Lost Treasure From 2017

Every Which Way 2500

“More gold has been mined from the thoughts of men than has ever been taken from the earth” ~ Napoleon Hill

When I’m out and about exploring interesting and beautiful places with my camera in hand it is not unusual for me to slip into a kind of hypnotic trance and the subjects of my photographs seem to choose me rather than the other way around.  Over the course of a year I can acquire thousands and thousands of Raw images.  As you might imagine I spend hours upon hours scouring through digital files, looking for and developing the creme of the crop while the ones that aren’t quite so obviously great fall through the cracks become forgotten.

oregon textures

Being the creature of habit that I am, as I become introspective about the year that was each December, I pull that imaginary shoe box full of “negatives” from the top shelf of my imaginary closet and I look through them one more time in hopes of discovering lost treasure.  The images in this post are just a few emerging stars from 2017, all taken in late summer at the Oregon coast.

There is always a specific reason that I click the shutter release when I do but sometimes it takes a second or third cutting to remember why.

Hidden Treasure 2500

Magic Momemt 2500

Gravity 2500

My Uninhibited Impressions Of Lake Atitlan

The Most Beautiful Lake In The World

The Most Beautiful Lake In The World

Ok, so my previous rant about the perfect blog post and the patience of the reader is about to be contradicted. My idea was to begin sharing contact sheets instead of large photos, yea right. It seems that I am so excited about sharing my recent trip that I just can’t help myself. If you don’t have the time or don’t care, give me a like and move on. Otherwise fasten your seatbelt and get ready for a little whirlwind tour of Lake Atitlan.

Panajachel

Panajachel

Textures of Lake Atitlan

Textures of Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan is like no place that I’ve visited before. I’ll describe it as I saw it, exotic, noteworthy and unexpected! The Crater lake is huge, it covers over 50 square miles, is over 1000 ft. deep and sits at the base of three prominent volcanos. It’s shoreline is dotted with villages and outposts that are interconnected with a highly efficient network of water taxis. We stayed at on the outskirts of the city of Panajachel at the Atitalan Nature Reserve. At 5200 feet, the same elevation as Denver, I was surprised to find a Sub Tropic rainforest complete with Waterfalls, wild Hibiscus and Bamboo. As guests of the ecolodge we had access to the hiking trails and suspension bridges that climbed and meandered along the mountainous shoreline. The Reserve was home to a healthy population of Spider Monkeys and an impressive Butterfly Pavilion/ Research Center, it was awesome.

Waterfall Bridge

Rainforest Hiking at Reserva Atitlan

Hibiscus Atitlan

Bamboo Texture

The Water Taxis were basically floating chicken busses, nothing fancy. Embarking and disembarking required a level of agility that would disqualify the handicapped and the elderly. I cringed as I watched a healthy young anglo Woman miss the step and fall hard to the floor of the boat. She smiled off the embarrassment but it was obvious that she would be nursing her pains for a while. At 6’3” and on the heavy and out of shape side, I was at a complete disadvantage as I crawled my way through the crowded boat. Most of the locals avoided eye contact with me but I know they must have been scared to death that I would fall on them. I laugh now when I think about it.

Last Boat Home

Last Boat From San Juan

Atitlan Lakeside Homes

Lake Atitlan Outpost

Meet The Haves

Not The Have Nots

It Takes All Kinds

A Home With A View

The shoreline between villages appeared to be inaccessible by land in many places, yet elaborate private residences with there own boat docks are everywhere. The growing global disparity between the very poor and the very rich is on display on this lake that many would say is the most beautiful in the world.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

San Marcos Intersection

San Marcos Courtyard

Cafe Courtyard In San Marcos La Laguna

The first Village we chose to visit was San Marcos La Laguna, a holistic mecca for enlightenment of the mind and body. A narrow pathway led us from the dock into a maze of retreats and facilities that catered to the interests of Yoga, Reiki and Massage among other things. It was on that narrow pathway that I finally gathered my nerve to take a close up photo of two local kids who sold us chocolates. Sure enough I was verbally flogged in English by a self righteous expat of some sort, “How would you feel if we came to your country and took pictures of your children” he lashed out. My luck to have a confrontation with the one guy in town who wasn’t quite succeeding in the arts that he likely came here to practice. I tried to shake it all off, but ended up waking up the next morning with him on my mind and felt compelled to sketch my impression of him.

IMG_0481

Looking For Enlightenment

The following day, we visited San Juan La Laguna and its picturesque artist colony. I loved the way it felt there and if I go back I’d like to spend a night or two there. We spent the afternoon looking at and buying local Mayan influenced oil paintings and fabrics. I’ll show off the paintings we bought in my next post. Anyway, we had a such a relaxing afternoon that we failed to take note of the time and we nearly missed the last boat of the day back to Panajachel.

San Juan Roof Tops

Roofs of San Juan La Laguna

Perseverance and the Painter’s Soul

"Sacred Falls" oil on canvas 24"x24"

“Good for the body is the work of the body, good for the soul is the work of the soul, and good for either the work of the other.”  Henry David Thoreau

With ease and clarity, I can transport my mind back to a day in the late 1960’s, perhaps 1968.  The wheezing of my childhood asthma became almost unbearable and I threw my heavy frame backpack to the ground in the thin Rocky Mountain National Park air.  I was angry at the blistering pace that my Dad was setting as we ascended up a seemingly endless set of switchbacks and I wondered why in God’s name we were doing this.  I knew that there was no way that we would turn around and go home, for my parents had been planning this maiden backpacking trip for some time.

The moment we arrived at Lake Odessa, all thoughts of the effort that it took to get there vanished.  The remainder of that afternoon was spent exploring with my three sisters, fishing, setting up camp and generally having the time of our lives.  I didn’t know at the time that my parents had given me a great gift, they had introduced me to an activity that would be repeated enthusiastically throughout my life.

My time in the backcountry of Colorado has made an indelible impression upon my soul.  Painting provides me with a channel through which I can express the feelings that have come from those experiences.  Just like backpacking, painting is not easy and there are times when I just want to give up.  But I keep going, knowing that just around the next corner or over the next hill is a reward worth working for.