Today I am taking off from shooting. I’d been planning to venture around the Flathead Valley for a multi day trip, circling the wildlife areas of the south, the Mission Mountains, and the northern end of the Flathead Lake. The goal was to find more bison to photograph and incorporate some of the stunning sunrises that I can never wake up early enough for. I’m all packed up, pending an hour of coolant work on the car. Instead, today became centered on the coolant system, after many debacles flushing the system the night before. If you read back to the earliest posts in this blog, you’d see that while being mechanically adept with bicycles, suspension and small electronics, cars are not always my best subject. The blog even acquired its name from an old travel friend who referred to an old bronica camera I repaired as a fortunate toaster, amazed that I cared so much about a kitchen appliance, until she realized it was just my camera.
But no. No roadtrips today. In the process of bleeding out my ancient coolant, which has been loosing its fight with the Montana heat and never ending sun, the system refuses to push coolant through and may be leading clogged parts. The heat went out. I almost had to send a friend to plains 45minutes out, to get a few hoses, thermostat and radiator cap/valve. But after some wrenching this morning, it came back to life, the heat came back on and we are back to being road worthy. The clog appears to have flushed out in a gush of rust and debris. 110,000 miles will do that to a small 4 cylinder coupe.
None the sooner, returning from a 30 minute excursion to the only gas station, I dove into the local diner, PJ’s, for a pancake before the closed at 2pm. country life often has me up at early times. I spent a while talking about the guy next to me, Don Angle. Turns out this town collects Ohio people as well as some extremely talented photographers.
I headed off to the house determined to work and camp out in the backyard. Maybe I’d get a chance to catch the sunrise with the camera. Yet, in the morning I woke in a quite large puddle after testing out the new tent in a storm. the view was too awash with clouds and fog, despite having to rush and check camera stuff to determine how much water got where. Luckily, no water damage, just my pride spent fighting the intermittent rain to dry out the gear.
I keep telling myself that tomorrow may be bison day!
Summer wedding and engagement season is here. My schedule is remarkably free for photographing/videographing weddings and events. I may even be able to sneak in a few portrait sessions. While currently in Montana. I am able to accept appointments throughout the Pacific Northwest. Please email for bookings.
After quite a few years on the back burner and a few domain issues, I am back online. Up and running. I hope to dig in and let the creative juices flow back into the internet. And it sure is nice to be doing this from “home” again. And I bring you all another wonderful view of the Flathead Lake, here in western Montana.
I will be revamping this blog in the coming week. I fear it had gotten away from me in the last five years. There is another coming cross roads in my life, where I am traveling and relying on photography and print sales as my main income. I am back wandering and traveling the US. I am starting my official adventure chronicles in western Montana, photographing everything from this wonderful sky to roaming bison. The image above is an oldie of Sean, a good friend from San Fransisco, meant as a rather poor inside joke. I hope others find it somewhat amusing.
This is a sad story about being too busy to go swimming in the gulf. 17 months working steadily at a steady, but time consuming job, making ends meet, yet I’ve missed one of the most basic rights of living in such a beautiful place. I’m not much for going to beaches or needing to be around water, ether. Much of this area of florida derives its economy from its tourists. This renders the beaches free during the unbearable heat of the summer and impassably crowded during the cooler winter months. essentially, i’d either burn, get wet and be miserable or be comfortable, feel like livestock, and get in the water. I chose not to worry about either. I had many other things to get into. these included a trip around the Tampa bay by boat, explore some of the marshier inter coastal waters, and spend more time knowing the lively downtown nightlife. This is what i’ll miss in a couple of days. I booked a bus for Toledo, arriving friday.
the decision came after an unexpected phone call with an offer to spend the fall in northern Ohio. I took a week, packed, sold and donated anything that wouldn’t fit into two duffle bags, and departed my rented room. I opted to spend a few days with family, here, while waiting out my last few days. The baby image sums it up. I had to spend a little more time around my newest family member, also to properly thank my uncle, aunt and cousin, who have made Florida a temporary home for me.
The above images are a few shot on my last night in town.
Below are a few test images, shot with my new, yet not completely working, Mamiya c22. After having most of my equipment stolen while in Ohio, I have finally found a new medium format camera to use. I wandered out for the July 4th fireworks celebration in downtown St. petersburg. Spending a few hours with the camera, and my trusty little argus, I was amazed to find that people on the streets were randomly asking that I take their photo. They were attracted to the camera I guess. Enjoy.
After a long conversation with a customer, who hails from Detroit before the 1970’s, regarding the rich history of the industrial revolution and american culture, i found myself becoming deeply homesick. home to me, or what home has been regionally, is that little corner of Lake Erie, stretching from the Detroit metro area down to toledo ohio. its graciously known as the upper end of the rust belt, formerly a manufacturing powerhouse. its not where i grew up, but where i lived most of my adult life. I attended school in Bowling Green, Ohio, while living just south of Toledo. Upon graduation, I immediately left for Detroit proper. I spent a lot of my time in college running between concerts, galleries, and eventually working in freelance street and event photography in the great motor city. sadly, I departed the city with my average wage sitting at a rough $8,000 a year. I ventured back to ohio, my home area of Cincinnati and Dayton for a reboot of both my art and my finances. While achieving these has helped greatly. I feel my heart still belongs to that region of the country.
Tonight on PBS, I watched Detropia, a documentary of the current state of Detroit by film makers, Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing at Loki Films. Needless to say, it has been one of the most emotional films I’ve seen in quite some time. I am often asked how or why I left, headed south, and am now living in Florida. Its tough to explain, though the visuals in this film show what I often attempt to lay out in words. It is extremely tough to tell someone who hasn’t lived there that we do in fact have these third world environments inside the United States. It’s harder to have people fully grasp this and not just bully it into a crutch, a talking point for political conversations of who is right or wrong and doing what. My answer for leaving a place i love and still call home, though i haven’t been back in four years, is simple, I along with 300,000 people in the last decade, could not survive in that environment. I do keep a small bit of hope alive for a good job or situation which could make it possible to return. The option of returning to such a culturally rich, though dying place and rebuilding is something to keep alive. its a sense of hope that if that town place can survive and possibly flourish again, that any problem our country faces internally can be overcome.
This Image, best illustrates where i used to work, downtown. Still taken from the film.