Wednesday, July 31, 2013


When traveling out in the desert wilderness we come across many old ruins abandon to time. I am always intrigued by these old structures and enjoy scouting out the location. I am sure they were constructed by the early settlers that pioneered the West. This one was located in the eastern mountains of California. Quite often the light is harsh when we come upon some of these places and I have to deal with the lighting conditions as they exist. I was drawn to the dead tree centered in between the standing walls, but knew the intense sun was shining in my direction and making the overall scene harsh. I shaded the lens with my hat, and I used a HDR process where several images are taken at different exposures and compressed into one image. This process enables me to maintain detail in the deep shadow areas of the wall while still retaining detail in the brightly lit foreground.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

White Dove of the Desert

Nine miles south of Tucson, Arizona sits the Mission San Xavier del Bac (the white dove of the desert) located on the Tohono O'odham reservation. It was founded in the late 1600s by Father Kino, a Jesuit priest, from a town in the northern part of Italy. The mission today is still active and meeting the needs of the local community.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Southwest, a rugged and diverse land

The Southwest has so much to offer for a photographer. The influence of the ancient culture of the native Indians and the Spanish in everywhere. The old mining towns in the mountains are full of things to photograph, as well has the rugged natural terrane . The Southwest is a place we keep going back to and always find new and interesting places to explore.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Storm clouds in the Heavens

While out driving around in Arizona last week I came across this old cemetery. I have always been intrigued with old graveyards and couldn't resist driving up the dirt road to where a handful of grave sites were located. As I walked around the area I could see a monsoon thunderstorm brewing to the North. The sky darkened quickly and I scrambled and stumbled to unpack my camera equipment and make my setup. Using my new digital equipment has created a new work flow for me in preparing to make an exposure. I find myself fighting with the camera a little more than in the past. In the old days, ( just two years ago) I was a film photographer and worked with a large view camera. I had a procedure when setting up my camera and composing my subject. With the many years of using a view camera my setup became a systematic routine with each step done in order. While I was in the process of assembling my gear I would be visualizing the scene, anticipating my filter choice for contrast control and how I was going to handle the light for exposure and development of the film. The camera was completely manual and didn't tell me anything.  I would set the camera movements according how I envisioned the subject should appear, and then with a hand held light meter determine the proper exposure. While I enjoy the new technology of the digital era, there are some draw backs. I really don't like all of the camera functions and programs I need to deactivate to get the camera to operate as simply as possible. Technology is great, but sometimes it gets in the way with my style of photography. I am sure there are some photographers that may not agree with me and I can certainly understand that many of the new camera functions are a great advantage to their style of photography. All of the various styles used in photography are what makes it so much fun and interesting.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Mission San Jose de Tumacacori

One of my favorite places to visit when in the Tucson area is the old Spanish Mission at Tumacacori. It was founded in 1691 by Father Kino, and is now owned by the National Park Service. It is a quiet and peaceful place to spend the day. The mission is located along route 19, south of Tucson near the Mexican boarder. I have always visited in the winter or fall time, but on this trip it was in July with record heat. It was a challenge to be out photographing in the intense sun. Despite the heat I was able to make some new images of the mission that I haven't made before.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

High Mountain Desert

A few days ago we drove up the road to the top of Mount Lemmon in Tucson Az. When we left the valley floor the temperature was 112*, and when we reached the summit it was a cool 67* with some rain and hail.  I saw this dead tree with some interesting clouds forming behind it and decided to find a small pull off area to make a photograph. I used a -10 ND filter along with a polarizing filter to get down to about a 90sec. exposure.  I was in a tight spot near the road on a fairly sharp corner and had to keep my focus on what was going on around me as I was in the process of making the image. I used a 17~40 mm zoom lens on my Canon 5D.  The effects of the moving clouds in the direction of the tree compliments the bare tree and gives a surreal appearance to the overall scene.