Friday, March 27, 2015


I kind of had to laugh about the irony in an email conversation my hiking friends and I were having last week as we made plans for where we'd hike on Sunday.  A number of possible destinations were proposed by various geezer-ly members of our group, then dismissed, not because the hikes would be too long and difficult for humans of our advanced ages (most of the people I hike with are pushing 60, some are already there, while the biggest go-getter among us is 72.)  Rather,  the proposals were poo-poo'd because the trips sounded too easy.

I guess 60 is the new 20.

The above story is something my friends and I completely understand suggests our mutual great, good fortune: Not only do we live in a part of the world where, on any given day,  we have dozens of places were we can go play outside and take-in the kind of natural and varied wonderfulness you see in these scenes I photographed Sunday. We also are blessed with good health so that we can get to those places, on foot, usually with smiles on our faces.

We know that we are lucky old dudes and dudettes, and that each day is a gift.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Uprising Day 2015

I traveled to Canada last week to photograph the Tibetan communities of British Columbia and Washington state, protesting at the Chinese Consulate in Vancouver.

I did not set out, consciously or deliberately, to make photographs that said "Courage," though, looking at these images, that is what these pictures communicate to me.

The protest marked the anniversary of "Uprising Day," the date in 1959 when Tibetans tried to rebel against Chinese occupation of Tibet. The Tibetans were put down, swiftly, violently, and brutally,  by the Chinese military. And the Dalai Lama was forced to flee, on horseback, over the Himalaya to exile in India.

Over 50 years after the uprising,  unrest continues in Tibet.  In the past several years,  over 130 Tibetans in Tibet, mostly  Buddhist monks and nuns,  have set themselves on fire (self-immolated) to protest Chinese oppression.

The event I photographed in Vancouver was peaceful and somber, and began with a prayer  for those who have died.

Some protesters covered their faces to preserve their anonymity. Though these Tibetans have emigrated to freedom in Canada or the United States, they do not want their actions here to bring on Chinese reprisals against their relatives back in Tibet.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Wow Moments

A photographer friend of mine, someone quite well-known as an artist, teacher, and author, often talks about the way images "present themselves" in his life.  And I must say that those two words -- present themselves -- ring oh-so-true for me as well.

The two photographs I'm posting today are perfect examples of images that came my way this week, not because I sought them out, but because they just appeared -- voila -- in front of me, kinda magically. And while I enjoy and practice many kinds of photography, these are perhaps my favorite kinds of pictures: Personal and diary-like.

The image above was something that I saw when I stepped into the bathroom early one morning to brush my teeth. The photograph below was made on our front porch, just before sunset, as I was splitting wood for our evening fire.  These photographic moments were not planned, or arranged. They simply appeared, in passing.

Are they high art?
Not necessarily. Maybe. Who knows?
Do I care? Not at all.

They're moments when I was going about my business, looked up, and thought: Wow!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Back Yard

Out in my garage, packed away in a box stored on some undetermined and probably cluttered shelf, are Sierra Club engagement calendars that I used in the late 1970's when I lived in my home state, Ohio. Though it has been something like 35 years since I made notations in those calendars so that I did not absent-mindedly forget a dentist appointment, or when I needed to get the oil changed in my car, or birthdays of family and friends, there are two things that, to this day, I remember very clearly about those calendars:

The photographs.
And the places where they were made.

There was an image of Comet Falls, the water dropping like a shot over a vertical rock face perhaps 300 feet high in Mt. Rainier National Park. And a photograph of the rock formations called sea stacks, looking like giant, geological shark fins, rising up near the beaches of the Pacific Ocean on the Washington Coast. I also remember pictures of the rainforest in Olympic National Park…and of the severe and scary-looking peaks of North Cascades…and of the basalt cliffs glowing red just before sunset near the Columbia River.

Those are places that are in my (extended) back yard now; and, thought I often miss family and friends in Ohio,  the Pacific Northwest has become our Home.

Several days ago a neighbor and I drove to the trailhead of the Buckhorn Wilderness, just 45 minutes from our homes, and we wandered with our cameras in the forests near the Olympic Mountains.

It was not a day where we hiked to get someplace. 

Rather, we were content to simply be.