4x5 format

Buffalo Bayou, Houston, Oct. 29, 2016, just before sunrise.

First test shot with my early-1950s Crown Graphic 4X5 with a stock Optar 135mm f/4.7 lens. I haven’t decided on a scanner yet, so this is simply a digital photograph of the negative with the curves flipped in Photoshop. 

This was from yesterday’s sunrise hike. Howling winds and blowing snow create some unbelievable light on the side of Flattop Mountain.  There’s something amazing about photographing in these conditions, with winds over 40mph and temps hovering right around 0°F. 

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - February 2015

Shot Notes:

Ektar 100 4x5, 90mm Caltar Lens
1/30th at f16, 1 stop soft GND filter

A dramatic morning storm dumped rain, hail, sleet and snow on me while I watched the sunrise over Bear Lake.  There was such a nice mix of oranges and reds up there this year :)

Shot Notes:

Ektar 100 4x5, 90mm Caltar Lens

1 second at f22, 1 stop soft GND filter

I see that beautiful spirit
Floating there with the darkness

Unique in all the Universe

Not appeared accidentally
Not created deliberately
It… simply… just… happened


I made this picture in 1994 as a student at OIP&T (The Ohio Institute of Photography & Technology) in Dayton, OH. It was my first attempt at using a view camera, 4x5. This was before the digital revolution really took hold. I was 18 years old, full of ambition, optimism and eager to learn photography very well. Finally getting my hands on a view camera really did fill me with joy. I sort of knew what I was doing but not from experience, only from reading about large format photography on my own and ruminating on the principles. This image wasn’t even the product of an assignment. The moment I was granted lab privileges, I marched my little ass into that studio and made this image.

I still love this picture so much. I didn’t consider myself an animist at the time, that word hadn’t even entered my purview. But I was an animist. I still am. Seeing light. Working with darkness. Photographing Spirit. I didn’t know it in 1994 but this image would become my own personal emblem for my worldview.