Desert Light II

11 x 25, Fabriano Artistico

This new print of a Scarlet Splendens is part of my Desert Light series, working with overlapping negatives.  It’s not a cactus and so not related to the amazing Jumping Cholla that left broken cactus spines in my right hand since late April . . . had surgery last week to remove them . . .  they just wouldn’t leave on their own.

New Shetland work is next.

Desert Light

treeflare(Print: 14″ x 20″, made at Indian Hill Imageworks on hand-coated Fabriano Artistico 640 gsm.)

I’m staring here, straight into the rising Arizona sun—6 AM in the preserve just a few hundred feet from my sister-in-law Julie’s home in Phoenix.  Since I took that shot, I’ve learned that the taboo against shooting into the sun isn’t so much a matter of a bad shot as of magnifying the radiation, through the camera lens onto one’s retina—geez.  I also didn’t imagine the effect of the flare.

chichuly5(11″ x 25″ on Fabriano Artistico)

This second print is a matter of slipping the film between 35mm frames within my ’79 Olympus XA.  Shot at the Desert Botanical Garden, it jogs between  the Palo Verde and the Chihuly spires.  I’m working on this layering and slipping of frames before leaving again for the Shetland Islands, mid-May.


Crop Detail: 5″ x 5.5″

Meadow Croft

We were just a few hours into spring last Friday morning, and yet had snowflakes.  Crazy winter on Long Island.  Snowstorms.  Cold.

I’ve been working these past months, piloting a couple of film cameras to work with in Shetland this May.  I don’t think I would otherwise have tortured myself, photographing in the frigid air, and the snow is sometimes so uninspiring.  So I stayed near home and ended up photographing, again and again at Meadow Croft, John E.Roosevelt’s one-time summer home in Sayville.

I’ve passed this spot many times-less than a mile from my home-and never really walked in, but one Sunday, my friend Carol asked me to meet her there, to stop in at the wood shack at the far end of the estate where Barney offers tastes of the Loughlin wines grown there.  I left sooner than Carol, to walk around and try out my Olympus XA and LOMO 35mm cameras.  I bought the 1979 Olympus for just $75 at an online auction and the LOMO new and am trying to decide which effects I want.  They both have good lenses and work quickly, although the XA has a coupled rangefinder for precision focus, whereas the LOMO is a scale focus and I have to estimate the distance in feet and set the lens, a bit wacky, but maybe I want this.  (For more on these cameras, see

Before Carol showed up, I walked around the open fields in front of the Dutch Revival house and then back toward the two-story garage.  I was photographing the garage from a predictable distance-more than 20 feet-easy, infinity on both cameras.  But then I noticed that one of the windows on the otherwise locked garage was open, less than an inch.  I pushed the window up a bit, just enough to prop the XA and LOMO on the ledge and shoot into a room where the light fell obliquely onto a back wall.  I guessed at the distance and shot a few frames, but, by the time Carol came up beside me, my fingers were burning from the cold, even with gloves on, and I could no longer advance the film levers.

We walked to Barney’s shack which is warmed by a  wood-burning stove and then took our wine in plastic cups back up to the house to sit in the rockers on the porch…feet up on the rail…no one in view.  I went back to Meadow Croft all winter; even though it was so often cold, because it was eerie and mysterious and silent.  And last week I borrowed an Olympus XA-4–a later XA model that like the LOMO is scale focused but it has a 28mm lens–more in the frame and more depth of field.

Further test shots to follow.