?


Erin Marie – 28


What is your occupation?


Corporate Jet Flight Attendant


Where did you grow up?


Santee, CA


How long have you been doing what you currently do?


3 and a half years


Did you have a 9-5 job before that?


I did.  Well before the flight attending, I was pursuing cooking…so I was pursuing being a sushi chef while working at Mr. A’s.


I also worked at a recycling center working as the office manager – it was NOT fun.


But it was because of the kitchen jobs that I got this job.


How did you become involved in the work that you currently do?


It was a referral by a friend – I used to do Tuesday family dinners and she would always come eat with us – and her boss was looking for a new flight attendant that could cook – that was the main requirement.  So I made him and his wife a meal…and they hired me!


How much longer do you envision yourself working in the field that you’re in?


I tell my friends that if I’m 65 and I get a call for a trip to Thailand I’ll probably take it.  Ha!


What level of schooling have you completed?


3 years of SDSU and I never finished.


What is it that you love about your work?


Everything.  I like meeting new people, going new places, experiencing different things.  I also get to make things nice for people on the plane and adding value to their experience – I like doing that.


You’ve also gotten to meet some pretty famous people doing what you do.  What are some of the more interesting ones that you’ve met?

I’ve flown a lot of very famous actors, actresses, and musicians – but unfortunately I cannot disclose any names as a confidentiality agreement I have with my company.

Some fascinating conversations that I’ve had have been just businessmen.  I have a favorite older couple that frequents SD, Vancouver, and Bermuda – they fist pump before they take off and they’re just so nice.  They met at University and used to have to split a hamburger and French fries because they were so poor.  But I’ve also flown businessmen that have innovated their industries and done some incredible things.  There was a motivational speaker that was just spouting off incredible quotes and was just SO well spoken.  One time we just took a flight to go see a Monday night football game and he took his most valued clients.  Really just an awesome guy.


What would you say is important to consider if you want to make a good trip for oneself?


Do a little bit of research beforehand of course – then spend as little time in your hotel room as possible.  Don’t be afraid to ask locals what they like to do…be friendly – it always leads to something interesting.  Be open.

Are there any places/experiences you’d recommend?


One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen – the most shocking – was when I flew into Calgary…I did the ice fields parkway drive…right past Banff – I was running on a glacier in my flip flops – it was the most intense scenes I’ve come across.


What is your least favorite thing about your work?


Oooh…hmm…maybe this one time where I had just been traveling like crazy where I was going 21 days non-stop…in a place where I didn’t really want to be…where I just wanted to be home with friends and those that are close to me.  Trips like that are just physically and mentally exhausting.


(As we’re talking she gets an inquiry for a trip to Cancun on her phone.)


Is there any place you really want to visit?


Yes, Japan, Austrailia, South Africa, Brazil.  I’d love a Morocco trip.  It’s funny – whenever I want to go somewhere, my mom will offer to help out by putting the destination as her desktop background – you know, to put the vibes out there.  And I think it actually works!  Haha


What are some of the advantages of your job compared with the regular corporate career?


Travel.  (We both laugh)  Experiencing life -to what I consider to be- the fullest.  I understand this job isn’t for everyone – my friends are getting married and having kids – our lifestyles just aren’t the same at all.   They wouldn’t be able to do what I do, and I wouldn’t be able to do what they do.

So in my case -being single with no kids- it really works to my advantage to have these opportunities.

Meeting some really incredible people – that’s pretty awesome too.


What are some of the disadvantages compared with the regular corporate career?


I’m not home on a regular basis.  Sometimes my good friends don’t even know when I’m in town – so I miss out on a lot of things with them.


The comforts of home…sleeping in your own bed.  Not having those things is a pretty big one.



How different is the dating scene for you?  Is it easier/harder to make time to be with your significant other?


That’s funny.  The dating scene for me period -with or without this job– is just all about timing.  Right now I’m really not searching for that – so it’s really working out just fine right now.

Destination dates right now, haha.

When I’m home – I’m really just spending time with my family and close friends.  Not really pursuing a romantic interest for the time being.


Do you tend to prefer to live paycheck to paycheck or with a savings plan accounted for?  Is your income predictable and regular, or entirely dependent on what you produce?


My income’s definitely not regular.  I get paid per day basis, so if I work 2 days a month, my paycheck shows that – if I work 22 days a month, then it shows too.  You definitely have to save some away in case some months people are just not chartering corporate jets.  There was a period 3 years ago where the market crashed and a lot of people were out of work.  You have to plan for that kind of stuff.


I’ve never been good with money though – haha.  I’ll never be good at it, but that’s fine with me.


How do you imagine your retirement, or lifestyle past 60?


A happy one.  Just relaxing and doing what I like to do – spending time with my family – making good dinners…sipping on a glass of wine watching the sunset.  Talking with the grandkids about past experiences.  I’m super nostalgic at 28 so I can only imagine how I’ll be at 78.


Do you see your career facilitating a lifestyle suitable for a family, or do you have the desire to have a family?


Women who do what I do definitely can have families – you can pick and choose your dates –but I really just don’t think it’s suitable for a family– or even just a boyfriend.  If you have a serious relationship it’s just not good for that.  It’s all circumstantial – I’ll have to meet someone first before I think about having a family.


What are your top priorities in the ‘big picture’?


Living a happy life.  Making sure that the people that I love are happy – genuinely happy.  Following my passions.  I try to leave the world a little bit happier before I got here.   Just be a good person.


If you had any advice to someone just graduating college or thinking about switching careers, what would it be?


I think the best advice I could give anyone (not that I am in any real position to give advice), is to be passionately curious about life, in all its forms.


Ask questions, be genuinely interested in the answers you’re given. To just try, to love what you do, to not make excuses.


My girlfriend Michelle just made a beautiful oak table and benches from watching a youtube video.  Now she has plans on making more and renting them out for weddings and events. Just like that, an additional income because she went down to Home Depot and gave it a shot. You never know where the day will take you in the morning or who you will meet. Our greatest lessons usually stem from getting knocked on our asses by some sort of failure. The fear of having a dream and not going for it, is much worse than the fear of failing.


I personally don’t want to be that awesome Granny on her death bed thinking about all my what ifs and should’ves. Be nice to everyone, smile, and be genuine. Work hard, and always push yourself to achieve more. Read Linchpin and watch Simon Sinek’s “How great leaders inspire action”. Sit on the shore, and feel humbled. Then go give a stranger a compliment and make their day.


If someone wanted to do your job, what is important to maintain a position?


You have to be a mind reader.  You have to be able to assess a situation and be what that person wants you to be.  Sometimes people want to talk my ear off and sometimes they want me to be a fly on the wall.

When you’re up at 45k feet, you have to anticipate the wants and  needs of other people.

You can’t dwell on a problem either – you just have to fix it right then & there.

Sometimes people aren’t so nice, and they’ll talk down to you or just be flat out rude and nasty – it’s that whole mind-reading thing…you still have to be cordial and give it your all to make them happy.  If they want to get mad at something I can’t control – that’s totally up to them.

What’s funny is that a lot of the time – those attitudes are coming from the pilot…there are some pilots that are very difficult to work with – they think that they own the plane.


Who inspires you?


A lot of people…a lot of things…I get inspired just walking down the street. (Laughs)  Mostly my family – I have a very small family.   My mom is like mother Theresa – the sweetest lady.   She has a heart of gold…same with my brother and sister.  Although I think that I take a little something from every person I meet, really.


What do you think of authority?


It’s fine.  I have no problem with authority.  Someone’s given them the position to have it, so I should probably respect it.


What is the personality type of most of the Jet’s clientele?


It really varies so much…some people want the filet, some want the open faced sandwich on wheat bread with Nacho Cheese Doritos.  Go figure.


What is it about travel that really opens people’s minds?


There are so many different types of travel – it humbles you a lot.  Sometimes it pushes you outside your comfort zone.  You’d be silly not to notice these amazing things about the world.  Especially when you travel by yourself because you don’t have the comfort of having someone to go to dinner with and have someone to latch on to – it makes you completely comfortable in your own skin.  It makes you more confident.  You start conversations with strangers at Sushi restaurants.  Nobody’s gonna just come to your hotel room and invite you to dinner.  You have to go out and make things happen for yourself.


I’m really glad you made that point – it really does make you more confident, and really makes you realize how to make things happen for yourself.  I never really realized that about those experiences, but it’s so true.


Have there been any places you don’t want to go back to?


Haha, yeah – downtown Detroit.  I’ve been a lot of places, but I’ve never felt as unsafe as downtown Detroit.  There were homeless people in our hotel lobby walking around – a friend of a friend came to pick me up because it was so sketchy…and on the way back he asked, “you want to see some scary stuff?”


There’s a great town called Birmingham or something – similar to South Coast Plaza in OC – but only 30 minutes south of there…it’s like a war zone.  Houses that had been bull dozed over, people walking around cracked out, spray paint all over the place, it was just…bad.  I’ve never felt like that before…it was such a crazy scene.






What did you want to be when you want to be when you grew up?


A chef.


What are some of your favorite sounds?


The ocean.  A plane engine starting.  Music.  Sometimes silence.


What’s your favorite curse word?


I like them all in certain contexts – I call people ass a lot.


What’s your favorite memory from your past? 


One of the first memories I have is watching MTV Paula Abdul and my dad would be mowing the front lawn – I’d peek over and watch him.  It just sticks out because it was just a perfect day – such a cozy home. He would always do a different pattern in the lawn – I was always excited to see what he would do.


If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be, and why?


Elephant.  I love elephants.  Growing up my brother called me Erwin Erwin the elephant that eats peanuts.  I don’t know why, but I probably cried.  I’ve grown to love elephants and have a lot of them in my house.  They’re big and sweet.


What are some of your favorite smells?


Campfires.  Santee at night – smells like my hometown.  Jasmine.  I love going for runs and smelling all the Jasmine around.


What did you get into the most trouble for when you were young?


I didn’t really get in much trouble…I was definitely a brat in my teenage years.  I never really had restrictions or had a curfew, and I ended up being the last of my friends to drink or smoke.


If you were a character in a famous movie, who’s role would you play?


Pride and Prejudice – Keira Nightly.  She plays Elizabeth Benent and it’s England – not sure what century – but I would have liked to live back them.


If you could go back to any point in history for a month, what time period would you visit?


I’d want to see Rome in its Hayday – or Ancient Greece when it was thriving.


If you had to obtain $1m illegally, how would you do it?


Thomas Crown affair – I’ll steal a painting with a handsome guy like that.  We’d be incahoots together.


Which long lost childhood object would you most like to find?


Maybe – (this might sound weird) – something that I don’t even know exists.  Like a letter that my mom wrote to me when I was 3 years old.


So are you gonna do that for your kids?


Probably, haha.  I’m really corny.


What age do people become “old”, what’s the secret to staying young?


It depends on the person.  I don’t think that age is how old you are – it’s a state of mind.  My landlord is 80 and in her head she’s not old.  There are some people that think that 28 is old, and I still feel really really young.


What’s your favorite quotation?


I’m a quote freak.  I have a lot…


Lately, the golden rule has been popping up a lot – like 3 times in the past week.  “Do unto others as others would do unto you.”


And then “life’s what you make it – make it good” – Daniel Tosh said that.  Before he was Tosh.0


I think lately what’s been resonating with me – is “get outside your comfort zone”.  Take that step outside your house and just go do something.  People always make comments to me telling me that they’re jealous or that I’m lucky – I got where I am today because I wanted it bad enough.  Of course I was lucky with certain opportunities, but the thing is – is that I’ve been open to them.

People have these dreams and they’re just not pursuing their passions.  Take the step out the door and you’ll realize that they’re actually attainable.


If someone wanted to get in touch with you and ask you more about what it takes to get involved in your career, what would be the best way?


Yeah, they can message me on Facebook.



On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to get back to them?


A 10, but it might take a few weeks depending on how busy I am.  Sometimes I have weeks off and sometimes I don’t have a day.  Sometimes I’m off on a trip and exploring – and the last thing on my mind is emails.  Even like my trip tomorrow to Kuai – I’ve already researched which hikes I wanna do and all that.


Giving the Gift of “Missing You”

When I was a senior in high school, I used to go to the gym religiously.  Everyday after school, my friend Andrew and I would hit the weights, and follow it up with a Jamba Juice chock full of protein.

My favorite was the Peanut Butter Moo’d.  (It had something ridiculous like 5000 calories per smoothie.)

But regardless – I loved it.  And if I wanted to hit my goal of 185 lbs, I needed to be consistent about it.

Gym + Diet + Rest = TIM GETS JACKED.

One day I decided that Jamba Juice was getting a little costly, and that I should make my own peanut butter smoothies at home.

I mean hell, it’s only a little Jiffy…ice…milk…and some protein powder, right?

So I did.  And I LOVED IT.

SO MUCH…that I decided to make myself ANOTHER smoothie after I finished the first one!

I know what you’re thinking…”Holy Shit…Tim was a pig!  That’s like 10,000 calories in one afternoon!”

And you’re right.  But you know what happened?

I went running shortly after…and suddenly realized the second smoothie was a terrible idea.

About a block down the street, I sputtered to a stop…put my hands on my knees…and felt a surge coming from my stomach like an exploding fire-hydrant.

My poor neighbors lawn.  I threw up what seemed like a gallon of peanut butter goodness all over their freshly manicured grass.  Being the inconsiderate teenager that I was at that age, I continued my jog and left the scene of the crime.

“What the hell is the point of this, Tim?” you ask.

Well here it is…

I learned a valuable lesson that day.  I learned that when you love something, it’s not always healthy to have it ALL-THE-TIME.

You have to spread out the desserts.  And by the time you’re done with dinner – it’s *that* much sweeter.

A couple of my friends have been having some tough times in their relationships recently, and it reminded me of this.  Sometimes for a person to FULLY understand how much they really care about their significant other…how much of a void is present when they’re not there…or realize the qualities that they MISS about a person…that it can do a relationship good to have a little time away from each other.

Not a separation – don’t get me wrong.  But just some “personal” time so that when you see each other again, you’ll be THAT much more excited to see one another.

Do your thing so that at the end of the day, you can tell them all about it, rather than give the play-by-play through text messages.

Hell, take a trip with your boys to Iceland – or have a girls’ weekend in Palm Springs.

Trust me – those nights you don’t have your girl in your arms – you’ll feel the void.  You’ll feel the space she usually occupies…and you’ll miss her.

But you know what?  That first night you hold her again – the soft touch of her skin, the smell of her hair, or hell – even the sound of her snoring…you’ll appreciate so.much.more.

And that feeling - is the result of giving someone the gift of “missing you.”

A lil’ bit of space ain’t always such a bad thing.  But to play the devil’s advocate – if you’re the one yearning for space…try to keep in mind that the ‘problem’ you’re having is that *this person cares SO MUCH about you…that they just want to be around you.*

And when you consider other couples’ problems out there & think about what kind of chaos they’ve got in their relationship…you’ve got it pretty good.  



So to tie it all together…did ya miss me?  :)

It’s good to be back writing again.  And I’m excited more now than ever about how I’ll be approaching this blog, and what kind of content I’ll be releasing on here.  To get an idea, these are some of my intentions:

1.  Writing for myself, not clients.  Sure, I’ll still be posting a lot of my work – but as a change, I’ll be describing my thoughts behind a shot, what kinds of things were going on in my head, and the more interesting experiences that happen during the course of my shoots.  They might not even necessarily be photos that I deliver to the client, but ones I thought worth talking about on here.  I can only say so much about it now – you’ll just have to wait and see.

2. #ThrowbackThursdays.  I’ve come to really embrace recounting stories of my past (no matter how humiliating they may be), and I figured it’d be fun to share an experience I’ve had in the past tied in with a bit of a personal lesson that I gained from each one.  These are actually some of the posts I’m looking forward to the most – I’ve got about a dozen ideas scribbled down of what I plan to share.  (Today’s post is an example)

3. Case of the Fridays.  I’ve got several interviews waiting to be posted (the first one coming tomorrow), and I’m excited about continuing this project.  If you know anyone that you think would be great for an interview, I’d love it if you’d contact me using the tab above.  (Please do not suggest yourself)

4. Weddings.  I can’t believe I haven’t posted more of these on here.  If anything, it’s what I love to shoot.  But going with what I mentioned in #1 above, I’ll be addressing them with my perspective.  Like a narrative and behind the scenes more than anything.  Might post one image for an entire wedding, or I might post 60.  Or I might not even post it.  I suppose it’ll relate to how much I want to talk about the experience or what was involved.

PS – I’ve been meaning to get back blogging again for awhile now…but you know what drove me over the edge to do it?  You guys.  The ones who emailed me, the ones who posted on my timeline, and the ones who got upset because their Friday morning coffees just haven’t been the same.  Thank you for the support, and I hope you like all the new content that I’ll be putting out.

I’m pretty damn excited myself.

To close the post, here’s one of my favorite images from my good friend Jason‘s engagement session that I shot a couple month’s back in Vancouver.  He and his fiancé have been doing long distance for some time now, and will be soon living together in the same city.  I really like this shot because I feel like it conveys that sense of connecting with someone after they’ve been away for so long.  Those hugs…are some of the *best* hugs.

Ryan Greenleaf - I second Vanae’s comment! Looking forward to seeing some rad weddings and more personal posts like this! Very well tied together.August 13, 2013 – 3:19 pm

Erin Oveis Brant - I’ve missed your voice here. Welcome back! Super excited to see what’s coming!!August 13, 2013 – 10:51 am

vanae - great post, tim! i say: absence makes the heart grow fonder and clearer.

looking forward to reading more of your work!August 12, 2013 – 2:10 pm

Phil - Great to see you blogging again, I will say I checked this page quite frequently and finally resorted to calling you out on FB, lol! Glad you’re back!August 9, 2013 – 6:17 pm

Tami Paige - Tim…this makes me really excited for your writing!! I LOVE it when photographers write for themselves…not clients. To me, that’s the most genuine, and I’m afraid I only really love genuine. :) Loved the story and hit pretty close to home. Keep up the great work and excited to read more!August 8, 2013 – 1:41 pm