Inland Fog in South Florida is a rarity. I and count two days last winter. Quite a change from living on the Puget Sound in Seattle where a marine layer for fog was quite common. Needless to say I jumped up and rushed out to shoot the Photographic Bonanza. As the sun rose high enough in the sky to break through the clouds the sky because alive with texture and just enough ground fog was left to give that atmospheric feeling. Seconds before the sky was a nondescript grey haze. Truly a wondrous “Daybreak”
From Canyonlands National Park. Island in the Sky District. The First of my new Limited Series. A selection of Master Prints that will be available in runs of 25.
Sometimes images wait in my archive to have life breathed into them. I had known at the moment of capture that this would be the image of the day…..an good indicator that it will get immediate attention. Life might have other plans, I was on my cross country trip from Seattle to West Palm Beach and soon after my Mother went in for surgery to repair her broken vertebrae. I took over caring for the horses here on the ranch, the heat and work can be exhausting, leaving little time for creating images. So there it sat until yesterday, around noon, when I needed an image of my truck with storm clouds over head…….it made me think back to the day, watching the clouds first build over the La Sal mountains. The storm seemed to grow….to radiate from the peaks….making an improbable journey West against the wind….against the jet stream……until it was over head, some 100 miles as the crow flies. In times like these there is often a bit of inner debate. What’s the light going to do, is the storm going to break……how long before I can get to shelter. If nothing else I’m a good judge of weather. It’s an obsession. One that comes from spending countless days backpacking, with nothing but stretched nylon as a shelter. This day I was lucky, I had my truck within a close proximity. This enabled me to wait until the very moment the storm broke, so I could make this image, and then sprint for the safety of good Detroit Steel.
Liberty State Park, New Jersey
The story of working on the cover art for Laurence Hart’s new album Closed Station Platform.
After watching “Joe Strummer – The Future is Unwritten” I began to think about how much music was an influence on my early on in photography. After listening to “all lost in a supermarket” I did a shoot with my friends on a shopping run in college. (Largely due to the fact that the photo essay had a deadline of the next morning and I had no day light left….and oh I was hungry.)
Not just the music and lyrics but the photography that went along with an album.
Anton Corbijn’s work with U2 on the Joshua Tree was huge…..here was black and white landscape and portrait work helping to shape the theme of the album.”
This is on my mind because I’ve been working with Laurence Hart on his new Album, Closed Station Platform. Larry has been great to work with letting me listen to his early demo’s so I could get a feel for the album and giving me free rein on the cover art. Turns out I had the perfect shot, a Closed Station Platform, Liberty State Park….a place where many would enter America proper for the first time after getting off the boat at Ellis Island. Coming full circle….a shot made during those early days when Anton Corbijn, U2 and Joe Strummer influenced my thinking and creativity.
The Magnolia was named after Pierre Magnol. The ancient genus developed it’s flower to be pollinated by beetles as it evolved before bees.
On May 26th 1864 President Lincoln created the Montana Territory. Part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, Montana was home to many tribes including The Cheyenne, The Blackfoot, The Shoshone, The Arapaho, and The Sioux. During the Lewis and Clark expedition they noted a particularly difficult journey through the Bitterroot Mountains. With little to hunt, difficult terrain, and cold snowy conditions the Corps of Discovery met their severest test here. US settlement of the Territory begins in earnest in the 1850′s as gold is discovered. The Sioux would call this “The yellow metal that is all around but good for nothing and makes the white men go crazy.”
In 1872 Yellowstone National Park was created, where this photograph was made. A grizzly bear has just walked through the landscape following the trail you can just make out on the left. The bear made no sound left no tracks and moved very quickly. I was surprised at his stealth for being such a large animal. There are about 800 Grizzly Bears in Montana.
Yellowstone is chiefly in Wyoming but it’s Western and Northern entrances are in Montana and also shared by Idaho.
I think the power of the still image is stronger than ever. The power to tell a story. It’s not just in a monthly magazine (although there is a place for that). It’s on your desk. It’s in the palm of your hand. It’s the democratization of photography. Do you have something to say. Pick of a camera and say it. At it’s heart the still image is about a story and if anything people want to hear more stories not less.
There is always someone who will look at a place and see $$$. A forest, a mountain, a river or species as pure profit. Hopefully the people that see the beauty of a Yellowstone or a Yosemite will put more weight on the scale than the profiteer. Your local park, the one you bring your family to for a Sunday picnic, there is someone who wants to see that as a condo development.
I just finished reading Bill Keller’s interview with Joao Silvia and Greg Marinovich at the NY Times blog LENS http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/05/the-inner-lives-of-wartime-photographers/ . They wrestle with photojournalism and the power of the still image. I agree with Chase Jarvis’s blog http://blog.chasejarvis.com/blog/2011/05/osama-bin-laden-debate-illustrates-the-power-of-an-image/#comment-36804 the power of a singular image is not in doubt.
April 2nd 1513 Ponce De Leon discovers Florida for the Spanish. Legend has it that he was looking for the rumored Fountain of Youth. Gold being a more likely a reason as it was the driving force of the day. The sliver of truth in the Fountain legend could very well be Vitamin D. Florida’s true gold it’s number of sunny days. As Ponce De Leon’s ships reached the beaches he claimed the lands for Spain and christened it “La Florida” after the Spanish Easter season Pascua Florida (Festival of Flowers). An apt name because Florida has no shortage of flowering plants. The expedition was separated when they encountered the Gulf Stream which proved too strong for their smallest ship. The powerful currents of the Gulf Stream would become the naval super highway for ships returning to Europe. Ponce De Leon’s exploration lasted 8 months and he would sail as far west as Tampa Bay or perhaps Pensacola. The Spanish would seed Florida with horses, cattle and pigs. The descendants of these animals “Crackers” have adapted to the climate and exist in Florida today. Ponce De Leon would meet his end at the tip of a poison arrow in 1521. He led a group of 200 bent on colonizing the Gulf Coast of Florida which the Calusa people resisted. The Manchineel tree, the poison’s source, carries the Spanish name “Manzanilla de La Muerte” (Little apple of Death).
The Grassy Waters Preserve in the City of West Palm Beach was called “The American Amazon.” That’s quite a bill to fill and I have to say it didn’t disappoint. There is a certain feeling that a healthy and thriving wilderness has. Grassy Waters has that vibe. More on the Preserve to follow as I add images. Seeing a place for the first time can really get the creative juices flowing. Often times my first photographs are a sketch that I will go back time and again to refine. Excited by the adventure of the day and the results, I submit my first take.
Amphitheatre at Flamingo has been selected for the LONG SHOT 2010 gallery show.
Don’t give up.
A Magnolia can take 15 to 20 years to bloom. I’ve only seen this little one bloom once and it has not since, which has been over a year. I find the whites and the curves of the bloom to be visually interesting. It’s as if Apple took some design cues from this flower. This image is less about a plant and more about doing what you do. You may only produce something beautiful once in a long while but don’t give up. This little guy has been through three hurricanes and looks a bit like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I like the blooms imperfections. They tell stories. I’ve got this scar on my hand from running for the bus in first grade. I fell on the ice picked myself up and got on the bus. The drive took one look at the rock in my hand and the blood gushing out and said “I can’t let you on like that.” I didn’t know what to do….I can’t miss school I thought. Next time you are out with a group of friends have a scar story time, you’ll learn something new about them. And they you.
It was an honor to get to know these wolves. More curious than most they would watch the goings on at the sanctuary from a little mound they had in their enclosure. This is my most successful wildlife image. The first question I am asked “is that two wolves?”
It was the end of the day and I had two frames of film left in my camera. I saw that the posture of both wolves formed a repetitive pattern. Working quickly I composed the image, made the shot and with the sound of the camera shutter the wolf in the foreground turned and looked at me. Two distinct images made in less than a second. I had formed a bond with these wolves as the tours started with them so I spent much time waiting with them for people to gather. Working as a guide and photographer at the wolf sanctuary gave me perspective. Wolves are like all wild animals. They act both as unique individuals and with the shared traits of the species. They deserve respect. View them from a distance, as you would any animal. I think if people had the same attitude toward Alligators, Wolves and Bears as they did big cats there would be less conflict. No one feeds or wants to pet a Mountain Lion. One thing is certain Wolves inhabit the human imagination perhaps more than any other animal.
When you think of The Everglades you think of Alligators. Every Park is like that. The Alligator is part ambassador part indicator species. I’ve had some interesting encounters with Alligator’s. None threatening, basically animals are going about their day it’s up to the park visitors not to interfere. There is no mistaking the cat like hiss of an Alligator that has had enough. All wildlife require a personal space boundary, it’s a matter of respect and Federal Law.
The health of the park it’s self can be measured in the animals that call it home. Some of the challenges facing the ancient animal are easy to see, like enough water and habitat. Things like pesticides are invisible but deadly. The python has invaded the Everglades and found a habitat to thrive and multiply in. They have been known to attack Alligators. Bold.
For the Nature Photographer Alligators make fine subjects. They hunt from stealth so stillness is one of their hallmarks. This large adult was perfectly happy to sun himself as I shot with my 300mm.
Falls in Winter.
Denny Creek is an hour from Seattle and a favorite family hike. The trail is an easy walk with a beautiful little gorge providing a view. After making this image and being pleased with the winter scene a friend and I stared back toward the truck. I stopped by the gorge to peer over at the rushing river one hundred feet below. Standing next to a wooden rail fence my feet shot out from under me. I had failed to judge just how slippery the ice was. Next thing I knew my legs were dangling over the gorge. Reflexes had kicked in and without knowing I had hooked my arm on the lowest rail of the fence. Lesson learned even an easy hike can under certain conditions prove most challenging, a failure of observation. “Keep your head in the game” would be the operative words here.
Part of a Colorado beaver pond. The animals had a unique solution to limited terrain, terraced pools. Picture the farms of a Southeast Asian hillside and you’ll get the idea. This would be a landscape architect’s dream. Amazing.