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ZION NATIONAL PARK UTAH This image was made during the fall of 2015 in SW Utah. It was one of three parks that we visited on this tri...

Monday, December 19, 2011

NATURE'S ABSTRACT 2012






















Creosote Bush

This is a desert plant which is commonly found in the western United States and Mexico.


This particular shrub happens to be in my back yard, and that made it easy for me to capture this image.

There is a heavy fine snow falling, and this wipes out the background and enhances the bush. I have often used snow as a means of covering up obnoxious distractions and bringing out the beauty of an otherwise unattractive subject.






Saturday, November 12, 2011

TEAM OF WORK HORSES 1979

This team of work horses was spotted along a back-country road in the northern perimeter of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The weather was just perfect for my planned trip, and it was not only a bit foggy, but there was a fine snow sifting down from above. The weather conditions made it possible to drop the background down a bit and place the emphasis totally on the horses.

The fence post with its touch of wire and several weeds were included for good measure. This added another artistic touch which was purely a personal thing. Bottom line, it works, and that's what counts when it comes to creating a work of art. All of the elements should come together as one.

When I worked with black and white, I always used a twin lens medium format 120 roll film camera. The bright viewing screen was fairly large, and I was able to spot every speck of detail in the composition. That is one major advantage that medium or large format cameras had over the much smaller 35mm. You know exactly what you are looking at. And, hopefully, you will know exactly what you will end up with.

A few years ago, I donated my entire lab and all of my camera equipment to a nearby college. When you cross the line from about seventy on, it's time to reduce the weight of the equipment you pack on a field trip. i simply got to the point where it was no longer enjoyable to tote that forty-five pound camera pack and tripod around. It was not only that, but it was time to take off in a totally different direction, and digital was just starting to make a name for itself in the field of photography. This made my change in direction quite easy. I now carry a small camera pack along with my trusty old tripod, and the combined weight comes out well under twenty pounds. Now, I am having fun again.

This blog contains black and white images from years gone by, and there is also a healthy mix of my new digital images. I sure do miss that large view finder. This tiny little opening, which I now have to sight and focus through, can drive an older person nuts. However, the joy of being able to make good photographs outweighs the irritation of the peep hole.

This is not the first time I have used a 35mm camera. Far from it. In working for a university back east and for many of my commercial assignments, the 35mm was a primary choice. Often, I would use more than one format for a single job, and that included a four by five view camera. Still, over he years, the 2 1/4 was my overall choice for my fine art photography.

I am having fun with this blog. It is yet another major innovation which popped up along the road to new adventure. It enables me to share my work with others, and I hope you enjoy viewing this collection as much as I enjoyed creating it.

To enlarge these images, simply left click on the above illustration and you will be surprised at what pops up.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

COAST OF MAINE 1986








To view an enlarged illustation of the above photograph, left click on image.

Friday, October 28, 2011

LOBSTER SHED NOVA SCOTIA 1988









To enjoy a larger view, left click on above image.











Monday, October 24, 2011

TOM LUCAS DUBOIS, WY 2011


If you ever happen to pass through central Wyoming heading west toward the Wind River Range, stop by the Silver Sage Gallery in Dubois and say howdy to Tom Lucas. He and his partner own and operate this neat western gallery.

When we made our Wyoming trip back in mid September, I made it a point to stop by, and there sat Tom working on another new western painting. Tom is a realist, and his paintings are just astounding; displaying exquisite detail. I will have to admit, this is the first time I have ever seen an artist working with their favorite pal tucked under their arm, but Tom made it look easy.

Our paths crossed early on when we lived in Wyoming, and what immediately drew me to Tom was his skill in flintknapping. He is a real pro when it comes to making stone arrow heads and other primitive implements. But his greatest accomplishment, in my opinion, are his horn bows. I first saw him on Wyoming Public Television, and he went through the entire process of making and shooting an original horn bow. Now, folks, that takes real skill and countless hours of patience. The horn for his bows comes from the Big Horn Sheep which live in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming.

Making wood bows and arrows was also one of my favorite pass times over the decades, and I still do a bit of leather work in my spare time. Small stuff compared to the days when I was making quivers and arm guards from steer hides.


Visit Tom's web site at: http://www.silversagegallery.com/

Left click on the illustration above to view a large image of Tom.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

COLORADO BARN AND THE CHANGING OF THE LEAVES 2011


The Uncompahgre Valley, in and around Montrose, Colorado, is now in full color.

This neat little shed, west of town, is on it's last legs, so I decided to stop alongside the road and save it for posterity. It can now be enjoyed by others who have access to the Internet. The change of color, the fencing, and the shed itself reminds me a lot of those many landscapes I captured several decades ago back in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and well into the highlands of NW Virginia.

To view a larger image, left click on the photograph above.



Sunday, October 16, 2011

THE LAST DAY OF FALL COLOR FOR 2011


This image is a fine example of why it helps to live in an area for a year or so prior to making a major photographic documentary. It gives you a chance to scope out the area. I first spotted this location overlooking the Uncompahgre River and San Juan Range two years ago, and last year about this same time, I thought I had it nailed to the wall, but the color just had not quite reached the point where the image could equal this one which I made two days ago.

It was one of those landscapes which was waiting for me several miles south of town, and that gave me a chance to observe the various color changes over a period of time. I arrived at the site about ten in the morning and here is the end result. All of the elements came together as I had previsualized them.

Many of the images which I posted on this blog were made under similar circumstances, and there are quite a number of landscapes which required me to wait for several years before the lighting and subject matter were as close to perfect as I could ask for.

My trusty fifty-year-old tripod, which has been through many a great adventure over the decades, made it possible to capture this image as planned. And yes, I used a polarizing filter which helped to hold the sky and a few soft clouds together in the background.










Left click on image for larger view.










Thursday, October 13, 2011

CRABTREE FALLS VA Circa 1979


This was one of my most memorable hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and the best time of the year to take this jaunt, in my opinion, would be in the spring. Head up during the morning hours when the temperature is still comfortable and count on about a four-hour round-trip hike. The trail begins just off route 56 east of Montebello where the highway parallels the Tye River.

You have a 1,380 elevation gain with numerous cascades ranging from small to large. The foot trail is the most common means of reaching the top, but for photography purposes, I always elected to take the direct route by following the stream to the top. The upper falls is quite dangerous, so do not step out into the stream at that point, because people have been killed by taking a bad step on to the slippery rocks.

Things have likely changed since I made my last trip thirty years ago, but for all I know, there is probably a chair lift to to the top. Hopefully, this pristine area of the Blue Ridge has not been altered over the years.

I led a troop of Boy Scouts up to the upper level back during the late sixties, when things were a bit more rustic. All I can remember is that we got a late start and ended up making the climb in total darkness. We camped in a lovely meadow above the falls, and I am sure there are many grown men who still remember that weekend adventure.





There were quite a few flashlights that ended up glowing dim on that trip.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

JACK JEFFERS, WYOMING ADVENTURE Sept 2011




Things have been so hectic around these parts that I have never gotten around to posting anything from our recent Wyoming trip. So, what we need right now is a good cowboy photograph, and this one should do the trick.



Pat goes to Dubois every September to attend the SKB ( Susan K. Black Foundation) fine art workshop, and I go along for the ride. Actually, my primary objective is to make new images because Dubois is right in the heart of some of the most beautiful and wildest country you have ever stepped into. A number of my Wyoming images are posted on this blog, but you may have to dig way back to view the lot.

TWO NEW BOOKS ON CD



I published a CD book earlier in the year titled MY WYOMING OUTBACK, and I never did get around to plugging in any of my new cowboy images. To answer the WHY question--I did not have any. This most recent trip took care of that situation, and I quickly updated that publication, and it now includes several cowboy and cowboy-related images. The total number of pages is 151, with almost as many photographs and short essays. By any count, this is a good size book.





It will only cost you thirty bucks to find out how good this documentary really is, ( shipping is included) and the images are equal to any table-top book you might have. It does help to have a flat, high-resolution screen to view this work, but CD books are becoming more and more common these days.



You can get in touch with me by using: jack@jeffersfineart.com



Book number two was completed in 2010, and it covers nearly sixty years as an artist. It is titled: FROM THE BLUE RIDGE TO THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY AND BEYOND. That's a long title, but it also has a long list of subject matter, including the last of the mountain people. The price is still thirty bucks (shipping included). Ya can't beat that these days for a high-quality book. It's about the same size as the Wyoming Outback. A lot of vintage images are included in this volumn.




That is my commentary for the day.

FALL ARRIVES IN THE SAN JUAN RANGE CO 2011





At first, it appeared that fall was running a bit late. Then, suddenly, the color appeared almost overnight, and we had fresh snow on on the mountains. I made this image from a high point along Dallas Divide as the weather front was rolling over the San Juan's. The day before, I worked the Uncompahgre Plateau. It too, was in full color with a mix of storm clouds and sunshine. Two productive days are now behind me.

The color along the western front comes in stages, depending on the altitude. The image posted here was made at about the nine thousand foot level, and the aspen and lower ground cover were at their peak. My next project will include the cottonwoods which should be turning in another week or so. Here in the valley around Montrose, you have a third opportunity to capture brilliant colors, but more into mid October. The altitude here is about 5,700 feet.

There was fresh snow on the San Juan's yesterday, and as this frontal system moves through, there will be more. Perhaps the hot weather is finally behind us. It is time to drain the water and seal up the swamp cooler for another season.


To view a larger image, left click on the above.









Tuesday, September 6, 2011

DESERT SCAPE WYOMING 2002







We had quite a surprising experience during this field trip which took place in central Wyoming near Twin Creek. We had two dogs at the time-- Trooper and Sarah, and they both loved to accompany me on my field trips into the desert and mountains.



I had been photographing this rock formation when Sarah (an Australian Healer) became aware of something a short distance away. I did not realize it at the time, but we were heading in the direction of a deer carcass which had been left behind by hunters.



Suddenly, there was a major commotion and Sarah and Trooper were both in hot pursuit of what turned out to be a mountain lion which had been feeding on the remains of the deer. Needless to say, it took me totally by surprise. Now for the big shocker! That lion headed straight for the rock formation to our left, and with Sarah and Trooper in hot pursuit, it quickly climbed the side of that cliff and disappeared over the top.





There were two frustrated dogs left standing with their tongues hanging out, and one guy who was left holding a camera while in total awe at what had just taken place. This was my first of two lion experiences following our move from Virginia to Lander, Wyoming.



A year or so following this experience, my wife and I had witnessed a chase by a lion while sitting in our canoe in the middle of Frye lake during a camping trip into the Wind River high country.



It was a quiet morning and we heard a disturbance in the distance. A large doe was crying out as she was being chased by a mountain lion. We watched part of the chase as the deer and lion disappeared over the top of a nearby hill. Then, much to our surprise, a large buck came up from the rear in hot pursuit of the doe and lion.



I had more than one person tell me that they had lived in Wyoming all their lives and had never seen a lion; let alone have an experience such as we witnessed. And yep, this is how it happened, and I thought it would make a good story. This desert scape just brought back a couple of memorable experiences.




To view a larger image, left click on the photograph above.




Keep going! This blog just left me with a whole mess of empty white space.












































Monday, September 5, 2011

JACK JEFFERS; WASHINGTON POST 1973



Good publicity can become the key to a successful fine art career. But major feature stories do not materialize out of thin air. You must work for them.



I was well into my documentary of the Appalachians, and I had just broken down a major attitude barrier in 1972 that had prevented fine art photographers from entering multi-media art shows when people starting asking me when I was going to publish a book of my photographs.


Heck, the thought of producing a book at this point in my life was a bit overwhelming, but the public persisted in asking that question at every art show and exhibition I entered. My images and stories of the mountain people and old farm scenes continued to draw attention . People would constantly ask me how I managed to capture this or that landscape, or the image of a rustic old mountain man.



In 1973 it happened, and quite by chance. I sent a portfolio to the Washington Post, and I targeted the editor of Panorama with a potential story about my work This was the Sunday section that dealt with special area features.


Prior to this story in the Post, I had actually been working on a book, and I was disgusted to learn that publishers were not interested in this type of "regional" subject matter. While publishers were telling me one thing, the public was saying that they wanted a book. I could detect that I stood a good chance of selling a book if I marketed it myself. As it turned out, this became the story of my life. "Do it myself."


Because I had some experience with publishing, design and layout, I had put together a book titled, Windows to the Blue Ridge. And I had taken my material to a local printer to publish four thousand copies. This project literally took every cent I had and then some, but it was just coming off the press when I sent my story to the Post.


I was living in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia at the time, and we had a small rural Post Office that serviced the community. I can remember-- it was about the middle of the week when I received a call from our local postal lady, and she asked me if they could make a special delivery right away because they had quite a bit of mail for me. This was somewhat puzzling because I was not expecting anything, but I had not yet seen the previous Sunday edition of the Washington Post.


Bottom line, Hal Willard, had devoted three pages in the Sunday Panorama to my art and my new book. I had told him that I had just finished the publication, and he had worked it into the story, including the price and where to order. This was like winning the local lottery on a grand scale.


I spent the next two weeks stuffing book bags and darn near sold out of the four thousand copies. I immediately put in an order for a second printing of five thousand additional copies with some major upgrades in the paper and binding. In looking back, I figured I sold nearly all of the nine thousand books in less than a year.


At this time, I was working full time for General Electric as an advertising and sales promotion specialist. A short time later, I decided to go it alone as a full-time artist and commercial illustrator, and that lasted for almost nine years before the economy took a turn for the worse. I then joined the public information staff at Radford University. Another new book was in progress and it was titled APPALACHIAN BYWAYS. I had five thousand of those printed, and this time I went with a higher quality stock with full duotone illustrations.


I followed the exact same plan with APPALACHIAN BYWAYS as I did with WINDOWS, and it paid for itself within a month. I still have a few copies of that book, which was printed in 1984, sitting on a shelf, and I proudly tell people that I never paid one thin dime for advertising. Those books kept selling until I took early retirement and moved west.


In 2001, a similar size feature to that which was published by the Washington Post appeared in the Denver Post, and it dominated the Arts & Entertainment Section. The spin off from that was slim because the feature came out just a week prior to 911 and that turned the public heads in another more serious direction. The whole art scene has been a bit shaky ever since. In fact, as I write this, it would appear that the economy is no better off today than it was following the first depression which FDR had to cope with. My father talked about it for the rest his life, and often spoke of how terrible it had been.


Publicity can still be the key to success when it comes to marketing fine art; or anything else for that matter.


Left click on the image above for a larger display.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

EWE & TWO LAMBS 1972


I can still remember making this image as if it were yesterday. It took place in Highland County, Virginia during the winter of 1972.

I was visiting friends near Monterey, and this area was better known as "Virginia's Little Switzerland." I was packing my gear up to head back over the mountain to the Shenandoah Valley when I spotted the ewe standing in the doorway to the old barn. I can still remember trying to decide whether to run for my camera pack or not, because it was already packed in the vehicle, but I did and the ewe stood fast as I set up my tripod and attached my 2 1/4 roll film camera.

By now a lamb had stepped forward, and I made several exposures before lamb number two stepped to the front of the opening. Several more exposures were made, but the one I liked the best was this one of all three sheep looking in the same direction. There were a couple of "decisive moments" during this session in the Allegheny foothills of northwestern Virginia.

This was one of the most popular editions that I had ever made. Thirty-eight originals were made from this negative. All were numbered and dated. It's a funny thing, every so often, I'll receive a note from someone who has tracked me down on the Internet to ask a specific question about one of my originals they inherited from their parents. That question really strikes home because it reminds me of how long I have been involved with my art.

Questiion number one is usually followed by a second, "How much is it worth?" That question used to bother me because I don't really know. But here is an answer that a rather well-known painter uses.

A product is always worth only what someone is willing to pay for it. Thirty years ago, you could have purchased a great Super Bowl seat for face value on the forty-five yard line about ten rows up for $35.00. That same ticket this year could have been sold for at least five thousand dollars..

I could not give you a more honest answer to your question. And, it has been several years since this quote was made so the price of that seat has likely gone up another notch or two.

To view a larger image, left click on the above illustration.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

KEEP IT SIMPLE! 1982










JACK JEFFERS Aspen Grove. Silver & Oil, Wyoming 1999


Hand-colouring a photograph is nothing new. This process dates back to the early days of photography, and it reached its height between the turn of the last century to about nineteen forty. Those five decades have been referred to as the "golden years of hand-colouring." When color film and printing papers were developed, the use of oils and other pigmented processes became history. However, there are always a few of us out here who manage to keep these old classic processes alive.





Tuesday, August 16, 2011

JACK JEFFERS: BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 2011


Before moving from Virginia to Wyoming's Wind River country in 1997, and his final move to Colorado in 2008, Jack Jeffers spent almost forty years documenting the vanishing people and landscapes of the Appalachians. His is a poetic and classic view of rural America, and he portrays the land in a traditional and representational genre. Each of Jeffers museum-quality images is a projection of his artistry and vision of the world.

In 1972, Jeffers elected to represent himself and market his work through art shows and multi-media galleries. Plus, many of his sales were made through direct contacts with corporate art buyers and private collectors. That is how it has been all these years. Hundreds of his silver images have been acquired by museums and private collectors over the decades.

As Jack reflects back over the years, there is one accomplishment that stands out above the rest; a goal became a cause, and he has the satisfaction of knowing that by pitting his art against other media, he raised the level of public acceptance of fine art photography. In a feature published by the Richmond-Times Dispatch in 1972, it was stated that Jack was the first fine art photographer to take a best in show at a juried all-media art show. This was a major breakthrough for photography, and it opened the doors for other fine art photographers who had been denied the right to be juried into multi-media art shows.

After moving west in 1997, Jeffers broadened his artistic skills, combining transparent oils with some of his silver images. The finished works of art are both a photograph and a painting. The western landscape, with its varied textures and hues, is naturally suited for this mixed-media technique. Jack worked in subtle, layered tones that are quite different from the options available in color photography. The images are Jack's from conception, to the camera and darkroom, and finally to the brush. Because the oil pigments he used will also endure indefinitely, his mixed media works, like his silver sulfide originals, will remain for the enjoyment of future generations.

The spring of 2005 represented a major turning point in Jack's life. He printed his last silver-sulfide image. It was a change that had been in the making for a number of years, but became a reality when he used the final sheet of his favorite printing paper. Classic papers such as those were no longer being made, and those that he used had been preserved in a freezer for nearly twenty-five years.

Over the decades, Jack carefully put aside close to a thousand of his rare vintage and more recent images, and in the spring of 2011, the bulk of his collection of Appalachian images was donated to Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. By keeping the core of the collection intact, future generations of art lovers will be able to enjoy the full scope of Jeffers accomplishments.

Prior to leaving Virginia, Jack had donated a sizable collection of Appalachian images to Radford University and the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond. In fact, an exhibition of Jack's work is scheduled for Feburary 2012 at the Historical Society Museum.

Jack has had numerous articles published over the years with short essays and photographs illustrating his years as an active artist who documented the last of the mountain people. Feature stories have appeared in such papers as the Denver Post, the Washington Post, and the Atlanta Constitution. Two new CD books have recently been completed: "MY WYOMING OUTBACK and FROM THE BLUE RIDGE TO THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY AND BEYOND. One last book remains, and that will be a photographic documentary about the western range of Colorado.

Far from being a sad moment for Jack, he has headed off in another direction using the latest in digital technology. At age 79, Jeffers has no regrets about hanging up his heavy film camera pack and taking off on a new and exciting adventure. He now thinks Pixels rather than Silver Particles. But his view of the world around him has not changed. He is still inspired by the gentle, the noble and dignified, and the beautiful unfolding of life as he sees it.


Friday, July 22, 2011

FIELD TRIP TO THE CIMARRONS July 20, 2011



To view a larger image, left click on the above photograph.

This past Wednesday, I joined the local art group (ARTFUL FRIENDS) and we headed to the Cimarron Mountains west of Montrose. It was one of my favorite high-country locations and many of the images you will view on this blog were made in this general area.

This lush aspen grove caught my attention about noon. The lighting was just perfect and the mix of aspen trees, flowers and greenery transformed this scene into what could be an eye-catching wall-size mural. To capture the depth of field I envisioned, I used my trusty tripod and stopped down to about f18 with a lens setting of about 28mm.

It was a fine productive day, and that's what art is all about.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

CARTER 1980


This image was totally impromptu. I spotted Carter sitting on his front porch during a day trip along the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I took the direct approach and walked right up to his place and asked if he would permit me to make a photograph of him. He must have thought I was nuts, but he allowed me to make several exposures, all of which were equally as nice as the one shown above. It has been one of my favorites over the years. And yes, this time I had him sign a release just to be on the safe side.

Many of my earlier photographs of the mountain people were made by word of mouth. Their verbal permission was good. If they said yes, they meant it. If they said NO, they also meant it. I once asked a mountain man if he would sign a release and he looked at me and said NO. I later discovered that he could not read or write. His word was as good as his "mark." The worst thing I could have done was embarrass a mountain man.

This image of Carter was one of several that were published last year in a special portfolio issue of BLACK AND WHITE MAGAZINE.

In 1982 this same image appeared in a ten-page feature story in Eastman Kodak's STUDIO LIGHT magazine, and that included a front and back cover wrap-around. All of the images which appeared in this story were purchased by Eastman Kodak. The title of the feature was: The Fine Art of Fine Art Photography.


Also included in this same issue were two well-written features about photographers James Van Der Zee and Gordon Parks.




To view a larger image, left click on the study above.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

OLD TRUCK & BARN 1984

Relics of the Past


At this point in my life, my Appalachian Portfolio was winding down, and this was one of the last old farm scenes to be captured along the Blue Ridge. It was made near Montebello, Virginia during January, of 1984.


It was snowing lightly and that was when I most enjoyed getting out with my camera pack. The snow covered a lot of unwanted distractions and brought out the detail of the barn and old truck. It was a few months later when I made the move to Radford, VA and joined Radford University for a nine year stint before taking early retirement and heading west.


The last of my Appalachian images were made while living in Radford, and I concentrated on the extreme southwestern areas of the state. In 1997, we moved from Virginia to Wyoming and after building a formidable size Western Collection from film, the shift was to digital. I am now working totally in digital and bottom line, I am having fun in Colorado.


Don't stop here! There are nearly two hundred more assorted images in this book (blog).




To view a larger view of this scene, left click on the above image.







HOW MANY OF YOU REMEMBER THIS?



I can vividly remember purchasing gas for seventeen cents a gallon. The tank shown above is listing it for twenty one cents per gallon.

This old gas station was located in the central part of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and I ran across it during the early nineteen seventies. And I actually purchased gas for seventeen cents per gallon during the mid 1950's during a gas war in Danville, Virginia.

I also filled the tank of my old 1939 Ford for about the same price when i was attending what is now Old Dominion University in Norfolk Virginia a year or two earlier. I could fill the tank of that old Ford for what you pay for one gallon of fuel today and still have some change left over.

It's funny how you remember little things like this.








jj

Monday, July 4, 2011

EFFIE THE MOUNTAIN WOMAN 1972


FROM JACK JEFFERS PORTFOLIO OF THE MOUNTAIN PEOPLE

My encounter with Effie came about quite by chance. A local Mennonite minister in the Shenandoah Valley told me about her and offered to take me up to her place for a brief visit.

She lived alone in a small mountain cabin a lalf-mile or so up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I did not know it at the time, but she was nearly blind, and had to use a stick to get around. Still, she was a tough old lady who spoke her piece.

As we approached her house, I could see her sitting on her front porch rocking away in an old chair. My gut instinct told me this would be one of the images I wanted, so I started unpacking my tripod and camera as I hiked down the trail, which was not easy. I was maybe five paces from her cabin when I stopped and jammed the tripod into the ground, and made several rapid exposures with my 2 1/4 twin-lens roll- film camera.

After my introduction, I made a second image. This time I was able to move in a bit closer and capture the true character of her face. I was right; that was my photography session for the day. When I told her that I had made the first image from a distance, she just laughed and kidded me about why anyone would want to have a picture of an old woman. I told her that her face had lots of character. And I was dead serious. She was a lovely old lady.

One evening, several years following this visit, I was sitting around a campfire enjoying good tales and fellowship with a group of local Mennonite friends who lived in that same general area. Suddenly, there was a lot of commotion in the distance, and several of those in the group took off in a pickup truck to see what was going on up the road. I knew nothing at the time except that it involved Effie.

About an hour later, the group returned with everyone laughing and kidding each other about what had transpired up at Effie's place. Apparently, a neighbor had heard her yelling in the distance and sent for help. Knowing her condition, everyone expected the worst.

What had happened was that some of her chickens and a small pig had gotten loose. Despite her near blindness and the advancing darkness, she took off down through the woods and brush after them. I'm not sure how, but she managed to get hung up real good in a wire fence that was supposed to keep the livestock in. My friends said she was completely stuck and was madder than a wet hen. Fortunately, the only thing that hurt was her dignity.

It wasn't too long after this incident when the wood stove in her cabin backfired during the night and when the neighbors checked on her the next day, she was gone. They think she died of smoke inhalation during her sleep. There was no damage to the house.

Left click on image to view a larger photograph

Sunday, July 3, 2011

JACK JEFFERS AND HIS DOG JAKE EXPLORING THE RIM OF RED CANYON WY 2007

This is one of the last field trips we took before making the move from Wyoming to Colorado. Jake was in his prime at this point and the documentary I made of Red Canyon is one of my favorites.

There are now 181 images posted on my blog and most of them have short essays and little tidbits of helpful information for those who are still striving to improve their concepts and images. Take your time and view the entire blog. It is the size of a large table-top book, and I simply enjoy sharing my work, and tales with others. Many of these images are being marketed by a stock art firm which has been handling my work for the better part of thirty-five years.



There is no specific order to the images, so be prepared to view art that ranges from Wyoming and Colorado to the eastern Appalachians and beyond.




To view a larger image, simply left click on the image above and when you are finished, click on the back button, upper left. And enjoy images that date back as far as the 1940's.













BOYSEN LAKE, CENTRAL WYOMING 2007

Normally, I am not into sunsets and sunrises, but every so often, when something like this stares me in the face, it is difficult to resist the temptation. What makes this are the lines and patterns. The touch or orange/red simply adds that little extra touch that caps the whole scene. You don't generally have much time to work a landscape like this because the light is changing so fact.

The trick is to be ready to take advantage of the "decisive moment."

You will see several more sunsets which are scattered through this book. They are all quite different.

SPRING IN THE SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS


This image was made along the western slope of the San Juan Range in Colorado. It was during the third week in June, and the altitude is about 8,500 feet. If you are living in the northeast or in eastern Canada, you might mistake these lovely trees for birch. Nope, they are aspens and the leaves are quite different. In a slight breeze the small heart-shaped leaves appear to quake and that is the reason these trees have become known as the quaking aspens or Quakers.



Wednesday, June 29, 2011

JAKE THE DOG 2006 - 2011



We are dog lovers and I make no bones about it. And I probably prefer dogs to most people.

Jake has been one of the best, and he adopted us when he was eight weeks old back in central Wyoming. He moved in with us just in time to take Sarah's place before she died. She was one mighty fine Australian Healer, and she was more my dog than my wife Pat's. Jake was a mix of Border Collie and Healer. Great combination--smart and loving; and he knew how to have fun.

Jake adored us both, and he accompanied me on every photography field trip I made, and that included many outings in Wyoming. Last week we made our last trip into the San Juan Mountains together. For whatever reason, he developed a terrible phobia toward wind and we have had a lot of it since February. It finally did him in. But his fear started a couple of years ago and grew worse as time progressed.

We bid him farewell last Monday as the local vet put him to sleep. We could not deal with his suffering any longer. The experience of being with him as he went to sleep was an experience which I never-ever want to go through again.

This past week has been a dreadful one for me personally, but an old artist friend--a dog and mule lover in northern Idaho-- told me to march right down to the nearest animal shelter and find another dog. "No one can live without a dog", she said.

The advice was taken to heart, and I did, indeed, visit the local shelter, but I almost changed my mind as I drove up to the entrance. I didn't have to introduce myself to the dogs. They took care of that; particularly the two lovely coon hounds that were waiting for an owner. You could have heard their welcome atop our hill north of town. There is no cry like that of a coon hound.

There was one smallish black dog that remained silent, and I almost passed her by. When I glanced down at her and our eyes met, I almost did a melt-down on the spot because they were exactly like Jake's. She was about his size and when Pat returned with me a bit later, she had exactly the same reaction. "It was those eyes," she said.

This morning we will be going into town to pick up Sammie. For me she will be Sam. I guess that's a guy thing, but Sammie won't know the difference. The sound of either name will be about the same.

This is one of my favorite photographs of Jake, and it was made in September 2007, prior to the move to Colorado. It was quickly voted in by a stock agency which I have been working with for nearly forty years. Jake's memory will continue to live on for years to come.

We made our trip into town and Sam is now at home exploring the house and surroundings. She is a real charmer and fits in perfectly with our life style. There will be no problems with this family member. It seems that she was cast just for us.

Oh yes, Ringo the cat! Ringo grew up with Jake and they became close pals from day one. They learned to play and wrestle early on and for us, they became a joy to watch during those chilly winter days as Jake was gaining size and experience.

Ringo was in the house when we brought Sam home, and I am sure he was watching intently as we led Sam up the steps into the kitchen. I honestly believe that he thought Jake had returned because when we entered the house Ringo went right up to Sam and they touched noses. Only then did Ringo back off a little and watched Sam explore the house while he observed the scene from under the dining room table. They have hit it off just fine. Mission accomplished.

It is hard to imagine what all has taken place in such a short period of time, but sometimes it just seems that certain things are destined to happen. And this is one of those special happenings. We now have one happy family with many more fun adventures awaiting us down the trail.

There is nothing like having a charming dog and a cat around to keep watch over us humans.

Will Sam live up to Jake in terms of being a model? Just stick around, and before the summer is over, I would bet good money that more than one nice photograph will show up on my blog. And the agency will have another nice image of our newest family member. I have yet to have or see a dog that didn't look forward to a great day trip into the wilderness. In a week, we will be heading off for another week of camping at the foot of the San Juan's.
jj

Friday, June 17, 2011

SHENANDOAN VALLEY WINDMILL THROUGH A WINDOW 1972




The artist had a bit of darkroom fun with this original. The image shown here is a digital copy of the original silver print. You will note the signature, date and edition number along the bottom edge of the original, left.










Left click on the image for a larger view.

TWO AMISH BOYS 1972



I stumbled across these two boys at an Amish/Mennonite Relief Sale in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. I rounded a corner of a wagon loaded with hay bales and there they were.

I was hand-holding my 2 1/4 format camera which was mounted on a pistol grip. I don't think they were ever aware of me as I quickly raised my camera and made this exposure on the fly.

This was a fine example of what is often referred to as the "decisive moment." It was not posed and that is what makes it so memorable.

ABSTRACT--BROKEN CUP 1969

It's time to return to the late nineteen sixties and black and white film.

This was the year that I started my long documentary of the Appalachians and the Mountain People. In fact, this is the very spot where it began--on the front porch of a deserted mountain cabin somewhere along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.

I don't recall moving one single piece of this still life. Everything was perfect; at least in my opinion, and I toned the original silver print with an old proven bleach/redevelop process.

There was quite a fuss among fine art photographers in those early days about whether to number or not number your originals. I stuck firmly to the traditions of printmaking and started to number my editions from day one, and I made them short. No open-ended editions by this artist.

I also signed and dated my originals on the print; not the mat. I still see a few photographers who sign on the mat, for whatever reason. Don't people realize that if the mat is damaged by humidity or some unexpected accident, you cannot go back and correct it? That is, assuming that you or a gallery sold your original to someone you don't know.

And remember, the word PRINT refers to an original. Many painters still refer to reproductions as "Prints" and this is misleading and downright dishonest. What really sticks in my craw is when gallery owners refer to reproductions as prints. I see it right here in River City. Big as bush! I can remember a buyer suing a painter back east for misrepresenting her work. The purchaser won.

For additional information about prints and reproductions, click on: http://www.collectorsguide.com/fa/fa082.shtml

If you would like to view a larger image of this image, left click on the image above.










Thursday, June 16, 2011

CIMARRON RIDGE COLORADO







Normally, at this time of year, you wouldn't have enough snow on this ridge to enhance the sharp lines of the mountain. But this has been an unusual spring. The snow pack has increased to near-record depths and the winds have blown for three months straight with little or no letup. As I post this image, the wind gusts are rattling the roof again, and we are approaching the forty to fifty mile per hour level. It is quite evident that climate change is the norm rather than the exception.

I just received a note from an acquaintance who lives on the eastern side of Colorado, and he informed me that he has lived in that area of the state for thirty years and this is the most relentless wind he has experienced during those three decades. I was fortunate when I made these images. I only had to deal with a moderate breeze.

To view a larger image of the above, left click on your mouse.

SPRING GREEN ALONG THE CIMARRON RIDGE


The purpose of this day trip was to capture a variety of scenic landscapes along the Cimarron Ridge in SW Colorado. The first image was posted yesterday shortly after returning from the high country.

I was specifically looking for what I refer to as "spring green." This is a lovely light transparent green that appears shortly after the new leaves start to fill out. This image is one of the best that I could capture along the route, and the dandelions added a touch of yellow to the surrounding shades of green. Normally we curse these flowers that show up in our yards, but in the wild they can be beautiful. The altitude here in the high meadow was about 8,500 feet and the foliage was lush.

The palette was spread out before me, and I was quick to take advantage of what Mother Nature had to offer.

To view a larger image, left click your mouse.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

TRAIL TO THE CIMARRON RIDGE

I just love those back roads that head off into the wilderness. This one was of particular interest because I taken it once before and found all manner of fine images waiting to be captured.

This road started off at about eight thousand feet and it headed straight toward the Cimarron Ridge in the distance. The trail does not look all that inviting when you first swing into it at the summit of a nearby pass, and to make matters even more interesting, there was a sign that read something like this. "This private road is maintained by local land owners. There is no guarantee that it will be open." That did not surprise me because I had traveled this road once before and swore, "Never Again." Today, it was in better shape.

We have a clay in this part of the country that is guaranteed to put a quick stop to your travels when the road is wet or even damp, and I first went through it shortly after the spring thaw. There was one spot which was totally destroyed by a landslide, but there was a set of tire tracks on top of the repaired section, so I carefully drove through it, but you dare not get too close to the shoulder because there was about a hundred foot drop on the driver's side awaiting the careless driver. Once you got past this obstacle, it was clear sailing. I made it through a second time with no problems.

Once you topped the ridge, the artist with a camera or a brush is well rewarded by this magnificent view of the high country and the Cimarron Ridge beyond. Many of the high-country meadows were literally covered with bright yellow flowers which were in their full glory.

To view a larger image, left click on the image above.











Monday, June 13, 2011

SPRING BLOOMER, Cactus, West Slope Colorado

You don't have to go very far in this part of the country to find a prickly pear cactus, and because the wind was still blowing hard along the western slope, I decided to give myself an assignment which I used to give to students back east.

We have about two and a half acres which overlook the town of Montrose and the San Juans in the background, and most all of that land is arid desert. My self-imposed assignment this morning was to step out back and return with a presentable image of a flower. Actually, I did a little better than that, and I ended up with a nice clump with several flowers. I could have gone in much tighter, but the reds were so brilliant today that I elected to feature several in one frame along with the leaves and stickers.

You must watch your step up here along the bluff because if you don't have on a tough pair of hiking boots, you might end up with more than one thorn through the bottom of your boot. And many of the plants up here have thorns like fish hooks and the barbs do not come out easily. The pesky tumble weed is one of the worst, because it has small stickers all over it, and they thrive on this hill. They might have great visual appeal when viewed in western movies, but in reality, they are nasty plants that can get into everything.

I was driving back from New Mexico one windy day and just south of Denver on busy I-25, I spotted a large tumble weed heading across the desert toward me, and I was in heavy traffic and unable to slow down. I figured I would just run over the darn thing if it had me in it's sights, and that would be the end of the matter. Nope, that thing was every bit of three feet in diameter and it hit the front of my truck and was instantly dragged under the vehicle. I dragged it all the way through Denver and well on the way north toward Fort Collins before I found a good rest stop to pull off and pull the remains of it out. I could hear it dragging all the way up the Interstate. No damage to the truck, but it might have pulled something apart under a small car. They are a lot tougher than most people might think.

To view a larger image, left click on the above.







Tuesday, June 7, 2011

SPRING HAS ARRIVED IN COLORADO

June 2011

I made this image last week while camping out near Ridgway, Colorado. The snow pack was heavy and the Cottonwoods were showing their spring green. Today, the weather has changed from spring to summer as temperatures are rapidly rising toward the nineties. Life is good here in Colorado with exquisite scenery spread out in all directions. You have the San Juan Range showing behind this weather vane to the south, plus an equally spectacular view of the Cimarron Range to my left.

Twenty miles to the north as the crow flies; you'll discover the Black Canyon of the Gunnison with more canyons to the west. This blog contains all of this and much much more. So enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer.

I used a tripod and a polarizing filter when making this image. That is pretty much a standard for me.

Enjoy a few of the thousands of images which I have made during the past sixty-five years. They are definitely not restricted to the state of Colorado.


Oh yes, if you would like to see a large image of the one shown above, left click on it with your mouse. The same applies for the rest of my photographs.









Wednesday, May 18, 2011

FALL COLOR ALONG THE WESTERN SLOPE


Fall color arrives between the first and second week in October in the high country of southwest Colorado. It is the time to get out and drive the Forest Service roads into the San Juan and Cimarron Mountains. This image was made just south of Montrose with the San Juan Range towering in the background
Left click on the image above to see the larger version.

Monday, May 16, 2011

GUNNISON RIVER ENTERING BLACK CANYON, COLORADO



This image was made near Cimarron, CO, and shows the Gunnison River entering the Black Canyon. The near vertical walls of the canyon tower to heights exceeding two thousand feet above the river below.

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison was designated a National Park during the Clinton administration.

By highway, the Park is about fifteen miles east of Montrose. As the crow flies, it is more like four.




Saturday, May 14, 2011

FOOTHILLS OF THE APPALACHIANS


This is the general area where Jack's documentary of the Mountain People and a fast disappearing way of life in the Appalachians began in 1969



TO VIEW A LARGER IMAGE, LEFT CLICK ON THE PHOTOGRAPH




THUNDERHEAD OVER MT SNEFFELS 2011



AFTERNOON IN THE HIGH COUNTRY OF THE SAN JUAN'S


Mount Sneffels is located near Ridgway, Colorado, and this view might be obtained by taking a Forest Service road to about the nine thousand foot level.


From where we live, we can spot a number of fourteeners from our kitchen windows, and Mt. Sneffels is one of the more dominant peaks along the skyline.


This year the snow in the Colorado Rockies has been dramatic with a continual buildup of snow pack and little or no runoff because of cold weather and numerous storms coming across from the Pacific coast.


Rocky Mountain NP has been unable to open their Trail Ridge drive because of drifts exceeding twenty feet, and that means it will not be open during the Memorial Day weekend.


Even along the western slope, we are told that many of the forest service roads that I would normally take this time of year are still blocked by drifts at the higher altitudes.


The site where I made this exposure was open because it has been plowed numerous times to enable the home owners near the top of the ridge to come and go during the winter months.

Friday, May 13, 2011

MY FIRST CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPH circa 1947


The seeds for this collection of photographs took root during the late nineteen forties when I was growing up in a small rural farming community in south-central Virginia.

That was our screened-in porch in the background with the old concrete pump stand immediately to my left. And I still recognize the two dippers hanging on the post to the right of my head.

The pump was a cast iron long-handle job; ancient by today's stardards. But occasionally, I still see one in a Forest Service campground; many of which have not been updated since the fifties.

Detecting my keen interest in drawing and sketching, my mother handed over her old Brownie box camera (she and dad were both teachers). For whatever reason, she felt that I might be interested in photography. The camera was an early-teens relic by Eastman Kodak, and I jokingly referred to the lens as a leftover chip from a broken pop bottle. I took to it like red clay on a pickup truck. Eventually, I wore it out. I can still remember the day the leather-covered back fell off. I must have been about thirteen.

From this camera came a stream of 120-roll film negatives, which I used for making contact prints in the mid-forties. I worked on moonless nights in the back corner of an old wood shed with several wax-lined trays, assorted odds and ends, and a bit of primitive chemistry. The safe light was a single red bulb dangling from a high ceiling rafter.

This hands-on experience was my introduction to what would later become my fine art photography. The only remaining image from this era is the self-portrait that was made about 1947. Note the string that is being held behind my back with my left hand and runs across the foreground in front of my feet. From there it cut through a forked stick in the ground and connected to the shutter lever of the camera. The camera was mounted on an old wooden tripod. This was, perhaps, my first creative image.

My interest in photography later became a passion and it spread from the nearby Blue Ridge to the Allegheny Highlands; then north and south through the Shenandoah Valley and beyond. From these experiences came my images and tales about how I photographed the last of the mountain people and documented a way of life that was rapidly disappearing from the rural byways of the Appalachians.

In 1997 my wife and I moved west to satisfy a boyhood dream, and my camera was again focused on new landscapes from our first home in Wyoming and then from our final destination along the western slope of Colorado.

As you observe my images and read about some of my many experiences which took place over a period of more than sixty years, you will see how my childhood and early back-woods environment molded me into an artist, helping me to develop the themes of my life and to follow the trail established decades earlier.

My purpose in life has been my art. That is my legacy and gift to society and to future generations. If you are an ardent admirer of rural beauty and grass roots America at her finest, this is a documentary that will never grow old. Enjoy some of that beauty and dignity that still exists in this old world. Sit back, relax and reminisce.

Jack Jeffers

ASPEN GROVE SINKS CANYON WY



ASPEN GROVE IN SINKS CANYON NEAR LANDER, WYOMING ©1998

SILVER & OIL

Shortly after our move to Wyoming in 1997, I gravitated toward Mixed Media. I had practiced with oil paints back in Virginia, but I felt that the subject matter did not lend itself to transparent oils. However, the western landscape was a natural, and I made a series of hand-colored images. This was one of the first.

TO VIEW A LARGER IMAGE LEFT CLICK ON THE IMAGE. THIS APPLIES TO ALL IMAGES. THEN CLICK ON THE RETURN ARROW, UPPER LEFT CORNER OF MONITOR SCREEN.

PINE TREE ARCH UTAH 1999




PINE TREE ARCH ©1999

ARCHES NATIONAL PARK, UTAH


SILVER & OIL

SPLIT ROCK WYOMING 1998


SPLIT ROCK WYOMING ©1998
SILVER & OIL

This was one of my favorite rock studies because of the natural design and the boulder lead-in to the pinion pine in the background.

I revisited this spot last October (2010) and worked it over again with digital. The pine was reduced to a lot of broken pieces and the scene simply was not worth a second image.

A lightning strike may have put an end to the Pinion Pine. That happens frequently in this part of the country at the higher altitudes.

JACK JEFFERS; MONUMENT DRAW WY 1997 SILVER & OIL


MONUMENT DRAW
WYOMING OUTBACK ©1997
SILVER & OIL



We had not been in Wyoming very long before a local photographer offered to take me out to Monument Draw. He was what I would call a camera buff but very much interested in photography.


It's a good thing I went with him because it was definitely a four-wheel drive trip. The ride alone was worth the time, but when we got to the monuments I could hardly get my 2 1/4 out of the pack fast enough. The view of the Wind River Range in the background was stunning. But the erosional feature was the first of it's kind that I had ever seen.


The lighting was perfect and the sky was made for the scene. If you look closely, you will spot my guide in the background focusing his 4 x 5 in view camera. This silver image was the perfect candidate for oils. So, between the toning of the print and the layers of transparent oils, this trip turned out to be a winner. And that is what art is all about.


DESERT TRAIL WYOMING 2001


DESERT TRAIL ©2001
WYOMING OUTBACK ALONG BEAVER RIM.


This high 7,000 ft escarpment is located in central Wyoming, south of Riverton and is just one more fantastic area for an artist to explore.


This landscape has all the elements for a nice photograph and you have the trail as a lead-in for the eye. That is Dishpan Butte in the distance with a dark polarized sky in the background.


I also made a color image, but in my opinion, the toned silver image is far superior.

ARCHES NATIONAL PARK UTAH 2008




ARCHES NATIONAL PARK UTAH ©2008


This is a digital image that was converted from color to black and white. You cannot go wrong in this park if the lighting and sky are working for you, In this case, the polarized filter helped to darken the sky to the point where I had a well balanced image.



Moab is one of our favorite areas to visit.


To view a larger image, left click on the above photograph

COLUMBINE COLORADO STATE FLOWER 2010



COLUMBINE

COLORADO STATE FLOWER 2010


While I enjoy photographing flowers, I do not consider it to be my major forte when it comes to photography.


The major problem here in Colorado is the wind. If you have ever tried to capture a flower in a slight breeze you have likely experienced dispointment because you must often woek with a slow shudder speed in order to get the depth of fleld necessary. The columbine is found at high altitudes here in Colorado and there is often a movement of air.


I use an 18-200 mm lens because it gives me all the range I need, and I do not ever have to make a lens change. Dust on a digital sensor can cause major frustrations and the idea is to keep that sensor clean.


On this particular day, the breeze was intermittant, so I was able to capture this image rather easily, and I had a nice background that was dark enough to show detail while allowing the light flower to stand out on its own. The aspen tree immediately behind the flower was in just the right place.


With the zoom lens, I was able to set up my camera and tripod several paces back and frame the scene exactly the way I wanted it. After getting all the elements just the way I invisioned them, I used the ten second delay timer to do it's thing. I often use the timer because it will help reduce any slight vibration that might occur from having your finger on the release button.


Toward the end of this Blog, I show one more flower from back east. It is a bloodroot along the Blue Ridge Mountains and just off the Appalachian Trail. I had a group of photographers from the Camera Club of Richmond out on a field trip back in the early seventies and one of the demonstrations I gave was how to build a background for flowers without damaging the plant. You may enjoy the story behind that scene. I hate to see flowers that have been trampled on or otherwise damaged by careless hikers.