When visiting Alaska back in 2018, I took a helicopter flight over a glacier. I took a lot of photographs from the air, but never really got around to editing them. I am usually plodding and lazy about editing my photos.
This past weekend, however, I got a burst of energy and inspiration, that allowed me to edit a few photos from that trip. I have a complete set of images and will share them for the rest of the week.
I have shared two photos: the first (above) is of a near-naked sand bar, and the other (below) is of land where time has allowed life to flourish. These are B&W photos, but they have a slight glacial blue tint to them — my homage to the mighty Knik Glacier, which like glaciers worldwide, is receding.
January 30, 2023. San Francisco
It has been a minute since I shared new photographs. I was traveling to India, and when I returned, I got an infection that rendered me useless for a few days. Now that I am back in the saddle, I wanted to share some photos.
I had a tough time finding things to capture in Delhi. After all, it is hard to find moments of silence and simplicity in a chaotic city like Delhi. At the edge of a little pond, I found tiny reeds poking out of the water (above.) I felt compelled to capture the feeling. While waiting around there, I found a dragonfly hovering over the reed. It was perfect.
River Yamuna flows through Delhi. I have many distinct memories of the river. It used to be clean, pristine, and a force of nature. At some point in my life, it flooded and caused significant damage.
Many bridges built over the river are signposts of the city’s development, opening up distant areas for further growth. But over the past two decades, it has become a shambolic symbol of the failure of civic infrastructure.
It is polluted, and it stinks. I have no idea how and when all the clean-up efforts would have an impact. On my recent trip, I went down to the river — on one of the many ghats. It wasn’t much of a morning — phelgemic is the best way to describe it.
The smell/stench was overwhelming, and I didn’t feel quite creative. I was shocked to see folks take a dip in this water and do their morning prayers. I didn’t want to be there. Till I saw this man take his boat across the water, and then everything clicked in place. One day, I hope the river returns to its pristine state and, with it, comes back the wildlife.
October 9, 2022. San Francisco
Labor Day Weekend is here! And it also means the end of what the locals call, Fogust. This is the official start of our version of summer, and it is called Indian Summer, though it is nothing like an “Indian summer.”
This weekend and the coming week, the temperatures across the Bay Area (and in California at large) will be reaching record levels. There has even been a heat advisory. San Francisco, a city, usually cool because of the winds of the Pacific Ocean, is expecting temperatures in the eighties.
Perhaps, that is why I thought it would make sense to share a few more from my “Cool Gray City” series of photos. It is unlikely that we will see any fog for a while, so this is probably the last set for a few weeks.
Have a great long weekend, everyone! #coolgraycity!
September 3, 2022. San Francisco
The winds of the Future wait
At the iron walls of her Gate,
And the western ocean breaks in thunder,
And the western stars go slowly under,
And her gaze is ever West
In the dream of her young unrest.
Her sea is a voice that calls,
And her star a voice above,
And her wind a voice on her walls—
My cool, grey city of love.
“San Francisco,” Gary Kamiya writes in his book, Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco, “is all about the collision between man and the universe.” What a wonderful description of the city on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. As someone who wants to avoid people, urban blights, and grand vistas in his photos, San Francisco is a challenge and chalice from a visual standpoint. As a photographer, I struggle to decide: Should I ignore the manmade and instead look to gifts of the gods? Or should I embrace the outcomes of human ingenuity? There is an abundance of both in the city of seven hills.
A poem by George Sterling inspired Kamiya’s book title, so I am taking a cue from both of them — I have come up with a new project: cool gray views of the city, and it is my way of telling its visual story.
It will combine what I love most in my photography — silence, fog, abstraction, and an opportunity to wander. One of my new photo friends on Glass, after seeing my shared photos, called them “dreamy grays.” It never really occurred to me, but that comment and Kamiya’s book helped coalesce everything for me.
Ironically, I have been on the journey for a while; I didn’t realize it. I am sharing some photos that tell you what I have in mind. It is an unending creative effort, and I hope they will one day become part of a larger body of work.
I will tag this series #coolgraycity!
August 21, 2022. San Francisco
Chris Michel, a good friend, and a photography mentor, recently told me that he is editing photos if he is not doing anything. He is always looking to make sure his library is not clogged with unfinished files. Given the daily frequency with which he captures photos, it makes perfect sense.
I should listen to him. I go on landscape journeys, come back and forget about the photos. Sure, I like to sit on the images, but maybe it is not such a good idea. I was thinking about Chris this morning when I was cleaning my office space and came across many old memory cards that were chock-full of photos from a 2018 visit to Alaska.
Three and a half years later, I can tell these images don’t fit into what I seek in my images today. Still, I feel I was taking steps in the right direction. And that is why I should have edited these images. Instead, I never downloaded any of those photos onto my computer. I did find three negatives that were worth an edit. I used Adobe Photoshop to “enhance the originals,” and then cropped them to give them a bit more balance. They are a good reminder of why I love Alaska so much.
Chris is so right — if you don’t get to editing sooner, you leave many moments behind — forgotten, gathering dust. I hope you enjoy these three images. Have a good week ahead, everyone!
“A wise god shrouds the future in obscure darkness.” Horace San Francisco this morning has been under dense fog advisory, and rightfully so. The ash and smoke from the wildfires overwhelming California and the Northwestern United States are only compounding the problems. Portland and San Francisco have the worst air quality anywhere in the world. … Continue reading San Francisco under a shroud
A few days after the pandemic shutdown began in San Francisco, I noticed seagulls were spending more time in the communal pool in our building complex. Devoid of people, it wasn’t surprising to see gulls take up residence in the pool. After a few days, it became clear that it was just two gulls, and … Continue reading The Baby Gull
When I look back upon my journey as a photographer, it can easily be summed up by the words of Jonathan Swift. “Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.” The journey has been about learning the basics of image-making. It also has been a communion with the camera, and what we can do together. … Continue reading Imagined Landscapes
This photo is a good reflection of our world these days — many things are upside down. I made this image in Paris. The location was the ever so beautiful, Merci. How I long to revisit the city of lights again! Continue reading Upside down
Photography has taught me that brightness and darkness are merely a reaction to one another. Sometimes, just making a few elements of an image a little darker, you make other aspects brighter and more luminescent. Take the example of this photo, which uses varying degrees of darkness. In our lives too, darkness gives us perspective … Continue reading Light is a reaction to darkness
Letter from Om
A (nearly) bi-weekly dispatch about tech & future.
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