Friday, April 30, 2010

Absorb Life

“Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone's task is unique as his specific opportunity.” ...Vicktor Frankl

It seems like I've been down this path for a long time, but truly the journey seems so brief.  Images and memories seem to get lost in the distance of time.  This morning, I chose to go back to some of my first images shot with my Nikon Coolpix 950.   It's been a long time.

The images still catalog contrast:  people, landscapes, architecture and more.  As I look back, I see that my fascination for details has not changed.  My curiosity remains intact, unfurled by the dotcom crisis, the calamity of 9/11, the second Iraq War and a new one in Afghanistan, Katrina and its relatives, and most recently our economic greed induced global implosion.  Throughout it all, I chose to create.  It remains my purpose in life.  
It would be unnatural for me not to chronicle what I see and what I sense.  The details have so much to offer us; if we could only see them.  I feel driven to show you the details of our world.  It has so much to offer; yet, we take such little time to enjoy its beauty.  It doesn't demand money, simply our time.  That requires us to slow down the pace and simply change our perspective.
What would happen if we slowed down?  What would we see if we looked around us?  What if you changed your focus and your eyes depth of field?  My guess is that you would be awakened to the life that is simply happening all around you.  It is free from commercial endorsements and other noise.

Some times you just have to be the sponge and absorb every drop of life that surrounds you.  I've been that sponge for a while.  When I am squeezed, I simply spill what I've absorbed.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Kiss Your Horse

Eunice Ohanna, a friend of mine from San Miguel de Allende, told me that her art sometimes just comes to her.  When it does, she paints, sculpts, decorates, designs and crafts necklaces.  While it sounds amazing many artists frequently find themselves in similar modes of creativity.  We don't know why, but it just happens.

Creativity can be triggered by random things:  thoughts, words, smells, and noises.  Whatever the stimulus is it jars us to create.  We unfold it from our minds and cast it with our own hands.  They act on behalf of the germinated idea.  Through our process we make what was intangibly in our minds eye.

Sometimes we need to celebrate whatever it is that  initiates the creative process.  I couldn't help but read the sign on the obligatory Central Park carriage ride:  

If you had fun,
and like your ride,
Kiss your horse, 
and tip your guide.

Just may be it stimulated me to take the photo of the back of someone's head.  What do you think?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Concentric Circles

Suzie and Kim (my wife), two cousins, have played their whole lives.  Their passion is decorating homes and packing them with warmth and nostalgia.  They draw from their childhood memories.  A time spent in the haven of their grandparents simply playing together on hot summer texas days, as cousins and best friends.  It was a time of vivid imaginations and simple things:  mud pies and pets.

Still today they spend hours finding treasures (nostalgic pieces) from days gone by.  What some people would people discard, they somehow turn it into decorative art.  After nearly twenty four years, they've made me into a believer of their crafts.

It seems that we've got concentric circles.  I enjoy photographing the vignettes that they create.  For me, it has the reward of finding their hidden treasure and opening it.  I enjoy the staged details I find in their homes.  It's good to stop and enjoy the simple treasures we share in common.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Not Logical

By training, I've always acted with my mind never my heart.  Recently, I've begone to wonder what would happen if I thought with my my mind but acted with my heart.  There's a difference.  One is about logic but the other is about feelings, emotions, and intangibles.  Both are relevant.

When I shoot, I find myself abandoning my logic constraints.  I lose track of time.  Subjects become less  important to me;  I focus on what is only relevant to my heart and eyes.  With my heart I find meaning and purpose.  My mind sees none its only logical.

It's not logical to find beauty in ugly barren places.  Yet it truly exists.  The mind grasps only the superficial, it can't comprehend feelings.  It's a computer.  Learning to let my lens find my emotions is now more important than ever.  I mine to find the beauty within each object I.

It's a conscious effort to override logic.  Making that choice becomes simpler when as I view through the lens.  I choose to find that beauty thats innate in all objects.  It's just not logical.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Taking Time to Sit

It's funny how we get caught up in doing, yet we forget the enjoying part of living.  I've walked past this tree and bench many times.  It seems that it always catches my attention.  I find myself stopping and photographing with my iPhone.  I don't know why.

Today was different.  It dawned on me that although I've photographed this scene many times, not once have I actually taken the time to rest on the bench beneath the tree.  I actually struggled with the idea of just taking the time to sit.

As I thought about sitting, I wondered why I was debating the idea of just enjoying the bench.  What would it hurt to just sit under the tree and watch others walk past me?  What would happen if I just watched the drama unfold?  

Sometimes being a spectator is not all that bad.  Take the time to just enjoy the simple things.  Sit underneath the tree and watch. 

Monday, April 19, 2010


The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me.
 The last of one’s freedoms is to choose ones attitude in any given circumstance.”
....Viktor Frankl

Today, it's time for me to put aside my self-pity.  In fact it's a day that I will let the images speak for themselves.  You have seen these images before, in history books and documentaries.  There's no need for me to embellish them with words or personal accounts.  A part of me wishes that the locations did not exist for me to photograph, but they do.

I think about the words of a survivor:  "the last of one's freedoms is to choose ones attitude in any given circumstance."  How do you get that point?

For those of you who are accustomed to me say a lot, I hope you understand.  I've got nothing to say today.  

I once heard that deepest thoughts come in silence.  Reflection is a good thing.  I have choices lots of them still, they are not ominous.  My choices encompass living a meaningful life.  I know that finding our purpose is truly what sustains us.  It's all good.  There's no need to fear.  We learn to survive even through adversity.

In Memory of Those Who Suffered
So That We Might Learn 
To Live

Sunday, April 18, 2010


I would hate to come to the end of my life
 to find out that I have not lived....

Henry David Thoreau, Walden 

The most difficult task for me is not mastering finance or marketing or even figuring out how to beat my friend Carter on our continuous scrabble game; it's learning to master living now.  You see the business side of me taught me to analyze the past and forecast the future.  This is great for the companies I've worked for but lousy for me.  You miss out completely on what is happening now.

The camera only captures the present.  When I look through the viewfinder and compose my shot,  I am interacting with the now.  I am in the moment.  History is meaningless at that point and the future does not even come to play.  If I become distracted, I miss out 100% of what is in front of me.  The shot evaporates and I miss an opportunity to see the details of what is actually transpiring in front of me.

As I look through the viewfinder, I see that life is happening right in front of me, right now.  I take time to focus on what I see and what I feel.  It's as if through the tap of my shutter release, I absorb what is and I capture now.  It's never history and it certainly is not my future.  It's just now.

The moment is right in front of me.  I choose to capture it and process it.  At the point nothing else matters.  I tune out my historical record keeping and my what if spreadsheets.  The only thing that is relevant to me, is insuring that I see and enjoy the life that is going on in front of me.  It's not easy to do; it requires patience and time.  I didn't realize that living required taking time to just be.  I thought living was simply about doing.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Doors: Opened and Closed

Life presents us with many doors.  Some are interesting and some are not.  Some are closed and some need to be opened.  In Mexico, what's behind each door is usually more interesting than the building's facade.  Doors are simply ornaments to draw us in.  It seems that each is unique and announces a different message.  It's easy to be drawn to the doors but never knock or even enter.

They are portals; some entrances to splendid homes, churches, jardines (gardens), simple homes, and even empty lots.  Behind each door awaits an adventure.  An entrance to a different journey.  Doors are really the starting point.  The beginning of new journey.  Within one journey are many doors and new beginnings.  We choose the doors to knock on and which ones to open.

Some doors are cracked open and you can sneak peeks of what is in store.  Others are wide open and showcase whats ahead.  While others are shrouded in mystery.  The best are the ones that are closed because the mystery remains.

There are new doors today all of different sizes and shapes.  Some are closed, some are partially open, and some are wide open.  I choose to knock on doors and see where the journey leads me.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

One Could Do Worse

Sometimes we just need to slow down and take time to observe what else is going around us.  It's a okay to share the view with others.  The important part is to take it all in.   The clock is ticking regardless.  There's no need to see what time it is.  Just absorb the moment.

Take a chance you've really got nothing to lose.  Slow down and discover all of the living that's going around you.  Reconnect with the universe and yourself.  Enjoy simple pleasures and live.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Missed Opportunities

This little restaurant along the Rio Grande east of Laredo claimed that it sold everything from pizzas to raspas (snow cones).  Unfortunately, it wasn't open as it posted.  Perhaps, I hit it on a "closed" Monday.  Along the journey we see opportunities that seem a bit confusing.  They are clustered; lost among details.

Opportunities aren't always obvious and move quickly.  Imagine you are standing alongside a railroad bed. A freight train ladened with goods is coming towards you.  It's really not traveling very fast but nonetheless it's moving.  You see it in the distance and you can discern all of it's details.  Each car has something to offer.  If you wait too long the details become obscure because of the motion.

Within moments, the opportunity is passing you.  The details become blurred by the motion.  You watch the opportunity pass you in a whirl.  It was there but now gone.  It's down the road too distant to catch.  Now you have to wait for the next opportunity.  Will you catch it?  Will you hesitate again?

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Some of the most interesting images occur when I least expect them.  (It's also the reason why I try to keep some form of a camera on hand.)  You just don't know when the opportunity will happen.  These donkey's weren't just looking for a photo-op.

What would happen if we chose to live life the same way?  We spend a lifetime preparing for living in retirement, but few seldom prepare for living right now.

This shot on the right is actually quite humorous.  I zoomed in to see what could be so interesting reading on the beach.  The young gal seemed to be glued to her article.  If you read Spanish, or can see the drawing you will get the drift.  Sometimes you just have to be there.

Things are always unfolding right in front of you.  The key is to open, prepared, and responsive.  Capture the images; absorb them.  Be prepared to live a live full of images and recall them at will.

You will be surprised by images coming towards you.  As if they were planned for you to take and enjoy.  "The world is a stage."  You choose to be either on stage or in the audience.  I choose to be on stage acting my role out.  F8 be there...simply means be prepared to shoot.  Prepare yourself to enjoy today.  Don't miss out living.

Friday, April 9, 2010


There are times in life you want to soar, to feel free, and untethered from the mundane.  For whatever reason, I've hit that point.  The idea of drifting wherever the wind takes me does not make me fearful.  Could it be all that bad to want to float with other balloons?  Is it bad for you?

Have you thought about what keeps you from soaring?  What would happen if you just float for a bit?  What would you miss?  What would you see?  How would your perspective change?

The other day I noticed the tethers were loose.  I could feel the sensation of the wind carrying me.  Would it be so bad to be carefree?

Are we all at the mercy of the wind?  Isn't it more unnatural to be complacent with what we do?  The wind beckons and I wonder what it would be like to float.  There's still plenty of time left.  Time to float with the clouds and to observe things differently.

What is holding you back?  More than likely, it's you.  You are your own tether.  Let go and float before there's traffic in the sky.

I've got to go and check out the sky.  The wind is blowing and I want to float and soar above the clouds.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


We all remember stories of people whom our parents drew unpleasant lessons.  People they told us "don't be like..."  My "don't be like" was a photographer simply named Camachito.  He was omnipresent at every social church engagement. Camachito showed up for weddings and all church events armed with his camera and flash.  Strangely, I don't recall ever seeing any of his images.  Dad would remind me.  "Isn't it funny, we see him shoot, but no pictures.

I don't know if Camachito had figured it out that his camera was simply a prop to get good food and get invitations to main social events.  The thought of being labeled Camachito haunts me.  It is enough to make me get up each morning, write this blog, and post my images.

It would be easy to slide and not post; but I thrive already from your responses.  Feeding Camachito was the easy part, getting Camachito to produce something was a different story.  I am not Camachito.  Today you see some of my Camachitos'.   Images that I had forgotten.  They were taken at Parque Chipinque near Monterrey, Mexico.  

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


"When we can no longer change a situation,
we are challenged to change ourselves."

                                                       -----Viktor Frankl

No one dislikes change more than me.  I don't readily subscribe to it.  The thought of It upsets my metabolism.  Real growth, however, involves not only accepting change but embracing it as well..  We need to learn to accept some of the events that happen as omens.  We can learn to adapt by changing how we think and view ourselves:  victims or participants in life.

We meet people along the journey, shamans, who guide us through the next levels of our journey.  I've met many.  One in particular comes to mind, Eunice O'hanna.  I met her on a business trip to Mexico where I stayed by design in my favorite town, San Miguel de Allende.

Of course, I did my usual daily walk and scouted places to photograph.  The clock was ticking and I was running late to leave on my business trip for the day.  As I walked passed this home, I noticed an interesting sign.  It read Casa de Collares (house of necklaces) and museum.  It intrigued me, so I knocked on the door and was greeted by a very energetic silver haired lady, Eunice O'hanna.

She welcomed me in.  I was immediately in a very different state of mind as I walked through the doors and into the front of her home, a living workshop and museum.  All of my senses which had been dormant, came to life.  I could feel an energy race through me, it was uncontrollable joy.  She noticed my enthusiasm and asked: "Would you like to see the rest of my home?"

It was absolutely breath taking.  Every wall was painted with Mayan images she had studied and recalled.  Each room had colors that cheered my soul.  There were details that made each part significant.  Her home had truly become a living museum.  "i've always wanted to have a museum", she told me.

Of course I had all of the wrong equipment with me and no tripod.  I started to shoot and shoot and shoot.  She was thrilled by my curiosity and encouraged it.  She took me back to her studio.  I would like you to take something with you.  Something to remember me by. On the table was a bowl of rocks that she had collected over a lifetime.  Please take one.  It was a different type of Holy Communion that day. I took a salmon pink stone and placed it in my pocket.  It has since travelled with me everywhere.

Change is not easy.  Sometimes we change because we have to.  It's so much better, when we choose to change so that we can grow.  My pink stone reminds me of how I changed and what I felt as it happened.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Confessions of a Blogger

Here's the deal, every once in a while, I hit a roadblock. It seems like today is one of those days.  My mind is going in all of the wrong places.  I feel a little paralyzed and would like to withdraw from the rat race.  The rats are winning today.

It's the type of day where "Who Moved My Cheese?" feels more like "Who Ate My Cheese?".  I am being honest brutally honest. There's doubt plenty of self doubt.  I need a photo; something to jar me from this rut.  I have a few marquis shots.  Let me share them with you.

These are the men who use to feed me.  I cared about them and I tried to tell their story.  They work hard and their lives will never be as good as mine (so I think).  Their children I hope will have it better.  Just like my dad made it better for me.

They labor for minimum wages.  Their jobs are full of peril.  The safety signs are all in English.  Some signs read, "If you can't be safe here, you can't work here."  It's a shame that they are not in Spanish.  I guess if you can't read the sign you are screwed.  We need you to work though.  They need to work to feed their families.

It's not uncommon to see families working together:  brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, mothers and fathers.  They are proud of their  work, need their jobs, and work hard.

Look beneath the masks and safety goggles.  Tell me if you don't see the noblemen who toil.