Sunday, June 26, 2016

A doe a deer

A mule deer at Point Reyes Light

There’s nothing I don’t like about this doe. So far it’s the only image from the Fog Series that’s had to be color. The coat of this comely mule deer is a tapestry of silver slivers, warm grays and muted browns. Surely this creature needs a full palette to express its beauty.

You need to click on this image to appreciate it fully. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Top of the World

The view from 10,500 feet. That's the sloping from of San Antonio Mountain some 40 miles distant at the far right.

In the dark of night I repaired to the big corral on FR 87 just past San Antonio Mountain. There I was to meet Andrew Abeyta and ride with him to Cuba’s second camp and follow Cuba and 340 wooly critters to their high camp in the Cruces Basin Wilderness. This endeavor required a 2:45am wake-up call with no shave and breakfast on the road if I was to meet him at 4:30 sharp. By mid-afternoon I was paying the price. Old people aren’t meant to sleep four hours.


I hadn’t been at the corral for more than five minutes when headlights approached from US 285. I jumped in to Andrew’s pick-up and we began the tortuous trip to the Top of the World. This was the missing piece to the whole year of following the annual sheep ranching cycle You may recall that I couldn’t reach the high camp last year because of bridge construction on FR 87.

This is what it looks like at 5:30am when you've had no sleep.

Ready to leave camp two.

Leaving camp two

On the way to the Overlook

Arriving at the Overlook

Victor and Andrew at the Overlook. Those guys make me smile.

It was easy going getting to camp two but from there all bets were off. That is some rutted out mess. Andrew bottomed out at least three times but was able inch his vehicle and trailer out of the crater every time. Guy's a pro.

The journey was rewarded by a camp site they call the Overlook. From Cuba’s aerie is a view over a lush valley with a shimmering blue lake and beyond that mountains separating the Cruces Basin from Highway 64 between Tres Piedras and Tierra Amarilla.

Do I look fat in this picture, Andrew?

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Van Gogh at Saint Paul's

Window in the entrance portico of Saint Paul Asylum

From May 1889 to May 1890 Vincent Van Gogh was a patient at the Saint Paul de Mausole Asylum outside Saint Remy just 12 miles north of his former home in Arles. Following his legendary ear cutting episode Van Gogh committed himself and picked adjoining cells so he’d have a studio. Well into the 1920s France was at the forefront of all medicine, the place where doctors from around the world came to learn the latest treatments for the gamut of afflictions including those of the mind. At least at Saint Paul's the humane treatment that the mentally ill received in late 19th century France provides a stark contrast to the care of the mentally ill in 21st century America.

Van Gogh's cell.

For Van Gogh the stability of the regimented life in the hospital was a tonic and within those safe confines he painted 150 paintings that year. “I feel happier here with my work than I could be outside. By staying here a good long time, I shall have learned regular habits and in the long run the result will be more order in my life.” 

In September 1889 his Starry Night over the Rhone and The Irises were exhibited at the Société de Artistes Indepéndants and and in January 1890 six of his paintings were shown at the seventh exhibition of Les XX in Brussels. Sadly, just as he was gaining recognition his epileptic attacks became more frequent and, feeling that he was not improving, he vacated Saint Paul's for the Paris suburb of Auvers-sur-Oise.

Saint Paul's, now Clinique Van Gogh, is still an operating mental hospital, one that uses art as a therapeutic tool. On the day we visited an art show displayed the work of patients and therapists alike. 

Wander Saint Paul's sunswept grounds and signs show what Van Gogh saw when he painted during that prolific year in France’s Alpilles.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Two Weeks Two Shows

From the Fog Series are Presidio Pines #1, Canopy and Silent Running.

Silent Running, Putney, Vermont

What with preparing for The Eye of the Photographer that opened last week and The Presence of Light that opened Friday there hasn’t been a whole lot of photographing around the old homestead. It’s a weakness of mine, not photographing enough, and is exacerbated by single mindedness that has been described as a one track mind and the inability to multi-task. As I approach the midpoint between 70 and 80 I worry that I’ll run out my days in a slow crawl of consecutive projects.

Because I have little new to present I’m left with the options of image surfing, that is scouring thousands of old images for a hidden pearl, shooting something specifically for this week’s post or reporting on Friday’s gala opening. The show at Taos Town Hall has won out so this is a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll.

Posting about the show leads to a reprise of some photographs from the Fog Series, shown above, since that’s the work I contributed. And here's a look at some compatriots in the show. The first two are my cell, er wallmates.

David Farmer with his elegant silver gelatin prints.

Steve Bundy and his extraordinary landscapes.

Heather Sparrow's carefully staged black and whites.

The very same Heather Sparrow flashing some leg.

Then there's the obligatory shot by a dude taking a picture of dude taking a picture of a gorgeous blonde.

That's friend John Farnsworth capturing the captivating Thea Swengel with his ever present iphone.

And this.

Three seniors with Doug Yeager's images to your left and Heather Sparrow's to the right.
About 150 people turned out for The Presence of Light. That's a big audience in our little burg. Thanks and congratulations to Paul Figueroa for putting it together and to Pattie Traynor for curating the exhibition so masterfully.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Eye of the Photographer

My partners in crime Cris Pulos, Bill Davis and Terry Thompson with his wife Linda at Wilder Nightingale Fine Art.

Cris Pulos, Robbie Steinbach and Bob Parker at David Anthony Fine Art.

Aftermath, the old four at Wilder Nightingale.

Saturday night the exhibition "The Eye of the Photographer"opened at Wilder Nightingale Fine Art and David Anthony Fine Art in beautiful downtown Taos. Thanks in part to our partnership with the Taos Center for the Arts to which a portion of the proceeds was donated, the ticketed pre-opening event was chock-a-block with art aficionados and the subsequent public opening was even busier. Thanks to all that attended.


Among the red dots were these images:

Cuba and his Mauser España

Andrew and Lamb

Under a Big Sky
The show continues through July 4. Please come take a gander.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

I give up


When Fort Ord shut down it 1994 it was one of the largest base closures ever. The part facing US 101 and the Pacific became California State University-Monterey Peninsula while the rest was left to decay in the briny air blowing in from the ocean. A handful of wooden basic training barracks on the north end of the base have been converted to businesses but most, like my old crib, have withered away, a haven for the unseen.

Exploring the barracks it was clear that the closing had been haphazard and incomplete. Army manuals lay about and evidence of human habitation since the closure was everywhere. Graffiti was in florid display as if it’s destiny is to cover every vertical surface. 

A poem on a barracks door speaks achingly. "I can't get enough. Hoping that we never see the sun coming up. I give up." The dark wish asks us to write the ending.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Silvery, shimmery, glimmery


This is a detail of a gnarly pine atop 12,100 foot Frazer Mountain just north of Taos Ski Valley. Frazer Mountain is the crest of Northside at Taos Ski Valley, the Pattison family’s 1,200-acre aerie in the Sangre de Cristo Mountain that rise above the town.  The photograph reveals shimmering highlights that are reminiscent of a real silver gelatin print. That silveriness is something that digital prints often lack. The soft focus background or bokeh lends something ethereal and seems to bring the pine forward in the frame. 

Bokeh comes from the Japanese word “boke” and both are pronounced “boke eh”. Fittingly enough the word means blur or haze. Quiz later.