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Fine art photography featuring local, Americana and European images and Portraits

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

Venezia

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

Seacliff Beach

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. 

Other News...

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.

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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.

Coast Dairies State Park

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I took this image at the north end of Laguna Beach at moonset. There is one perfect morning each month for photographing the full moon - that is if the fog does not move in! More images  can be seen in my Coast Dairies State Park project.

Coast Dairies State Park is located about ten miles north of Santa Cruz, California and consists of seven spectacularly beautiful beaches. They are Laguna Creek, Bonny Doon, Panther, Sharktooth, Davenport, Davenport Landing and Scott Creek. They were part of the original 5500 acres of the Coast Dairies Ranch owned by the Trust for Public Land. The Trust for Public Land conveyed these coastal bluffs and beaches to the State Parks in August 2006. Most likely the Coast Dairies Ranch will be transferred to the Bureau of Land Management in the next few months and then hopefully be declared a National Monument .

More information can be found in this San Jose Mercury News article last December, and on the Trust for Public Land website.

Chinese New Year Flower Fair

I went to the Chinese New Year Flower Fair a week ago today. It was a perfect opportunity to do some street photography - one of my favorite types of photography. It's easy be fairly inconspicuous because everybody and their brother have a camera. Flowers play an important role in the beginning of the Chinese New Year. Click on the link above to learn more about this tradition.

Still loving my new (not so new now) Fuji X-Pro 1 camera. It's lightweight, discreet, compact, and takes great pictures in low light! It also has interchangeable lenses.

Buying Flowers

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Photographers note:

Camera settings - Fuji X-Pro 1; 1/80 sec @ F6.4; iso 1600; lens focal length 55mm

 

Coke

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Photographers note:

Camera settings - Fuji X-Pro 1; 1/110 sec @ F8; iso 800; lens focal length 55mm

 

Protestor

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Photographers note:

Camera settings - Fuji X-Pro 1; 1/400 sec @ F5.6; iso 3200; lens focal length 200mm

 

Observers

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Photographers note:

Camera settings - Fuji X-Pro 1; 1/140 sec @ F5; iso 3200; lens focal length 135mm

 

Bystanders

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Photographers note:

Camera settings - Fuji X-Pro 1; 1/110 sec @ F6; iso 3200; lens focal length 74mm

 

You Lookin' at Me?

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Photographers note:

Camera settings - Fuji X-Pro 1; 1/75 sec @ F5; iso 3200; lens focal length 128mm

New Years Eve 2013

Last post of 2013! It was a great year and I am looking forward to 2014. Seems like I spent most of the last day of 2013 along our beautiful coast. Today was one of the highest and lowest tides of the year. I thought I would post some images from this morning along Rio Del Mar Beach at the peak of high tide. The rest of the images can be seen on my Tumblr page.

Enjoy and have a Happy New Year!

Feel free to click on any of the social media buttons above or post a comment.

Waves

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Photographers note:

Camera settings - Fuji X-Pro 1; 1/900 sec @ F9; iso 200; lens focal length 55mm

Flooded

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Photographers note:

Camera settings - Fuji X-Pro 1; 1/100 sec @ F16; iso 200; lens focal length 24mm

Fisherman

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Photographers note:

Camera settings - Fuji X-Pro 1; 1/1700 sec @ F7; iso 800; lens focal length 200mm

Our Amazing Coast

It seemed like half of Santa Cruz went down to the beach last evening to photograph the amazing sunset! All these people with their shiny little objects in their hands held up and pointed towards the sky - a sign of the times for sure. Not to be left out (or outdone of course!) I headed down to the Rio Del Mar Beach with my latest camera the Fuji X-Pro 1. Love this camera. It is lightweight, compact, and takes incredible pictures. As expected, later in the evening sunset pictures popped up all over Facebook. Could have had a photo contest. A couple evenings ago I went up to the new Coast Dairies State Park beaches. Well the beaches aren't new but the park is fairly new. Low tide, no wind, warm temperatures and the evening light made for perfect photographic conditions.

Feel free to click on any of the social media buttons above.

Rio Del Mar Sunset

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Photographers note:

This is a stitched panorama of three images

Camera settings - Fuji X-Pro 1; 1/60 sec @ F7.1; iso 400; lens focal length 18mm

Laguna Creek Beach I

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Photographers note:

This is a stitched panorama of three images

Camera settings - Fuji X-Pro 1; 2.6 sec @ F16; iso 200; lens focal length 135mm

Laguna Creek Beach II

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Photographers note:

This is a stitched panorama of three images

Camera settings - Fuji X-Pro 1; 1/30 sec @ F20; iso 200; lens focal length 35mm

Laguna Creek Beach III

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Photographers note:

This is a stitched panorama of three images

Camera settings - Fuji X-Pro 1; 1/30 sec @ F16; iso 200; lens focal length 25mm

Birds of a Feather

Anyone who has looked towards the Monterey Bay has seen a proliferation of marine life lately. Can you say whales? Pelicans, seals, porpoise and of course seagulls, to name a few, were in large numbers. Apparently the abundance of anchovies in the Bay has attracted all this amazing marine life. A little over a week ago, it was stormy and foggy along Rio Del Mar beach. A zillion pelicans and seagulls decided to weather it out along the beach. I have lived in RDM the last 27 years and have never seen so many pelicans in one location! I headed to the beach with my 100-400mm lens and began to capture these images. Then some guy came walking along the state beach with his dog unleashed and doing its "business" along the way. And of course he didn't clean up after his dog. I asked him nicely to not walk through and disturb the wildlife while I was photographing. He ignored my plea, proceeded with his dog, and plowed through the middle of these birds. We had a few words that I cannot print. Unfortunately the ranger had just passed by moments earlier.

Pelicans

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Photographers note:

Camera settings - Canon 5DII; 1/400 sec @ F16; iso 800; lens focal length 400mm

The Conductor

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Photographers note:

Camera settings - Canon 5DII; 1/500 sec @ F16; iso 800; lens focal length 400mm

More Pelicans

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Photographers note:

Camera settings - Canon 5DII; 1/500 sec @ F16; iso 800; lens focal length 400mm