I first came across this place by accident. On occasion, I drive up and down the back roads of the countryside around me looking for gems of dilapidation. On this particular day I took a side road off of the dusty road I was already on. As I crested a small rise, I could see this place far across a wheat field. Often these old places are on private property and are inaccessible. But the bumpy county road was fully cooperative, winding through the field until it passed directly by this old homestead. The photograph was taken with an infrared filter.

Decaying Dreams

Beach finds

Walking along a beach with camera in hand is a fabulous way to train one’s eye. I often tell my students, and I’ve said it before here, too, that the difference between artists/designers/photographers and the rest of the population is that they’ve trained their eye to see possibilities in the mundane. Here are two beach finds, “Brown Leaf,” and “Cache of Stones.”

Brown Leaf

A Cache of Stones

Deception Pass

This is Deception Pass, which resides between Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands in Washington State. I took this on a fairly gray, uninteresting day, but after working the image, the colors really sang.

I’m no film purist. My problem with film is, and always was, the lack of control I had from shutter-click to final print. With digital, I control the color and values, not some numb nut in a lab hunched over a processing machine with a chart of standard exposure settings in his hand. Sure, the technical know-how to achieve a professional look took years of practice and intimate familiarity with the traits different brands of film possessed. But that fact alone scooted the mastery of photography into the realm of the modestly wealthy, and made true learning a haphazard endeavor for those of us with regular incomes.

“But that’s why photography was an art form,” I’ve heard some say. “Today, any fool can make a great image from preset templates.” I suppose if one were lucky enough to have a color lab at home, and could process the film, control from shutter-click to print might be attained. And while it’s true images may be pleasantly adjusted with a few pre-programmed filters, I maintain the initial skill with composition, and the artist’s sensitivity to colors, values and textures is what makes for extraordinary images.

In a couple of days, I will begin teaching students in my Digital Imaging/Photography course. I will be able to introduce them to DSLRs, their functions and basic composition, then let them scoot around fearlessly making images, knowing we will analyze some of their work later the same period. Like always, they will listen, apply themselves, and eventually, make award-winning images, something my program has been fortunate to produce fairly regularly. Something I’m fairly certain would be taken from my students if traditional film was still King-of-the-Hill…

Deception Pass lr

In a Field of Wheat

I’ve been taking photos of this place for several years, and each year a little more of it caves in. The roof on the far side is just beams now, and the entire structure is beginning to lean. Not many years are left for this old place, I’m  afraid. The wheat in this image was bright green, but looks light because I took the photo with an infrared filter.

Pale Spring

Moon Over the Chief Joe

It’s unusual for all the spillways on the Chief Joseph Dam to be open at the same time, particularly when the full moon and Jupiter are present to witness the event. I took this photo from the bridge just outside of town at dusk about a year and a half ago.

Dusk Moon with Jupiter


Whenever I get back to my hometown on Whidbey Island, I try and get out with my camera.  I was lucky to grow up in such a beautiful place. This was taken at Deception Pass State Park with a neutral density filter.