Monday, December 27, 2010


The end of a year.  The end of a decade.  There were varying states of panic within the human race when the first decade of the 21st century opened.  Now a new decade is about to open before us and it gives one pause.  The final days of 2010 give us time for reflection.

Here are some of my favorite photographic reflections.  The intersection of water and stone has always fascinated me.  It presents endless photographic possibilities.

Williams Lake beneath Wheeler Peak, Taos County, New Mexico

Tinaja, El Malpais, New Mexico

Bridge, Hilo, Hawaii

Grand Teton Reflection

Reflection on the past is a way of pondering the future.  For me, it is a way of embracing, respecting, and photographing Planet Earth.

Happy New Year!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image

Sunday, December 19, 2010

silence of snow

Carl Sandburg wrote "The fog comes on little cat feet."  As does snow.  It finally arrived softly on our parched landscape this week.  Some of you are having far too much of it or far too many buckets of rain.

Moisture alters the land and our beings.

as we make our way through the Solstice, and the sun sets over the snowy landscape,  I wish you all a good night!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image


Monday, December 13, 2010

season of magic

Regardless of a person's beliefs, this season holds great mystery and magic.  21 December will be packed with it this year.  It is not only the winter solstice, but there will be a full lunar eclipse as well as a full moon! Sweet moments will no doubt be there for the taking as well.  Below are three photographs from Amsterdam that make me feel warm inside and bring forth the magic.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Studying white

Perhaps because snow has been so much a part of life in much of the country this week or possibly because things become somewhat monochromatic during winter, I have been pondering white.  Anyone who has painted a room "white" knows that there are thousands of variations on the theme of white and it can drive a person mad deciding which is best.

The adjective white is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as "of the color of milk or fresh snow, due to the reflection of all visible rays of light."  Further explanation from Wikipedia continues "White light is the effect of combining the visible colors of light in suitable proportions (the same present in solar light)."  "Since the impression of white is obtained by three summations of light intensity across the visible spectrum, the number of combinations of light wavelengths that produce the sensation of white is practically infinite."

In the past, there was debate about whether white was the absence of color but in actuality (thanks to Newton), we now know it is comprised of all the colors in the spectrum in varying amounts.  Because of the reflective power of white, of minerals and other naturally occurring materials, "pure"white (except light) is difficult to find in nature.

The photograph below captures a white created by humans and painted on a stucco wall.

New Mexico's White Sands - the world's largest gypsum dune field - is another tone of white.  But if you are lucky enough to see snow at White Sand's you will see how much bluer in tone the snow is than the sand which at first glance is startlingly white.  I have yet to see that event.

This snow detail also shows not only a slightly cooler tone of white but its own reflective power.

I tend to think of shells as being white compared to their ocean and beach surroundings.  Below is a shell photographed on a cool white copy paper.  If I digitally desaturate the shell, removing the natural pigments, the paper and shell become uniform in color.


The study of white as a color, with its endless variants, is as important a subject to a photographer as is light.  Once again, I wish I had taken physics in college.  Now it is catch up time!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Nature's brush

To me, a change of season is nature at its most wondrous.  Our human brains frequently assume it happens suddenly and certainly it frequently feels that way.  But watchers know and see the signs, and are keenly aware it is a gradual and insidious evolution of one season into the next.   From bird and animal migration, to the changing sky and earth, photographers document the process.

Cloud study 1 - approaching storm

Throughout, nature paints everything with the most astonishing surprises.

The first heavy frosts on the windows are applied with strokes both fine and broad.

Frost 1

These two shots were made the same morning on windows of identical size and composition, both facing south, with approximately thirty two feet separating them.  Although they contain common elements, the two patterns are dramatically different.

Frost 2

keep your eyes peeled and cameras ready.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image

Sunday, November 21, 2010

on fire

Nature on fire.  That is autumn in the Pacific Northwest, where hundreds of different species of Japanese and vine maples scream, sweet gums shout, and gingkos glow.  All strutting their costumes before taking a well-earned rest until spring.  They are very difficult to ignore and next to impossible not to photograph.  Thus, you are getting another dose of the extended season.

There were so many red leaves on the earth and in the water, that the leaf right in the middle of a water lilly was not a complete surprise but nonetheless, a visual treat.

And what can I say about this tree except "Bravo!"

Who knows?  Next week's blog may be filled with black and white, straight white, and tan images.  but...

until next Monday


a passion for the image

a shameless post script.  Thanks to Visual Server from the Photo Eye Gallery and Bookstore in Santa Fe,  my new
website is up and running.  

There is still some work to do (involving more expletives on my part, no doubt) but I present it for your perusal.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Autumn redo

"Maple leaves on granite"

Because of the miracle of transportation, human beings today can travel to another place quickly and experience seasons twice or three times in a row.  In essence, nature gives us a redo.  Traveling to the northwestern United States at this time of year not only offers some autumn color, but some early winter blooms for photographic fodder.  You will find some wonderful surprises here.



"Golden bamboo"

Thanks Debbie, Bob, Monica, and Larry for making these photographs possible.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tango on the brain

Having spent the weekend at the Albuquerque Tango Festival, tango music is wandering the halls of my brain.  Little wonder that today's blog features some of the dance photographs I have made over the years.

"Fred and Heather"

This photograph was part of a photo shoot on a hot summer day on the Taos Plaza.  It was altered with filters in PhotoShop.

"Carrie and Tara"

Carrie Field and Tara Fortier are both consummate and creative dancers as well as world-class teachers.  Here is another shot with Carrie and another incredible dancer and teacher, Mike Malixi.

"Carrie and Mike"

Many, nearly all, would say that in tango it is all about the embrace...

...or is it about the shoes?????

"Used and new"

"Flamenco Feet"

Flamenco Feet was made in a studio at the Synergia Ranch south of Santa Fe in 1995 with a Mamiya medium format camera.   All the performers were incredibly dynamic and this shoot was one of my most memorable.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image


Sunday, October 31, 2010

ode to autumn waning

A hard frost and winds strong enough to down trees in some northern New Mexico locations pulled the reins in on autumn, bringing most color to the ground earlier this week.  Still, along the Rio Grande and the Rio Ojo Caliente, color lurked, extending autumnal wonders.  Shade remains in the Rio Grande Gorge at this time of year until roughly 9 a.m., providing great opportunities for photographing river reflections.

color along the Rio Grande

                                Even at Cimarroncita Historic Ranch Retreat, 7300 feet in elevation, color still lingered.

Gold and red on white

                                                                                                 Nothing like a New World crop to complete the autumn palette.


until next Monday,


a passion for the image

Monday, October 25, 2010

ode to autumn

I can see snow in the mountains above Taos and on the Truchas Peaks today. Most of the veins of high country gold are now flowing into the lower elevation river valleys. The cottonwood - both Fremont and Narrow Leaf - are putting on quite a show.

To catch this photograph of the cottonwood trees along the Rio Ojo Caliente, I stood outside a fence and shot through two strands of barbed wire with the ISO at 100, shutter speed at 1/500 second at f8 on my Konica Minolta digital camera.

Cottonwood trees along the Rio Ojo Caliente

The shot of the narrow leaf cottonwoods was taken with my very first digital camera - a Canon Power Shot A10 that my sister and brother-in-law gave me. The image was made before I was taken kicking and screaming from the darkroom into digital photography.

Narrow leaf cottonwoods
Finally, another still life.  These red pears very clearly announce autumn, the harvest, and the coming holiday season.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image

Monday, October 18, 2010

ode to autumn

The sense of smell is a big part of autumn for me.  Beginning in late July and many times continuing through October, the smell of roasting green chile fills the air.  It is a rich, earthy, almost edible and evocative of the harvest.  Mix that with the crunch of dry leaves, fragrant apples, and cool air, and you have a little slice of paradise!

Halcyon days at Emmett and Paule's

this year's bell pepper harvest

Lucky the photographer who gets down on the ground to shoot!  The smells rise up to meet you.

Dixon's Apple Farm bounty

Granny Smith apples

Even in a relatively dry place like New Mexico, the amount and types of food grown is amazing.  As a photographer, I try to capture the beauty of what nature supplies and humankind harvests.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image

Sunday, October 10, 2010

ode to autumn

The first frost settled over the high mesa last Friday evening, and the cool, crystalline days of autumn have begun in earnest.  Days when the finest cello and oboe music combine in my head with the sound of leaves  hitting the ground around my feet.  Then there are the smells.  Much has to be left to the imagination but a few photographs say it all.  This is one of my favorites.  Hitting the high country after a dusting of snow a had melted and subsequent light rain had left what I call rain shadows on the aspen.

Aspen rain shadows

The aspen family demonstrates the pure delight and melancholy that is autumn.  Soon the gold will be gone, the trees will be at rest, and the trunks will reflect winter.

The shot below I categorize "just for fun".  This was part of a wedding portfolio I made a year ago in Taos.  It was in the middle of October and the day could not have been better for the event.


                                                                             Dip into autumn

Last but not least, a detail of aspen near Hopewell Lake.  There is something about the soil here that, regardless of rainfall, drought, or disease, produces the most wonderful reds, oranges, and yellows in leaves.

Aspen detail, Hopewell Lake, New Mexico

Breathe deeply

until next Monday,


a passion for the image

Monday, October 4, 2010

ode to autumn

Weather in New Mexico is a spectator sport.  Whenever it rains, people run from their places of work outside or to the window to see it rain.  When rainbows appear, cars stop along the streets and highways so their drivers and passengers can take photographs.  The same thing happens when it starts to snow.  But autumn in the western United States, particularly in the Rocky Mountains, is something to behold.  And it begins as early as mid-September in the very high elevations, spreading its wealth of gold, orange, and red down the mountainsides and between the ridges, spilling over into the river valleys as the days progress into October.

The next few blogs will be a photographic ode to autumn and harvest time.  Many of the photographs that will be featured were taken along one of the most beautiful routes in New Mexico - Highway 64 between Tres Piedras and Tierra Amarilla.

These shots were made last week.  The day was sublime!


Relish the autumn!

until next Monday,


a passion for the image 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

environmental portraiture

Stewart, 2009

Continuing last week's theme of portraiture but moving into environmental portraiture, I would like to share some images taken at a variety of locations.  One of my favorite backdrops is the humble, organic adobe or stuccoed wall.  The two images of Stewart were made with that backdrop, as part of a slightly unconventional and informal "head shot" series for the movie industry.

Stewart, 2009

The shoot involved a number of changes in clothing and settings, and since models really do feel differently in varied costumes and locations, the resulting photographs present two different "characters."

Catherine is a professional photographer whose current emphasis involves movement and dance.  She needed some images for her web sites and we spent an afternoon in the process of making those.  Below is one of our favorites.

Catherine, 2010

Finally, another image from the photo session with my colleague, Steve.

Steve, 2010

The autumnal equinox graced the planet on 22 September.  The next few blogs will feature autumn in all its glory.

Until next Monday,


a passion for the image

Monday, September 20, 2010

two photographers get together...

How many photographers does it take to make a decent photograph?  What happens when two photographers get together for a photo shoot?  There must be at least two or three jokes you could tell.

But what really does happen when photographers meet for practice sessions?  Steve and I got together last week, using his garage set up as a studio for an exercise in portraiture and lighting.  It was definitely a learning experience.  Anyone who works with electronics and computers knows that the possibilities for complications and equipment failure are huge and there were moments of confusion.  But overall, it was very educational and because of that, we both will think about shooting slightly differently.  There are things any photographer needs to keep in mind.  Know your camera and equipment.  Be aware of light.  Make your subject comfortable.  (Steve is a great model but I don't particularly care for being  photographed.  I prefer my place of comfort behind the camera.)

During a roughly three hour session, we both posed using his soft box, back drop, light meter and flash.  We also chose several natural light environments, both inside and outside, making it possible to compare and contrast.

Steve 2010
The two images included here are very different as a result of two controlled lighting situations.  The results are apparent.  One is not better than the other.  They are both effective but for different reasons.  The black and white feels like a timeless portrait taken in the desert in the 1903s or 1940s, while the picture of Steve with the guitar is obviously a product of electronics and the beautiful soft, even light brought about with a single soft box.

By the end of the session, I think we were both feeling more comfortable being photographed, allowing ourselves to use props and just sit before the camera.  During the past when I shot environmental portraits and weddings, I always tried to make the model or person involved feel comfortable.  Because of this photo session, I am once again aware of being photographed and how unsettling it can be.  It will make me work at my art that much harder.
Steve 2010

Until next Monday,


a passion for the image