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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...

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.

Friday, June 17, 2011


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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


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.