Sunday, December 26, 2010

Eroded Values

On a parched hillock between Encino and Vaughn sat an adobe ruin and a leafless tree punctuating an unforgiving plain; the tree's roots exposed by decades of torment.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

No more breakfast

US Highway 285 enters New Mexico near Antonito, Colorado and heads south through Santa Fe where it bends to the southeast through barren plains and threadbare railroad towns before entering Texas south of Carlsbad.   The dusty and dying railroad towns, scarcely more than sidings really, called to me a couple of weeks back.  Encino and Vaughn wouldn’t exist if not for the BNSF Railroad and as it is are on life support.   At the edge of what’s left of Encino a school bus gazes forlornly into the sage and mesquite.   The school now abandoned.  The last cafĂ© shuttered.  No more 99 cent breakfast.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Inky Shadows

I got several calls and emails from folks who were particularly enthusiastic about Long Shadow, last week's post.  So here's another Sketch of Winter replete with shadows.  This looks to me like an Aspen Rorschach test.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Long Shadow

And while we're thinking about shadows, here's Long Shadow from my evolving Sketches of Winter series.  In the series objects are depicted as line drawings on featureless white paper. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Adobe and Smoke

The first nip of winter has arrived.  The ski valley is open and it was 12 degrees when I picked up the NY Times this morning.  Adobe and Smoke says winter without snow, sleighs or jingle bells.  Sometimes the reflection or shadow of a thing is better than the thing itself.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Focal point or foreground interest?

A common enhancement of a straight landscape is a foreground element that frames or gives depth to the image.  So it is here with a fallen tree leading into the dunes and mountains beyond.  Does the deadfall merely improve the landscape or is it the subject of the photograph? 

Monday, November 15, 2010

More Mark

From resolute to affable in six seconds.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Earth Through a Lens 2011

I'm pleased to let you know about an exciting photography competition called Earth Through a Lens.  This is a national juried exhibition focused on building a more sustainable environment.  I had the honor of being included in last year's exhibition in Palm Springs and encourage you to submit work dealing with the natural world or man's impact on it.  It's a great way to address nature and environmental concerns in an artful and expressive way. To learn more log on to

Steely Resolve

My good friend Mark Asmus is a fine oil painter who has achieved renown through his "Police Blotter" paintings which poke affectionate fun at the unlikely it couldn't happen anywhere else but Taos entries in the police blotter in our weekly paper.  Beyond that he's a handsome 6'6" drink of water that I've wanted to photography for awhile.  Here's but one of a host of keepers.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Battery Godfrey

We don't see a whole lot of fog here in the high desert so being cloaked in the stuff was magical.  The fog moved westward through the Golden Gate Bridge and out into the Pacific while a WW1 era gun emplacement protected San Francisco Bay from the ghosts of German warships.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

You lookin' at me?

Llama's are scene stealers.  In this shot, an impertinent llama upstages the newlyweds as the Rio Grande Gorge and Sangre de Cristo mountains bear witness.

That's Amore

Although I was on the chase raft and clearly heard the song Cisco was singing I just can't remember the tune.  So I've decided he was singing a certain Dean Martin hit from the fifties.  "When the moon hits your eye like a bigga pizza pie, that's amore."

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Men in hats

Cisco Guevara owns Los Rios River Runners which operates rafting trips down the Rio Grande, the Chama and others.  He's as well known for the hat he always wears as his escapades in wild white water of northern New Mexico. The question is this.  Does he have more than one of his famous hats or is that thing, um, ripe.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Under a big sky

This decaying old corral and cattle chute in the barrens of Tres Piedras seems the perfect icon to represent an unremitting desert of sage and tumbleweed where traces of man are few.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hat in Hand

There's no rule that says a portrait has to include the face.  Sometimes the most revealing images are of hands as in this the last of the Lenny Foster trilogy.  With this photograph I'm riffing on a very Lenny like composition.  Lenny photographed like Lenny might have photographed Lenny.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Have I got hats?

As promised, more of fedora man.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Three Days of Lenny - Fedora Man

Lenny Foster is not only a great photographer but one hell of a model to boot.  I leaned on him for a portrait session a couple of days back and, boy, did he bring his A game.  The shoot was ostensibly to memorialize his being named Best of Show in the recent Taos Fall Arts festival.  Most convenient for me I think.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Autumn Abstractions

Just when you thought it was safe some loony tune messes with Mother Nature.  When you whip  your camera left to right or zoom in and out when the shutter's open strange things happen.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Big Little Landscape

On this second of my blogs from Northside at Taos Ski Valley I feel I'm getting closer to the essence of fall in the New Mexico mountains.  I told Teruko, Lawrence and Kerrie, my charges on that gorgeous day, that the shots of leaves strewn like Lily pads on a small pond would be my best of the session or at least would be the ones I'd want to look at again and again.

Tomorrow I'll get all abstract on you.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Northside at Taos Ski Valley

Last Tuesday I led three photographers into the wilds of Northside at Taos Ski Valley.   This was a trial run for workshops I'll be teaching on Northside's 1,300 vertiginous acres.  As you can see by the top of the world vistas shown here we can top out at 12,200 feet and get there in style by 4-wheel drive shuttle, a pretty painless way to photograph the southern Rockies.  Contact me if you want to partake.  More to come.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Two Windows

I think these windows look like eyes in a flat adobe face.  Heck, the thing has eyebrows and a nose.  

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hurley's Barn

It hit 31 degrees yesterday morning in Taos and felt like fall for the first time.  When the breath of autumn fills my soul I think of New England where I spent half a lifetime.  And when I think of a quintessentially autumn in New England scene this is it.  It's George and Jean Hurley's Currier and Ives barn in the village of Wonalancet, New Hampshire.  It's not a color image yet says fall to me like rusts, red and yellows cannot.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Margy Dudley's Advice

A few years back I submitted a portfolio to Margy who's the owner of the wonderful Open Shutter Gallery in Durango.  She was, shall we say, underwhelmed.  But out of her lukewarm review came some of the best advice I've had.  It was, in short, to look beyond the obvious.  To look up, down, behind you and behind the subject in search of a unique view.  Here, in a shot much like the recent "Ten Penny," I looked straight down at a newly built deck.  The perfect lines and angles were sweet geometry.  This was shot with a Leica Point and Shoot with 8.4 megapixels of resolution.  Oh that Leica glass.  

Friday, October 01, 2010

Take a little off the top

When Daryl and I were trading photos a couple of weeks ago she did me the biggest favor.   She took off about fifteen years in one fell swoop.  The photo is reminiscent of one taken by my late buddy Chuck Fridenmaker during my folk singing days in the very early sixties. Eerily similar in a younger sort of way.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ten Penny

The sharp lines of these boards could scarcely be more different from the soft focus Lucie in my last post.  The lumber lay on the ground near a newly built corral in New Mexico's Valle Vidal.  I looked down to see the simple geometry of the boards and the single nail as a punctuation point.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Going Softly

Hand holding at 1/13 second is nearly impossible.  But from these privations Lucie's doe eyed beauty emerges.  Blind luck prevails!


And in this one Miss Bailey is doing her best I want to be seventeen impression. Thirteen year olds teeter between childhood and womanhood within seconds.  That's no revelation but really apparent when you photograph them.


Lucie and best pal since two Bailey are thirteen.  Here she looks thirteen I'd say.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bailey and Lucie

These two are a photographers dream.  They love the camera and it obviously loves them.  I was shooting headshots of Bailey and Lucie for an movie they'd like to be in.  Don't know the name of the film but they say Sean Penn stars.  There were lots of great frames.  This one  has some mood I think. Solo images to follow.

Monday, September 20, 2010


I had the chance to photograph my friend and colleague Daryl Black last week.  Not only is she a wonderful photographer and writer but a high level Black Belt in Taekwondo and an accomplished Tango dancer with her husband Fred who's a pilot, architect and award winning weaver.  Daryl says she doesn't like the business end of the camera very much but I beg to differ.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Uli 3 and Out

This is the impish Uli who is in Munich ( I  think) and readying for his return to Saint Petersburg.  It's also the last post of the young lad for now.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Uli 2

Lost or confused?  I have no idea.  I do know that all the Uli shots were done with a Profoto Acute 2 head through a Chimera Medium Softbox.  And all were shot with a 70-200mm lens at f2.8.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Yesterday I was shooting a basic passport photo for my new friend Ulrich Gleiter, an incredibly talented young painter from Munich by way of the Repin Academy of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg.  As I'm writing this today Uli is boarding his flight to Toronto or Montreal and then to Munich where he'll be desperate for sleep and a decent meal.  This shot is pretty much unmessed with.  And the next post or two will be a tad more adventurous.  You can google him.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Twisted Relationship

A kind of desolation is depicted by this twisted wire and the shallow depth of field that fades into the flat scrub land in the bright sun.  The fence separates a decaying corral in the fuzzy background from Highway 64 which will rise from high desert to more than 10,000 feet of alpine splendor in the next 25 miles.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Canale and Cloud

This image is more about shapes and spatial relationships than subject matter. But I do I like the way the solitary cloud directs the eye through the adobe and straight into the canale.  It's like the canale is the hood ornament and the cloud is the exhaust.

Sunday, September 05, 2010


The second leg of my Taos Three Step was these commercially produced tipis in Llanno Quemado just south of Ranchos de Taos.  The tent poles appear to pierce the clouds as if they point to the heavens.  It takes 12 or more poles to make a proper tipi.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Bonus Round

A couple of days ago I danced the Taos Three Step by photographing three iconic Taos subjects.  First were tepees or tipis that are manufactured just south of town, then famous Ranchos Church and finally the haunting Morada de la Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, a lay chapel operated by the Penitente Brotherhood.  Penitente, penitent, penance, you get the picture.  Those guys don't have a lot of fun.  Anyway the blue door that I left blue in this toned black and white image seemed sinister or forbidding beneath the heavy sky.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Soft Box

If I could bring just one light source and modifier to a portrait shoot it would be a big flash and a fairly large softbox.  This I learned from the estimable Alan Thornton. The operative word here is "soft."  Put that baby a few inches from your subject and you get the roundest and, yes, "softest" effect imaginable.  Here the lovely Mizahn is caressed by a Profoto Flash and Chimera Medium Softbox.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Canale and Sky

What the world need more of is photographs of Ranchos Church.  The darn thing is so compelling that I still am drawn there from time to time as shown by this architectural with the canale against the dark sky and the vigas silhouetted against the luminous adobe.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Masters Cup

Most folks would say that I'm a black and white shooter.  That's why being nominated for the Masters Cup Color Award was such a treat. Here's "Salt Marsh, Moody Beach, Maine" which was chosen in the Professional Nature category.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Peralta's Pick-up

Iggy Peralta still drives his 1939 International Harvester pick-up every day. He even drives the glistening beast 70 miles to work. That's each way.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Scott Conley Guitar

This special posting is of the real Scott Conley guitar that I play. I posted an impostor a few weeks ago. Sorry Scott.

Girl with the golden earring

Mizahn is a model to be reckoned with. At 23 she has posed for more than ten years. She's uncanny with the camera as you can see.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Body Parts

The hood and fender meet just so on this abandoned vehicle in Death Valley. The roundness of the bent metal have a trace of the feminine.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Book of Solemnity

Ranchos Church may be the most photographed edifice in the US of A. It's always a treat to catch it in a way that hasn't been done several thousand times. Laying on one's back in the dirt at sundown is always an option

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Evil Eye

There's an adage that says "It's better to apologize than ask permission." Or maybe it's "Shoot first and ask questions later." Either applies with this tribal elder who was none too pleased with this shot. It's a good thing there were 200mm of glass between us.