Friday, November 21, 2014

Winthrop Cloud Formations

 I had lifted up a fistful of that ground.  I held it while that wild flight of south-bound warblers hurtled over me into the oncoming dark.  There went phosphorus, there went iron, there went carbon, there beat the calcium in those hurrying wings.  Alone on a dead planet I watched that incredible miracle speeding past.  It ran by some true compass over field and waste land.  It cried its individual ecstasies into the air until the gullies rang.  It swerved like a single body, it knew itself, and, lonely, it bunched close in the racing darkness, its individual entities feeling about them the rising night.  And so crying to each other their identify, they passed away out of my view.  I dropped my fistful of earth.  I heard it roll inanimate back into the gully at the base of the hill:  iron, carbon, the chemicals of life.  

Loren Eisley, The Judgment of the Birds





One of my friends told me that I should be reading more fiction, experiencing the characters, and letting them enrich and enlarge my life.   I'm pretty sure that this is true ... and that it is also true that I haven't done much of this recently.   In front of me are books I am currently or have recently been reading:   Thomas Merton's New Seeds of Contemplation; Loren Eisley's collection of short stories in The Star Thrower; Behind my Eyes by Li-Young Lee; The Fruitful Darkness by Joan Halifax; Edvard Munch - The Modern Life of the Soul; Pablo Neruda's Love Poems; Phil Cousineau's The Art of Pilgrimage; and most important to me .. Thich Nhat Hanh's The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching.    One part of my brain tells me that I need to lighten up and follow my friend's advice.   But another, stronger part, tells me to follow this thread a little farther.   That obviously we're all unique and that we may respond to and be energized by different inputs.   Okay, I definitely need to lighten up.   Strangely, I also recognize that there are not many books on photography within reach at the moment. 


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Guanajuato

A farmer was leaning against his hoe in a small garden, enjoying the storm.  Before I could say anything, he asked, "Aye, lad, are you going to the stones?"

I nodded, shivering but bemused.   It was an ancient greeting in these parts.   He looked cursorily at the accordioned map in my shivering hands, then shook his head in dismay and gazed out over the windswept burren.  I asked him where the road led that passed his old thatched-roof house.


"To the end, lad," he replied slowly, "to the end."


Phil Cousineau, The Art of Pilgrimage

This is Eduardo, or Lalo as he's known to everyone, showing off his kitten near his home in the callejón just below Ana's place.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New Orleans

In Asia, mountains have called pilgrims to them for thousands of years.  In the summer of 1987, I hitchhiked across Tibet in order to walk around such a mountain.  This mountain you could not climb, and not because of physical obstacles; rather there are sacred laws that have kept its crown free from trespass.  For many, many years, pilgrims have made their way to this holy place.  They have come from the south, from the dry and wet heat of India.  They have come from the east, from the high plains, barley fields, and villages of Tibet.  They have come from the grasslands of the north and the deserts of the west as well.  They have walked with and against the sun around this mountain.  They have been brought as babies to be carried around this mountain, and as elders, they have made their way to this place to die.  Some circle this great body in a day.  Others seem to take a lifetime .....  Joan Halifax, The Fruitful Darkness.


Mike and his friends traveling in an old bus from Colorado to the east coast.   Taking the kitty out for a early morning walk.

It was a joy to talk with this nice young french couple traveling across the U.S.

Brandon, originally from Oregon but now living in New Orleans.   Stories of Opal Creek and favorite books.
I created a lot of candid street photography in late 2013 and early 2014 (NYC, Guanajuato, Guadalajara, SF, Seattle, etc).   I enjoyed this type of work very much, wanted to dig as deep as I could, while being respectful I wanted to catch a personal slice of time, a moment of life, etc.   I think that this work was very good and felt strong about my June show at Gallery 360.   These current photos are not quite the same.   In these I have wanted to establish more of a relationship albeit a very brief one.   I've wanted to create photographs that get at the journey (perhaps pilgrimage) that the subject is undertaking.  Not in a documentary way but rather in a more insightful way.  This is something I want to think more about as we prepare for our spring 2015 Italy trip.  I have some question as to whether to be thinking in color or black and white for this.   The artful abstraction of black and white is very appealing but, for me, so is retaining the connection to the subject afforded by color.    We'll see...  

Newport Bay

I will never forget how those wings went round and round, and how, by the merest pressure of the fingers and a feeling for air, one might go away over the roofs.  It is a knowledge, however, that is better kept to oneself.   I think of it sometimes, in such a way that the wings, beginning far down in the depths of the mind, begin to rise and whirl until all the mind is lit by their spinning, and there is a sense of passing away, but lightly, as a wing might veer over an obstacle.  

To see from an inverted angle, however, is not a gift allotted merely to the human imagination.  I have come to suspect that within their degree it is sensed by animals though perhaps as rarely as among humans.  The time has to be right.  One has to be by chance or by intention upon the border of two worlds.  And, sometimes, these two borders may shift or interpenetrate and one sees the miraculous.   ~Loren Eisley -- The Judgement of the Birds.







Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Please see my prior blog entry with link for ways to support those impacted by the historic fire up in the Methow Valley.   The fire is burning to the east and south of Winthrop and is impacting many communities particularly Pateros (pictures in prior blog).

In this entry are some photos from our 4 days at the Winthrop Rhythm and Blues Festival.  The fire was the backdrop for the festival (both literally and emotionally) but there were outstanding musicians and tremendous evidence of the fires to the east and south.

27th Annual Winthrop Rhythm and Blues Festival, Winthrop Washington.  Below are a few of our favorite groups.

All shot with little Sony A7 and 50 year old Leica lenses (w/ Novaflex Adapter).


The Holmes Brothers




For the most part, the smoke was pushed away from us off to the east by the strong winds driving the fire.   One afternoon it shifted and we all choked for about 2-3 hours.



Roy Rogers.   Incredible slide guitarist.



Charlie Musselwhite.




And a few shots of the fires.   All from our campsite/festival area.







Carlton Complex Fire in the Methow

Gail and I attended the Blues Festival up in Winthrop this last week.   It was great but pretty subdued due to the historic fires burning to the east and south down the Methow Valley.   On our drive back down Highway 153 we saw some of the impacts of the fire.   It is still burning but hopefully the rain today is helping.  Wanted to share these photos and a link for contributing to relief efforts for those affected by this disaster.     http://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2014/jul/18/how-to-assist-fire-victims/

From along Highway 153.


From Pateros.




Saturday, June 14, 2014

Along the Columbia River in downtown Vancouver yesterday.   Two mile long oil trains (one waiting further to the east) and a coal train all vying for the same stretch of track.    If approved, the oil transfer terminal would add many more to the daily schedule.