September 28th, 2021
Kebler Pass Colorado, a fabled route for those sometimes dismissed as “leaf Peepers”. By venturing into the forest called the largest single organism on the continent, I was able to find what I envisioned — huge aspens, straight and tall. It was a real treat to walk under them. Ethereal is an apt description yet a unique experience compared to giant redwoods. Light and colorful, as in Colorful Colorado. I can’t recommend driving the Kebler Pass road, especially during peak autumn color. Despite the (lightly) traveled classification, to me this description is only right if compared to I-15, but I’m biased. Before peak color, I still needed a trek into the woods as a respite from boiling dust and vehicle dodging. A discovery surrounded by silence proved beneficial. Aspens as a single organism blanket, Gunnison National Forest hillsides, and canyons, however, not every group of sprouts displays a unique thriving form.
May 27th, 2021
Captured on medium format film a few decades ago. There are more lights in the Snake River Valley of east Idaho now. Over time, as technologies developed, first allowing for home office drum scanning, then later adequately combining of images into panoramic. Film will always remain quite a struggle in comparison. Dust spotting alone is time-consuming and even larger film sizes like medium format still created a kind of noise and what I describe as color blobs. Although it takes more work, I can now minimize these problems satisfactorily with more ease than say even just five years ago.
Noise was less of a problem in 4x5 inch and larger film but factors like dust spotting regardless of prep could take a couple of hours per image. Some talk about several major aspects we lost in all the transitions and I can agree. Still, if I use a 4x5 field system, it’s more for nostalgia. The hand-crafted 4x5 Wisner Classic on a Reiss Tripod stays in my living room as a decorative piece of art.
May 24th, 2021
Another silver state surprise. An artsy fireplace in the back of beyond. Evidence implies some of the later inhabitants of this ghost town were of unique character, inspired, or something else depending on interpretation. A variety of bricks, some concrete plus nearby stone, provided the canvas for a fireplace like no other.
The carefully fashioned walls are only of white sandstone gathered from a nearby bluff. But don’t stop there. Why not also paint every wall stone a different earth tone and then outline them with black where the motor holds them in place? Unfortunately, the characteristics of sandstone and of course weather caused much of the wall color to deteriorate. You can get a better idea of what the walls looked like under the fireplace mantel where it is more protected. It must have been quite a sight.
I suppose they might have considered it an experience to sit and watch a flickering fire glow bounce off multi-colored wall stones. Hmm, well, if given the opportunity, to me it would seem healthier to observe and not absorb. Maybe all the overly bright earth tones represented hues of the nearby cliffs or overall landscape. They are extensive, a fact I became more aware of after pondering this creation.
There’s more. They adorned the cabinet doors with perhaps a representation of the stars. It’s hard to say for sure based on the artwork, but with zero light pollution in such an isolated place, no doubt they took pleasure in the night sky as I did. Only two of the painted doors remain. I guess some (art fans) found the other doors theft-worthy. More of the work has fallen too senseless destruction. So much better if everything was just left alone for natural Wabi-sabi fading. Although the home/art project is now completely roofless, the fireplace is still in good working order, so it seemed an idea to build a fire for this image. I hope the spirits of artists’ past didn’t mind. Heat poured out with no smoke.
And in case you're thinking, I spent the night — no way. My camp nearby provided comfort without varmint infestation.
May 24th, 2021
These extraordinary and colorful patterns were discovered in rare Idaho gemstones. The official name for the stone is agate, which as a mineral variety is not all that rare, but incredible mineral assemblages and depositional textures like these are very rare. In fact, preliminary investigations by geologists show a one-of-kind discovery, unmatched anywhere on earth in texture, form, and color. Specialized equipment is used to cut the stone into slabs, revealing astonishingly intricate shapes and forms. These remarkable designs were naturally created in the Alder Creek Eruptive Center of the Challis Volcanics. Intrusive magma served as a heat source that created a convective (rising) mineral-bearing solution that interacted with the surrounding rock. Temperature, pressure and chemically controlled reactions between the mineral-bearing solutions and the surrounding rock wall resulted in the deposits that eventually hardened within open spaces or cracks in an epithermal (hot springs like) system. Temperature and pressure variations created a wide variety of textures and forms that can resemble impressionistic landscape paintings. An exquisite example of art in nature.
March 7th, 2021
We spend an astounding amount of corporate money creating structures in which people conduct business and pursue community goals. We expect human beings to be creative, to work, and to function at their best in the interior environments of these buildings. And yet, disturbingly often, little attention in maintaining a healthy, stimulating, and inspirational interior space results in their original purpose being dampened.
The simple, yet often overlooked reality, is that art and architecture have measurable effects. Any industry that relies on the productivity of human beings will benefit if we pay attention to this basic principle. Investments in wisely chosen artwork alone result in a more productive, healthy, competitive, and spirited group of individuals. There may even be fewer sick days, and people get along with each other better when surrounded by expressive and moving works of art.
An extensive business might spend millions on structures to house a workforce and then cover the walls with cheap or faded poster images under the guise of cost savings. This is standard practice, even in hospitals, where art could be of enormous benefit. It makes no sense, even in financial terms.
Organizations can reap the benefits of well-chosen art regardless of population size, regional culture, or business model.
Art is not something we live with, it’s something we can’t live without.
November 24th, 2019
Last July on the Continental Divide looking west into Idaho pre-sunrise, which means these light rays are anti-crepuscular — opposite of the sun. The convergence to a vanishing point is a visual illusion created by distance, same as looking down a railroad track where the lines seem to converge. Capturing them on a two-dimensional surface might spark some further pondering. Anyway, the anti version is almost always much dimmer than the counterpart but I’ve witnessed this a few times at high altitudes.
November 18th, 2019
Early 20th century truck in the ghost town of Berlin in central Nevada. Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park is called a hybrid park since it consists of the old town and some ancient fossil grounds in the nearby hills. Berlin is one of several towns that sprung up after a major ore vein called Union Ledge was discovered in the 1850s. A few residents remain in some of the other towns but history records Berlin as abandoned since 1911. It’s remarkable how much of it remains, this is largely due to some pretty heroic preservation efforts
October 2nd, 2019
I’m fortunate to have a first-hand history of this homestead written by Bernard L. Oberlander. It was his uncles, Miles and Karl Hollingshead that filed a claim for this 160-acre plot on the Idaho side of the Tetons in1910. Oberlander explained the details of everyday existence. Including their routines winter and summer while living in what must have seemed a remote and extraordinary place. In many ways, it is still remote and remains no less extraordinary. The earlier log cabins are nearby and I’m not sure when this cabin was built. The concrete foundation on the right is where an old-style windmill once stood. The Teton Land Trust and others have had a hand in preservation and artists need to get permission to paint or take photographs from the current landowner.
September 2nd, 2019
Many see fog, clouds, and mist as kind of depressing or cold. For me not only does it lend depth but also feelings of calm and quiet. There is a trail in the forest below where one can make silent steps on soft needles under huge old-growth trees. This is a true old-growth forest with an ecosystem all its own in the tip of Idaho near Canada.
August 25th, 2019
This is an area of historical significance in the Clearwater National Forest of northern Idaho. It’s a section of the Lewis and Clark route and the place were later 350 soldiers led by General Howard suffered from lack of experience in rugged mountain travel while chasing 750 Native Americans. Being much more accustomed to mountain travel, the Nez Perce outran Howard and his crew by 5 days, anyway, this is one historical timeline. What seems to be clear is Howard didn’t catch them in this country and the suffering of his group becomes apparent upon observing some of the older trees still showing the scars of stripped bark, the only thing they had to feed their horses. Unfortunately, after running for survival and making it through the mountains, the Nez Perce were slaughtered in the area now called Battle of the Bighorn by a different calvary group. This, in general, seems to be the course of events, details are sometimes debated similar to fine details regarding the Lewis and Clark expedition through this region. My work consisted of watching and trying to capture a sunrise over a vast dense forest, mountain layers, and steep canyons.