Journal | explorations, discoveries, musing, and insights
The Lama Foundation | July 29, 2019
Perched at 8600 feet on the side of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains north of Taos, New Mexico, The Lama Foundation serves as a beacon of practice and hope for awakening human consciousness. Now in it's 52nd year as an intentional community and retreat center, Lama inspires all who come for a visit, extended stay, or longer term residency, to enter into the sacred practices of all the world's religious traditions, and find at their heart the same possibility – to live life in gratitude, joy, and compassion. Lama has been my spiritual home since the late 80's. The images in this gallery were taken over the last three years during extended stays in the Spring and Fall.
Ventura County | Nov 9, 2017
Southern California chaparral isn't a particularly dramatic environment, though it definitely has delightful moments; generally this mountainous coastal area offers more subtle pallets and textures than the Sierra or southwestern national parks I frequent. From our backyard I access the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy's Ventura River Preserve, an arroyo strewn with lichen spotted boulders, and grasses and hearty shrubs with their soft color changes over the seasons. Heading up into the mountains opens vistas, rock outcroppings, and additional water features, and invites patience to find the hidden visual treasures. This gallery celebrates what I'm discovering as I explore my backyard.
Slimy Green Veils | May 25, 2017
We joke about the mighty Ventura River below where we live. For the past five or so years barely a trickle of water made it's way down the valley. That changed quickly in February after close to nine inches of rain fell in a twenty-four hour period in the mountains behind Ojai. Though the main channel is fifty yards away from our bluff overlook we could actually see the water roaring by and clearly hear the crashing of boulders tumbling along the water course. By April the Ventura had calmed to a wide gentle flow and was cultivating beautiful mossy veils of bright greens and yellows.
Sunrise, Sunset, Dawn, and Dusk | Oct 2, 2017
Timing can be everything and that's certainly true when it comes to sunrise and sunset photography when light and color shift quickly and intensely within minutes. I've noticed these moments startle and even stop all human activity as people drop whatever they're doing to stare at a sky filled with bright pink clouds. These sunlight transition times are a favorite of mine. With many images to sort and choose from I ended up creating four galleries to showcase the stunning diversity of light and hue. I've learned a lot in these threshold moments about the wild influence of atmosphere on the colors of a landscape when everything in sight can take on the hue of a sky or cloud.
Feeling Texture | Jul 5, 2017
This my largest gallery yet has been a long time coming into form.
For years I've been tagging images that evoke the tactile feeling or visual sense of texture, and it's taken time for me to clarify for myself what was calling to me and what held these visual snippets together. I still can't quite explain it, however I'm thrilled to have this forum for sharing some of my favorite obscure images.
Cold As Ice | Mar 20, 2017
Yikes, what we won't do sometimes for an interesting photograph. Often the best times of day are very early before sunrise, and likewise the best times of the year are when the air in clear, which can mean winter in the southwestern US. These cold times of the day and year bring with them that curious water manifestation known as ice, a new experience for a southern California kid like me. This stuff is endlessly creative and stunningly beautiful upon close examination.
Comparing Perspectives | Apr 10, 2017
Every scene contains endless perspectives, limited by imagination, physical obstacles, inconveniences, and technology. The act of photography is very much about discovery. What's here? Can I find a treasure? It's a process of experimentation leading to lots of junk, multitudes of curious or interesting stuff, and a handful (if that) of gems. I love the distinct possibilities that reveal themselves. In this slide show gallery I offer two views of the same subject or location. These pairs have been accumulating in my catalogue for years, and I'm excited to have found a way to showcase them.
Autumn Wonder | Nov 11, 2016
I'm thinking of a piece of music by John Denver, Season Suite, where he shares his impressions of the cycles of change that define our years spinning through the cosmos tilted slightly toward or away from the sun. While I'm amazed at how rich with color each season is, it's autumn that often gets attention for it's vibrant displays. I took a solo trip along the east side of the Sierra in September in search of color and juxtaposition of form and time. I've also pulled a few older photos into this gallery, images that capture some of the glory of this lovely time of year when the air becomes crisp and the sun begins to dip lower in the sky.
Ojai Art Center Exhibit | June 7, 2016
The first public showing of my photography is underway here in my hometown. The jurored exhibit, "Shades of Gray" opened June 4th and runs through June 29th. The show features some beautiful black & white images taken by local artists in the last few years. I found out about the show a few days before submissions were due. The only prints I had on hand were part of a new installation in our home on the dining room wall, which gave me seven images to select from. To my delight, all three canvas prints I entered were chosen for the show.
Meadow of Changing Light | Aug 30, 2015
Scurrying back for breakfast after sunrise along the shore of Ediza Lake, my path came through a small meadow the filtered sun had just discovered through the tree branches. Light and shadow were exchanging places each minute, illuminating a flower or two then casting them back into shadow. A rock offered its cool toned backdrop for shadow-play as I knelt in the damp grass watching the drama of light unfold.
Barrel Cactus | Feb 1, 2016
I spotted this very large, healthy red barrel cactus peeking up from a small ravine while maneuvering to capture the changing Mohave clouds after sunset. The desert in winter serves up a stunning assortment of colors, at quick glance or from a distance seemingly bland, thought hardly that when I'm willing to spent the time to look and truly see.
Earth-Sky | Feb 27, 2015
Over the past months I’ve spent countless hours tagging and reviewing images for the Theme section of the site, resulting in the gradual addition of eight new galleries including this “Earth-Sky” collection. In this set the sky and the land have taken on a complementary or whimsical relationship. In some photos the clouds appear to be mimicking the landscape, clouds like tufa towers, cacti, extensions of tree limbs, or dramatically drawing attention to a focal point in the frame. Overall I love the assorted dances going on between the sky and the landscape, clouds swirling off high peaks, offering a “stairway to heaven”, menacing a lone tree, or twirling with leafless trees.
Joshua Snow-Tree | Jan 30, 2015
We journeyed smoothly to Twenty-Nine Palms on December 29th, enjoying morning light photo explorations around Joshua Tree’s Split Rock area the next day. Back at our Motel 6 mid-afternoon, we heard about a winter storm warning in effect for the desert and park overnight. Hum, sounded interesting. Up at the crack of dawn on that last day of the year, we ventured into the park before sunrise. To our amazement and delight the entire landscape was freshly blanketed with 1-2 inches snow! Ours were the only footprints on the hidden Barker Dam loop trail as we stepped gently through the white stuff between the boulders, soft light slowly touching the ridges and an occasional wind gust stirring the glistening powder.
Boulder Portraits | Oct 17, 2014
Museums are filled with studies by artists compelled to explore one subject repeatedly over time under a variety of circumstances, using different approaches, or with new understanding or intention. I’m struck by how my position and changing light create unique images with the same subject. Some explorations are simply the result of my attention being drawn repeatedly to the same element as I move around the landscape. In this set of boulder “studies” taken within a few hours, while my angle is nearly identical, emphasis on different parts of the landscape and rapidly changing weather at 11,600 feet in the Sierra contribute to three distinct portraits of a handsome boulder near the outflow of Echo Lake.
Other Worlds | Oct 4, 2014
One of the strangest and most otherworldly places I’ve seen is the largely unknown Trona Pinnacles in the Mohave Desert. Bruce and I stumbled upon Trona a few years ago as we were roaming across the desert heading to Death Valley via the southwest entrance; a small sign on the highway caught my attention. After crossing the railroad tracks we proceeded down the six-mile dirt road, in the distance the barely visible towers grew larger and larger as we approached. These bizarre tufa formations rise from the floor of an ancient dry lakebed. Trona’s monoliths are significantly larger than the better-known tufa towers of Mono Lake several hundred miles northeast. Being there, and revisiting these images, gives me an idea of what it might be like on some other planet.
Sacred Geometry | Sep 20, 2014
Geometry. I did well in the subject as a kid, but that was as far as I went in mathematics. My attention was drawn to silverwork under the brilliant support and encouragement of Janice Lorber at Santa Barbara HS. Janice was a huge influence on the course of my life, providing the doorway that led me to art school. I'm appreciating how things come together these days; sculpted by time, geometric shapes I learned about over four decades ago appear to me in the Ansel Adams Wilderness at ten thousand feet, and Joshua Tree at four thousand, and find their way into these images.
Early Light | Sep 15, 2014
On separate days, my attention was drawn to the relationship between this rock and Mt Banner. In the first, just before dawn the glow of the still hidden sun finds the majestic peak as a gentle breeze stirs the surface of Thousand Island Lake. Not being up as early on a prior morning, by the time I walked to this same spot the sunlight had just found the rock in the water. Without a breeze the lake provided a spotless mirror as the 12,936 foot mountain seemingly knelt to kiss the illuminated rock. Here perspective and light lend a hand yielding starkly different images with the same subjects.
Water Movement | Sep 18, 2016
So many different kinds of water movement, each leaving a distinct feeling tone or impression on me. This set of images showcase a range of qualities . . . some energizing, turbulent, disturbing, whimsical, lyrical, even mystical, and others more pensive, soothing, calming or meditative. This new collection includes many images that for one reason or another hadn't found a place in other galleries.
Magical Canyon | Feb 22, 2016
Along the northern most edge of Santa Barbara County lies the little known Cuyama Valley. I remember it from my youth as the starting point for several Boy Scout hikes. There was always something enchanting to me about this vibrant valley rich with agriculture and wildflower fields, lined on the south by the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Los Padres National Forest. The second largest watershed in the Sierra Madre is the Salisbury Canyon drainage. Tucked into the larger fork in Salisbury lies a marvelous canyon carved into sandstone, revealing strange formations, pockets and arches, amid the aging oaks.
Hip to Be Square | Mar 30, 2016
Yes the world is round, yet sometimes an image seems to more fully come into itself when cropped into a square. The images in this gallery more than benefit from their constrained geometry, they depend upon it, the frame somehow focusing and strengthening each scene, a unique window on the world.
The Grand Snow-Canyon | Feb 16, 2015
Leaving Joshua Tree just before midday, we hit the road for the Grand Canyon expecting a six-hour drive. The storm clouds grew dense as we turned north up Hwy 95 in the desert, a gentle snow started. Passing thru Kingman, Arizona on I-40, an electronic sign announced “Interstate closed ahead, follow detour". Surely they didn’t mean that, or it would be open by the time we got there, or just a short detour? The snow began to fall heavily. The traffic came to a halt. People were out of their cars playing in the wet snow in-between slow-crawling movement. Several hours of this, it’s now dark outside, and more snow falling (fortunately we had and used our 4-wheel drive), and finally reaching . . . the closure detour (they weren’t kidding) . . . Hwy 93 south (definitely not short), a 200+ mile detour lay ahead in the near blizzard conditions through Prescott and surrounding mountains. Thirteen-plus hours of travel brought us to the Grand Snow-Canyon after 1am January 1st (Happy New Year!). The kind folks at the Bright Angel Lodge had “left the light on” for us. The reward for our heroic effort was thick and cold and everywhere. I’ve been to the Canyon many times, and never seen that much snow. In the morning the view was stunning, after sleeping in that is. Everything was flocked like they do to Christmas Trees, the white powder several layers down into the canyon. We had a Grand time exploring the rim trails over two and a half days, rising before dawn to be in place for sunrise. The temperatures ranged from 13 to 23 degrees, yikes (coastal Californians don’t get this experience). Fortunately we were prepared, gloves with heat packs inserted in them, and boot “chains” essential for the abundant snow and ice conditions.
The Ancients | Jan 10, 2015
The White Mountains on the east side of Owens Valley are home to the extraordinary and bizarre Bristlecone Pine trees. These ancients, the eldest over five-thousand years old, stand bare and exposed having survived centuries of harsh sun, wind, altitude, and soil erosion; even the deceased among them still beaming with gnarled elegance and grace. The Sierra Nevada to the west provides a magnificent backdrop as these sentinels posture and pose and peak east toward Death Valley. I love to spend time with the elders when travelling on the southeast side of the Sierra, their ten thousand foot altitude providing a perfect place for acclimating before hiking into the high Sierra.
Lines | Nov 3, 2014
Nature surprises by challenging my imagination; there’s a part of me that doesn’t expect to see “lines” in the wilderness and yet they appear everywhere. Though I may be getting more used to them, lines of all sorts still elicit awe and amusement. Artists and designers (and psychologists studying perception) understand how my eye is lead through the world via lines, the greats among them applying that knowledge to engage, entice, and astound. The Great Artist appears to be playing with me using everything at her fingertips to affirm her place as Creator, and mine as witness to possibilities beyond my comfortable expectations and even my more fanciful dreams.
Light-Play Circle Grasses | Oct 19, 2014
Frost quickly fades as a rising sun casts its warm gaze on these enchanting circle grasses near the shore of Thousand Island Lake. So many photo possibilities . . . so little time.
Snowy Experiment | Oct 11, 2014
I don’t know that I’ve ever tried taking photos of falling snow before; living most of my life on the coast of California I wouldn’t have had many opportunities. A beautiful light snow was falling as we arrived at Mack Lake on a hike up Rock Creek Canyon. Curiosity kicked in and I quickly launched into an experiment hoping to catch the snow’s movement. With a weatherproof camera and lens I wasn’t overly concerned with snow accumulating on them, and I went with a longer exposure. The resulting images remind me of the extensive impressionist collections I used to wander through on my way to classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Monet’s haystacks come to mind with their colorful textures and soft tones.
Imagination & Face Rocks | Sep 21, 2014
What could be sadder than a sad rock? Or more delightful than an ecstatic rock overjoyed with its place in the world? I’ve been collecting “face rocks” for a while now, comforted in the wild by the sense I’m being watched over, that I’m not separate from things in their myriad forms, that I belong. Vision and imagination, those focused energies giving rise to all things creative, perhaps missing from the oft-times limited black & white image I hold about who I am, my capacities, my destiny, each more accurately illustrated in Technicolor.
Shadow | Sep 8, 2014
As we descended the trail from Lake Catherine at 11,000 feet, my eye was grabbed by this stark shadow far off in the distance. I find both the color and the black & white versions intriguing in different ways.