Lost Souls Of The Grand Staircase

 

Jupiter Rising 3500

The month of May found me in a state of improving health and the itch for adventure and exercise needed attention. My Wife and I didn’t have to study the map long before placing a pin on the Red Rock Country of Southern Utah. We even arranged to rendezvous with my In-Laws so that we could share the experience.  Why Southern Utah you might ask. For one thing, Denver was still getting pounded by turbulent Spring weather just as high pressure was taking hold to the West. Furthermore, this is the time of the year that deep canyon floors are thriving with green hues and runoff from the high country. The two of us and our Italian Greyhound Gracie were packed and on the road, destination Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.

Willow Creek Reflection HDR 3500

The Staircase is special. It is one of the most remote and beautiful places in the desert southwest and during previous visits my exploration had only scratched the surface. The plan for this trip was to do as much desert hiking as possible and to experience the solitude of a wilderness that is now at risk of losing its protected status. I also needed to get a photography fix in the worst way. I had hardly picked up the camera since last fall when I fell ill and I couldn’t wait to get back to it. For hiking, I pulled my old trustee Asolo boots out of storage. They had carried me up half of Colorado’s Fourteeners when I was much younger. Surely they would serve me well in the desert.

True North 3500

It’s always good to have an audio book on hand for long drives. For this trip I selected “Finding Everett Ruess” by David Roberts. His true story documents the life of a free spirited explorer who vanished without a trace from the Escalante region in the 1930’s. The book originally caught my attention because the forward was written by John Krakauer who wrote “Into the Wild”, one of my favorites. The subject of Krakauer’s book was Christopher McCandless, also a free spirited explorer who spent a great deal of time in the Desert Southwest. McCandless, who ended up starving to death in the Alaska wilderness, went by the alias “Alexander Supertramp”. I so much love the story that I named my camper “Alexander Supertramp” long ago.

calf cr falls multi

Sometimes the Universe aligns itself in such a way that you cannot deny that something is meant to be. That is exactly what happened on this trip to the Grand Staircase. Here we were in a rig named “Alexander Supertramp” following the footsteps of a free spirited lost soul and while hiking near the last know location of Everett Ruess, the soles of my Asolo boots peeled off, one after another. You can’t make this stuff up. It was a great trip!

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Keeping The Home Fire Burning

 

Alpenglow 8 2000

Alpenglow Winter Adventure #8  (24 x 12) Acrylic on Board

The repetition of painting in a series is an effective way to experiment with subtle variations in technique and color.  Capturing the essence of alpenglow has not been easy but slowly I feel that I’m getting closer.  The bad thing about moving so quickly is that the similar compositions make it a challenge to come up with a meaningful title for each piece.

I have big news to share!  Much of the work that I completed this winter has now been dispersed to two gallery spaces and is beginning to sell.  I can’t explain how good it feels to have successfully made something positive out of my illness.  I do believe they call it making lemonade out of lemons.

On the health front things are looking up as well.  My energy level continues to improve and I’ve been successfully weaning myself off of the steroids.  At the current rate of improvement, I’m hoping to be in remission by the end of the summer.  (Polymyalgia Rheumatica)

Have a great Weekend!

IMG_2988

Small Paintings to take to this weeks “First Friday” at the Denver Art District

 

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Don’t Judge An Image By Its Thumbnail

 

chairs sunset FB copy

I consider myself pretty lucky these days. The line between work and play has diminished to the point where I find myself doing pretty much the same thing on vacation that I do when I’m on assignment. I’m a photographer through and through. Every getaway is planned just enough to set me on a path that is likely to intersect with inspirational subject matter, but I never know ahead of time exactly what will be on the other side of the lens when I begin releasing the shutter.

Hello Bear FB

“Bear Alley”

 

My Wife and I made our annual journey to Crested Butte, Colorado last week to see the high alpine wildflowers at their peak. After finding a place to call home for six nights, a powerful thunderstorm descended on the valley and dropped an inch or two of rain. About an hour before sunset, the skies began to clear and I set out into the woods to see what I could capture. At first I found myself struggling find anything but by the end of the outing I had filled the better part of a 16GB data card. The golden hour did not disappoint. I returned to camp after dark. My jeans, sneakers and socks were just as soaked as they would have been if i’d jumped into the river.

parking lot rain FB

Several days after returning to Denver, I found myself immersed in the business of processing seven SDHC cards. As is my routine I began working on the images that I was most excited about, the ones that I anticipated to be the best and I made sure I saved all of the images with potential to the hard drive. As is also my routine, I took one last tour through each of the cards to clear them for formatting (erasing) only to realize that I had hastily written off the images from that cold, wet first night. I had forgotten that in that moment I was inspired by the mood of the evening and I was shooting with a purpose. I very nearly tossed these moments into the trash can.  Once again I’m reminded not to judge an image unworthy without first considering why I captured it in the first place.

Surprise Ending FB

#Monday Mantra ~ Week # 27

never too early mantra.jpg

We had a huge spring weather event in Colorado this week. Two feet of very wet, very heavy snow blanketed the area for 36 hours straight. How could any of the early season color survive? About halfway through the storm I attempted to knock the weight off of our sagging trees and bushes, a exercise in futility. Somehow, some way within a few days most of the flora will pick up right where it was when the snowfall began.

As an artist I can really relate to this scenario. So often I tell myself that I’m just not quite ready to put myself out there. If I wait a little longer, develop my craft a little more…then I’ll be ready. Last night, we celebrated the end of the storm by ordering Chinese food. You probably know about me and my fortune cookies..I take them very seriously. Here’s what I got.

fortune

The universe seems to be saying loud and clear “It’s never too early to give it your best shot. Last week, I launched my first ETSY store and I’ve been quite busy stocking the shelves with my art. I’d love it if you would click on the link below, check it out and give me some feedback. While you are there, if you would throw me a “favorite” or two it will really help with my SEO.

etsy link shot

Have a great week!

#Monday Mantra ~ Week #15

truth and dreams

Happy Monday to all.  I shot this photo of the “wolf moon” yesterday morning, a bizarre sight of the setting full moon at dawn.  After processing I found myself going back two or three times to make sure this is really how it looked.  Was the Moon really that yellow?  Were the mountains really that blue?  It turns out that the streaming lights as captured by a slow shutter speed are the only real slight of hand used.  The rest oddly enough was pretty much as I saw it.  Why am I having such a difficult time believing that the world I live in actually looks like this?  Sometimes you just have to pinch yourself.

Have a wonderful week!

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Five Basic Truths Of Photography

 

Season of Light FB

16th Street Mall ~Denver, Colorado

My passion for expressing myself artistically began when I was six or seven years old after my parents put a Kodak Brownie and a few rolls of film under the Christmas Tree with my name on them. I still have those first photos stuffed in a box somewhere and even though its been many years since I’ve looked at them, I can see the images in my minds eye on demand. Those first photos weren’t the work of a child prodigy by any means but the do represent a determination that still drives me every day, to be a perpetual student of photography

2015 will be remembered by me as a year of great strides in my adventures in photography. I wanted to share five truths about being a good photographer that seem pretty basic but still worth putting down in writing.

1. A good photographer is always prepared to shoot. This means actually carrying gear just about everywhere. Yea it can be a real pain in the ass lugging around expensive and heavy equipment but in photography timing is everything. There is nothing worse than missing an opportunity to capture a great image because you don’t have your stuff.

14th and Colfax PX

14th & Colfax

2. A good photographer knows what is going on in the Celestial and Terrestrial realms. There are so many tools available to us now that give us accurate information about the Sun, Moon, Stars, Weather, Maps, etc.. that it would be crazy not to use that information to make better images.

winding colfax FB
3. A good photographer takes regular field trips. Intentionally setting out with a particular theme or subject matter in mind is the most effective way of accumulating experience. There is no substitute for experience in the pursuit of expertise in any given art form.

Civic 2 FB
4. A good photographer takes a lot of lousy photographs. It’s the practice shots that help us experiment with different settings and techniques. It’s the poorly contrived images that help us recognize a great composition when we first see it in the view finder.

merry go round FB
5. A good photographer dedicates far more time to processing than to shooting. As a young student of film photography, I literally spent thousands of hours mixing chemicals, printing contact sheets, exposing test strips and dodging and burning images. All of the behind the scenes efforts haven’t been eliminated with the advent of digital processing. On the contrary, the bar of expected results has risen dramatically and the time investment of finishing a photo is as pricey as ever.

City County Close FB

Denver City and County Building

Happy Holidays!