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Omaha Beach, Normandy France, July 2005

Self Portrait

the Equipment: film cameras bodies I am currently using are: Nikon n80 (35mm auto), a fantastic Nikon FM-2n (35mm totally manual), and a Mamiya 6 (60mm square, manual); point and shoot digital camera I use is a Canon Powershot 70; 35mm lenses include an old nikon 70-210 (f4 fixed), a Nikon 28-80 f3.5-5.6, a Nikon 18-35 AF, an old 28 fixed focal length lens; the Mamiya lenses I use are 50mm, 75mm, 150mm (the only ones available); this is a list of my older equipment.

the Film: COLOR: I am, like most folks, totally in love with Velvia (Fuji), and it is what nearly all my color photos are shot with. I do also use Provia (Fuji) if I am in particularly bad light and have to push my film a stop or two. I also like to use Tungsten II in daylight (usually for shooting people). BLACK and WHITE: My black and white photos are almost exclusively TMax 100 (Kodak) unless I the light is really dim, in which case I use TMax 400. There is no particular reason I use this film, other than it is the film I know the best. MONOCHROME INFRARED: I only use HIE (Kodak) film with a dark red filter developed at either 200 or 400 ISO; all the IR photos on this site are using this setup.

the Subjects: general wilderness photography, landscapes, climbers (rock and ice), abstracts, cityscapes, "photo-journalistic logs," portraits, and nudes.

the Galleries: these will be updated continually. The most recent update: October 2006.

my Photography philosophy: As far as I can tell, photography is about (to me of course) seeing the world in a mindful way; then you manipulate the camera to catch what you see in the world. By doing this, you intrinsically attempt to pick out the important features of the scene, the features that alone define what you want to say, and then you attempt to use the camera to represent these features on film. This is hard to do well. I will list a couple of examples of what I mean from personal my limited experience.

For a while I was taking pictures of the desert near Los Alamos looking toward the Black Mesa with the Truches peaks in the far background. This particular scene was a very beautiful to me; this location was a very special and spiritual place for me. When I would get the pictures back, I was disappointed as they were not as clear as I would have liked (I'm not talking about the grain problems due to film, I'm talking about the haze in the picture). One afternoon I realized, upon looking closely, that the scene wasn't as clear as I thought it was and I was happy. There are of course a lot of pictures that I've taken where I was disappointed about for good reason, but in this instance I really wasn't mindfully seeing what I was taking a picture of. There is a difference, of course, between what you see in your mind, and what is coming in though your eyes. The trick is to, at the same time, see accurately what is coming in though your eyes with a little influence of what you want to picture to look like, and manipulate the camera to match what is in your head or what you want to show up on film.

The next example that I would like to mention is with respect to a picture I didn't take but can be found in the Family of Man: a picture of a little girl on a merry-go-round. The picture is in motion, and slightly blurred. First we must consider what we might have actually seen as an onlooker (i.e., the photographer), which is probably a blur since our eyes do have a particularly high "refresh" rate and unless our eyes were specifically focused on the little girl moving with the merry-go-round we would see a blur of the girl. When taking a picture you must decide whether to stop the motion, or if not, how much of the motion to allow. This particular picture happens to capture the moment very well; the world outside the girl is more blurred than the girl, but the girl is a slight blur too. Recalling one's shear joy when riding on a merry-go-round, it is the speed and excitement that defines that moment, and the slightly blurred picture captures that emotion well. There are two points to this example, the first of which is dealing with the technical aspect of knowing how to control how much motion is in your picture. The second point is to be mindful and aware enough to note what one is trying to capture in a picture; an emotion, what it was like to be there in that situation, or the view from the perspective of an onlooker which might be just a "motionless" still frame of what was "there" in a (sometimes) sterile (often boring) sense. The picture of the girl puts me on the merry-go-round as a child, as opposed to a "motionless" still which would have probably have put me in the shoes of an onlooker who was an adult. I'm sure that this is not a revolution for anyone, but it was for me and it has become a bell for me to pay closer attention to what I'm seeing.

So, for me, photography, first and foremost, is about carefully attempting to see the world around me. It is about always paying attention to the present and what is in front of me. Then, being able to pick out the key aspects of what one sees that lead to different perspectives or interpretations of one's reality. Then of course, the art is saying something unique about what is in front of you. Good writers, especially those who write short stories, can endow a character with an entire life history in a paragraph or two, just by presenting particular, key, bits of information. They usually never tell you the life story explicitly, but rather they demonstrate it. Photography is often no different. Everyday one might walk by an old wooden door; Edward Weston was able to walk by that plain old door and both see beauty in that door, and capture it from a unique perspective. So, this is what I try to do. It is mere practice for what one might always try to do, see one's world mindfully and creatively.