Topic: Color (106 posts) Page 2 of 22

Salt Evaporation Ponds

Above is the title page for the new portfolio of the same name. I had seen these ponds from the air on a commercial flight landing at the San Francisco Aiport several years ago and thought it would be wonderful if I could photograph them. It is a little tricky as the ponds often are in the landing path for jets coming in to land. I found that if we stayed below 1500 feet or so we were okay. So that's just what we did, flying under the big jets flight path in their approach to land.

It was dead calm, and the flight itself was smooth so the files from this shoot are exceptional. The Cargill Co. owns and works these ponds to make sea salt, the minerals in the water making different varieties. 

The full portfolio is now on the site: here.

Consistent offer. Want to see the prints? Email here

Topics: Color,Digital,Northwest,Aerial

Permalink | Posted March 17, 2018

On The Road to Pinnacles

While in Northern California in February 2018 my sister suggested I make a visit to Pinnacles National Park near Soledad.

So I packed up my gear and drove down from San Jose early one morning, about an hour and a half away. Little did I know.

The story about photographing at Pinnacles itself will have to come another time. What I wanted to show you was what I found on the road to Pinnacles that blew me away.

I know: not spectacular, no flash, no super saturated colors here. California hills in mid-winter: just a little green starting to show under the trees, a few cows here and there, some gray sky. Perfect, at least for me.

I know, "single trees on the hillside" is over the top cliche', right? So what! This was gorgeous.

I have worked to represent this stretch of road heading east to Pinnacles in its natural state, not with color sliders, saturation and sharpness cranked to the max conveying a falsely romantic syrupy-sweet utopian version of a place.

This certainly didn't need that, this rather pure and elemental landscape that morning on Hwy 146 to Pinnacles.

Finally, let's take a look at cause and effect. I had just driven up from the Ventura area where I'd spent days photographing fire and mudslide damage, both on the ground and from the air. I was also frequently driving two hours up to Santa Rosa from San Jose to photograph the extensive fire damage and destruction there. Take a look at the blogs  Disaster and Catastrophe if you haven't.  Some beauty and serenity was a good thing for me at that point. My heart swelled up in my chest as I was making these pictures (and is doing so now as I write this). Let's not forget why we do this, this making art (sounds pretentious, I know). We express ourselves through a heartfelt desire to share what we believe are perceptions that others may sympathize with. Can I bring a little peace and some form of slight joy to your day or world as you look at these? I hope so. Because this is what I do: make pictures to share.

Comments? Always welcome. Go here

Topics: Color,New Work,Northwest,Digital

Permalink | Posted March 14, 2018


The Northern California Firestorm


We flew out of the airport at Santa Rosa a couple of days ago, about an hour north of San Francisco, in late February, from an airstrip on an old military base. I figure a Cessna 172 needs about 10% of the length of this old runway designed for transport planes. ZIP, we were up and almost right away flying over unspeakable misery, loss, pain, and death.

See all those yellow patches back there? That was a large development of several hundred homes. Gone.

From Santa Rosa, across the 101, and east to the ridge,  a cottage I rented 4 years ago, now burnt to dust the photograph at about 1000 feet above it, going about 85 mph in the Cessna, window hinged on the top is open, staying up due to wind pressure. 

Lived there for about a month, the one on the right. The foundation on the left is where the owners lived.

Trying to keep the camera steady as the plane is jumpy due to turbulence. The spinning gyro clamped to the camera helps. Gorgeous day, 2 pm perfect, not a cloud.

Now we're over some of the worst. A whole housing development of hundreds of homes now completely gone, only dust and scorched trees remain. 

Up the valley again, this time following the road.  Now there are single family high-end homes with pools, gone, left to dust. Trees are still there, skeletons, most to be felled by a chain saw, for they 're already dead. 

180 degrees back towards town and more devastation. Shooting shooting shooting, picture after picture while fighting back tears. Earlier in the day I had talked with a family standing in their now empty plot. The dad spoke of 70 mph wind,  horizontal flames, embers high in the air only to land and start a new fire someplace else. Across the road? Across the highway? From a neighbor? Of being woken up by firemen hammering on the front door, saying get out and you replying, "20 minutes" and them yelling back, "No, right now!" As you run out of your house that is now in flames behind you and look around you are in the middle of a war zone. Firetrucks hosing down roofs nearby, EMT's and police everywhere, rescue workers, teams trying to save lives and get people out. Chaos, and as you drive away looking back to see your house now fully engulfed in flame. That front hedge you trimmed last weekend? The new plantings around the pool? The baby's room, ready for the new arrival next month. That picture in the hallway of the four of you that weekend in the Sierras in 1997 when you realized you were in love? All gone to dust.

We're getting close to being done. I know I could make more but it seems somehow disrespectful to keep pointing at it. So much misery, so much loss.

We land and I am almost giddy, relieved to be free from looking at it all from above. A look at destruction on a massive scale.

Topics: Color,Digital

Permalink | Posted February 27, 2018


Drove up early yesterday morning from  Malibu where I am staying to Santa Barbara to charter a flight over the fire damage in the towns around Ventura where the forest fires were last fall. We also flew over Montecito where the mudslides were.

Think scorched earth and devastation with pockets of homes completely preserved. Odd.

The fires progressed from above in the hills back behind where the population centers are, but also threatened orchards, vineyards and horse farms, as well as homes.

In places, fire came right over Highway101 to the sea

(the darker areas here were caused by the fire as it jumped over the highway).

The mudslides in Montecito happened because the vegetation burned above the town, allowing the rain to flow down the valleys like a river, scouring and loosening the dirt.

(the lighter line of trees show the path of the mud)

some homes flooded and appearing submerged by the mud. Two story homes with just the roof left.

I found pockets of land untouched, whether from firefighters working to protect or land owners out for hours with hoses and digging fire breaks. 

The fire damage looking as if from a blast zone. How terrible to know this was coming towards you and powerless to stop it. All your worldly possessions and the small things: pictures, momentos from an earlier time, an anniversary, a wedding, a funeral. Gone in an instant. Watching your home catching fire and running to escape with your life and little else.

I wonder how many negatives or digital files went up in smoke, how many prints?

My heart goes out to those that lost so much. These two disasters serving as reminders that life and all that we hold dear is fleeting and can be gone in an instant.

Topics: Color,Domestic,Digital,Aerial

Permalink | Posted February 10, 2018

Human Representation

I don't know quite what this is. This compulsion to photograph human beings in representational form. Cabelas had some, Mutter Museum yes, in dissected form, Reggio Emilia, yes, and certainly the Monsters work. And now Mannequins also. The latest content for me is in a few banners on Liberty Island in New York,  that depict what a new Museum under construction near the Statue of Liberty will look like.

At any rate: to the photographs.

This shown to establish where we are. The Museum under construction, and one of three banners to publicize it. This is what I did:

You can see that things dissemble pretty quickly, as these are just inserted into the file, the same as fake trees or vehicles are imposed into architectural renderings.

Although distant history, preserved as a jpeg, presumably these started out as actual people. Model releases obtained? In the public domain? No idea.

What can you infer about us in our present-day society from these pictures? Just the other night I saw the film 12 Strong. While watching the film I found myself thinking that CGI is now so good that we no longer can tell where actual footage depicting actors on location ends and computer-aided imagery begins. These figures on the banner at Liberty Island are a lot cruder but still where does that woman with the bag over her shoulder exist? What is her story and where is she now? What a remarkably dehumanizing thing to do, to pluck these people out of their lives and place them in a banner like this in an architectural rendering.

Liberty Island, New York Harbor.

Topics: Northeast,Color,Digital

Permalink | Posted February 5, 2018