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BEST OF THE Years
Dive straight in and glide through time with this chronological collection of my absolute best work. Organized from most recent captures straight back to the first moment I snapped something worth saving, I invite you to indulge in almost one decades' worth of my blood, sweat, and tears. And, I hope that this is only the beginning - that there are many more decades filled with this treasure of capturing life's illimitable perspectives. But, if I am gone tomorrow, please know that all these pictures were composed in passionate pursuit of the billion glinting animations of the glory of Spirit - that I have held a camera to my eye for no other reason than to simply crescendo the great mystery of Earth’s beauty as it echos from its limitless source.
Risen from the floor of the Pacific Ocean, the magmatic realm of Galapagos perfectly exemplifies life’s deadliest game - survival of the fittest. Modernly popularized by Charles Darwin & Captain Robert Fitzroy’s 1835 voyage of the HMS Beagle, Galapagos is most famously known for its giant tortoises - but there is a story more colossal than those beasts and more compelling than Darwin’s findings alone. And it’s more meaningful than evolution. It’s a fleeting whisper of an enchanted history, replete with the captivating citizens of both culture and nature. It is GALAPAGOS!
One of the most charming facets of French living is the intentional time given to simple things - to proper meals, to gardening, to leisure. I am also profoundly connected to the Rhone-Alpes region and its serrated summits. I had a friend who once traveled there separate from me, and through our common experience in Chamonix, we forged an eternal bond. She now resides there permanently as a prayer on the wind and as a fertilizer in the mountain meadows. Hers is an echo to return to the mountains - to pursue that which challenges you - and to give thanks for all the tiny things. The simple things. It’s a full circle story. Come and see.
The first time that I boarded an airplane with a bona fide woman and flew overseas was en route to the land of Ataturk - a famous 20th century Turkish revolutionary who unarguably ushered social and economic prosperity to his nation succeeding the fall of the Ottoman Empire. My lady and I had the opportunity to view a multitude of geographic and cultural locales in Ataturk’s realm - including the hidden Kavrun Yaylasi - an isolated vale in Turkey’s fertile northeast region. Populated by a few hundred villagers and the passing adventurer, Kavrun is a mountainous paradise we discovered by taking a massive risk and leaving it all behind. Come see the richness of Anatolia and beyond.
No matter where you are in Costa Rica, wildlife will find you. The Howlers will howl your heart into an electric beating frenzy long before you see them. The Capuchins will feign their friendship in a heist for food - and if you're particularly unlucky they'll attempt to urinate or defecate on you. But they'll make your laughter rise as well. The legendary Quetzals will redefine avian beauty. The options with wildlife are endless in Costa Rica. While I observed and photographed only a minuscule collection of creatures, they are all worth a good look. Come and see the land where Pura Vida reigns!
The earliest encounter I had with anything Portuguese was the greasiest, most sugary baked treat in the world. Named malasadas, it translates as an ambrosial fried stomach ache. I happened to be in small town in Cape Cod with an art and fishing problem - Provincetown, Massachusetts. I used to travel to the Cape often with the Emmons family when I was younger. Though they are a hardy family hailing from Nordic origin, the Emmons' eldest son was ironically married in Portugal many years after my first encounter with malasadas. And so I gallivanted to Portugal to taste, to see, to smell, and to celebrate! My heart was stolen by that country - held prisoner by its dramatic coastlines, its fresher than fresh seafood, and its unruffled attitude.
I love people most of the time - and the ones I struggle to love are probably the ones that need love the most. While I am very imperfect, I imperfectly love my companions, my kin, and my neighbor. I love the people I have chanced upon the road, upon the trail, in the air, on the water. They are characters of action and growth, and their influence is more than inconsequential. I also love the person I have not yet met - the stranger - the unknown soul engaged in the same competition to survive that I am and you are. We are both that stranger. And our stories are no more meaningful than one another’s. Nor are they less heartbreaking or more triumphant. Come see the neighbor you don't yet know and celebrate our connected individuality.
Thousands of feet above the Kalalau Valley poised on a knife-ridge in rapidly shifting swarms of rain and mist, super unnerved by the immensity of the dangerously soggy, lonesome peninsula high in the Kauaiian sky, I stalked on not as a mountain goat bounding, but as a slow and steady agent of intentional footwork. Considering the combination of poor visibility and tremendous height, thoughts of tumbling away forever high-jacked every step. I managed to trek forward as each group of seconds paraded a different meteorological theater passed my eyesight - gusty whiteout blindness transformed into a shredded landscape painted with emerald, cerulean, and cinnamon - sensational hues that were yet dwarfed by the dance of the rainbows overhead. Come see my photographic poetry of the Hawaiian landscape!
Sometimes you just have to get weird. We're all weird, even those who would defensively deny that declaration are still undoubtedly weird in their own secret ways. Being weird is as normal as breathing. So I've learned to embrace my weird, love my weird, and let my weird become a positive artistic portal to a creative dimension. Every image in this gallery is actually something legitimately present in somebody's everyday life. Let's try staring intimately at Mylar balloons, shallow puddles, into spider's homes, at building ceilings, underground caverns, underwater caves, through waterfalls, inside frozen waterfalls, at melting icicles in the clutch of the full moon, into the depths of scary water-filled volcanoes, at the night sky being warped by a refocused lens, at our friends while they act weird, at ourselves while we act weird, at strangers in weird places, at the eclipsed sun while it melts a cloudy polarized sky, into the earth, into naturally warped city scenes... I like to get weird au naturale, meaning there's nothing fake about these pictures, nothing surgically added through Photoshop - except for one single image of an army of carpenter bees which is truly a compilation of four different carpenter bees mirrored about each other - some pretty wildly fun content. Now get weird, in a good way!
The first time my feet touched the dusty soil of the American west was in the gateway town of Fort Collins, Colorado. Eager to climb a mountain, get lost in the wilderness, and osmose into starways that would fill my ocular pockets with the richness of celestial diamonds, I adventured with tenacity during my virgin trip to the west. Since that most epic journey a decade's worth of Julys ago I have often wandered back to Colorado and her various treasures. The Front Range where a traveler first encounters the rising foothills of the Rockies is nothing like the Western Slope where deep canyons and martian reds run far beneath the mesa and the aspen. The lyrics famously sung by Robert Plant, "There's a feeling I get when I look to the west - and my spirit is crying for leaving," perfectly sum up my attitude toward Colorado.
My grandparents lived in South Carolina for the majority of my childhood, and although many memories are fragmented, I remember robust alligators, lively churches, Spanish Moss dangling like reaching fingers from lanky Live Oak branches, and an air of propriety and good form. There are many swamps in South Carolina that anybody could fall in love or fright with - brimming with the ever-encroaching orchestral moans of insects, the eminence of green and brown clashing against one another, and the lurking presence of pre-historic beasts that are both agile and terrible. And absolutely beautiful. Though I love the wildness that hides in dark groves in South Carolina, I also love the culture of Charleston. It is quaint and teeming with history and all that is oceanic. Come lose yourself in the romance of the south.
Waterfalls are magical. And terrifying. Where there is clean flowing water there is generally abundant life, but where there is falling water there is nothing but a swarm of stinging droplets led by an unforgiving gravity. Waterfalls have this all-encompassing presence that offers immensely profound yet distinct experiences between their low points and their crowns. Simply standing at the base of a falling water system very well may yield an emotional wave of awe and wonder, a silencing of our minds by the sheer magnitude of such a crippling kinetic force. And if we are lucky enough to find a safe way to the headwaters of the falls we come to find, with quiet assurance, that the crest offers us the power of the high place - a self confidence that grows from experiencing both unsettling height and immeasurable view - a singular sense of humility and triumph. As one rests falls-side, whether up high or down below, one will begin ponder why being in the presence of a waterfall is so therapeutic - and one just might come to see the waterfall before their eyes as a glorious reminder to stay in motion.
I was born and raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Also known as 'The Christmas City', our thriving Moravian-inspired community is a mid-Atlantic potpourri of every nation, race, and tongue. Though there is an abundance of culture in Pennsylvanian cities, I often become restlessly unsettled and yearn to find places far and wide for the simple pleasure of experiencing something new. However, every single time I return home I am reminded of the luxury I have had to live in Pennsylvania. PA, as we most often refer to our commonwealth, consists largely of rolling farmlands and thickly wooded forests, but there are many relics that yet litter our landscapes - farm houses constructed in years bygone, colonial quarters made of deteriorating stone, and the aging machines of steel and coal industry. Pennsylvania is a location perfect for those who cannot survive without four seasons as our temperate biome offers Christmasy winters, vernal months of brilliant color and mind-blowing re-emergence, and all-American, sweat-dripping summers that fade into humidity-free autumn days. Ah, autumn, the season of ever-shifting cumulus skies filled with the scent of burning wood. Go to Glen Onoko on an autumn day if you ever find yourself in Pennsylvania.
I admit this isn't a difficult estimation, but I'm guessing if you were ever to ask one thousand random citizens of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania what the most famous landmark of the city might be, an overwhelming majority would answer, 'the Bethlehem Steel stacks'. I also think there would be a small minority answering with 'Martin Tower', but that would be more fitting to win an ugliest landmark award - both sites, however, were constructed solely for use by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation. So in any sense, hypothetical landmark poll or not, the Steel is at the core of every living citizen of Bethlehem. Scores of our fathers, grandfathers, great grandfathers, and grandfathers' grandfathers were employed by America's second largest steel operation - and many of our mothers and grandmothers were hired by Bethlehem Steel as well, especially during the second world war - so here's a shout out to all the ladies of the steel. For baby boomers the Steel was an opportunity to have a paycheck, a family, a sense of duty, and a connection to the 'glory days' when America was industrially strong, on the indomitable rise. Then the Steel folded. Now its skeleton serves as an artistic beacon and a hot-spot of tourism and entertainment. You couldn't have commissioned an artist to create something more obscurely brilliant. Come take a look at how I see the remains of the Bethlehem Steel.
On Christmas Eve 1741, an exiled body of Moravians gathered in a modest cabin above the Monocacy Creek for yuletide prayer and worship. Their overseer and benefactor, Nicolaus Zinzendorf, a man greatly animated by spirit, led his congregation into singing the hymn 'Jesus, Call Thou Me' - whose lyrics 'Not Jerusalem - lowly Bethlehem - 'Twas that gave us Christ to save us - Favored Bethlehem!' were unleashed from Zinzendorf's mouth with such conviction and emotion that the new settlement's name had become obvious to all ears that hearkened Zinzendorf's compelling tribute. Thus, he christened the Moravian settlement and named it Bethlehem. One hundred and ninety-six years later, Marion Brown Grace, the wife of Bethlehem Steel's president, hosted a ceremony at the Hotel Bethlehem honoring those Moravians who first settled our beloved town. During that evening in 1937 Grace illuminated the streets with public Christmas lights and for the first time gave power to the iconic Bethlehem Star on South Mountain high. As the local Bach Choir nostalgically sang the hymn 'Jesus, Call Thou Me', reaffirming Bethlehem's identity rooted in days long gone, Bethlehem was officially nicknamed 'The Christmas City'.
Allentown & Easton
Saucon Valley CC
While country clubs offer a wide range of both social and athletic activity, I find myself quite comfortable lost somewhere on vast stretches of a green golf course. It is there between the emotional draw of a historic game and the infinite, all-consuming nature that makes the Links a certain home to me. It's in the rush of the match, the screech of the raptor, the verdant swathe of silence, and the powerline-free skies... I've been a visitor to Saucon Valley CC over the decades and I've scarcely experienced a more attractive and settling open space. No matter how far I scour the planet for natural charm I earnestly remember that Saucon Valley could be the most beautiful location in the world at any given moment.
The Pacific Northwest
While migrating through the west coast many years ago I was able to observe a stark contrast from southern locales to north territories - California has no water, Washington has an extreme abundance. So much in fact that there are ecologically classified rain forests on Washington's Olympic Peninsula. Though the Olympics are not intimidatingly large mountains, they are covered in terrifyingly dense forests - whose Sitka Spruce can grow upward of 300 feet. The beaches on the Olympic Peninsula will silence you. They are graveyards of driftwood, bearing members of spruce and hemlock so massive that you shrink in the magnitude of the coast. And it is a pioneer's coast - one that reaches far north without house or road or civilized scar for some time. If it weren't for a lack of sunshine in the dreary winter months I'd move to the Pacific Northwest in a heartflash.
California is a unique and dreamingly pristine oasis. It's southwestern Mexican flavor is choice for taste bud elation, while various shores extending far through exotic oceanic scenes conquer the heart of Californian activity. You'll find classic palm-tree bordered beaches in the deep south while the wild northern coastlines emerge like geological beasts towering over the blue pacific waters. Though, the true beauty of California rests in its easy living - and the sunshine is truly beyond abundant, maddening almost. The lifestyle is generally healthy and in motion. I will never find a lack of desire to capture the photographic elements that define the vastness of California's unique style. So ever will I return. But mostly for the spot-on cuisine. Lay back and come see the land of sunshine.
Houses Of The Holy
I think it is accurate and safe to say that we become what we are taught. We are conditioned to think and behave quite similarly to the prevailing notion of proper thought and behavior in our respective cultures. Most children don't have the option of filtering and analytically understanding the information presented to them, so they consume what they encounter as a face-value, absolute truth - and in the end they become a robotic incarnation of that acquired information. If you were taught that the world is flat and you believe what you were taught without any question because you had found no reason to question that the world was flat then in any discussion concerning the shape of the world you would statistically always attempt to convince any other pair of ears that the world was indeed flat. Then you awake one day and you inexplicably come to find that the world is in fact a round place, and you fight what you've just learned because you're uncomfortably growing away from who you were conditioned to be. But you awake on another day and you cannot separate yourself from the knowledge that the world is round. And many days after that you cease to even think about the shape of the world because concerns of its shape are overshadowed by concerns of its state. And so the process of growth and reflection repeats itself with the state of the world. This is what I love about a religiously inspired spiritual journey, no matter the religion or path, there are times we come to confidently know the world as a flat place - and we live our lives according to our belief in a flat world, never daring to go beyond our flat-worldliness - so we only receive all that a flat world can offer us. Then by an intangibly-gifted grace, a meteoroid of clarity breaks through our mental atmosphere and we begin to grow into the man or woman we were designed to be, the same exact man or woman we've always desired to be - a man or woman that through many stages, many toils, and many mental challenges became a refined and unconditional source of inspirited living. There is no condemnation for flat-world believers, ever - there is only fuel for an evolution in thinking and believing itself - that is, to use questioning as a vehicle of ultimate growth. So, besides seeking the peerless virtues common to all dogma and doctrine, I believe in choosing to live as one who curiously seeks life among a multitude of cultures so that you do not suffer believing the world is a flat place. I used to believe the world was flat. Then I started traveling and I visited places of worship around the globe, and I realized just exactly how round the world actually is - and it keeps getting rounder and rounder.
Where The Dead Rest
I have no doubt that you probably think I'm a little weird for having a collection of photos entitled 'Where The Dead Rest' - but I love cemeteries. They can be one of the most transportive environments in all of existence. In what place can you access a deep, quiet peace, a startling fear, a beyond-emotional connection to a passed love one, a reverence for nature, an appreciation for art, and an intimate connection to spirit? I believe that listening to the dead can give us a more hands-on ride through life. Now you really think I'm strange, listening to the dead, Andrew, wtf? Well, the number one thing the dead remind us is that life is way too short - and no matter how much we fight our own passing, it is a reckoning we all must face. I promise the more you think about your own death the more life you will experience - meaning the more thought you put into your own mortality the more purpose you'll find in your life because your time will be spent chasing all the living you want to do rather than being idle thinking you've got nothing but time. Why do it now when I can do it later? A dangerous mentality. No one can guarantee later for anyone. You don't have later, you have now. I don't have later, I have now. I know it's a little peculiar to view our deaths as a profound and beautiful part of our lives, peculiar but entirely true. If most of us strive deep down to build our lives into a glorious legacy, then how can we separate our passing from being a part of that glory in which we seek to leave behind? We can't, we shouldn't. I want my death to be beautiful. Don't you? I have zero desire to die before I accomplish all that I must - and I certainly don't want to pass because of something my dumbass could have prevented. Thus, the dead tell me to live with both abandon and care. To take the risk and do the calculation. To live with fearless action and to allow my fears to act as guides. It's the ultimate paradox - give it all up just to have it. Sacrifice it to gain it.
Hours after I wound up in Wyoming for the first time I was cooking frog legs in a cave and battling a wildfire accelerated by fungal gall. And again in another year I returned while riding my bicycle and hammock-camping from northern Montana through the blissful oblivion of western Wyoming. Then Wyoming beckoned me again the succeeding summer, and my mother and I took an entirely radical tour of Yellowstone and the Tetons together. And she hammock-camped too! That's why we go to Wyoming - because it makes you do amazing things - like my mother sleeping in a hammock in a place where someone was mauled by a griz 48 hours later. Wyoming is also marked by the most quintessential alpine environment you could possibly imagine - a land of fir, spruce, pine, bear, bison, elk, eagle, massive mountains, and deep waters. It is a mountain man's paradise.
Plants rule. They heal us. They feed us. They clean us. They clean our air. They beautify our homes. They clothe us. They give us color. They provide us flavor. They allow us to record information, build structures, send messages of romance. Plants are beguiling, too. They are cunning poisoners with metabolic intent. They are slicers that clearly define their ground. They are rashers that say 'keep your hands off, homeboy'. They are chokers, kinslayers that become enthroned through suffocation. They are mental madmakers who cause convulsions and delerium when consumed. They are gutwreckers that cause terminal starvation. Maybe I should have said plants rule us. They are our elders in existence. And they are the backbone of all civilization. So, in honor of all the wonders of the mighty plant kingdom, please lose yourself in the photographic forest of Flora Natura.
I have vague memories of a Christmas Eve in the late 80s intensely staring out a window and searching the sky while my parents exclaimed that Santa's sleigh had just been spotted. The great room we were in carried the perfume of burnt wood, while the general air within and without the home was stained with pine and birch and all alpine scents refreshing. We spent that Christmas over the river and through the wood at my grandmother's home in New Hampshire. Since then, Cape Cod, the Adirondacks, the Maine coast, and sundry other New England destinations have become homes away from home for me - quaint havens to rediscover quiet times; wild & craggy lands boasting summit and challenge.
This is an entire collection of misfit pictures from New Jersey, Illinois, Nevada, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, and a few other stunning places. While I love these images, I don't have enough from each location to designate an individual gallery. Being a Pennsylvanian has made me an oft visitor of New Jersey, but not frequent enough since I have taken to photography. Pictures from other lesser-visited locations have been lucky and/or calculated acquisitions on the thoroughfare of adventure. Do not miss this gallery, it's definitely holding some powerful images.
The land of the red rock is breathtaking and confounding. It is simply too much to attempt to understand - the terrain of Utah and the magnificent sculpting that has occurred there. I have again and again returned to Utah - largely to the southwest where the canyons run deepest and the natural reds and oranges of ailing sandstone meld with an azure sky in an intense clash of color. And there is history. Plentiful history. In the natives. In Mormon culture. Carved in stones. You can sense a special presence in the grand basin that is Utah. In addition to its geological characters, the most delicious burger I have ever eaten in my life is in Springdale, only miles from Zion National Park. It's the Murder Burger, spicy & true.
The Wild Things
I'll admit right away that I'm an animal lover. There's hardly a greater sense of wonder fulfilled than in the moment you consciously watch the unfolding of faunal nature. I have a long list of the animals that I MUST photograph before I die, but I'm so very thankful for the ones I've already had an opportunity to hunt and capture with my camera. The best part about hunting wildlife as a photographer is that when you're looking down the barrel of your lens and you engage your shutter's trigger there is no blood, there is no life loss - a captive gets taken yet walks away in the same moment. It's a living paradox, and it's one of the many joys of tracking down the wild things.
CATS & DOGS
Man's best friends and furry feline companions give our lives a sprinkling of love, joy, and inescapable frustration [frustration that is totally worth it]. One second our pets are the quintessence of cuteness, and the next they are vindictive little a-holes whose bodily functions become weapons of spite. Regardless, cats and dogs remain as trophy sidekicks and are worth every second of the relationship. Come and see adorable critters that might just remind you of your own.
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