Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tip of Hat

Tip of Hat
Photographer and Mentor: Dan Burkholder

Many photographers post their work online. Few give credit to their information sources. One of the godfathers of iPhone Artistry is world renown fine art master photographer and instructor Dan Burkholder. Dan's work spans both the wet and digital worlds. His students receive the benefits of his experience in both worlds, his Brooks Institute fine art training, and his sense of humor.

Dan teaches students to throw fear aside, pay attention to composition, and to experiment with perhaps the only photographic tool they might have at their side, the iPhone. He claims and proves that within their grasp, they have a powerful device which can produce masterful pieces of art. He teaches his students the core applications that are out there to render both serious and at times not so serious prints. For those of us infatuated by photography, he eliminates the excuse to not take a photo.

If you not able to take a workshop with Dan, please pick up a copy of Petersen's Photographic Digital Photography Guide. It's a special issue now available on the newsstands , iPhone for Photographers, featuring exclusive tutorials by Dan Burkholder.

Dan has been a personal friend of mine since 2000. He has mentored me ever since then and I am very proud to tip my hat to him any opportunity I get. In Texas we say: "Dance with the one who brung ya". I agree photographers need to respect those who have taught them their skills. Let's give credit to those that have earned it. Personally, I am curious as to what techniques, tools, and processes he will pioneer next.

Friday, December 30, 2011


Hummingbird and Breakfast

A little short on words this morning, I suppose my brain needs a pause. As I browsed through some images, this one adequately describes my mood. Like the humming bird, breakfast awaits and I am stuck in time near my meal.

It seems like I've been defying gravity for a while. Been doing the impossible arduous hovering trying to sustain myself to earn a meal. It must be my nature I reckon. Several days ago, I declared we were born with the following abilities: to create, to survive, and to cooperate with each other. Today, my focus is on survival. As you can imagine, I am eager to resume my other two mandates creating and assisting others.

Today, I simply hover, frozen in time awaiting breakfast.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Vintage Thoughts

Vintage Bench and Tree
Keller, TX

There are some thoughts and images that I find myself constantly going back to and reworking them like a writer crafting the final chapters of a suspense thriller. I don't know if its the solitude of the scene that draws me or whether its the serene pastoral nature of a lone bench underneath a barren tree. It could even be that I long to simply sit and meditate underneath the tree.

Once I had a poster which extolled the virtues of silence. The poster read: "the deepest thoughts come in silence." There are times I would choose to be virtuous underneath the virtual shade of a barren tree. 

The biggest challenge we face at times is simply to find meaning out of nothing. As a photographer living in an area void of topography, this is my constant challenge. Meaning I find comes from personal introspection, by interpretation with the soul's eye. It's the eyes collage interpreted via the mind's experience set from where we derive meaning.

My shoes are almost warn from all the times, I have journeyed past this bench and tree. It seems each time I see it differently and am better off for it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Acquisitions and Dispositions: "Forget You"

Niño con Paleta
San Miguel de Allende, GTO, MX

We live in a society that thrives on and encourages lifetimes of acquisitions. For a brief moment, during the Christmas season, the focus shifts to dispositions, not simply of gifts, but of making smiles. While many of us can think of what we don't have few of us truly live in misery.

A couple, I know called me each separately within the same week. Their tune was the same. They both gloated about their fantastic tropical vacation and how good they have it. The husband talked about how wonderful his new year was going to start with some fantastic big deal. When I switched gears and talked about how Congress appears to lack compassion like the C in Christmas. He took offense. It's all Obama's fault he said.

No this is not about politics. I was simply talking about caring and showing compassion and consideration for our fellow human beings. I argued this is not about right or wrong ideology, this is about doing what is right.  We do not have the underprivileged solely so we can say that they are "blessed and shall inherit the kingdom of God." There's more to it than this.

The wife was equally at fault telling me about her indulgence and how their vacation was well deserved. Given her ebullience, I asked her for a very simple favor. I could sense by her verbal dance that the answer was no. Before she could finish, I told her that unlike the similar favor I did for her where my $2,000 lens was stolen, I would pay her for assisting me. The answer was filled with excuses and I withdrew curtly my request.

The truth is that I no longer have the time nor the resolve to put up with people who feel that compassion is not their responsibility. Some feel that its the responsibility of United Way, some churches, and a select few agencies God forbid government. They are simply too busy enjoying their borrowed opulence and borrowed time. To those I apologize and say like Celo Green: "forget you." Keep your money to yourself but please don't ask me for a favor. I am too busy trying to make a difference but don't ask me for a favor down the road. 

The same that argue about saying Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, overlook making them Merry or Happy for their friends and neighbors. That's the guilt burden than many in our society must share. It's a shame that it has come to this. Do what is right based on your heart's conviction. This is independent from your political and religious ideology.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Wish

Keller Christmas
Keller, TX

Got up early this morning only to find out that Santa had left the fireplace screen open which made the house a little drafty. He must be getting a little advanced in years too because he left the stocking stuffers behind but had not placed them in their respective stockings. Being a good citizen, I completed what Santa had neglected.

Hanshan Temple
Our home is filled with life this Christmas: two dogs, Charlie( an old English sheepdog) and Buckley (our Australian blue heeler), Justin Lauren and her husband Travis, and our son Steve. Everyone is still asleep. No one heard the rooftop commotion. It could have been because they all stuffed from our food shipment of pasteles and arroz con gandules straight from Puerto Rico.

My father-in-law will probably arrive around breakfast time and begin to wake everyone up. My dad is in Puerto Rico visiting family at Christmas for the first time in probably over fifty years. Mom has been sleeping since July in a mausoleum facing the perpetual morning sun. It's a pity I won't be able to wish her a Merry Christmas. Mom did speak to me last night and the night before in my dreams. I miss making her laugh.

Suppose, I should get busy now. Before, I leave you, I want to thank all of you who have extended your hand of friendship, warmth, and comfort to me and my family this past year. You really understand Christmas and you practiced it all year long with your kind words, support, and encouragement. You have taught me that the C in Christmas not only signifies Christ but also compassion.

As we end this season and welcome the next, I wonder how differently my world would be if I practiced my humanity and exercised compassion frequently and abundantly. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all of you, from a very grateful and changed person.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gentile Mitzvah

75 Prospect Street
Winsted, CT

Seventy-five Prospect Street, the address where I grew up in Winsted, Connecticut, left me with many memories, most were really good, and there were some I would rather forget. Life was tough, not exactly pretty, filled with many challenges for my parents who were desperately trying to make a better life for their three ambitious children. We lived on a street that had lost hope for its children.

While I have many stories, there's one that always comes to mind this time of the year about our landlord Miles Stowe. He was an old man when we met him. Silver haired, smiling blue eyes, and nearly crippled by arthritis that he walked at the end with two canes. Each year around Christmas, he would come by and knock on our door to wish us a joyous season. Then he would give us his gift, free rent for that month. Then without saying a word he would climb up the side stairs between our house and the next and to go visit his longtime friend Blanche Pendergast.

Why Miles did this I don't know. All I can tell you is that he did it with a smile and the warmth that would  melt the snow around the entrance to our home. Miles gave us something special each Christmas from his heart. He showed compassion and he felt a need to share what he had with his "neighbor".

My father always accepted the gift of this generous old man. He himself would later on in life practice taking care of those less fortunate than he. In fact, Dad has spent the rest of his life helping others whenever the opportunity arose. Dad believed in gentile mitzvah as do I.

There are many of us who wish for a better world. We seek religion and other things to make us feel better about ourselves and about life. I am convinced that if we shifted our focus from ourselves on to the needs of our neighbors, we like Miles would have reason to smile. Some of us however, cannot see beyond our needs. I admit that I've been like that but the past two years have brutally humbled me.

During this past year, the Southlake Lions Club conducted a fund raiser for Dallas Weins, a man who had lost his face as a result of an electrical accident. We were raffling tickets for a brand new Harley Davidson and I was having troubles selling them in an affluent community. Finally, I put aside my pride and said: "I will be honest with you. I was feeling sorry for myself because I had lost my job, but this man lost his face! I can recover but he will never fully recover." 

This season as we approach a new year, think about what a difference your compassion can make. Think about how you can make a difference. Think about Miles Stowe. Give with your heart don't wait to hear it on the news that someone needs your help. Regardless if you are a Republican or a Democrat, this is not about who is right or wrong, this is about doing what is right. It doesn't matter whether you love Jesus, Heavenly Father, Mohammed, Krishna, or Buddha. Without compassion and mitzvah your beliefs are hollow. Those in need are not necessarily far away from you in Africa or India. Open up your heart, eyes, and mind.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Whatever It Takes

San Cristobal
El Condado, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Just a few thoughts this morning before I dive into my work. Dad leaves for Puerto Rico tomorrow to gather his thoughts, spend time with his siblings, and perhaps find new friendship. The fact remains that Dad is willing to launch on a new journey despite his advanced age, eighty-eight.

Colorful Past
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
My father left Puerto Rico in search of opportunities and a better life for his young family. At the time, there were no opportunities for advancement in Puerto Rico and no industry. The agrarian life was in shambles; sugar cane and coffee were no longer capable of sustaining the island's economy. Those who returning from their WWII military tours of service quickly turned their sights towards the promises of the US mainland. 

My father joined his oldest brother already in New York. Dad with nothing more than a vision and a promise left his comfort zone and was prepared to do "whatever it takes" to support his family.

Decades have past since that time. Today, I lean on Dad for his advice and wisdom. He stands on my sidelines and reminds me that I too have to do whatever it takes. There's a time for pride and there's a time to put your pride aside. Dad did both and so will I.

Friday, December 16, 2011

I Wrote You A Letter

We Know When He's Sleeping
Near the North Pole

Met a familiar face at DFW airport. After taking several undercover shots, I finally got the nerve to ask the the gentleman what he did for a living. With a twinkle in his eyes, he said to me that he's Santa Claus. Now I've had many things go wrong this year and we are close to Christmas, but I didn't want to challenge my Santa beliefs.

Mr. Claus told me an interesting story which provided me with a much needed chuckle. A little girl, he said, sat on his lap and so of course he asked her the perfunctory "what would you like for Christmas?" She responded, "I wrote you a letter."

For those of you who might have forgotten, even Santa needs to be reminded every now and then. Please don't be to sassy with Santa, he's getting up in years and the flying may have taken its toll. Regardless, he's still Santa for goodness sake!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I'm Back

Festive Toy Australian Shepherd

As some of you might have gathered, the pen has been idled by year end Christmas orders. This is extremely encouraging. Yesterday my routine was disrupted some more, I have an interview in Denver. During my flight up, I had some time to work on an image that I had taken just several days before.

You see, I fully understand my own mantra. We are born with the following capabilities: to survive, create, and with the capacity to help one another. My goal regardless of whether I go back to a "regular" job is to continue on my personal journey and to remain true to my mantra. 

Few of us dare to venture outside of our comfort zone. In my case, I was forced to grow and hone my creative skills as a photographer. In the process, I also became aware that I was sorely remiss in serving others. I had the capacity to serve but what not willing. Its too easy to focus on my own plight. 

Nearly two years have passed since my corporate imposed exile transpired. Since September of this year, I've found a new attitude and renewed purpose. By no means has this been easy. All I know is that I have to continue my photography business because it is a part of me. Although I am pragmatic enough to know that by itself, it will not sustain the lifestyle I was accustomed to, I know that it will emotionally sustain me through the current global crisis. You might say "I was born this way."

Whatever, happens, I am ready to move forward and embrace my life fully. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Cheer

Texas Christmas Ya'll

One of my patrons suggested that I write a narrative about some of the cards that I am selling. She wanted to know what made them special and perhaps what motivated me to take the image to begin with. There are times, I must confess, that I assume others will immediately know but that's not the case.

This year, I am featuring three separate fine art card prints: Texas Christmas, Yankee Christmas, and China Christmas. Today's feature is Texas Christmas.

We lose our leaves much later than our counter parts up north for obvious reasons. Our deciduous trees are much shorter in stature and when they lose their leaves their shapes become quite interesting against the plains and grasslands.

Typical mornings in late December are clear and crisp. Frost occasionally nips the remaining green grass before the sun awakens the plains from a winter nap. Every day, I walk past this field along my hiking trail. This tree fascinates me all year long from every angle. The bench represents a place that I wish to be. Its a place of solace and joy where all you have to do is sit and observe the life that thrives around you.

This particular morning, I chose to stop my routine and observe the tree before the sunrise like a person just sipping his first cup of brewed coffee in the morn. It was quiet, brisk, and beautiful. All I had was my iPhone and I composed my shot with my flair for painting. A year later, I decided to interpret the tree and bench with my new photographic skills. It finally spoke to me and I think it describes how we feel in Texas about our often snowless Christmas.

So to my dear patron in Hawaii, you now have the story about the tree. All cards are 5 x 7, printed by me on archival Red River card stock. Each is a fine art print that can be easily framed. The card box set of eight is available for $32 plus tax shipping and handling (if applicable). Shipping is free on all orders of three or more boxes. If you order four or more boxes, I am extending a 15% discount provided you place your order by December 15th. (If you wish to place a personal greeting please let me know otherwise the cards are blank in side.)

To place your order contact me at  Please leave me your phone number and I will contact you. I accept all major credit cards and PayPal.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Photographic Homily

Me and Coffee
Mount Vernon, NY

It feels like I've been hibernating this past week. The weather provided much needed rain to Texas, but lingered like a clingy somber cloud. It lasted about four days bringing with it temperatures in the the 20's and 30's.  My lethargy seems to have disabled my walking legs and my spirit has been less than festive. Today, is a new day, and the forecast sounds promising. The sun should once again shine its countenance upon me.

Lots going on right now. The photography business has been picking up. I sell my fine art prints, canvases, and cards, in addition, I do family portraits and events, as well as teach camera and Photoshop skills. This all ties in nicely with my philosophy that we were born to create, survive, and help.

My best state of mind is when, I transcend beyond what is at hand and move into my creative place. At that point, I don't have a care in the world. What happens on Wall Street, in Washington, or in the world has little significance to me.

The bottom line is that though I led a successful corporate life, I really hated keeping score. The real fun for me has always been coming up with an idea and seeing it through fruition. Photography and the printing of photographs provides me that unique pleasure. It requires my patience and provides me with the freedom to create and interpret.

Today's image was taken with an iPhone 3Gs while I was on a trip visiting a friend in NYC. The vignette that was on my night stand intrigued me so much that I chose to photograph it. The rest of the image came to me and fit in nicely with what I felt and saw at the time.

It feels good to create. We should give thanks and praise.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Joy of Finley

Mr. Finley

Canine Rock Star
Had an opportunity to catch up with a friend that I made in Estes Park, Adam Diesi. Adam and his wife Stefanie decide to move from Houston to Colorado. They made a rest stop in Dallas on their way. It brought back many memories to me. He called me to say hello and to chat for a while. We both enjoy photography.

While we met another group of Adam's friends joined us and brought their new puppy with them, a shitzu named Finley. Finley stole the show and I quickly decided to take a few images of the canine miniature celebrity.

It was fun watching the interaction between the newlyweds, friends, and puppy. Puppy love took hold as to be expected. Yet something else happened. I found a renewed confidence that there were lots of wonderful young people out there that were going to make the world a better place. It was a good feeling to have on a dingy rainy day. I walked away a better, happier, and more optimistic person. Thank you Finley and thank you Adam and friends!!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011


In Loving Memory of Our Friend:

Can't say I have much of a sufferance tolerance: human or animal. Then again, I don't know many folks that could say they do. Today we put to sleep our longtime friend and companion, Daisy, a black female lab mix

For nearly fifteen years,  she served our family in various capacities: watchdog, nocturnal companion, family peacekeeper, life guard, groundskeeper, retriever of all things, work companion, roommate, and friend.

It was never my intention that she become part of my family, but then again this "trial" dog was not one whose puppy face, I could look away from, let alone the faces of my children and wife who clearly conspired againgst me. They appealed to my soft spot and won. The deck was stacked against me.

Daisy brought complete joy to my children, my wife, my fatherinlaw, and even Daisy's surrogate family, our next door neighbors, the West's. In her last seven years, she served in the capacity as my fatherinlaw's canine companion. She watched carefully over him and was there as he recovered from several knee surgeries. 

It was not uncommon to see Daisy riding through her neigborhood in Grapevine in Bobby's golf cart. The two road through their "hood" as a team. Sometimes they were also chaparoned by best girlfriend and neighbor Sammy. The canines definitely had tales to tell and tails to wag.

In the end both my fatherinlaw and Daisy limped throughout the house. Daiy more so than her loved friend. She did not let him disuade her from always being by his side.

Daisy taught us about friendship and unconditional love. It's a shame that this dog was more human than some of the friends I've known over the years. For Daisy it was never about what we could give her but rather what she could give us. This year, we have grieved over the loss of friends and family. Daisy, sweet friend, you proved to be both. You were the best and we will miss you. Thank you for your comfort all these years. Good girl Daisy.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Both Sides Now

Happy Couple
Kayte and Justin Roberts
Grapevine, TX
Worked hard yesterday, shot two family shoots. The weather in the morning was far from ideal. It was sunny but a blustery 42 degrees with wind gusts of up to 20 mph coming out of the northwest. Instead of telling my clients to say cheese, they said freeze and were able to thaw wonderful smiles.

The day filled me with energy, as my clients transferred their love to me. For whatever reason during the photo shoot, the sense overcame me that I was someone else. It seems that person was buried somewhere back in high school or college. It must have happened the moment I chose to be pragmatic rather than to simply be who I was. Making and earning a living replaced living. It seems now the circle is complete.

All of this made me more pensive than usual this morning. Got to listening to some Joni Mitchell on YouTube. Chose to listen to "Both Sides Now". Came to a realization again after so many years, that I still "don't know clouds at all". Somewhere between smiles and landscapes, there's a feeling that overwhelms me still. Perhaps as the journey wears on cloud understanding will come to me. In the mean time, I've got smiles to go before I sleep and less pragmatic promises to keep.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Common Sense

Asses in Field
Near Decatur, TX

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work... 
I want to achieve it through not dying.
Woody Allen

Common sense is something that alludes many. It seems that that world has had its share of stupidity for a while. The greed of a few has financially crippled a whole world. Security has given way to insecurity and instability.

If a group of aliens landed in Athens, Rome, or Washington, D.C., would they find any intelligent life? Would their studies reveal complex organisms with an ability to reason and compromise? What would they say about a government that cares about the rights of the unborn but ignores their suffering once they are born?

If an image speaks a thousand words, then I have nothing more to say today.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Songs

Pond Near Winchester Center
Winchester, CT

This morning I realize that the things I am most grateful for are the simplest. Even my photographs tend to be uncomplicated frames. Adding more clutters and complicates. It's an irony that we spend a lifetime gathering and at the end we take with us very little. Some however spend a lifetime adding clutter and sharing very little. Those same hold a nation hostage this Thanksgiving.

I wanted to find something to sing about this Thanksgiving, but it seems that Christmas and New Year have the market covered. There are a few Amish tunes but nothing quite catchy that will inspire a pop singer to rush to record and sell. You aren't about to hear Lady Gaga sing "Tis the gift to be simple, Tis the gift to be free." Perhaps we have all grown to complicated.

For lack of inspiration this morning, I would like to leave you with two clips this morning: one from Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro discussing their Thanksgiving roles and the other with Steve Martin and his first atheist ballad.  After an exhausting year, I remain most grateful that despite Congressional disfunction my sense of humor remains intact.

Oh before I forget, make sure you call your folks today and let them know you love them. It's another thing to be grateful for.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lone Gull

Lone Gull on Journey

This has been a difficult year for my family filled with emotional and financial disappointments; the stuff that would make most lose hope and buckle under its stress. There is no perfect time to both lose a job and a parent. There is no magic that can assuage the agony of grief and the mental torment of job loss. The solitude this brings is hard to bear. The silence spoken by what use to be friends leaves one baffled.

Thanks to a very supportive wife, a few close but geographically distant friends from destinations as far as  Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Oregon, Tennessee, Massachusetts,  and all places Texas, I was able to weather the most troubling part of the storm.

Frequently, on this blog, I've mentioned that we are preordained to create; that it's in our nature to create and that we should not allow ourselves to become alienated from our own creativity. There's something else that I've also discovered. We are also predisposed/programmed to survive. The stress we feel is our call to action. It's our very basic instinct to survive and make something happen. We do not need a large corporation to dictate or remind us. Corporations need us to survive it's not the other way around

Today, please remind yourself of these facts: 1) we were born to create;  2) we were born with the innate ability to survive, and 3) we were born to work together to facilitate our own and the well being of others.

The lone gull depicted by my photo above is on a journey. The inscription which I wrote in Spanish means "not alone but rather together." We are are not alone and we can achieve more by supporting each other. Pick up your cell phone today text, email, or call someone you know. Let them know you are there for them. Tell them about how you survived and how they can make it too. Better yet lend a hand if they need it.

A friend of mine took a sabbatical from his lucrative music/entertainment career in his mid fifties. He told me that he took a low paying job and baked brownies for a year. He took time to paint and create. Later on, he picked up his career where he had left off and became even more successful.  I am simply baking brownies. You might want to do the same.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Keep It Simple

Boat House Roof
Wimberley, TX
                     The sculptor produces the beautiful statue by chipping away
 such parts of the marble block as are not needed
 - it is a process of elimination.
  ~Elbert Hubbard

For many years, Kim and I would visit a B&B down in the Texas Hill Country in Wimberley, Texas. The innkeeper Mary, treated us as if we were her own family. She pampered and coddled like a doting mother. Her embraces were genuine and warm and made the long trip from Dallas to the other side of Austin well worth the drive.

Mary converted a handful of hunting cabins into miniature homes filled with simple luxury and shabby chic furnishings. I was amazed by what I didn't need to be happy. The rooms were open and free of clutter: a bedroom, bathroom, a small kitchen, and a potbelly fireplace to keep us warm. The floors were nothing more than scored concrete stained in copper tones. Mary added a few throw rugs for warmth and lots of Ralph Lauren bedding for color and charm. Each house had its own unique theme and charm. Eventually, over time, we stayed in all of them.

Simple Things
We would reach our destination stressed from the hustle of work and from the busy traffic of every day life. When we reached our destination we could feel our pulses slow as we once again heard the constant rushing of the spring feed Cypress Creek.

Each morning was new and crisp. It was fun just to sit on the porch and watch drink coffee and watch the deer eat breakfast between the houses and by the fire pit. It was all so simple.

What would happen to us all if we remove the clutter from our lives? How much do we really need? What do we really need? 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Now A Word From Our Sponsor

Sample 5.3x7.8 Gallery Wrap on Canvas
Image shot with iPhone 4S with my own shaky hands

I get satisfaction of three kinds. One is creating something, one is being paid for it and one is the feeling that I haven't just been sitting on my ass all afternoon.

Normally my blogs are interspersed with both philosophy and diatribes about life or my encounters along the journey. Well folks, I am a pragmatic sojourner and my wife and heirs from time to time expect sustenance from me. Like a good caveman, I attempt to hunt and gather food and keep the family fed, clad, safe, and warm.

The universe provided me an opportunity to rediscover and reinvent myself. It's been nearly a year and a half since I lost my lucrative position with a major Fortune Five Hundred firm. The thought of not being part of the corporate world and losing my identity troubled me for a while. The fact that my fate rested in the hands of politicians in Washington, Greece and Rome troubled me even more. Bad decisions on Wall Street and news poor economic news from Europe stifled multiple job offers.

Rather than succumb to the global malaise, I chose to create and forge my own destiny and follow my passion. I chose to create with my camera the world I saw and the world I live in. You will now find these images as part of card series: Southwest and also Autumn Dreams. My point is to share my art rather than keep it locked up in my computer. The cards represent 5x7 miniature expression of art and gratitude. It's my belief that gratitude should be shared as joy to those you care about most.

Since I started this project in earnest nearly six weeks ago, you have helped me sell over fifty box sets of eight cards each. In addition, I have sold and shipped over nine 12x18 prints on 22x28 matts. These images now have fine homes in Hawaii, Oregon, and Taiwan. They could be in your home as well.

Since many of you are also practicing Reganomics for the home, it dawned on me that I should also make a product which you could not resist, that would make a perfect gift for someone special for under $50 dollars.  Think about it; that's less than a tank of gas!!!

Today, I am rolling out my 5.3 x 7.8 gallery wraps. These wraps are one inch deep and mounted on very light weight but durable material. All of these prints are beautifully rendered on archival canvas. They truly do look like paintings. Not only does this reduce the cost of producing the wrap but it also reduces the shipping weight. This is perfect to pack and ship to you. Or you can have me ship it directly to someone you love on your behalf. This gift fits compactly in your suitcase when you travel at Christmas. It will not tip your luggage scales. You can give personally deliver a fine piece of art with great pride.

The mounting options are limitless and it does not require a frame. You can wall mount these wraps or you can simply sit them wherever you wish to showcase them. The Autumn Dreams series will be the only version offered at this time. You can choose from any of the Autumn Dream images for the low price of $37.50 plus shipping and taxes if applicable. Shipping is free on orders of three or more boxes. 

Of course my cards are still available at $32 per box and don't forget to order your Christmas Cards too. Call for pricing on my prints. All major credit cards are accepted. Orders paid by check are shipped within a week of payment. Contact me via email at Please provide a daytime phone.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Dry Well?

Dark Clown
Fort Worth, TX

The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.

After a full day of printing and assembling canvas wrapped prints, it seems I find myself a bit lost with words and ideas. The well seems low. Imagine the fright of nothing to say.

One of the advantages of maturity is that you gain the perspective of experience and experiences. You get to say I've seen that before and you draw from a series of moments stored somewhere in your mind. After several long careers in three separate industries, this seems to be my case.

As I was preparing for what to write this morning and which image to display, I found this quotation from  Robert Frost. In a simple and compound sentence, the truth of why most people dread going to the corporate office. Businesses that discourage creativity and innovation get less than stellar results from their employees. Those enterprises that snuff out individualism get corporate zombies.

In many ways, my last job enabled me to utilize many dimensions of my personality. It started with the fact that I was transacting business in a different country, Mexico. As time progressed, I elected to also incorporate my passion photography into my work. Today, four separate floors showcase my industrial work. In 2009, some of my images were featured in the annual report. The last trifecta that occurred in my career was when I was asked again to utilize my financial skills to insure we were getting the lease rates for our equipment. 

Unfortunately, someone higher up than me felt that I was over compensated and the company would be better off with my skills and input. It was time for me to move on, but I was very fortunate, because I was allowed to achieve. I worked around that dread of not being able to think and create while at the office.

My coffee mug is nearly empty. Suppose, it needs to replenished. It's time for me to use my brain and the creativity stored in its vault.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hidden Treasure

Keller Covered Bridge
Keller, TX
Taken and Processed with the iPhone 4S

Many of you know that I spent quite a bit of time conducting a search of my ancestry and my heritage. Several months before she passed away my mother sharply criticized me and said that I should stop chasing the gold of my ancestors because there wasn't any. That truly was the last chuckle we had together. Those wise words have lingered in my mind.

In the book, The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho, narrates the sojourn of a young man in search of his treasure. By the end of the book the reader learns by the series of events depicted in the journey that the sought after treasure was along along within his reach and nearby.

This autumn, my journey led me to the Catskills and New England. Like the Alchemist, I too searched for my treasure. It came to me and I shot many frames. Most were rejects but a few which I've posted here were quite good.

Yet this morning, my insomnia must have jarred my memory and awakened me. Perhaps it was the anticipation of another image inside of me that needed to unfold. As I sat in bed in our bedroom lit by the light of the iPhone LED, I stumbled across this image and processed it. 

It turns out that one of the most beautiful shots of autumn this year was right in my very back yard. It appeared to me as I was taking my daily four mile walk. Sometimes the treasures we seek are within walking distance and sometimes they reside within ourselves. In this case it was just down the road from where I live.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Don't Hold Back

Twilight Park
Haines Fall, NY

There's not a person who does not harbor some kind of fear. Most of us don't talk out loud about our fears instead we harbor them secretly. One of my fears since I was a child has been the fear of heights. My passion for photography, however, has helped me overcome this fear. The fact is that in order to get certain shots, you can't hold back and you have to set aside fear.

Most of us could achieve more if we let go of unfounded fear. To achieve you must believe in yourself. If we resolve to learn from our mistakes, we should be willing to move forward despite our fear. Fear keeps us from achieving what we are capable of accomplishing.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

On the Way

On The Way
Near Platts Cove, NY

An old friend from high school, Larry Eggering, shared an interesting simple thought with me. He told me: "Think about how much smaller the rear view mirror is when compared to the windshield." I am grateful for the friends who share their wisdom and experience with me.

It's important to focus on what lies ahead of you. There's not much you can do about what has past. It's easy to spend a disproportionate amount of time ruminating about what has happened rather than contemplating on all the good that lies ahead on the journey. Neither a river nor a creek flows backwards. You can't live your life staring at the rear view mirror.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Worth the Climb

Top of Kaaterskill Falls
Near Palenville, NY

From the bottom of Kaaterskill Falls to the top is about a 1/2 mile climb. While it seems like a long way the view makes it well worthwhile. The trail is well marked and easy to manage with a good pair of hiking boots and a walking stick.

The climb always seems steepest and impossible at the beginning. What keeps us going is the expectation of what's in store at the very end. Many of the things that we achieve start out the very same way. The first day of school seems so overwhelming. A decision to change our environment scares us.

Over the years, I've come to accept that the hardest part about any task is taking the first few steps. The hardest part of exercise is putting on your socks and shoes. Think about the many things that you accomplished in your life and note how difficult it was initially to get started and moving. The best advice that life and nature teaches is simply to believe in yourself and keep moving.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Bottom of Kaatersill Falls
Near Palenville, NY

Heaven is a concept that I've never fully been able to grasp. Let's just say that I tend to define it by what it's not, at least for me. It can't be about money and things because each time I get either, the euphoria subsides rather quickly. There is nothing lasting about it.

Yet the days I spent outdoors walking along the Kaaterskill Creek and shooting Kaaterskill Falls seemed more like heaven to me than any other experience I have had in recent times. I found that I could not think about anything more than the flow of what was right in front of me. The roar of the abundant cascade drowned out all other distractions. I was in the presence of the almighty nature. Everything became distant and I was consumed by what was unfolding with each water surge.

Most of my life has been spent on thinking and planning about the future. However, in the presence of the waterfalls, it commanded my reverence and undivided attention; the deafening roar made me think only about now. As the falls consumed me, I discovered that for the moments spent in front of the cascading alter, I was in heaven. I was calm and without worry. Heaven for me, I realized is that place, where I think of nothing but right now and where I just am without cares and worries. To that extent, I can safely say that I found a piece of heaven in the Catskills. It's a place that I want to experience again and again.

If heaven is a destination you yearn to go to than I admit that I want to go to heaven. I believe I know its location now. The good news is that I don't have to wait a lifetime to experience it again.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Autumn Quilt

Autumn Quilt
Simsbury, CT

They say opposites attract. That must be the case between autumn and winter. Autumn blankets us with warm colors before the chill of winter. My entire life I've welcomed the colors of my New England autumn memories.

There was a certainty in the heralding of the annual color pageant that winter would soon follow. As a child, underneath the umbrellas of the red and orange maple trees I took comfort knowing that this was for me. Soon the trees would be barren and Thanksgiving would draw me closer to winter's doorstep.

That change in season would be marked by the arrival of the Sears Christmas catalog. From Thanksgiving on, I would mark each day by the toys I dreamed about within those pages. The passing of the colors was assuaged by the turning of catalog leaves. Both provided this child comfort and hope.

Today, I truly appreciate the gift of the natural quilt and the warmth it gave me. The falling leaves still remain in my dreams. The onset of autumn still reminds me of simple memories but awesome treasures.

This morning I sit before a lit fireplace and warmth fills me not only from the fires heat but from the glowing memory embers of my childhood autumn.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Of Rocks and Roots (Post Script)

New Card Series

At the very bottom of my email signature page lies a quotation from Viktor Frankl that reads: "When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves." The idea of change frightens most but it's what life requires. We live in a dynamic world. We must adapt and renew. The choices remain within our domain. It's easy to get mired in the past. There's no need to belabor.

Artist frequently talk about their ruts. I am no exception. Right now I am working on a new card and print series: Autumn Dreams. The fact is that I am looking for tools that make the greatest visual impact without distorting my art and my message. I want something different. 

In case you've not noticed, my photography and my prose stress not only what we can see but the choices we can make. When I took the shot above and framed it in my head, many things literally clicked at the same time. This shot captured the poetry and romance placed in my head by a fellow New Englander and poet, Robert Frost.

If you are at a crossroads in your life, this image and verse are right for you. If you know someone who needs encouragement and your thoughtfulness, this makes the perfect gift.

For a limited time, I will be making a special edition 16x20 canvas gallery wrapped print ready to hang in either your home or office wall.  This print along with a complementary gift card set of eight cards will be offered to you for $275 (plus shipping handling and tax if applicable).  To insure timely receipt of orders prior to the Christmas holidays, please place your order today. You can contact me via email at  Leave me your phone number and I will contact you directly to place your order. To facilitate your order, I accept all major credit cards and PayPal.

Post Script: I enjoy Robert Frost Poetry. This picture lends itself to The Road Not Taken. It is copyrighted therefore, I cannot use it to accompany this image. Instead, I've provided my own abridged observation.

Monday, October 24, 2011

We Meet

Canadian Geese at Burr Pond
Burrville, CT

Happened to pay a visit to an old childhood swimming hole called Burr Pond in Burrville, CT. This was the first time I had ever visited it in the fall. It was completely tranquil with just a few Canadian geese taking advantage of the pond's autumnal vacancy status.

What a natural juxtaposition, we both traveled to get to that place. They traveled south but I travelled north. We both had our reasons and by fate we met.

Let me add a footnote, please; yesterday while on my way to our weekly breakfast with my father-in-law we passed a field of the same geese here in Texas. I suppose if you wait long enough we will meet anyway. Then again you might not. You run the risk of never seeing what you should if you just wait for it to come to you.

A friend I met at a recent photographic workshop explained life to me rather succinctly. You do not choose when you are born nor do you choose when you will die. However, everything between those two events called life, you get to choose. Thank you Iris for sharing that with me. Hadn't I chosen to travel north, I would never have heard your wisdom. So the journey north and south, pilgrim migrations with purpose continues.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Downstream Parabolas and Quadratic Equations

Kaaterskill Creek Cascade
Palenville, NY
Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.

There's more to photographing a cascade than meets the eye. The forces and mathematical properties of gravity do their work in the shapes of abundant natural parabolas. Yes quadratic equations come to play down a creek stream and prove their equations under the scrutiny of a slow shutter speed.

Now there's an interesting thought to ponder. We see better when we choose to slow down. There are many things in life you can't see without stopping to enjoy them. As a photographer bent on capturing nature, shutter speed and a tripod are my best friends. Time is not a hindrance but something that requires patience so that I can enjoy what life is trying to teach me. Quadratic equations unfold with just a turn of a dial and patience.