May 24, 2017 – Winter in Bisbee

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“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?”
~John Steinbeck

A small town is a strange place to live, but I loved living on the hill looking over Old Bisbee. Up on High Road, this was the view from my deck. I watched winter storms descend in January and monsoon storms roll through the canyons in July. There’s no other place like it in the world.

But life moves on and things change. The view will always be beautiful, but I eventually had to leave.
This image was taken in February of 2012. A crisp, dry morning with snow dusting the hillsides.

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March 28, 2017 – Storm on the Salt River

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Last night we found ourselves somewhat stranded. Cracked radiator on the short drive from dinner in Show Low, Arizona to nearby Pinetop. Angry hissing under the hood when we arrived, with an engine running hot. This morning was a scramble of phone calls and worry, trying to get the vehicle repaired so we could get back on the road, and back home to our jobs, our lives, our responsibilities.

Dark clouds descended in the early hours of the morning, dumping sleet and snow and unexpected cold. Thrift store jackets kept our unprepared asses (somewhat) warm, and we huddled against the circumstance, resigned to what was being thrown at us. And out of the frustration and cold, an unbelievable number of kind and generous people entered our lives, sparing us long walks through the snow, giving us advice and warm food, and wishing us luck on our return journey.

Sometimes bad luck is just good luck in disguise. This short little trip didn’t go as planned – not in any way. Instead, we were thrust, vulnerable, into the arms of strangers, only to be reminded how wonderful and kind people can be. We got the Jeep repaired and made our way back south, with the winter storm on our tail. The snow turned to rain, but the dark clouds were chasing us all the way through the mountain passes and rugged canyons. The image above is the salt river canyon, right around the time we finally outran our shabby luck.

We drifted into Tucson at sun-down, purple light igniting the back-end of Mount Lemmon. It felt like we’d been gone for two weeks, instead of just two days. It was a ride. But it always feels good to get back home, even though we spend most of our time wishing we were away.

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March 03, 2017 – The Tropical City of Urique

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The town of Urique is at the bottom of the valley Barranca de Urique, formed by the river of the same name. In today’s photograph, you can see this river winding through the frame, and the small town huddled around it (a population hovering around one-thousand). The road down into the canyon is a series of switchbacks that wind back and forth toward the village. It’s a low-maintenance road, and a reasonably harrowing experience to drive down. Stories abound about rocks that have crushed cars, and vehicles that have tumbled over the edge.

I bought a bus ticket and put my life in the hands of somebody more skilled at making the journey than myself, and we crawled down the dirt road.

Due to its relatively low elevation above sea level – Urique is about 550 meters – the climate is nearly tropical. The town only has electricity for a fixed number of hours every evening (for light, mostly, once the sun goes down) and, during the hot days of summer, most of the village goes down to the river during the day to keep cool in the water, saving work for the early morning and for sundown.

Papayas, lemons, oranges, and bananas grow wild in the surrounding areas on the outskirts of town, and the villagers actively cultivate their own fruit and vegetable gardens. On hikes through the forest, you can find a shady spot, pluck a fresh orange from a tree, sit down and take a rest. It’s a glorious and unspoiled little corner of the world.

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February 12, 2017 – Sunset From Sabino Canyon

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I went on a much-needed hike yesterday with the most amazing woman in my life; I probably wouldn’t have made it out of the house if it wasn’t for her kind motivation. It has been several months since I’ve had either the opportunity or (more importantly) the drive to strap my boots on, get out there, and scramble up the mountains. The weather was perfect – just warm enough after several “cold” desert weeks – and the trails were filled with people.

We didn’t hit the trials until the early afternoon and, just as luck would have it, dark clouds, thick atmosphere, and thunder greeted us near the summit of the Seven Falls hiking trail. The four-or-so miles into the canyon were flowing with water so deep that we quickly abandoned the notion of keeping our feet (or our pants) dry.

Walking back down to the car, as the sun was setting, our boots heavy with water and squishing with each step, we watched the electrical storm southwest over the horizon.

Just about any other woman I have ever known or dated would have made it through this hike without complaint. But the time we got home, we were a little sniffly, with itchy shriveled feet and aching muscles. But earlier, at the first sight of overflowing water on the trail, she was the one who insisted we keep going. And when we got home, she told me she was so happy that we had gone out.

That’s my kind of woman. The kind of woman that gives you a great deal to look forward to, and who appreciates the good things that are happening in the present, even when there are setbacks.

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January 20, 2017 – Monsoon In Arizona

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Sometimes you just get lucky.

While living in Bisbee, Arizona, up on the hilltop on High Road (an appropriate name for a road in a town known for it’s debauchery and drinking and weed smoking), I sat on the wrap-around deck and looked across the canyon toward ‘B Hill.’ I was home sick with strep throat, and a monsoon storm rolled through town, dumping rain and lighting on our scenic little corner of the cosmos. I set up my tripod and started snapping at the rainbow, thinking it might be a fun image for our liberal little town.

Bisbee is know for it’s raucous gay pride weekend, it’s open and accepting politics, it’s unique character. The first microbrewery in the entire state of Arizona was opened in Bisbee, and Bisbee was the first municipality in the state to legalize gay marriage – a symbolic victory, of course, as these marriages were only considered valid within the city limits at that time.

A rainbow over Bisbee seemed like it’d be a fun picture, naturally.

But then I captured this, and I was awe-struck. I’ve never been a storm chaser or a lightning photographer, but the composition was so astonishing and accidental, I absolutely had to share it. I hope you enjoy.

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January 07, 2017 – Sunset

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Landscape photography is about as old as photography itself – it has reached a level of cliche that’s hard to escape. At the same time, it isn’t the easiest art-form, either. We all have friends who have taken that ‘epic’ sunset photograph, replete with power lines and ugly houses in the foreground that completely distract from the colors, the clouds, and the experience.

I’m not a naysayer – I love that we all have cameras in our pockets, on our phones, that allow us to document majestic moments. But this doesn’t make us all artists. There’s something to be said about composition, intent, and execution. Cameras allow us all to be witnesses to nature’s majesty, but that doesn’t make us all artists. What I love about camera technology is that it hints at the possibility that we all CAN be artists – the tools to make exciting images are completely democratized, totally universal and, as I already mentioned, in each and every one of our pockets.

Get out there, guys. Keep your eyes open. Make something. Nature does all of the heavy lifting – all you have to do is recognize the beauty, pick up your camera, and give it a go.

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January 06, 2017 – The Landscape

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After living in Kansas City for over a year, it feels so good being back in the desert, where I belong. There’s nothing like an Arizona sunrise. At every hour, there are wonderful things to photograph, mountains to hike, winding roads to drive down. This, to me, is paradise.

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