Thursday, January 31, 2013

On My Time

View Atop Lake Patagonia State Park Entrance
Patagonia, AZ

We'd never know how high we are, till we are called to rise;
 and then, if we are true to plan, our statures touch the sky.
 ~Emily Dickinson

One of the advantages of being in sales is that you get to see things outside of the office. A long time ago, I made it a standing habit to bring my camera with me. Since then, even on a bad day, I can say I got something out of the job.

When I think of the many hours, I've spent away from home on a account my jobs, I am at least proud of the fact, that I have something to show for it. My life did not stop nor end with the "company" I kept. My time has always remained mine and mine to enjoy. 

The few minutes, I take to enjoy what is around me and partake in life, is small compared to the amount of time, I invest in putting forth the effort to succeed at any job. It pales to the time I waste worrying about job security. It's my life for me to enjoy. My happiness is not contingent on others. No one has that weight, it rests solely on my own shoulders.

This image was shot on what would have been a fruitless day. The results were sufficient to motivate me to do a good job just so that I could visit there again.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

In a Moment

A Moment
North East of Sonoita, Az

"I have a room all to myself; it is nature."
-Henry David Thoreau

Met a stranger at the local Starbucks the other day and we struck a conversation. (Outside of work I truly don't get to socialize much, a stranger in a new town, it's not much fun starting school over at my age.) We began to talk and I took note of the fact that the stranger was techno savvy with a new iPad and all and an iPhone. Couldn't help but strike up a conversation.

The stranger asked what I did and took it as an opportunity to share my iPad images of my recent Arizona landscapes. The stranger smiled still somewhat tight lipped and nodded with approval. "These are good, really good. You would should see my place."

Turned out the stranger, a rancher, has a 7, 000 acre spread (that's over six square miles) near Patagonia, Az. "Stop by and see me sometime and bring your camera." Would love to I thought. Hope to do so sometime within the next month or so. Need to add to the story and have more frames to shoot. Don't know if I need to be in the moment as much as in a moment, but I am fixin' to find out shortly.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mountain Rain

High Desert Storm
Catalina Foothills
Tucson, AZ

"Every mountaintop is within reach
if you just keep climbing."

Barry Finlay, Kilamanjaro and Beyond

Every morning when I get up my routine is quite similar: start the coffee, get dishes out of dish washer, get out of bowl, mix my own cereal blend, pour a class of orange juice, catch up on some news on my iPad, and look at the mountains. I study the mountains daily looking for changes in light and observing the reflections of light and the cast of shadows. Each day is different.

Never thought about rain in Tucson. While below, it can create havoc, near the mountain summits it brings tremendous overwhelming majestic awe inspiring changes where clouds provide regal robes to mountains and shrouds them with mystery; a coronation fit for royalty. We observe from below what it envelopes but we never know what it has clandestinely dropped off.

Like many of those below, I watch and I capture the moment. As I process the images, gradually the beauty comes to life and is revealed not by my camera, but through my mind's eye. So sight translates to feeling by the time I print. The result, one image, interpreted by this forlorn sojourner from his point of view.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Passing Through

Passing Storm Clouds
Catalina Foothills
Tucson, AZ

Woke up this morning to the unfamiliar sounds of pouring rain. It caused me to slow down my routine and close my eyes for a few more minutes of sweet repose. Lazily I finally staggered out of bed made myself breakfast and an aromatic cup of coffee.

Decided to spend some time out on the patio sipping coffee and listening to the wet symphony providing refreshing music to my ears and coolness to my spirit. A lazy morning rain spawned my creativity and I knew the clouds and overcast would make for breathtaking imagery up on the mountain.

Twice I went up the mountain the first time I was greeted quickly by a brisk shower. The second time the clouds cooperated and the rains ceased to be no more. I waited patiently watching the clouds break their way over the mountains and linger like a lovers touch. The touch that reaffirms that you are ok. The mountains and clouds meant for each other.

The choreography between clouds and mountains moved swiftly by, but at a pace that I was able to enjoy. Full clouds and then wisps of clouds covered the peaks and crept through the canyons while the sun interrupted with its own interlude.

So much to enjoy even both during and after the rain. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Outdoors and Mountains

On The Way to Kebler Pass
Kebler Pass, CO

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity...” 
― John Muir

Mountains not only provide us with their majesty but within their valleys and canyons they furnish a solace that souls pine for. Last September my friend Adam Diesi and I  sought the comfort of the Rocky Mountains and the companionship of bold Aspens. We travelled for nearly 500 miles along the back roads until we were greeted by quilted forests of aspens alongside some brethren pine. There we found what our hearts were looking breath taking colors that renewed the spirit and refreshed the mind.

It wasn't simply about capturing beautiful images. It became a journey to a spiritual Katmandu. We absorbed what nature had to offer and ignored the discomforts of camping and leaving behind the simple pleasures of showers, toilets, and warmth. We lived for the moment and the pleasure of seeing and witnessing first hand nature change the linens on its mountain bed. Nature put its spread many times before us and beneath its mountain peaks. It furnished us with the necessary spiritual warmth we sought as we reconnected with spirit and soul.

Monday, January 21, 2013

On The Way

Trailhead to Romero Pools
Oro Valley, AZ

Mountains can be admired but they are more interesting if climbed. Each has its unique characteristics which bring challenges reminiscent of very specific mountain DNA.

What fascinates us about these natural giants? I like to think that the fascination is that they bring heaven a bit closer to us. And so we climb. The steepness of the rugged terrain forces us to take pause as we rehydrate, acclimate, and rest. We look down and see the specks of what were once problems. We look up and even airplanes seem a lot closer than before. The mountains become nature's escalator between earth and an idea of heaven.

For most of my life, I've lived mountain free. I shouldn't complain about the change, just a few mountains along my way. Suppose I should climb them all and see what each summit brings.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Romero Pools Trail

Romero Pools: A Desert Rhapsody
Oro Valley, AZ

Hiked the greater part of the day at Catalina State Park on the Romero Pools Trail. Had little idea just how steep and rugged the climb would be. It took me nearly six hours including multiple stops for rest, catching my breath, and water. As you can see, even in the desert there is the hope of water.

Can't wait to hike this later again this year, then I will want to cool off in it. Would love to write more on this subject and the adventure but every muscle aches and I think I will seize on the exhaustion and for once get a much needed good night of rest.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Dreams and Streams

Catskill Dreams and Streams
Haines Falls, NY

When I was young I envisioned having an opportunity to travel outside of my home town of Winsted, CT. To me, there was a whole life that I wanted to experience and taste. Knowing this, I shaped my life in such a way, that adventure was always nearby. All the time emblazoned in my mind were all kinds of images that I had seen in books and magazines. That's the life I wanted. Didn't want someone to tell me about it rather I wanted to experience it myself.

We can sit and absorb TV and someone else's messages and voice or we can choose to experience them ourselves first hand and form our own conclusions and views of the world. My images are a chronicle of what I didn't want to miss and what you might want to experience and feel.

For years, I stuffed myself with food to suppress the fact that I wanted to feel and venture out beyond my corporate role. The adventures stopped and parts of me withered. About a dozen years things in my life began to change and fate put me in situations where I had to adapt and change. My thinking continues to evolve, but my photography is the catalyst for change within my own life. I want to see and to feel and I don't want anyone else to tell me about it.

As a realist and a pragmatic person, I know that life is not always pretty. What I do know is that someplace somewhere it is or will be. People like me live for that hope that opportunity to find hidden treasures. Happiness is illusive it may even hide just beneath the surface buried by our negative thoughts. Changing how we see and expanding our minds helps us to find the beautiful and that illusive happiness.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sunset Appreciation

Sunset at Ina Road
Tucson, AZ

Sunsets no longer mark the end of my day but rather the beginning. My day is filled with tedious work with little time for me or for reflection; it is work. However, at the onset of sunset its my time and I welcome getting reacquainted with myself via my outdoor walks.

My walks are no longer on flat surfaces but rather on grades of steepness, but each summit has a down side. The effort I spend to climb the slopes is offset by the respite of the decent. You come to appreciate both the climb and the decline. It's all part of a natural process.

If there were no opposites would we really appreciate the monotony? If life had no hills, if it offered no challenges, would we be content? If that's the case, shouldn't we then embrace the challenges hills and mountains present?

Life is neither bad nor good. It simply is life. There are challenges, peaks and valleys, and yes monotonous flatlands too.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Just Another Day

Saguaro at Sunset
Pima Canyon
Tucson, AZ

It was another day filled with mundane selling chores; knock on a door, hope to be let in, and if lucky find a live deal or two. The focus of course is to try to validate your existence by getting a live deal. We went out in two's like Mormon Missionaries without the bikes, white shirt, and obligatory ties. We were carefree and seasoned like Jehovah's Witnesses on a Saturday morning; rejection was not a problem

The past two days have been laborious. The weather has been cold and my spirits have missed my long hikes at dusk. This late afternoon was different. Our weather reversed back to normal and I once again had the desire to venture on my customary hike.

Within a minutes into my hike, my head cleared, the noise subsided, and I was taking in all of the beauty put on display for me to enjoy. That's right for me, it was placed there for me, an audience of one but nevertheless an attentive full house.

The saguaros greeted me with their limbs extended like open arms. They embraced and welcomed me on my hike. This could very well be why I enjoy taking portraits of these inanimate objects. They have human like welcoming tendencies. When I walk amongst them, I don't feel alone with either my thoughts or by the fact that I miss a place called home.

The sun begins to set and I take my seat as a spectator of nature's live theater. The curtain rises and a lone lit saguaro occupies  the center stage, spot lit. This seat was worth waiting for. My day is complete and suddenly worthwhile, no rejection; the saguaros welcome and beckon me in.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cactus at Dusk

Pima Canyon and Cactus at Dusk
Pima Canyon
Tucson, AZ

The universe has put in a desert for a reason. There's not been a day when I've not been inspired and drawn to the many colors the sun provides. Each day I find a challenge to replicate. It's all real while the events transpire in fractions of seconds, my images can be viewed for hours on end.

The desert has renewed my senses and heightened my sensitivity. It amazes me how much beauty lingers and dances amongst the mountains and crevices. The light bounces from canyon to cactus in a matter of minutes. My senses become overloaded absorbing the spectacular color metamorphosis. Clouds and cactus become lit by the light reflecting the red canyons. Remington had to have witnessed all of this first hand.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Tubac For Sure

Artist Residence
Tubac, AZ

Tried hooking up with a local photographers' group yesterday hoping to connect with kindred spirits. 
I was disappointed the group really was more point and shoot than I am accustomed. Right now, I am looking to be challenged. I am not interested in doing it like everyone else or for that matter care. It's more about my rules and how I see it now.

It seems that here in the desert, in the stillness of the outdoors, I've found my own voice in its solitude. So now I experiment with images captured strictly for composition merits. My heart renders the tones and moods as I process them later. My images as of late are surrounded by melancholic shades but driven towards light. I paint both in to add drama and contrast, we live with both.

Today was chilly but sunny. Knowing that to waste a day is waste creative time, I chose to explore somewhere new. Packed up some gear and two iPhones and headed south towards Nogales. Stopped at the artist enclave known as Tubac.

There are endless shops of artisans and vendors in this quaint community. I strolled at a brisk pace simply to keep warm. Around several corners and past the old church, I met an artist who was working outdoors in a courtyard, taking in the sunshine and the good company of friends and spectators. Within a short time I made friends with the strangers as we talked about art, inspiration, and places to live: Tucson vs. Tubac.

Left only because the sun was moving in my favor and I knew I needed to get a few frames in before dark. As I was walking back to my car this old artist gallery and residence caught my attention. The light appeared to be working right and I shot off three exposures on my iPhone. The rest was an exercise in interpreting the light and colors which struck me there at that time of day. I suppose I was also inspired by my new friends too.
Pima Canyon: Snow and Sunset
Tucson, AZ

Several weeks ago, I had the good fortune of hiking up Pima Canyon. The canyon had just received a confectioner's sugar dusting. Thought it would make sense for me to look for new things to photograph. Nature and I collaborated on creating our own art.

Later on, as I processed my images, I realized that now as an adult I was creating my own ViewMaster images. Images like the ones I used to spend hours viewing. 

It should not come to any of us as a surprise how we've been shaped by our own experiences influences our reality perception. Reality is a cerebral term consequently very few things in a photographer's realm are in fact "real". We shoot based on perception. Perception lends its itself to both experience and influence and a tad of physical realness. The finished product of Pima Canyon was made cerebrally under the "influence". It's my reality and I am sticking to it.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Scrapyard Art

Scrapyard Art: La Virgen de Guadalupe and Semi
Tucson, AZ

Been spending quite a bit of time focusing on my new job requirements. I've been shifting gears and trying to develop my own strategy that will both work for my company and me. It's a fine balance. I know that as long as I can use my creativity along the way; I will be successful. It requires both time and patience things that I don't have an abundance of.

As I came back into the scrapyard after my marketing calls, I noticed the back of this semi-trailer. It had both the Virgen Guadalupe and the colors of the Mexican flag. Faith remains an integral part of the Mexican Americans we serve. Although times are tough they have what appears to be an abundance of faith and patience that God provides and that things work out.

The image and concept caught my attention. I must have faith and patience.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Bob Marley in Desert

View from the Catalinas
Tucson, AZ

Trying to keep up with my walking routine to keep my neurons healthy and to keep them from misfiring. The outdoors and the desert light help burn away the darkness that often creeps in this time of the year. I am learning to utilize melancholia into my art. My sensitivity to light has come to play.

Light and color have filled my palette as of late. It truly doesn't matter if I use my digital SLR or my iPhone. I feel, focus, and forge ahead with composition. The images aren't always perfect. They no longer are about perfection or all of the rules. Instead the are all about archiving and conveying a mood.

Sunset near Drexel Heights
Tuscon, AZ
For someone blessed with an over abundance of sensitivity, this has been my salvation. I am able to express myself without going grey. Even my greyest image feature the light which ultimately guides us out.

So here I sit nearly a week since my last post. Marley is singing in the background tunes such as Buffalo Soldier and No Woman No Cry. Trying to balance my struggles in a new job, the loneliness of solitude, and acclimating to a new city.

Resentment has begun to give way to acceptance and understanding. As I look, at my creative work, I note that none of the adventure and photography would have occurred had I still had my former corporate job. Even on my bad days, the new journey offers me incredible hikes and color. As much as I can be melancholic, I love the fact that I've had an opportunity to turn an adverse situation into a positive event. To that extent, I choose to let the light me out of the darkness, a daunting task for a logical rational personal.

To all of you I exhort you to "Getup standup for your right, Getup standup don't give up your fight." You hear me now...."Now you see the light, Standup for your right." You can succumb to the noise of your mind. You must let your heart and eyes guide you. That requires being awake to your surroundings and engaging and participating in your life. To that extend we must "get together and feel alright."

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Finding Your Voice

Sunset At Pima Canyon
Tucson, AZ
I am as bad as the worst, but, thank God I am as good as the best.
-Walt Whitman

It's been a long time coming but gradually I'm finding my artistic voice. The light and the desert-scapes surrounding Tucson have inspired me. If anything else, I understand why the universe has placed me here at this place at this time. Although I've bellyached the whole time because of things out of my control, this part, my creative part has benefitted tremendously.

Peson de Pima
Tucson, AZ
Like Walt Whitman I celebrate who I am and "sing the song of myself". God gave me an overabundance of sensitivity in lieu of brains. I sense things before I know them. My world is sensual and metaphysical. It's of the intangible. Yet it's as real as the fact that you and I exist. This is what I have to do. If I stop, my life and its enjoyment ends.

So I am here in the wilderness to work, explore, create, witness, and testify. My work is far from perfect and my heart is far from pure. My life is raw and awakened by my senses. They dictate that I note the details so that others might see a whole beautiful life to live if you we bother to look. Life is for us to fulfill we take what it offers us and live everything in between birth and death. We control neither extreme but influence all in between. What we do between the extremes is called living.

In the movie "The King's Speech", King George VI was determined if not haunted by his desire to find his voice. In his frustration, attributed to his stammering disorder, he shouts, "I have a voice." That quote still resonates within me. To some extent, I believe I've found it. Of all of my longings and all my dreams and fantasies this has been foremost on my mind. It's taken me a long time to discover the person I am. What I believed was my curse may very well be my salvation. Welcome creativity back into my life. I have a voice and I've found you.