Saturday, September 13, 2014


A recent trip to the Eastern Sierra yielded a bit of a surprise - Fall colors starting up!

It has been pretty dry this year and apparently the trees have had enough - at least at 9000 ft.  For you color hunters, you might want to move your calendar up a little this year.

Time, tides, and seasons - they wait for no man.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Happy Birthday Benton Hot Springs!

Today one of my favorite places on earth is celebrating 150 years since its founding - Happy Birthday to the town of Benton Hot Springs! 

from the Old House and Inn at Benton Hot Springs B&B brochure 

This oasis in the dessert was founded as a mining town and at one time boasted over 2000 inhabitants.  But times changed, the mines played out, and the town shrank to about 200 as it became a stopover point for locals and travelers. Then transportation and travel habits changed and further decline followed.

But unlike most desert mining towns that disappear completely, Benton had a local family that valued and protected its history.  Today, Bill and Diane run The Old House and Inn at Benton Hot Springs and care for the remains of the town.

This is an incredible place to escape the intrusive sounds and visual noise of city and suburban life.  Yes, it is remote - but that's part of what makes this place so special and allows me to recharge my creative batteries.  It is also my "home base" to explore the area's beautiful desert landscapes and artifacts of abandoned history.  Indeed, many of the pictures in The Lonely Places were taken within 100 miles of Benton.

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY Benton Hot Springs and congratulations Bill and Diane!  Thank you for your wonderful hospitality and hard work keeping a piece of our Western heritage alive!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Photography Show

Pleased to be participating in a group show at The Tong in Walnut Grove, CA.
The opening is Friday, September 5th from 5-8pm.

Where is Walnut Grove, you ask?
It is a small town on the Sacramento River Delta, with all the charms of an old town with a rich history.  Come discover it!

As a bonus, September 5th is First Friday, so the galleries, shops, and restaraunts will be open late.
See you there! 

14136 River Road, Walnut Grove, CA 95690

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Taking Note

Many years ago a teacher told me "A bad pencil is better than a good memory any day."  I have found that he was absolutely right!

This past week I was making an entry into my darkroom logbook and noticed Volume 1 sitting there.  The first entry is dated April 15, 1994.  That was the year I moved to California and had just got my West Coast darkroom up and running; that entry captures details about what worked well and what didn't in the new darkroom.

Twenty years later I am still at it and up to Volume 6.  Every print I make, every solution I prepare, and every problem overcome in the darkroom I record in the logbook.  I do the same thing in the field with my camera, documenting how I structured the image and how to control it in the darkroom to create what I visualized at that moment.

Sadly, the whole art of note taking seems to be fading.  That is sad.  We're in too big a hurry.  Maybe we don't understand the value of taking notes.

But I am a firm believer that if you really want to get good at something, you need to record what you are doing.  Getting good (and getting better) in photography is no different.  Writing it down helps you clarify your thoughts, helps you remember the details later, and compels you to pay attention to what you are doing.

I know people who keep a journal every day - and they can't image a day without it.  I feel the same way about photography and my logbooks.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

New Work

New work will soon be posted on the website.
Actually, I am always somewhere in the process of creating new work, the website and blog simply lag behind.  Mea culpa.

"Fallen Roof"
from The Lonely Places

This image is from The Lonely Places project.   
The roof collapsed on the ruins of a bank building, creating this almost abstract form in the midday sunlight. 

I am working more with abstract forms created in the harsh desert sun.  A natural progression I suppose.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


"Lonely Grave"
from The Lonely Places project
This picture is titled "Lonely Grave" from The Lonely Places project.  It is high in the mountains near Virginia City, Nevada, in a large and badly abused cemetery south of town.

When I first visited this place years ago, I had a vision of how I wanted to interpret this particular grave site.  However, I had to return many times over several years before I found the right combination of light, clouds, mountains, and wind to make the image work.  

Making an image that says just want you want can take a lot of patience and discipline.  But when when you keep at it (and when Nature cooperates) - reward!

Saturday, May 31, 2014


I was reading the June issue of B&W magazine and came across a photographer named Lisa Elmaleh whose work had immediate appeal.  Maybe it is her subject matter - remote and fragile places.  Maybe it is her technique - she does 8x10 wet plate photographs using a darkroom on the back of her truck.  Both are sources for a connection.

In the article written by George Slade, I found two phrases I so often used to describe my own work: "slow" and "deliberate."  It is something people just don't seem to understand, how the tools and techniques you use are so integral to how you relate, understand, and interpret your subject.

Lisa understands.  When you must invest real effort to make a photograph, you go slower and become more intimate with your surroundings.  And with that comes a connection, an understanding.

Visit her website: 

Lisa Elmaleh and her 1996 Toyota Tacoma "Harriet."
Note the darkroom in the back of the truck.
(LE, Hope you don't mind me using your photograph - thanks!)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Catching Up

My how the time flies!  Been so busy the 'ol blog slipped.  Sorry.

Fortunately I can report that I am coming off of a fine weekend of photography.  Spent the entire day Friday in Walnut Grove, CA, photographing the inside of a long neglected, historically rich building that two friends purchased a few years ago with plans to breathe new life into it.

Twas a day of chasing the sun through the building.  No electricity so natural light through the windows was all that was available (natural light is better anyway, wouldn't you agree?).  All 4x5 work this time (I hope to return soon with the 8x10).

Hope your weekend was equally as satisfying.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Happy Birthday, Edward

Nautilus (1927) by Edward Weston
copied from Wikipedia

Today (March 24th) is Edward Weston's birthday.  Born in 1886, he can rightly be called one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century.

If you know who Edward Weston is ... enough said.

If you don't know who Edward Weston is, well, it would be difficult to lay claim to being a serious photographer and not know his work.

Fortunately, and wonderfully, there is a wealth of information out there.  And unlike so many artists, you can build up your own understanding of the man and his work through his own writings (letters and daybooks), many biographies, and even a book by his young wife Charis Wilson.  But most important is the work itself!

So if you don't know Edward Weston, go forth and seek him out.  He is already in your work and in the way we see photographs.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Happy Birthday, Margrethe

Florence Deshon (1921) by Margrethe Mather
from Wikimedia Commons

Today would have been Margrethe Mather's 128 birthday.  She died in obscurity on Christmas Day, 1952.  Her contributions to photography, however, should not be obscured by the passage of time.  Not only was she a truly creative, free thinking photographer, her influence on Edward Weston (arguable one of the most important photographers of the 20th century) was profound.  Weston called her "the first important person in my life."

If you have never heard of Margrethe Mather, I highly recommend reading Beth Warren's Margrethe Mather and Edward Weston: A Passionate Collaboration. 

Even if you do not realize it, Margrethe and Edward's influence is in your photography today!