BLINK: PAGE EIGHTEEN also the ramblings of an old photographer for the next good part of March.

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Whitmore Road, CA

One store and one gas station and a fair amount of cowboys during the calving season.

After the series ran the owners of the ranch hired me to do some photographs of their prized bull in front of an antique car they owned for a publication called Bull-O-Rama.

I laughed at first also until I saw what they were getting for stud fees.

Cowman’s Prayer

Now, O Lord, please lend me thine ear,
The prayer of a cattleman to hear,
No doubt the prayers may seem strange,
But I want you to bless our cattle range.

Bless the round-ups year by year,
And don’t forget the growing steer;
Water the lands with brooks and rills
For my cattle that roam on a thousand hills.

Prairie fires, won’t you please stop?
Let thunder roll and water drop.
It frightens me to see the smoke;
Unless it’s stopped, I’ll go dead broke.

As you, O Lord, my herd behold,
It represents a sack of gold;
I think at least five cents a pound
Will be the price of beef the year around.

One thing more and then I’m through,—
Instead of one calf, give my cows two.
I may pray different from other men
But I’ve had my say, and now, Amen.

_ Author Unknown, circa 1890 _

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BLINK: PAGE SEVENTEEN also the ramblings of an old photographer for the next good part of March.

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Cold Springs, NY

Vintage, Flying A gas pumps still stood guard in front of the old gas station along one of the towns back streets. Over the years they had become a bit of a landmark.

They were a wonderful lime green and went missing a few months after I took this
photograph.

Another perfect example of history passing in a BLINK.


BLINK: PAGE SIXTEEN also the ramblings of an old photographer for the next good part of March.

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Old Shasta, CA

Pretty much anything you do in life comes from your training and past life experiences.

These are really what make up your “tool box”.

Some of us collect a ton of tools; many we use very little.

Some of us keep tools to a minimum and use them daily.

I’m certainly a minimum type of guy who tends to use very few tools but hopefully

in his chosen fields.  Most of my tools are old and some would say worn but have been used equally across my chosen fields as a photojournalist, martial arts student and teacher and a firearms trainer.

The common theme for my tools are “teaching tools” and tools used to strengthen “work ethic”.

I find that these are simple tools that helped me navigate coverage of the Atlanta Olympic Bombing to understanding how to help those protect themselves. 

To help students no longer be victims.

Funny about tools you can loose them in a BLINK if you don’t use them.


BLINK: PAGE FIFTEEN also the ramblings of an old photographer for the next good part of March.

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Blue Cloud Bar, Des Moines IA

The Blue Cloud was a gem of a bar in north Des Moines that offered 

Chicago blues and simple spirits.

Not much to look at from the exterior, worn brick and a window with a beer sign glowing in the cold night air.

Pushing open the wood and glass door the interior was long with no width.  The wood bar ran down the right side and booths to the left.

It was a cave, more shadows and reflections of light than true light.

The floor reminded me of going to the “Fun House” at the carnival you know the one with the crazy mirrors and the floor that moved under your feet like and over blown accordion wheezing for more air.

Just enough room between the end of the bar and the window to shoehorn  a band into and still let the door open.

This was a joint where the music came from the soul. The sound of Muddy Waters ; John Lee Hooker and Little Willie Anderson; the roots come from the Delta.

These are the names that “electrified” the blues. “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” sang Hooker but don’t you BLINK!


BLINK: PAGE FOURTEEN also the ramblings of an old photographer for the next good part of March.

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“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”
-Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland-

(left) St. Mary’s Lake, Redding, CA.
(right) Shelley, Idaho


BLINK: PAGE THIRTEEN, also the ramblings of an old photographer for the next good part of March.

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Lily Pond Trail, Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA

I remember that there was a pretty good rain the night before adding some interesting droplets not only on the lily pads but creating some wonderful hanging gems from pine needles and tree branches. Only to be knocked off by large jays moving from branch to branch.

The trail itself is very short and popular to park visitors and just a quick stop before heading up to the 7000 foot level Summit Lake.

Summit was always my starting point several times a year as from here you can take a variety of trails throughout the park.  Taking some of the best loops you can get to as many as twelve mountain lakes in a couple days of easy hiking.

This was one of those rare end-of-summer treks where the park was near empty and I found myself on the return near Little Bear Lake and not seeing another hiker for a day.

I made camp before heading back to Summit the on the final day and still very warm  stripped down jumped into the lake before the sun began to set.

I can still remember the water being cold enough to remind you were in a mountain lake.  Looking back toward my pack and ground cover a huge doe just standing looking in my direction. 

Calm and comfortable she seemed very settled in with peaceful huge eyes locked to mine.  

Just a rare moment that reminds you of the simplicity of life that can be missed in a BLINK.


BLINK: PAGE TWELVE, also the ramblings of an old photographer for the next good part of March.

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Stan the Iron Man, Redding, CA.

Before Stan Lee and Robert Downey Jr. I did  a photo page introducing “Stan the Iron Man” to Record Searchlight subscribers.

Stan was a fixture in the community that no one seem to know anything about.

I would see Stan driving one of his two 1960 Jaguar E type sedan automobiles around town with his floppy-eared old hound riding shotgun. This was the one that looks like a cigar with wheels…the car not the dog.

 

Following Stan one afternoon brought me to a rundown old rusted steel quonset hut not far from the town dump.  A location I passed several times a day and always kind of wondered what was on the other side of the cyclone fence.

I walked to the double garage door just as Stan and the mangy mutt got out of the car.

Stan was thin as a steel cable probably went six-three but after years of cutting and lifting iron it was all bent to ninety degrees so he was staring at the ground most of the time.

Stopping in for a few hours at a time I would find Stan moving heavy iron around with either and old pick-up with a crane he had built on the back or loader of some type.

He was a smart and amazing guy to talk to and knew the value in huge gears; pieces of grate; what looked like chunks of useless iron that restaurants and office buildings were paying a premium price for and calling it art.

His hands showed the years of his labor and easily could have been missed in a BLINK.


BLINK: PAGE ELEVEN, also the ramblings of an old photographer for the next good part of March.

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Millville Plains Road, CA

Just reminds me that there is an awful lot to see and experience in life.

You just have to hit the road and be open to things changing in a BLINK.


BLINK: PAGE TEN, also the ramblings of an old photographer for the next good part of March.

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Pondosa Fire, Siskiyou County, CA

At the time this was one of the largest fires in Northern California.

Nothing ever really changes as the fuel was abundant and this particular blaze was started by a lightening strike in old growth.

It was very rare that a small paper like mine would allow multi-day coverage of an event.  This fire set the bar that I would remember for the rest of my career and in many ways gave me a good understanding of what it took to keep a photography staff safe when covering large dangerous events over the coming years.

The plan was to base out of Yreka, CA so I made calls found one of the few rooms left in the town; tossed together film cans, chemicals, everything you might need for a portable darkroom that could be done in a bathroom tub.; grabbed some clothes on the way out and headed north about 100 miles which was going to take about two hours with my car at the time.

This was before communication in newsrooms.  No cell, no pager just landlines when you could find them. Ohhh yeah that huge black chimney of smoke in the distance was your GPS.

As I got closer to the motel you could tell this was huge.  I dropped my darkroom off and checked the phone line in the room. I wold be making prints and then scanning them on a drum scanner.  Poor phone lines cause what we call “hits” in the scan and it has to be started over again. Long before negative scanners and the wonders of a cell phone.

I then headed to the Forest Service HQ.  I’d been there many times in the past so no problem. From here it was get the location of the incident commander and where all the resources were going to start staging.  Hotshot crews from Redding, Klamath Falls; Medford and Modoc were on the way. Access was not difficult for trucks to get close. 

I arrived at the incident command post just in time to meet with a young PIO (Public Information Officer) at the time I had no idea how green he was but he had a government vehicle to get me through the lines and that’s all I really needed.

Ground crews and dozers were already starting to work the flanks and tail of the fire.  These trees ran anywhere from 80 to 110 feet tall and were spotting.

We followed the left flank and before we knew it the he had placed us beyond the any lines of control and at the head of the fire. Normally this pure happiness for any photographer but it took no time at all to understand that our escape route was threatened.  It appeared we had found ourselves right under the plume and I remember the heat against the windows to hot to touch as I turned to photograph the exploding trees as the PIO had reversed direction of the truck.  

No words can describe trees that are 7-8 stories high creating their own weather around you and rendering them charred sticks.

In those days you did your best to scrounge a nomex shirt from one of the units when they  got new gear.

These days it cost about $2,200.00  to outfit a photographer with everything they need to remain safe while covering a wildland fire including fire shelter.  Everyone I worked with went through training learning the equipment and fire anatomy.

I have no doubt that over the years this helped to save a few lives when you have teams covering some to the biggest fires in the country.

As we have seen once again in northern California it can all be over in a BLINK.


BLINK: PAGE NINE, also the ramblings of an old photographer for the next good part of March.

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Manzanita Lake, Lassen Volcanic National Park.

I’m fairly certain that during the early 1970’s and well into the end of the 1980’s few spent as much time in the park hiking; cross-country skiing; and photographing its natural  beauty.  Lassen was my drug and I couldn’t get enough of it.

I spent two summers working for the park concession company.

Starting at the bottom I cleaned cabins for the first summer and loved almost every bit it. If you have to clean up after drunks and sex starved visitors this was the perfect place to find that natural zen moment after the work is done. 

I got to drive an awesome 1940’s Chevy pickup filled with bedding and towels and managed not to run it into the lake like my predecessor.

To this day I can manage a hospital corner on a sheet that would make a drill sergeant weak in his knees.

Year two I was the assistant manager of the small grocery store; worked volunteer fire and climbing rescue which we did very little of other than hauling folks off the chaos crags that were not in shape for the trail.

As a local kid I was the first one in for the season and the last one out helping to open and close the park concessions.

We lived in a two story dorm with the boys on the bottom level and girls on the second floor….sure it stayed that way.

It was an awesome group that came from all over the country.

Many were hard core climbers; skiers; teachers; vets just coming out of the Vietnam war.  It was a place to feel safe and not feel the rest of the world was closing in on you.

I was the youngest which was not a bad place to be when those with more experience were there to help guide  and many times protect you from doing stupid stuff.

Firsts:

.Winning at pool on a regular basis.

.Watching shooting stars on the bank of Manzanita Lake. It was as if you could touch them.

.Technical climbing (later fueled my desire to climb Mt Shasta)

.Sleeping in a mummy bag

.Sip of Everclear liquor 

.Searching for my glasses in the dirt after too many sips of Everclear.

.Crush on Susan Dey of the Partridge Family TV show who was visiting the park and was awesome in a babushka.

.Broken Heart

. Celebrating a summer Christmas

. Building and sleeping in a snow cave.

. Being able to understand Jimmy the Filipino cook.  Jimmy didn’t curse but sometimes from the kitchen you would hear “SACRAMENTO” his version of it learning from reading cans like Sacramento brand cling peaches. 

Lassen was my soul and in many ways still is.

It was one of the first places I took Anne for a date hiking and checking out waterfalls that few get to see. She looks absolutely wonderful in a babushka.

We would ski miles throughout the winter making our own trails.

My daughters when  old enough to carry a bota bag played near many of the creeks and camped in the higher elevation campgrounds.  They were wonderful outdoor kids and now outdoor moms.

Watching my first park ranger almost faint after cutting open my thumb while chopping wood for the camp fire.  I later had to drive the 1 1/2 hours to the Redding hospital for stitches and return for the weekend.  Moral, never take your eyes off the axe.

My hope is to rest near the lake when the time comes, but you gotta spread those ashes in a ….BLINK. 


BLINK: PAGE EIGHT, also the ramblings of an old photographer for the next good part of March.

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Shingletown, CA

Winter on a small ice covered pond in Shingletown, CA.

I’ve traveled this road hundreds and hundreds of times having worked at Lassen National Park and spending years enjoying treks through the landscape.

This time around I finally stopped and looked over the berm to find a wonderful winter scene.

Truly for years I’ve missed it with just a BLINK.


BLINK: PAGE SEVEN, also the ramblings of an old photographer for the next good part of March.

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Muleskinner, Millville, CA

I met him at the Millville General Store he was just mounting his horse and had the rifle in his hand.

A face like this does not come around often so I started to strike up a bit of conversation.  A bit was all there was too it but many times it’s best to leave it at that.

I asked him for his name and if he minded me taking a picture of he and his horse which he obliged.

“May I ask your name?”

“Muleskinner was the reply.”

“Do you have a given name?”

“They just call me Muleskinner.”

The Millville Plains are the last of the flat lands before you start heading into the mountains towards Shingletown and Lassen National Park.  It’s a beautiful area of rolling grassland with giant oak tree scattered around.

Boarding the growing community of Palo Cedro back in the 70s and 80s new homes were being built because you have a bit of space around you and just be eight miles east of Redding.

It was the northern reach of the Sacramento Valley where trappers allied their trade when trappers did what trappers do.

You won’t find a Muleskinner at every General Store but you could miss one in a BLINK.


BLINK: PAGE SIX, also the ramblings of an old photographer for the next good part of March.

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Redding, CA

At the time of our meeting Martha Charles was one of the oldest living members of the McCloud Wintun Indians.  Just a wonderful woman who reminded me of my Nonni.

She pushed open the tattered wood screen door.  The holes in the screen would not have kept a sparrow out much less flies.

It was hard to say if she reached five feet tall as she was pretty hunched over from the years.

Her eyes were beautiful and her hands wrinkled, tough, with the appearance of being old…but not frail.

Most things harden with age showing the ties to the past.

Martha spoke softly but went deep in her thoughts when remembering her youth and early life along the McCloud River.

A small kitten had crept along the kitchen table, making it creak under its weight.

She beamed as she pulled the kitten into her thick cotton sweater for a snuggle.

She was born in 1888 on the McCloud River where it carved a very deep canyon flowing south before the lake and Shasta Dam were constructed.

The Wintun tribe lived along the river catching salmon and collecting acorns. At one time it was recorded as many as 49 Wintun villages had been found along the McCloud arm.

Historians note that they may have traded with the Modoc Tribe to the north for obsidian to make spears for fishing. Catches that may have reached into the thousands, caught and dried in a day.

She spoke of the beauty of the canyon and the winds flowing through the pines and oaks. It was land we both loved. My mother, Inez was born a few miles north in Weed. Both women lived in the shadow of Mt. Shasta.

All too soon it was time to leave and Martha picked up her cane and pushed open that flimsy door. She walked slow, taking the small steps and holding the chipped white wood rail as it swayed until she pushed the tip of her cane into the soft dirt driveway.

When I looked back she was staring into the oaks near the house and the blue sky behind. I found myself not wanting to leave, knowing that it would be the last time I would see Martha…lost to time.

I never wanted to BLINK. I didn’t want to loose this moment.


BLINK: PAGE FIVE, also the ramblings of an old photographer for the next good part of March.

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Mojave, CA

This image was taken as you just start the grade from Mojave over the Tehachapi Mountains filled with wind generators and not much else on your way to Bakersfield and the I-5 north.

I love old trucks. Old trucks that say stuff are even cooler. Just over the next pass there is an old boat that someone thought might look like USS Minnow
from Gilligan’s Island….not so much.

The truck reminded me of my mom in a good way. She was tough; she had a certain style; she had a ton of love but the weight of a lifetime of struggling with mental health challenges will eventually take it’s toll where you just can’t haul the rocks any longer.
You just want to find a place and rest.

As my mother’s health was on a slow decline either Anne and I or I would make the trip from Redlands up through the high desert along the north edge of Edwards Air Force Base to Mojave.

Some how it all seemed very relevant about things and people disappearing .

I wanted to photograph everything that no longer would hold up to time and the challenges that come with time.

The community of Boron had an old gas station; the faded American flag mural on the VFW and a bunch of broken and decomposing built in America stuff.
North Edwards was the same. Seems the first thing to go are the gas stations that leave their mark on the landscape.

My absolute favorite was an old cafe arrow pointing to the now empty desert.

Truly like those you love they can be gone in a BLINK.

 

mohavecafe


BLINK: PAGE FOUR, also the ramblings of an old photographer for the next good part of March.

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Patterson, Iowa

A place to hang your shingle.
For whatever reason this reminds me of some of the people I’ve met over the years. A perfect time to name drop.

Photographers/ Editors that changed my life.

“RESPECT IS LIKE A MIRROR.
THE MORE YOU SHOW IT TO OTHER PEOPLE, THE MORE IT WILL REFLECT BACK ON YOU.” -Buddha-

Gary Engell owner of Crown Camera in Redding CA.
He taught me how to deal with people and multi-task at the age of 15, I used one of his quotes today almost 50 years later.

Tom Dunlap, Chuck Miller and Tim Dunn, Gary Eagan early photographers in my life that shaped my work.

Jim Vestal Picture Editor of the Sacramento Union who took time with a young kid. “You gotta get closer!”

Greg Robinson of the San Francisco Examiner who died on the tarmac at the hands of Jim Jones. Showing his appreciation with a steak dinner and spending time critiquing photographs for the same kid. I look at your business card daily.

David Hume Kennerly your book “shooter” was my bible and inspiration. Being a kid from Roseburg Oregon made it seem doable. Two kids of the 1959 Roseburg Blast.

Joe DeVera your friendship and talent was taken too soon. I miss our talks.

Charlie Moore who spent time with a young Director of Photographer who might have been way over his head in Des Moines, Iowa. You shared your time and thoughts. You historically changed the way the world looked at Civil Rights in this country.

Dr. Reverend C.T. Vivian it was truly karma that I met you at the same time.
I learned what it was like to look in the mirror and not see a face of color. Blessed by your intelligence and whit for a short period of time.

The photo department and journalists at the Des Moines Register the best you could hope to surround yourself with.

Mark Zaleski, no one matched your heart and drive for an image.

Robert Hanashiro USATODAY an amazing body of work over your career. I still appreciate the bump to business class.

Nick Ut, Eddie Adams I followed your work for years; very rare you get a chance to hang out with two Pulitzer Prize winners at the same time.

Howard Bingham without you I would never had been able to shake the hand of “The Greatest” in Atlanta. Kicking emails around and coffee chats in Redlands.

Paul Whyte and Richard Curtis photo and visual editors USATODAY years of support and opportunities

Adam Wright, Roberto Fumagalli young photographers when I met you and learned more from you than you’ll know. and continue to do so.

Patricia Mays ESPN Senior Director, Storytelling Units for believing when things were bleak.

So much talent, I was enriched over the years in a BLINK.


BLINK: PAGE THREE, also the ramblings of an old photographer for the next good part of March.

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unknown, South City Park, Redding, CA

Around June of 1987 I started to work on an enterprise project documenting the homeless in Redding, California.

It was evident that the numbers had grown in this small town of fifty thousand and statistics were showing because of California’s  wonderful weather and relaxed resources for those without jobs the numbers were increasing throughout the state.

The project was on my off hours as a photographer for the Redding Record-Searchlight. In those days we had three staff photographers but we also covered ad assignments. It would not be unusual to have five-six assignments per day and if someone called off it would hover around nine.  Shifts ran from 6am to 10pm.  We were an afternoon paper and hit the streets around noon.

There was no reporter early in the development stages but I had already contacted a couple the younger, new and hungry on staff that were interested.

The process meant being on the streets and walking the railroad tracks looking for interviews.  It’s a small town that I grew up in so I knew about the the old cemetery that bordered the tracks.  South City Park that during the day was a popular area to sleep and wait for the mission to the south to provide meals.  As long as there was not a ball game at Tiger Field scheduled there was no one to bother them.

I photographed them in ally dumpsters; passed out under the freeway underpass; drunk behind the liquor store near the old Army and Navy.

I’ve always had a desire to treat people with respect knowing their was a very thin line that separated the have’s from the have-nots.

About a month on the project I was making good contacts at the mission and women’s shelter which had just expanded and already at capacity (nothing ever changes over the years.)

It just getting close to sunrise and I as told of a possible interview sleeping along the tracks near the shelter. It was like just walking up on a shadow with multiple layers of coats and a sweater.  I started to introduce myself when I saw what I thought was a stick but as it neared my shoulder I could see it was a knife.

My words seem to meld together in an Ohhhhhhshit blend. No other words were spoken. The universal sign to go away.

I remember thinking it a bit funny that this was the second time I had a knife pulled on me.  

For the record I keep firearms on another list.

The first was in fourth grade on the side of “dirt clod hill” found in an empty lot near 

my grade school. It seems like a poor rendition of Westside Story now.  Nothing like a dirt clod to the cheek to make up distance and offer a running start.

I remember I left my camera in the car when approaching my unknown subject in the park. He was sitting peacefully on the grass with his pack leaning against the nearest tree.

I explained who I was and asked if he had both the time and desire to talk.

He was extremely articulate.  As it turned out with a family in southern  California who he had not seen for a year; he didn’t expect to change that.

Mr. Unknown was an educated engineer for Bell Labs.  He would not elaborate on what had happened but spent much of his time traveling from Portland to San Diego several times a year mostly by car or truck but sometimes by train; always hitchhiking .

Looking back I just remember hanging out then asking if I could take his photograph. He seemed more than happy to oblige.  I made a commitment to myself before the project stated that I would not buy photographs.  At the time this was a huge topic with the National Press Photographers Association. I just wanted to put faces to a story.

My subject will never know how much this simple encounter changed my life.

It was five to six months later and a new year.  I was in the newspaper library showing my images to the managing editor who had just started with the paper.

I explained the images and the stories behind them.

He had about four or five prints in his hands and tossed them down on the long table.

“No one cares about this!” and he walked out the room.

I really never had thought about leaving the newspaper, I had been their for years and I had a growing family to consider.  

I knew then that no one would ever treat me or my work in the same way.

Within a month I took my first position as the new Photo and Graphics Editor of the Salem Statesman Journal with Gannett newspapers.  

I would earn the clout to be heard in every newsroom I worked in from that point on.

I wasn’t asking for respect I would earn it from this point on

Life can certainly change in just a BLINK.


BLINK: Page Two, also the ramblings of an old photographer for the next good part of March.

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Lake Redding Park, Redding, California

Awesome car show on the banks of the Sacramento River.

Everything about this image reminds me of my mentor, friend,  and Sensei, Shihan. It speaks to him. 

Shihan (師範) is a Japanese term that is used in many Japanese martial arts as a title for expert or senior instructors. It can be translated as “master instructor”. The use of the term is specific to a school or organization, as is the process of becoming a Shihan.

The first thing he did when I walked on the mat for the my first day was explain the above definition.

The second thing he said  was (“No-one is your master. We are all white belts. You are a student, you are a teacher.)

He was thin, guessing he went 120 lbs on the high side and a good day.

He wore his hair long and smoked like a chimney (I hated to go into his office as the smoke rolled out the door in a wave).

He loved radio controlled aircraft.  He dressed the part and competed in cowboy shooting events. 

He drove a motorcycle and an old truck when it rarely started. 

He had a grip much like turning a vice three spins past what you should;  he would do it with an impish grin while shaking your hand. 

It was years past when I was a 4th degree brown belt when we spared. His speed was amazing. It was an honor. 

I like the word “Blessing”.  It was a blessing when my girls walked into his office at that point in my life and signed me up for classes

I think HE felt my need but never let me know.

I became physically ill my first work out. “Please do not mess up my mat. Bathroom is that way.”  I think I heard him giggle a bit as he was pointing. 

He made me strong and made my family stronger by bringing Isshinryu Karate “One Heart Style” also translated “One Heart One Mind” into our lives. 

Isshinryu was my personality although at the time I didn’t know it…I grew into it.

Founded in Okinawa by MasterTatsuo Shimabuku It is both a hard and soft style; about choices; it was about control over your opponent.  You decided what the outcome will be.

Shihan was all about control and technique.  I spent thousands of hours punching and kicking a heavy bag.  You want to learn control?  It’s a horse-stance throwing punches to a brick wall and learning stop fractions before impact.  The lose of concentration had immediate consequences.

I was not a fan of competition and he knew it.  There was a time where it seemed I was fighting every weekend in the LA/Inland Empire. 

I was comfortable with Kata.  Wood weapons; empty hand that was my zone.  I loved the technique and not the theatrics. My kiai was barely audible. 

He rarely strung more than five words together during a competition. I still remember just a hint of a smile while I was doing fairly well in an International competition in Pasadena. Couple golds  for weapons and bronze in kumete. 

I didn’t warm up properly and felt my Achilles’ tendon roll up like a window shade. It was a long silent drive home. “You did well. Don’t miss class tomorrow.”

For no contact competition, I felt a lot of contact. 

It seemed like anything that could be fractured was fractured. With old age my body reminds me of each strike almost daily. 

Kumete was a chess match for me; you’re always looking three moves ahead trying to move your opponents into position.

I certainly favored the look of a bull and not a butterfly.  

Because of my age, as an orange belt I fought mostly brown and black belts.  You learn fairly quickly.  I first started my interest in my twenties but as they say life happens and twenty years passed before it was a full time passion. 

God blessed me with fast hands (the branches of the tree in the wind and forgot about the trunk which was more root bound.)

He showed me how to teach. To understand that every student has a gift to build on.

His gift was understanding the broken and abused before they reached the dojo door.

These lessons transferred  easily to my job managing photography departments and how to build a team. 

When his congestive heart failure started to take his energy, I took over the studio on weekends; I loved teaching, but this was our home and needed to be protected. 

I drove him to dialysis when his kidney’s started to fail and cooked his favorite steak that he could hardly eat.

We helped to transform his garage into a studio so he could teach when his health allowed. It didn’t allow for long.

This was his roots,  training those who wanted to learn in his westside LA home garage just showed up.  Auto parts salesman by day. 

It was somewhat fitting this is where it would end.

This is not a sad story. This is a story about passing along gifts. Anne, Ashley, Alayna, Peter, Brian, Hudson, Blake, Addy and Cece at some point have or will be touched by Shihan’s teachings. 

Sometimes it takes a lifetime to understand you can make a difference in someone’s life in just a BLINK. 


BLINK: PAGE ONE…also the ramblings of an old photographer for the next good part of March.

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Cold Springs ,New York

I find this theory to be very true in my life. My guess is that you will also as you look before you “BLINK”

“In a world of billions of people, it does seem hard to believe. The theory of six degrees of separation contends that, because we are all linked by chains of acquaintance, you are just six introductions away from any other person on the planet.

It was a wonderful time with family.  One of the first, and I believe last time that both my girls and their husbands along with Anne and I were all together.

This was a time before grandkids when babysitters, strollers and a plethora of toys, blankets and snacks were not needed. If memory serves we made some firehouse hot wings and paid the price. 

It can be bitter cold on the Hudson River at times and the small community of Cold Springs is apply named.

A pedestrian tunnel takes you from the downtown area and parking under the train tracks towards the river park.

This home was one of the first you see when you exit the tunnel.  

I remember loving everything about it and find a calmness in the American flag.  I’m pretty sure I know all the things you can and can not do with the flag but I’ve photographed flags in every condition.  Tattered and torn I like the idea they are still there.

So what about that six degree thing?

Just about two miles up the road is the compound of Patty Hearst and family.

As you would expect, very nice and large home overlooking the river.

Patty Hurst is the granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst (Hearst Castle; huge newspaper/publishing millionaire).  Patty is better known for her 1974 kidnapping by the group known as the Symbionese Liberation Army.

The search went world-wide for young Hearst including a very young photographer for the Redding Record-Searchlight hot on the trail. 

One of the Searchlight reporters absolutely was convinced that Patty Hearst and the SLA were hiding at the Hearst owned Wyntoon castle along the McCloud River just below Mt. Shasta. 

It was named after the Wintu tribe which will come into play a few photographs down the road when we talk about Martha Charles.

The land was a fishing lodge and hunting resort in the wilderness along the river before it was purchased by William’s mother, Phoebe Hearst, and renovated into a grand residence. In 1902, it cost Phoebe $100,000 to build her dream vacation home. 

The young photographer was dispatched with a journeyman police reporter to stake-out the property for two days sleeping in the car.

  

Early the first evening he found out the reporter was carrying a 38 special revolver in his bag apparently ready to take down the entire SLA in five shots and have the story of the century .

My guess is the steady flow of Sheriff; CHP and FBI vehicles passing near the main property entrance did manage to keep the property caretaker busy ( a job I actually applied for in 2009 but void of the skill of fixing and not breaking things I was not a strong candidate). 

As luck would have it…all that was captured was a tremendous cold that freezing February. 

 Hearst was captured by the FBI in September 1975, and the following year, she was convicted of bank robbery and sentenced to 35 years in prison. She was released early, in 1979. 

Hearst’s sentence was commuted by President Jimmy Carter, and she was pardoned by President Bill Clinton, after serving two years in prison. 

It takes just a BLINK to miss that six degrees. 


BLINK: THE BACK FLAP…also the ramblings of an old photographer for the next good part of March.

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Shelley, Idaho

The first time I saw the white graffiti covered box cars was with my pops heading to check an antique store between Idaho Falls and Blackfoot.
Something about white box cars, on white snow, with only the rainbow colored artwork adding vibrants to the scene.

Truly my first recorded image having just moved to Idaho.

I found this somewhat ironic in that my father has been a lover of trains for most of his life; building and tearing down countless HO scale model railroad scenes in basements, garages, bedrooms any nook and cranny where one could be constructed.

He bought me my first HO steam engine and constructed a wonderful scene that took up half of my bedroom in the small apartment that we lived. I don’t remember playing with it much.

I like trains. I don’t know if I love trains? I have had some experience riding on trains; California, Colorado, New York and Japan. I like the romantic notion of freedom of the rails.

As a young boy I duck hunted with my friend and cousins by the large switching yard in Klamath Falls, Oregon. There was no shortage of diversion canals and the city’s settling ponds provide a wonderful place to jump shoot waterfowl. As a boy you never really thought what was settling in those ponds as your waist deep trying to reach a downed bird.

The engineers on the switching engines were always willing to give kids a ride which was much like a trip to the carnival smashing into boxcars hooking them up and moving them from track to track for their travels north or south.

As the afternoons would come to a close and it was time to head home we would find a “King of the road” a hobo to pass along any ducks we might have shot.

They made their home in the ditches along the tracks. Dug out the snow, covered them with tin; plywood; fencing anything that could be called shelter.

They got veggies from the dumpster behind the local grocery store not far away and made bufflehead stew using a large tin can as a pot held up over the fire by fragments of brick….it was not very good stew. It was however food for a prince of the rails who otherwise might go hungry another day in the snow.

Not ironic in any way, those white boxcars were a gift from my pops.

Along with his love of the railroad he gave me a life-long love of photography by helping to build darkrooms in garages, basements, bathrooms in every nook and cranny one could be built.

It was my saving grace. It was my way to communicate when I could not find words. It was a way to visit places I never thought I’d every see and more importantly a skill that would be the instrument in building a career to raise a family.

Looking back, it seems to have taken place in just a “BLINK”.


BLINK: THE COVER…also the ramblings of an old photographer for the next good part of March.

bookcover

A blink lasts about a 10th of a second, and most people blink about 15 times a minute, or every 4 seconds.
I’m fascinated by what we might miss in those fragments of time.

Hook Road, Hopewell Junction, New York.

After the start of the downward spiral of the news industry in 2008 which resulted in thousands of jobs lost. A fact that continues to this day.
I had months layered upon months to observe three sun-faded old cabins that sat across from my daughters home.

I was still in the prime of my career as a Director of Photography and photo editor.
I thought that New York would open it’s arms to someone who really cared about images and the impact they have on the human soul. I felt strongly photographs were a tool for social change.

As the days, weeks and months passed; I felt more and more like these old cabins; weather worn and a bit tattered.
Just maybe, I also had very little to contribute.

They say to “look within”.

I’m sure they didn’t mean through the cracks of the door and the dusty, broken pane windows; but in yourself.
I started to photograph the cabins almost daily; finding what was left within.

This is the only color image in this book.

Maybe with the love of family there is a reminder that you can find beauty in texture; a redeeming quality in old things. Remembering what’s important in life.

With every return visit I photograph what is left of the cabins. The harsh winters have not been kind.

It’s so easy to miss these lessons with just a “Blink”.