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Trip Report – Winter in the Canadian Rockies

Sunset reflects on the frozen Lake Abraham in Alberta Canada.

Sunset reflects on the frozen Lake Abraham in Alberta Canada.

Fifty mile per hour wind gusts sweep down from the mountains of Banff and Jasper over the Kootenay Plains.  I huddle in a compact ball, digging my crampons into the glacial blue waters of Lake Abraham, clutching my camera and tripod into my chest. Surprisingly, the wind is warm like the breath of spring.

I came to Lake Abraham for ice bubbles; methane gurgles up from its depths and freezes below the surface of the ice.  The same winds that were trying to send me sliding, clear snow from the surface and polish the ice to a sheen.   During my time there, I remember that ice is porous living thing: cracks and wavelets form, and reform, with changes in temperature.   The lake sings as ice plates bump against each other in deep sonorous whumps.  The warm springlike winds in January are worrisome, though.

The next day, I badger two friends into another session on the ice. There is some fear that the warm weather may block access to the ice, and it is certainly degrading the bubbles I’d come to see.  Thick clouds draped the sky, offering scant hope of a sunset for grander photography.  For a while I work on intimate detail work, while keeping an eye on the sky.  The spirits of mountain and glacier must have taken pity on us, as we were treated to a glorious display of color reflected in the lake.

I share some additional thinking behind my creative process on this trip at the blog of my friend Royce Howland.

Please check out my gallery of recent work for more images from Lake Abraham!

I have also started an email newsletter which I’ll be sending out on a quarterly basis to keep you posted of new work and events.

2013 Art Fair Schedule

Please to announce my schedule of art fairs for the summer and fall!

  • August 3/4 – SoNo Arts Celebration, South Norwalk, CT
  • August 10/11 – Mystic Outdoor Arts Festival, Mystic, CT
  • August 16-18 – Festival of the Arts, Chatham, MA
  • August 24 – WCSH6 Sidewalk Arts Festival, Portland, ME
  • September 7 – Codman Estate Fine Arts and Crafts Festival, Lincoln, MA
  • September 21/22 – Old Deerfield Craft Fair, Deerfield, MA
  • October 12-14 – Paradise City Northampton, Northampton, MA

Many thanks to the juries of these festivals for allowing me the opportunity to participate in these events.  I am looking forward to showing a selection of my work  and talking to folks about my photography.  I will be offering a variety of prints both matted and framed at these venues across New England.  Looking forward to seeing you out on the road!

In addition, I have been very lucky to be able to participate in one local group exhibition over the summer.  I will be showing my print, Kirkjufell #1, at the Danforth Museum of Art’s annual “Off the Wall” exhibition of emerging artists from throughout New England.  My work will be on display at the Danforth in Framingham, MA between June 9th and August 4th.

Trip Report – Howling on the Moors

I got up at five am for a seven o’clock sunrise on the moors.  My wife took one look at the rain pouring down outside and said sweetly that I was on my own.  We were lucky enough to have a quick trip to the United Kingdom, my wife was there on business, and I tagged along to grab some shots.  We were spending the weekend in Dartmoor National Park.

I drove an hour through the pouring rain down hedgerows that couldn’t fit two large carts in them, let along a full sized automobile.  During the drive, one lesson kept coming to mind:  ”Bad weather makes good photographs”.  At the end of my drive, the rain had tapered off.

I was heading up the Great Staple Tor.  Tors are jumbled granite outcrops that dot this section of the country.  In this case, I was hiking a quick half mile or so up the hill.  I had climbed this route the previous afternoon looking at its photographic potential.  At the head of the trail in the predawn darkness, I congratulated myself on scouting ahead.  I could just make out the silhouette of my target as fog closed in around it.  Sighing, I whispered…”bad weather makes good photographs”.

Five minutes and one sodden creek bed later, the fog had completely enveloped me.  I knew I had to climb the hill in front of me, and turn left.  One or two compass checks, and a pointed conversation with the local cattle got me to where I wanted to meet the daylight.  Visibility was nil however, and I resigned myself to shooting out the morning in fog and seeing what I could make of the conditions.  I was also trying hard not to think of the ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’, Heathcliff howling on the moors, or the ‘American Werewolf in London’ movie.

As the grey fog started to lighten with the day, I shot.  Trying to pick interesting shapes in the clouds.  Dawn had broken, I knew that much.  I kept shooting – losing much hope in anything interesting happening.  But a funny thing happened on the way to disappointment.  I could see a hint of clouds in the sky above me.  The fog was thinning out.  Checking my watch, I ditched my plans for getting back to the bed and breakfast and stuck around.  ”Bad weather makes good photographs.”

Things moved quickly after that.  Suddenly the fog on the top of the hill was gone, but the valleys were enshrouded.  I could see the ocean in the distance to the south.   What had been thick cloud cover was breaking up.  And best of all, sun was peeking through above the horizon.  I spend the next ten minutes running around like an overstimulated puppy, praying that I wouldn’t botch what I was seeing.

Bad weather makes good photographs, and this turned into a morning that makes getting up and walking through wet sheep shit in the dark worthwhile.

“Clearing Storm – Great Staple Tor”

Upcoming Events

A couple of events are coming up in the horizon for those in the area who may be interested.

31st Annual Conant School Arts and Craft Fair, Sunday October 28 between 10am and 4pm, 70 Taylor Road, Acton MA.  This will be my first trip into an art fair environment.  So I’ll be debuting my new booth set up, and having a great deal of 11×14 and 16×20 prints on hand, including a good deal of new work from the New England autumn gallery.  I’m expecting this to be a proof of concept for a more prolific art fair schedule in 2013.

Exhibition:  Sudbury Valley Nature Photographer’s Member Exhibit, Raytheon Room, Wayland Public Library, November 1st through 30th.  I’ll have two black and white prints at this exhibition.  An artist reception is currently planned for the afternoon of November 10th.

In the meantime, I’m also planning for some shooting in the United Kingdom during the first week of November!  So that will be very exciting, and I hope to turn up some late season images to share.

Trip Report: Channeling My Inner Eliot Porter

It’s a photographic cliche to say that bad weather can help with good photography.  I certainly had the opportunity to put that theory to practice last week in the Green Mountains of Vermont.  I went north for a week-long photography workshop with Kurt Budliger, who is making his mark specializing in the intimacy of the New England landscape.

One of the ongoing challenges that I’ve set for myself is to improve my ability to capture the landscape of my home turf.  This mostly is a matter of training my eye to see things on a different scale.  Grand landscapes, in a certain sense, are easy to see.  Ansel Adams made these sorts of images that icon of what most people think of when you say landscape photography, and millions of people stop at scenic overlooks across the country to take snapshots of the wide open spaces.  I love those images, but they’re harder to pull off in the middle of a forest.

So, in that sense, a week of cloudy, drizzly, damp weather in Vermont was just what I was looking for.  In bad weather, the big landscape goes out the window, but you can spend a lot of quality time in the woodlands to capture the small stuff.  My new gallery of New England landscapes features the first fruits of that labor.

The trick is to find patterns that help bring order out of chaos.  Focusing on smaller, more intimate spaces.   Instead of shooting a grand vista stretching out for miles, you simplify your frame down to a few key elements yards apart from one another.  Eliot Porter was a master of this style of photography.  I’ve only taken a couple of steps down the road, but I hope that some of my first attempts at this approach can evoke some the serenity that I felt among vibrant colors of a Vermont fall.  As usual, some lessons learned, many more left to work on.

Thanks to Kurt for being a great teacher, and enjoy the new images!

Event – Denault Studios Opening Reception

I’ve been working with Denault Studios since the gallery opened in May; however, we’re taking that relationship to another level beginning next week.  My new work has been introduced into the gallery, and the gallery will be hosting a reception featuring that work on September 22nd.

Michael Denault has graciously offered a door prize in association with the reception, so I’m pleased to say that one of my 16×20 metal prints will be given away as part of the festivities.

So…care to stop by and see prints of my photographs from Canyonlands and Iceland?  Interested in supporting a starving artist?  Looking to see what else the gallery has to offer and get a jump start on holiday shopping?  Seeking a free glass of wine and some nibbles on a Saturday night?  I’ve got the place for you!

Saturday, September 22nd from 6 to 9pm at Denault Studios, 35 Nason Street, Maynard MA.

I’ll be happy to meet folks and share stories (although I may also be nervously checking scores from the Michigan-Notre Dame football game.)


Summer into Fall…

As the calendar churns through the September days, you can quickly season the impending change in the season.  The days are noticeably shorter, coolness in the early morning prompts curling up in fleeces and long sweat pants, and the quality of the light has changed as well.

But still there is the beauty of a field of sunflowers









Time to seize the moment and hit the road for new adventures. Next week, I’ll be camping up in Acadia National Park. It’ll be my first time up in that neck of the woods, and I’m looking forward to spending the cool early mornings and evenings making new images. And then towards the end of the month, I’ll be joining a photography workshop to capture the fall color of the Green Mountains of Vermont.

With a little luck, I’ll be sharing a wealth of new images with you in the coming weeks!

Welcome to Four Crows 2.0!

Hello All -

Welcome to version 2.0 of the Four Crows Photography website.  I am tremendously pleased to have this project off the ground, and to be able to share this update with you.  We’ve got a variety of new things on deck.

As you can see, the website design has been over-hauled significantly.  The best part of this process is the enhanced storefront that is now available.  We are now offering a great deal of new print offerings through one of the best photographic labs in the country, Bayphoto.  Prints are now available in sizes up to 30 by 40″ in a variety of different papers.  In addition, we are also now offering canvas wrap, thinmount, and metal prints.

These changes also allow me to introduce my new portfolio.  I’ve been shooting extensively over the summer, and have had a very productive time creatively.  The images in our Galleries tab feature my best images from recent work in Greater Canyonlands and Iceland.  In addition, we now have a wide variety of black and white images available.  I hope you enjoy these as much as I enjoyed making them!

To help celebrate this new beginning, I’ll be running a launch party sale through the month of August.  Type in the code ‘Launch10‘ during the checkout process to receive a 10% discount on any purchase.  In addition, an additional 5% of your purchase will go to help support the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

Again, welcome and enjoy!

Seljalandsfoss in Gold