Tuesday, February 28, 2012


This is my photo-of-the-day from Sunday. 

This is my photo-of-the-day from Sunday. I am so gratified that nowadays I often get  a notion of what a composition will look like as a print even before I snap the shutter. Sunday while I was at the marsh, I was very aware of the possibilities for photographs. I was actually there to photograph the subject directly behind where I was standing for this image. I had been attempting to crop adjacent poles out of my landscapes when it dawned on me to embrace the towers and wires. I realized that they are there and a part of the experience. 

Monday, February 27, 2012


My buddy Marc inspired me to make a poster - my first. Marc Chaton's exhibit is in the room next to mine. I invite everyone to come out.

Sunday, February 26, 2012



I feel the need to post something. I took off a week from doing so, and have not really done much new work in the past seven days. I am particularly fond of this image. It is the manifestation of lots and lots of work. I think in many ways this image gives me as much satisfaction as any ever has. I was told yesterday that it has a strong mood.

Thursday, February 16, 2012



I cannot explain why I photographed, printed and exhibited this image, but I did. I guess I just like it. I think that Marino's was located right next to this building.

Anyhow, I hung the show this afternoon in an upstairs gallery inside the Redwood Art Association's gallery at 603 F Street, Eureka. I invite everyone to check it out. The gallery is open from noon until five Wednesday through Sundays, and there will be an Arts Alive reception on Saturday March 3rd.

I think I am taking a couple of days off from posting here. I should post again on Monday.

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012



I have been printing, matting, and framing all day long for my new exhibition that I am titling ARCATA IN EUREKA. The exhibit will be in one of the small upstairs galleries in the RAA exhibition hall in Eureka. All the images are of the study I have been working on in and around the plaza in Arcata.

The above image is one that I sat with for a couple of years, and just today figured out how to present it. This is a crop of a considerably larger image of the doors. I feel fortunate that my camera has enough pixels to allow for this.  I hope to hang the show at least by early next week, but if I continue on this roll, I may install it tomorrow.

The title of today's posting refers to the fact that I am still learning lessons about my egoic issues. It seems like whenever I think I am done that my "teacher" assigns a new and deeper lesson. I sometimes even forget that that is what is happening, and I find myself all caught up in issues of the ego. I found recently that I sometimes must allow things to "play" for awhile before I am capable of seeing what is afoot.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


This photograph of The Alibi in Arcata is another of my series on the Arcata downtown area. I think that this works as a square image mostly because the building face is pretty square itself. This will likely be part of my Arcata in Eureka exhibit.

Monday, February 13, 2012

C Street Hallway Gallery

White Pony

This is another example of my early morning photography in Arcata. I find that after I have been working on photographing store fronts for awhile that I start to look deeper in to the subjects. I think that some of my more visually interesting works come from the closer look.

This image can be viewed at the C Street Hallway Gallery.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I just found out the other day that I will have one of the small galleries at the RAA facility. I need to hang the show early next week. Since this opportunity sort of came out of nowhere, I am scrambling to come up with a cohesive body of work. What I think I will do is come up with about a dozen images of Arcata, and title the show "ARCATA IN EUREKA". This is something I wanted to do for a couple of years, so here we go.

I am spending most of today helping with the installation of the Humboldt Photography Exhibition at the RAA gallery in Eureka. It should be a lot of work, and a great learning experience.

Saturday, February 11, 2012



I have not worked in downtown Arcata for awhile. I feel that my vision became saturated at some point. Photographing in town is an experience. I mostly go there around dawn. I chose that time for the quality and direction of the morning light. I also do it then because there is little traffic, and few parked cars. There are always other people out then. Usually the folks out and about are delivery people and those opening up the coffee houses. There are always some folks hanging around Don's Doughnuts. I think I will need to go there very early, and before sunrise to catch that storefront sans people.

I once when there on a Sunday morning. I thought that there would be no activity, and that the streets would be clear of parked cars. I was mistaken. There were more cars than I ever encountered that early. I think they were left by those whom closed the bars, and took a cab home.

This image is two years old. I have not shown it yet either in cyber space nor in print. I especially like the colors, and where they are placed. It was taken with the Sony. 

Friday, February 10, 2012


I took this image in Arizona

I am going to admit that I was looking for something to share today that is different from most of my work. I took this near Sedona. The actual photograph is a vertical image, but not nearly as interesting. I was at some famous place such as Montezuma's Castle. It was at a designated spot for the perfect shot of the castle, but I found this more interesting.

I think that it sometimes is challenging to come up with something original when making a composition. Let's say I am at the Grand Canyon, and am intent on creating a great image. I may ask myself "what does it take to create an original piece of art"? Many of the great artists have all ready made their images of the canyon, and there are many fine prints available for sale at the gift shop. I need to make the image one that is truly my own. So I as an artist need to come up with something that is not gimmicky, but that is truly unique, and that satisfies the senses and spirit.

My point is that for a work to be art it must give us a unique perspective on the subject. It is not always enough that the work is technically superb. In my opinion a work of art needs to have an essence that evokes a sense of spirit as presented by the artists creativity.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Another Photograph of the Marsh

I am going to sit with this image for awhile. I love the colors and the mood. I am somewhat unsure about the foreground. I think either there is not enough of it, or I think it should not be included. I will sort it out sometime. One thing for sure, is that I think it will make a wonderful print.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Last night at the Arcata Marsh

I am very inspired. The beauty that is Humboldt runs very deep. The visual opportunities reveal themselves to those willing to take a look. I studied some of Humboldt's visual hot spots many times, and I almost always find something of visual interest that I missed on earlier visits. I think that hard  work pays dividends in more than one way. Hard work pays because the artist's skills may become much better. Working also may contribute to a stronger vision - a vision that sees things that the casual eye may not appreciate. That is why I assert that the visual feast has many courses. I think many of us are just at the hors d'oeuvre table.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


The Final Edition of The Kiss of Innocence, John and Laurin Bethune

I posted this photograph on this blog once before, but I am compelled to share it again. I was talking with my mother this morning, and she encouraged me to exhibit some of the portraits that I took of my grand-kids. I decided that I should be a good Tommy, and do as mom says.

I worked more on the digital negative again today. I attempted several different crops, but kept coming back to the full frame. When I cropped out the background on the left edge the entire feeling of the image changed to more of a portrait. I think the added depth gives this image a sense of place, and the background enhances the notion of innocence.  The image becomes more of an expression of innocent feelings than a study of their faces.

My ability to interpret is stronger and clearer today than it was a year ago. It is good that I have left it alone until now. I really value the "aging process" for images.

Monday, February 6, 2012



I normally do not photograph buildings during business hours, but I had some unexpected time the other day, and I decided to take advantage of the fact that I was all ready there. I cannot judge for my self if this photograph works as a piece of art, but I can say that it is well lit, and that the quality of the lighting is worth capturing. I like all the sky in the top image, and I like seeing the grey building on the left side of the second composition.

I used the Canon 5dmII with the Canon TS 17mm lens. I don't recall doing a whole lot of processing, and at this point would not consider either as being finished and ready to print.

Sunday, February 5, 2012





I took this series of photographs this morning. A friend lent me a Canon 100-400L series lens, and so I gave it a try. I took this series this morning shortly after sunrise. I blew a bunch of photographs, and came away with the knowledge that to be a good wildlife photographer I would need to practice a lot.  I did silly thing like have too low of an ISO and the resulting shutter speed of 1/50 sec. I had lots of blurry photographs to discard. Eventually I caught on and shot at ISO 800, and as it became brighter I could use shutter speeds of 1/1000 sec.

There were several things I really liked about using the lens. The first is that it allowed me to take some fairly remarkable (to me) close up shots of some thistles and other plant life. The other thing I liked was the joy of tracking birds, and getting some pretty good shots.

The main lesson for me is that I am not drawn to wildlife photography, nor do I yen to photograph sports. If I did either or just one of those then I would acquire one of these lenses ASAP. I did do some hand-held photography with this lens, and once I figured out that I should set the ISO to 800, I was able to do get a few keepers. I did find that my 5dmII is not the best camera for fast action shots. I think a 7d would excel at that enterprise.

The gull in these photographs had a shellfish in its beak. It hovered above the trail, and dropped it so that it would crack open. The bird than dropped down and had its meal. It was kind of cool to be right there with the right lens to capture the action.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


My Exhibit at the C Street Hallway Gallery

I encourage folks to get out for Arts Alive tonight. All are welcome to come by the gallery. I will be there from about six until about nine tonight. Aside from Dan's paintings and my photographs, there are numerous other artists works on display.

I do intend to sneak out and take in some other shows. For sure I will be at the RAA gallery at the corner of Sixth and F Streets from five until about six. I really like the Curtis Otto show at the Morris Graves Museum of Art - it is worth seeing before it comes down.

Friday, February 3, 2012



I will be on hand for Arts Alive tomorrow, Saturday, February 4th at the C Street Hall Gallery in Eureka. The gallery is located on C Street between 2nd and 3rd Streets. It is a fun place to visit. The building is the home of the studios of numerous artists. Many of them will be on hand as they host their open studios. The show includes photographs of Ladakh, some landscapes, and images of Eureka and Arcata. There is also an exhibit of my brother Daniel Bethune's paintings of trees and landscapes in one section of the hall.

I also will be at the RAA Gallery at 603 F Street, from five until six tomorrow evening for an opening reception for the New Year's Exhibit. I have a couple of photographs in the exhibit.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


This is a photograph that I have been working on for a couple of weeks. See how it has changed over the past couple of days by looking at my earlier posting of this one.
I think that I am about ready to call this photograph finished. It is an interpretation of the original image, and is the result of lots of work. I recall when I took it that the mood of the scene was one of a misty and mysterious morning. It had a feeling that a writer could describe in several paragraphs, but one that I felt needed few if any words. That is why I worked on it so much - I had to convey what I felt. This image on paper does so. On the computer monitor it only gives an abridged sampling of the mood.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Ganesha, or The Elephant Tree, 2011

I am finding that the essence of my work incorporates the notion that I must work, work, and work some more on almost all of my images. I think that my workflow is similar to that of painters. When I photograph I have a general idea of the  type of image that I am seeking to capture with my camera. Sometimes I have a very clear notion of what I am seeking, and other times I have more of a general idea. Either way, I still must incorporate my technical knowledge and skills so that I may capture an image that is close to what I see or visualize.

In post production work on the computer, I do my initial work and screening. Usually I need to sit with an image for awhile. I often work some more on the image, and leave and return to it several times before I feel that I actually have what I am seeking. This is where the aspects of interpretation continue the strongest. It is here that I decide how I feel the mood of the piece needs to reveal itself. It is in post production that I can decide to create a black and white or monochromatic interpretation, and it is here where I feel that art meets craft.

I think that many of my images emit their own sense of presence. I think that they become an interpretation that is not so easily defined, and that they convey a sense of mystery. I will say that not every one of my images do that, but more and more I am finding that if I step aside, and allow the image to reveal itself that something else does indeed happen.