Sunday, October 23, 2016

Not New Mexico

I’m riding this fog theme for all it’s worth. Here’s a tight shot with a filigree of branches and leaves that has an abstract quality to it followed by a wide shot of the beach that shows just how foggy it was in Cayucos one fine September morning. This is about as un-New Mexico as it gets. Not to brag but we're all about bluebird skies and vistas to forever.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Man and Beach

Beach towns like Cayucos pretty much exist to serve visitors. That’s not to say there aren’t townies around but the bucks that keep the enterprise afloat come from flatland turistas like moi. Notice how I throw around foreign lingoes with such aplomb.

An iconic beachfront scene is of folks strolling along the strand bare feet in the froth. Above is a hirsute dad with his equally tousled tot and below strides a burly gent with his teen in tow.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Post Industrial Motif

“Three stacks and a rock” is how Morro Bay is sometimes described by locals referring to the 580 foot rock monolith in its bay and the 450 foot smokestacks of its shuttered power plant.

When it was built by PG&E in the 1950s it was welcomed as a boon to the post war recession economy of the town of 11,000. Then in 2012 Dynergy, PG&E’s successor, closed the plant leaving an economic crater and a protruding eyesore with no mitigation plan or budget to remove it. Before the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act and in the thrall of the plant's economic largess no one thought about negotiating a clean-up commitment from the utility should the plant ever close. And Morro Bay with an annual operating budget of $10,000,000 can scarcely bear the $30,000,000 needed to demolish and remove the plant.

“Where is the corporate responsibility in America?” asked Morro Bay mayor Jamie Irons. Left unfettered corporate responsibility is to profit, Mr. Mayor. It’s a simple as that.

On the plus side, Morro Bay’s three finger salute in the fog gave me these.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Mysterious and murky

These stripped down photographs of the lamps that light the pier in Cayucos, California remind me in their simplicity of the Sketches of Winter series. While the background in these additions to the Fog Series are medium gray instead of the paper white of the Sketches of Winter the Zen-like serenity is comparable.

This year I was blessed with one socked in day on the Central Coast and it provided enough fodder for at least two blogs. These lamps and posts recall gauzy late 19th century images of a fog shrouded London, images that some have called saccharine. Call me old fashioned but I like the dreaminess and find mystery and melancholy in the murky dampness.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

San Jose de Gracia

San Jose de Gracia in Las Trampas, NM rivals the better known San Francisco de Asis in Ranchos de Taos for its Spanish Colonial design and earthy beauty. I never miss the chance to photograph the historic church when traversing the High Road between Taos and Santa Fe.

It was built between 1761 and 1776 by 12 families from Santa Fe under the leadership of Jose de Arguello in the village whose full name is San Tomas del Rio de las Trampas. In English that’s Saint Thomas of the River of Traps.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

More of Monumental

Alain Comeau in North Conway, NH, 2002

Shortly after buying my Canon 1Ds in 2002 I started the series Monumental Heads. That’s the $8,000 11-megapixel piece of kit that lured me back into photography after a dozen years immersed in business endeavors, some successful, and the mid-80s committed to distance running and triathlons.

In the late spring of 2002 when I came back from a ski safari in France with Ian Cruickshank I took notice of Edward Weston’s theory of using the sky as a background and took it quite to heart. The first in series was of either Alain Comeau or John Snyder, both accomplished men with wide ranging talents.

On reflection I think the first victim was the very French man for all seasons, M. Comeau. Last I heard Alain was sailing the Caribbean with his latest squeeze.

He is followed by Mr. William Davis, the dean of Taos photographers and the original owner of ZZ Top’s beard.

William Davis, 2008

William Davis, 2016

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Waste Not Want Not: Memo to Self

Pondering 75 at 75

Looking at 75 through a long lens it seemed like it should be an epic event and a national holiday. Then as it drew near it shed its self-importance and became just another day albeit a good one. 75 after all is something everybody achieves if they live long enough. Big whoop. Can't take a lot of credit for it. Saturday I had a blue moment that I can only attribute to the recognition that I’ve lived three quarters of a century and that my kid is nearing 50. It’s enough to make an old man weep.

I got up this morning, chugged a cup of joe and slogged through an eight mile run, the kind you time with a calendar. Felt good all things considered. The osteoporosis symptomless. The full thickness cartilage loss unnoticeable. The back a little cranky but tolerable. Enjoyed brunch with a view and a Bloody Mary, the first in probably 20 years. Later a couple of steaks and monster bakers accompanied by a Reidel or three of 94-point vin rouge will complete the ensemble. The message: Enjoy each day to its fullest. Oui?

And I don’t want to lament the things I haven’t done but to see the event as a call to action and to waste no days. The list is long of things I want to do, see and experience and, as the wise man says, it’s not getting sooner.

The old bucket list needs some refinement, too. I have been tweaking the same old list for a decade. Those who know me can testify that publishing the sheep book The Last Shepherd has ranked high on the dreaded list for nearly two years. It has somehow lost momentum. Has it run its course or is it on hiatus? Then there’s that Spanish windmill that hasn't been properly lubricated. Son of a bitch squeals like a stuck pig. Come November it will be three years since I studied in Guatemala despite pledging to do study somewhere every year and practice daily till I become fluente. It will not be four. Then there's seeing a new (foreign) place each and every year. That hasn't happened since 2014. I'm bereft.

Live a year in a foreign country. Live in a city. Hike hut to hut across France. Rent a Italian villa with friends. Swim the Bosporus. Ride the Tour de France. Ski to the South Pole. Sail around the word. Do ten pull-ups. There's pipedream. I could go on.

25 at Camp Cayuga in the Adirondacks. That's my 180 pound self after a summer of playing 2 man Volleyball and teaching guitar. I  received my Army Reserve discharge during this lark and found myself on the buying end of all the Carling Black Label we could drink.