Mar 25 2016

SHOCKING! Nikon, Canon to End Camera Development!

From the New Camera News (



In a rare joint statement, industry giants Canon and Nikon have announced that both companies will cease all camera development, effective immediately. At a hastily arranged press conference both Nikon and Canon stressed that they are not getting out of the camera business per se, but rather will continue with their existing product lines for the foreseeable future “and quite possibly forever.”

When asked why the two companies were making such a radical decision, Canon said, “Hey listen, our current camera lineup is good enough. As a matter of fact, internal research has shown that our cameras are better and more capable than 99% of the people that own them. With data like this, the only logical thing to do is to stop improving our cameras until our owners become better photographers.”

“That’s so true!” Nikon interjected. “For years we have peddled this notion that the only thing keeping you from becoming a ‘professional’ photographer was access to the latest and greatest gear. ‘Buy this new camera!’, ‘Buy this new lens!’ we’d say in our advertising, ‘and you’ll take better photos immediately!’ Great food photos. Great puppy photos. Great photos of a perky young Japanese lady near a cherry blossom or by a water fountain or something quintessentially Japanese. But deep down inside we knew that you were just going to be the same crappy photographer you’ve always been but with more megapickles.” After reflecting for a moment, Nikon added, “It feels so good to say this. To finally get this off our prism.”

“Right!” added Canon. “I’m so glad that we are taking this moment to say, ‘Hey owners of Canon and Nikon cameras, you’re most likely a crappy photographer so we are just going to wait for you to stop talking about that damn rule of thirds, take a real photography class, and get a clue before we make better stuff. Otherwise we’re just wasting our time.’”

“You feel good?” Nikon asked Canon.

“Wow. Better than I’ve felt in decades.” Canon replied.

“You wanna go get a beer?”


Mar 6 2016

How to Critique Another Person’s Image

2006-3-1 Urban Starfish - Final 9-4-2007 1000Urban Starfish


My philosophy is: Don’t. Ever. Never.

Why? Because my opinion, no matter how well intentioned or experienced, is bound to miss the mark.

Why? Because my advice comes from my point of view, my Vision and my definition of success.

Not yours.

If I really want to help someone, I’ll offer encouragement instead of advice. If I do comment I’ll say only positive things and qualify my comments with a “what I like about this image is…”

I’ll never tell another person what they should have done or what I would have done with the image. This is not useful, no matter how well intentioned I am.

If the person presses me for an opinion, then I’ll simply say: What I think is unimportant. What do you think of the image? How well does it express your vision?

Generally I find that a person asking for an opinion does so because they have not yet found their Vision. This now opens the door to talking to them about the  importance of Vision as the driving force behind an image and not relying on the opinions of others. 

And above all else I try to be kind and encouraging. I try to remember that each person is on the same path as I am. Today they may be behind me on that path, but tomorrow they could be ahead of me.

That’s a great reason to treat each person as I would like to be treated: as one who has tremendous creative potential and is seeking to find their Vision.




Feb 26 2016

Tell Me About Your Vision: Here’s My Response

2016-1-7 Dunes of Nude No 119cDunes of Nude No. 119 (from my recent Death Valley trip)


Last week I asked the following question:

Someone is looking at your work and says: tell me about your Vision.

How do you respond?

Here’s my response:

When you look at my images, you are seeing my Vision.

Why use inadequate words to describe my Vision when the image says everything?

~ ~ ~

Only once in my life have I tried to put my Vision into words: a friend, blind from birth, asked me to describe my work and Vision to her. I asked how could I describe things which she had never seen? She said that she created mental images based on my descriptions. I’ve always wondered what my images looked like to her.

~ ~ ~

I enjoyed everyone’s comments and could see that semantics, different perspectives and honest differences of opinion were all in evidence. May I offer my viewpoint?

Vision can be elusive and hard to discover, yet I believe it to be an incredibly simple concept:

Vision is simply how I see things, based on my life experiences.

Because we’ve all had different life experiences, we all have different Visions. But everyone has a Vision!

Vision is much different than a look or a style. And once you start following your Vision, your work will not all start looking the same. Vision transcends a look, a style and techniques. 



Vision is expressed through our images and unlike Harvey the Pooka, your Vision can be seen by everyone (you have to be over 50 or a movie buff to get the reference).

Vision is the most important ingredient in your image, it’s what makes it unique and “yours.” It is more important than your camera, lens, process or any piece of software that you use. And no amount of technical perfection, unusual technique or unique subject matter can compensate for a lack of Vision.

An image without a Vision is just a…well, just a picture.



Feb 20 2016

How Do You Respond?

2016-1-7 Self Shadow, Barely There 1d

Someone is looking at your work and says: tell me about your Vision.

How do you respond?


Feb 12 2016


It's Alive

The images on my dead memory card are ALIVE!

All of them were successfully recovered thanks to Disk Doctors ( They were fast and communicated with me daily during the recovery process. 

After seeing the recovered images, I am so grateful that I chose to save them. Yes, it was expensive ($750) but that was much less than the other companies wanted and most importantly, I had a lot of good images on the card!

Here’s one of the images that I’m working on:

2016-1-7 Dunes of Nude No 169b

Feb 4 2016

Another Hard Lesson Learned in Death Valley

2016-1-7 Beneath the Clouds 1aBeneath the Clouds – Dante’s View, Death Valley


The wonderful thing about hard lessons is that they create such strong and lasting convictions. 

A couple of years ago on my annual Death Valley trip I was using my new Canon 5D Mk III and had hastily set it up before leaving on the journey. When I got home I realized that I had been recording in B&W JPEG mode and not in Color RAW mode. That was a very hard lesson because I lost many of the images and the remaining ones were not “what they should have been.”

And now Death Valley has once again been the location for another hard lesson. 

My Mk III has two card slots and I have always set the camera to write to both cards simultaneously, using the second card as a backup. But after years of never having a card failure, I switched the camera to record to only one card.

Ironically I made that change on this trip and as fate would have it, the card died mid-trip.

I could not read the card with the camera and I could not read it with the computer. Windows could not even see the card (never a good sign) and I tried using three different recovery programs on it…without success.

So I started calling around to disk recovery services and after hearing prices as high as $2000 to recover the images, I finally went with a company that charged $650 and only if they successfully recovered the data. That’s a lot of money for some images, but after all the time and money I had spent on this three week journey, it is worth it to me.

The company was able to recover some of the images and the card is on the way back to me. Soon I’ll know how many of my images were saved. The image above and about 25 other dune images were captured on my second card, the one that should have been a backup of my data.

I’m always lecturing my kids that decisions shouldn’t be based on probabilities, but rather on consequences. The probability of a card failing is very low, in fact I’ve never had it happen once since I started using digital in 2004. But the consequences are high “if” it fails (some say “when” it fails).

The probability of my card failing was low, but the consequences were high.

The lesson learned? Write to both cards even if there is only a one in a million chance that the card will fail.





Jan 28 2016

Moai, Sitting for Portrait Featured in LensWork

Lenswork Moai Sitting for Portrait Front Cover and First Page Medium

I’m honored to have my portfolio “Moai, Sitting for Portrait” featured in the January/February 2016 issue of LensWork.

This is my fifth body of work to be featured and I’m very proud of that because I consider this to be the highest honor my work could receive. I respect this publication very much. 

If you’re not familiar with LensWork, it is in my opinion the finest black and white publication available. The quality of the photography is matched only by the quality of the printing. It is simply worlds above any other magazine.

You can subscribe to LensWork or pick up a copy at Barnes and Noble. If you’d like a signed copy, I’d be happy to send you one for $10.



Jan 22 2016

February 2016 Presentations in Loveland and Denver

2007-7-24 Swimming Towards the Light - Final 6-30-2009 1000


I’ll be making two Colorado presentations in February 2016. If you are in the area I’d be honored to meet you and share some of my images and philosophies with you.

Date:          Monday 2/8/2016

Time:         6:30 pm

Host:          Loveland Photographic Society

Location:   Vineyard Church of the Rockies, 900 Josephine Court, Loveland, Colorado


Date:         Thursday 2/11/2016

Time:        6:30 pm

Host:         Southwest Photo Club

Location:  Abiding Hope Lutheran Church, 6337 South Robb Way, Littleton, Colorado 80127

My presentation is 75 minutes long and I’ll showing lots of images, telling lots of stories and talking about a lot of things including:

  • Vision
  • Passion
  • Why B&W Appeals to Me
  • What I Look for in a B&W Image
  • My Conversion from Photographer to Artist
  • Copying Ansel Adams
  • My Vision Epiphany
  • What is Fine Art?
  • The Role of Equipment and Processes
  • Listening to Other’s Advice
  • Asking Others for Advice
  • Simplify
  • Photographic Rules
  • Cole’s Rule of Thirds
  • Photographic Celibacy
  • How Long do Projects Take?
  • Some Before and After Images
  • My Six Photoshop Tools
  • Always Stop!
  • Comparing and Competing
  • How I Choose a Project
  • Be Open to New Possibilities
  • How I Found My Vision
  • Why do I create?
  • How to Make Money From Your Photography
  • And Many Stories From My Portfolios.

Whew…all this in 75 minutes!

And as is my tradition, I’ll be giving away three prints at the end of the presentation.

I do hope that I’ll get a chance to meet you.


2009-6-25 Lone Man No 20 - Final 4-21-2014 1000

Jan 6 2016

Death Valley Workshop February 2017

2014-2-1 Dunes of Nude 107 - Final 2-26-2014 1000

I’m announcing a new Death Valley workshop to take place on February 20-25 of 2017. This is only my second workshop and I’m again teaming up with my friend and fellow photographer John Barclay who has a lot of experience doing this.

Why Death Valley? I guess because I love it so much and find it very stimulating. Going in the winter is such a perfect time because the weather is mild (usually mid-60’s) and there are so very few people around.

Ironically, I’m writing this post from Death Valley on Day 1 of my current annual getaway. And double ironically, I’ve left snowy Colorado to get warm and it’s supposed to snow here today and tomorrow.

What a rare treat!

Because I do not often do workshops, I want to give my readers a chance to join us. If you would like to express an interest (not a commitment) please send John an email at:

2014-2-1 Dunes of Nude 97 - Final 2-26-2014 1000

One of my favorite subjects in Death Valley are the wonderful dunes. Standing still on a dune with dusk approaching reveals a magical dance of light. Oddly, it reminds me of the Northern Lights.

2014-2-1 Dunes of Nude 88 - Final 2-26-2014 1000

For me, this is a perfect black and white location! 

2014-2-1 Dunes of Nude 100 - Final 2-26-2014 1000

And if we get  lucky and there are clouds, it’s also a wonderful long exposure location.

2008-12-10 Death Valley Dune - Final 4-25-2012 1000

And there are of course, plenty of opportunities for “traditional” landscape images.

2008-12-10 Time No 2 - Final 12-22-2008 1000

What I will be emphasizing during this workshop is the development of personal Vision and the role of Passion when creating images: shoot what you love and love what you create.

2014-2-1 Self Shadow, Death Valley Dunes - Final 2-26-2014 1000

I’d love to fill this workshop with friends, so please do let John know early of your interest. This workshop will fill up quickly.

Thanks, and hope to see you there!


Nov 25 2015

A Silly Mistake

2006-5-20 The Angel Gabriel - Final 12-4-2011 1000


This is the Angel Gabriel.  

I met him on the Newport Beach pier as he was eating French Fries out of a trash can. 

He was homeless and hungry. I asked him if he would help me with a photograph and in return, I would buy him lunch.

The pier was very crowded and I wanted to take a 30 second exposure so that everyone would disappear except Gabriel. 

We tried a few shots and then Gabriel wanted to hold his bible. The image worked and the only people you can see besides Gabriel are those “ghosts” who lingered long enough for the camera to record. 

Gabriel and I then went into a restaurant to share a meal; he ordered steak with mushrooms and onions.  

When it came, he ate it with his hands.  

I discovered he was Romanian and so am I, so we talked about Romania. He was simple, kind and a pleasure to talk with.  

I asked Gabriel how I might contact him, in case I sold some of the photographs and wanted to share the money with him.  

He said I should give the money to someone who could really use it; that he had everything that he needed. 

Then the Angel Gabriel walked away, content and carrying his only two possessions: a Bible and a bed roll.



My Dear Friends,

The Center for Fine Art Photography asked if I would help them raise money by offering (50) prints of Harbinger No. 1 (below) and of course I said “Yes!”

2008-7-26 Harbinger No 1 - Final 1-17-2009 1000

Well my printer died just as I was going to prepare them and so I fell behind schedule. And as soon as the printer was fixed, I rushed to print them.

But after I had printed 32 of the prints, it suddenly occurred to me that I was printing the wrong image! I was printing The Angel Gabriel and not Harbinger No. 1. 

How did I make such a silly mistake? Well, I had just printed an order for The Angel Gabriel and then just kept going, not stopping to think about what I was doing.

Now I have a stack of prints of the Angel Gabriel and will offer those at the same price that The Center for Fine Art Photography is selling Harbinger No. 1:

$100 which includes shipping. The print is 8 X 12 on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308.

Now if you don’t know me, and I realize that many of you do not, you might think this is a staged event, a sales tactic to sell prints. Heck, I’d be suspicious of that also!

But it’s not a gimmick. It really happened exactly as I have said.

If you’d like to purchase a print of The Angel Gabriel, please send me an email at and be sure to include your address.

Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving! 


P.S. If you prefer Harbinger No. 1, please check out the “Double Double” promotion over at The Center for Fine Art Photography. Click here to see the promotion.