Mick is a man of the woods, the water and the consummate Grandfather. He also plays a handmade flute. If he's not paddling something, he's making music. Sometimes he's doing both as this photo implies. The children are all the richer for his presence no matter what he's teaching them.
Eleven-thousand, three-hundred and fifty-eight images later, I’ve distilled all my travel from this past year into these two-dozen photos. Many have already been featured in previous posts but now it’s recap time. It all happened like a mule kick to the groin … in a good way of course. Fast and powerful and eye-opening. Here’s maybe not the best of my photography, but some of the best moments captured in one wonderful year.
(click any photo to view the show)
My last day on Vancouver Isle and my first photo of the new year, taken as I entered one of my favorite pubs on the island for the last time. I had my iPhone handy, knowing the crow would dart up and onward the moment my hand hit the handle. Thus, an image I’ve come to identify with on so many metaphorical levels that no caption could hold it all. The feeling of new discoveries ahead fresh and alive in my mind.
I spent a month on a sailboat and never went anywhere on it. This day we took it out for a spin finally. The harbor for the first time in the boat’s rear view. I love the water and therefore I love B.C. Being on a boat with a good friend, drinking colorful cocktails of whimsy and refilling the jars with lots of laughter per sip was a day above most.
Floating around Vancouver Isle and the mythically grand beaches of Tribune Bay with my dear Canadian friend Pete Swann. We dodged a storm and several logging trucks too, in order to make this day of boating and drinking and being free, a fine day to remember. Pete is also responsible for one of the greatest life lessons I ever got from this past year. When I asked for his opinion on my guitar playing, how could I improve, he simply said, “Have you tried practicing?”
Places exist that are simply magical, transforming, and free to all but somehow just hard enough to make it to, keeping the populations low and the ambiance high.
Again, it was a band of Canadian friends who inspired this one. I’ve spent the past two summers with an amazing family of friends whom love to swim and feast and laugh and yes, drink a little bit. When I was made to look, I found what “says it all” about a typically amazing, restful, wet and sometimes wacky day with this clan.
Mick is a man of the woods, the water and the consummate Grandfather. He also plays a handmade flute. If he’s not paddling something, he’s making music. Sometimes he’s doing both as this photo implies. The children are all the richer for his presence no matter what he’s teaching them.
What’s out there? What’s next? The sense of exploration, reaching beyond the shore. One of my favorite photographs of the universe that our ocean is.
A city that has me both smitten and intimidated … the mythical mistress, notions of a love too far away to work, but still I long to linger there. I’m drawn to the Northwest corner of our country always because of the water, the seafood, the soft light that a lone boat motors through in this reflection of a very sexy Seattle.
Home with friends means fire, drink, stars and laughter. We are mountain high and always warm.
This quick shot of a Manila window washer gives me hope for their future. The Philippines is continuously being wracked by typhoons, poverty, pollution and yet every day, there are millions of people who get up and wash the windows, clean the rubble and keep on going.
My soon-to-be Mother in-law and nephew Mac Mac enjoy the living room couch at their home in rural Western Visayas, Philippines. I love these people, but I don’t know how they endure the climate. I was a glistening ham before all who met me. I had more flies on my lips than seen at a Sally Struthers late-night marathon. I love the light, the candid calm and warmth that this very familiar home offered up to me every time I walked in. Seeing one of my photos, maybe this one, on this wall some day would be nice.
This pic of my nephews playing in the straw in front of their house is a gift from them to me. They had no idea what it would mean to me but I’m grateful I was there at this moment with my favorite camera focused on them. Their lives are simple, their toys are ideas they make up. Their joy is tenfold what I see most first world kids exhibit. I miss my early days when a stick and a handful of dirt were all we needed for a day of adventure. Imagination had fertile roots.
The humble classroom of a Philippine High School. God is clearly promoted as well as chalk and good old green slate. It’s as elementary as schooling gets and it seems to produce a very impressive student body still.
A rough pano of the smoothest beach on the block, Boracay is truly a transforming place in the Philippines. Seeing Maritess stand there in the sun before me induced several pinches before I was able to take the damn photo already.
The old world of the Philippines is dotted everywhere with a fresh garnish of modern, Western influence. I love when I spy it. Six weeks of living in the Philippines gave me constant joy as a street photographer–Saint Anne’s Church, Iloilo City, Philippines.
A zipless line of jungle panties and a rooster make me smile every time. A rainbow in a rainforest. What can I say, I just love this image and the mood it exudes. I honestly can’t explain it.
The next best thing to being a kid is simply being with them. I felt my young bones on the back of a bicycle once again, as the children of the rural Philippines have little in the way of toys or games to play with outside of what their minds can conjure. Turns out, that’s a big o’l bag of toys.
I could have picked two-dozen images from just this one day, the Day of the Dead. In the Philippines it is a day of honoring the departed on Halloween. The motor bikes eerily await the mourners return.
A solemn, yet vibrant pilgrimage to the bones of lost loved ones. There was a fair amount of joy as well and bottles of Rum lain alongside the flowers. This day was filled with moments of raw, human compassion, love, and sorrow.
Although I took many images up close with those lighting candles or crying with a smile at their father’s grave, I felt my distant views of this mourning vista insulated me enough to capture the simple joy that surrounded the day, more than the personal sadness which might best be lift more private.
The day after Christmas a warm sunrise greets me outside my LAX airport hotel. Another in a long couple of decades in which my Christmas plans were established in the ninth hour; or I simply had none. On this, possibly last Christmas alone, I pick up my proposed bride at the airport. Something about birds and power lines that turn me on it appears as I can’t stop seeing them fly off before me with an optimistic flap of the feathers.
A quaint hotel in LA and the sad lobby waffle breakfast seemed perfect, just as the light appeared so perfectly on her face, the booth, the flowers and the stripes that she loves to wear.
Of course I’ve taken thousands of photos of her this past year, much more glamorous no doubt, but this has been much of my life the past year. Living out of hotels in foreign-to-me places, and living with this woman who’s devotion to me seems endless. Our best days so far have been when we ate with our fingers, hung hand washed clothing on a line above our heads and just smiled at the wallpaper we were given.
As one good friend said to me after seeing this image, “seagulls on the ground represent corporate influence in military buildup,” and how that I’d made a nice political statement. If so, that’s serendipitous. I just love birds, naturally occurring designs in nature and odd juxtapositions in life. Here’s looking towards a new year and another step away from all that destroys our joy or beckons us to die too young.