Thursday, December 10, 2015

That time of year.

Keller Christmas
Keller, TX

Happened to look down at my calendar which happens to be my iPhone only to notice that its now the second week of December. What happened to this year? All I see on my way home now are tree lights and homes silhouetted by lights. When did the year escape me?

All I recall was preparing for the three exams earlier this year: Series 7, 66, and my Texas Insurance License. The next thing I knew I was in Tempe preparing to start my financial advisory business and knocking on doors like a hybrid Jehovah's Witness with Mormon parents.

Had to set aside my photography to earn money in earnest. However, I miss my doing my landscapes but I don't miss trying to earn commercial assignments. There are simply too many people giving it away and with negligible skills calling themselves photographers. A camera doesn't make you one nor does a license really make you a financial advisor.

It boils down to more: talent, skill, a calling. Two things I've always been my entire life: creative and financially oriented. If you stop by my office, in addition to my financial advice and guidance, if you are lucky you might also get a 5x7 card from me, a sample of my passion and creativity.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Playing in My Creative Attic

Aspens Ablaze
Near Kebler Pass
Crested  Butte, Colorado

The last of human freedoms -
the ability to choose one's attitude
in a given set of circumstances.
Viktor Frankl 

When I was a child I remember the countless hours spent at my neighbors house on rainy days playing in a makeshift playroom in a very dusty attic on 75 Prospect St, in Winsted, CT. The dreary rain did not bother us. It provided us with an opportunity to play and to entertain ourselves. It was always worthwhile.

For those of you tracking the weather here in North Texas we have been afflicted with large amounts of rain since Thanksgiving eve and into the long weekend. Its not been pretty and the wind chill has turned 39 into 20. I've no attic to play in so I've chosen to search my photographic archives and find images that I could breathe life into. Images that I've not had time to interpret to my liking. 

Today's image was shot while on an excursion with a friend on our way to Kebler Pass. The friend was someone we had met ironically in Colorado one year prior. We met as strangers on a journey with a common interest. Thank you Adam for inviting me to come out and play.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Wanted: Inspiration

Inspiration Lost
Hunter, NY

"Don't aim at success.
The more you aim at it
and make it a target,
the more you are going to miss it."
Viktor Frankl
Success has always driven me. It has driven my crazy. It's been fleeting and illusive. It has taken me to dark places in the absence of its financial definition. Viktor Frankl implied that success was the "unintended side effect to a cause greater than oneself or as the by product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself." You have to not care about it and let it happen.

If this sounds odd to you, you are in good company. It's totally foreign to me. However, when I am in my creative space not only am I happy but I find that I am also successful because I let go of all the conventions and simply work at something until I am satisfied with my creation.

This morning, on the tail end of a deluge of rain from a weather pattern I refer to as "el gringo" (unlike its cousin el Niño, it takes over the country and lingers), I had trouble getting inspired. I chose to find an image which would force me to communicate my mood on this dreary day. 

In doing this, I was able to feel both happiness and success on this dreary damp day. Find your inspiration even on the darkest days. That is truly a successful way to live. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Midlife Crisis or Self Discovery

Photographer at Work
Zabriskie Point
Death Valley, CA

"I celebrate myself, and sing myself, 
And what I assume you shall assume, 
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you."
--Walt Whitman

It's been a while since I started my journey in earnest. The catalyst was a combination of job loss and midlife crisis seasoned by financial and human loss. The crisis in time became a realization of self-discovery, a long journey. Its now that I can look back and say that it lead to an incredible metamorphosis. Irony for someone who abhorred change.

My bitterness and pain was assuaged by my priceless experiences and by the people I met; sojourners, slobs on the bus, traveling through life just like me.

There's so much more wisdom now to share with you. Things ultimately do get better. After the excruciating pain of birth there's is a complete life to enjoy. Suffering is not needless but an avenue paved by the realization of good times and the uncomplicated. Life and the breaths you have are worth celebrating.

Today, again, I renew my vows with myself and to the life I have, not to the one I dream of. I celebrate myself with all my foibles and what goodness might be within me. I am grateful to be alive and even more grateful to have you as my audience. Learn from my hardship and celebrate with me my metamorphosis.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Desert Epiphany

Peson de Pima
Pima Canyon
Tucson, AZ

My best creative work came to me whilst in the midst of a very dark period of personal turmoil. A few of you know about my personal job travails and self doubt. I very much felt lost and rudderless. The isolation of the desert and my seclusion from friends and family forced me to open my eyes. I witnessed my own my own metamorphosis and in that space the barren took on its own meaning.

My discovery was simply this that I was surrounded by life and meaning and that to enjoy it all I had to do was simply pay the admission of being awake. It was the unforeseen and unanticipated that forced me to enjoy my journey. Yes hardship forced me to have adventure at a time that I thought my life was dead and over. I felt forsaken by the source of my identity: work.

In the absence of verdant vegetation, shapes and solitude, and my imagination created new pixels of images that I otherwise would not have seen or witnessed. No longer did I simply watch a movie, but I became its director, cinematographer, and audience of one. I experienced life. I experienced the euphoria of the mountain top.

Don't let others tell you that its a midlife crisis. Don't listen to that noise. It's not a crisis at all, it's self-discovery.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Thought on Global Warming

Summer View
Estes Park, CO

Most folks blue and red alike share a love for clean air and water. At least, I presume so. A friend of mine and I are having a debate over over global warming. He pointed out that an article written in 1922 shared the same concern and that my argument was nothing new. That's ok, but since then the world has become vastly industrialized with China, India, and Brazil emerging onto the scene.
Go to China and stay for a week or Bombay, India and you will understand the severity and enormity of the problem. It's a global issue and taking away the tax incentives for polluters to transfer jobs and pollute elsewhere is a great beginning towards remedying the situation. It's not sufficient to say that a few hydrocarbons won't hurt anyone. We felt that way towards lead based paint, asbestos, and thalidomide. In time all were deemed harmful to our well being. There is a balance to be found and we must either find it or evolve further and wean ourselves from both clean air and water.
I love my grandkids and my children. I wish them healthy lives.

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Little Bird

Kestrel on Sign
San Rafael Valley
Patagonia, AZ

There wasn't much according to my mother that she didn't know she claimed. You see she had a very wise bird an omniscient omnipresent bird who told her everything. For years as a child I dared not take my chances against such a formidable foe. Why challenge him? In fact I had no intention of taking such risks.

As time passed I got more gutsy and ultimately through down my gauntlet. My mother had predicted that my first born would be a son. The early morning birth came shortly after midnight. The doctor announced that my "son" was a girl and I responded in disbelief. "Are you sure?" My mother's bird had never been wrong according to my stats.

Apparently the doctor must have had a similar mother and encouraged me to look for myself and corroborate his fact. From that day forward, my poor mother lost her staunchest believer and from that day forward on most things I became a sceptic.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

You Must Not Quit

San Rafael View
Patagonia, AZ

The most difficult part of post processing in photography is quitting to soon; quitting before the actual reasons or motivations for capturing the image develop before your eyes. If you quit you will never realize the potential. You work the image until each pixel speaks to you, its modern day digital pointillism. Seurat would be quite proud.

Zona Hereford
Patagonia, AZ
Each time that I've ventured out into the San Rafael Valley, I am awakened and my spirit renews. It seems that each time I find something new, another piece of the puzzle. It always a fresh discovery but its not until I spend time with my digital tools that I get to paint with my imagination as I try to recall what I felt and witnessed. It's at that point that creativity and reality fuse.

No you must not quit. Don't stop before the end of the line. If you do you will truly miss out and so will your viewers.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

My Shoes

Rancho De Vacas
San Rafael Valley
Patagonia, AZ

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

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

Monday, February 16, 2015


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

Saturday, February 7, 2015


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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Choice and Change

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

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

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

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

Sunday, January 4, 2015


Hint of Winter
Pima Canyon
Tucson, AZ

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

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

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