Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pablo Picasso

 A man was at an art event with Pablo Picasso. While looking at the work he asked Picasso what a particular painting was. Picasso replied 'this is a fish'. The man said that it did not look like a fish to which Picasso replied that it was a painting of a fish. The man then moved on and asked Picasso what a different painting was. Picasso replied that 'this is a sunrise'. The man said that he had never seen a sunrise that looked like this. Picasso replied "what a pity'.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Water and Sky

Beautiful day here in southern Florida - 74 degrees and sunny - I, personally, would not mind a few clouds at sunset. I figured out how to connect my ipod to the car stereo (5.1 system) so Jackson Browne, Leonard Cohen and David Darling are dancing around in my head. 

Took my car in for service this morning and my daughter picked me up to go back to the Jupiter Beach I have been shooting on. Will probably go back again as sunset tonight and once again tomorrow morning before I leave for Everglades.After the beach we went to brunch and then she dropped my back at my car. I have not been on the beach with her for such a long time - she slept while I captured images - well she did take a few photos also.....a good time was had by all. 
The images of the past week, and mostly the image posted in the header above seem to indicate my commitment to a different direction in terms of my vision. I have always been attracted to water and some of my favorite images would indicate this, but lately the attraction has become much stronger .Personally, I look forward to seeing what surfaces next....

"Art is a lie that leads to the truth"...Pablo Picasso

Monday, March 29, 2010

South Florida

 Finally made it south Florida - Palm Beach Area.

Yesterday, Sunday, Doug and I started out with a sunrise shoot at Jupiter Beach. Found some fabulous rock formations and hung around until the good light disappeared. Ran into a few issues with the light mist of water continually getting on the lens, and, of course sand is always a problem. Stayed around the beach area for almost two hours - it was high tide and I am thinking that it makes sense to go back at low tide before I leave. The first three images are from Jupiter Beach that morning.
The afternoon was totally different from the morning. Drove to Big Cypress National Preserve and paid a visit to Clyde Butcher's gallery. Clyde is the master of shooting the Everglades and has been capturing images here since the mid 80's. He uses large format cameras up to 12X20. There is a shot of him as you enter the gallery standing waist deep in water with one of these cameras...Not sure what he does about Gators and Water Moccasins.

Apparently it was alligator mating season and one could hear strange sounds coming from the swamps...The image above was capturd in the swamp next to the gallery - you can see the top of a gator off to right about mid-image. Hoping to see a few more in a few days when I go out on a boat into the deep everglades - additionally I am spending two days with Clyde as he is giving a workshop - one day in the everglades and the second day working on computer imaging in his studio.

This last image was captured outside a filling station just south of Savanah - "Ain't that America" to quote Mr. Mellencamp......

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Drive to Jacksonville

Had a good many miles to cover today but did manage stops at Carolina Beach, Mt. Pleasant (near Charleston) before arriving into Jacksonville at 8:30PM. - 400 plus miles.

So I got lost leaving the hotel today and somehow found my way to Carolina Beach. The shot under the pier (below) was captured there - I was trying to make sunrise but due to being lost arrived about 30 minutes late - as my friend Tom Fielder says, 'you first have to just simply show up' for anything good to happen.

After Carolina Beach, and completely by accident,  I found a ferry which traveled between Carolina Beach and Southport. Southport is just northeast of Charleston by about 80 miles. Must have been meant to be as I found the ferry at 8:40AM and it was due to leave at 9:00AM - sign me up.

After the ferry i made the quick trip to Mt. Pleasant and met up with my buddy Jeff Eglen, who took me over to Boone Plantation. The entry drive at Boone was the opening scene in "Gone with the Wind' where they drive down the long row of Oaks...OF course I did the prerequisite image but only in hig resolution so will have to post at a later date. I did, however, make an iphone capture of the main plantation house which is posted below.
Once finished at Boone it was off to the 240 mile drive to Jacksonville to spend the night at another buddy's house, Doug Eng, a fellow alumni from the John Paul Caponigro Photography Workshops. Tomorrow myself and Doug are going out at sunrise to photograph downtown Jacksonville before heading south on route 1 along the Florida coast.

I had stopped for gas on the way to Jacksonville and noticed the scene below when leaving the petrol station - so I turned around and made a high resolution and IPhone capture. This is the IPhone version.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Abandoned Gas Station

Today was one of those days when nothing seemed to work for me. It was mostly overcast and gray - nothing seemed to be working for me. When I finally made it to the coast even the beaches were dull , or, there was no access due to closed roads.

I did manage to find the abandoned garage above which I caught out of the corner of my eye on route 301 south near the North Carolina border. Kind of reminds me of the place you see on route 66 out west.

Tomorrow seems a bit more promising as I get to Charleston and Savannah.  A friend told me about a plantation called Wormsloe just south of Savannah which I plan to check out.

That's about it for now - sunrise is just around the corner.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Hudson River Valley

Spring is finally around the corner and I can't keep my mind from wandering to the Hudson River Valley.

 It all started a few years ago when I attended a workshop given by Dan Burkholder in Palenville, New York, located in between Woodstock and Saugerties, NY.  One cold not help being infected by Dan's love of this valley and those special places where we went to make images.

The valley was a gathering place for artists such as Thomas Cole and Frederick Church. Frederick Church's house, Olana, still stands high above the valley and has a southern panoramic view of this amazing place. At last count there were over 100 waterfalls in the Hudson River Valley and my intention would be to visit every one of them.

Here is a page from Wikipedia:

At the time of the arrival of the first Europeans in the 17th century, the area of Hudson Valley was inhabited primarily by the Algonquian-speaking Mahican and Munsee Native American people, known collectively as River Indians.

The first Dutch settlement was in the 1610s with the establishment of Fort Nassau, a trading post (factorij) south of modern-day Albany, with the purpose of exchanging European goods for beaver pelts. Fort Nassau was later replaced by Fort Orange. During the rest of the 1600s, the Hudson Valley formed the heart of the New Netherland colony operations, with the New Amsterdam settlement on Manhattan serving as a post for supplies and defense of the upriver operations.

During the French and Indian War in the 1750s, the northern end of the valley became the bulwark of the British defense against French invasion from Canada via Lake Champlain.

The valley became one of the major regions of conflict during the American Revolution. Part of the early strategy of the British was to sever the colonies in two by maintaining control of the river. In the early 1800s, popularized by the stories of Washington Irving, the Hudson Valley gained a reputation as a somewhat gothic region inhabited by the remnants of the early days of the Dutch colonization of New York (see, e.g., The Legend of Sleepy Hollow).
Following the building of the Erie Canal, the area became an important industrial center. The canal opened the Hudson Valley and New York City to commerce with the Midwest and Great Lakes regions. However, in the mid 20th century, many of the industrial towns went into decline.

The Hudson Valley also was the location of the estates of many wealthy New York industrialists, such as John D. Rockefeller and Frederick William Vanderbilt, and of old-moneyed tycoons such as Franklin Roosevelt, who was a descendant of one of the early Dutch families in the region.
The area is associated with the Hudson River School, a group of American Romantic painters who worked from about 1830 to 1870.

The natural beauty of the Hudson Valley has earned the Hudson River the nickname "America's Rhine," a comparison to the famous 40 mile (65 km) stretch of Germany's Rhine River valley between the cities of Bingen and Koblenz. A similar 30-mile (48 km) stretch of the east bank in Dutchess and Columbia counties has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

The image at the beginning of this blog was made at the top of Kaaterskill Falls.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Easthampton Beach

For the past 5 years I have produced a benefit concert in Southampton called Huggy Bear. The event was actually a tennis tournament that culminated with a reception and dinner held in a tent on an estate in Southampton, New York just before labor day. Over the years bands like Earth, Wind and Fire, Eagles and Fleetwood Mac have played at this event. There is nothing as wonderful as spending a few days in the 'Hamptons" each summer

On most mornings I would get up and go out to survey the local beaches at sunrise. The images on this blog are from one such day - If my memory serves me well this was Easthampton Beach.

Below is another image from the same day....the sky was adrift that day...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Badwater Basin - Death Valley

One of the great spots in Death Valley to photograph (or just see) a sunrise is at Badwater Basin - 17 miles east of Furnace Creek. Be warned that the color only lasts for 45 minutes on a good day depending on the previous days weather conditions. After the rains there are wonderful reflections for those willing to get down to a lower angle in the salt. On this particular day we had just experienced two rather warm days prior, the ice had melted into large pools of water over the mud below.The good news is that Badwater Basin is never the same from one day to another - we caught high winds (30-35 MPH) one day, and 61 degrees and calm the next. 'Mother Nature' at her finest......

Badwater is 282 feet below sea level - there is a marker up on the mountain behind the main parking lot that let you know that. Wikipedia says this is the second lowest elevation in the Western Hemisphere - the first being in Argentina at Laguna del Carbon which is 344 feet below sea level.

From Wikipedia:

At Badwater, significant rainstorms flood the valley bottom periodically, covering the salt pan with a thin sheet of standing water. Each newly-formed lake does not last long though, because the 1.9 inches (48 mm) of average rainfall is overwhelmed by a 150-inch annual evaporation rate. This, the United States' greatest evaporation potential, means that even a 12-foot-deep, 30-mile-long lake would dry up in a single year. While the basin is flooded, some of the salt is dissolved; it is redeposited as clean crystals when the water evaporates.

Just another of Death Valley's mysteries....

Sunday, March 21, 2010

More Dunes

I think I forgot to mention that I damaged my back last week at Death Valley - we had a dinner the final night and when I went to get up from my chair, well, it took me 60 minutes and then only with the aid of a wheelchair did I make it back to my room.....All I can say is thanks to the medical community for Aleve - a most powerful pain reliever - without Aleve I could still be in the chair. At any rate the next morning I was able to move a bit better so I made the drive back to the Vegas Airport for my flight home. Took me about two days of stretching at home (with heat and ice) to finally get to the point where I could move around without sharp pain without Aleve.

The last day was quite windy when we went back to the Mesquite Dunes...The image above was my attempt to show the movement of the sand during the high winds in the desert.

I was originally planing to drive to Florida last Wednesday for Photoshop World but those plans were canceled. New plan is to leave for Florida either Wednesday or Thursday early. I plan to take route 17 (coastal road) down as far as it takes me before ending up in West Palm Beach. After West Palm it is off to the Everglades for a few days shooting, the first couple with Clyde Butcherery.cfm.

After Clyde a few John Paul Capinigro Alumni will be getting together to explore the Everglades for a few more days.

PS: Thanks also go out to the individuals at the workshop in Death Valley for their help in getting me around that last night - could not have made it without their help...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sand Dunes - Death Valley

 What I enjoy most about photography is the camera's ability to define in a much different way from the eye - always a mystery and later a surprise. Not any particular object, but the relationships of objects; or the isolation of an object that catches my fancy. We se what we believe is there. I need to relax my eyes and mostly my emotions for each image and make my best effort to record it as I see it. This can become extremely emotional and very very personal - as no one else has my vision and no other image will look like mine.
Sand Dunes are the perfect muse for self expression - they can be sensual, exotic, dark, rhythmical, elegant and melodramatic to name a few. Basically the dunes offer a fabulous background with which to express oneself, but you must take your time and think carefully about what it is you are looking for. Once found it becomes necessary to explore this decision from all sides before moving forward. 

This was my third visit to the Mesquite Dunes near Stovepipe Wells and the first time I walked away with images that felt correct in terms of what I was in my thoughts at the moment of capture. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Racetrack Playa

Finally made it to Racetrack Playa - quite the ride up a small, very rocky road - four wheel drive is preferred.

Racetrack is is located in the Panamint Mountains, Death Valley National Park. What happens at Racetrack is that stones seem to mysteriously move around this very dry surface. They leave trails behind them - seems like this is a game of chess and we are not privileged with the rules.

The following is from the Wikipedia:

The sailing stones are a geological phenomenon found in the Racetrack. The stones slowly move across the surface of the playa, leaving a track as they go, without human or animal intervention. They have never been seen or filmed in motion. Racetrack stones only move once every two or three years and most tracks last for just three or four years. Stones with rough bottoms leave straight striated tracks while those with smooth bottoms wander. Stones sometimes turn over, exposing another edge to the ground and leaving a different-sized track in the stone's wake.

The sailing stones are most likely moved by strong winter winds (up to 90 mph), once it has rained enough to fill the playa with just enough water to make the clay slippery. The prevailing winds across Racetrack Playa travel blow from southwest to northeast. Most of the rock trails are parallel to this direction, lending support to this hypothesis.

An alternate hypothesis builds upon the first. As rain water accumulates, strong winds blow thin sheets of water quickly over the relatively flat surface of the playa. A layer of ice forms on the surface as night temperatures fall below freezing. Wind then drives these floating ice sheets, their aggregate inertia providing the necessary force required to move the larger stones. Rock trails are again expected to remain parallel to the SW winds.

If you are in Death valley make it a point to get up and see this location - takes a bit of time and patience but well worth the visit.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Death Valley Continued

Hello from Death Valley...that's me above shooting sunrise at Zabriske Point...

I have been shooting a good deal over the past few days hence not being able to post anything. This is essentially a catch up blog today with several images from the past few days.

Death Valley has been fabulous so far - weather is mostly good except for the 35 mile per hour wind that appeared today. Tomorrow we go to Racetrack Playa in the afternoon - we start the day at the Sand Dunes near Stovepipe Wells.

I am with a great group of photographers at this workshop - all alumni from previous John Paul Caponigro workshops. This is my first one with JP in the field shooting -  we shoot sunrise and sunset every day at various locations with a review of work after a late breakfast...

Here are a few images from the trip...

This is Zabriske Point...

Another Zabriske Point....

Sand Dunes near Stovepipe Wells

More Sand Dunes...

Happy Weekend Everyone...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Death Valley

We woke up this morning in Zion to a torrential downpour mixed with snow. We immediately packed and headed south - next stop Death Valley with the occasional stop to capture a snow image (two of which were posted on facebook earlier today).
As we were driving past Las Vegas I received a message from Kevin Raber (Phase One ) that it was rain with a mix of snow in Death Valley - something to look forward to. The plan had been to meet up with Kevin and take the 'Pink Jitney' to Racetrack Playa on Wednesday morning but that was canceled due to several roads closing.

Al and I went out in the late afternoon heading to Artist Palette to catch the light before sunset. On the way  we stopped just south of Golden Canyon and captured a few images (one from my iphone is posted at the top of this blog). And, yes, I do capture high resolution images, but usually wait until I get home before doing any serious processing. I find the IPhone images the perfect illustrations for the blog - they seem to get the point across and there is always something new to learn about a particular application.

Had dinner with Kevin and listened in on his plans for another PODAS event here in Death Valley next year. PODAS,  the Phase One Digital Artist Series, are workshops where participants are exposed to Phase One products like the P65+. These workshops are held in fantastic locations around the world.  Each person gets the use of a P65+ camera plus various lenses while attending the workshop. Additionally, there are several top level instructors present to answer all of your questions - Jeff Schewe, Bill Atkinson, Mark Dubovoy and Michael Reichmann were present at the first one last November. Check out the PODAS blog for more information.

Tomorrow we get u at 4:30AM to catch  Zabriske Point at sunrise then off to a day of shooting. The Death Valley workshop with John Paul Caponigro starts Friday - I am happy to be able to meet some of the alumni for the various workshops given by JP at his home studio in Cushing, Maine. 


Monday, March 8, 2010

Zion - Day 2

Woke up to rain and fog for the second day but Al and I decided to make a go of it. We drove through the park at around 630AM and stopped at The Temple of Sinawava. This location is amazing just before dawn, only the rain kept us from shooting anything other then a few failed attempts with the iphone. We decided to try again in tomorrow morning.

From there we drove to The Zion Adventure Company as we had hired a guide to show us around Zion - those places you never find when time is short.
First place was Canyon Overlook, 6000 feet up with a spectacular view of the park - quite wet foggy but the hike up and back was really incredible.I did manage a few images (see above) but will not decide if they are keepers until I get back home.

We stopped for lunch at the Thunderbird (photo above) before the next stop,  Red Canyon, near Kanab, Utah.  Once we left the main road turn-off for the canyon we drove about 3 miles on a red sand road to get close to the canyon and then hiked in the last half-mile through the wet sand and snow. The image below is an iphone capture from this canyon. Probably a locaton to visit when the weather gets a bit warmer.
On the trip back we made several stops along the canyon road - two more iphone images below are from the trip back. One is the Virgin River from the bridge on Route 9 - a place where in the summer you have to basically line up one hour before, to get a spot to shoot the sunset. Of course I added some voodoo to the original capture.
 The other, below, was simply along the side of the road as we descended back in the the Zion Canyon.
Tomorrow we head out for a sunrise shoot in Zion and then the 300 mile drive to Death Valley. The temperature will go from 40'ish to the high 70's - somethign to look forward to...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Zion - Day 1

My buddy Al and I made the160 mile drive last night from Las Vegas and arrived into Zion at 3AM. 

We weer up at 630AM and out to catch the sunrise. Overcast today and on and off rain. On a good note was there were not that many tourists at Zion as we are about 3-4 weeks from the summer season which allowed use were to park  anywhere inside the park. 

Zion is just as beautiful in the rain - clouds everywhere and occasionally a bit of sun. Stayed close to the hotel in the morning and in the afternoon made a rather fruitless drive to Kanab, Utah (50 miles). We managed to get back to Zion as the light was just fading so the afternoon was not a total loss. 

The image above is from late afternoon at the park , and, the one below was captured in the valley at the foot of The Great White Throne in the morning. The image below was also posted on facebook today, and, as I really like the image, have put it back up on the blog.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we are going to attempt a hike into the slot canyons - might just be too much water to accomplish this. 

Friday, March 5, 2010


Another group I saw the other night at the Highline Ballroom in New York was KaiserCartel

Based in Red Hook, New York, the artistic community based in the old warehouse-shipping section of Brooklyn Courtney Kaiser and Benjamin Cartel are veterans of many many bands and the world travel that goes with same. On this particular night they were a drums-acoustic guitar duo which at best is difficult, but they pull it off seamlessly. I look forward to seeing them in full band mode.
The following is from their website (link is above):

Who Benjamin Cartel and Courtney Kaiser were as past selves is very much alive in the music make. Kaiser's extensive vocal training in the choirs of Indiana (and as a back-up singer for John Mellencamp) and Cartel's years of playing in DIY bands imbued in KaiserCartel the ability to do a lot with little; they are inveterate professionals on shoestring budgets, musicians so technically proficient they seamlessly switch instruments throughout the course of a show. Both Courtney and Benjamin spend their days ensconced in music and the arts. Courtney is an elementary music school teacher and Benjamin is an early childhood art teacher, their day jobs are centered on inspiring creativity and then, in turn, they take that inspiration and weave it breathlessly and beautifully into their own music.

The strength of KaiserCartel doesn’t lay in the fact that they are a couple; it lays in the fact that they are musicians and friends who work symbiotically. Whereas some couples invite you into their bedroom, KaiserCartel invite you into their living room, where the full scope of their lives can be seen.

"I always liked the idea, when you meet a couple, and there's something about them—and you wonder what it is they do at night. I feel like because we're comfortable just being real and how we are, and there's no artifice, you get to know what it's like in our house," says Kaiser. "Seeing looks that we give, or music that we write – it's seeing us in our living room."

Here is a link their MySpace Page - check them out - well worth the time. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cara Salimando

A bit of a different post today.

The other night I attended a showcase at the Highline in NY for new talent. The opening act was a 16 year old girl by the name of Cara Salimando. Check her out - she was fabulous and the song craft was far ahead of her 16 years of age.

It is not that often that see an individual this young with as much talent as Cara....Check out her link above - she is out playing dates.

Of course I can not resist capturing an image when one presents itself.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Graveyard with Flowers

Not much to say today - running out to see the Krappy_Kamera show which takes place every year at Soho Photo on White Street in lower Manhattan. Anything captured with a lousy lens is eligible for entry. This year the winner was none other than Dan Burkholder for an IPhone image. Check out the links and enter next year...

The image posted here is from Low, Quebec, Canada last Christmas...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Zion National Park

With my impending trip back to Zion next week I though to post this image from my first trip last November. November was the first time I had ever been in one of our National Parks and since then I have completely embraced this  American heritage. At the moment I am watching Ken Burns 6 part series on The National Parks and it truly is America's Best Idea.

I must admit the first trip was completely overwhelming to me both in the technical sense and even more so artistically. Basically I had no idea how to approach capturing the breadth and width of Zion - I am quite sure this is the same as someone visiting New York City for the first time and being overwhelmed by the scale of the new surroundings, the difference being that New York is man made and Zion has been around for millions of years.

Since then I have been able to visit  Death Valley, Yosemite and the Redwoods of Northern, California and have a plan to visit all the others in due course.

Anyway, even though fraught with a few technical glitches, here is one image from Zion. Hopefully on this next visit I will have the opportunity to re-capture this image with some newly learned skills.