Sunday, September 28, 2014

Monsoon on the San Rafael Valley

The San Rafael Valley
Vacas Ranch
Patagonia, AZ

Since most of you are scattered throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, I've made a clip highlighting my experience on the San Rafael Valley. Hope this conveys not only what I saw but also what I felt. In fact its what I feel each time regardless of the season. Please click on Monsoon on Lazy2. Give me your feedback, I would love to hear from you.

If you are interested in this slice of heaven and would like images from this series or from other recent posts please contact me at

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Desert Storm Chaser

View of Storm from the Santa Ritas
Highway 83

Heard that Odile was going to visit southeast Arizona and it was the only omen I needed to push me into action. Here was the perfect chance to see the tail end of the desert monsoon.

Some might wonder what's so special about a storm in the desert after all rain is rain. The abundance of cumulus clouds mixed with sunshine made for some interesting photography especially from the perspective of the high desert.  I navigated through plenty of rain and even waited for flooded roads to dry all for the sole purpose of getting a unique perspective of the greening of the desert and the high grasslands; no sunny skies for me.

Storm Heading East to Patagonia
Patagonia, AZ
There was more to my journey than even I knew. Had opportunities to renew and refresh my heart and soul by communing with my natural companion. She gave me an opportunity to enjoy her charms and rest in her arms after long interludes of play. I didn't tire although I had slept little and was always ready to engage again. Each time I knew it would be different but I never knew how or why.

Life got a hold of me again. Although my burdens didn't vanish, for a moment euphoria rushed through me and amazing releases of natural joy pulsed through me. I needed this. I needed to know that my purpose was not to simply work but rather to experience life, partake, and share my experiences with others. This knowledge restores me and provides joy.

Some of you will understand and some will simply think another mad artist. To me though the most insane thing is to not get anything out of your life and simply toil without taking time out to enjoy what is all around you. Find your balance and live.

Friday, September 26, 2014

My Wandering I

Hereford Herd
San Rafael Valley
Patagonia, AZ

Don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.
 - Jackson Browne; Eagles, Take It Easy

There are times when the day to day stresses overwhelm. When the world seems to be spinning too fast and there's no way to get off the treadmill that's when it's time for me to fade out, pull back, and regroup. This month seemed to get the best of me and I had no choice but to seek refuge in my creative space.

Rather than completely retreat into a darker place and brood familiar themes, I sought adventure again in the desert of southeast Arizona. My goal was to find both solace and light although the clouds and rain of hurricane Odile threatened the desert. Timing in my mind was perfect; I would get to see the tail end of the monsoon and enjoy an abundance of cumulus clouds.

It took me a few days before I was able to unwind and forget. Several hikes up Pima Canyon and drives back and forth to places like Sonoita and Patagonia proved to be all part of the therapy. Before long nature was able to drown out the noises of my own wheels. Take it easy was not a choice but required and I did.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Lazy Living at the Lazy J2 Ranch
Patagonia, AZ

Trying to pack for an adventure back to southeast Arizona. From what I can tell my visit will coincide with the tail end of hurricane Odile which promises rain showers during my stay. Coordinating last moment details with the rancher's hand as my trip also coincides with the annual Santa Cruz County Fair and Rodeo in Sonoita.

My arrangements are last minute and spontaneous.  I prefer it that way. Just want to experience it the way it is not they way I contrive it. Need to get some things out of the way first. Ready to empty out my head and fill my heart.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Windmill and Cattle
Lazy J2 Ranch
Patagonia, AZ
What makes the desert beautiful 
is that somewhere it hides a well
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

It's difficult to overcome various ways of thinking. While I am behind the camera I know I truly change as I focus on what's immediately in front of me. After putting together my most recent series of images it came to me a second reason why I shot these images. Simply put it was the heart expressing not only the joy it felt but also gratitude.

Road to Rain
Lazy J2 Ranch
Patagonia, AZ
Beneath the pain of job loss and familial alienation (while in Tucson) laid a beating heart full of gratitude. You see it was there when I experienced the joy of rain in the desert. In fact, I waited for the monsoon to come and would not leave the desert until it finally came to replenish the parched and thirty grasslands of the high Sonoran desert.

It's the hope and promise of the rain which sustain us until the rain comes. Perhaps we should start by being grateful of that knowledge too. Gratitude and its precursors hope and promise meld ultimately into one. We wait to renew.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Scene From Dances With Wolves?

View From the Lazy J2 Ranch
Patagonia, AZ

Many of us vividly recall those magnificent scenes from Dances With Wolves and the loneliness experienced by the movies' protagonist, John Dunbar. After a while Dunbar began to commune with the expansive wilderness and became a part of it and ultimately made a conscious choice to become a part of the native American experience driven by both the love of a woman and his romance with a harmonious natural lifestyle.

When I discovered the San Rafael Valley to the East of Patagonia, AZ, I too was made breathless by the unexpected panoramas. As I drove on the unpaved road and climbed towards a summit leading to it, I had no idea what awaited me on the other side. At the moment I reached the summit, it was as if someone had rolled back the movie curtains and began to play the most magnificent version of Dances With Wolves just for my personal viewing.

In my opinion, if there was a heaven on earth this was it. I experienced paradise and my heart was filled with joy and unexpected happiness know that I had a glimpse of something most people will ever witness in their lives.

For this reason, I've spent the last few blogs sharing these images with you. You see if something painful hadn't happen in my life such as my prior job loss and subsequent job finding, I never would have had the opportunity to have found my personal Nirvana.  This is the reason why I keep reflecting on it and continue to process my memories of those landscapes and my sensations.

Represented by the Simon Gallery of Fine Art, Tucson

Friday, September 12, 2014

Life Goes On

Defiant Sotols
Lazy J2 Ranch
Patagonia, AZ

"How important is a constant intercourse with nature
and the contemplation of natural phenomena
to the preservation of moral and intellectual health!"
Henry David Thoreau

We often forget that nothing revolves around us. Mankind held the opposite view for centuries that all revolved around the earth. In time we discovered that only our moon revolved around us and that we revolve around the sun within our solar system while collectively we travel in the universe. Life moves on and so we do too in tandem.

Grasslands on High Dessert
Lazy J2 Ranch
Patagonia, AZ
It literally requires an act of nature for me to see this. As I hike the likes of the high dessert of southeast Arizona free from obstructions, a complete ecosystem teaming with life unfolds and curtains rise before me like some kind of existential revelation or dream. My mind is released from itself and I no longer view myself separately from nature but rather as a part of it. It's so easy to forget but nature reminds me otherwise; life goes on.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Desert High Plain Mood

Mustang Mountains and Biscuit
Lazy J2 Ranch
Patagonia, AZ

"Nature reminds me that in time inclement weather passes."
Al Hernández

A reading from nature's homily: "in time inclement weather passes, enjoy the scenery, peace be with you". I think about all the images inclement times bring. I turn to positive creative outlets which turn my energy into productive inspiration. It seems like I enjoy working with light and its shades in the context of the high dessert monsoon season with the absence of bright clear skies.

Something inside of me yearns to create and communicate my feelings while I really can't verbally express them well at all. In this space, photography takes holds and with my creative process tools in hand, I create what comes to me naturally: the poetic and romantic, those senses which I bury every day as I try to cope with the nonsense I experience routinely in the bustle of the numbing boredom of suburban life.

Some say life is about living. Perhaps so, but I can only relate when I commune with nature's own art gallery, it's landscapes, a personal affair and existential. It lingers in my mind and I can only recreate the experience as I render photographs filled with my memories both physically and spiritually.

Represented by the Simon Gallery of Fine Art, Tucson

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Happy Place

The Promise of Rain
Lazy J2 Ranch
Patagonia, AZ

"My happy place resides here within the confines of my mind
and is only released by my  own creativity.
Photography is the key which sets us both free."
Al Hernández

It's comforting to know that within me resides a "happy" place whose well I can draw from during bouts of drought. I don't have to travel far all I have to do is search through thousands of images and select ones to process.

As I direct my creative energies and time to a more pleasant task; I recognize that I am responsible for my happiness. During the past five years I've learned to draw from fractions of seconds captured by lens and imagination. This process resets and restores my happiness completely as I connect with myself once again.

Represented by the Simon Gallery of Fine Art, Tucson

Friday, September 5, 2014

You Can't Always Get What You Want

Showers on Lazy J2
Lazy J2 Ranch
Patagonia, AZ

"...You can't always get what you want 
But if you try sometimes well you might find
You get what you need..."
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

There are people who expect sunshine everyday in all that they do. I've learned that life is not always about sunshine but also cloudy days and for folks like me, in warmer climes, also rain. I use to complain vociferously about things not going my way; life is forcing me to mellow and be philosophical and reflective. I think about the adage "things happen for a reason" an adage I truly hate. What does that mean?

To me it means take pause and heart that you can't always get what you want. If you wait and try you will find and get truly what you need. During the late summer monsoon in south east Arizona this plays out in nature as storm clouds roll in and drop the moisture the grasslands and ranchers need. I watch and enjoy the experience and the lessons between want and need and feel sorry for those who have never had to learn them.

Today will be one of those days. I may not get what I want but I may very well find what I need. The idea of finding what I need is more appealing as I think how clouds bring refreshing showers that will renew me.

Represented by the Simon Gallery of Fine Art, Tucson

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Next Best Thing to Being There

Lone Oak On the Lazy J2
Lazy J2 Ranch
Patagonia, AZ

"If you live your life the way you imagine
you will always please the audience of self."
Al Hernandez

I travel light but I make room for my camera. My camera captures images I wish I could paint but can't. I render them with emotion and season them to my liking for folks some of whom feel that my images are the next best thing to being there. So I submit them to the voyeurs who would rather see than to do or be.

Frequently people ask how did you get that image? I got that image quite simply because I was there. If I had not been there, there's no way I could have made the capture. Photography is about capturing an image but my processing is about creating a tone a dimension that a piece of paper simply reproduced cannot convey.

You choose each day to participate or not. I choose to do, see, and be. I don't want someone else telling me about what I should experience. It's for me to find out, explore, and live. We choose to either be voyeurs or participants in life. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I Can't Paint

Lone Red Tail Hawk
Lazy J2 Ranch
Patagonia, AZ
"I love nature and when I see her
my heart skips a beat or two."
Al Hernandez

Since I can't paint landscapes, I photograph them instead with how I would paint them in mind. A friend once told me that the painter has the upper hand because he/she starts with a blank canvas. Photographers however start with clutter and removes it simply to tell a story.

For the past four years, I've sought to find my creative voice both with portraits and my landscapes. I am trying to uniquely find my artistic DNA which will brand my images as mine. In the silence of the desert wilderness and its high plains I found it. It pleases me to me to be heard and listened to with the silent words of my photography.

Each image speaks volumes to me and I only use my digital tools to convey the messages I sense and experience so that vicariously you experience the same. Feel free to let me know how my images move you. Do they awaken you? Do they make you want to be there and experience a life you have not ventured?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Creative Space

Lone Tree on Lazy J2
Patagonia, AZ

Had hoped to get back to southeast Arizona in time for the monsoon but life kind of got in my way this year. Several life stresses instead have loomed over the horizon this month including the pending sale of our home and the irreverence of promised job interviews. Both have thwarted my short term plans. Instead of waiting to do something, I simply am waiting.

My mind has taken various detours on an unscheduled roller coaster; rather than succumb to the ride full of twists and lunges, I've chosen to find my quiet creative space where nothing really matters other than the perfection of memories of soothing landscapes which accompany me daily. I like to think that the recollection itself will remind me of the simplicity of happiness unencumbered by the shackles of accumulation, deadlines, and calendars.

When I started my journey in earnest in March of 2010, I wanted to experience the same feelings Whitman had when he announced that he celebrated himself and sang himself and what he assumed we would also assume. Four years later, I am still on a quest to find my happiness in a world troubled by the lack of it.

Happiness comes to me via the opportunity to create and when I am in that space nothing around me matters. Nothing moves me until I finish recreating emotional images I've captured. I am compelled to move viewers s by adding dimensions to my two dimensional images. I interpret the landscapes beyond what the camera physically captures and transcend to how I saw or felt about the image. That mood was there at that place at that time when I pressed the button and the shutter released.

There's lots left for me to see and even more to feel. I truly abhor the interruptions that life throws my way. I am impatient and ready to move on and to live, experience, and enjoy. So much to do still I feel. I don't like hurry up because each time I do, I know I've not savored that day the way I want.