Fire Lava

Nude, Iceland, 2014

We’re in the middle of a blizzard here in New York City, so what’s a more appropriate place to write about in such weather than Iceland?
Actually, the area of Iceland I’m writing about this time did not have its origins in ice or snow, but in fire and ash – hence the name of the place, Eldhraun, meaning “fire lava” in Icelandic.
This lava field came about from one of the greatest natural cataclysms in recorded history – a volcanic eruption that lasted from 1783 to 1784, triggering a disaster of disease and famine in Iceland that decimated much of the population.  By sending up a cloud of ash that drifted over Europe, it may have also contributed to the French Revolution through the crop failure it brought there.
These days, though, the huge lava field is a fairly quiet place, and is covered by nice green moss.

I had wanted to photograph here on my trip in 2013, but weather and other circumstances didn’t permit it.  However, I was able to do so in 2014.  As we were there in the middle of the day, I was hoping for some cloud cover to soften the light, but instead we had sunshine.
Still, I managed, especially with the help of Nadine, who – as you can see – did a good job working with the landscape here.

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The pyramids beyond the hotel grounds, Giza

“We have constructed pyramids in honor of our escaping                                                                                                               This is the land where the Pharaoh died”     
          – The Doors                    
I recently returned home from a trip to Egypt.  I had not been there since August of 1980, and I had been wanting to go back for some time, so I finally did.  (I’ll write more about why I decided to go now in a later post.)
Needless to say, when one goes back somewhere after 36 and a half years, you can expect some things to change, and certainly some things have.  Yet, in a place as ancient as Egypt is, it seems that many other things remain the same.
Photographically, things seem to have reversed.  In 1980, you were not allowed to photograph in museums but you were allowed to photograph in tombs (that of King Tutankhamum being the exception).  Now, with the purchase of a pass for a few dollars, one can photograph in the major museums (some of Tut’s items and the royal mummies being the exception) while photography in tombs is now prohibited (though making a “donation” to the attendant can sometimes change the policy).
One of my other photographic concerns were x-ray machines.  On my trip to China last year, I made at least half a dozen airplane rides and not once was my film x-rayed.  In Egypt, however, they would not hand check the film, and to make matters worse, you have to go through the machines twice for each flight – once when entering the airport and again when approaching the gate.
So, my film went through at least seven times, with some rolls even more.  My hopes laid in the lead bags into which I put the film, though some were put through with the bags a couple of times.
The good news, though, is that I’ve gotten a dozen of my exposed rolls developed and as far as I can see, even on high-res scans, there is no noticeable damage.
However, I’ll post my film images later.  For now,  I’m just posting some photos made in the north in the area of Cairo, Giza and the pyramids that I made with my pocket digital cameras.
Oh, regarding safely, I don’t think I or anyone else in my tour group felt threatened, and the people in Egypt seemed happy to see us.  About the most dangerous thing we did was crossing the street on foot against the chaotic traffic – which is, admittedly, taking your life into your hands!

Pyramid sitting, Giza


I’d walk a mile for a ……


Church detail, Coptic Cairo


Church interior, Coptic Cairo


Ben Ezra Synagogure, Cairo


King Menkaure with two goddesses, Egyptian Museum, Cairo


Three canopic jars from Tomb KV55, Egyptian Museum, Cairo


Goddess figure protecting a shrine of Tutankhamun, Egyptian Museum, Cairo


Old building, Cairo


View toward Muhammad Ali mosque


Interior of Muhammad Ali mosque


Bent Pyramid at Dahshur


Red Pyramid at Dahshur


One of the friendly dogs seen at many archaeological sites, Sakkara

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Two Hits (To The Body)

New Mexico Nude, 1998, #4

New Mexico Nude, 1998, #4

I found out two days ago that two of my photographs had been selected to be included in the jurored exhibition, Body/Image, at the Darkroom Gallery in Essex Junction, Vermont.
The show will run from March 30 to April 23.
The two images were made in the southwestern United States, though a dozen years apart.  The earlier image, “New Mexico Nude, 1998, #4,” was made late one afternoon at a ranch outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico.  I had photographed the model at a workshop in Santa Fe the previous week and arranged to photograph her at this location a few days after.
The lighting, as I like to tell people, is pure late afternoon New Mexico sunlight.  The sun was so low that the shadow it cast was almost straight to the side, as you can see.  I did not ask the model to place her hand over her face, but she did so herself to shield her eyes from the bright sunlight, and when I saw her do that I knew that the photo was perfect.
Nude, Nevada, 2010, #1

Nude, Nevada, 2010, #1

The other image, “Nude, Nevada, 2010, #1,” was made early one morning in the desert outside Las Vegas with model Fiona Flowers, who was modeling for the first time.  The content of the image was very much a collaboration, as it was Fiona’s idea to get behind the column of rock, and after she got there, I asked her to raise her arms into the position seen.
You can see all of the photographs selected for the exhibit, including two by my good friend Dave Levingston, at the gallery’s website (here).
I have already had two other photos selected for exhibits this year – one at the Lightbox Gallery in Oregon and one at another Darkroom Gallery show – so I guess that having four pictures chosen for exhibition is a pretty good way to start the year.
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Patricks Court

Patricks Court, Killkenny, Ireland, 2015

Patricks Court, Killkenny, Ireland, 2015

It’s back to my 2015 trip to Ireland, and this time we found ourselves looking at a short alleyway going underneath a building in the very nice town of Killkenny.
I liked the look of the alley, so I made a photograph of it.
As it happened, that picture was the last frame on the roll of film in the camera, so I began to change the film and put in a new one.  While I was doing that, or perhaps just after I had loaded the new roll, a man happened to walk toward me through the alley.


He saw the camera and seemed interested in what I was doing, so I asked him if he wouldn’t mind going back and posing for some photos at a few spots in the alley as he walked toward me again.  He agreed to do so, which is how I got the photos with the shadowy figure here.
The reason I asked him to go back and walk toward me again is that I often feel that having a human element in a photo makes it more interesting, especially when the figure is not well lit and brings a sense of mystery with it.


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Heading South

Nude, Iceland, 2014

Nude, Iceland, 2014

I’m continuing now with photos from my 2014 trip to Iceland.
The last two posts featuring photos from this trip were made heading north from around the town of Vik on a rough road to higher elevation, which finished with Nadine, Zoe and I reaching a campground where we got stuck in a huge hail storm.
We would not be staying overnight at the campground (though the location is so stunning that I might want to in the future), so we sat out that storm inside the car at the campground, as I was not about to try to drive in it with such limited visibility.  Eventually, of course, it came to an end and we headed back south.
On the way heading back down, we passed a series of small mountains, with one in the distance that had a pointed peak that I found to be rather interesting looking.  Nadine thought it interesting, too, so I stopped the car and Nadine got out to pose for a few photos.  You can see the pointy mountain in the background.


Continuing further south, we passed a beautiful overlook down to a river delta below.  We had passed this on the way up, with beautiful, clear weather conditions, as you can see from this color photo (below).  I was getting ready to do make some photographs of Nadine and Zoe next, when all of a sudden, a four wheel drive tour bus pulled up, a bunch of senior citizens spilled out and they proceeded to sit down in that very spot to have their lunch!


So much, then, for nude photos there, but on the way back, nobody else was around. Unfortunately,  it was now rainy and foggy.  I parked the car there and we waited for about 20 minutes for the weather to clear.  It never did, so we just moved on.
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Black & White (& Blue)

Reflection, Luang Prabang, Laos, 2006

Reflection, Luang Prabang, Laos, 2006

I found out a few days ago that my photograph, “Reflection, Luang Prabang, Laos, 2006” has been selected to be included in the exhibition Black & White (& Blue) at the Darkroom Gallery in Essex Junction, Vermont.
So, thank you to juror Michael Kirchoff for selecting my image.  According to his statement on the gallery’s website, only 53 of the 903 images submitted were chosen, so I am happy for my work to be included. You can see all of the selected images and read the juror’s statement by clicking here.
The exhibition is scheduled to run from March 2 to March 26.
Another one of my photos will be exhibited in the Photographic Nude 2017 exhibit at the LightBox Gallery in Astoria, Oregon, from February 11 to March 8, so for about a week, I’ll have two photos on display.  (See here.)
As for the photograph itself, it was made at a Buddhist temple in Luang Prabang called Wat Choum Khong.  You can read an earlier blog post about it by clicking here.
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Further Inland in Iceland

Nude, Iceland, 2014

Nude, Iceland, 2014

I posted some photos a couple of weeks ago from my 2014 trip to Iceland with models Nadine Theresa and Zoe West (here), made near a road that went north about nine miles from the south coast near the town of Vik.
Here are some more photos made at that location.  I really liked the large outcropping of rock that you can see, as well as the one in the background to the right, so I decided to photograph from a viewpoint that would allow both to be seen fully.
I don’t remember if I used a wide angle lens for this or just used my normal lens from a further distance, but looking at the images, I would say that I moved further back.
Of course, it’s the presence of Nadine and Zoe, along with their interplay, that make the photos stand out.




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Irish Wisdom

Irish Wisdom, Killarney, 2015

Irish Wisdom, Killarney, 2015

And for today’s post, a bit of wisdom from the Emerald Isle, as photographed in a shop window in Killarney.
I believe that the text is self-explanatory.
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Going Inland in Iceland

Nude, Iceland, 2014

Nude, Iceland, 2014

I’m continuing now with more photos from my trip to Iceland in 2014 with Zoe West and Nadine.
On this occasion, we had ridden north from the south coast, near the town of Vik.  I had seen on the map that there was a road that went north from the main road (the Ring Road) for about nine miles, ending at a campground.
As I was determined to try to get off the beaten path, this road seemed like a good place to do so.  I had a feeling that this would be a rough road, and it was.  The road guide I had, however, indicated that it was passable for all vehicles (rather than only four wheel drives) and thankfully that was the case, too.


I wasn’t sure if I would go the full length of the road, which made its way to higher elevation, but I did, finally ending up at the campground – and just in time, too, as right about the time we got there we were engulfed in a hail storm the likes of which I had never seen before.  We were forced to sit it out inside the car for quite a while, though it was interesting to experience it.
In Iceland, the force of nature is frequently on full display.
The photos I’m posting now were made on the way up to the campground.  The weather was not very cooperative, being cold and windy, but Zoe and Nadine did pretty well, I thought.
I’ll add more photos from this location in another post.


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The City of the Tribes

Galway, Ireland, 2015

Galway, Ireland, 2015

Galway, Ireland, has been called “The City of the Tribes,” in reference to the 14 merchant families that were once very powerful and prominent there.
This post is not about that part of Galway’s history (though you can read about it here if you’re interested), but I thought it would be a good alternate to simply entitling this post “Galway,” which I have already used for one of my two earlier posts (here and here) about this city on Ireland’s west coast.
I was looking through the photos of my 2015 trip to Ireland and I’ve decided to make posts from this trip not in the order of the trip, but rather something more random so I can post whatever photos may interest me at any particular time.
So, even though I’m made some posts about parts of Ireland I visited after Galway, I’m going back now to the city where I began my trip.
As I wrote in one of the earlier posts, Galway is a pleasant old town and a nice place to spend a few days.  In fact, looking over my photos, I’m sorry that I didn’t photograph more than I did (although I did do so with my pocket digital camera).
So, here’s to Galway – a lovely place to begin a journey around the Emerald Isle.


















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