Dunes of White Sands

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As the wind blows so does the sand, often accumulating in dunes, some over fifty feet high. Gypsum residue from a seabed over millions of years ago still acts as a live undulating surface of the earth in an area of approximately 275 square miles. After trudging to the top of a dune through soft white sand one’s size seems to be very insignificant compared to the dune. Footprints are erased by the wind.

This area of New Mexico is never the same from visit to visit. Various shapes and textures from the wind blown sand constantly change. Plant life struggles to dot the landscape. When covered by sand some plants may be the only one surviving within hundreds of yards. Dunes vary in shapes and forms from low mounds, to crescent-shaped dunes, transverse dunes joined together, and parabolic dunes of inverted configurations.

A few small mammals, rodents, birds and insects inhabit the dunes. Water is scarce but they take advantage of the rainy season. Most are nocturnal. During the day you can see evidence of their tracks in the sand.

These color and black and white images were taken over multiple visits to show the varied impressions one can experience in this unique environment.

We hope you like these images. We invite you to tell us your thoughts.

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Vistas of the North Rim

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Standing anywhere on the edge of the Grand Canyon one does not see the full enormity of the Canyon. It stretches 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide. It’s depth reaches 6,083 feet. In 1869 John Wesley Powel and a small group of brave explorers were the first Europeans to travel its length in small boats floating on the Colorado River. Powel was the first to map its coordinates. Today the Canyon stands as one of the most impressive views on earth. Thousands flock to the South Rim each year to see this marvelous place. Few venture to the North Rim, which is approximately 1,000 feet higher than the South Rim. It is an extremely remote area away from much of civilization with few visitors.

The biodiversity of the North Rim is different than the South Rim. Because of its altitude it includes the Boreal Forest, consisting of spruce, fir, aspen and pine trees. Many species of small and large animals roam in the vast unfenced open range wilderness. Frequent and deep snow causes the North Rim to be closed for seven months each year. The sunrises and sunsets are spectacular. Layers of multi colored rock formations tell the history of the canyon, shown by its continuous erosion. Frequently one is able to be all alone when viewing these marvelous colors and lines. Many trails lead to various edges where completely different views are seen. Hopefully, this side of the Canyon along with many other of our National Parks can be saved from the intrusion of commercialism for generations to come.

This post is introducing an additional photographer, Betty Johnson. Her many years as a photographer will give another perspective to this website. These are just a few images of one of our treasured lands.

We hope you like them.

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Lake of the Cypress Trees

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Caddo Lake, the only natural lake in Texas, shows its different beauty during each season. This Texas lake has more than 26,000 acres and crosses into Louisiana. Bald cypress trees scatter throughout the lake. These photographic images were captured during the middle of winter when the trees show a unique beauty that transcends this silent land.

Four distinct seasons greet visitors during the year. The greening of spring shows the hope of the future when summer brings colorful blooms of water lilies to show off the season. Fall shows its variable display as temperatures begin their decent. To a photographer cypress trees have a multilayered personality with their changing shapes, colors, textures and structure. Sunrise and sunset magnify these variations.

East Texas is a land of its own with a few small villages scattered throughout where time seems to have stopped, light years away from busy large cities. Interesting personalities and buildings show the rich culture of the area.

The photographer who captures images from only one season has his work unfinished until all four can be completed.

I hope you like them.

Posted in Architecture Images, Country, Fine Art Photography, Lake, Landscape, sunrise, sunset, Trees, Uncategorized, Water | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oregon Waters

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The tranquility of Oregon waters and landscape scenery inspire a meditative life. The coastal waters paint the entire western coastline with views of lines, textures, shapes and colors. Mounds of rock, formed by lava flows, scatter interesting shapes and sizes along the coast. Many seem to resemble large haystacks in a field.

Toward the north, along the Columbia River, many waterfalls find surfaces, angles and sudden drops in elevation and display a variety of plunging water systems, escaping eventually into the river.

The humid ecosystem provides enough moisture to the entire area sustaining a large variety of vegetation and mineral formation along with terrestrial and aquatic life. Combined with scenes of water, this ecosystem creates a display of never ending beauty.

Here is a sampling of the images collected from this area, presented both in color and black and white. I hope you enjoy them.

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Desert Wonderment

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The extreme southwest desert is a diverse ecosystem of salt flats, canyons, valleys, vegetation, mountains, and weather extremes. I find it’s unique beauty and geologic variations provide opportunities to record wonderful images that are rarely seen.

Unlike the boiling temperatures in summer months, winter temperatures are pleasant with clouds enhancing the daily views. One finds a contemplative environment, allowing the senses and vision to become uniquely special while being aware of the life and death struggles of this land. In no other environment can the harshness of nature be seen combining with the changing earth surface in such a diverse and beautiful way.

These images, shown in black and white, represent the varied scenes from Death Valley, Mohave National Preserve, Red Rock Canyon of California, Trona Pinnacles, and Red Rock Canyon of Nevada.

I hope you enjoy them.

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Evening in Dallas

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TWILIGHT

The last glow of light
Near the close of day
When hues of orange and blue,
Show for just a moment.

There in the distance
Glass and metal,
Making their reflected comment
With secrets hidden inside.

Who put them there,
Why do they exist,
Is anyone there during the glow
To see this magical time.

Burdens are lifted
And life goes on
As night closes and
Rest comes for another day.

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Creating Art in an Arts District

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Arts districts have countless forms of art from painting and sculpture to music and song to acting and environment — even buildings in their totality might appear as art. Not wanting to encroach on other people’s art, I look for something different and something perhaps hidden in our mind’s eye.

I want to capture those things that are unique and special. The lines, surfaces, textures, curves and colors which come together can create a pleasing balance of form and rhythm. These images provide the opportunity for interpretation by the viewer. When the mind is left to its own dimensions and its own discretions new visions and new thoughts develop.

So, join me for a walk down the street and see if we can experience the joy of finding the different, the unusual and the beautiful. Here are a few images for your contemplation, interpretation and pleasure. I hope you enjoy them.

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Country Texas

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Texas has a diverse geography as well as a diverse personality. Its country personality is well recognized and exists in many forms, whether it is in one of the major cities or in the country itself. A barn with sides of gray weathered wood and full of hay waited for hungry cattle. Further down the road the roof sagged nearly to the ground on an empty house. Pots of beans and ears of corn simmered over the campfire as apple cobbler baked in the dutch oven while steaming coffee cooked nearby. Ropes neatly secured on Wagons full of vegetables on their way to market. Folks on horseback rode through the city streets along with cars. All the while bluebonnets, red barns, and flowers existed peacefully showing signs of country Texas.

While my study was confined by these archetypes, the country persona is expressed in lifestyle, markets, textures, shapes, colors and various materials. Here are a few of my images. I hope you like them.

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Airplane Surfaces and Lines

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The Wright Brothers studied and developed such things as cambered surfaces and three-axis controls in their development of the flying machine. Those cambered surfaces, curves and lines would eventually take on various colors from shiny silver to very bright hues. I suspect Orville and Wilbur didn’t envision the many ways the airplane would eventually be used during the next century. Even the designers and engineers who followed never fully knew the impact their work would have on human lives.

Photographers have been capturing images of flying machines since the beginning. This study consists of images of aircraft designed for the military. The close up detail was most interesting. Here are few images showing various surfaces, parts, colors and structures that seem simple and innocent enough, however, in the overall context, these aircraft become something different when displayed as fine art photography. I hope you enjoy them.

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Texas Maples in the Fall

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In the south central part of Texas lies a few natural areas with outstanding examples of the Edwards Plateau flora. These areas are a combination of steep, rugged limestone canyons, springs, plateau grasslands, wooded slopes, and clear streams. With less rainfall than the New England area it is completely different in appearance and color.  These areas feature large, isolated stands of the uncommon Uvalde Bigtooth Maple, whose fall foliage can be spectacular.

The blazing red spectrum of the ending presentation of these maple trees warms the soul during the cool fall days. Their solo voices rising in harmony among other trees in the forest can match any symphony. Only for a moment will they show their fleeting hues. To be in the presence of this special performance and be able to create fine art images is a rare experience.

Here is a selection of images to share these magical scenes. I hope you enjoy them.

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Monochrome Variations

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The dynamic range of tones, from the darkest black detail to the lightest structure, allows one’s mind to expand its understanding of the presentation. Shadowy shapes balance their stronger lighted cousins while the tones in the middle harmonize or can intentionally inject dissonance into the entire arrangement. A hint of sepia can add an appearance of aging or other speculation. This genre of photography provides a very special experience.

Presented here is a selection of images I hope you will enjoy.

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Deep Ellum

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Located in the shadow of downtown Dallas, east of Interstate 45 and Central Expressway, is a commercial area known as Deep Ellum. It has the remnants of the state’s largest collection of one and two-story store fronts. Deep Ellum was the center for Texas blues and jazz during the 1920s and 1930s. During this time one could find a mixture of pawn shops, drug stores, pool halls, tea rooms, gun shops, a small hotel or two and a mixture of bars and all night music spots.

This commercial neighborhood has gone through several phases, first of which the original buildings were constructed for a specific uses. During the building boom of the late twentieth century, the area became a candidate for the wrecking ball. Then in recent years, some local groups have been working to preserve the buildings in their architectural form.

I found most of the buildings having contrasting elements of their original building structure and additional cosmetic “dress up” features along with newer structural layers which have been added over the years. In studying the area, my objective was to look for various design elements of form, shape, texture, line and color that I could capture creating images that exist independent of the realism of the buildings. In the time spent in the area I could feel Deep Ellum’s struggle for survival and preservation. The gallery presented shows a selection of the images that were created.  I hope you enjoy them.

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Vanishing Vehicles

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Remember driving home in your new automobile, enjoying that “new car smell?” Remember driving to work and showing it to your co-workers and taking your friends for a ride? Remember Saturday night dates, driving to the grocers and taking vacations? Remember returning to the parking lot and seeing your first door ding after you just washed and waxed it? Those were the days.

The need for transportation, along with the automobile, produced decades of struggles between needs versus wants and status versus basic transportation; creating one of the greatest dilemmas of our culture. When one finds acres of junked vehicles wasting away their last days of existence, we have to ponder the costs; car payments with interest, gas and oil, insurance, upkeep and a myriad of other expenses. Were wise decisions made? Or were they the result of a lemming-like rush to follow the siren song of advertising and sales presentations satisfying an unknown inner urge? We may never know the answer.

Missing from all the metal, plastic, cloth, rubber and other materials is the record of another cost, that of the deaths that may have occurred when these vehicles were driven on our highways. In recent years that number amounted to over 40,000 people per year plus countless other injuries.

And yet, seeing all these shapes, colors, textures, broken windshields and rusted parts and surfaces, a photographer can’t help but feel the opportunity for creative expression. When the light is just right on a partly cloudy day, this residue of times past provides an infinite number of combinations for photographic representation. Perhaps it is the last hurrah of these vehicles, as they reach the pinnacle of their existence in the form of artistic imagery.

I hope you enjoy these images.

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Whose woods are these?

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While driving through back country mountain jeep trails and seeing the spectacular fall colors and scenery, I was reminded of the first stanza of one of Robert Frost’s poems.

Whose woods these are I think I know,
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

Frost, coyly, uses a double meaning here.  Obviously he knows that someone else has property rights to the woods.  The poet is so caught up in the beauty, for a moment he owns these woods in another way.  Frost doesn’t identify the location of the woods, which seems to make his point stronger.  So it is for the photographer, driving the back roads of the mountains during aspen time, a shutter click and one takes away something in addition to the memory.

I find it interesting that the wide range of tones, textures and patterns in the colorful mountain scenery can be presented monotone as well as color. Both can be shown as beautiful fine art.  In addition to the color images I have inserted one monotone image.  These images show my interpretation of the fall period in the mountains.  I hope you like them.

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The “Painted Churches” of Texas

Painted Churches-3
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German and Czech immigrants came to east central Texas starting in the mid nineteenth century.  These folks were farmers, ranchers and crafts people with many skills.  Their backgrounds in wood working, metal work, stone masonry, painting and many other fine detailed crafts allowed them to construct buildings of the finest quality.

The Germans typically were Lutheran and the Czechs were Catholic, each seeking to build churches convenient to their farms and ranches.  The churches were built in the country close to where the immigrants settled.  As one drives through the back roads between Schulenburg and LaGrange as many as a dozen church spires can be seen throughout the countryside.

Each church has a unique structure and style, elaborately constructed both inside and out.  Each has been maintained superbly.  There is evidence that the pews are filled routinely.  The churchyard shows evidence of social gatherings with their outdoor pavilions and well maintained landscapes.

When I photographed these churches I tried to portray the past as well as the present spiritual continuity.  These images show the results of people who brought their faith and religion with them and maintained it to the present day.

I hope you enjoy them.

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