Friday, December 16, 2011

Thoughts at the end of 2011

Well here I am again at the end of another year. 2011 has bee a year of hard work and gratitude for the life that I am living. As an artist I feel obligated to look at all  I have done and if any of it has made a difference in my life or in the lives of those around me. To me this is a time of thoughtful reflection and I am happy to say that I feel I have made a difference this year. In my classes I have students that have clearly matured and evolved in there artistic skills and at the end of this quarter I felt their gratitude as they told me how much they appreciated my teaching. Clearly that is a moment I take pride in, to see them change . At home my family is healthy and we are hopeful for the new year. I think I will avoid any political comments in this post so I can keep this in a positive vein, I am sure we all have some opinion in that subject.

Holland America Amsterdam docked in Mexico
Living in the Pacific north west is a wonderful place most of the year but in winter it gets dark early and is wet and cold most days. It is in the depth of December that I often think of warm white sand beaches and long for the suns rays. So working hard all year long does have it's rewards.

 As I have grown older I have come to appreciate the concept of cruising. It is a way to travel without changing hotels. I unpack once and don't have to catch more then one flight to and from the boat. Once on board the feeling that I have arrived is clear and the vacation has finely begun. Then when the ship leave port I am already settled in my comfortable room and know my way around the ship. The crew is gracious and treats me like a valued guest. I can get use to that kind of treatment and I do very quickly.

Night time taking the tender from the Amsterdam (all lit up) as I go to shore in Columbia.
 The Holland America ships are like a floating city at sea so almost anything you want is there for you. There is a gym and a Spa and great food for all types of pallets
I have sailed on several cruse lines but I am a fan of Holland America. They are my first choice.  The crew is great and the food is , well lets just say if you want it you got it! There is entertainment on board and the casino provides a fabulous distraction from those days at sea. Ok, I have said enough here I will let you know how the next cruse goes when I take it.
Spending time at the spacious back pool while traveling between ports.

As the New Year Approaches I would like to wish all my blog followers a great 2012 and I hope to bring you more thoughts and images from living "In a Creative Life" that will be helpful to you in yours.

 I look forward to hearing from you each time I write a post and appreciate your comments when you do respond. I am looking to expand my membership so please feel free to recommend my blog site to your family, colleagues and friends that you think would like it. Best wishes for the Holidays and a happy new Year to you all!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving, thoughts and wishes.

This week is Thanksgiving and I have much that I am grateful for. It is at this time that I am acutely sensitive to the gifts I have received and the life I am living. Gratitude is in my heart and I am hopeful that all who read my blog will think of how they can be grateful to others that they can reach out to.

Many of use will go on living as though we are insulated and many others will feel the pinch as the economy fails to support our economic health and personal goals. I hope that all of us who can will all do something to help someone in need. I would like to wish all my relatives, friends, collectors and followers a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I hope you will find yourself on a wonderful adventure that will open your life to something new and awesome, that each day there will be smiles, laughter and a many sighs of relief as you discover something new about yourself and your abilities.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Yellowstone 5- Animals in the wild

I am now reaching the point in this photographic essay about the parks where I can see the light at the end of this beautiful journey. As I work the last few sets of images I find myself reflecting on the lessons I have learned. I am awed by the overwhelming beauty of all the Parks I have visited and am grateful for the images I have taken along the way. While processing these images I was transported back to the experiences of each location, to contemplate their value to me as a place of opening... of heart and mind and now to bring them to all who are interested through the blog postings.

All of the parks I visited were awesome in terms of the landscape, each possessed a unique difference, a quality of light, color, texture  and space that gave them a special feeling. Some locations were filled with forests and greenery others were barren, arid and waterless. They spanned  from large boulders and arches to fine sand and sage brush. There is so much variety in the world... I am a better person for the experience of seeing and being in it, collecting, composing and sharing it.

Many of the National Parks were similar and different in their own way, but one stood out above the rest as unique and special in a different way. Yellowstone Park is a place where animals flourish in abundance, herds of buffalo roam free and often block the road. Elk and dear are easily spotted and are often seen near the roads that lace throughout the park. Eagles soar overhead, moose and wolf are more difficult to spot but can be found if one takes the time and is patient. Great Grizzly and Black bear own the right of way wherever they go. At first glance these animals appear to be tame because of their fearless ability to walk up close to people, I must remind myself that they are truly wild and dangerous. The energy of the wilderness fills the air. I am touched someplace deep and visceral, emotions rise and life feels full and immediate. It is a totally unique experience, almost primordial. Needless to say that I was apprehensive each time I left the safety of my car to walk to a nearby hill or follow a trail. It was altogether possible that I could encounter danger around the next turn.  I kept my excursions limited but inevitably there would be a necessity to venture out if I was to get the shot I was looking for.

This brings me to the next series of images that I am going to share with you. The animals of Yellowstone. At this point I have been living in the park campgrounds for many days, and am adjusting to the flow of life in the park. In the morning herds of elk and buffalo are on the move and can be seen in the campgrounds. Living in a tent here is not recommended unless you don't mind wild company dropping in. I am grateful for my Subaru although the space is cramped it provides a safety shell from more then the weather.  One morning I awoke to a large buffalo looking in my car window, he stood there covered with snow his large eye blinking the flakes away as he gazed at me.

Soon he had moved on and I was up and off into the park for more encounters. It wasn't long before I came across a young bull elk, I was amazed at how the animals seemed to be unafraid of me as I took their picture.

After the elk gave me a snort I got back in the car and moved on deeper into the park. I was driving across a bridge when I spotted a dark spot about a 1000 yards off of the left side. I stopped at the end of the bridge and got out my gear and walked back half way across the bridge and set up my camera. I would like to saying that the next images you will see were gathered at great risk to my life and limb. I was prepared and knew how to react if things got to dangerous. The images were taken with a 70mm lens and as you will see I was very close to the animal.

It was not long after setting up my shot that it was clear that I was looking at a male Grizzly Bear. I saw him and he saw me and once he saw me he began to walk slowly but steadily towards the bridge. I thought he would pass under the bridge so I kept shooting. Soon however he was walking up the bank towards the end of te bridge where I had parked my car. I began to walk to the car and kept shooting as not to miss this opportunity. By the time I got to the front of my car he crested the hill right in front of me. He stopped and let out a loud growl the depth of which froze my blood and made my heart pound in my throat, but I kept standing my ground behind my camera and did not move except to focus and shoot. Here are some of the key shots in the series of 80 images.

The Grizzly approaches and gives me a long hard look.
Now I can hear him breathing and making noises as if to say here I come. But suddenly just feet away from me, he stops growling and without a care in the world ... he sits down. Now he is posing for the camera. I am thrilled. This is a moment in my life that I will never forget.

Looking curious
Clearly he loves the camera
Soon he is up and walking away.

I will end this post here as it is a lot to take in and enjoy. Please remember to respect my copyright for all my images. Images are for sale soon on my website at More to come soon.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Adobe World Wide Design Achievment Awards.

Sorry it has been so long since my last post but I have been busy with many things at home and at work. One of which is the Adobe Design Awards. The results are in and I did not win the big prize! No surprise there, but I was surprised to become an award recipient.

Here is what I won...

 I an very please to have been acknowledged by Adobe in such a grand competition, and am thankful for the opportunity to show what I can do with their products.

Here is my work you can decide if it is worthy or not If you like it let me know with a comment below.

I call it the Fabulous Face of Nature.  Thanks for tuning in.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Yellowstone the Jewel of the National Parks - part 3

The next morning brings clearing skies but it is still cold and a little windy in the morning. Today I further explore the thermal areas drawn by the bright colors and elaborate patterns I am reminded of how nature is the master of abstraction. Unique forms of algi with the capability to survive in extreme temperatures form crusty patterns in the shallows.

This eye shaped pool seemed to be looking at me. Could this be the eye of Yellowstone?

Boiling water, steam and red mud.

Pools of azure blue and white ash.

Algi forms abstract patterns in rust colors and unique textures.
Terraces of mineral deposits created over hundreds of years of time untouched by humans. I am taken back in time to a world before humans. I can understand the need to preserve these places for future generations. They are pure.

Long into the day I shoot and travel the roads that are open. It is still early here so many roads are closed and snow covered.  I will need some special permission if I am going to go into the closed part of the parks. I will look into that tomorrow.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Yellowstone the Jewel of the National Parks - part 2

The journey into the park beacons me ever deeper with the raw power and beauty of a vast natural wilderness. I am now clearly entering the path less traveled. They say you should not come to Yellowstone until you are old, because once you have seen it you will no longer need to seek out any other beauty for Yellowstone will fill you to overflowing with it's many fabulous environments and it's grand wild animals.


 Soon I am confronted by the great volcanic environment as I come upon this sign. There are elevated walking paths designed to protect visitors from falling through the thin crusted thermal layer into boiling pits that are scattered throughout the park. I for one am grateful for the work done here by the park services.  Clearly it has taken decades to do all that has been done to make the park an enjoyable experience for all who come to bask in it's wonder.
The pools of hot water look inviting on this cold Spring day but I am told that there are no bathing areas because they are more acidic then battery acid. So I won't be jumping in to any of the clear blue pools no matter how inviting they look. This becomes clear as soon as the wind changed and blew the steam in my face. The acrid smell made me realize that I should not breathe it and from that moment on I am careful to avoid the clouds of gas that are blown about by the changing winds.

It is spring, but no one told Yellowstone as I am caught in a fast moving sleet storm, thankful for my rain poncho, I keep my camera dry but I am soaked from the waist to my feet. The rest of the day was marked by strong wind and rain with temperatures in the low 30's. Tomorrow I am hoping the skies will clear. I pack it in for the day and head to the camp ground.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Yellowstone the Jewel of the National Parks - part 1

When you enter the gate you feel something different about this park, something about it is grander and more magnificent then most other parks. As I drive the road in from the south wast entrance it all seems normal then the river appears to my left and there are buffalo grazing on the far shore, an eagle soars overhead letting out a cry as it lands in a nest atop a tall tree. An elk darts across the road a hundred yards ahead, I sit up in my seat now straining to see the next great spectacle.

I don't have long to wait though as I round a turn a group of bison are on the road, I break and slow to a crawl. There are 4 or 5 of them just walking along without a care in the world, I slowly pass and I am given a glance by a large bull with big horns. I drive up to the next pullout and get out my camera gear to set up for the approaching herd.  I feel like a kid again, my hart races with excitement and a touch of apprehension as I will be out of the car as these 400lb plus beasts pass by me.  I have now been in the park less then a half hour and I am thrown back in time when wild animals roamed free upon the land.

The drive into the park opens to wide vistas of unspoiled landscapes, herds of Bison and elk range free in the fields. I begin to relax into a feeling that I have arrived at a pinnacle of my long journey through the National Parks. Yellowstone was the first and it is easy to see why. From the vistas to the thermal activity to the animals there is so much to take in. I will spend the next three week in the park and camp in my car a good part of the time.

Yellowstone is so big that I will present it in several parts over the next weeks and months. More to come!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Grand Tetons National Park

Even though Spring is in full bloom the weather is much colder now that I have left Utah and traveled north through Idaho into Wyoming. Snow is still on the ground, and the wind bits with a cold chill. I am thinking that, I will need a new pair of boots to keep my feet warm while hiking. Jackson is a western town that has grown into a small city. It is a perfect staging point for exploring the Tetons. There are sport shops here so no problem finding those warm boots and a tasty steak is also close by at it's many good restaurants. I found a small motel with an indoor hot tub and clean rooms at a fair rate, so I now have my base to go into the Tetons National Park. Tomorrow I will enter the park.

Today I awoke rested, ate a good breakfast and drive north out of Jackson into the Tetons. The day starts out sunny but with some large clouds. I think I will have some great light for shooting. Soon I am deep in the park and see a herd of Elk by the side of the road.

The Tetons  are a vast and wide. It is clear that people would want to settle in the valley so many ways to take this in. I feel like I have found a jewel in the rough.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Heading North

Arches marked the boundary between the warm and cool climate zones. Now, as I head north the air grows cooler the clouds seem to be more numerous and threatening.

The landscape is changing, icy cold rain falls and spots of snow spot the landscape as I drive up into the foothills toward Salt Lake City. It won't be long until I will be leaving Utah. I find myself thinking back over my experiences at all the parks located in or near the borders of this state, clearly it has many amazing and unique places and I have only scratched the surface of it's beauty. I will certainly come back to this place again.

Ahead of me are the big skies of Wyoming and the Grand Tetons National Park which hold the promise of spectacular mountains and valleys.

But there are many miles to go and much yet to see on the way.

The Subaru is performing well and I am in good spirits. 

If you are confused by the appearance that I am still traveling for over a year, I would like to clarify that I am no longer on the road.  I am now in my studio processing the over 6000 images I took over the three months I was out in the parks in 2010. I hope you are enjoying my journey as I am glad that you are with me. More to come... The Tetons and the wild animals of Yellowstone, don't miss it.

Friday, January 21, 2011

On to Arches National Park

On our way from Capitol Reef Park to Arches (Oh, "our" meaning my wife Trudi and I. She flew in to Vegas to join me for a part of the trip.) we were following the directions of the GPS unit to the letter and so far it was on the money. Anyway we were traveling on what appeared to be a new highway (70) through the desert flying alongat 70 MPH. Now we were making good time when, suddenly, the GPS said turn right in 2 miles. Not sure of why it announced this turnoff, I thought it must be a shortcut. After all the GPS wasn't ever wrong so without further question I pulled off the highway onto what seemed like an old paved desert road... Now the GPS announced... "go straight for 27 miles then turn left".
I looked at Trudi and she appeared to have some doubt with the prospect of driving off into the desert.  I said lets try it for a while maybe it is the old road and will be fun. We have lots of water and food and a full tank of gas so off we went into the unknown.

It wasn't long before the road got worse, the desert was reclaiming pieces of it as it clearly had not been driven on for some time. Now we had gone on for 30 or 40 minutes and the road was giving way at the edges to sand and tumbleweeds blew by and the cracks sprouted desert flowers. The GPS said "turn right in 5 miles".  I pushed on… I could see the 70 freeway off in the distance and thought if I can get there we can get back on the main road. So I pushed on… Then the GPS said "turn right" but there was no road at all to turn on at all! I went on… thinking about getting to the highway again, I drove over a hill and low and behold in front of me was highway 70 but there was one small problem. There was a large fence between me and the highway not to mention a deep impassable wash that had been cut by flash floods. Trudi said lets go back, I agreed so we turned around and following our tracks through the sand and drove back. All the time the GPS kept repeating "recalculating, recalculating"… I turned it off glad for the silence.

On the way back we drove through a large rock canyon. I noticed something on the side of the road that I could not see when we drove in, I stopped the car to get a closer look, It was the carcass of a cow. It was skin and bone. I noticed it had been eaten the bones were scared with teeth marks and there were large paw tracks in the sand. "Cougar" I called to Trudi who had stayed in the car. I took some pictures and a creepy feeling of being watched came over me so I quickly got back in the car and we drove on.

I guess if I had seen the cow body coming in I could have read the signs and turned around, but then there would be no story to tell. Soon we were back at the turn off where we started. Trudi breathed a sigh of relief and I could not help but laugh at what was an exciting romp through a desolate tract of forgotten desert. 

Oh by the way, the GPS was right, 30 miles down the highway I recognized the part of the fence where we stopped. If  they didn’t put up the fence and floods cut the ditch we could have saved some time and miles with that very long shortcut through nowhere. Now we were coming into Moab for the night, a place known for desert racing. We found a room at a motel, ate a nice dinner and got a restful sleep. Tomorrow we enter Arches  National Park.

The park is just of Highway 191 and was only minutes from our motel. Driving in you can not help mut look up at the massive walls that followed the road of our accent. Once at the crest I stopped to look back.

Once over the crest I entered the Park Avenue View point. This is so called because of it's resemblance to the skyline of Park Avenue in New York. Check it out and see if you agree. There is so much to see here each turn in the road revels a view more spectacular then the last.
Petrified Dunes

The Upperr Delicate Arch viewpoint.
On the trail to landscape arch.
At the base of Landscape Arch.