This is what democracy looks like. I will let the images speak for themselves.
If you are lucky enough to live at the beach, your are lucky enough. For more than 25 years, Seacliff Beach has been my backyard. Granted, I just have an "ocean peak" from the upper deck in my home. But it is only a short stroll to the white sand of what is arguably the best beach in Santa Cruz County. My neighbors, vacationers, and day trippers would likely agree. One would think after all those years there would be no more images to capture, yet almost every day I find something interesting to photograph.
Below are a few recent images...
The complete gallery can be seen in the Seacliff Beach Gallery page
I love the national and state parks of southwest Utah! I have photographed in Arches, Canyonlands, Capital Reefs, Zion, Bryce, Dead Horse Point, Escalantes National Monument, and surrounding areas. However Arches is my favorite park to do landscape photography. It is conveniently located 20 minutes from Moab (translated - I don't have to get up as early as other locations). There are also lots of good restaurants and places to stay in Moab.The downside is that it can get quite crowed, but when I am out shooting at dawn and sunset I escape the crowds.
Please enjoy my top pics from Arches and surrounding areas from last month.
Now you know the rest of the story...
A couple weeks ago I was in San Francisco and went around the corner to get some coffee. I was gone maybe 15 minutes. It probably took the thief ten seconds to smash and grab two packs full of camera gear - about $6000! It was a nice area, middle of the day in broad daylight, with people on the sidewalks. I had actually put the packs in my truck and sat in it for awhile in case someone was scoping it out. Lessons learned.
The silver lining is that my insurance company has been generous. I can now make the total switch from Canon gear to the Fuji mirrorless system. My Fuji xt1 mirrorless camera easily rivals my professional Canon gear with half the size and weight to carry around!
Fortunately, I had my Fuji with me on the way to coffee. I like this one abstract image of a San Francisco street scene.
The Death Valley National Park wildflower bloom is a sight to behold! I was there last week photographing with my friend and photographer Les White for five days. We were shooting before the sun was up and after it went down. There were even times when the light was decent in the middle of the day, thanks to some nice cloud cover to soften the light. Half of the time, we were laying on our side on the rocky valley floor shooting up at the wildflowers – not to mention getting bit by unknown insects. It's a rough life doing what you love!
Desert Gold (a.k.a Geraea canescens) is the dominant flower you see when driving through the valley. However, get in close and you will see spectacular displays of Sand Verbena (Abronia villosa), Golden Evening Primrose (Camissonia brevipes), Purple Mat (Nama demissum) and one of my favorites - the delicate Desert Five-Spot (Eremalche rotundifolia). This pink variety of ground mallow has five beautiful red eyes staring back at you. Of course there are more flowering varieties than you can count with both hands (and feet). Don't I sound like a smarty pants flower expert - thanks to Google!
On the technical side were, we fortunate to have great light and very little wind. Most of the time it was easy to achieve a fast shutter speed to help freeze any flower movement in order to get sharp images. Often a tripod was not necessary. I also needed to push myself to use a wide angle lens (10-24mm) more often. The key is to get the lens really close, within a couple inches, of the flower. This allows you to fill most of the frame with the flower and also place it in context with the background to tell the story.
I believe there is still time to travel to Death Valley to view the wildflower extravaganza. I noticed that there is a 30% chance of scattered showers today (March 7) and 20% chance tomorrow. Hopefully, that might extend the bloom another 2-3 weeks.
Please enjoy the slideshow of my favorite images. Feel free to comment or ask questions below.
The weekend before last was the Chinese New Year Flower Fair in San Francisco's Chinatown. It takes place the weekend before the lunar new year holiday. There are lots of traditional Chinese cultural happenings during the fair. I try to make it there every year to photograph the event. It's all about street photography and events like this one make it easy because you can disappear into the crowd to take pictures and hardly anyone will notice. Not to mention there are plenty of other photographers going unnoticed. I guess I am nobody special!
Enjoy my brief slideshow of a few of my favorite images from the event! Feel free to click on the icons in the upper right corner to post this to your favorite social media sites. You can also comment below.
As often happens, I set out with a photographic goal in mind only to come upon something else more compelling to photograph. Some people might call this serendipity. Webster defines this as “luck that takes the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that are not looked for.” Such was the case the other day when I ventured down to Seacliff State Park beach. My purpose was to photograph the huge 17-20 foot storm waves - which I did accomplish (shown in the slide show below). However, a flock of Willets feeding in the evening light diverted my attention from the waves. I have been doing a lot of intentionally blurred images (ICM) lately, but these images were unintentionally blurred. I usually shoot in aperture priority so the camera decided I needed 1/20s for a proper exposure as I tracked their movement (called panning in photographic terms). Lucky for me, it was the right shutter speed to blur the birds to create these artistic images. The first one is my favorite and it's called “Waltzing Willets.”
Feel free to comment below.
They say (whoever they are) we don't have much in the way of fall colors around here in Santa Cruz County. OK, it's not like October in Vermont, but we do have some nice displays of color. One of my favorite places is the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park in Aptos- less than 2 miles from my house. In the past couple weeks there has been a showering display of mostly yellow Maples. Although they are bit past peak, there is still time to check them out. It's a great place for a hike or bike ride. Enjoy the slide show! Comments are welcome.
Bring it on....rain that is! Here on the Monterey Bay we are glad to see some significant rain last Monday. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of our three year drought - if El Niño does it's thing. I grabbed my umbrella and camera and huddled in the rain to take most of these images. It's the start of a new project called - you'll never guess - Rain.
Hope you enjoy these images. More will added as the winter progresses. Feel free to add your comments below.
I always love visiting Ursula in her studio as I did this past weekend during the Santa Cruz Open Studios Tour. She is a master at figurative abstracts and her palate of colors is exquisite. She has had a long and successful history of displaying and selling her work at galleries across the country. Please visit Ursula's website to learn more about her and view some of her great artwork.
In the series of images below (except for Ursula's picture) I focused on her "tools of the trade." They make interesting vignettes.
In his workshops, Jay Maisel, suggests it is best to study the works of great painters to learn and get inspiration - more so than other great photographers. After all, painters have been around for centuries, whereas photographers have been around for a little over 100 years!
I am inspired to learn more about the use of color in my artwork from artists such as Ursula.
Free free to post any comments below.
2015 Santa Cruz Open Studios Art Tour
Once again, it is that time of the year for the Santa Cruz Open Studios Tour! I believe this is my twelfth year. Instead of needing to purchase a $20 calendar as in past years, this year there is a free magazine insert in the Santa Cruz Good Times distributed all over Santa Cruz County, which lists the over 300 participating artists. The tour is held the next three weekends starting tomorrow, October 3 in North County. I will be participating with the South County artists on Oct. 10 & 11. Here is my address. I will feature new images from Venice, the Santa Cruz area coast, the Palouse area of Washington, and the wild mustangs, as well as my older all time favorites.
Pryor Mountain Wild Mustangs
My wife and I recently visited the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustangs in Montana. The lead image in the slideshow above shows Jasper and his band. The best way to view these horses is with PryorWild Tours. Our gracious tour guide, Steve, drove us in his 4-wheel drive Jeep Rubicon for the two-hour, 12-mile ride up the mountain. At times, it felt like we were rock climbing in the Jeep. We were fortunate to see 109 of these graceful, majestic animals! Steve knew all the horses by name, and shared interesting information on wild horse behavior as we watched. Although the BLM requires that people maintain a certain distance from the horses, the mustangs were not shy, but rather curious of us. It was an awesome experience to be surrounded by the horses as they grazed. As the sun lowered, the horses traveled in groups down to the watering hole provided by the BLM. The horses will stay at the top of the mountain until the beginning of winter, when they will make their way down to lower areas of the mountain.
"This tough little horse, derived from the horses of Portugal and Spain, has been present in this rugged mountain area for nearly 200 years. If lost, the herd cannot be restored; and so its biological viability, together with its history, must be preserved." - Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center
The Sausalito Art Festival is one of the biggest art festivals in the country. The show was Saturday to Monday over the Labor Day weekend. I was not an exhibitor but I drove up to enjoy the show and saw a lot of great art. It is a juried show and difficult to get into. If you do get accepted to it, booth fees range from $1000 to over $3000 depending on the size of your booth! There is also lots of great live music.
Although I did not win any awards several of my image were accepted into the Iconic American Transportation show at the festival. Posters of the images were available for sale at festival. The images are shown below.
Maybe a little snow will cool our weather down a bit.
One of the most frequent comments I get about my artwork is that "they look like paintings." I have never intentionally created an image to look like a painting; however, my new Dreamscapes series reflects a purposeful painterly approach. In this new creative style, I combine multiple exposures and intentional camera movement (ICM) to blur and abstract some of the detail in the landscape. Additionally, I use Adobe Photoshop to blend the multiple exposures to create a unique image. The result is an impressionistic portrayal of the scene. I am having a lot of fun revisiting some of my old favorite photographic locations and experimenting with this new technique! Please feel free to comment below.
I was in the Palouse region in south eastern Washington state last August. I was so impressed with the wonderful earthy colors and rich textures from the thousands of square miles of wheat farming, old cars, barns and abandoned houses. I knew I had to return when I heard about the canola bloom with its brilliant yellow flowers and the lush green wheat fields in June. It's a photographer's paradise! The area is totally dependent upon seasonal rainfall. There is only one caveat. Sunrise is at 5 AM, which of course means getting up at 4:15 AM every morning! My photographer friend Tony Pagliaro and I were out making images every sunrise and sunset and scouting for more future images during the mid-afternoons of not-so-good light. A few of my favorite images can be seen here.
I was warned it was jammed with tourists. True. It was. In fact I could not imagine it in the summertime. I was also told that somehow you would not mind because Venice is such a fantasy land. True. It is. However it is quit easy to meander down the narrow streets and cross the quaint bridges over the many canals and find fewer tourists and mingle with the locals. Going out before dawn helps a lot. It's easy to get lost. Google maps to the rescue!
Venice Floating Vegetable Market
I thought there would be a lot of "not so good" tourist food. Wrong. The food was great and reasonably priced - and fresh.
One of many beautiful canal scenes
Almost every corner turned or bridge crossed there was a photo opportunity.
The best time to photograph a full moon scene is that one evening of the month when the full moon (well actually it is at 99%, with the actual full moon occurring the next evening) is just rising as the sun is setting. Conversely, the next morning 12 hours later is the best time to shoot the moon as it is just setting and the sun has almost risen. This provide just the right combination of moonlight and sunlight to get a proper exposure in one shot. Shown below are two images I took that illustrates this timing. The first image was taken last evening as the moon rose over the Carmel River in Carmel-by-the-Sea. The sun has just set. The second image was taken at Seacliff Beach this morning 12 hours later. Yes I really did get up at 5:30 AM. Fortunately, the scene was about a one minute drive from my house. The moon is setting just before the sun rose. Of course it is not just about lighting but you also need to find a good composition that tells a story!
Full Moon over the Carmel River
Full Moon over SS Palo Alto
If you’re lucky enough to live at the beach, you’re lucky enough. For more than 25 years, Seacliff Beach has been my backyard. Granted, I have just an “ocean peek” from my upper deck of my home. But it is only a short stroll to the white sand of what is arguably the best beach in Santa Cruz County. My neighbors, vacationers, and day trippers would likely agree.
Every day, the beach tells a story. I’m fortunate to live close enough to hear that story - at dawn, on foggy and stormy days, when the sun is shining, and, of course, during those phenomenal sunsets.
The lead role in that story is played by the SS Palo Alto a.k.a “The Boat,” of course. It's a one-of-a-kind floating enigma. But the story has much more plot and characters than the famous boat. And I present a glimpse of them here.
As a professional photographer, I travel to many destinations in this country and in Europe to create my fine art photography. But, I’m always happy to come home, because I’m lucky enough to live by Seacliff Beach.
I just installed a local coastal and nautical show at Riva's on the Santa Cruz Wharf. There are 28 framed and canvas artworks. You can enjoy art and great food at the same time if you visit! Show last through the end of March.
Fall colors, lobsters, and cold winters is what immediately come to mind when I think of Maine. Well, I also think of blueberries. I recently returned from a photo excursion to the area around Rockport on the coast of Maine. Mostly I photographed the coastal areas where lobster fishing is big business - there were 125,953,876 pounds of lobster taken in 2013! The fishermen call them "sea bugs." Hard to believe and yet the industry is well managed and thriving. Yes I did have one lobster dinner, so there is 125,953,875 and 1/2 pounds left.
The fall colors were at their peak and trees were "on fire" everywhere. I think I saw a couple of yellow leaf maples today in Aptos, CA.
Enjoy the slideshow of images from the trip!
I returned last week from the Palouse, which is about an hour south of Spokane, Washington. I had never heard of the Palouse until this year when I noticed some pretty well known photographers (http://artwolfe.com/ - to name one) conducting photography workshops in the area. It is a photographer's mecca.
The area consists of thousands of square miles of spectacular rolling hill farmlands. The main crops are wheat, lentils and canola. In the spring and early summer there are incredible scenes of green wheat fields and yellow canola flowers. In August, the rich gold and brown textures of the wheat fields at harvest time stretch as far as the eye can see. Dotted throughout the landscape are old barns and trucks, abandoned houses and silos. Around almost every turn there is a scene worth photographing!
Below is a visual tour of this unique area set to music written and performed by me.
Can you believe it? They lost our reservation to this B&B!
Just returned from a week in Washington DC. I grew up a few miles outside of Washington until I was about 10 years old and had never been back. I won't say how many decades ago that was! I thought the "big" hill we used to sled down would now look very small. Turns it was as steep as I remembered it!
I think everyone should visit the nation's capital. Whatever your political persuasions are, it will make you proud. A walk down the National Mall and you will see the great monuments of Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington, Roosevelt, and more. Also there are 17 Smithsonian Museums in DC and they are all FREE to enter! As much as I love France I hate to think what it would cost to visit 17 museums in Paris.
Visit the WWl, WWII, Vietnam, Korean memorials and more and contemplate the great sacrifices men and women have made for this country. Did you know 58,000 soldiers died over 16 years during the Vietnam War (my generation) ? Yet over 37,000 died in the Korean War over three years. All in all, this visit to Washington DC was moving and inspirational.
Art of Santa Cruz Grand Opening Thursday May 8th
Art of Santa Cruz is a new fine art and craft gallery that is now open at the Capitola Mall next to Target. Come to the grand opening for art, wine and food this Thursday!