Watering Central Park, New York City, New York, 2013
This image expresses a mood of silent natural beauty. The early autumn morning scene contrasts the sweeping horizontal and diagonal thrusts of rock, water, and foliage to the surrounding vertical trees. I liked the way the huge rock outcropping glistens in the morning light, framed by the changing leaves of the season. The diagonal jet of water ties the entire image together, soaking the rocks, foliage, and trees in turn.
Bedroom, Koresham Utopian Community, Estero, Florida, 2013
The graceful Victorian era vase, long stemmed blossoms, and abstracted pillows reflected within a clouded glass mirror set the mood and create an atmospheric of a time long past. I made this image in an 1890’s home, part of a self-contained community that is amazingly preserved within this Florida State Historic Park.
Great White Heron, Big Cypress National Preserve, Tamiami Trail, Florida, 2013
I carefully positioned the beak of this heron at a spot where the softly focused swamp plants seem to join their reflections. The image seems to explode out of that spot. I tried to blend both plant and bird into an atmospheric image symbolic of the great swamp gives Florida’s Everglades region its identity. The environment becomes more abstract because the line where reality meets reflection here is deliberately blurred. I avoid adding the reflection of the heron, which would have made the overall image more descriptive than expressive.
Exit, Palm Springs International Film Festival, Palm Springs, California, 2013.
After the final credits rolled on one of the eight films I screened at this festival, and the crowd had mostly departed, I noticed one person hanging back, torn between going outside into the bright sunlight or returning to his seat for the next showing, which was to follow with the hour. I made this image of him poised at the point of exit, but going no further. The rows of empty seats in the darkened theatre glow faintly, while the lights on the wall overhead convey a colorful theatrical atmosphere at the left edge of the frame. The image is also rich in mood: darkly mysterious, yet with a touch of implied peril looming just ahead. It looks as if that burned out doorway, full of flare, is waiting to swallow him forever if he takes one more step.
I never bring my cameras with me to the movies. However, my cell phone was strapped to my belt, and I was able to make this image with its camera. Although many cell phone cameras are still optically challenged, this one was capable enough to make this kind of image.
Fogbound bridge at Rocky Creek, California, 2012
Fog along the northern California coast is a frequent visitor. It comes and goes, and in this case, it casts a light veil over the creek, just enough to allow me to see the entire bridge and the valley it spans. The mood of this image is eternal – it seems to carry us back into the past. The art deco design of this huge concrete, open-spandrel arch intensifies the theme. Built in 1932, and located south of Monterey Bay in the Big Sur area, it wears its years well. The gentle colors and soft light add atmospheric content.
Celebrating history at the Pyramids, Cairo, Egypt, 2011
The fall of 2011 was a tumultuous period in modern Egyptian history. The country had just put aside a dictator to achieve freedom for the first time in centuries, only to confront new limitations posed by the commanders of its own army, as well trying to successfully navigate the messy democratic process of electing an actual legislature for the first time. During the day we spent in Cairo, we not only toured the Egyptian Museum on Tenihir Square (they barred all photography there), but visited the Sphinx and Pyramids as well. Our visit coincided with a national holiday, and thousands of locals were celebrating their own political accomplishments by visiting the tombs of Pharaohs dead for more than 3,000 years as well as the mystical Sphinx, which was typically once again under repair. (It seems to always need some fixing – Cleopatra took Julius Caesar to see the Sphinx more than 2,000 years ago, proudly showing him the most “recent” renovation that had been finished more than 1,000 years earlier.) As the sun went down that afternoon, thousands of boisterous Egyptians were still clamoring over the reconstruction site, with more arriving every minute. I made this image as a salute to their spirit, as well as in appreciation of what they must have endured as a people over the centuries. The golden shadows around them are laden with atmosphere, and the mood seems rich in promise.
Layers of dawn, Kusadasi, Turkey, 2011
From high on the deck of a docked cruise ship, I made this image of the downtown area of Kusadasi only moments after sunrise. I layer the image with six different planes, starting with the Turkish flag in the left foreground, then moving back through a neighborhood of low buildings sparkling with illuminated skylights. At the mid point of the image, a minaret appears as a flaming red torch – no doubt it was intentionally designed to call attention to itself in this way. Beyond the minaret, a range of buildings crown a low hill, backed by a wall of mist and then another hill, with an even higher hill looming behind it. These layers express the atmosphere of this prosperous commercial town catering to tourists and upscale cruise passengers. Kusadasi is bathed in gold – and in more ways than one.
Morning, Limassol, Cyprus, 2011
I made this atmospheric image through the front window of a tourist bus moving slowly through downtown Limassol, Cyprus’s port city. I liked the way the sun defines the planes of the modest buildings, and most of all how the warm light illuminates the sleepy pace of the place – the mood seems calm, almost silent. Only one person appears in the frame, an abstracted silhouetted figure caught suspended in time between a tree and a traffic sign.
Evening, Jerusalem, Israel, 2011
Most “overlook” pictures are scenic descriptions that simply visually map a location, rather than define it through its atmosphere and mood. I was oddly fortunate to visit this historic city on a windswept, rainy day. Overcast skies are somber, reflecting the strife that has defined this place over the centuries. However as evening fell, the sun struggled to make a brief appearance, softly illuminating the mass of pinkish gray clouds hovering over Jerusalem’s limestone buildings. I happened to be high on the Mount of Olives at this moment, and made this atmospheric image of the Old City, still divided by walls that have existed for more than 2,000 years.
Diners, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Becket, Massachusetts, 2011
The evening light isolates a pair of diners seated at the edge of the festival’s huge tent just prior to a dance performance. They seem to be alone, although hundreds of others dine in the shadows just beyond them. The play of light and shadow here creates a mood of relaxation and utter privacy.
Volcano, French West Indies, 2011
Dark, moisture-laden clouds contrast with the orange fire of a reflected Caribbean sunset here, expressing a eruptive mood. The volcanic island seems to be belching fire, even though all was actually quite calm as our cruise ship sailed by.
Awestruck, Mission Beach, San Diego, California, 2010
The setting sun has turned the incoming tide to gold, an atmospheric liquid carpet that obviously engages the imagination of this child who gingerly tests the water with her toes. I abstract as a silhouette to engage the imagination of the viewer as well. The mood is all about wonder and awe.