SR DJ

Easy going and very accommodating DJ Sykwidit in downtown Santa Rosa. He basically let me crawl around wherever I wanted to show what he loves to do.

DJ Sykwidit, 30, of Santa Rosa keeping the dance floor moving at The Lounge at La Rosa Tequileria & Grille in downtown Santa Rosa Saturday night. January 16, 2016. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

DJ Sykwidit, 30, of Santa Rosa keeping the dance floor moving at The Lounge at La Rosa Tequileria & Grille in downtown Santa Rosa Saturday night. January 16, 2016.
(Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

The dance floor during DJ Sykwidit's set at The Lounge at La Rosa Tequileria & Grille in downtown Santa Rosa Saturday night. January 16, 2016. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

The dance floor during DJ Sykwidit’s set at The Lounge at La Rosa Tequileria & Grille in downtown Santa Rosa Saturday night. January 16, 2016.
(Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

DJ Sykwidit, 30, of Santa Rosa keeping the dance floor moving at The Lounge at La Rosa Tequileria & Grille in downtown Santa Rosa Saturday night. Sykwidit has been deejaying for about 15 years and can be heard twice a month at La Rosa Lounge. January 16, 2016. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

DJ Sykwidit, 30, of Santa Rosa at The Lounge at La Rosa Tequileria & Grille in downtown Santa Rosa Saturday night. Sykwidit has been deejaying for about 15 years and can be heard twice a month at La Rosa Lounge. January 16, 2016.
(Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

Jack London piece for Sonoma Magazine

Here are a few images from my shoot for the January 2016 issue of Sonoma Magazine about some of the living heirs to the Jack London State Park. It was a great week of shooting in both soupy fog and blazing sun. Also loved that Sonoma Magazine ran the shot of Brian Shepard in his car. I love shooting subjects in their cars especially ones that spend so much of their time in the driver’s seat.

A row of eucalyptus trees near the entrance to The Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen. December 6, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

A row of eucalyptus trees in thick fog near the entrance to The Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen. December 6, 2015.

Iris Jamahl Dunkle, a professor of writing and literature at Napa Valley College during a visit to the Wolf House in the Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen, California. Dunkle is currently co-writing a biography about Jack London's wife, Charmian London. November 30, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

Iris Jamahl Dunkle, a professor of writing and literature at Napa Valley College during a visit to the Wolf House in the Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen, California. Dunkle is currently co-writing a biography about Jack London’s wife, Charmian London. November 30, 2015.

Chuck Levine on his horse Buzz during his volunteer park patrol at The Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen. November 20, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

Chuck Levine on his horse Buzz during his volunteer park patrol at The Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen. November 20, 2015.

Jack London heir and VP of Walsh Vineyard Management, INC. Brian Shepard parked in his truck at The Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen. November 20, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

Jack London heir and VP of Walsh Vineyard Management, INC. Brian Shepard parked in his truck at The Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen. November 20, 2015.

Muriel Williamson has been volunteering at The House of Happy Walls Museum for 22 years at The Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen. December 6, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

Muriel Williamson has been volunteering at The House of Happy Walls Museum for 22 years at The Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen. December 6, 2015.

Middletown – Post Fire

A few favorite moments from a recent shoot in Middletown, California for The Press Democrat; first time the town held a home football game at their high school since the Valley Fire.

Gracie Pachie, a Senior at Middletown High School who lost her home to the recent Valley Fire, prepares to ride her horse before the start of Middletown's first home football game since the Valley Fire held Friday evening. Pachie is Miss California High School Rodeo Queen 2015-2016 and she recovered her charred crown from the remains of her burnt down home,

Gracie Pachie, a Senior at Middletown High School who lost her home to the recent Valley Fire, prepares to ride her horse before the start of Middletown High School’s first home football game since the Valley Fire.

The Middletown High School football team gathers for a quiet moment on Friday evening before the start of their first home game since the recent catastrophic Valley Fire. October 9, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

The Middletown High School football team gathers for a quiet moment on Friday evening before the start of their first home game since the recent Valley Fire.

Sydney Brownie, left and Gracie Pachie, pause for a few moments before they ride their horses at the start of Middletown High School's first home football game since the recent catastrophic Valley Fire Friday evening. October 9, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

Sydney Brownie and Gracie Pachie at the start of Middletown High School’s first home football game since the recent Valley Fire.

Mental Hospital from 1891

I became a photojournalist for many reasons, but one reason in particular has been to photograph people in situations that would have occurred regardless of my presence.

Over the Summer I spent time with four families committed to staying connected to their loved ones living with severe mental and physical disabilities. All of them are cared for daily at the Sonoma Development Center in Eldridge, California which is in the process of being shut down by a governor’s budget plan. The images and story appear in the Fall issue of Sonoma Magazine.

Susan Farrell, 61, at a McDonald's in Sonoma, California where Brien Farrell and his wife Kathy Farrell help her eat a cheeseburger and french fries. June 23, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Susan Farrell, 61, at a McDonald’s in Sonoma, California where her brother Brien Farrell and his wife Kathy Farrell often take her to lunch and help her eat a cheeseburger and french fries. June 23, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Susan Farrell, 61, having lunch with her brother Brien Farrell at a McDonald's in Sonoma, California. Brien often helps his sister eat by handing her small bites of french fries or a piece of a cheese burger. June 23, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Susan Farrell, 61, having lunch with her brother Brien Farrell at a McDonald’s in Sonoma, California. Brien often helps his sister eat by handing her small bites of french fries or a small piece of a cheeseburger. June 23, 2015.
(Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Sonoma Development Center resident Frank Magliotto, 89, during a visit with his nephew's wife Julie Ferrario and her children Domenico Ferrario, 5, (right rear) and Teresa Ferrario, 3, in the center's Nelson Unit in Aldridge, California. June 18, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Sonoma Development Center resident Frank Magliotto, 89, during a visit with his nephew’s wife Julie Ferrario and her children Domenico Ferrario, 5, (right rear) and Teresa Ferrario, 3, in the center’s Nelson Unit in Eldridge, California. June 18, 2015.
(Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Sonoma Development Center resident Frank Magliotto, 89, in his room at the center's Nelson Unit with his nephew's 3-year-old daughter Teresa Ferrario. Aldridge, California June 18, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Sonoma Development Center resident Frank Magliotto, 89, in his room at the center’s Nelson Unit with his nephew’s 3-year-old daughter Teresa Ferrario. Eldridge, California June 18, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Sonoma Development Center resident Frank Magliotto, 89, during a visit with his nephew Paul Ferrario, Frank's sister Mary Ferrario (right) and Paul's 3-year-old daughter Teresa Ferrario in the center's Nelson Unit in Aldridge, California. June 18, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Sonoma Development Center resident Frank Magliotto, 89, during a visit with his nephew Paul Ferrario, his sister Mary Ferrario (right) and Paul’s 3-year-old daughter Teresa Ferrario in the center’s Nelson Unit in Eldridge, California. June 18, 2015.
(Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Kathleen Miller with her son Danny Smith, 48, at a farm near the housing units of the Sonoma Developmental Center in Eldridge, California. June 7, 2015. June 7, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Kathleen Miller with her son Danny Smith, 48, at a farm near the housing units of the Sonoma Developmental Center in Eldridge, California. June 7, 2015. June 7, 2015.
(Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

About once a week Kathleen Miller takes her son Danny Smith, 48, (left) out for lunch at a McDonald's in Sonoma. On this occasion Miller's grandchildren Sydney Dillon, 13, (foreground) and Casey Dillon, 16, join her. June 7, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

About once a week Kathleen Miller takes her son Danny Smith, 48, (left) out for lunch at a McDonald’s in Sonoma. On this occasion Miller’s grandchildren Sydney Dillon, 13, (foreground) and Casey Dillon, 16, join her. June 7, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Molly Dillon with her younger brother Danny Smith, 48, at a farm near the housing units of the Sonoma Developmental Center in Eldridge, California. June 7, 2015. June 7, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Molly Dillon with her younger brother Danny Smith, 48, at a farm near the housing units of the Sonoma Developmental Center in Eldridge, California. June 7, 2015. 
(Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Patricia Walter during a doctor's office visit with her daughter Andrea Walter, 34 in Sonoma. Andrea had been transported by ambulance from the Sonoma Development Center to make this appointment to see the progress made from a recent hip injury. June 12, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Patricia Walter during a doctor’s office visit with her daughter Andrea Walter, 34, in Sonoma. Andrea had been transported by ambulance from the Sonoma Development Center to make this appointment to see the progress made from a recent hip injury. June 12, 2015.
(Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Patricia Walter during a doctor's office visit with her daughter Andrea Walter, 34 in Sonoma. Andrea had been transported by ambulance from the Sonoma Development Center to make this appointment to see the progress made from a recent hip injury. June 12, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

Patricia Walter during a doctor’s office visit with her daughter Andrea Walter, 34 in Sonoma. Andrea had been transported by ambulance from the Sonoma Development Center to make this appointment to see the progress made from a recent hip injury. June 12, 2015.
(Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

An old metal sign at the entrance to the Sonoma Development Center, once known as the Sonoma State Hospital, with the Roman numeral date 1891; the year the mental hospital first opened its doors in the town of Eldridge, California. June 29, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

An old metal sign at the entrance to the Sonoma Development Center, once known as the Sonoma State Hospital, with the Roman numeral 1891; the year the mental hospital first opened its doors in the town of Eldridge, California. June 29, 2015. (Photo: Erik Castro/for Sonoma Magazine)

local band – local shoot

I’ve been shooting this band on and off for a few years now. They have a lot of heart and passion and are quite a mix of personalities. I shot them in Santa Rosa in some locations I’ve been dying to get into like this old decaying property with some beautiful pale green cement walls in the west side of Santa Rosa. The property owner generously gave us access after he realized the only equipment I would be using was a small camera hanging from my neck. Pays to travel light.

Photo by: ERIK CASTRO © 2015 Location: Santa Rosa, California

Photo by: ERIK CASTRO © 2015
Location: Santa Rosa, California

Photo by: ERIK CASTRO © 2015 Location: Santa Rosa, California

Photo by: ERIK CASTRO © 2015
Location: Santa Rosa, California

Photo by: ERIK CASTRO © 2015 Location: Santa Rosa, California

Photo by: ERIK CASTRO © 2015
Location: Santa Rosa, California

Photo by: ERIK CASTRO © 2015 Location: Santa Rosa, California

Photo by: ERIK CASTRO © 2015
Location: Santa Rosa, California

Photo by: ERIK CASTRO © 2015 Location: Santa Rosa, California

Photo by: ERIK CASTRO © 2015
Location: Santa Rosa, California

WONDERFUL – a short film series

During a cold winter night a few years ago I was sitting in a bleak smoke-filled room at a Motel 6 in Santa Rosa, California with Matt Lytle; a 20-something-year-old who had spent several long years homeless. We were having a discussion about surviving the mental challenges of living on the streets. Matt said a lot of beautiful things that night. One that I never seem to forget was his comparison of the sound his skateboard wheels make gliding over smooth pavement to that of the sound a mother makes while comforting her baby by saying, “shhhuuush.”

He also told me that night that “in order for somebody to basically get out of the darkness and what not, they have to know that there is a light out there.” Those words and Matt’s ability to find so much beauty in his life during a time when it was so punishing is what inspired me to make this short film series titled, WONDERFUL.

WONDERFUL was screened this evening at a fundraising event for the non-profit Social Advocates for Youth who plan to open their Dream Center this fall. The Dream Center will be a place to help other homeless youth like Matt find a way out of the darkness.

– Erik Castro, April 18, 2015

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/125291244″>WONDERFUL – A Short Film Series (9:32)</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/erikcastro”>erik castro | photojournalist</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

WONDERFUL – coming soon

A lot of truly enjoyable work has gone into this video series. I had the opportunity to interview and film some wonderful people, and was able to write and record lots of new music, I got back on my Santa Cruz skateboard to do tracking shots, and best of all I got to share some stories worth hearing.

It’s called WONDERFUL and the film series will be out in April for on-line viewing at the website for the Santa Rosa non-profit Social Advocates for Youth.

Here’s the trailer:

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/122033978″>WONDERFUL – Trailer</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/erikcastro”>erik castro | photojournalist</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>