October 26th 2020: Abstraction

Sometimes when I’m out shooting, all I can look at are patterns and shapes and textures. I seem to get captured by them. I’m supposed to be the one “capturing”, but most of the time, the tables get turned on me. I’m fascinated by things like “Figure/Ground” relationships, and maybe that’s why black and photography just seems to work for me. I keep thinking of another artist, Anselm Kiefer when I look at my abstract images of dirt, rocks, hay and brambles—not to insult Anselm. I like his work a lot.

The circle of rocks were just sitting there like that. It reminded me of one of my favorite artists, Andrew Goldsworthy. And maybe I like Andrew Goldsworthy because his work reminds me of the inherent patterns in nature—he just has a gift for amplifying them. Strong shadows also always pull me in—but then there’s that figure/ground thing going on—abstraction seems to be the result.

I guess there are different levels of “abstraction”. Sometimes I can’t even tell what the thing was or where it came from when I look at some abstract photographs. But these still have enough of the context within them, so maybe I should call them “Semi-Abstractions”. Who cares, right?

October 15th 2020: Rodeo

Rodeo is part of New Mexico culture, and there is a small one very close to my house. Of course the words “very close” out here means about 20 miles away. These shots are from one of my visits. We can all see rodeo events on TV, but you rarely see this part, the part where a man dies right on the hardpack ground. These men are tough, but they are not immortal. In the bottom photo is a young cowboy, 25 years old, being carried from the arena. He had a wife and new child. The paramedics were there quickly, but to no avail. It still upsets me to this day. That’s his hat laying on the ground.

I decided to include the “Junkyard Jesus” photo. This is another interesting site relatively nearby. I guess it’s called Outsider Art. Someone in the boonies has been collecting what other people would call “junk”, and he, or she, has arranged all of it into an enormous stretch of make-believe. It changes all the time. I find it rich.

The first shot was taken at one of our reservoirs.
It’s a quite large expanse and people boat and swim there.

October 6th 2020: Santa Fe Rail

The railroad pictures are from several different locations in the Santa Fe area—that being either the Lamy Stop or the old station in downtown Santa Fe. The photo with the two young people standing out on a flat car, is from a July 4th train trip that would depart the Lamy Station, after a barbecue, and then wind its way to downtown, where it would stop on the tracks just in time to get a superb view of the fireworks display put on by the City of Santa Fe. The ride started in downtown Santa Fe and ended there about 5 hours later. A really fun trip.

September 29th 2020: Helene Egger

An email just arrived today, September 29th 2020 telling me that a dear friend, a loyal friend, a mountaineering and skiing friend, a cooking and baking friend, a gardening and knew-how-to-grow-everything-friend, a teacher of Swiss dialects friend, a long-time-long-distance telephone friend—telling me that she had died peacefully in her beloved Canada, with her beloved family. That was on Wednesday, September 23rd 2020

And, as I have said before, this is my website, so if I want to get mushy, I will; and let no one interfere.

So Helene, you’re over there and I’m over here. You were always far more accepting of that fact of life than I ever was or probably ever will be. I know it’s a sign of maturity and “centered-ness”, but I’m not there yet.

I thought you’d like this picture of a Nasturtium held up high against the light of the New Mexico sky. And even though this site is dedicated to black and white photography ONLY, I decided to make an exception for you.

Just about a month ago we’d had a lengthy discussion about growing potatoes—something you excelled at—and knew so much about from your early childhood experiences on the farm in Canton Aargau. I’m so glad I got to see that place and know your parents. So there’s a green photograph of my potato plants. They are happy. It will be a good harvest this year—one which will be turned into a Raclette dinner for many guests.

And there’s a photo of the gate to my courtyard and front door. That door is open, and it’s that way for a reason, so whenever you feel like visiting, just walk right in.

Thank you for your support and hospitality when I was alone in a foreign place. Thank you for warmly welcoming me into your family.
Thank you for always making me feel even more welcome in your home than I even was in my own.
Thanks for all the great laughs.
Thank you for all the great meals. Who can forget Choucroute Garni with beans from the farm?
Thank you for Engelberg, and Villars, and Flaine and Montana-Crans and Les Grands Montets and so much more. You will be, you are, missed.

Say “Hi” from me to everyone, OK?


September 28th 2020: Simple Gifts

Sometimes the simplest and most unexpected experiences and images are the most revelatory. I mean that sincerely. Something breaks through that really grabs you.

Here’s an image that exemplifies that. I was walking around in the kitchen taking care of chores, when I looked up and noticed the sun shining through and illuminating these Angel Wing Begonias that I keep near the window—mountains peeking through beyond. The play of light was entrancing, and I not only felt entranced, I felt grateful. Strange how that works when we’re least expecting it, right? The camera was nearby, so here it is. It won’t win any contests, but it took me somewhere amazing.

You gotta love that it’s an ANGEL WING Begonia, right?

I was almost immediately reminded of an old Shaker Song called “Simple Gifts”, one of my favorites. I never planned for video to EVER be part of this site; but I always loved the way Judy Collins interpreted it. Here she is as a kid! 1963.

Enjoy your day, and be sure to enjoy simple gifts. They really are all around us.


September 21st 2020: Critters+

The visit to Sicily was one of the best of my life. I loved the place, the people, everything about it. Maybe it was the history of the place that kept getting to me. It’s unavoidable. It’s everywhere: Greeks, Phoenicians, Arabs, Romans and probably many others as well. Some of the other shots are taken here in Santa Fe, NM.

Then, of course, dog pictures. That’s a recurring theme for me. Well, animal pictures in general hold some special allure.

The Roman villas and artwork in the form of mosaics are stunning. The level of craftsmanship and artistry was overwhelming at times. Talk about an embarrassment of riches.

September 11th 2020: Graffiti+

Peru, Santa Fe Railroad, Machu Picchu

Here we have one of my favorite and recurring “haunts”, i.e. the railyard. I’d gotten a fisheye lens and was really enjoying discovering what that’s all about. It’s not a lens I’d want to use all the time, but, as a spice, it’s a ball to work with.

A fisheye lens allows you to see more of everything, all scrunched together. It takes my breath away sometimes. It alters “reality” that much!

Then, Peru: As someone who loves to “work the earth”, I was naturally drawn to these farmers harvesting potatoes. As I watched them I was literally stuck with the realization that these people are not only interacting with their biosphere, they are part of it. They are it, in ways that modern people are not and who live with no sense of that—at least not like these people do.

In that moment I almost could not discern where human beings began and earth ended. I’m tempted to say that it was a kind of metaphysical breakthrough. It was that compelling. It’s a hard life, but a good one, utterly devoid of luxury. Is that, perhaps, what makes it good? I don’t know for sure.

It was an odd experience to feel envious of them though. It made no sense at all. But there it was. They were poor, very poor, but far from miserable—rather the opposite I would say. Isn’t it odd to say that I envied their simple but physically very demanding lives? One of them was about to celebrate his 93rd birthday.

Regarding the photos from Peru: I was there a few years ago. Coming from Santa Fe, I was glad to notice that I was not effected by the altitude. Flat-landers, on the other hand, struggled.

August 30th 2020: HummingBirds!

Yesterday I decided it was time to take a bike (motorcycle-vroom) ride over to The Randall Davis Audubon Center in Santa Fe. This is one of my favorite rides and destinations. The winding road, by name of Canyon Road, which leads to it, always makes me feel like I’m in Southern Spain or Provence. It has that kind of “look and feel”. And, just as an aside, Santa Fe does have a relatively large number of French nationals living here—close to three thousand. I often wonder if their impression is the same.

You gotta love the juxtaposition of motorcycle and hummingbird, right?

Back to the story. ( I don’t just meander on my motorcycle.) I made a couple of stops along the way and then headed up there. I’ve been trying to hone my technique for photographing hummingbirds. They love New Mexico and we have many varieties. Who doesn’t feel the allure of, and the fascination with, these seasonal visitors?

But “Why?” you ask, would I want to photograph those guys in black and white? Doesn’t that seem like a travesty of some kind? Here’s why: I hoped to show some of their delicacy, their grace and their amazing aerobatics. Most of the time they’re just a blur! I thought, that by deleting color, I could better communicate those characteristics. Plus, my “pull” is to black and white photography. So there. That was the challenge.

More than that, I wanted to convey their tinyness, almost invisibleness, in the environment. You could mistake them for a bug zinging by!

These guys are not easy to photograph!

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August 26th 2020: Botanical Encounters

Smoke has been a real issue around here for over a week. We have fires in New Mexico, just north of my home. But we are mainly getting smoke brought in by the prevailing Westerly winds out of California. Just about the time that clears up, the winds shift and we get smoke from the fires in Colorado and locally.

At times the mountains are completely obscured by smoke. Unusual. New Mexico is known for its pristine-sharp skies.

The one photo up there attempts to show just how much the view has been obscured from the back of my home which usually provides a glorious, sharp, panorama of the mountains—The Sangre de Cristos to be precise. Macro and close-up photography is moving along. I really don’t know where the dividing line between “macro” and “close-up” is exactly. If there’s a “rule”, I am unaware of it, and probably wouldn’t care anyway!

Don’t know why, just felt like publishing more photos than usual. Such is the artistic temperament I guess.

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August 19th 2020: Santa Fe Street

Macro photography is something new to me. It’s very difficult. First of all, you have no depth of field and any movement of the camera results in a blur. Tripod use is a must. But, despite the fussiness, I love it, so I’ll be adding that to the other photographic interests of mine. “Street Photography” simply must remain high on my priorities’ list. Santa Fe is full of interesting people, but I guess that’s true everywhere.

What makes New Mexico so special is the light. The place is luminous.

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August 13th 2020: White Sands+

Some of these are from Bandelier National Park, others are from White Sands. The one of the cat is out my front door. The lone skier is from a hike I took with my dog. For places like White Sands, it really helps to have a camera that has some weather sealing. It was blowing so hard that it hurt our skin. For sure the sand and dust would have gotten into the camera. The Moon would have been more hospitable.

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August 7th 2020: Telluride+

Here I’ve decided to mix several genres. So, we have street pix combined with what I refer to as “Abstract” and, as a hedge, sometimes refer to as “Almost Abstract”. The photo of “The Kids’ Tent” is from the Jazz Festival in Telluride, Colorado. As far as Jazz is concerned, I can take it or leave it. For some of my friends, that statement is tantamount to heresy!

And something else has happened since this epidemic got going—and this town has always been friendly—but now it’s even more so. I find people being extra polite and extra helpful. It’s funny, we have to stand in line to get into a grocery store because management wants to limit how many people are in there at a time. I think they’re right to do that, and everyone cooperates. So we stand in line, six feet apart. But surprisingly, we start chatting with each other, still maintaining distance. Below is a sequence showing you what’s going on in the Plaza in Downtown Santa Fe. Drag the vertical line to get the full effect.…..(I think you might have figured that out on your own. Right?)

Wasn’t it nice of the city of Santa Fe to have provided us with this not-so-little reminder? But, seriously, I’m OK with it.

August 1st 2020: Quail!

Sometimes, when I’m feeling lazy or preoccupied by something, I’ll take the point-and-shoot Sony and just sit on my back porch and watch the parade fly, flitter and soar by. I’m fascinated by flight and I never tire of watching these little guys. They are amazingly tame out here in the boonies where I live.

The tool I’m using for these shots, what is called a “Super Zoom” camera, is amazing for what it can do. It’s like having a telescope with a camera attached to it. The trade off is—not very high quality images. Some of the newer versions allow RAW capture, but the one I have does not.

I rarely use it, except for this. It might be time to get a telephoto for the “good” camera. But still, there is a place for these Super-Zooms and here are six examples. These feathered friends would never let me close enough otherwise.

I just ordered the telephoto.

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July 26th 2020: Garden Bounty

Every year I start a garden inside. Sometimes I use seeds that I have collected from the previous season. When I do buy them, I like to get heirloom or organic non GMO. I’m far from being a Hippie, but these things matter to me.

Since I take a lot pride in this agricultural accomplishment, I thought a photograph of this lovely Patty Pan all by itself was in order. Nice shapes, great flavor, easy to grow, although the Squash Beetles think it’s pretty tasty too.

Too bad that the nature of the internet is to reduce the quality of the photographs. The originals have a bit more pop!

This is Russian Garlic which came from the Farmers’ Market on the 24th.

July 17th 2020: Rocks, Water, 500cc

Rode up to the ski area today and looked at rocks and water. Most people would say “yawn”, but I liked it. The air smelled good. In retrospect, I seem to have been focusing on diagonals and abstract forms. I never think about it at the time. The Honda was running great…not at all bothered by the altitude. Me neither.

Not too many people up there and I always like that. I like the silence.

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July 11th 2020: Santa Fe Street

Of course in my lifetime I’ve owned many cameras. It can become an obsession. The current discussion is between mirrorless versus “traditional” DSLR. Everybody has their opinion. For street shots such as these, I like the smaller camera (which means mirrorless) with an equally unobtrusive lens on it. Nobody even knows that I’m carrying it. I’m just so stealthy that way! All of these were taken in Santa Fe, NM.

July 7th 2020: For friend and counselor, Gerry Weber.

This is my website so if I want to do something sentimental, I will. And if anyone doesn’t like it, they should hesitate to tell me. I’m in no frame of mind for a critic. A long time friend of mine and trusted counselor died last night, around midnight, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

I can hardly think back to a time when the name “Gerry Weber” was not part of my everyday consciousness—from earliest childhood onward .

Gerry, fare well and say “hi” to everyone over there, just the way you said you would in our last conversation—and God, I had so hoped that it would not be the last one—of how many thousands in my lifetime? And who knows?—maybe this message, cast out there into the ether and the everlasting, will find its way.

July 4th 2020 In The Time of COVID

Everyone was disappointed to have the 4th of July celebrations cancelled in the Santa Fe Plaza. There’s the much awaited pancake breakfast and folkart show. The band is always very good too and everyone is always in a great mood. The mood was different today. Once again, eerily quiet. And I still cannot get used to seeing everyone wearing a mask.

June 25th 2020: Lamy Rail+

Well, here’s a diverse group. I do like the railyard(s), so they always seem to pop up in any collection of mine. The tall church at the bottom is in downtown Santa Fe. And what’s the attraction of peeled paint in the gallery below? Nothing more than the design and organization of horizontals and verticals which always seems to settle me, even when the theme appears to be “decrepit/has seen better days”.

June 13th 2020: Canyon Road Xmas

<p class="has-drop-cap" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">All of these were taken in or near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Some are from the "Canyon Road Christmas Eve Walk", which I never miss.All of these were taken in or near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Some are from the “Canyon Road Christmas Eve Walk”, which I never miss.

June 6th 2020: Skies of Santa Fe

It was starting to get late and I found myself walking around in downtown Santa Fe. The light was catching the Loretto Chapel perfectly. In the top two images, the sky really did look like that.

May 31st 2020: Botanical Design

Most of these were taken with a Macro lens on the full frame camera. There’s a whole new world awaiting for us when we decide to get close. The first time I took a macro shot, I was astounded at the amount of detail in something as mundane as a dried leaf—details that were completely unavailable to my sight. FYI: You can leave a comment for an individual photograph when you are in the slideshow. Click on one image above to launch that.

May 21st 2020: Santa Fe Street

I went downtown during the time of COVID-19, and it was an eerie experience. Of course, the place was empty. The few people I did see were all wearing masks, myself included. The kids on bikes, however, didn’t bother.

May 14th 2020: Botanical Pattern

Sometimes the things right beneath my feet are the most interesting. I love plants anyway, so maybe these guys “call” to me. I just like the shapes and the never ending new compositions they make just for me. 🙂