Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Day in the lab

Museum show is getting closer. Spent the morning running TriX and HP5 negs in X-Tol. Tri-X looks weak compared to the HP5. Flattened and spotted prints using Spot Pens. Really smoothed up the prints. They don't have a lot of trash on them but they are full of little highlights that need calming down. I spotted hundreds of white dots and leaves. Almost ends up being painting in some cases. Going to the color printing lab to consult on the end of the digital files this afternoon. Printing those on Epson enhanced matte paper. 35 total images. Just one session in my darkroom to go.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Clearing Summer Storm, Yosemite Valley, Ca

Clearing Summer Storm, Yosemite Valley, California

With my daughter, Jaye Oliver and Chris Johnson in Yosemite Valley early in 2001. It rained on us for a couple of days and then started one of those classic late afternoon clearings.

Fledgling American Crow

Fledgling American Crow

Sociable and amiable birds blown from a nest across the street from my studio.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Afternoon shadow, Shiprock, NM.

  Afternoon shadow, Shiprock, NM.

  Shadow from the pulpit on the East side.  I shared the pulpit with a healthy-looking snake.

Just-hatched Sliders

  Just-hatched Sliders

  Someone gave me a handful of eggs that I thought were turtles.  They turned out to be Texas rat Snakes.  This bunch turned out to be turtles.  You have to keep the sand slightly damp, by the way.

Candle on Gyro

  Candle on Gyro

  A still life with a little life.  And not so still either.

Feeding Crow

  Feeding young American Crow

  A storm pitched an entire nest of young crows to the ground at the studio.  I had to raise them with crickets and worms.  You had to shove the food down their throats.  I kept them in an upstairs room at the studio with the windows open so their parents could come and go.  These days, I would just put them in bushes and let the adults handle it.
  They were very gregarious and preferred company to solitude.  When I was at the studio they would all walk down to where I was working and sit next to me preening and cleaning their feathers.
  I think of my fellow natives of the Blackfork watershed as my neighbors.  In this case they literally were.

Stacked Box Turtles

  Stacked Box Turtles

  Well-behaved fellows.  The background is paper from boxes of fireworks.

Woodpecker Under Glass

  Woodpecker under glass

  Rescued from the vent line into my Central AC at the studio.  I pitched him into the sky outside and he forgot the whole thing before he flew across the street.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bull Frog on lacrosse ball

  Bull Frog on Lacrosse Ball.

  Very young and personable Bull Frog on the lacrosse ball.  Amphibians are about waiting and watching.  The run on a different set of parameters than hot-blooded simans.  Tough to get it slowed down.
  Most of these portraits are supported on very ordinary background and posing props.  I think that's a toilet paper roll on the bottom and some kind of plastic lid under that.

  In the studio with 5X7 and flash.  He was released back where I found him.  

Friday, June 12, 2009

South Dike, Shiprock, New Mexico

  South Dike, Shiprock, New Mexico

  Shiprock is a very serious place and no part of it is more serious than the south side.  The energy pulses everywhere but is the most disdainful of human presence here.  I'm careful and reverential around Shiprock but I've had equipment destroyed on the south side...in daylight.   You dare not sleep here.  Poltergeists would shake you out of your sleeping bag and drive away in your car.

  The South dike, looking like a buried dragon.  I'm not sure it isn't.  Overhead, behind and up the face is a malevolent dark rock formation that looks like iron ore.  Copied from a little palladium contact.  Makes a tremendous silver gelatin print as well.

Blue Jay

  Blue Jay

  A never printed negative from the Bestiary.  He was a pet who had broken his collarbone flying into a window.  He seemed to like people quite a bit.

Flying Box Turtle

  Flying Box Turtle

  Another gregarious Box Turtle.  Found trying to climb the new curb along the highway just outside of town.  Turtles are better climbers than you might imagine, but they can't climb a concrete curb.

  He's flying in front of an antique aluminum zeppelin chair.


Pear Tree, evening light

  Pear tree, evening light

  Pear tree in late light.  Copy from a palladium print.  This makes a gorgeous silver print and has been shown in several shows as well as in a couple of museum collections.

Great Horned Owl

  Great Horned Owl

  Great Horned Owl.  I rarely photograph dead animals but he was too graphic to pass up.  A fighting rooster farmer trapped and killed him at his chicken coops.  He said he posted the owls to warn off other owls.   I doubt that works.

Ducks in a bucket

  Ducks in a bucket

  Little ducks being moved to the lake.  I'd raised them in the bathtub and darkroom sink.  They were ready for bigger water.

Water across the road

  Water across the road

  A wet spring left the pasture draining like a sponge across the road surface.  I'd been watching shadows and scenes on the way to the lakehouse.  This lasted a few days and hasn't been seen since.

Swift in hand

  Swift in hand

  Many hands in this series- one of the underlying themes is human interaction and control of native species.  This was a Swift who somehow was trapped in the hallway outside my upstairs studio.
  Background is a palmated moosehorn.  The Swift was out the window and into the sky a few minutes later.

Box Turtle and hand

  Box Turtle and hand

  In the studio.  Box turtles vary in temperament and personality as much as people.  This one was quite the outgoing terrapin.

  I replaced him exactly where I found him at the same time of day.  Perhaps he forgot all about his photographic adventure.


  Church camp scorpion.

  Just a little brown scorpion tucked underneath a lacrosse ball.  I got him at church camp where the boys of my cabin would go on scorpion patrol every night as I gave them an inservice on insects, wasps and arachnids.  We killed a couple hundred scorpions that week and a dozen Black Widows.  I lined up the big gallon jugs along the front wall and we had a few specimens of everything interesting.
  Only had one kid stung- against advice, orders, reason.  The teenage stuff.   He tried to stash on in a ziplock bag to take home.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Evening Shadow, Shiprock

  Evening Shadow, Shiprock.

 When I go to Shiprock I usually fly to Albuquerque and rent an SUV, then drive up and sleep in the car at Shiprock and work staying gone five or six days.  Takes a day or so to get into the groove. 
 A view from the North buttress on a quiet afternoon.
  This is a hell of a climb.  Not for the stumblefooted or careless.  Loose sliding shale and sand, snakes.  Cardiac level as well.  And that's the easy route.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Post Turtle: Southern Snapping Turtle on fencepost.

  Southern Snapping Turtle on fencepost.

  This photo is from 1993.  It has been featured on a notecard from Borealis Press since 1995.  The card sells nationally in Barnes and Noble, et.

  It spawned this joke, which has adapted and shifted depending on who is in the presidency.  First it was Clinton, then Bush, now Obama.  

  I guarantee you, there is no tradition in Texas, or anywhere, of putting live or dead turtles on posts.  It all started when I turned my coffeecup upside down and balanced this female Southern on it.  I use this same technique and viewpoint on several animals in the Blackfork Bestiary.  

  Photo in several museum collections.

Raccoon on chair

  Raccoon on chair

  Not the happiest animal in the gentle woodlands.  A advertising exec came over to help handle him and he nearly tore the studio apart.  My brother came to help-made of a little sterner stuff_ and we held the animal on the chair and got a few sheets of film.

  I shook him loose next to the storm drain in the street.  Once he was free of the capture stick, he had a long thought about attacking rather than disappearing into the drain.  Good sense prevailed.  He left.

  If raccoons were the size of dobermans, they would be as extinct as sabre-toothed tigers. 

Still life stunts.

  Candles and gyro.

  Still life with energy and movement!  That's the ticket.  I got these assemblages off their rear ends and up in the air breathing, spinning and burning.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Dean Road corner

 On the way to the lakehouse.  5X7 and afternoon light.  I've never printed this larger than a contact proof, but I'm saving it.  It has the feel of a wonderful print.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Moonrise, Wild Pear

  Moonrise, Wild Pear

 The copy is from a little palladium contact, the silver print is much more dramatic.  One of the few times over the years that the bloom and the moon lined up.



  A local photographic volunteer and one of the kittens born in my closet.

Shuttered window, Tyler brothel

  Shuttered window, Tyler brothel.

  Hard to know where to put this photo.  It was shot as a response to the lighting as I explored an old brick building in downtown Tyler.  It was originally built as a brothel just after the turn of the century.  A friend of mine, born in 1899 remembers being sent to the back door to wake up train crews for the stationmaster.  Downstairs had a kitchen and large rooms with sliding doors.  Up a central staircase was a second story of small rooms.  One end was a larger room with sitting area, the madams quarters, I assume.  It had long since been abandoned and sealed up but the fixtures and wallpaper still showed the elegance past.  It has since been demolished.  I pulled a long piece of the stair bannister out of the wreckage and refinished it for my house in the Azalea District.

  Platinum contact, (5X7) image or silver gelatin print on 20X24 paper.  Edition of 40.  1,200.00.

Indian Village, Butler Creek.

  Indian Village, Butler Creek

  This slightly elevated bluff over the confluence of several forks of Butler Creek is a former Caddoan Indian village site.  I've hunted deer out of the Big pines for 20 years.  The earth is full of flint chips, charcoal flecks and pottery sherds.  Scattered around the site are graves, pointing East and West.
  When I was a teenager, this was an open field, farmed since the settlers took over the sites from the departed Caddo.


  Two sheets from the same shoot.


  Two versions of the same image.  I had to borrow a toad from my friend Greg Zeorlin.  He insists that I return them.
  I have several frog images in the Blackfork Bestiary but none on a mushroom.  I like both of these.
  Both copied from platinum contact prints from my 5X7 negatives.

Cedar Tree shadow on edge of the grass

  Cedar Tree shadow on edge of the grass.

  I watch shadows as much as I look at the actual object.  I loved the way this shadow slid into the treeline and matched up with a young evergreen there.
  Sometimes white trees are black trees.  Early Spring in North Texas.

Blooming Pear and clouds

  Wild Pear and clouds.

  I've photographed this tree for a decade.  Every few years it undergoes major changes.  Recently the owners cut down a companion tree, not a pear, which had stood beside it since they emerged from the earth.

Striped Bass

  Friends bring animals over all the time.  Two hybrid bass showed up in a cooler.  I photographed them and then took a break to get coffee.  I came back to find one drying on the floor.  Back in the cool water of the cooler he revived.  Later at the lake I placed them in the water one at a time and held them gently until they slid away into green water.

Pear and rosefield road

 Pear and rosefield road. 

  West of Tyler in a rose field where I've photographed for 20 years.  First there was an open road going in, then a wire gap.  A gate followed, then a welded pipe gate with removeable fenceposts next to it and an open gap around the corner.   Lately its a unlocked pipe gate.
  The trees bloom through four weeks in the early spring and go from bare twigs to bouquets.  The bees work them so heavily that the trees seem to hum.

Half Dome, afternoon, Yosemite Valley.

  Half Dome, afternoon, Yosemite Valley

  Afternoon summer light with the shadow of North Dome arcing across the bottom.  Chris Johnson and I camped on the only place, and by "camped" I mean stopped and sat down.  There is a big boulder on the lip of the cliff and two slots in the rock flat enough to roll out sleeping pads.  We had found water at the last possible place so we were rich.  The routefinding to get to the Diving Board took optimism, luck and map study.

  Platinum contact print, 5X7 image) or silver gelatin print on 20X24 paper.  Edition of 40.  1,200.00. 

Half Dome, dawn, Yosemite Valley

  Half Dome, dawn, Yosemite Valley.

  Chris Johnson and I wanted to hike up to the Diving Board on the edge of the famous rock face.  It is supposed to be an afternoon hike but it took us two trips and two years.  We spent the night there twice and hope to return again.  

  It is an incredible place to be.  Far off any maintained trails with uncertain routefinding on the approach.  Swifts, ravens and hawks blast over the edge.  On the face a solitary rockclimber worked an impossible aid route up the center.  It's a place where you tend to sit and talk in subdued voices.

  Platinum contact print, (5X7 image) or sivler gelatin on 20X24 paper.  Edition of 40.  1,200.00.

Candle, gyro, string, #1

  Candle, gyro, string, #1

  I wanted to learn about still life photographs but wanted more action than most assemblage photographs brought.  I kept adding elements until I had movement, balance, fire.

  Platinum contact print, (5X7 image) or silver gelatin print on 20X24 paper.  Edition of 40.  1,200.00

Wall with chair

  Wall with chair.

  An abandoned house ruin on top of an old indian village along Indian Creek west of Tyler.  Every few years when I check it is gone a little more.  It was liveable just a decade ago, now mostly rubble.  One of the early brick farmhouses of the county surrounded by brush covering former farmland.

  Platinum contact print, (5X7 image) or silver gelatin on 20X24 paper.  Edition of 40.  1,200.00.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Half a cup of dice.

  Still life from the studio.  5X7 view camera, collected dice and a cup dug from the trash heap of an abandoned and burned hotel in Conneticutt.  Photographed at Blackfork Studio in Tyler, Texas.

  Platinum contact print, (5X7 image) or silver gelatin image on 20X24 paper.  Edition of 40.  1,200.00.

Evening shadow and powerplant, Shiprock, NM.

  Evening shadow, powerplant, Shiprock NM.

  I was watching the ever-lengthening evening shadow and scrambling for a better viewpoint.  I ran out of room backed into a fold in the east wall when I saw the shadow bend into the atmosphere.  At that moment the power plant fired up.  It looked like someone had nuked Farmington.

  There wasn't anything I could do about it, so I shot the other side of the filmholder.

  The rock in the left foreground is the Pulpit.

  19X22 digital print or silver gelatin image on 20X24 paper.  Edition of 40.  1,200. 

Morning shadow, West Dike.

  Morning shadow, West Dike.

 I spent a freezing night at the radius of the West dike with the hope of this image.  Shiprock isn't a park or national land.  It is part of the Navajo Indian Nation Reservation.  You travel at your own risk.  Nobody has invited you.   I move my vehicle before dusk and pick a place where I can't be easily seen and remain watchful.  While the West dike isn't as prone to poltergeists and energy shifts like the South side, it still is a powerful place, even in clear morning air.

  Platinum contact print, (5X7 image) or silver gelatin image on 20X24 paper.  Edition of 40.  1,200.00.

Desert Shapes, Shiprock, NM.

  Desert shapes, Shiprock, NM.

  Another view from the North buttress.  The dike seemed to move across the desert as the light changed under the clouds.  Never twice the same.

  Pladium contact print (5X7 image) or silver gelatin print on 20X24 paper.  Edition of 40. 1,200.00

Afternoon shadow from the North buttress.

  Afternoon shadow from the North buttress.

  View looking East toward the town of Shiprock.  There was a stiff wind coming over the buttress from the West so I had to drop below the crest where it was nearly still.  A haunted and beautiful place for a person used to being inside the forest of the Blackfork watershed.

  Quite a hump with the 5X7 and tripod.  I wasn't sure it was possible until I had done it.  Easier the next time but always a little amazed to be able to get up.  I cached a gallon of water in the blocks at the top.  The blocks were full of little lines of quartz crystals, but my interest was in the show going on below on the desert floor.

  Platinum contact print (5X7 image) or silver gelatin image on 20X24 paper.  Edition of 40.  1,200.00

Winter-starved Anoles

  Winter-starved Anoles.

  They rode in on plants coming in for the Winter and ended up in the screen of an upstairs window.  Just warm enough up there to keep them from hibernating.  I released them on the Westside sun-warmed brick wall of the studio but there isn't much to eat in February for an Anole.  I don't think the chances were good.  Still, you never know.  They surely have been here longer than people.

  Platinum contact print (5X7 image) or silver gelatin print on 20X24.  Edition of 40.  This image shows the shape of the film.  1,200.00.  

Horned Toad

  Horned Toad.

  Extinct for all practical purposes in our area.  When I was young they were common.  Things change.  I had a chance to photograph a young one and posed him on a bull hoofbone and styrofoam cup.

  Platinum contact print (5X7 image) or silver gelatin on 20X24 paper.  Edition of 40.  1,200.00



  A large blocky-headed male possum who hissed and stank.  My young nephew Bobby held him by the scruff of the neck in the studio.  The hissing was purely a bluff.  He wouldn't even bite down on a dowel rod placed across his teeth.

  Possums only live a couple of years in the wild.  This one was grown to full size and probably only had six months to go.  We released him.

  Edition of 40.  Platinum (5X7 image) contact print or silver gleatin on 20X24 paper.  1,200.00

Fawn in Hand

  Fawn in Hand.

  Month old Whitetail fawn.  One of my absolute favorite animals from the Blackfork watershed.  This little one was abandoned and raised on a bottle at an animal rehab.  The lady had eight or nine of them.  In the daytime she fed them in a little wire pen she moved around the yard.  At night they came into the house and disappeared into corners and behind plants until you thought the room was empty. 

 They were very tame.  In the hand this one felt more like a little bird than a mammal. 

  I held the fawn with one hand and fired the cable release with the other.

  Edition of 40.  Platinum contact print or silver gelatin print on 20X24 paper.  1,200.00