Monday, January 11, 2021

Spectral Churn: Our Nation's Soul in Turmoil


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In photography there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated.” - August Sander

It would be easy to underestimate the importance of what happened. The nonsensical is the daily normal so why should an attack on the US Capitol be any different? I think we need to be very wary of where this national rupture is going. There is too much division backed up by hate, intolerance, and arms, and the willingness to act. The constant barrage of lies from the president and his enablers have made the truth a precious commodity valued only by some. As Voltaire warned, those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. We need to be vigilant and guard against this getting worse. As I wrote in my post on January 9, 2021...

Who can believe what we’ve seen this past week? I felt incredibly sad and angry at the spectacular mayhem perpetrated at the Capitol on Wednesday. Precious lives lost, sacred trust broken, public and private property destroyed, and seditious activities instigated by our most high-ranking government officials. And all because of narcissism, unbridled greed, and lies without end. We, the people, witnessed a frenzied assault on the rule of law at the symbolic and very real heart of our republic, the seat of American representative democratic government. I am very glad the damage was contained, the invaders were removed and are being arrested, and that our government continues to function. I pray that the misdeeds of the mob don’t result in a loss of fundamental liberty for more ephemeral security but I often wonder if our citizenry is responsible enough to soberly maintain their freedom. My soul, like today’s photograph, is tossed in a ‘Spectral Churn.’ May we all grow much more civil, kind, and generous with each other. Let’s hope the era of constant political divisiveness ends soon. Peace and be well to all of you.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Great Expectations: Welcome to the New Year


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Photography is a love affair with life.” - Burk Uzzle

The post-holiday blues are a common enough phenomenon. But some wise people have taken to reflection, finding peace in the "day before the day before" the special day or in the days afterwards. It's important for us to remember the meaning of our holidays. As I wrote in my post on January 2, 2021...

The second day of the new year always feels strange to me, even a little sad. Yesterday was the joyful holiday that celebrated the promise of new things, the potential for the year to come. We enjoyed staying up until midnight as the calendar changed and spending the first day exulting in the possibilities. But the second of January... that usually means the holidays are over, that most people are taking down their decorations and lights and starting to carry on with the business of real life. I would, this year in particular, like to mark this inauspicious day with something a bit different, the ‘Great Expectations’ we should have for 2021. Each day for the rest of the year is there for us to use the very best we can. The promises are already made; now it’s up to us to get on with it. I’m so glad to be sharing this next year with you and I’m excited to see what happens. Health, happiness, and prosperity are my wishes to all of you!

Saturday, June 6, 2020

The Marketplace is Finally Open

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When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.” - Robert Frank

  It's with joy and some trepidation that I finally step into the world of photography sales. After many positive comments and sales inquiries from so many wonderful people, I can now say my website has an active online Marketplace.

  My "Contact" page is now called "Contact & Sales" and there's a new button that will take you to my Marketplace portfolio hosted by Pic-time. Pic-time is integrated with my professional photo lab of choice, Bay Photo, and offers you purchasing options from perfectly simple prints to elegant albums and everything in between.

  My partners at Bay Photo, in business for over forty years, do excellent print work and back it up with outstanding customer service. I do not hesitate to let them make my photographs come alive for you. You will be amazed at their selection which includes stylish frames, vibrant metal prints, fine art paper, press-printed photo books, and personalized calendars and greeting cards. And everything will be crafted to your satisfaction or they'll make it right.

  I have created a small portfolio of work in Pic-time, all of which are ready to print. However, I would be happy to add almost any of my website photographs to the Marketplace portfolio. Simply contact me via the website form and we can work together to get you the image you want.

  My joy comes from the knowledge that many people have expressed interest in owning some of my photographs and I finally have an easy way for them to do so. My trepidation, of course, comes from putting my work out there for sale and hoping for a good reception. If you're looking for some art for your home or office, please consider supporting small local artists such as myself. I would love to contribute to the beauty of your home or workplace.

  And as a way to give back to the community, I'm also donating 25% of my profits towards causes such as the National Parkinson's Foundation which looks to fund research and make life better for people with Parkinson's Disease, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund which helps support historically black colleges and the students who attend them, and the American Diabetes Association and their mission to prevent and cure diabetes and to help those affected by diabetes. 

  Thank you so much to all my fans on Facebook and those following my work on Twitter and Instagram. Your support means the world to me. I hope you find as much enjoyment in viewing and perhaps owning my art as I found when creating it.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Sea Flux

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Wherever there is light, one can photograph.” - Alfred Stieglitz

  It's wonderful to be photographing down at the shore again. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed my recent studies of Raleigh and Cary and the neighboring areas near my North Carolina home. Documenting some of the history of a place, especially ones so vital and dynamic as the state capital and vicinity, is an honor and privilege. I am always grateful for the liberty to go where I wish and photograph what I like. And I'm glad to be able to share my work with you.

  The Delaware shore, in my experience, is the equal or better of most any beach area on the planet. At once both commercially developed with many shops and homes and yet still abundantly wild and protected, the state has an extensive seashore in its state park system where developers will never build. The parks maintain not only some of the loveliest sandy beaches and inshore ponds on the east coast but also protect numerous wild bird, turtle, and fish species. And the joy of my summer base in Rehoboth Beach in slower lower Delaware is that I not only get to enjoy the expanse of the Atlantic coast to the east and the Delaware Bay north of Lewes but I also have the pleasure of the Rehoboth and Indian River Bays to the west and south. So in every direction, the sun, sky, nature, and light combine for endless waterside photographic opportunities.

  As you probably know, I have taken and shared numerous sunrise and sunset photographs. And I love evening photography because the light is usually nice with soft, long shadows and I don't have to rise before the cock crows to get on location. Plus, the golden hour, sunset, and the blue hour afterwards result in some truly spectacular images. Despite this, I think sunrise has this all beat. Personally, there's something just so satisfying about rising long before dawn, traveling to a location to take some images, and finding the rising sun and early morning sky cooperating nicely for me. And the best part is I'm almost always the only one there.

  After a four o'clock wake up, it was time to brew a quick coffee and load my bag and tripod into the truck. Possessing a surf tag also means I have unlimited free access to many of the Delaware state parks, including the one at Cape Henlopen. Usually when I drive there, it's to lower my tire pressures and drive on the beach for a few hours of surf fishing. But this morning, I parked in the small lot near the pedestrian dune crossing, finished my coffee, and headed off towards the water with my gear.

Sea Flux

  I love this group of rocks that form a natural jetty protecting the beach from erosion and demarcating the southern limit of truck parking on the sand. Since it was only about five o'clock now, I set up my tripod and ensured my camera was set correctly and functioning properly. My hope was to capture several long exposures of the surf interacting with these rocks, slowing the shutter speed to blur the motion of the water as it passed around and over the rocks. As the sun slowly rose over the next hour, light starting glowing from the horizon putting some nice color in the sky and illuminating the rocks and breaking surf just enough to be pleasing.

  It's tempting to really push the time the shutter is open but I wanted to maintain a bit of texture in the water instead of it getting too creamy. I captured this image at ISO 100 to minimize image noise with my lens set to 17mm. My aperture was set to f/22 and I allowed the shutter to be open for four seconds, just right to create the effect I was after. I took several images of this composition since each break of the waves resulted in a different pattern of water flow through the rocks. If you look closely just below the horizon on the right side of the image, you'll see the bit of sea spray from the crashing wave that didn't quite disappear during the extended exposure.

  I like this image because I'm really starting to appreciate the more subtle aspects of a summer sunrise. The period just before the sun crests the horizon can produce some really nice, warm light that caresses the foreground instead of overwhelming it. And the more gentle glow in the sky keeps the image balanced in a way a spectacular auburn cloud display cannot. I recently posted this image on my social media accounts and it seems to be fairly popular with you, my audience, as well. Thank you for that and all of your support.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Old Mailbox at Laurel and Bayard

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“In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.” - Alfred Stieglitz

  Right from the start, allow me to apologize for the delay in posting to my blog. I salute those bloggers who are able to consistently create content, write, and post. Time slipped by quickly and there were times I knew I should write but just didn't. There are many good reasons (excuses?), all involving life and being busy. I plan to get back on track so stay with me, please.

  So... as you know, I enjoyed taking early morning walks with my wife this summer and discovering many interesting features of Rehoboth Beach. The light afforded by the rising sun often cast a wonderful warm glow on the subject in my viewfinder. But sometimes, I would discover a hidden treasure that required different conditions to capture the mood I wanted. I knew that for the old postal box at the northeast corner of Bayard Avenue and Laurel Street, I wanted some soft light directly after a cooling rain, so I had to be patient.

Old Mailbox at Laurel and Bayard

  Mail is delivered by carriers to nearly every address in town by foot as residential curbside mailboxes are rare. Postal relay boxes like these were once very common, especially in cities, as central storage containers for mail carriers as they delivered the daily mail. Intended as drop boxes for the mail sorted for a specific neighborhood, these boxes allowed mail carriers to replenish their load periodically instead of having to carry it all at one time. Relay boxes were located at strategic intersections so that either the mail carrier or other postal workers operating from truck could easily stock it before rounds.

Old Mailbox Patina

  This relay box has likely stood on this corner in the heart of the residential area for decades and has developed a glorious patina of greens and grays and oranges. One of its legs is slightly bent, perhaps from a possible past collision with a reversing truck. Yet it still stands ready for duty. And I found it ready to photograph one early evening a week or so after that walk. A gentle rain had just ended and the sunlight was filtering through some remaining clouds. To ensure the mailbox was the focus of the photograph, I sought compositions from multiple angles looking for the softest light and the least distracting background. The first photograph anchors the relay box in space, showing the viewer (you!) its immediate environment. Photograph number two isolates a portion, revealing the impressive details.

  I think you'll agree that small bits of history like this, intimate and often overlooked, are worth saving. If you look around your town, you'll probably find them too. Fortunately, Rehoboth Beach has this old, weathered but still sturdy relay box standing in the shadows but ready to serve. And hopefully, historical bits like this will be here for many more years. But when the day comes for it to be removed, photographs like these will help us remember.

Friday, August 10, 2018

To the Beat of His Own Penny-farthing

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    “Photography is a love affair with life.” - Burt Uzzle

  My wife and I have been taking morning walks this summer, stepping off from our house early to beat the heat. Leaving kids and dog behind has been liberating as we're free to roam where we wish at whatever pace we choose. Our pace was admittedly quite slow at first as we both needed many days to build up our endurance but we're now covering at least five miles a day as measured by our trusty Fitbits and actually passing other pedestrians occasionally. She often carries her water bottle on our walks. And of course, I take my camera.

  Many days, we choose to walk through the neighborhoods as we stroll towards the beachfront boardwalk. But on this particular morning, we instead headed towards the avenue and walked through the heart of town. Sunrise was well underway but the yellow sun was still low and shone in our faces as we slowly made our way to the boards. The great tourist crowds on the sidewalk were still many hours away but we had the company of several other early risers and the local shopkeepers were busy getting ready for the new day. Smells of dark roast and sugar wafted in the air as we passed by already lively coffee shops. Cars jockeyed for parking near the shore and families unloaded their brightly colored beach gear onto the sidewalk for the happy trudge to their claim in the sand. I thought I might be able to take a photo or two in the golden light at the beach.

  And then I saw him. The happiest and most carefree fellow I've ever seen rolled slowly by. And he wasn't in a rusty old VW van or flower power Beetle as you might expect. Instead, what made this aging hippy happy and quite delightful to me was his Penny-farthing.

To the Beat of His Own Penny-farthing

  Plus the fact that he was shirtless, wore a headband, had bare feet, and held his whiskered face up towards the light.

  Originally called a high-wheeler bicycle, and later an ordinary bicycle, these strange looking machines were ingenious devices that allowed for high speed travel on rough terrain with relatively slow pedaling. Looking from the side like an English penny coin followed by a farthing, they were all the rage until the lower seat height of the safety bicycle and the introduction of pneumatic tires superseded it in design and technology.

  I will admit I tried to capture this photograph a few moments earlier when he was more alongside me. But my camera wasn't on and I was slow to get it up to my eye. I'm always relearning the basic lessons of keeping the camera ready at all times. You just never know when an interesting subject happens by and if your lens cap is still on or your camera is off, you're going to miss the shot.

  What I really like about the image, apart from the man himself, is the sharp contrast between the bicycle and the road, the long shadow from his figure, and the highlights on his face and beard. This meant I had to process in monochrome. I also added a bit of grain to give a little artistic flair to the final photograph.

  I've been keeping an eye out for Penny-farthing man but I haven't seen him again. But you can be sure my camera will be ready if I do.

  You can see more of my work at,, and

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

What's this blog about?

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    “There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” - Ansel Adams

  Every photo has a story, a why the photographer took the photo and how they came to be there. Here, I'll get the chance to share the story of my photographs and to have a conversation if an image resonates with you in some way.

  Too often, the photographer and the viewer never meet. Even in the age of Facebook and Instagram, the comment section is rarely used to share the complete story of a photograph and it almost never involves an exchange of ideas between viewer and photographer.

Indian River Inlet Bridge from Conquest Beach

So my aim here is to showcase one of my photographs every month (or so) and tell you all about it.

  Most of you were introduced to my images by Facebook. And many of you took a look at my website where I try to showcase my finest photographs. And I really hope you've enjoyed them.

  What you might not know is that I also post photographs on Twitter and Instagram each day. And I never duplicate! I share different photographs on each social network so you'll get a unique viewing experience on each one. 

  Twitter and Facebook get high quality photographs, usually captured with my Canon DSLR, that might not make it to the website but that I'm still proud to share. And Instagram gets my more whimsical and personal images, often shot with my iPhone.

I can collect all my photographs and stories in one place. And then share them with you.

  I realize that not everyone has a Twitter account. Judging by the number of followers I have on Twitter, no one does! And despite Instagram's popularity, there are many of you who will never see my photographs there either.

  But all of you can subscribe to my blog and get a notification when I post a new photo story. And every story will feature a photograph you probably haven't seen before.

  And you'll get to find out more about the photograph like where I was, why I was there, what conditions were like, and why I chose to capture the image and process it the way I did.

Will you find this interesting?

  That's the big question for me, of course. I certainly hope you will but even if you aren't interested in the backstory, I do hope you'll enjoy seeing the photographs you're missing if you don't follow me on Instagram and Twitter (although I hope you do that too).

  And let's remember that we, photographer and viewer, can engage in conversation here.

  Like or dislike a photo or story? Tell me why. And let me know how to make this blog as good as it can be. Want more of something or a little less of something else? Or maybe have a question about photography? Leave me a note in the comments and I promise to answer.

  And a photography blog as good as this one over-delivers today with one more image, so I leave you with a photograph of some stunning flowers I encountered on a recent morning walk.

Tiger Lilies