Hello friends - while 2022 was a banner year for travel it was not a particularly good year for my photography. I have gotten to the point in life where if I start reading a book and it doesn't grab me? I just put it down. In years gone by I would slog through but these days - hey life is too short. Same with my photography. Truth is I seldom go intentionally looking for photos - I try to let them come to me. Nevertheless - I DO travel often and I DO enjoy taking photographs - I think this will always be so - so, as long as I am upright, I'll keep 'em coming. These are my faves from this years batch in no particular order. I hope you enjoy them.
I'll start with a photo I made on a rainy winter day at an isolated and lonely spot on the Oregon Coast. Somehow, this photo resonates with me and my occasional dark moods. It is the only black and white of the bunch and I think 2023 may be the year of the black and white. I'd like to work at that.
Next up is a bright and hazy morning at my desert home away from home - Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
The following photo - taken out of the window of Amtrak's Empire Builder doesn't quite capture the stunning beauty of the Columbia River Gorge -it is a magnificent place - but it'll give you a taste.
The next photo is a photo that no one liked on social media so maybe you had to be there! Nevertheless the Hōlei Sea Arch in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is a sight to behold. I am told it may not be around much longer due to the relentless pounding of the surf - so - I was lucky to see it like this.
Speaking of luck - the Nahuku Lava Tube also in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park was closed a week or so after I made this photo (it has since re-opened).
More Island of Hawai'i here. This is famed 'Akaka Falls near Hilo. The green and the falls are cool but I love that ominous sliver of sky too.
Here's another photo I took from the train. This is the Rockies in Autumn and the Colorado River near Kremmling, CO from the California Zephyr headed west.
One last photo from the island of Hawai'i. This is the Waipiʻo Valley Lookout near Honokaa. Located on the Hāmākua Coast, the Waipiʻo Valley was the boyhood home of King Kamehameha I.
You didn't think I could go year without a photo of roads and telephone poles - did you? Here ya go... from the great Midwest.
In the years I have been doing these lists (is it SEVEN now?) I don't believe I ever included a photograph from my iPhone. That changes this year due to this image of the sunset while waiting for a train - the Southwest Chief - in Fullerton, CA last October.
And there it is - another year flown by. It was quite a year... I am not a big fan of self promotion but these photographs and more are available for purchase by clicking here. I am grateful to have sold several photographs in the last few years and for those of you who have purchased you are appreciated and help me keep traveling!
Speaking of the years flying by - I feel myself slowing down a bit. I have big plans for 2023 but not as big as 2022 and my hunch is 2024 will be a bit less than 2023. As my Pop told me, "The years have a way of catching up with you". Yes, sir... they do. I wrote these words to express my gratitude to you for following along with my adventures - my friends - new and old - you have enriched my life immeasurably - thank you and may good fortune smile upon each of you. We deserve it. Let's make 2023 a damn good year. Much, much love to all.
Have you looked around at the great work of photographers online? It's out there and it's ubiquitous and beautiful and bad and everything in between. It's inspiring and awful, and dull and exciting, pap and esthetically sublime. For me, the great work is inspiring and also intimidating. How can I ever be any good with so much good stuff out there?
Of course, I don't truly consider myself a photographer in the true sense of the word:
I don't have a "job" anymore per se. I call myself a picture taker but "shutter bug" is probably apt:
There is no doubt I'm enthusiastic. I often wonder what motivates photographers and, I suppose, it's different for every person who uses a camera. My motivation is simple. I simply want to share the places I've been with YOU.
Unlike a lot of folks who retire I don't miss my "career" and the ego crap and politics associated with it. What I do miss about my work is connecting with others. I had a general hubbub in my life for 40 years and it's not easy just to turn that off- even if 90% of the hubbub was meaningless bullshit. My best years in my career were when I was a High School teacher - just hanging out with my students and sharing was deeply satisfying to me. Sharing is the key word- to me teaching is all about learning and learning isn't filling empty brains with your brilliance- it's sharing and experiencing and learning together. That's when kids get fired up about learning - when they see how fun and meaningful it is by a teacher who learns with them . Unfortunately too much teaching, alternatively, is done to to them which is the primary reason schools fail our kids.
Enough about education- I could go on for days...believe me.
So, even though I'm older, I still have the itch to share. I suppose that's one reason that, occasionally, the internet provides a healthy outlet for me. It is of course true that I'd like my photographs to bowl you over with their magnificence but I ain't no Ansel Adams or Dorothea Lange. I know, taking up photography as a passion nearing 60 years of age I'm not going to have decades to learn and hone my craft. That's OK though. Fortunately, photography is art and I can use my heart to take pictures and learn along the way.
I thought about going back to the university and getting a degree in photography since I've always been so academically oriented. But, nah, I've done enough of that! Instead I'm going to UYT (University of YouTube) and I've been blessed by having a few friends that have helped me along the way. I'm enjoying that part of the journey. It challenges my old and slow mind a bit which gets keeps the dread away if nothing else and I've always had a romance with learning. I do think these lessons are improving some technical aspects of my photos...
I am offering a few of my photos for sale but I'm realistic about that and it's hardly the reason I'm driven to snap off hundreds of images on every outdoor trip I go on. In a perfect world I'd like you to feel what I felt when I was there and taking that photo in my Trip Review. I'd like you to appreciate the wonder of the world as I seek to do daily. I'd like you to think about our connection to nature and how important it is that we work diligently to preserve it. Mostly though, in your own private way, I'd just like you to get the feeling of peace and calm and presence that I get when I'm "out there".
Let's talk about feelings and presence for a moment. Friends and family occasionally ask me how I handle setbacks and the answer, as with everything in life, is by staying present. I cannot change the past injustices and losses no matter how much I think about them...I certainly cannot control the future. All I have is this moment (that's actually all any of us ever have). The best way I've found to stay connected to this moment is by using sensory perception and/or through meditation and the practice of mindfulness. As Eckhart Tolle says when you're smelling the morning air you aren't thinking...at all...you're truly present. It's after we smell the morning air that we begin to evaluate it and the mental craziness ensues.
Yes, but what about the technical aspects of photography? Composition? Golden ratio? Rule of thirds? Symmetry? Bokeh? Depth of field? Filling the frame? What about the rules? Rules are fine and important and I use them from time to time and I'm enjoying learning more all the time- but rules are hardly the reason I dig photography.
A good photograph can transcend thought like the morning breeze that you inhale without thinking attached. Thank you to those photographers whose photographs do that for me and may I be fortunate enough to have one or two do that for you my friends.
Come on then...let's go look at some pictures...
This will mostly be a journal of my travels. I may include other items that interest me. Feel free to join in.