Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Influences-Joel Meyerowitz

It was the summer of 1988 and I had left the Grand Canyon to work in a bike store on Cape Cod. After tinkering with gears and hawking bikes for the day, I checked the surf report and usually found it flat. After I grabbed my camera, I hopped into the car and headed up the Cape for the evening light. On one of my rambles, the clouds rolled in,and I found myself wandering though a bookstore in Provincetown. I picked up a copy of Joel Meyerowitz's "Cape Light" and it changed the way I looked at photography forever.

The scenes did not explode off the page like the garish colorful visions of the west I was used to. The colors were muted, if they were even present at all. The horizon line sewed together the water and sky seamlessly. The entire image ebbed and flowed like water across the page. The scenes did not command you to take notice, rather they tempted you to wade in. The images were not meant to be experienced, they were meant to be savored. The more time you spent with them, the more you appreciated them. They captured the emotion of the landscape perfectly.

I still love when the light colors the landscape with that crystal clear intensity that occurs so often in the American West.  But when the colors are more subdued and the horizon line begins to fade, Mr. Meyerowitz's images taught me to be a little more patient, to look a little deeper and appreciate your surroundings for what they are and not what you hoped they would be. You can see more of Mr. Meyerowitz's work at

Friday, May 20, 2011

Story Behind the Image-San Diego Sunset

The gray settled and blanketed the coastline one hour before sunset. The overcast robbed the beach and ocean of their color and left me sitting on a rock next to my tripod, hoping for a little luck. Ten minutes before the scheduled sunset, I finally gave up, packed up my gear and began the trek back down the beach to my car. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a little ray of light peeking through the smallest opening in the clouds. I kept walking, refusing to believe anything would come of it. The hole cracked open a little more and the clouds began to glow. I ran back to the spot I had chosen and set up the camera as the color spread second by second across the sky. The entire sky exploded into pastels, followed by oranges, and then reds. The clouds seemed to realize their mistake and closed the hole as quickly as it had opened. The color drained from the scene like water down a drain. I looked at my watch and realized the entire event took place in less than five minutes. Good gifts really do come in small packages.