Shelter in Place
I set this site up in late 2019 to show off a little of my work. My photography, if I had to categorize it, is dominantly travel and nature based...I have some portrait, still life, and architecture work under my belt as well, but sharing my destinations on the road is what I truly enjoy the most! As it turned out, early 2020 brought those destinations a lot closer to home with the advent of CoVid-19 and "shelter in place" obligations. The available OK'd options in my neighborhood were pretty clear: groceries, doctors and pharmacies, and some limited exposure to the outside world for basic exercise close to home.
Having been some time since taking a trip solely to shoot images (and now having imposed free time at my disposal) I decided to break out the camera, turn the dial to manual, and play "Backyard Naturalist" while going out for walks around the neighborhood. The result was a collection of images more or less taken within a few blocks of my from door and without any particularly elaborate gear; just a body and a few basic lenses.
Around this same time, my wife had taken some time off of work and had a few doctors visits right about when people started talking shortages in PPE. With some free time herself, and nowhere to go due to the lockdown, she decided to break out the sewing machine and sew some masks to give to the folks at the hospital. While she was sewing I was sorting through images and made her a few cards to send along using some of my recent images. It was't long after that the requests started coming in for masks and cards. The images in these galleries are a reflection of those first few weeks of starting to explore my own backyard!
I grew up in a house that put the same emphasis on Autumn and Halloween as was placed on Winter and Christmas. Creature Features were playing late night each weekend - campy but never too scary, and there was always was a healthy dose of Addams Family and The Munsters on reruns (my Grandmother had a thing for Herman). The Universal property monsters were just as popular as ever.
My earliest "spooky" memory is of my Grandfather telling us stories that mixed up "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" with tales of his own childhood growing up on a farm in South Dakota. The tales came with pictures doodled on napkins; the farm, the church and the old bridge. My Great-grandparents grew up during the end of the Spiritualism Movement, and as a result and my sister and I often saw the Ouija Board come out...I can even remember sneaking a look at a genuine seance. The stories and events scared us...a little, but we always wanted more.
Every year it was Halloween that represented the first big holiday after school had started. The change of season meant long drives to pick pumpkins from the vine and what seemed like a longer drive home to carve them up with wild abandon! There was a whole event made around decorating our home both inside and out. Boxes were unpacked and decorations went up. Dried leaves and a little cemetery led the way to our front door where an iron cauldron fogged over on the porch. It was accompanied by creepy sound effects coming through the HiFi speakers hidden just below the windows. Inside were pumpkins and cobwebs, paper skeletons with hinged joints, bats, and spiders. My Mom always dressed as a witch, the costume evolved over the years, but always a witch. My wife and I inherited her hat and broom.
Outside of my family, my sincere thanks to folks like Bob Wilkins, John Stanley, Tim Burton, and Guillermo del Toro for their lifelong inspirations.
I spent my childhood years in a little house in Northern California. There were two adults, four children, a dog and cat. Outside, at the end of the lawn, a lone Palm Tree stood in our front yard. It was tall, especially so to a child, and it stood like a sentinel looking over our home for my eighteen years there and for my parents twenty-five.
One day someone from the city came by and said the tree was to be cut down. I don't recall why as I was still fairly young but I was saddened as the tree seemed to me an important part of our home. I definitely did not want to see it go! My sister and I had played in the sprinklers beneath it in the summertime. I would lay beneath it and watch the clouds and birds go by when I wanted to be alone with my thoughts. I even tried to climb it once with a long rope looped around the middle. The attempt failed. Ultimately, as it turned out, there was an endangered bird living in the tree and much to my delight the tree was spared and it continued to watch over us through the years.
I recently returned home to see family and, as many do when revisiting their hometowns, took a drive by the old house. It was a bittersweet trip. My siblings have long moved out, my parents have passed, and the house has changed hands at least a few times but, as I drove by, I found myself comforted to see that lone, tall tree still standing, still keeping watch like a sentinel over my old home and my childhood memories.