Dancing With Faeries

Girl blowing on a dandelion puff

Dancing with Faeiries

A little fun on a Saturday afternoon.  As the sun set, we let the back light work in our favor, and added some foreground light to fill in the details.

Reach to the Heavens

Grace Cathedral, San Francisco California

Grace Cathedral, San Francisco California

I reach to the heavens

Gazing upward, arms outstretched

Aspiring to the heights, to greatness.

Though I am mortal,

That which I do, and create, and share

Both in construct and in deed

May live beyond my years

-should- they be truly great things.


At least for a while.


Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, California

(The photo links to the gallery where it, and other works are available.)

Framing and Matting

Someone who bought one of my prints mentioned that they go to one of the local ‘art stores’ to have photos matted and framed, and my question was “Why?”

Whether it’s something that you took yourself, or bought, you absolutely want to make it shine as best it can, but the idea of spending $100 or more to have someone else do it seems rather silly to me.  It’s one thing if you’re putting objects in a shadowbox, or have something that’s a weird aspect ratio that requires something custom, or you spent $400 on a something that you want to have handled with kid gloves, but a “standard” aspect ratio photo, matted and framed, should cost at most $30-40 – and 80% of that is the cost of the frame.

Here’s the thing – for standard size prints (8×10, 11×14 etc) pre-cut mats can be readily bought at pretty much any local art supply store.  For purposes of numbers, we’ll talk about matting an 11×14 print.  Odd sizes require either hunting for pre-cut, or getting a $100 mat cutter, but that’s a discussion for another day…

At my local store, a pre-cut mat (again, 11×14 print, so we’re talking about a 16×20 frame) runs about $9.  On-line they’re even cheaper, but I tend to buy in bulk, so I can’t give good numbers on that.  The other things you’ll need are a frame, and a roll of good quality acid-free “hinging tissue” similar to this.  It’s super-thin, high-tack, and won’t eat the photo paper.  For frames, I recommend either watching for the sales, or even better, cast your lot at the local second-hand store.  I’ve found a ton of really nice (and interesting frames) at the one near my house in the $6 range – but it’s a roll of the dice.  I also invested in a tool that puts the little point thingies in the frames so I can replace any that are missing, or replace those gawd-awful staples that hurt my fingers.

But, matting – buying the stuff (particularly finding the ‘right’ frame) is actually harder than doing the work.  Start out with a clean surface, and lay the mat out flat.  Roughly center the photo on the backing,  and then close the window (the part with the cutout).  Now you can center the artwork in the window, and generally frame it how you like.  Your standard ‘window’ is about 1/4″ smaller in all dimensions than the intended work, so you have a fair amount of wiggle-room to get it looking nice.


Centering the photo on the mat


Once you have the artwork centered, and good overlap, etc., comes the sneaky part.  Get a clean cloth (I use a kitchen towel) and a heavy-ish object that isn’t too large and place them on the art.  The cloth will protect from scratches, and the thing will keep it from shifting about when you open the mat back up.


Put the thing on the thing and nothing moves.


And, with the mat open flat again, and your piece d’art securely located comes the not-so-tricky part…

Take a couple of pieces of that fancy hinging tissue – it’s about 1/2″ wide, so you’ll need somewhere between 3/4″ to 1″ long strips, and tack them on the underside of the photo, with the sticky-side up.  You really only need two pieces.  This is one of those cases where there can be too much of a good thing… and there are only two technical details to note at this point:  One, the tape should go near the top corners of the intended hanging direction, and two, the exposed part of the tape should roughly be the same length as the width of the tape.


Apply the tape to the photo with the sticky side up.


And now, for the magic part.  Take two more strips of tape, and cover the exposed tape you made before sticky-side down.  The technical term for this is a “T-Hinge” because you’ve made two pieces of tape into the letter ‘T’.

Obvious terminology aside, the important part of what we’ve done here is that there is no tape on the surface of the print.  If you want to re-mat the photo later, you can just cut off the excess beyond the print and tape right over.  No harm, no foul.  That print should still be good for 100 years 🙂


Put the tape on the tape, not on the photo


And, voila!  A professionally matted photo, ready to stick in that fabulous frame that you found.


And...we're all done and matted.  Yay!


The Inner Glow

Silhouette of Woman in green and white

The Inner Glow


Beauty comes from the soul and radiates outward.

Strength comes from within and shows on the surface.


This was a fun shot, for those technically-minded.  The background was lit with a single light, and the foreground lighting was done with a speedlight (flash) wrapped with a Fruit Roll-Up to provide the colors.


(The photo links to the gallery where it, and other works are available.)


Woman bound by her inhibitions


We are,  all of us, bound by something.

Fears, inhibitions, insecurities, the ties we let others put on us.  Honor, commitment… even self-sacrifice can hold us back and keep us from reaching our potential.

Some binds ask little in return, and some more than we can give.  And may return a lot, or nothing for our efforts.

It is up to us to decide which binds are worthy, and which ones need to be broken.

(The photo links to the gallery where it, and other works are available.)


Reflections in a shop window in Bodie, CA


Bodie, California is a really neat place.  It’s an abandoned mining town in the back waters of the Eastern Sierra Nevadas along US-395, and it’s just there.  People wandered off and just left it.  Some homes still have furnishings.  The schoolhouse sits and waits for classes to begin under a thick layer of dust.  The General Store’s shelves are full, and lined with coffee, tinned goods, and everything one might need to survive a long, hard winter.

Church at Bodie, California

Church, Bodie

The last permanent residents left about 50 years ago, but the ghosts are very palpable.


Park website – http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=509

All photos link to the gallery where these, and other prints are available.

Don’t Speak, I Know Just What You’re Thinking

Woman hushing her lover

Don't Speak, I know Just What You're Thinking

Sometimes, the imagery that a song evokes can be as powerful and compelling as the music that backs it up.  The musical landscape that a songwriter/artist creates is, for me, a series of images and emotions that, while I can’t necessarily put down in words, lead to a slew of inspiration to create photographs that grow out of that landscape.  Where words fail me, images must do the job.

The photo links to the gallery where it, and other works are available.

End of the Rainbow

I-5 Underpass, Sacramento, California

End of the Rainbow

The pedestrian underpass from Old Sacramento under I-5 can be a magical place.

Floating on Glass

Floating on Glass, Tower Bridge, Sacramento California

Floating on Glass

Tower Bridge, the Gateway to Sacramento,  glows on a still night like few bridges I’ve seen.


Shipping vessels don’t travel this far up the river any more, but she’s still very much alive, and a symbol of the community.

(The photo opens to the gallery page)

The Road Less Traveled

The Road Less Traveled, Panamint Valley, California

The Road Less Traveled

Half-way between US-395 and Death Valley lies the Panamint Valley.  Save one tiny RV park cowering in the corner, there isn’t much in the way of civilization.  This road, and a road that bisects and runs southward for many, many miles before even a house off in the distance can be seen are all that let you know that humans have been here.

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