In November, we announced that Carlos Santana had won the Baby Cobras photography contest. A few days and a tattletale later, we were forced to nullify his title because Carlos had unknowingly violated a fine print clause. Rather than crush his Black Magic Woman dreams, we chose to send him to Hawaii anyway.

Carlos was exactly what we were looking for in a young photographer. He was enthusiastic. He was eager. He was fun to be around. But what good are any of those things if they're not coupled with independence? Luckily for us, Carlos Santa was like Anaheim's George Washington.

Carlos stayed at our house, but we didn't see very much of him. Every morning before first light, he woke up, chugged a cup of coffee, gathered his gear and sprinted out the door to go shoot. He would disappear all day long, gone with the trade winds, only to return half an hour past sunset with a pocket full of memory cards and a mouthful of stories. "Mitch Crews is a pimp!" or "Me and Mason Ho got caught inside at Rockies, that shit was whack!" His linguistic urban flare was a welcome contrast to the surfy-surf standard, and it was pleasant to hear Mitch Crews referred to as neither a bro nor brah. Then, Carlos would have his nightly glass of Jameson whiskey before settling into the beaten cushions of his couch bed and restarting the cycle.

Here's the cream of the aforementioned memory cards. All photos and captions by Carlos Santana.

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