Thursday, April 29, 2010

Random Thoughts

The end is the same for all of us - it is the drive that we control...

Not sure where I read this or if it might be the confluence of several ideas in my head. I also listen to a good deal of music as you can tell so just possibly...also that voice inside me is acting up again.

Vision and passion - no slick tactic will ever make up for passion....Trying to be good at something is difficult at best - there is no talent fairy who sprinklers us with dust...but how do you get the craft to mirror your passion? How does the vision get to fruition - I would guess one lets the dream and passion dictate the path.

Some days I feel close to the path and on other days I feel like it is simply not there. I travel allot and study at various workshops but seem to lose concentration for great periods of time when it is time to do the work. Is it fear of completion - I am starting to think all the traveling and workshops is masking my fear of whether the work is good enough to print, or even good enough at all - I do come across many photographers who do not make prints but to me that is like writing a symphony and never hearing the orchestra play the finished product.

I am thinking the question is not whether ''we are good enough' but 'do we want it enough'. Hence the quote at the top of the page....stay tuned....

'how can i go forward when i don't know which way i'm facing? how can i go forward when i don't know which way to turn'...John Lennon

Today the images are some of the high resolution images form the Everglades. The image in the header is from Portree, Isle of Skye in January.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Catch Up

What a long busy week this was. Not much chance to get to the laptop to post something.

The show at Indiana's Decorator's Show House went well.  As mentioned I was invited by my good friend Kathleen Stevens invited me to participate in here sections of the house along with several other local artists. Kathleen did a fabulous job working her way through the muck and mire of this type of show to make it work for everyone. The opening for the participant was April 23 and it closes on May 9.

On Friday night and Saturday morning I spent a good deal of time at  The Stutz Artists Open House located in the same building where they manufactured the Stutz Bearcat automobile. There are over 90 artists at The Stutz and the weekend drew over 8,000 visitors. I wandered the hallways meeting people and spending time with others who I only knew from this blog. As a side note the owner of this building is a car collector and one gets to see some classic automobiles located in various sections of the space.

On Sunday it was Turkey Run State Park - as much time as I have spent in Indiana over the years I never heard of this park - apparently there are some 400 year old trees located in the park.   Unfortunately it rained quite hard so a short hike was about all that happened. Nice place to explore and definitely on the list for a return visit.

One more day in Indiana - home tomorrow. Not traveling until end of June when I leave to explore the coast of Maine - time to get some projects moving forward that have been slipping to the back burner - printing and website are high on this list.

The image above is from the Everglades trip. Another sunrise image from Chokoloskee. Thanks to Kevin Raber of Phase One (lives in Indiana and I spent three hours at his house on Saturday) for helping me see the power of the Capture One software last saturday - without his help this image might never have seen the light of day.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Travel Day Today

Just getting ready to leave for Indiana for my first show and a few thoughts are pouring through my mind.

I am thinking about the offbeat path taken to return to my first passion, photography, be it fine art or commercial or both. Photography has been in my life since I was 8 years old and I truly believe this is what I am supposed to be doing. While I know making a living at photography would be quite tough the thought of not going down this path is just not an option. This is what I love to do, so just maybe.....

The business of images has changed drastically over the past 15-20 years - cameras abound and people are making a living shooting weddings, animals, babies, lifestyle and whatever else. There are professionals, semi-professionals and amateurs who shoot on the weekends.

Me, I look at this as a challenge to myself - to finally do that one thing that has been in the back of my mind for years - making images - whether for money or just for the sake of art...I guess that voice in the back of my head is making me write this today - the one that doubts everything will end up straight ahead - that little voice that second guesses my heart.

The battle is to balance art and commerce - keep the vehicle straight down the path and try to avoid oncoming traffic....find that authenticity inside yourself and go for it.

John Prine said it best.......

'Say you drive a chevy, say you drive a ford,
You say you drive around this town
Til' you just get bored
Then you change your mind
For something else to do
And your heart gets bored with your mind
And it changes you"

This was a song written by John Prine which was first featured in the John Mellencamp movie, 'Falling from Grace' which I had the honor of producing.

More on this in later posts - running for the plane.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Church in Saugerties, NY

I was driving around the Hudson Valley on Sunday,  aimlessly, for the most part. I kept passing signposts telling me what the next town was just down the road. Places like Phoenicia, Saugerties and Hudson were sounding all to familiar - like some distant memory of the past that lives inside my head.

This morning while walking the dog I realized that these names were glimpses from my often times mis-spent youth. Being a child of the 60's these towns were seemingly always mentioned in the folklore of those times. To some degree the time spent driving around these places helps me to stay in touch with my past - remembering the morality that was and the innocence of the times. My daughter told me awhile back that I was lucky to be able to relive the 60's again (being 66 now), and I think she is absolutely right about that.

There are distant memories of Woodstock during the 60's, the Filmore East in New York, where I worked, and those trips to San Francisco back in the day - seems like a DC9 comes to mind. Music was always a part of that trip and I keep coming back to a few lines from some songs that made early impressions of me, one being  Jackson Browne;

'I don't know when that road turned on to the road I'm on',


 'You know I don't know what I'm hoping to find'

Another is from John Mellencamp's 'The Real Life';

'That there's less days in front of the horse, Than riding in the back of this cart'.....

Feels like I am dealing with mortality issues these days - or at bare minimum questioning some old decisions.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Adorama IPhone Contest

I was sitting around thinking about what to blog about today when I received a twitter that with the results of the Adorama (link to contest results) IPhone contest. What fun to find out that my image above placed second with 9 other IPhone images.

The image above was captured out of my window at the Boswell Hotel while on vacation in Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland in early January, 2010.  We encountered the worst Scottish weather in 50 years - every morning we woke up to groundhog day waiting for the weather to clear so we could drive back to Edinburgh. Seriously the only thing missing was Sonny and Cher on the radio when we woke up.

Congratulations to Neville Black whose fabulous soft focus (below) image was the winner.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Up in the Woodstock area until Monday.

Staying with music today as I found an image of the band 'Mountain' (Corky Laing, the drummer not in photo) from New Years Eve, 1976 at what was then the Felt Forum (now the Wamu at Madison Square Garden in New York).

If my memory serves me well there were a few championship fights held in the Felt Forum. 'The Doors Box Set' was also recorded at this same venue.

Other acts that played the 'Felt were The Kinks, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Three Dog Night, Deodato and The Grateful Dead. Truly one of the premier venues of the time. Did I mention Frank Zappa did his annual Halloween Show at the Felt Forum before moving to the Academy of Music.

On another note last night I had dinner with my good friends Mike and Christine at their bed and breakfast, The Clark House located on Route 23A in Palenville. I would highly recommend this if you are visiting the Hudson Valley - it is centrally located and the food is absolutely incredible (albeit only breakfast). Mike is English (London) - Christine is French (Bordeaux) and come from a long history of hospitality and service. And if you are lucky you could catch Mike doing his stand-up routine on any given Saturday Night. Check them out - well worth your time.

PS: Judy Garland also played at The Felt Forum.

That is it for today - cloudy and rainy but well worth a ride to see what there is to capture.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Van Halen

As I am leaving for Palenville, NY (near Woodstock) for a few days of house sitting my thoughts immediately turned to music.

Having spent most of my adult life touring with rock and roll bands why not post a few music images from the not so distant past. I went into the archives and found a few of my favorite Eddie Van Halen images from the 2004 tour with Sammy Hagar.
Eddie is arguably one of the top 5 guitarists to walk on any stage. By that I mean he was one of those musicians that changed the way guitar was approached. How can one forget song like Panama, Jump, Hot for Teacher, Eruption, Runnin ' With the Devil and so many others.

Now I am off to Woodstock - heard there was this concert.......................

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mangrove Trees - Chokoloskee Island

As mentioned in a previous post on the last Sunday in the Everglades myself and a few friends from the John Paul Caponigro workshops rented a boat and went off into the Everglades to see the 10,000 Islands.

The image above reinforces the cliche that if you find something interesting to capture, turn around and see what is lurking behind you. 

In order to capture this image one had to climb out of the boat and navigate across an oyster bed - a sharp jagged uneven oyster bed at that. My original purpose was to capture the sunrise but once the sun got above the horizon I turned around to this image - well not exactly as it looks here but something very close, at least to my minds eye. The Mangrove Trees are truly amazing, specifically at low tide when their roots are showing. Check out the link in the link above for more information about the Mangroves.

As for the oyster beds - see below - the one difference being that on this day the water was about knee high so extra care was needed to stay upright.

Monday, April 12, 2010

First Show

Below is a link to the first time my photography will be shown in a show environment. There are two large (22x30) images in the Decorator's Show House in Indianapolis which opens on April 24th.

I would like to thank my friend Kathleen O'Neil Stevens for the invitation to participate in this event.

Kathleen O'Neil Stevens: A Walk With Penrod: The Program Ad

The two images picked by Kathleen:

'Birthday Party'

'Where are They'

Saturday, April 10, 2010

You Gotta Be There

Quick post today - on my way to Dan Burkholder's Iphone Artistry seminar at Soho Photo on White Street in New York. Need to learn a few more Iphone tricks from the master.

While in Florida I had an attraction to this one particular beach. I returned three times to shoot the sunrise and twice for the sunset. I was hypnotized by the water splashing into the rocks (depending on the tide) which created this mystical atmosphere in which to make images. I have always had this attraction to water as I grew up by the ocean in Atlantic City (gambling had not yet ruined this victorian seaside community).

Today's image is from that beach in Florida - this particular image  jumped off the screen at me - not much work done to this - it is very close to the original high resolution capture - one of those moments.

'No matter how slow the film, Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer it has chosen'......Minor White

 PS: The quote in the title is from my good friend Tom Fielder..

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Last Sunday in the Everglades

On Sunday I was joined by several Florida alumni from the John Paul Caponigro workshops. We hired Captain Gary Thompson and went cruising through the 10,000 Islands National Wildlife Refuge in the Everglades. Attending were Barbara Ventura, Michael Gotta, Harvey and Margie Willensky and myself.
Captain Gary and the 'Minnow'

First stop was Chokoloskee Pass for sunrise (6:00AM) then off to Duck Rock where we captured a few images of the White Pelicans. From there we went to Highlands Beach, Porpoise Creek and Shark River then ended the day with a sunset (8:00PM) shoot at Indian Key. Each Island, although slightly similar, has a different set of visual circumstances to offer. There are petrified pieces of wood, hidden coves, tangled branches and spectacular views of the sunset.

The 10,000 islands are part of the largest mangrove forest in North America. There are approximately 200 species of fish and a most vital area for marine fish. Additionally,  there are almost 200 species of birds, racoons, river otters and bottle-nosed Dolphins.

Some of the endangered species that live in these islands are the West Indian Manatee, bald eagle, peregrine falcon and Kemp's Ridley sea turtles.

A good time was had by all...

                                                 Harvey and Margie

                                                       Margie and Barbara

In the header is a capture of the 'White Pelicans' from Duck Rock....Check the little black bird in the front....


Homeward Bound

'Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
Looking back at the years gone by like so many summer fields
In sixty five I was 21 and running up one-on-one
I don't know where I'm running now,  I'm just running on'.....

Jackson Browne - Running on Empty

I left the Everglades Monday morning at 6AM. The plan was to stay with Doug and Dorian in Jacksonville the first night. On the way I drove Janes Memorial Scenic Drive through the Fakahatchee Strand. The road was fairly primitive at best and about halfway through I remembered I had no cell phone in case of emergency. I was considering what it wold be like to change a tire between the two dark streams that run alongside the road - true New Yorker thoughts. On the other end of the drive is Picayune Strand, an abandoned housing development that never happened - swampland in Florida. There were perfectly linear roads built for homes I would guess - but the roads were mostly dead ends and, of course, I was hopelessly lost. Finally worked my way out of there but did see a sign saying 'drive slow - panthers in the
On Tuesday morning Doug and I went to Black Rock Beach on Big Talbot Island and captured some sunrise images - had breakfast on Amelia Island and then it was off to Charleston for me. Drove mostly on Route 17 - Route 17 is the Route 66 of the east - abandoned buildings line the road - I believe route 17 was the road one wold take to Florida in the 50's and 60's - then the superhighways came and, well, we all know what happened next.
The day ended at the Residence Inn in Mount PLeasant, South Carolina - Tuesday's goal is Virginia Beach. Hoping to catch the ferry from Lewes to Cape May on the way up to New York - I have heard the Cape May beaches are fabulous so I need to see what the fuss is all about. Looking forward to getting home and starting to work on my images from Florida - there was hardly a moment while down there to do more then import them into a hard drive.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Everglades Workshop

Yesterday was the first day of the Cyde Butcher Workshop. We were swamp walking in the morning (murky and muddy) and in the afternoon, well, look at the photo below.

On the morning walk I slipped and fell into the swamp but managed to save my gear, except for my iphone which is now located at the bottom....Lost a phone and a good camera.

On Sunday Captain Gary Thompson is taking us to a less traveled location about 90 minutes south of Everglades City - hopefully we get some cloud cover that day -

Here are a few images from today...

Friday, April 2, 2010

White Pelicans

Quick post this morning as I am runing out to photograph in the Everglades Swamp with 6 other people on a Clyde Butcher Workshop.

Yesterday I was in a boat all day with Captain Gary. At one point he took me approx. 7 miles out to a sandy beach located in the direction of the Gulf of Mexico and lo and behold there were about 100 American White Pelicans waiting to migrate back to the west coast.

The image above will end up as a panoramic but I am so excited about these images had to post something today.

What an amazing day - he took me to an island beach where I waded into shore for the sunset - did I tell you that I was waist deep in water for the sunrise - running out now but more later.....

Have a great weekend everyone.