Archive for the ‘Models’ Tag

USA Trip 2018 – The California Adventures

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So it begins.

Another little adventure, exploring around, pondering the doings of people and places. This time around, I decided to take a peek a mainland USA, just to see what it’s like, so I chose California, mostly because it’s close (12.5 hour direct flight) and they speak some understandable form of english, although the US doesn’t officially speak english. 😛

I’d been thinking about this trip, or at least a larger variation of it for a few years, pondering where I might go, how I might go about going there and when I get there how I might get around the there while being there to be gone to. Yes.. it was complex. 😛

My original plan was far grander a tour than what I ended up doing, mostly I restricted it down due to cost… yes, cost… ever since Trump took office, and the world looked at America as a joke again, prices changed.. and the basics of it all is the currency conversion was painful, that and the cost of accommodation.

I did use AirBnB, and I must admit that my experience there was wonderful, aside from the price, that wasn’t wonderful, when they hit you up with a bunch of other “fees” … so as an example, the accommodation might cost say $70.00 per night, that’s not bad, but then a lot of them also charge a “cleaning fee”, a “Service fee” etc.. and then you need to convert that currency, and .. well.. honestly a Hotel works out better, still expensive, but better.

My Grand Plan was to fly into LA, drive to SF, cross into Canada, drive/fly to the East Coast, cross back into US, NY, PA, FL, NV, LA and then out again.. but meh.

I left myself semi flexible with my 9 days in CA, with the first few and last few set as having to be in LA.


Lets Begin.

As best I can, I will post Links to the various places I went, food, interesting stuff etc 🙂

Videos will be BELOW The introduction to each part.



Part 1 – Day 1 & 2


I left Auckland on Friday the 16th of Feb at about 11pm, and arrived at LA on Friday the 16th of Feb at about 2:30pm,… great, didn’t really lose much of a day lol.

I flew Air New Zealand because I knew as a big airline they would port fairly close to the entry/exit bits of the terminal… kinda. It was good, a good flight, i got upgraded to what they call Premium Economy (I paid for it), and it was ok.. not great, but ok. The general service and meals etc were good, i cant say the value was worth it, but it was an interesting experience.

I picked up my rental car from Hertz, which was NOT the car I had pre-booked (as a guaranteed car) I had booked and was confirmed for a Toyota Prius, and ended up with a Ford Fusion – Hertz said “Oh we don’t have Toyotas”.. Morons.

Left the airport and went to find my AirBnB in a suburb called Highland Park. The traffic in LA wasn’t too bad I guess, considering I was in peak hour traffic trying to get across town from South (LAX) to Highland Park (Northish).

After checking in at the AirBnB, i went exploring in a suburb called “Old Pasadena” because there was an Apple Store there and my iPhone was playing up, issues with the TimeZones in respect to the Calendar. I got that sorted and then went back to relax.

The next day, I wandered around the main shopping street in Highland Park called York, and it was really nice. Lots of new eateries and interesting things to see, and at night, street food!! Yeah!! 🙂

After looking around there, I found myself back at Old Pasadena where I had dinner before returning back to my AirBnB to rest up.

My AirBnB:


Apple Pasadena:





Part 2 – Day 3


I went adventuring around and ended up at a place called Irvine in Orange Country. It was…. interesting. I spent some time here, mostly looking for a car park so i could explore.

I ended up parking at the Civic Centre (sports complex), and had a look around, it had baseball fields and stuff.. meh not my thing really.

Also made some comments about the car I had, a Ford Fusion… nice looking car, not so nice to drive.

They have a really nicely laid out walkway system, so walking from where I parked my car to the main shops was actually quite nice. Took me about 10-15 minutes casual stroll, mostly flat, and I followed a creek … very nice 🙂

Shopping at Irvine was weird, it was mostly block after block after block of apartments… intense suburbia… who’d have thought.

The shops were mostly things like fast food, and the usual “small town” type clothing/retail stuff.. nothing to write home about, although that’s what I’m doing.

I ended up having some Asian style Chicken which was meant to be spicy,  it was fairly bland… looked spicy though, but that’s about it lol.

In the video I touch upon some general observations about society and the area, and what’s happening in respect to how people are gaining access to the US via having babies.

Go check out Part 3 Day 3, the continuation 🙂





Part 3 – Day 3 (continued)


Picking up where the previous video left off (ran out of time on the video)…

I walked back to the car via the walkway, which was nice and enjoyable, the weather was very good, clear and warm, not to different to an Auckland Summer, but without the rain Hahahaha yea 😛

Found something while exploring.. watch the video to see what it is 🙂


After being done with Irvine I drove back to my AirBnB in Highland Park and went down to York again to get me some yummy street food for dinner and to see what happens at night. My AirBnB host recommended I try the street food, and she was was not wrong, it was AWESOME!!

That sums up my chill day, tomorrow, leaving LA. 🙂





Part 4 – Day 4 – LA to Palm Springs / Indio – Day 1

Today I left LA and headed to Palm Springs… don’t ask why, wasn’t totally sure myself but hey, it’s an adventure right 🙂

I left early to try and not get too caught up in the traffic and for the most part it worked out nicely. Worked out what had been bugging me about the car and its handling, watch the video.

After about 1 and a half hours or so heading SOUTH, I stopped at a place called Riverside Country, where I got some breakfast at the local McDonalds, which was nasty… Also found their shopping mall, which used to be a old race track… it’s now a very large shopping complex. however, that said, many of the shops repeat themselves over and over, … so not really all that interesting.

After that, i had another 60 or so miles to my destination in Palm Springs, a place called Indio, .. the desert… cause I wanted to explore the desert and also lined up a Model to shoot out in the desert 🙂 FUN!

Driving out, there was snow, actual snow on the hills, and the temperature drops fairly dramatically, but it’s dry, so not so bad.

Got to Indio, it’s a little windy shithole of a town, with nothing much to offer, on the scale of things, it’s a lower economic area. However people were really nice and friendly.

Got myself some Viet for dinner, and crashed out.





Part 5 – Day 5 – Indio / Joshua Tree – Day 2

Day for had been planned out with two shoots, but alas one of them (the morning session) flaked out. I had met up with her the evening before to do some planning, and had a feeling it wasn’t going to happen, but that’s ok because that means I could explore the area a little.

I ventured out, and found a place called Palm Springs Tramway, it was ok, not really that interesting as I grew up in Queenstown and would be forever on the local Gondola there, but I admit, it was nice to be up in the hills again.

I found some surprisingly good coffee too 🙂

The temperature there was 17F, which was about -7.5C for me, and OMG It was LOVELY!!! The weather was dry (being the desert in all) so the air was crisp and clean, and me, being a typical Mainlander (South Islander), was in Shorts and a Teeshirt.. YESH!! People were looking at me all funny because they were wrapped up in their warm jackets lol… softies the lot of them LOL.

After that little adventure it was time to head off to my afternoon photo shoot in Joshua Tree.

I had a quick lunch at the Frontier Cafe, also where the model and I had arranged to meet. The shoot went really well, and also it was my first time shooting in such a diverse landscape as a desert, really an awesome experience and the model was awesome and such a trooper for being in the all-together in the 0 degrees weather 🙂

After shooting for a few hours there, we wrapped it up as it was getting dark and very very cold very fast, and I headed back to my hotel in Indio  and also to see the local carnival which was on.

A little inside note on the desert, the model knew the area well, but I got a bit of an eye opener… our first shoot, we were maybe about 50 meters from the car, the car was on the road/track side, and we walked to a nice spot, where the model undressed and left her clothing next to a small bush, no higher than about 30cm, we shot there a little then ran back to the car so she could warm up… I went back to where I thought her clothes were to collect them.. and spent about 10 minutes looking for them. It was then, that it came to me, though I was line of site with the car, I walked back to where i thought we had shot, only to realise that it all looks the same.. and i then understood, just how easy it is to get truly lost in such a vast space, where everything looks like everything else.


Watch the video.




Frontier Cafe:

Joshua Tree:





Part 6 – Day 6 – Drive to San Francisco – Part A

Today I set off on a long LONG drive from Palm Springs up to San Francisco…. and I mean LONG… LOL, I have to admit, my calculating of time was fairly terrible, cause I managed to hit LA in peak hour traffic LOL, awesome, awesome!

I decided to drive the I-5, which is the inland main freeway, because it’s faster and I needed to be up San Francisco for a booked shoot.

Leaving the North end of LA……I saw and drove into NASA-JPL .. wasn’t allowed to visit it because they only take bookings weeks and weeks in advance.. but it was trip to drive through the gates and get turned around LOL


Now, pay attention folks…

I stopped at a place called Avenal, which is pretty much half way between LA and SF. It’s also where I saw and smelt the most disgusting thing ever…. mass dairy farming in arid dry middle-of-nowhere desert. The smell was the first thing that hit me when i was driving north of Avenal, it reminded me a little of the smell from meat works.. but it was worse, .. honestly, it smelt like decaying rotting meat, shit, and whatever else, all mixed together,.. it was seriously bad, and i had to wind up all the windows cause it was making me queasy, and not afraid of dead meat, but this.. this was something all together different.

I watched a documentary on NetFlex a while back about the food industry (dairy) in the USA and how corrupt it is.. and they made mention of places like this, with snippets of video footage of horrible conditions the animals lived in.

That was what I saw.

Now I come from a dairy based country, and I know shit ain’t right here .. but this was crazy. watch the documentary.


Further up, I stopped about an hour from SF to fuel up the car and have a short break.  I made SF at a reasonable time, checked into my hotel, which was old.. clean but old…

I ventured up the road on the recommendation of the hotel manager to a dining establishment called Rocco’s for some yum Italian food.

After that, it was back to the hotel and pass out lol it was a long LONG drive and i was shattered.











Part 7 – Day 7 – San Francisco & Shoot – Part B

Woke up bright and sparkly this morning and got ready for my day shoot with the model I had booked.

There’s a LOT of homeless people everywhere….

The model turned up bang on time, which was awesome and we wandered off and did the shootings.

We shot around the place and had fun and went across the Golden Gate Bridge a few times, I got an education from her about the local goings ons which was awesome.

We had lunch at a swanky Golf Club, shot some more and went home.




Part 8 – Day 8 – San Francisco Exploring – Part A

I had decided the night before that I was going to stay one more day in SF, I had a day up my sleeve so thought it would be a good idea to actually get some exploring done. I was not disappointed at all.

My model from yesterday had given me some really great tips and ideas about places to see, so, i did that, and had a explore.

I got up at a reasonable hour and looked at the map provided by the hotel, and walked my way from my hotel to what they called Union Square, where the Metro (the call it BART) and the Cable Cars are all based.  I had a light brunch there,

Along the way there, I saw even more homeless and in the video I talk about it a bit, and what is being done about it.

Watch the Video.

After brunch i caught the classic Cable Car and went for a ride. It takes you to the Piers, the well known Fishermans Wharf etc etc…

The cable car was kinda cool to ride on, i mean, its another tram right, but its an icon of SF so worth the trip.

The streets in SF are like they are in the movies… FUN! 🙂

When we got to the pier, I got off (end of the line anyway) and wandered around. There’s lots of “tourist shops” everywhere, and the usual splattering of annoying tourists… lol. A clear view of Alcatraz but who cares.

I got hungry and found a very flash seafood place to eat at called The Franciscan … this place is a MUST!!

After a very yummy feed of food of crabs and chowder and a sunday i wasn’t able to finish…. I wandered around the famous Pier 39 and looked at the shops and offerings and some seals…

By that time, it was getting dark, and i thought i should look at heading back, and decided to walk.

I went for a walk, and ended up at Starbucks (granted it was a really short walk) and rested for a bit before looking at the map and google maps to route out an idea of getting back to the hotel.

The video was too long, so part B follows…


The Franciscan:






Part 8 – Day 8 – San Francisco Exploring – Part B

Continuing on from PartA of Day 8…..

After resting up at Starbucks for a while I had planned out a rough route back to the hotel, with a walking time of about 3 hours… lol cause im mad like that, but wanted to see some of the sites at night.

After leaving Starbucks at the Wharf, I followed google for a while and saw some pretty cool things, SF at night is beautiful, so much happening.

Passed lots and lots of eateries, live music, buskers, shops open till 10pm.

I didn’t at all feel afraid. 🙂

Watch the Video.

I found ChinaTown … so I explored that a bit… there was live traditional Chinese music being played and i had to stop a while and listen, did the obligatory donation and recorded a little for the video. 🙂

I wandered in and out of lots of Chinese shops, mostly all aiming at the tourists but still cool fun to poke around.. 🙂

After ChinaTown, I kept walking, and ended up in JapanTown

Watch the Video.

It was quite a bit later by now and most everything was closed except a few restaurants where i found myself a late dinner before finishing off my walk back to the hotel.

I’m leaving the next day, so had to get packed and ready for that.

The walk back was interesting, I walked though a bunch of homeless people, who were literally camping on the street, fire going, and they were shooting up, right there… in the open.




Part 9 – Day 9 – Back to LA from San Francisco

Today marks the trip back to LA from SF, a long 9 hour drive, the plan is to leave early and get to LA at a reasonable hour, drop of the rental car a day early, and check into the Hotel at LAX, where i’ll chill.

The drive back was fairly uneventful, a long drive, with a couple of stops.

One of the places I stopped at is called Santa Nella, it’s about 2 hours south or so from SF, i stopped to get breakfast and see a war memorial for the Korean war, which didn’t exist.

Breakfast was Dennys… here’s the thing about Dennys… when I first visited the USA, it was Hawaii to visit my friend Jen, and the very first food i had there was Dennys.. so i thought this was kind of fitting.

Carrying on, I stopped at another place called Lost Hills to buy some more water and stop for a quick breather.

Next stop is a place called “Vista Del Lago” Visitors Centre. This place is quite interesting, you get to watch videos of how water gets to California, how it was routed many many years ago, and why there’s a water shortage. Totally worth a stop and visit for a half hour or so.

After that I carried on and rent directly to Hertz and dropped off the car, and caught an Uber to my hotel.. the Sheraton … swanky last night treat before I fly tomorrow.

Once booked in… I went exploring a little of Downtown LA again, see the next video below..


Vista Del Lago:





Part 10 – Day 9 – LA Downtown at Night

So after checking in, I grabbed an Uber and went into downtown LA to a place i didn’t get a chance to visit before called “The original Farmers Market” and to be honest it wasn’t all that interesting, mostly a collection of little grocery stalls marketing themselves as organic etc.. and some food stalls, and then behind that a larger more modern shopping mall complex.


One thing of note is a store called “American Girl Place” … this place, i swear is a obvious sign of a culture going down hill rapidly… Conan O’Brian did a show about it… it was… weird… and in person, it’s messed up. Talk about teaching kids that reality isn’t good enough. Seriously, watch the video from Conan, i’ve linked it below… really… watch it…. seriously…. 😛


After that, I got another Uber to Little Tokyo, aka Japan Town LA. it was mostly closed, but there were a few things open, a few Model stores, and places to eat, it was late, i was hungry (when am I not lol) so I got some food at a quite nice Japanese eatery.

I walked around a little more and then caught another Uber back to the hotel and did some editing and went to sleep.

Tomorrow I fly out of LAX, the intention is a late checkout at 3pm, check into LAX and clear through customs.. then relax and wait for my flight.



Americal Girl:

Conan’s Show:





Part 11 – Day 10 – LAX

My Final part day in LA, I got up after a very nice sleep in, hehehehehe, and went and had brunch in the fancy hotel bar and caught some video of that, so as usual…

watch the video…

After lunch, I chilled for a hour or so, then caught the shuttle from the hotel to LAX.

Departures was fairly painless to make my way around, found Air New Zealand, and checked in, way way way to early.. i had about 6 hours to waste.. OMG how….

I spent hours just walking around, looking at the same old shops over and over and over hahahah ok so now i know, i can be there 2 hours before, because I can Check In via Air New Zealand app 😛


Anyways, finally got on board, and the flight was as expected… long. watched too many movies, ate too much food, and fell asleep for short durations….

Watch the video.

What was cool was the morning, when the sun was rising as we were flying.. watch the video to see what i mean.


Landing in NZ was painless and getting through Customs was super fast and easy, caught a taxi and .. came home.

and as the song goes…. “here’s where, the story ends”.


Thank you for coming along on this small glimpse of my little adventures to California.

I hope you will take that step and go adventuring yourself.






To all the amazing people I met, I hope your respective lives are awesome and mayhaps we may meet again.



All material copyright: Yanni Migias
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2018, road trip, beardyman, usa, california, los angeles, san francisco, exploring, adventure, yanni,,, photography, model, models, image


It costs How Much???? In L.A …. ???


I’ve been slowly planning my trip to L.A for next year.. a bit of a holiday and a bit of work also..

Doing the usual.. looking at what’s on.. travel .. accommodation.. places to go to and things to see and do, and I’ve come to this conclusion about it all….

Holy hell .. L.A is ridiculously expensive.

How do people ever survive there ?

For the sake of context .. as of this blog post .. currency conversion is about NZD$1.68 to USD$1.00 .. yea.. that’s a big ouch. .. for me to buy say USD$1000.00 would cost me near on NZD$1500-1600 .. and that’s probably not including whatever fees the banks would want to charge…

So far, with what I’ve seen, the cheapest part of the trip would be the airline tickets .. then rental car …

Things like hotels or AirBnB is hellishly over priced. I know that food is ok as you don’t have to eat like a rock star… but coffee.. omg I’ve seen some prices like UDS$5 for a coffee.. and I know they don’t do good coffee there… we are so luckily here in NZ.

However… work wise.. I’m trying to plan a few photo shoots … and that’s an eye opener in its self..

Apparently L.A is strongly union controlled so contents and permits are generally required .. makes sense I guess… where as back home you can generally shoot .. of course the fact that my shooting genre includes nudity of the human form.. that makes it more complicated again.

I’ve been advised that leaving the L.A city limits is advisable .. but L.A is a very big place and traffic would play a part in substantial delays no doubt.

As yet I’ve not looked into studio hire rates.. mostly cause I don’t like shooting indoors anyway..

I’m going to research San Francisco also.. see if that city has similar issues or not. .. or maybe I just see if I can get a AirBnB a bit away from the city.. maybe that will be more affordable.. which kinda sucks cause the few models I really want to shoot with are in L.A .

If anyone has any advise or knows of reasonable accommodation and places I could shoot art-nudes .. then I’d love to hear from you 😁

Anyways .. enough of the ranting .. I need to get on the road again…

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BBC News: Tamara Ecclestone breastfeeding pictures: Why were they controversial?

Tamara Ecclestone breastfeeding pictures: Why were they controversial? –

Isn’t it sad when an article like this gets commented upon.. even published… 

Because people are rapidly losing touch with how things in the real world work. 

We didn’t magically appear all washed dressed and ready to go… we all started life out as babies ..  All needed feeding , cleaning, etc.. and naturally breastfeeding feeding is how it’s done. 

This new generation of “OMG I’m so offended by that ” people – are going to be the end of sensibility in this world…. 

Lost has become most all common sense .. breading forthcoming generations of mindless uneducated out of touch with reality drones …. 

Thank goodness I still have food in my life lol
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New Zealand Immigration


update below:


Having an interesting day today..

Arrived at our internarional airport this morning to pickup a traveling international model, but it seems that good old New Zealand Airport Immigration are making things difficult.

So as I’m a nice guy and like to help…

I’ve talked to two different immigration agents on the phone.. (both times they called me by getting my number from the person in question, no probllem with that) … it seems that neither share a brain cell between them.. though in saying that, the second one (sounded like an English accent) was somewhat more polite than the first one who was just plain rude.

The first one rang and left a message ( I was driving so didn’t answer my mobile… arn’t I good) and then she took about 2 hours to ring back…. When she did.. she said she’d call back in two minutes (I just pulled into the car park and was parking)…. she never did… (and she was just as rude again) …

The second lady rang about 30 minutes after i parked…so much for 2 minutes….. we had a general conversation… like who am I.. how do I know the person in question. . Do I know what they will be doing while in NZ, etc etc .. all the usual questions.. then she cut me off and hung up the call… so with no way to contact them back… I dunno what else to do.  The Immigration office here at the airport is closed… no number to ring and no agents to ask……    

I really do feel sorry for people coming to NZ … I understand immigration have a important job to do… but they don’t have to be fuck witted assholes about it… or maybe it’s part of the job requirement.. “oh you want to work as an immigration officer…sure… can you be a fuck witted asshole.. just like John Key?…you can.. excellent. . Welcome to your new job..” …  .. (.. ypu may ask.. who is John Key.. He is the current New Zealand Prime Minister .. who does very dodgy things…very very.. Google him)…

That attitude does more damage to the reputation of NZ than 1000 good reviews could do to support it especially when it happens to people working in media .. bad press and word of mouth travels fast in a small community …. there’s just no escaping it.

Now to be fair… I do only have (at this stage) 1/3 of the story…. and all I can do now is go do my usual stuff and wait to see if the person in question is allowed to enter New Zealand or not….    If so I’ll be sure to update this blog with more information. … If not.l, then I can only wait for an email from them when they return home (I assume).

Either way.. it’s lunchtime and I’m hungry and I’ve been here since 7 am.

More as I learn more.




So after a 4 hours, I get a text from the person in question, who is now been declined a visa to visit NZ.

After a bit of text chat, we find that she had the same experience as i did with the Immigration agent, finding her to be very rude.


I’ve gone ahead and managed to find a contact number for immigration via the airport, which was a headache as Immigration seem to really want to be uncontactable, i had to be somewhat rude to the airport operator to actually get them to transfer me, as they kept saying “Oh we can’t put you though , they don’t have a number “ … unbelievable.. because they did have a number…. obviously… 

I spoke with a guy about the situation and he was polite but absolutely unhelpful, unwilling to make any sort of effort to assist (easy to tell by his accent he wasn’t kiwi born), often going back to the “we can’t discuss this unless we have permission from the person in question” who has given their permission already because immigration had already called me twice….

This is truly terrible that Immigration have yet again shown themselves as total uncaring assholes , nothing seems to change, and I truly feel sorry for any international traveler coming to NZ that has to deal with those idiots.

Well done New Zealand Immigration, yet again , you’ve proved your self to be a pack of mindless drones with no ability to think for yourself or help anyone… fucking well done.


(a backstory note)..

Just so you know that i’m not dealing with a one-off here.. I have experience with NZ Immigration and how they treat people, as I have a number of international friends, some who live/ work here, some who are students etc.. and I constantly hear horror stories about how they are treated by NZ Immigration, and i’ve even tried to help a couple of them and have experienced this first hand….   it’s a hard thing to do, to try and be there for someone who gets shafted by immigration and watch them as they see their life and what they have worked hard for (legally) get torn apart by an uncaring emotionally void asshole at immigration. 


Rant end.







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