Friday, April 29, 2011

Beacon's Dog Parade: Saturday at 11

The Barkery in Beacon, NY, is once again sponsoring a day dedicated to dogs.  At 11 the dog parade will begin.  It's a well-attended event with a very eclectic group of paraders, some au natural, some in lovely and interesting costumes.
I've donated this double dog portrait, Friends? Foes?, to a raffle to be held tomorrow.  I took this shot in Leon, Spain.  I wish there were fewer blue jeans in the background, but with this kind of quick caught shot, you get what you get.  In this image, it's all about the dogs.

For more information about the day's events, go to

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

At The County Fair

The spring show -- Art in the Loft at the Millbrook Winery in Millbrook, NY -- is up, on the second floor of their beautiful sales building and it features three artists.  I was juried in this year by the Dutchess County Arts Council for my county fair series.
This is one of 11 images I put into the show.  I used ASAs from 100 to 1600, depending on whether I wanted to stop the action or use the blur to show the action.  For this shot, I wanted to stop it.  I like the outer-space look of the swing, and the unexpected swoop of the framing element on the bottom.

This image is for sale at the Millbrook Winery.  They are having a very special weekend for wine lovers.  Come see the show -- it is up through June -- and sample some great Hudson Valley wine.

For the entire county fair series, check out my website  They are also available at my gallery,

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Weekend

From a fresco in Narnia, Tuscany -- Mary as she fainted at the cross.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hudson River Crew

RiverWinds Gallery and the Wells Fargo Advisors office in Rhinebeck is putting together its next show -- Boats and Bridges.  Four times a year we curate an art show -- paintings and photos -- for their offices.  The show will be hung Tuesday, April 26 and will run for 3 months.  This is one of my pieces for the show:
It's a little hard to see at this size, but those things on the river are crew sculls -- one on the lower left, along with the boat with the coach/barker on it (don't now the technical name for it) and another in the middle right side.  But what makes this photo work for me is the sense of scale - the tiny sculls on the the huge silver Hudson River, the dark colors of the shore on the upper right. It's an eccentric image -- there's a lot of space without detail but for me the constant color modulations pull me through it.

More details about the show will be on the RiverWinds Gallery website next week - and the image is available at the gallery in any size.

I took this image during one of my Hudson Valley Photo Tours -- when you're in the area, make sure you are in the right place in the right light.  For more details, check out my website

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sophie the Supervisor

Every spring a couple of black birds -- starlings? -- build a nest in the upper corner of my porch.  Last year we heard chirping, and then nothing, and no little birds appeared.  Not a good year.  The year before we saw 2 baby bird heads squawking out the window.  This year the parents are back, bringing straw and weeds into the hole, making a nest.
Any building project needs a supervisor, and my cat Sophie is a good one.  She supervises any work around the house, for example, watching the painter and then inspecting the finished job.  She woke me out of a sound sleep at 5 a.m. one morning because the toilet was running....And she takes a keen interest in the bird project.  (I retrieved the plaster cat from someone's garbage and she has reigned on the porch ever since.  I waited years for Sophie to pose with her plaster doppelganger...)
She posed long enough for me to get a few shots and then...enough already.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Looking Ahead to When the Rain Stops

It's cold, dreary, drizzly day.  So I'm looking forward to sun.  We haven't had much sun this year...
I took this one sunny summer day.  I had been weeding and decided to lie on my back to rest.  The world looks different at soil level!  I liked the viewpoint and took some shots of my favorite flower silhouetted against the blue sky.  The red/green are contrasting colors so the zinnia pops against the blue sky -- a little basic color wheel theory.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Walkway Over the Hudson - Poughkeepsie NY

When built in 1889, it was the longest bridge in the world.  Built for trains, it suffered fire damage and was closed for many years. It reopened in 2009 and has been a big draw for tourists and locals alike. The walkway is wide, stable and way way above the Hudson, giving the walker fabulous views.
This is a view of the bridge, looking east.
This is the view looking south at the Mid Hudson Bridge and the Hudson River.
And this is the view looking north.

These were taken at around 6 am during a Hudson Valley Photo Tour with Nancy.  A Floridian, she was in the area dropping off her son at a West Point camp and she wanted to take some great shots while she was up north.  We photographed for 8 hours - 4 in the evening, getting sunset shots at a couple of locations and 4 hours the following morning, getting sunrise shots at 2 more locations.  We wound up at an antique car show and photographed those beautiful automotive works of art.  Both of us got some wonderful photos and had a very good time together.

For more information about the tours, check out my website  For copies of these images, they are on sale at my website and at my gallery

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Persephone's Portfolio: Sunflower Flame

It's very difficult to take a bad photo of a sunflower.  From the top, the back, the side, it is always gorgeous.
This image was taken with a very shallow depth of field, meaning that only one plane is in focus, and the rest is left to go out of focus.  I love shallow depth of field -- the blur in the background is often beautiful, and the effect gives, parodoxically, a greater sense of depth.  This was originally a color photograph - it looks good in color too.

This image, like all the others in this blog or on my website, is available in any size, and can be purchased on or at my gallery

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Persephone's Portfolio: Green Zinnia

I love zinnias'  Mexican fiesta colors but my favorite are the green ones. It's such a fresh color.
I generally shoot flowers inside by window light.  Outside there's too much wind!  The best light is from two windows at 90 degrees from each other, like in a corner.  Or you can use white paper/foamcoare/whatever to reflect some light into the shadows.  Compositionally the curving leaf both echoes the flower and frames it.  

This image, as with any others in this blog or on my website, are for sale in any size at or at my gallery

Monday, April 11, 2011

Persephone's Portfolio: Gerber Daisy

The moral of the story: never throw anything away.  I took this photo probably 10 years ago, with slide film (remember Fuji Velvia?  with 50 speed ASA?)  Periodically I go through my old slide books, not just to reminisce, but to hunt for hidden gold.  I always liked this shot, but I like it better now.
Now we have Photoshop with lots of cool filters and stuff.  I used the watercolor filter and it brought this image into new life.  When I shoot flowers, I make a point to look at the sides and bottom of the bloom. Gerber daisies look wonderful from about any angle, and they are very photogenic.  Not every flower is -- daffodils are nearly impossible...

This image, like any on my blog or on my website, are available for sale at or at my gallery

We still have a openings on our Tuscany/Sorrento Photo Tour -- for more information, check out  my website or at

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Persephone's Portfolio: Echinacea

I spent part of today outside, getting the garden ready for the spring awakening.  Daffodil and tulip bulbs and the peonies are pushing through the earth.  Which brings me to Persephone.  According to Greek myths, Persephone was kidnapped by Hades, the god of the Underworld.  She was the daughter of Demeter, the earth goddess.  Demeter and Hades came eventually to a compromise:  Persephone would spend half the year with her mother on earth -- marked by Spring, with the earth coming alive -- and the other half of the year in the underworld -- marking winter, when the earth goes dormant.

I named a series of flower photographs Persephone's Portfolio because I imagined these images might be  Persephone's memory of flowers during her half year underground.  I know -- kinda fanciful, but it works for me.

This image was taken in color and then taken through a few Photoshop manipulations to give it a softer, dreamier feel, but with a dark undertone.

This image -- as well as any other in this blog or on my website is available through my website or at my gallery,

Friday, April 8, 2011

Along El Camino de Santiago

This image was taken while walking the Camino de Santiago -- the Way of St James -- in northwest Spain.
The camino is one of three pilgrimage routes recognized by the Catholic church -- the other two end in Rome and in Jerusalem -- but this one is probably the most traveled -- more than 200,000 people last year.  At the end of the route is the body of Apostle St. James (you can see him in an earlier blog in March).

It's a very simple vacation, so to speak -- one just follows the yellow arrows and walks all day.  No cell phones, no laptops, no killer aps -- just walking.  The route gave me a truly visceral feel for landscape -- from my feet to my hips to my eyes to my head.  I know how an uphill feels, a downhill, gravel, dirt, stones.  It sounds simple, simplistic even, but we live in such a virtual world now that we sometimes forget how the real one actually feels.

I took my camera with me but didn't really know what I wanted to photograph.  I decided that before taking the trip I had been hunting for photos of what the trail looked like and I couldn't find any that really gave me a sense of what it looked like.  So I photographed where I was, probably 4-6 times an hour.

This last photo features my friend Christine and Jason, tour guide extraordinaire, tromping ahead of me. I was, uh, one of the slower walkers.

If you want to see what it looked like, I have a book on, called El Camino de Santiago.  I've set it up so you can flip through it.

We booked the camino tour with Fresco Tours and they were wonderful.  Helpful, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, well-organized, thoughtful -- I can't say enough about Alex and Jason.  Christine and I have hooked up with them again for a tour of the Basque country next April, 2012.  For more information, check out my website or contact

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Least-Favorite Blog Name, revisited

"April Rainy Day" has turned out to be everyone's least favorite blog name!  Maybe it needs dressing up...but anyway, here's another photo from yesterday's shoot:
Willow trees are the first to have some color in the spring, and their graceful shape is always pleasing.  The blue in the background makes a good contrast with the greenish yellow of the branches.  Anyways, the theme of this blog is that there is always something to shoot, even during the ugly early days of spring.

I lead Photo Tours of the Hudson Valley for individuals and small groups.  For more information, check out my website

Also, there is still some room in the Tuscany/Sorrento Art and History Photo Tour.  For more information, check out my website or

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April Rainy Day

I have a photo seminar this week and I needed to take some photos to do the show and tell, so I went out today to shoot.  It was rainy -- a good thing because it would give me better color.  I've been looking at the bare trees and shrubs -- the grays and browns are subtle and beautiful -- so that's what I was looking for.
This is Creek Road with Wappingers Creek in the background -- just about 100 yards from where it runs into the Hudson River.  I cropped the image to take out aky and foreground so I can concentrate on what really interested me -- the trunks.
This was in a local cemetery.  Just an hour before a very strong rain had come through with strong winds so the trunks were wetter on one side, making a nice effect.
And this was down a dead end road.

I realize that these may be images only a mother can love -- they are about texture mostly -- and this certainly is not the most beautiful time of year -- it's rather drab and gray out there.  But I'm very pleased with them.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hudson River Weeds

This photo was taken during a day I was totally uninspired.  My friend Rita -- a very talented photographer --  had come up for the day so we went shooting.  We went to the Madam Brett Park in Beacon, NY.  The day was dull, I didn't see much I liked, I was shooting because I was there and I had my camera and there wasn't much else to do....Then I became interested in the weeds against the water.
And this became one of my favorite shots.  I photoshopped it to give it some grain, which made it pop against the background and gave it a more painterly quality.  I love the colors of the weeds against the dark water.  Compositionally, it's certainly not classic, but I think the colors and the texture carry it through, as well as the rhythm of the weeds, leaning to the left, rather than being straight up.

It's the cover of a book I published  -- Weeds, Water, Thicket, Snow --  which is available on -- and I used it in last year's calendar.  The image is available in any size -- check out my website or my gallery,

I lead Hudson Valley Photo Tours for small groups and for individuals.  We go to the most scenic outlooks for the best light.  If you are visiting the area and want to come home with some beautiful Hudson River scenes, give me a holler.  For more information, see my website,

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hudson River Surface Studies

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I spent a fair amount of time last year photographing the surface of the Hudson River.  Here's a couple more examples:

Both of these images have had some Photoshop manipulation, both for color and to bring out the grain.  What strikes me the most about the water surface is how often it looks like stone.  I am also fascinated by the ceaseless change within an underlying pattern.

I lead Hudson Valley Tours, both one-on-one and in small groups.  We'll go to the best places to shoot and the best places to eat!  For more information, check out my website,

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pagan Roots: Tuscany & the Basque Country

My friend Galina, a prominent author in the Northern Tradition in the pagan community, recently conducted an interview with me about the upcoming photo tours of Tuscany and the Basque country with an eye on the pagan energy still strong underlying both cultures.  For the complete interview (with photos), click here:

For me, it was an interesting experience to look at my work from a different angle.  Often we are drawn to certain subjects without really analyzing why.  This interview gave me an opportunity to actually, you know, think about what I do!  And, as I know Galina is particularly interested in honoring the dead, we peppered the interview with some of my favorite cemetery images.  For more information about either tour, check out my website,

Flowers at a cemetery
Young girl's grave photo