The Greek roots of the word photography translate as "writing with light." Welcome to my studio--a place to practice and illuminate good work using writing and photography.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Chickadee self-care

A day at the spa for a chickadee includes sunbathing--theory is it helps the preen oil to spread across the feathers and drives out parasites.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Exquisite obsolescence in Shaniko, OR

Shaniko, Oregon never became the transportation hub that The Columbia Southern Railway envisioned, but more than 100 years after its heyday, a handful of residents still live side-by-side with some exquisite images from the past.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

WeNoNah on her own

When their relationship was new, he meandered from his small cabin to the dock most days to steer WeNoNah through the mostly shallow waters of the crescent lake he could see from his front porch. Some days he sang his way around, songs paced perfectly with the cadence of his paddle. Some days he was quiet except for the swoosh-trickle of his strokes. Back then he was always on the look-out for a great blue heron or otter, or the resident king fisher. In the fall, the water lilies. Nowadays when no one shows up to take her for a spin, WeNoNah takes herself, dragging her rope behind. She avoids the narrows to keep from getting tied up in the brush and shallows. Instead she keeps to the navigable waters, mingles with the otter and dodges the diving king fisher.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Summer's work

I love what the summer did to your sleek waving lanks—unseasonable heat, frequent winds, occasional rain, a doe’s path to the river, left you a disheveled tousle of bushy blondness now heading east and west, north and south.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Oh the sunflowers!

Native Americans domesticated the common sunflower around 5,000 years ago.The seeds are small but edible. The Ramah Navajo sprinkled an infusion of prairie sunflower essences onto clothes for luck in hunting. (There distinct odor would have helped conceal the hunter). 

The Hopi dried the yellow petals and powdered them to make a yellow ceremonial face powder; when they found prairie sunflowers with many flowers, they took it as a sign that there would be ample rain and a good harvest. 

Good news! This summer the Oregon plains are alight with prairie sunflowers.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Mitchell, Oregon

I am leading a tour group, on this particular day, from our home base at Hancock Field Station to the Painted Hills in the John Day Monument, which requires a gas stop in Mitchell, leaving our small tour group to walk the 2-block-long street, visit the rummage shop and town market for half an hour.

The woman behind the counter at the market is cordial, but not friendly. I admire the store and the building out loud and ask what used to be in the upper floor visible from the front door. She informs me that the building has always been a store, a general store of sorts, and that the abandoned mezzanine used to house dry goods and clothing, that is until, "The tree huggers made us stop logging."

I cannot think of an adequate response, so I say thank you and exit the store.

Saturday, August 26, 2017


Grandpa Al knew Ralph Houck, and in those days that got him tickets to Yankee Stadium. Back then there were double headers that justified the cost for a day's ride on the train into The City. For a kid a first pro game is sensory overload. The beyond-green grass and its meticulous landscaping, announcers and the crowd, the divided fans, many in jerseys and with mitts, a far cry from the weed filled infield and dilapidated bleachers of little league at home. That first game for him was the Yankees versus the Tigers in the original Yankee Stadium, a structure that had huge metal girders holding the upper decks. To fans who ended up unable to see the field sitting behind the girders, they were the pits--and a constant source of complaints. But that day Willie Horton of the Tigers hit a line drive that screamed toward him and Grandpa Al, but hit the girder instead and rocketed to a point at the intersection between 2nd and 3rd base. He was hooked. On the thrill in that moment. 

Decades later he will still dive on cement stairs for a foul ball that comes his way.