Bodies of Work:

Composites                    more Composites

  • Alexandra's Walk
    I have tried many ways to combine detailed and expansive views of a scene in one print. This digital collage, placing the expansive view as a small inset on top of the details, pleased me the most. Queets River Valley, Olympic National Park, Washington State. 2001.
  • Looking Up to Maples
    Queets River Valley, Olympic National Park, Washington. I saw these two views while lying on the ground and looking up through swordferns and salmonberries growing at the trees’ bases. 2003.
  • Shively Park Rain
    In Astoria we may go for a rainy walk in the woods, such as this one in Shively Park. As a photographer I was drawn into the northwest woods by my love of light as it illumined the life of forests. Years later the realization that our Northwest coastal forests are made as much by rain as by light gave me new kinds of pictures to make. Oregon, 2003.
  • Pipeline in the Brooks Range
    The Alaska pipeline, southbound from Prudhoe Bay, crosses the east-west running Brooks Range. These photos were made on the north slope of the Brooks Range, including Galbraith Lake and Atigun Pass—where the pipeline is buried. 2010
  • Visiting Mendenhall Glacier
    How do Americans experience the out of doors? Kayaking or hiking? Helicopter tours? It’s our choice, for ourselves and the planet. The kayaker is Charohn Dawson, with his son. Tongass National Forest, near Juneau, Alaska. 2010.
  • Viewing Denali Wildlife
    Most people are allowed to go deep into the park only contained in rattle-trap tour buses. This system protects the wildlife, and shapes the visitors’ experiences as you can see from my photo journal of one day’s ride. Denali National Park, Alaska. 2010
  • Fishing Lynn Canal
    Fishing, with the Chilkat Range to the west, across the Lynn Canal, seen from north of Juneau, Alaska. 2010.
  • Big Red on the Altar
    One day on the River Walk in 2003, I noticed Big Red appearing beyond a concrete fixture which reminded me of an altar. By stepping down the bank and lining up just right, I could visually place Big Red on that altar, suggesting its sacred role in our community.

    Big Red is all about water. Built to support commercial fishing on our river, it stands on pilings far from shore—water ebbing and flooding underneath. Today it houses artists’ studios—and when I worked in the building, it sways and creaks with the motions of the water. The Columbia’s winds shake it and carry the fragrances of a great river. The December, 2007 hurricane blew the third floor roof and most of Royal Nebeker’s painting studio into the river.

    Digital composites express several aspects of my experiences of a subject: the old three-story Big Red, the post-hurricane windows to the sky, and the largest element, the River. The windows, water, and compositing are 2009 work. In the Columbia River, Astoria, Oregon.

    Juror’s First Place awarded by Royal Nebeker, in RiverSea Gallery’s Big Red: Revisited. 2009, Astoria, Oregon.
  • Bach Basalt:  D Minor Chaconne

    The theme of Bach’s great melancholic soliloquy for violin starts with blocks of chords which remind me of this fractured basalt. I wanted the notes to blend into the crumbling rock face like aging petroglyphs.

    This basalt wall is in the Oak Creek Wildlife Area, in the foothills of the Washington Cascades near Yakima. The violin was carried to the rocks, later the musical notes were placed digitally. Camerawork 1999, digital composite 2004.

  • Monarch Mask
    Monarch butterflies from parts of the western United States overwinger in dense colonies on the California coast. I visited some in the eucalyptus groves of Goleta. While photographing them on their roosts in trees and flying through shafts of forest sunlight and blue sky, I also looked down to the forest floor where eucalyptus leaves, seed pods, and a few unlucky butterflies had fallen.

    A mirror image splice of my photograph revealed this ancient American Monarch face watching us. Will we continue to leave a place for their lives, or will we take every last piece of coastal habitat for our own purposes? Camerawork 1995, composite 1997 & 2006.
  • Doubletail
    Two-tailed tiger swallowtail, Papilio multicaudata on mock orange near La Grande, and nectaring on thistle in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument near Ashland. The repeating pattern of the border and the background are made from the series of the butterfly on thistle. 2003.
  • Kalmiopsis Burned
    The Kalmiopsis Wilderness in the southern Oregon Coast Range is home to an unusual variety of plants, many of them rare or even unique to the area. In July 2002 the lightning-struck Biscuit Fire burned nearly 500,000 acres—that’s over 26 miles square, much of it severely. In 2005, my wife Alexandra and I backpacked into the heart of the burned area. We saw small patches of spared forest, mainly in moist draws lying below the sweeping flames. We also saw exuberant regrowth—mainly of herbs and shrubs. 2006.
  • Apple Blossom Violin
    I hung my violin in the tree. The hand-drawn musical notes were placed digitally, and colored with samples from the violin. Camerawork & first digital composite, 1998. New version 2005.
  • Papillon of Edvard Grieg
    The music is Edvard Grieg’s Papillon (Butterfly), Opus 43, #1. The visual appearance of the piano music expresses the rapid intermittent fluttering of a butterfly as well as does the sound, giving me a way of adding the feeling of flight. This Western Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio rutulus, was photographed on a rhododendron at Cape Disappointment State Park, Washington—only the musical notes were digitally inserted. Camerawork 2000, composite 2003.
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One problem I've enjoyed wrestling with is presenting several aspects of my experience of a place or phenomenon in a single image. In these digital composites, you will always see obvious panels or insertions—reality is seen straight, in a multiplicity of views. My work is about encountering and perceiving the world, and understanding and thinking about what we see. Great effort is taken to assure that the combined aspects belong together in meaning as well as design. When multiple camera views are combined, they are unified by a combination of subject, geography, and time.

You’ll know when flights of fancy replace reportage. In an image mirrored and spliced to itself a spirit emerges—a face or a totem. Or imagination has inserted musical notes or fantasy colors—in an obvious way.

Review of my methods and efforts at compositing, through 2011. 12MB PDF download.

Many new pieces are underway, to be available in late 2013.