The two photographs featured here are currently being shown in an online exhibition by the Emerge Gallery in Saugerties, NY, entitled “Isolation.” Since I live alone and work from home as a freelancer, the isolation aspect of the Covid-19 pandemic didn’t affect me so much. What was clearly becoming detrimental to my physical health, however, was the confinement, the limitations on movement. Eventually I began taking my camera out on walks in places where I was unlikely to meet many people, and as restrictions were increasingly relaxed I widened my scope of activities. By mid-June this included a brief trip to Rhode Island–one of New York’s “approved states”–where I took both of these photographs.

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Interestingly, then, my artworks aren’t about my isolation but, rather, convey the seeming isolation of the subject matter. Take Lone Boat in Fog (above). Appearances can be deceiving. The boat looks to be all alone in a bank of fog on Narragansett Bay, but looming up close behind it, and invisible despite its imposing size, is the iconic form of the Newport-Jamestown Bridge. I like that ambivalence about fog: It can serve to obscure some forms, and yet in so doing it can also clarify by bringing out only the form that I want to show.

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And With Open Arms. I have photographed this piece of fence at different times of year so as to surround it with different colors, and each version seems to lend the fence a different “personality.”  Here the cheery summer green gives it a welcoming, friendly look, and thus ambivalence is set up again as in the boat picture: This piece of wood, intended to exclude walkers from the sensitive marshlands at a National Wildlife Refuge on the Rhode Island coast, also appears to be greeting the passer-by “with open arms.”

“Isolation” will be online at the Emerge Gallery’s Artsy site until September 13, 2020. Click here to view the artworks on display (including mine!). All artworks in the show are for sale.


Dappled Things

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I was photographing at the lake this morning, trying to figure out the best angle from which to capture an interesting bit of log that had become host to some bright greenery, when, upon standing up straight, I noticed the sunlight glinting on the lake through the trees—lovely combination of wavy blue water with tiny sunbursts floating on it. “Glitter of waves and glitter of sunlight”—a line from Britten’s nautical opera Peter Grimes.  A friendly young man came by, stopped, and commented on the scene, and we had a lively conversation about the beauty of and interrelation among all elements in the natural world. I recommended that he read Peter Wohlleben’s book The Hidden Life of Trees; it certainly changed the way I look at trees.

As the young man continued on his walk, he called back to me, “Enjoy your dappled day.”

Dappled! Of course!

“Dappled!” I called after him. “Today is Gerard Manley Hopkins’s birthday—‘Glory be to God for dappled things!’”

Above is one of the photos I got of that dappled water; below are three other of my images that show “dappled things.”

White clouds in a blue sky are a classic example of dappled things. This picture was also taken at the lake, but on a different day.

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This is on the campus of Providence College, Rhode Island, on a sunny spring day last year. I took one look at the scene, exclaimed “Glory be to God for dappled things!” and got the shot.    DSC0098 s







Finally, here is a peony from a friend’s garden, also taken this morning. I overexposed it a bit to accentuate the white highlights (caused by the sun) and thus the dappledness.

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Passion or Profit?

No easy answer to this important question. Thanks, Jeff Sinon!

Jeff Sinon Photography

Do you photograph what you love or what will sell?

A fairly simple question, but for those of us hoping of one day living the dream and becoming full time professional photographers, it’s a question that might not be so easy to answer.

From the moment I sold my first print a thought occurred to me: would the desire to sell more photos affect the way I photograph?

I’d like to think the answer is no.

But, I wonder…

Those of you who’ve been following me for any length of time know I’ve got a thing for waterfalls. Yet I barely sell or license any waterfall photographs. Yet I continue to photograph waterfalls year round, whenever I get a chance.

So it’s passion, right?

whaleback light at dusk with large rocks in the foreground

Then there are lighthouses, a subject I know has a much broader appeal with the public. While I’m not head-over-heals in love with them, there are…

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A Catskills Photographer’s Compelling Views of Trees


If there is a visual equivalent for the expression “doesn’t mince words,” it would apply to the latest collection by Catskill photographer John P. O’Grady. Books with new Catskills photographs aren’t exactly thick on the ground, so one does well to pay attention to a collection by O’Grady, whose way with words (he wrote the texts as well) is as unique and original as his artistry with a camera.

Lush and beautiful in the summer, at least to those who (like me) travel their more familiar paths, New York’s Catskill Mountains in winter—and winters here are long—are harsh, stark, uncompromising. It’s difficult to imagine an artist who has conveyed these qualities more successfully than John P. O’Grady in his latest book, Certain Trees in the Catskill Mountains. Even the title is bare and direct. This isn’t a “feel-good” collection of pretty pictures; viewers in pursuit of the pleasant will likely find it daunting. The texts (photos and texts are printed on opposite pages) offer interesting insights and unusual takes on Catskill history and lore. For example, he points out the irony that there are no vistas on Mount Thomas Cole (Cole, the nineteenth-century landscape painter and an avid mountain climber, never scaled this peak): they are all obscured by trees. He also shares some information gleaned from a seventeenth-century alchemist: O’Grady has an interesting library and intriguing ways of shelving his books that reveal more about him than about the book itself.

The photographs are black and white and rely on strong forms for their impact: jagged, winter-bare trees, sometimes cast as shadows on an abandoned building or on ground seemingly untouched by human or even animal life. Then there are the rocks, the Catskills themselves, the ledges that may offer a breathtaking vista or threaten instant death if the careless hiker slips and falls over the edge.

Each photo is an accompaniment to rather than an illustration of the text. There are no verbal clues to the location of each image, and to recognize it solely by the visual, one must know this place very intimately indeed.

In a book measuring 9 ½ x 8 inches, each photo averages about 4 3/8 x 3 inches; there are both verticals and horizontals. Thus each image seems to challenge—or perhaps dare?—the viewer to enter its world. To do so physically is for the physically adventurous; to do so visually through O’Grady’s photographs is for those unafraid to inhabit, even if just for a time, the mysterious and magical world that these pages set before one’s eyes.

Certain Trees in the Catskill Mountains can be ordered through John O’Grady’s website,  At $15.00 + $3.00 postage, this compelling journey into the saga-spun Catskills is a bargain.

The Hudson River School of — Photography???

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Want to make your photographs look like a masterpiece by a famous artist? I used to (half jokingly) dream of the day when a click of the mouse could turn a photograph into a work of art by one of my favorite painters. These days, thanks to plug-ins and programs from Topaz Studio and other places, I can pretty well do just that — well, almost. If you want to produce your own Rembrandt, Degas, Van Gogh, Cezanne, even Da Vinci, the software is there. But, wedged as I am between the Hudson River and the southeastern Catskills, my dream has me pursuing the artists whose work inspired me to live here in the first place: the 19th-century landscape artists known as the Hudson River School.

If you want to produce your own Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, or Asher B. Durand, the presets don’t exist (at least, not yet). But that’s OK — because if you’re determined enough, you can use your own ingenuity to figure out how to do it, and in the end, that’s really more satisfying.

Take the painting — I mean, the photograph above. It’s of a lake in the Woodstock area, and I photograph there frequently. In the 19th century,  Hudson River School painter  Jervis McEntee, when he wasn’t painting in or near his native Kingston, used to roam that area and produced a couple of paintings of it. McEntee’s rather subdued style, coloristically speaking, appealed to me as a corrective to my occasional tendency to post-process my photos in grungy, gritty ways, and I decided to see if I could derive inspiration from my 19th-century neighbor. This image was processed using a combination of a Nik Color Efex Pro preset and a filter on Photoshop CS5. It took some trial and error and in fact I ended up with two or three different final versions, but this one is my favorite.

Emerge_Gallery_MAR_exit_20_flier_JPG[1]It was also a favorite of Robert Langdon, owner of the Emerge Gallery in Saugerties, because he has chosen it to be exhibited in the gallery’s show, “Exit 20,” opening on Saturday March 3. A wonderful variety of talented artists in all media will have their works on display, so if you’re in the area while the show is running, do come along to enjoy it. Hope to see you there!

Rhode Island Ramblings

At last I’m getting round to systematically processing my images from my Rhode Island trip back in October. “Systematically” meaning that I go through each subfolder, make a first cull eliminating photos I definitely don’t want, then run the rest into Lightroom where I make the final choice about what to subject to some serious processing.

Here are two from Colt State Park. I start with these because they’re the only two that don’t feature stone walls; I was obsessed with stone walls on this trip.

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First, this statue of Senator John Chafee of Rhode Island. It was erected after the Senator’s death in 1999. Before his time in the Senate, John Chafee also served as Governor of Rhode Island. He was clearly a very great man, for reasons that I won’t get into lest this post be regarded as politicized. Anyhow, he was also the father of Lincoln Chafee, who was Rhode Island’s governor for one term before the present governor, Gina Raimondo, took office.

It’s obvious from the above that I have no disrespect whatever for the late Gov. Chafee, but I’ve tried for years to get precisely this picture of the statue, with a seagull on his head and that beautiful tree. It just makes for an interesting composition. While I had the photograph in Lightroom I enhanced all the blacks to remove the details of the benches etc. at the bottom of the picture so that everything would look virtually silhouetted. I also slid the Clarity slider down to about -70 to remove any distracting detail from the clouds. Then after transferring it to Photoshop, I slid the Saturation slider all the way down to -100 to eliminate a distracting streak of blue cloud from behind the gull’s head. What do you think?

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The second photo, for a change of pace, shows what’s called “the old bridge.” I walked around trying to find an interesting, uncluttered composition and decided on this view with some autumnal grasses in the foreground. I always seem to hit Colt State Park on cloudy-to-ominous days (probably because I always go in winter or autumn), and for this picture I decided to counteract that (as well as add to my growing collection of painterly photographs)  by using one of the presets in the new Topaz Impression in Topaz Studio. One thing I like about the new Topaz Studio programs is the Opacity slide; if you discover a preset that you basically like but find it a bit exaggerated for your purposes, just slide the Opacity slide back until the effect decreases to a point that you like. That’s what I did here. Again, what do you think?

To purchase a print or other product, click on the photograph you’re interested in and it will take you directly to the link on my website.

Best Photographs of 2017

Here are my favorite images taken in 2017, posted in the order in which they appear in my 2018 calendar.

If you wish to purchase prints, or other products with the image on them, just click on the photo you’re interested in and you’ll go directly to that photo on my website. Thank you for looking! Hope you enjoy them.

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Lobster Traps in Galilee, Rhode Island

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Spring Flowers and the Barn

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Stone Wall in Rhode Island

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The Rondout at Eddyville

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Jamestown Marsh with Pell Bridge

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Sauer Farm, Mt. Marion

Beacon of the Berkshires

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This is Mt. Greylock, at 3,491 ft. the highest point in Massachusetts. Specifically, it’s located in the Berkshires region, a culturally and naturally rich area in the western part of the state. I took this picture during my visit there in October. The mountain, which has a motor road up to the top, is easily reached from Williamstown, a lively college town where I stayed.

If you look closely at a point to the right of the center of the image, you’ll see a tower. I could have cloned it out but I deliberately didn’t, in defiance of the purist view of nature photography that rejects any hint of human activity. Think of iconic peaks of the Northeast USA such as Whiteface (Adirondacks, NY) or Mt. Washington (Whites, NH); those of you in other parts of the country can undoubtedly name your own. Both these mountains have important structures on top. What’s a photographer to do when entering a picture of one of them in, e.g., a nature competition or forum? Clone the structures out  and thereby produce an unnatural image? Avoid shooting the peak at all, at least from the angles from which the structures are visible?

Rhetorical questions. The point (no pun intended) of Greylock’s tower is that it’s a broadcasting tower. For years it has broadcast the signals of WAMC Radio, the local NPR station for northeast New York and western New England. Now, because the TV station that also uses the tower is leaving, WAMC has the opportunity to purchase the tower for itself and thereby assure its future. Fundraising is taking place right now, in advance of the usual February fundraiser, to ensure that the tower on Mt. Greylock remains a beacon for our area.

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If you’re visiting or live in the mid Hudson Valley, you might want to stop in to the Emerge Gallery in Saugerties to enjoy the current show, Primar(il)y Red: An Exhibition of Art Celebrating the Color Red. My popular photograph of the old Adirondack Barn at the junction of Rts. 73 and 9, which was demolished a year ago, is in the show. The barn has been an important part of Adirondack history and I’m glad to have been able to preserve its memory in this way.

Happy New Year to all my readers!

Fall Foliage and a Gallery Show

Ed DSC0959 sThe foliage here in the Northeast has been a bit of a bust this year, but the marshes, with their autumn-golden grass, never disappoint. I got to photograph two marshes during a brief trip to Rhode Island last week–one from the little parking area at the Coggeshall Farm Museum in Bristol and the other a hidden gem on Jamestown island. These images are quickly processed from the jpg versions. When I have time, I’ll give them (and others) the full treatment, putting the Raw files through Lightroom and then Photoshop.

The image at the top of the page shows the marsh visible from the Coggeshall Farm. The sky during a break in the almost relentless rain on this day added some drama.

The marshy land in the Great Creek was quite a discovery. I was on my way to photograph the famous Jamestown Windmill and happened to pass this. The windmill was quite close by, so it was easy to turn around to go back to the creek, which had its seemingly statutory now-closed-for-the-season seafood shack in whose parking area one could stop.

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I always love the way the marshland itself intersects with the surrounding waters to produce interesting shapes and what sometimes appears like a maze–Cape Cod has its share of those, as do the Essex marshes north of Boston–and for this shot I wished I were about six inches taller to have been able to minimize (or better, eliminate) overlap between the different sections of marshland. Anyhow, if you think you see a bridge lurking in the background, guess what–

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–you were right! The Pell Bridge, which connects Aquidneck Island (on which Newport lies) with Jamestown island. I got several shots but like the way this one includes the flag.

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If you’re in (or visiting) the Hudson Valley during November, we’d love to welcome you to an art show opening at the Emerge Gallery on Main Street in Saugerties. The theme is “Petit”–it consists of smaller works of art–and I have two pictures in the show. In addition to the framed works on display, a variety of matted prints is also available for sale.

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Photographing History: The Doughboy

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One hundred years after the United States’ entry into World War I, doughboys are again in the news. This morning, in a big parade in Paris, France that both celebrated the French National Day (Bastille Day) and commemorated the centenary, a corps of American soldiers marched in the parade as a salute to President Trump, who had been invited to view the event, and several of the soldiers were dressed as WWI doughboys.

First, “doughboy” is an informal term referring to a member of the United States Army or Marine Corps, especially those who served with the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, although it was apparently in use during (and possibly originated in) the Mexican-American War in the 1840s.

In case you’re wondering, no, I’ve never photographed an actual doughboy; the last one to have served in the First World War, Frank Buckles, died in 2011 in West Virginia, aged 110. But a few years ago, at the invitation and request of the archives of the Dominican Order’s Eastern Province, I photographed a rather famous statue of a doughboy located in North Providence, Rhode Island (the Order’s archives are housed at Providence College, a few minutes drive from where the statue stands).

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Rev. Nicholas Serror, OP, photo courtesy of Dominican Archives

The statue is titled “On to Victory” and was designed by John G. Hardy, a sculptor from Warwick, RI.  The connection between the Dominicans and the statue? The model for the statue is said to have been a Dominican priest, Rev. Nicholas Hugh Serror, OP (1896-1972), who served in the infantry in WWI. Clearly destined for a life of service, Nicholas Serror entered the Dominicans, received the habit in 1927, and was ordained a priest in 1934. A faculty member at Providence College for many years, he collaborated with a colleague at nearby Brown University in the development of a drug that ended an epidemic of ringworm in Sault Ste. Marie, Canada, in 1950. 

Photographing this statue was a challenge. It stands right up against St. Albans Church and so there’s always going to be some background interference. In addition, I was taken there on a bright, sunny day–though fortunately, in very late afternoon, not in the most garish period of midday light. The best solution was to select the two best “poses” of the shots I took, blur out (or remove altogether) the background, and–which was especially appropriate given the historical nature of the subject–convert them to B&W. Here are the results; you’ll note that the one photograph is a crop of one of the others to provide a close-up. (I’m tempted to go back and reprocess one or two of them in sepia to give them a “vintage” look.)

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I want to thank my Dominican friends at Providence College for the opportunity to photograph this historic statue and for honoring the results by framing one of the images to hang in their archives.