“The dawn wind in the High Sierra is not just a passage of cool air through forest conifers…”



Wednesday, October 25, 2010


“The dawn wind in the High Sierra is not just a passage of cool air through forest conifers, but within the labyrinth of human consciousness becomes a stirring of some world-magic of most delicate persuasion.”     ~ Ansel Adams

Herein lies the secret life of the landscape photographer. When one slips away deep onto forest pathways, or on lonely ocean coasts, the whole of eternity opens up inside and one finds oneself “within the labyrinth….” where “a stirring of some world-magic of most delicate persuasion.” Then our small human desires and problems seem so petty as mountain, sea and sky, and all the creatures that inhabit them speak of timelessness and eternity.

Here is an image of the The Peter Iredale, shipwrecked on the night of October 25, 1906 near Astoria, Oregon. Certainly a reminder of the majesty and force of nature. What I find so interesting is how this very nature has created such a wonderful sculptural work over the years. These same forces of water, wind and time flow through each of us. I personally choose to use these great gifts to celebrate the beauty of this world and this life; I am thankful for each day I am allowed to travel this fantastic globe, that by some magic, has been thrown out into the vastness of infinite space and is our one and only home. I am also grateful to wonderful teachers such as Ansel Adams that have helped me so see the magic that is all around us.

Enjoy,

Tom

“Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.“

Monday, October 25, 2010

“Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.”     ~ Bill Moyers

If one looks closely enough, the mundane almost always has a marvelous aspect hidden within. It is up to the artist to learn how to pierce the armor of the mundane in order to penetrate into the marvelous. Many times when I’m out on a shoot I have a three second panic… this is boring, how am I to find interesting images here. Then I simply relax and quietly start looking and the next thing I know I’m seeing all sorts of things that were temporarily hidden from my anxious sight.

Here is another image of the fishing fleet in Astoria, Oregon. Notice the Astoria-Megler Bridge in the distance. Here, I think you’ll agree is the marvelous found within the mundane.

Enjoy,
Tom

“Contrast is what makes photography interesting.”

Friday, October 22, 2010

“Contrast is what makes photography interesting.”     ~ Conrad Hall

Contrast is what makes paintings interesting as well. It’s the play of colors, one against another, plus contrasting visual accents, shapes and lines. Contrasts are what make a photo or painting come alive and grab the viewers interest. Look for contrasts when composing your images, for that’s what makes them vibrant and full of life.

Here is an image full of such contrasts and because of them, just “sings” on screen or in print.

Enjoy,
Tom

“Noise proves nothing….”


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

“Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid.”     ~ Mark Twain

This is something I’ve tried to keep in mind in my art. He who makes the loudest noise may get a lot of attention for a while, but she who creates work with solid content and true vision will find that her work will live on long after the noisemaker’s is passé.

Speaking of noise, wow! These guys and gals sure make a lot of it, and loudly. What marvelous creatures.

Enjoy,

Tom

“If the man who paints only the tree, or flower…”


Monday, October 18, 2010


“If the man who paints only the tree, or flower, or other surface he sees before him were an artist, the king of artists would be the photographer. It is for the artist to do something beyond this.”     ~ James Mcneill Whistler

Today the photographer has this same ability “to do something beyond this.” In other words, the photographer now has the ability to become an artist, if they have the desire and the vision to do so. To me, a former watercolor and oil painter, this is very exciting. The painter can add or delete objects at will, can manipulate color and atmosphere, as well as any number of effects. Now all these possibilities are in the realm of photography. It takes photography into a whole new realm of possibilities, especially in the ability of being more able to express one’s vision, feelings and overall experience when the image was captured.

Here is an image that crosses the barriers between photography and painting.

Enjoy,

Tom

“I walked along the edge of the lake…”


Friday, October 15, 2010


A few days ago I walked along the edge of the lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle of leaves with each step I made. The acoustics of this season are different and all sounds, no matter how hushed, are as crisp as autumn air.” ~ Eric Sloane

Here is another reference to autumn. Anyone who has taken a walk in the woods in the fall season can relate to the Eric Sloane quote. The air is crisp, the sky a deep blue and there is a damp fragrance in the woodlands, while the leaves crunch underfoot.

Here is another image from the great northwest; again, not as colorful and the Northeast, yet still quite evocative.

Enjoy,


Tom

“There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on…”


Wednesday, October 13, 2010


“There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October.”     ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

October, what a bittersweet time of year. The days are sunny and warm, but winter is in the air. The light this time of year is so wonderful and a gift to the photographer. Here in the Northwest we don’t have the intensity of color I grew up with in New England, but there is still a lot of subtle fall colors to be had.

Here is an image from the Crooked River captured on an 80 degree October day.

Enjoy,

Tom

“To me, photography is an art of observation.“


Monday, October 11, 2010


To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”     ~ Elliott Erwitt

Couldn’t say it better myself. It’s all in the way you see things. You don’t have to run to exotic places and locations to find great images. In fact, most people really enjoy seeing familiar things and places they can relate to, rendered in creative and imaginative ways. Monet spent the greater part of his career just painting in his garden.

Here is an image of a commonplace scene that I really like. The interaction between the two people, the maze of lines and the glimpse of the water and mountains beyond come together to create a pleasant composition of an ordinary  scene with complex visual elements.

Enjoy,

Tom

“The position of the artist is humble.“


Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

“The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel.” ~Piet Mondrian

I have always sensed this to be true. When one starts out in any art or craft, a lot of thinking goes on as one develops skill and craftsmanship, but as one begins to master the art, less and less thought is necessary and after the completion of a work, one steps back and wonders where it came from, it seem to happen almost as if in a dream; indeed, as if one channeled the work!

Here is another image taken in the lava canyons.

Enjoy,


Tom

“Give me leave to do my utmost.”


Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Through all the world there goes one long cry from the heart of the artist: Give me leave to do my utmost.”     ~Isak Dineson

This is truly the desire of the artist. To have the time and space to do their best. It has been said the art is like roses, it’s a rich feeder and their must be wealth in some form for it to survive. This certainly seems to be true in the modern world. Thus the modern artist must be part business person. The artist does not always feel comfortable with this, but without it, one will not have “leave to do his/her utmost!”

Here is an image captured in the lava canyons around Mt. St. Helens. Reminds me of the landscapes on “Pandora” in the movie “Avatar.”

Enjoy,

Tom