Sunday, February 22, 2015

My Shoes

Rancho De Vacas
San Rafael Valley
Patagonia, AZ

A few years ago my father noticed a pair of Allen Edmond shoes that I was wearing. He went on to not only comment about them and how nice they were but he also guessed spot on how much the pair cost. Knowing well that my father probably had never owned a pair as expensive, I inquired how he knew their value. He looked at me and smiled and said: "I know good shoes."

We take many things for granted not the least each others' experiences. We assume a lot but actually know very little about the shoes others may have walked in. Today I wonder about all the assumptions made and judgements rendered and I wonder how much do I really know and how much perhaps I've missed. Put yourself in my shoes.




Monday, February 16, 2015

Perspective




Just have been thinking about the many times I've walked this same path; each time finding something different. Usually it's because I open my senses and allow myself to enjoy curious momentos. It may be a new sound I hear perhaps heralding spring or its a greying sky prognosticating the onset of inclement weather or it might be sunbathing turtles or blue herons fishing or a lone middle aged lady sitting on a park bench morning the loss of a pet dog and reminiscing of walks together around a pond or sounds of children laughing and squealing while being swung by young mothers. I choose to experience it all. I'm open to it all regardless of its source: information, comfort, and guidance. I'm awake. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Play

Pensive Heron
Keller, TX
“Men do not quit playing because they grow old; 
they grow old because they quit playing.” 
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr

It's seems that life and work have taken me over for now. For the past eight weeks, I've done pretty much nothing more than study and prepare for both my series 7 and now my series 66 exam.  Right after I finish, I head to Tempe, AZ for a week long training session. Then it will be on to pass my state insurance exam.

Photographer and Apprentice
If you get the picture, I have very little time for doing what I love best which is photography and writing about life experiences and its lessons. However tragic as this might sound, I do have to pay the piper. For slightly over half of the past five years, I've been plagued with episodes of unemployment and under employment. During that time my lifelines were photography and writing. So I truly am grateful for my new opportunity. It's just that I want to be headed confidently towards my goal of photographing and archiving experiences from my point of view. The clock is ticking away.

It didn't help any that I watched Gordon Parks: "Half Past Autumn" on my iPhone last night. Balancing wants and needs is a lifelong dilemma for creative types. Responsibilities and obligations get in the way I suppose.

So I have to figure out how and I will find the time for play and balance so that I can achieve what my creative side requires and satiate its needs too.  In a way, I'm apologizing for having to deviate and defer but survival is an important thing to me as well. Wish I had more time today to write, but I don't. Have to study and prepare.

For those of you who know me, I will be a fully licensed financial advisor with Edward Jones. If you know me really well,  you can attest that I've made my funds last during an extremely difficult time. Hope to help others to in tough times and in good. All this so I can eventually play more. It seems that play is what I have to look forward to.




Sunday, January 18, 2015

Choice and Change

Blue Heron Waiting
Keller, TX
When are no longer able to change a situation
-we are challenged to change ourselves.
Viktor E. Frankl

Already my new is year is bursting with change: a new job, hundreds of hours of study, growing grandchildren, aging parents, and a new camera system. At the same time other constants prevail sunrises and sunsets while seasons change. Not all change is bad and most stimulates and requires response. Response requires choice and choice involves your will. Ultimately change requires action.

Change is a catalyst that draws energy from our basic needs to survive and motivates (stimulates) us to respond. The outcome is a function of the exercise of free will. Choose to do nothing and change will overwhelm.

For the next few weeks, I have to ignore my fears, embrace change, and overcome challenges that I've not had to face since graduate school. It's a climb and a reach each day I take a step and pull myself up. In the mean time I leave you with Tracy Chapman's: "Change".

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Tests

Hint of Winter
Pima Canyon
Tucson, AZ

Have lots going on right now after a seven month job hiatus. For the fourth time in my life, I am making a career change.  Have chosen a path that will allow me to guide households with their finances and plan for their future needs. I am excited but have been super pressed for time while cramming for the series 7 and 66 licensing exam scheduled for the end of this month and the middle of next. As they say, I've made myself scarce.

Although a career change looms, by no means will I be putting down my camera or pushing my artistic interests aside. Photography enables me to express who I am, how I think, and how I feel and see the world.  It has the power of conveying emotions and is a tool of creative self-expression.

When even this gregarious man finds that words fail, photography fills a tremendous gap. Through this medium, intangible sensitivity can flourish while curiosity and imagination thrive. I do this  under the guise, that I just see things differently and choose to communicate it nonverbally. My images transcends religious and political beliefs by stating what's obvious to me and thereby restating reality as I view it.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Santa Pause

Vintage Santa Beating His Own Drum
Keller, TX
One must know not just how to accept a gift,
but with what grace to share it.
Maya Angelou

It's a crazy world and by virtue of the season and time of year, I will add "It's A Wonderful Life". Even global politicians the likes of US President Barack Obama and Cuba's President Raul Castro seek the spirit of charity and fill the air with promises that perhaps a new major league baseball team might emerge: the Habana Castros. Even George Bailey would be impressed.

Photographer
Al Hernández
For nearly six decades like John Mayer I've been "Waiting on the World to Change" and it has. Hershey bars are no longer five cents and Cokes are not a dime and children are driven to school and no longer safe from lurking child predators, drug dealers and terrorists with extreme grudges. Our once cold war and communist enemies are now are our trading partners. The middle class keeps eroding as the same middle votes for the policies endorsed by top elite who exclude them and shrinks the size of the middle class and hides under the conservative banner while waging war both physical and economic that the same middle must bear. No one retires with a gold watch any more because a handful of CEO's have their own gold standard although few of them were the entrepreneurs risking everything to form these great companies they plunder.

Despite my cynicism, I remain hopeful because during the same period, I've seen enemies learn to not only come to the peace table but also eat together at it. The dawn of the age of transistors and television now touts high speed internet and compact mirror less cameras and Dick Tracy like FaceTime. We not only landed on the moon but were also able to land on a moving comet millions of miles away. It all makes me give pause and hope. What if the world is ready to change again once more?

So this is my Christmas list for this year in hopes that my grandchildren and their children get to see. Top on my list is more compassion. I want to see more people who are willing to physically help others than to simply send them prayerful thoughts. A hungry man wanting to feed his children needs more than your prayers. He may need money during the interim while he finds a job. A sick person needs more than your prayers they may require medical attention and can't afford to pay. Your neighbor without a job and depressed needs more than your prayers.

Prayer and meditation are wonderful things but human compassion is tangible. How often do people yearn to have a touch, a kind word of encouragement, and a meal? When was the last time you extended a hand out to someone perhaps a discouraged neighbor? A handout is not really against our nature in fact its our human/communal nature that requires it. It's something even cousin chimps do.

This season I am grateful for the humbling lessons of the past five years. Although part of me resents those who looked the other way and at times made me drift and become bitter; I choose not to change with respect to charity and continue to help others regardless. I will talk to the discouraged and help others. Perhaps its no coincidence that I have an opportunity to become a financial advisor to reduce the stress that others may face and to help them meet their goals. At some point, you will realize like I did we are in this together and we must share our faith and exercise compassion. This is the season to exercise charity (love). "So send I you."

Prints and cards available for sale at

Friday, November 14, 2014

Art in Making or Making Art


Lighthouse in Autumn
Saugerties, NY
Computers are useless-
all they can give you are answers.
Pablo Picasso

Nothing frustrates me more than the notion that photography should mirror reality. That notion is simply as absurd as the expectation that Monet's lilies should be precise or that Seurat's paintings should have brush strokes vs brush points. I suppose if either Monet or Seurat were not creating art and were furnishing their images as aid to local law enforcement that criticism would hold some water. They weren't; instead they were using their creativity to express themselves in their own voice. (Those who favored realism could simply view them from a distance.)

In addition to the time spent studying composition and techniques used to render art, unique life references and experiences come to play in my compositions. It's my choice to use intangible brush strokes judiciously applied which add feeling, something modern man avoids but seeks to soothe via countless drugs legitimate or otherwise. Let me stress this thought: my images convey my consciousness and my feelings.

Ultimately my sensations motivate me to shoot but my heart and mind collude to create, communicate, and render those sensations on a two dimensional piece of paper. Short of stamping words all over the photograph, I have to solve the communication puzzle with a repertoire of intangible experiences and memories while mixing them with photographic tools. The fished product is sum of life experiences (to that date) in my own voice.

The image you see above (Lighthouse in Autumn) could just as well have been entitled Lighthouse at Halloween. In fact you can feel and see the Halloween reference. If you also knew the history of this location and its proximity to Palenville, NY and author Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle you would understand. That's another photograph or two for sure for a later date.