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.