What There Is

In the spirit of working with what’s available, here is a group of photos I’ve tossed together from the road trip through Oregon and northern California that we took a few months ago. After days of being immersed in the randomness of my possessions – open a drawer, dig into a closet, unleash the chaos – my mind may be incapable of knitting together a coherent story or explanation for these images. Most were taken in small towns, and a few are from what used to be a small town. Perhaps there is a thread of nostalgia that connects them. Perhaps not. I’m OK either way. After all, like everything else, these images are part of the vast, beautiful, spacious world we live in where every thing is a world in itself, even as it plays a part in the greater mystery.










































These photos were made at four locations in northern California: the picturesque agricultural town of Ferndale, the historic mountain mining town of Weaverville, the remote coastal hamlet of Shelter Cove, and a ghost town called Helena, near Weaverville. I made liberal use of effects when processing most of these images, primarily with Color Efex Pro.

Shelter Cove: #1

Helena: #2, #3, #14

Ferndale: #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #11, #12, #13, #15, #18, #19, #20

Weaverville: #10, #16, #17





Department of Abandoned Property

Well, not totally abandoned – these old phone booths sit side by side, behind a furniture store in Snohomish, Washington.






I hope to post soon about a few recent day trips, one to Mount Rainier and one to central Washington. In less than a week we’ll be on the road again, heading to eastern Washington and then up into southeastern British Columbia, Canada. I’m looking forward to seeing the rugged, pristine beauty of the Kootenay Rockies.












1) Collection of old utensils I used to own

2) Shadows on a wall with a window, still a favorite subject of mine

3) “Three”  Taken at a farm in New Jersey where I liked to photograph cows

4) Street shot from a small town in upstate New York; see below

5) VW camper in front of a then obscure Chinese Buddhist temple in a small town (S. Cairo) in upstate New York.


I believe these are from the early 1970’s. They weren’t exactly archived – just saved in a box for many years, through dozens of moves. They were slides and recently I had them transferred into digital images; hence retrieved. Now they’re accessible.

I took them with point and shoot cameras – I have no idea what kind at this point. I do remember I used to prefer Agfa film to Kodak but I don’t know if these were taken with Agfa. I liked Agfa because it produced better color, I thought, for outdoor shots. But over time the colors have changed anyway.  The quality is poor compared to what I get with digital cameras, but some of them are still interesting.

The street shot was taken in Mechanicsville, New York, a small town on the Hudson River north of Albany. I don’t remember much of that road trip, likely it was taken in that sweet old VW camper.  I determined the photo location by googling Enziens drug store – the name is unusual enough to zero in on a pharmacy in upstate New York. It likely played a big role in peoples’ lives in that town, decades ago. There’s still a dentist with named Enzien there – I bet the drug store was owned by his grandfather. A google map search shows the old brick building still stands on the corner of Park Ave. and North Main St.

As for the mysterious woman waiting outside the store, and her strange dress, it seems that time has preserved her well, no?





Rain sped the inevitable breakdown of

leaf, stem and


this week.

A walk in a wet forest near

a rushing stream today



What was once upright, now sags,

reaching to earth. What

was once entire is now



to be broken up:

food for fungi,

the soil gods


one worships.




It can be a difficult beauty,

this rot,

refusing to satisfy

any desire

for perfection. And


is perfection,







Photos taken 11/2/14 at Youngs Creek Falls, near Monroe, Washington with a Lumix G3 and Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4 lens, processed with Lightroom and OnOne.


The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge is to focus on one object.  Here’s a little silver clown ring with articulated head, arms and legs. While I was out exploring, I set it down on an old wood plank and took a picture. This guy may be out of place but he’s grinning anyway!

More objects people have photographed for the challenge are here.

HOME – Weekly Photo Challenge

I’m thinking hard about this one. Having lived in about 24 different “homes” over the years, I never had a fixed abode, that abiding reference point that a place one has lived in for decades provides. My parents moved five times during their marriage, and my grandparents about the same, so no single physical location evokes home for me.  I do feel “home” often enough, but the place I’m in when I’m feeling that way might be my current residence, or it could belong to someone else.

Perhaps I feel most at home when I leave the building where I live and lose myself somewhere outdoors. The surroundings may be grand or they may be plain, but when I’m outside, absorbed in what I see and hear and smell and feel, the separate sense of myself as  “I” can disappear. And that’s Home.

Leaving the building called “home” to find Home outdoors, at an early age.

A rural intersection in North Carolina – at that moment it felt like home to me.

Staten Island’s industrial shoreline – chain link fence, railroad tracks, electrical wires, cranes…I was home free when I took this picture, inspired by the possibilities of color and patterns and lost into the rawness of the moment.

A road somewhere in New York curves out of view…follow it, and maybe I’ll be Home.

Other notions of home can be found here:


Time to Play

I’ve been playing with a free photo effects program put out by Onone, called Perfect Effects 4. There are textures, borders and vintage effects, HDR effects, what I call “quick and dirty” brushes you can use to highlight an area, make it warmer, change its contrast…and it goes on. The program works with Lightroom and/or Photoshop and they say that soon they’ll have a stand alone version.

The fabulous old truck pictured above is parked in an industrial area of Staten Island. There’s a wholesale food market I used to go to, and one day when we had to park way in the back we discovered this treasure. So cool! It said “E.H. Scroogy” on the side and had a 1956 N.J. inspection sticker, but it’s obviously much older. I only had my phone but I still got some good pics. But I digress.


I tend to use most effects with a light touch, but sometimes a heavier hand makes an interesting picture.


The yellow flowers and this road to a farm are in the Snoqualmie River Valley, not far from home. I took the pictures a few weeks ago. There were horses in the field, and those are the Cascade Mountains you see in the background. You can bet those are the last flowers blooming wild around here this year.


I used some selective blurring, highlighting,and darkening, and played with the colors of this photo of Japanese Hakone grass at Snug Harbor Botanical Garden in NYC. I think its curves are pure grace.


I ran into this wonderfully cool man in a parking lot in North Carolina. I’m guessing he carved his own crutch. His beard is braided & tied. Look at his sunglasses – so nonchalant! Such warm and lively eyes. What stories he must have.

You can find Onone software at their website – and no, I’m not advertising. You may be able to get a free program through an online magazine called BehindtheShutter.com. They offered the program free for signing up for the (also free) magazine. It’s a self-promotional world…but I digress….

Weekly Photo Challenge: GREEN

If there’s one subject that appears over and over in my work, it’s plants. And leaves. And green. So I thought I would depart from that and see what I can find in my files that’s green but not a plant. It was surprisingly difficult – it seems that the world is full of green but it’s mostly flora. I did find some interesting green things though. Isn’t she lovely?

She was in a store window in Goldsboro, North Carolina not too long ago.

I bet she’s still there.

Elsewhere in the south I found this green toy truck placed on a gravestone in a rural cemetery in Lee County, Florida.

The grave is inscribed with the dates March 20, 1901 – November 13, 1906.

A five and half year old boy, dead for over a hundred years, and still toys are left on his grave.

Life and death are full of wonderful mysteries.

Here’s a Walking Stick in a public garden on Staten Island, in New York City. He’s being eyed from both sides but doesn’t seem to be worried about it. His translucent green color and skinny shape made him hard to spot, hence the big grin.

A bright green sign announces Trees for sale, only $5 each. This truck was parked on the side of a busy road in Ellensburg, Washington. The retired farmer who made it said he digs up unwanted trees in vacant lots, bags them and sells them out of his truck. Passes the time.

And behind him was a bus, parked hard by a shed full of hay bales and probably serving as a home for someone. On the side and back it says, “Ravinwolf.com”  –  turns out that’s an “Acoustic Mountain Blues”  band. I found the story of the 1972 diesel bus, which the band was planning to convert to bio diesel fuel, on their website:  http://www.ravinwolf.com/Press___Reviews.html

Finally, this is easily the most interesting green photo, and I didn’t take it – my son did, with a camera phone while stationed in southern Afghanistan (Marines). He knew I would love the juxtaposition of the green door, the green field and the girl with the green dress.

Green flora does creep in to several of these pictures, so I missed my goal of posting green photographs without plants.

Maybe I’ll do another Green Challenge with just leaves…

The challenge calls for bloggers to post a gallery of photos, using the WordPress gallery format. I had trouble with the formatting so these are posted in the usual one-after-the-other style. Here’s the challenge: