The Southwest vs. the Northeast: Obvious and Not-So-Obvious Differences



In the Southwest, folks frequently say canyon, rocks, and “gnarly outcroppings” to give a sense of scenery. Case in point: This slot canyon (above) near the Arizona/Utah border.

Conversely, in the Northeast, we frequently use words such as trees, forest, and ticks to describe the landscape. Example: This New York State lake in the height of spring (below):


This is what scholars would call a fairly obvious difference.

Other differences between these two regions of the USA, however, are not quite so apparent. Let’s go over a few.


-When I gamble in the Northeast (Mohegan Sun; Foxwoods), I almost always end up losing money—to the tunes of hundreds or even thousands of pennies.

-In Vegas, I’m able to make back ten times what I gambled!

Note: I used a sample size of one. Also, in Vegas, I gambled one dollar. My winnings didn’t even cover my Pad See Ew at dinner.



-In Arizona, locals enjoy deep-fried food such as Navajo Indian Frybread (below). They take something that already has zero nutrition, and proceed to fry it, then top the whole shebang with cinnamon, sugar, honey, fruit syrups, chocolate, and other calories.

-In New York, we would never serve food like that. We believe in frying things that are already bad for you. Any street festival will provide offerings such as deep-fried Oreos, deep-fried cheesecake, and bacon. Deep-fried (below). Photo by Victor Vic


-In California and any states in the Southwest, Mexican food is popular and delicious. Restaurants provide complimentary topping “bars” filled with delicious taco spreads such as salsas, veggies, hot sauces, and slaws.

-In New York, Mexican eateries are run by Chinese immigrants. No one knows why this is a thing, but it is. Besides, how else would you get #29—a Chinese bean curd soft taco served with peppers, onions, and Chinese hot sauce?


-In the Southwest, people are friendly.



-In New Hampshire, vehicles travel in groups of four. IMG_5846-LRsmall-logo-2

-Same thing in Utah, actually.



-In all of New England, there are multiple shades of green on trees, bushes, shrubs, grasses, river plants, and more.

-In California, there’s only one shade of green, and it’s sold at “medical” dispensaries.

Note: Keep the not-actually-ironic pity snickers to yourself.


-In California and Arizona, the sky is pink whether it’s sunrise, sunset, or in between.

-New Jersey is polluted. [photo redacted]


-In Arizona and Utah, lines are drawn by nature over time, and brought out in beautiful red-and-white sandstone.


-In New York City, no one knows where to draw the line–hence why we have park-wide pillow fights that result in many smiles and even more bruises.



-In Arizona, weather changes faster than 5,023 snaps of the fingers. The two photos below were taken while standing in the same place, but turned 90 degrees.

-In all of New England, we get approximately 5 months of snow and ice followed by 5 months of ridiculously hot summers. For a few weeks in between we usually celebrate spring and fall (below).


-What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

-What happens in Atlantic City is too depressing to even talk about.


In summation, you can see that these two distinct areas of our nation are different in remarkable ways. Whether it’s flora, friendliness, food, or more, we must celebrate our country’s amazing diversity. Next up: Rednecks of Arkansas vs. rednecks of Kentucky: Wal-Mart edition.


Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of the Dark: Night Photography Edition

Let me clear something up right away. If you are aware there’s a burgeoning ghost population, live in a high nighttime murder density population, have coyotes known to seek out human flesh specifically when it’s dark out, really feel that Sean Hannity rubs you the wrong way, don’t have a penchant for fruitcake, can’t get over the fact that white chocolate isn’t actually chocolate, or positively can’t shake the feeling that monsters are indeed in your closet—though statistically that’s only true 19% of the time—then you absolutely should feel afraid of the dark. But for those of us who realize that the darkness holds more mystery than fear, well, nighttime photography can be the most awesome thing since sliced bread.

If you’ve done night photography before, you know of the new worlds that can be discovered. If you haven’t, you should take a chance and try it sometime, for it’s so much more than photographing stars or the moon. When you turn your flashlight off and let your eyes adjust while taking short or long exposures, you realize that it’s a way to see everything with a new perspective. Everyday objects become shadow shapes. Your ears almost become supersonic, and your mind tries to trick you. The sky is incredible, and if you’ve never stood outside and stared up for at least 10 minutes, you’re missing out on realizing how small we really are—and how much of the solar system we know absolutely nothing about.

There are different techniques that can be used in night photography—long exposures, light painting, star trailing, stacking, reflecting, etc.—but instead of explaining it, I’ll post a few photos from my recent trip out west. California and Utah’s rocky landscapes in particular made for fascinating nighttime shoots, and no rattlesnakes attacked me while I was out in the desert, alone, at 2 a.m.