Saturday, March 30, 2013

You Never Know

Headwaters of the San Pedro River
Whetstone, AZ

My job often takes me to remote locations off the beaten path. Have to admit there are times I wonder what I am doing and why. Then I encounter something out of the ordinary. Something which catches my eye and heightens my curiosity. There's always time to pull off to the side of the road and compose an image.

Junk Yard
Whetstone, AZ
Several weeks ago my assignment was to visit a landfill and also  find an abandoned junk yard. Truthfully this was beyond a the beaten path and remote enough that it could not be found on a GPS. It was well worth the trip down several unpaved gravel roads. At a dip in the road, in the midst of the high desert, I found this refreshing stream surrounded by stately cottonwoods. The light peaked through clouds and branches and softly lit the grass along the stream. Everything was picture perfect. I took a few shots from my car window and then moved on.

Down the road was my find, the abandoned junk yard, amongst cottonwoods and unkept trailer homes. Old rust cars were strewn everywhere in all directions what appeared to endlessly. Still another photo opportunity of a different kind. This time I used my iPhone and thought about the story I would tell. You never know what you will find. Somehow for me, I find the time to make it all pretty and right. My heart wants it that way and my spirit won't give in until I make it so.

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Asphalt and Flowers
Catalina Foothills
Tucson, AZ

Been walking on the asphalt pavement alongside the Catalina Foothills here in Tucson. Each day, I try to get a good four mile hike up and down the steep inclines. Usually, my eyes are cast on only whats immediately in front of me or along the periphery.

A couple of days ago, I chose to look down and  noticed that something was emerging between the asphalt cracks worn by the long summer desert heat. Blooms were emerging from this harsh unlikely place.  A few days later, I noticed that the blooms had become flowers and that nature was determined that even in this unlikely place we would witness something beautiful.

In my solitude, away from family and friends, I've often wondered why this was my immediate destiny. As I contemplated the flowers there between the asphalt cracks and to the side of the desert, I had my answer. It's my lot to bloom in an unlikely place; to bloom where I've been planted.

Slowly, the answers are coming unfolding it seems, a petal at a time. It's not financial gain that's beginning to happen but rather an evolution of a dream. Here, in this place, my work has blossomed. Soon it will be showcased at the Steinway Piano Gallery, appropriately beneath the Catalina Foothills within walking distance of my apartment. While I am here, in this place, this is what I am supposed to do. Sometimes we bloom in the most unlikeliest places, but we bloom.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Just a Walk

Near Sin Vacas
Catalina Foothills
Tucson, AZ
"God never made an ugly landscape. 
All that the sun shines on is beautiful, so long as it is wild"
--John Muir

Walks afford me the opportunity to purge my mind and refresh my soul. The undulation of the mountainside gives me a natural baptism.  When I emerge, I am reborn by the evaporated moisture of sweat and the opening of the eyes.

My choices are limited by my exile and I am driven by awakening senses. To that extent, the wilderness experience has sharpened my visual and spiritual perceptions. Each day has fractions of unique experiences which I try to capture, interpret and share, like a Catholic cantor. You've unwittingly become parishioners. a live audience. To that extent, my chronicling is equally mine as it's yours. This cantor/chronicler is motivated by not solely his senses but by your reactions. Hope the images do not disappoint. Every now and then let me know.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Dragoon Boulders
I-10 Rest Stop
East of Benson, AZ

Made my journey back to Dallas. Drove five hours from to Tucson to El Paso, where I caught a plane for the second half of the trip. The topography gets wide open to the east of Tucson and the mountain ranges are further apart. To the east of the city past the the Santa Ritas lie the historic Chirahuacuas were the Indian warrior stood his ground against the US Cavalry and westward expansion; north and east are the shapely boulders of the Dragoon Mountains where Wyatt Earp captured and tortured "Indian Charlie" who had murdered his brother Morgan in Tombstone.

History and topography mix in this region a place of wide open spaces and plenty of room for thought and imaginations. Although I was in a hurry and had a deadline to meet, I took some time to study the shapes of these boulders with the hope of sometime coming back to shoot more. Georgia O'Keefe herself would have painted these sensuous monuments, I am sure.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Snow Dust

Snow Dust on the Catalinas
Tucson, AZ

"In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks."
--John Muir

Hard to believe that a few days ago the temperature dropped low enough to allow a dusting of snow here in Tucson and the Catalinas got a white comforter draped over it. Two weeks later, we had temperatures in the low to mid 90's. (Several hours after sunset the relief came in the form of nice comfortable 70 degree evening.) This is the high desert.

It's easy to become enamored by both weather and topography here. I seldom not notice what is going on around me. Each day is different and nature brings me it's unique package of visual joy. She has more outfit changes than a female host at any television award ceremony, oscar's or emmy's. It's easy to see why I allow my eyes to indulge.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Enjoy Now

Saddle Horn
East of Sonoita, AZ

"The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark."
--John Muir

The vastness of places like Arizona helps us comprehend how much we can truly see if we eliminate the obstructions and impediments in our lives. Remove them and you can see the obvious beauty that surrounds us on a daily basis. Nature provides us with its own unique drama each day there are no reruns.

Near the Lazy J2 Ranch
Patagonia, AZ
We switch gears as we mature. Our priorities evolve we are no longer simply about survival but rather enjoying the life and the time we have left. Life is not only about work but about the enjoyment of each second which accumulates into minutes and hours and days. We were meant to enjoy not by years but rather by seconds. As a photographer, I even have the distinct pleasure of enjoying life by the fractions of seconds.

Employers want us enjoy our time two weeks at a time at best. In some cases, we  break that up into smaller pieces and rob ourselves of complete relaxation and enjoyment. The pace we keep stresses productivity and minimizes or postpones relaxation and living. We work and live towards retirement. That truly doesn't make sense. Age provides no assurances that we will be able to enjoy the things we postpone. We have been convinced of something that simply is a hoax. Enjoy what you can now. Live now by the second, by the minute, by the hour, and by the day.

By the way, to my readers in the UK, if you would like to enjoy Southeast Arizona. Please contact me. I would be able to help you see and experience the real American West now. It's affordable. You may want to do it now.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Exploring Light

Catalinas: View from Sunset Canyon
Tucson, AZ
"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings."
John Muir

One of our favorite common expressions is "I've seen the light". There is however a difference between seeing the light and studying it. The two are not mutually exclusive, but they are different. Under either scenario it requires a conscience choice. To be awakened your senses must be functioning.

By circumstance and by choice, I've seen the light and I've witnessed first hand the effects it has on the nearby mountain; how by the end of the day, it's long shadows cover blemishes and accentuates its form. Right at sunset, the majestic Catalinas, blush embarrassed by attention given by many mountain lovers.

Seeing the light is not enough. Even studying it is not enough nor is witnessing. What you do with that experience requires more that's why I share it with you.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Catalina View
Tucson, AZ

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life
is the foundation for all abundance.
Eckhart Tolle

The word gratitude has crept into my mind lately. To learn to appreciate the simple gifts in life is essential in achieving personal happiness. The acknowledgement and acceptance of those gifts is a process some like myself must learn.

There are many things out of our realm of control. Yet there are other small things that we can enjoy each day. In fact each day is unique in what it brings and unfolds. The moment is all we have and its for us to enjoy.

While in the last three years there have been many disappointments, they do not overshadow the many good things that have transpired as a result of the ongoing changes in my life. Had it not been for my job loss and subsequent job gain, I never would have been able to amass such a beautiful photographic portfolio. I chose to take the time afforded me to see and to create.

Many of you have accompanied me on this journey. You have seen my work evolve. This morning I encourage you and also exhort you to exercise gratitude for what we can enjoy each day. Also share that gratitude with others who need to be uplifted. Someone whom I've never met shared this video from TED on FB on gratitude. You wont regret viewing it and it will help you today, please click on the link. Understand gratitude and you will be on your way towards achieving personal happiness under all circumstances.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Be Vigilant

Aravaipa Canyon
Near Mammoth, AZ

When I was in high school, we had a fantastic baseball coach, Meredith "Moe" Mohardt. Coach taught us the value of sportsmanship. A former pro ball player with the Chicago Cubs, he taught the baseball fundamentals as if it was catechism and sportsmanship was included in our training.

Coach was vigilant both on and off the field. As he was leading us to a victorious season and state championship, coach lost his cool over an umpire's call. For the first time ever, we saw Coach get into an umpire's face. It wasn't pretty; we even saw his neck veins pop out underneath his collar against his perpetual butch haircut.

As the dust settled and coach regained his composure; back in the dugout one player mustard up some courage. "Coach, what about sportsmanship?"  Coach smiled and realizing that he was caught and flawed said admitted the umpire's decision was final and added "That's for the next call." Coach knew the umpire would think twice next time.

So, I am vigilant not that I can change anything I see right now but the next time, I will be ready. When I shoot, I try to be ready for the capture not only now but for next time too. When I process and learn new techniques, I am always thinking how I might use them down the road.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

This Day

Gnarled Oak Tree
Lazy J2 Ranch
Patagonia, AZ

It's so easy to wish the days by especially when you are alone or counting the days towards something. Life has taught me not to do that. In fact, I've learned the peril of this behavior. You miss out. You miss opportunities to enjoy. You have to live in the present, right now. Take it in.

As, I was composing and shooting this scene another event was happening to my left. When I looked away from my photographic tunnel, the viewfinder, I saw a herd of mule deer running swiftly in the meadow next to me and hurdling barb wire fences in olympic fashion and grace.

While I acknowledge that it's important to look  straight ahead and concentrate on the task at hand, I know that its equally as important to gaze to right and left of you. Perhaps you should consider looking up and even behind you. If not, you will lose out on an opportunity to enjoy all of today. Don't focus too hard on what lies ahead of you. Planning is good but living today is so much more rewarding. Develop your peripheral vision and senses too.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Easy Feeling

View of Mustang Mountains
Empire Ranch
Sonoita, AZ

It's been too long since I've written and I apologize. All along however, I've kept photographing and printing and simply observing. The landscapes here in south eastern Arizona are extremely diverse, enough to satisfy a photographer for a lifetime.

Most recently my fascination/obsession has been with the high grasslands and rolling hills in and around Sonoita and Patagonia. There's an incredible "easy feeling" that overwhelms a person once exposed to the view.

The view you see above is from the 44,000 acre Empire Ranch. This looks like something straight out of Bonanza. This is the cowboy west!!!