505 Photography

"There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs." ~ Ansel Adams

My dad was an excellent photographer and sparked my interest in the art, though my photos aren't art.  I call my photo style "Journalistic"...if it has a style at all...more documentation that fine photography.  My wife, however, has a great eye for detail.  Her photos are the really good ones in our house. 

I became serious about it during my first assignment to Türkiye in 1984.  I had three Army photographers to teach me. I used the NATO darkroom as if it was my own.  I read everything I could get my hands on and practiced. 

I enjoy photographing people.  I think it was Scavullo who said to take a really good photo of a woman, you have to be a little in love with her.  I find that to be true as I think my best photos are of people I've known for a while that I have had a chance to observe and have come to appreciate. 

Gone are the days of working for hours in my little darkroom.  I've given all that equipment away and have gone completely digital.  I had my first digital camera and my computer while I was in Kosovo.  I took the "alone time" there to learn Photoshop. 

Now, I carry a camera with me everywhere.  I learned my lesson in Grenada, when all I had was a Kodak 110 that my brother Jim mailed to me.  My photos from there are typically terrible, though two, at least, turned out good enough to be featured in the 82nd Airborne Museum. 

Here, then, are a few of my favorites from over the years.

My Girl in Izmir

Available light in my apartment, Izmir,  Winter, 1986.  It is amazing how little she has changed.  She left the babies at home with their Nanny (grandmother) and met me in Istanbul and visited Izmir for a month.  We had a blast and she helped me work on my photography.


Catch Up!

My Daughter in Winston-Salem NC for my brother Jim's art show, 2007.  Anddddd...that's about it.  She just won't let me take her photo.



J is Happy

J and K out for a day of photos with Dad.  Rockbridge County December 2011.   Not yet engaged, I wanted shots of them together, mostly because I love what she has brought to J's life. I also think they are two of the most beautiful people I know.


No, I'll do THIS!

From an available light shoot of the Grand Boy, the house, December 2009.  Trying to capture the lad on camera requires a lot of patience and a fast shutter speed.


Autumn Thistle

Long runs on the Chessie Train, Lexington Virginia.  Though beautiful in Spring with their brilliant white flowers crowing the top, I prefer the look of Bull Thistle in fall.


Buddy Keddi

Rumple Teaser (RT), my Turkish Van/Street Cat, 1991-2007.

I miss this little buddy.  I have never had such a cat.  When I was in the house, he was by my side.  He was my alarm clock at my room door each morning and often went into deep depression when I went on trips.



Trying to take photos of my wife with Bus posing in her regal Turkish way.  I miss this keddy.


Brother Rat!  Brother Rat!

My Brother Rat and her dogs, taken out behind the Superintendent's quarters, VMI, Fall 2008.


Turk Sokak

Taken on my first tour of Turkiye, walking up to Kadifekale with Vern and Ellen, Izmir, 1985. 

My Turk buddies, seeing this, always ask why I take ugly photos of Turkey.  To me this is beautiful.  I loved walking the back streets where tourists don't go.  I loved the people and the little kids...so much more colorful than their European-like counterparts down in the city.


The Lonely Post

Sentinel Post #2, New Barracks from the Sally Port, VMI, 2010.  Taken from the door of my old office, between Old and New Barracks, on a day when most of the Cadets were away for the weekend.  The sentinel still stands guard.

And Arches...God would like a few Arches

Mission Tour, San Antonio Texas, March 2013.  Surely these are architectural buttresses that strengthen the outside walls, but, I thought them excessive and over the top.  Still they make a fun photo with the guy who wouldn't move giving the shot some interest and scale.


Three Generations

The Mears Girls, Lexington Virginia, 2007.   Pretty Lexington women, friends of the family, and more blonde hair and blue eyes than I've ever seen in one place at one time.


Howdy Ma'am

The grandson exhibiting a little gentlemanliness on the Chessie Trail, Spring 2012.  His walking stick leaves a bit to be desired.


VMI Sunset

Looking from VMI Barracks toward the library, Winter 2001.  Jackson stands in front of the main arch of Barracks at VMI, facing southwest.  Going home in the evenings, I am generally treated to spectacular sunsets.  Making a black and white photo of such beautiful colors some might see as ridiculous.  I love B&W.


Cornell Tower

 Antietam Battlefield, Bloody Lane, Summer 2010.  The girl gives perspective to the irregular looking stairwell inside the observation tower at Bloody Lane.  I named this shot after Joseph Cornell, who sometimes like to box up or frame his artwork in interesting and peculiar ways.


None Shall Pass

Limits Gates Cannon, VMI, a harsh Winter 2009.  Taken as Kim and I walked around the Parade Ground, after two feet of snow the day before the Cadets were to leave for Christmas Furlough.


Spring in America

Kim's Garden, Spring 2011.  The queen of small touches that make things beautiful, Kim placed this little metal flag down in the daffodils, just to the right of the stoop.  I took this in the late afternoon light as I came in from work.  It's always good to have a camera handy.


Old Age Should Burn and Rage

At Blue Grass Sportsman League, February 2014

It seems I have been taking photos of trees lately.  I think it is their longevity that interests me.  This old sentinel caught my eye because the top was completly ripped off, I assume by a tornado, and it has a bad case of heart disease, but it refuses to die.  The new limbs stretch up toward the sky in what looks like defiance, challenging nature to do it's worst.  Am I that brave?

The title I borrowed from Dylan Thomas. 


Marcons! Marcons!

National D-Day Memorial, Bedford, Virginia, Fall 2007, Le Monument aux Morts, a recasting of the original at the Church of St. Aignan, Trevieres, France.  I had nice sky this day.


What I Can't See

Taken during a Sunday photo shoot, I like this photo for the shadows of the trees across her face.  There has to be a place for this look among flash filled-in photos, among the photos using a reflective disc; it's just more natural.

We took over 200 shots that morning and they are all amazing.  Fault the model for that.

There Stands Jackson

The General looking a little too heroic, Manassas Battlefield, July 2010.  I try to take Cadets by the battlefield whenever we're traveling through the area.  It is fun to watch their appreciation for the place, the history, and their heritage,


Val at Rest

My Running Partner, Blue Ridge Parkway 1998.  I've never met a more energetic person in my life.  I hadn't known her a week before she had me running races all over Virginia.


Bridge to Swapping Camp

Walking the App Trail, May 2010.  This little bridge spans the Peddler River below the Lynchburg Reservoir, deep in the middle of our training area.


London Girl

I, normally, don't take photos of people I don't know but this girl had to be an exception.  The grain on this was a mistake in the developing process, but I like the effect.  London, Summer 1988


"So J. Crew"

Graduation Shoot, on Post, Fall 2006


Into Maryland

Visiting Harper's Ferry, Summer Furlough, 2009.  Taken during a Civil War trip with COL John Brodie, something we do every May after the Cadets depart for Summer.

In his eyes I'd sometimes see

The boy I used to be

Regimental Drummer, New Market Battle Reenactment, May 2012


Long Run

Along the Chessie Trail, Lexington, Virginia

The railroad bed that fed Lexington, now our nature trail.  It is favorite place to run to commune with the universe.


Cowboy Boots in Summer

 A Summer Day with a family friend, Blue Ridge Mountains, July 2012.  We took a summer day off work and drove up to the parkway.  Heat and gnats aside, it was a good day and she looked amazing.  She doesn't make bad photos.


Eutrophic Design

Looking in Our East Window, on Post, Summer 2005.  And then, the Physical Plant cleaned off the vines.  I was mad for days.



 Taken on Forge Road, Rockbridge County VA, Summer 2012.  A friend's super cute sister comes to visit and we made a country shoot out of the day.  I love Rockbridge County for its great locations.  Sometimes you have to do a little trespassing.



VMI Cadets returning from General Permit.  GP is a status at VMI allowing all Cadets, except Rats, to go downtown until 2030 hours (8:30 PM). Cadets know exactly how long it takes to get back to Barracks from anywhere in Lexington, waiting until the very last minute to return.


Orchard Breeze

Taken in the apple orchard of Bushong House, New Market Battlefield, May 2012.  The original photo is manipulated with Sketch Guru and Autodesk Sketchbook on my phone.  This has such a Renoir feel that I decided to include it here in Color.

"If such a thing had happened once, it surely must have happened many times in this universe of a hundred billion suns."

Wilmore Kentucky, February 2014

The afternoon sun casting shadows across this path I thought would make an interesting photo.  It was not until I had a look on my computer that I knew how much I liked it.

The three trees reminded me of Arthur Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama--"The Raman's always do everything in threes. "  The photo's title is from the book.


After Much Deliberation

Kim's Barn, day photo trip with my darling wife, March 2014.  After passing it for years, amid much heated discussion, making a deliberate trip, and doing a little hike, "WE" GOT IT!


Sloss Furnaces, Birmingham Alabama

The Industry that Built a City

Taken with my phone camera during a family trip to Sloss Furnace Park in Birmingham in June 2014, the city's iron smelting plant.  I remember the smoke pouring from the coal furnaces as we traveled to and from the city in the 1st Avenue Viaduct.

Remnants Few Stop to See

An old mill not far from Stanton, taken on a trip with Kim.  She did the research, found it, got the directions, and took some fantastic photos of the place.  Her plan was better than mine.