Yesterday Wilson and I traveled up to Grand Teton National Park for some interesting photography. Along the way we encountered mysterious rising steam off the Snake River in Idaho’s Swan Valley, before heading up over the Teton Pass. Once we dropped into the Jackson Hole area, the clouds completely filled the valley. At first we thought it might be a wasted trip, but we pressed on and went further north to Jackson Lake. Once at the lake, the cloud cover began breaking and resulted with an impressive layer suspended between the lake surface and the mountain peaks. Afterwards, we returned to the town of Jackson and had lunch at Cafe Genvieve, an eclectic little eatery just of the square. It’s been a busy week of photographing the region with my Missouri colleague!
After 75 years of severe erosion since Ansel Adams made his famous “The Tetons – Snake River (1942)” photograph, the majestic mountains have been leveled to nothing but a slight butte above the river. It’s amazing how quickly the landscape changes under these harsh Western conditions.
75 years after Adams’ famous shot from this vantage point, erosion has taken its devastating effect on the famous Grand Teton mountains in western Wyoming.
Looking across Willow Flats at Jackson Lake with Mount Moran (R) and Storm Point (L) peaking through cloud inversion.
After a number of years without having a “real” vacation, I splurged and took my sweetheart of nearly 30 years to New York City. We definitely did the tourist gig and went to many of the must-see city icons: 9-11 Memorial, Grand Central Station, Empire State Building, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, and Times Square. Of course we also visited China Town and had lunch in neighboring Little Italy. The MTA Subway provided our transportation, but a looming union strike made it a bit worrisome. By the end of the trip, all was well. Our digs for the week was the Grand Hyatt, which sits between Grand Central Station and the Chrysler Building. It was great being in the heart of the city!
Since this trip did not include several photo students as in the past, I chose not to carry my large professional camera gear. Instead, I opted for a small, light-weight digital rangefinder-style camera from Fujifilm….it was a silver and black X20. Very 1960s retro look! It took great shots (all those in this blog post) and looked so stylish for my tourist modus operandi.
For those of you who know my food photography, I apologize for not capturing the incredible seafood and lobster paella I had at my favorite Spanish tapas bar in Greenwich Village. I was too excited to dive in to the food to worry about photographs! Sorry!
Eternal reflections at the 9-11 Memorial in lower Manhattan, New York.
Lobby of the Grand Hyatt, which served as our base of operations while in NYC.
Looking towards lower Manhattan with the Flatiron Building in center foreground, new World Trade Center in center background (purple tower) and the Brooklyn Bridge on the horizon.
Super Heros roaming Times Square…of course they all are broke and want your dollars for their photo.
Empire State Building looking south on 5th Avenue & E. 45th Street.
This past weekend marked the Fall Equinox, when the earth comes into close equilibrium between daylight and nighttime darkness. I thought it fitting to seek my personal balance by hiking once again up canyons of the City Creek Trails not far from my home. As usual, I backpacked my camera gear with the intent of shooting some Western landscapes. The weather was a bit unsettled and provided visual drama, which translated nicely into black and white imagery. Here’s a couple of views from that outing.
Earlier this summer I went on a photo shooting trip to Independence, Missouri with Dr. Tom Mitchell’s editorial photo class. Every time I visit the town square, I feel as though I’m in time warp back to the 1950s. And, it always feels like Black and White! Here’s a few B&Ws from that outing that visually express the nostalgia I feel for that locale.
While on our recent trip to New York over spring break, I had an opportunity to spend a morning in Brooklyn. Specifically, I was in the DUMBO area (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). During the late 19th century, this area was a manufacturing district and housed numerous warehouses and factories. The whole area reminded of the work by documentary photographer and sociologist, Lewis W. Hine. I could easily imagine him photographing children laboring within these massive structures a hundred years ago. I think it was that feeling of his documentary work that helped me pre-visual my images as black and white. After wondering some of the narrow cobble-stone streets between towering warehouses, I ventured down to the waterfront along the East River, to the Brooklyn Bridge Park. This park lies between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge. Here I happened upon Jane’s Carousel, which I had previously learned about on CBS Sunday Morning. Housed in an all-glass pavilion is a 90-year old carousel that has been painstakingly restored to its original look, after being rescued from Youngstown, Ohio. While photographing the carousel, a lady standing next to me told me her story of riding that carousel as a child and she was visiting it with her sister so their children could ride it as well. Neat story. Enjoy my B&Ws!
Last week Wilson (photography program coordinator and colleague at UCM) and I headed down to Joplin, MO to pick up our images that had been displayed in the recent Photo Spiva show. Since the day was young, we decided to head over to Springfield, my old stomping grounds when I was a college student. We made our way downtown and started looking for the galleries on Walnut Street. Imediately we found the Elite PhotoArt Gallery, where one of our student’s work was on display…Robert Weston Breshears. He had a set of his journalistic style images from Afganistan and Pakistan, which were on stretched canvas, prominently on display. Stepping next door, we entered the Art + Design Gallery, which is hosted by the Art + Design Department at Missouri State Unveristy, where I earned by bachelor’s in photography and media. The senior exhibit was hanging, so that was great to see current student work. I wish we had a gallery this nice when I was a student there! While in the gallery, I was talking with the gallery director, who turned out to be a good friend and former photography classmate my those early college days…a day of surprises…I hadn’t seen her since the early 1980s!
Eventually Wilson and I wondered down the street to make images. Downtown Springfield has changed somewhat since I was there years ago, but I recognized the buildings. This image below of the Gailey’s Cafe and former drug store (part of the Seville Hotel) was located just down from Ozark Camera, where I used to hang out as a college student and where I bought my first Nikon.
Yesterday was cold, cloudy, and foggy. It’s day’s like that which provide great light and it’s usually incredibily soft. This kind of light is great when it comes through windows of old houses like the one I live in. I love the way it bounces off doors and walls and gently cascades down the stairs. So when I turned around in my office chair and say the light playing in the hallway, I had to stop what I was doing and pull out the camera to start shooting. I never tire of the way light bounces through old hallways and I’ve been chasing this type of light since my undergrad days back in the early 1980s.
Once I felt I had explored enough of what was happening in the hallway, I stepped down on the stair landing and started shooting out the window that overlooks my neighbor’s old house. Again the soft light and hoarfrost clinging to the trees were photographic delights. Who says you have to travel to far-off exotic locales to create images? One needs to be able to create work close to home because it’s all in our personal vision. The most exotic places on earth aren’t going to give you beautiful images if you have no personal vision and being able to see the light. Ultimately, it all comes back to the light and how we interact with this magical substance. I’ve been chasing light now for 35 years and never tire of the pursuit.
I’ve had a very interesting photographic career. Even though for two decades, I shot food for advertising and other commercial assignments, I was fortunate to simultaneously pursue photojournalism while serving in the U.S. military. After looking at my blog, one of my Army buddies asked me where were my PJ shots? Good question, since more than half of my 22 years of military service was as a photojournalist. Even though I’m posting an image today, I may very well devote an entire page on this site to some of my more memorable PJ shots.
This diptych comes from my last tour-of-duty in the República de Panamá. We were based at Santiago, in the Provincia de Veraguas, which is located in west-central Panama; roughly a 6 to 8 hour ride on an old school bus! My best friend, Koby, and I were sent to the north-western corner of the province, in the mountains up near Provincia de Bocas del Toro, to provide newspaper and TV coverage of humanitarian work by U.S. Army National Guard engineers. They were rebuilding a clinic in a small mountain village. Our only access to this hinter region was by air, so we hitched a ride with a flight of Vietnam-era Huey’s from the Illinois Army National Guard. After completing our mission, our flight decided to practice “nap-of-the-earth” flying along the Río de Jesús, which had a real pucker factor, but that’s another story for another time!