SPRING Update, 2016

Unless one says goodbye to what one loves, and unless one travels to completely new territories, one can expect merely a long wearing away of oneself and an eventual extinction.

–  Jean Dubuffet –

I have not abandoned travel & adventuring for good but I note with some sheepishness that I have been 15 months now in one location. And that has unleashed some new creative energies perhaps worth noting.

1. Shortly after arriving in St. Petersburg I got involved in ‘street photography’ and spun off a new website, StreetSt.Pete, which has attracted a few followers and is still going strong. But that involved shelving my long lens for most of last year in favor of a smaller street camera. Now I am carrying the 400mm again and it feels good to get off trail and back into the habit of scanning trees for birds.



2. Some may recall that Tzuri has her own website but now that she is 33 months old and we are not climbing mountains I have maintained it only sporadically. The good news is that there are 10-12 recreation areas within a 30-minute drive where we can find secluded niches for her to run free. At least two open up into salt water beaches where she can frolic without fear of alligators.

tzuri20160322_7540-Edit-13. ‘Urban Thursday’, debuting tomorrow, is a new weekly project (along with Monday murals & random Fridays) dedicated to the sampling of downtown buildings & city landscapes. This new deadline will encourage me to seek out fresh perspectives as I wander the streets.

building20151019_4950 as Smart Object-1

4. But what is most exciting to me right now (in addition to some writing projects) is not wielding a camera but learning to print my own images. I have invested in both a high-quality monitor and a professional-level photo printer, as well as some software programs to coordinate the printing workflow.

Not as simple as one might think.

Without measuring and matching ‘color profiles’ what you see on screen is not what will appear on paper and all your photo editing is for naught. I even have a gizmo sitting on my desk measuring ambient light and every five minutes adjusts the image on my monitor accordingly.

But what a thrill it is to finally hold a large museum-quality print in your hands! Looking at an image in reflected light is vastly different than seeing it back-lit on screen.

I’m still learning, watching numerous video tutorials on all aspects of photo printing. Okay, so maybe my first print was a disaster. How was I to know the top piece of expensive premium 17×22 inch photo luster paper was actually the cardboard filler? That wasn’t covered in any tutorial.

[I suppose I should also confess I couldn’t get the new 32-inch monitor to power up. Yes, it was plugged in. I returned it to B&H Photo in New York and received a replacement. That one wouldn’t turn on either, at first. After a couple of hours of supreme frustration it finally popped on for no apparent reason, and now I just don’t turn it off.]

I probably have 100,000 images from which to choose my select few “exhibition best” so this new archival printing project is not an overnight affair. I’m starting with landscapes and these are the first two hot off the press.

bryce canyon01master

lamar valley01Master file

🙂 🙂 🙂 life is good 🙂 🙂 🙂

15 Replies to “SPRING Update, 2016”

  1. Your photography never fails to thrill, by God John, these are overwhelming. And the landscapes as well as the birds have incredible vigor, everything in your eyes is in motion. I hope you will go against your previous tradition and begin to offer these spectacular pictures you make, for sale. The color and depth and the feeling to the viewer is that you are somewhere high on tiptoes leaning dangerously off balance to just capture that last curve of the earth the sun and shadows play with. Bravo your art.
    PS That wonderful writer of wild places you love has passed away, the one you shared a restaurant patio with in Livingston by Yellowstone a year ago. I hope you make some tribute on your blogs using that great photograph.


    1. Thanks so much, Barbara – and readers should know that you yourself are a former billboard painter and first-rate artist (writing & painting) still today. Yes, Jim Harrison keeled over from a heart attack a few days ago at his winter place in Patagonia AZ. A boozer and a chain-smoker who adamantly refused to alter his lifestyle, he had just lit up a cigarette and started writing a poem. I’d like to know more about his last moments and am waiting for him to return and write them out for us. 🙂


  2. How I forgot to add Tzuri in a water romp I don’t know, I’m embarrassed at my omission. Please forgive, don’t tell the beautiful princess.


  3. It must be very exciting to be able to print such high quality pieces! They are spectacular on the screen. Wish I could see them in person! I agree with Holycowgirl that it would be great to be able to purchase your beautiful works!


  4. John, such splendid photos you shared. Ya know, my Like here shouldn’t have led to you visiting any of my balderdash blogs; 🙂 — again, please don’t do that.

    Been wondering ‘coz you seem to have abandoned your memoir blog. I get disappointed every day that there’s been zero post from you for ages. Couldn’t bear my WP Reader perishing that much.


    1. I apologize for the delay in completing Ch 5. I’m working on the last of it, which details my “love affair” with Donna, not easy to get right. 🙂

      I’m also going back and closely proofreading and revising earlier chapters. Thanks for “missing me.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah…I’ve been missing you and the mesmerizingly superb continuation of your memoir. That’s the reason I don’t like using WP Reader anymore: I easily feel somehow abandoned 🙂 when a closely followed writer starts not blogging much anymore. But I get how photography seems to be your current foremost passion so I’ll be understanding from now on. Do take care, John.


        1. If you prefer not having to rely on the fickle “Reader” I can always send them to you ‘direct’, hot off the press, so to speak. 🙂 And to be clear, I am not in any way neglecting my writing for photography, I’m just bogged down with the writing which is not for the moment flowing smoothly. I try every day, and only get a sentence or two. Which is better than nothing, I guess. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Oh, I’d love to receive your post “hot off the press.” What a wonderful idea. Much better than me constantly checking my WP Reader (almost 3 times a day) where you had, ehem, been the only inhabitant then. And I ain’t kidding. 🙂

            Right right. That’s what happens whenever John Hayes tries to excavate his romantic side to narrate the loves of his life — he “only gets a sentence or two.” How come that doesn’t surprise me. he he he.


            1. Ha Ha – I really set myself up for that one, only getting a sentence or two about my love life. 🙂

              Do you want me to send advance excerpts to your email? I could send drafts and you could suggest improvements, or you might wish to wait for the more ‘polished’ versions. Reply privately, if you wish, to oops.john@gmail.com

              Thanks again for all your interest in my meager efforts. You are probably the only one to actually read my posts.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Ok, you can send those advance excerpts to my email. Suggesting improvements from me might not be a grand idea (but we’ll see) as I wish to behold first how you make a beautiful emotional subject from your past come to life as a writer.

                I’m sure I’m not the only one who reads your memoir. It, however, mystifies me why you don’t promote your memoir to your long-time readers and blog pals. I guess I know the answer to that; why did I even ask. 🙂


                1. This conversation, Bruce, refers to another website I have where I am posting chapters from an autobiography. I’m sensitive to boring my regular readers so I keep it relatively secret. 🙂


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