Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Work it, work it...

When friends and I head into the mountains for a hike or climb, my buds half-jokingly refer to me as "The Expedition Photographer;" and typically I think they expect that I'll shoot photographs like you see above…images one might broadly refer to as "Scenic Beauty," or "Humans in the Wilderness."  I'm generally okay with that kind of categorization, as it offers a lot of creative wiggle-room. Most anything I shoot can fit into those two pigeon holes.

Once we return home, I go through my pictures and email a selection out to members of our group. We always have a great time on our hikes, and the photographs are a kind of after-the-fact celebration of the day we spent together.

On our most recent hike, however, the humans in our party, as well as the amazing wilderness, kind of got upstaged. We hikers had chosen Miller Pk. in the Central Washington Cascades as our ultimate destination for the day, and it took us several hours to get to the top. As we arrived and considered which summit rocks looked like the best spots for eating lunch and taking in the views, we realized we were not alone. A mountain goat wandered up, and, though he kept his distance -- we were happy for that because that fella had BIG, sharp-looking horns -- I swear he saw my camera and started posing.

He stood on this rock, and that. He strutted about in a way that reminded me of a body builder in competition, workin'-it, workin'-it  on stage, showing off his well-trained physique.

I think the goat was pretty full of his fine self, and the wonderful environment where he lived.

It's a good thing goats don't use smartphones, because I have no doubt this fella would be a Selfie-Shootin'-Fool.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Opening Doors

It's been eight years now that I've been photographing the community and culture of the 300-or-so Tibetans who live in the Seattle area.  It is a photographic project for which I can't imagine an "end point."

I feel as if I'm in a dream, walking around with my camera in an ancient and amazing,  treasure-filled palace. Each door I open in the palace leads to a discovery, something  beautiful or new to me, and almost always surprising.

I learned recently that one of my Lama friends at the Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Seattle has taken up painting. My friend, Tulku Yeshe Rinpoche,  is already a respected poet and writer and I have read the English translations of a number of his books. His creativity is boundless.

Tulku la's paintings seem, to my eye at least, far beyond what one would expect from a "beginner." He allowed me to photograph him as he worked on a painting of the Potala Palace, for 300 years the home of the Dalai Lamas in Lhasa, Tibet.  The current Dalai Lama fled Lhasa in 1959 and lives in exile in India. The Potala palace is now a museum and a World Heritage Site.

As I consider the photographs I'm posting today, I wonder whether Tulku la has the same dream that I have? ... that he, too is walking around in an incredible palace, full of neverending discoveries.