Home Sweet Home

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

Arches National Park

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.



Chinese New Years Flower Festival

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.

Waltzing Willets

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.

Local Fall Colors

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.

Tools of A Master painter - Ursula O'Farrell

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.

Sausalito Art Festival


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.



Is It a Photograph or a Painting?

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.

Regatta night at the Santa Cruz Harbor

Regatta night at the Santa Cruz Harbor

Arctic Terns at Seacliff State Beach

Arctic Terns at Seacliff State Beach

Loose in the Palouse - a Photographer's Paradise

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.

Acres of Yellow Canola

Acres of Yellow Canola

View from Steptoe Butte

View from Steptoe Butte


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!

More images from Venice and northern Italy can seen here.

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 Jewish Getto has a very sobering memorial to those who lost their lives in the Holocaust.

More images from Venice and northern Italy can seen here.

Full Moon Photo Shoot

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

Maine Fall Colors and Lobsters

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!

Loose in the Palouse

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.

Washington DC and other news...

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!

A few of my favorite images from Washington DC...

The Power of the Printed Photograph

The concept of the power of the printed photograph struck home with me this week.

A customer inquired if I had more images of old doors and windows from Europe other than what was on my website. I dug into my archives and emailed them some possibilities. There was one in particular they liked and wanted to purchase it as fine art framed print to be a companion piece to two others they had already selected. I always liked the balcony image on my computer screen but never felt compelled to make a print of it. Amazing! Once I created the framed print for them I fell in love with the image and it is now part of my inventory. The images above are two of the ones my customer chose for a fine art prints.

Similarly, I made some portraits of a beautiful mother and 2 y.o daughter a short while ago. She really liked them when I showed her the proofs on the monitor. A few days later she saw the printed 8x12's. She was almost in tears and gave me the biggest hug. The power of the print!

Photographs are the new language. Everyone is taking them and saving them on their computers, smart phones and emailing them. There has never been a better time to be a photographer with all the possibilities of sharing images electronically. However most pictures never leave the cameras, computers or memory cards. The various forms of digital storage today may become obsolete sooner than expected and the images are possibly gone forever. Of course the photographic print will continue to exist.