Photographic Equipment

I’m usually not one to talk photo equipment. For the most part, this subject bores me. I really don’t care what brand of camera you use. It’s your imagination and your mind’s eye that creates the image, not the equipment. Cameras are nothing more than tools, the images created with them can be art, or at least very cool! That’s the part that turns me on. So often I’m asked about equipment, so on this rare, weak moment I’m going to blah, blah, blah you with some equipment talk. If equipment talk bores you too, at least scroll down and look at the pretty pictures!

Here are a few of the photographic styles I create and a brief background on them. This is in no way an endorsement of any brand what so ever.

sumpterrailroad“Sumpter  Railroad”

It’s simply amazing how many times someone has approached one of us wanting to know what kind of camera we use, because they want to buy that camera since it made such amazing photos. This makes as much sense as if I had the same kind of paint brushes as Leonardo da Vinci had, I could paint the Mona Lisa, right? It’s good for a laugh anyway!

roundbottle“Round Jar”

These first three images are Polaroid Transfers. I created them using a 4×5 camera in the field with a Polaroid back and type 59 Polaroid film. After I make the exposure, I remove the sheet film without processing it. I then bring them back to the darkroom (for subdued light, not total darkness). Then, with a brayer, roll them onto neutral pH watercolour paper instead of using the Polaroid material.

necatawa_04“Nahcotta Boat”

I must admit I am a reforming equipment whore. These technical tools appeal to the geek in me. They are indeed fun to play with, from analog to digital. They all have their place in regards to what kind of image you want to create. When I first preconceive an image in my mind, I’m also figuring out how to best accomplish what my mind sees. Do I load a roll of expired film into a pin hole camera, or use a high resolution digital?…

122514b#1“Altoona Piles”

Most of the equipment I lust for is old and out dated, kinda like me, I guess… Or, like in the case of these three black and white panoramic images, created with a modified Kodak “Fun Saver Panoramic 35” disposable camera reloaded with Kodak Tri-X film.

041014#26a“Purgatories”

I started shooting with these disposable cameras back in 1992 after I figured out how easy they were to reload and the image quality was pretty amazing for a two element plastic lens. A few years back, I purchased 60 of these gems on eBay for just $1.69 each, as opposed to $10.95 at the grocery store check out line, back when they were current (1992-1999).

051009#17“Steens Highway”

A life time ago when we were fully engaged in the commercial world of photography, we owned an extensive collection of Hasselblad cameras (7 bodies & 11 lenses). I reluctantly sold them all updating my commercial camera case to digital. More recently, I have been buying back a simplified Hasselblad system with just my two favourite lenses (CF 60mm f=3.5 & CF 100mm f=3.5).

westernart“Western Art”

These three square images were created using a Hasselblad camera. Prior to the digital revolution I used these cameras commercially. I would buy Fuji Velvia and Provia colour transparency film by the case. I also shot a small amount of black and white film. Today, I mostly shoot black and white film with a little  bit of colour negative film thrown in.

101315#9“Ampersand”

While we were in the process of selling our house (bank building) in Eureka, Nevada we sold a lot of our “stuff”, including lots of photographic equipment. We sold all of our antique/collectible cameras, dozens of miscellaneous analog cameras, including my entire 4×5 system. Gone too are several of our digitals and all digital point & shoots. As my mind switches from commercial work to art work, I have come to the conclusion that too much equipment gets in the way of the creation of truly great images.

or-2128“Scappoose Cross”

Another film camera I am fond of is the Holga. I started to shoot with the Holga many years ago, mostly in fits and starts. With so many plastic camera photographers out there using the Holga and doing such an amazing job at it, I tended to not share my Holga images so much. Not anymore…

121117#18“Amboy Church”

Over the last few years I have been shooting the Holga much more than previous, out pacing the Hasselblad in film consumption. There’s just something about designing within the square that is so rewarding when it’s done right!

040316#6“Hardware Store”

We have been on the road for nine months now. During this time I have been creating more images than ever, in both analog and digital. The freedom the road offers has changed many of my outlooks on image creation, as well as life. Change is good!…

110609#11“No Trespassing”

Switching gears from commercial to art, has its ups and downs. The up side is the experience and technical knowledge you bring with you. Next, is the business sense needed to navigate the art world (although very different). Then, using known/favourite tools, to make image creation more spontaneous and fun. It keeps coming back to less is more. I’m finding a hike with one camera and one lens to be far more productive than carrying a pack full of equipment. Not to mention I prefer hiking with a lighter pack! We’ve repeated hikes the next day just so I can take a different camera combination for a completely different image outcome.

Digital Equipment

For the most part, but definitely not the rule, I’ve tend to think of digital as a commercial tool and analog as art. Recently, however I’m seeing this idea burr into oblivion…

141116078Valentine, Texas

I have a love/hate relationship with digital equipment. I love the technical aspects that allow so many options for image manipulation and enhancement. Plus, with larger image files, amazing resolution to go along with that. The hate part comes from the tech giants merry-go-round of upgrades with an ever constantly climbing price tag to go along with it.

181025022Chicago, Illinois

Someone wants larger files for their next job. Do I rent, do I buy? That quickly becomes a moot point as simply switching from a 21 Mp camera to a 50 Mp camera presses the need for some new lenses, since this high a resolution camera sorely pointed out some of my lenses faults. Then a new computer was needed as the old processor became bogged down with files of that size. This upgrade pushed me into the latest operating system, which required lots of software updates at much time and expense. Don’t forget the storage/back-up! The camera was the cheapest part of the equation. The Hi-Tech Merry-Go-Round, has gotcha by the…

160918091Smith Creek, Nevada

As you might have figured out from the geometry of my digital images I like to use Tilt-Shift lenses. This most likely came from years of in-studio 4×5/8×10 camera use. Also, I just don’t like seeing buildings and landscapes falling over backwards when you shoot upwards with a wide angle lens.

In my digital case, I admit I have too much equipment. I would really like just two lenses, But a few commercial jobs come up now and then, so I need to be ready to do the job. I currently have two Canon 5D sr’s 50 Mp digital camera bodies, two wide angle tile-shift lenses (17mm f=4.0 ts-e & 24mm f=3.5 ts-e), two short telephotos (85mm f=1.4 & 200mm f=2.8) and a macro lens (100mm f=2.8). I sold all of the Canon “L” series zoom lenses as these didn’t perform well as the file size increased, these include the 16-35, 24-105 and 70-200). Prime lenses are the only way to go if image resolution/quality are at the forefront of your intent.

140310002Kiowa, Colorado

Before the iPhone came along, we were often asked, “What kind of camera should I buy?” That’s a loaded question and one with a broad range of responses based on user needs. I like to tell people to go to a real camera store, with real and knowledgeable folks behind the counter, have them put a bunch of different brand cameras in your hands and figure out which one works for you. I know that doesn’t work on amazon. But, there are some really great camera shops out there and you should get out of your pyjamas and put some clothes on and go support them. Take some black tape with you and put it over the name. Don’t get fixated on a brand, that just gets in the way. Once you get to touch several different cameras, which one feels good? Do the buttons make sense to you? Do the ergonomics help you use the device? Or, do you need to spend too much time trying to figure out the buttons?

Living in our Sprinter van over the last nine months has taught us much about the gift of simplicity. This too carries over into image creation.

If you have questions about my processes, please send me an e-mail.

 

 

 

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Coast to Coast to Coast in a Sprinter Van

We’ve been busy… About four months ago, Trish and I were exploring New Mexico when communications confirming a job stopped us in our tracks. We were charged with photographing eight utility grade wind energy sites across the country, but those images and stories are for another time…

180729010Battle Mountain, Nevada

With confirmation of the job, Trish, Rusty (the cat) and myself made ourselves ready for a four month cross country journey in our 2012 Mercedes Benz Sprinter. The Sprinter had just had its 100,000 mile service performed and was already packed and ready to go. It didn’t take much for us to get ready either (digital camera and lens upgrade). it’s time for an adventure!

180728031Mills Creek Camp, Nevada

We mapped the most direct and efficient route for the client, but drove a route keeping our travels to slower, rural highways so we could stop and explore the attractions along the way, or so we thought!

180909043Tucumcari, New Mexico

For the most part we needed to keep to a predetermined schedule as we had appointments to keep for access the wind farm properties. We thought we had allowed plenty of time to dilly dally along the way. Unfortunately, that part didn’t work out too well thanks to construction, detours and routing! Just the act of traversing America’s rural highway system slowed everything down quite a bit, making it impossible to travel much more than a couple hundred miles a day, and that’s on a good day! Bad travel days were usually good camera days and we typically didn’t make much progress mileage wise. So, we needed to pick up the pace, pushing through places I would have liked to have spent time. Giving ourselves weeks in between sites was clearly not enough time to explore all the curiosities along the way. It was barely enough time to drive the back roads to the next wind site!

180911004Taiban, New Mexico

Still, we managed to drive coast to coast and back again with very little use of the interstate freeway system. We saw so many places we wanted to stop and make photographs, but our schedule dictated we keep on truckin’. Unfortunately and sadly, it’s very unlikely we will ever return to so many of those places.

181030014Woods, South Dakota

The western landscape disappeared into the rearview mirror as we drove east across the High Plains. Continuing east we dropped out of the High Plains into the industrial agricultural complex known as the American Midwest. If you really want to experience the grandness and scale of agriculture in the American Midwest, drive the back roads across it to experience how many days of feedlots, fields of corn, soy beans or sorghum it takes to get across a region. The shear volume of land devoted to the cow is staggering…

_B4A1626Paxton, Illinois

Driving only rural highways and byways, looking for the unusual or under appreciated spots to photograph was the best way for me to create images both digital and analog. I have created a record number of digital images that have been developed, archived and backed up since hitting the road. I also have a shopping bag filled with exposed film, ready for that lab I haven’t built yet, in a house we haven’t purchased yet…

180922010Cheney, Kansas

The first thing you notice about the Midwest is not how flat the landscape is, but how foul the air smells! Dairy cows, feedlots and things dead have the largest influence on your nose, then add some agricultural chemicals to top things off.

180922018Bazaar, Kansas

I was looking forward to visiting the smaller towns of the midwest, searching out the older communities for photographic inspirations. But, what we were not ready for was how we were treated by a lot of people we encountered in the region.

180925012Fowler, Indiana

Don’t get me wrong, we met some wonderful folks along the way. Some of the nicest people we met were fellow travellers, traversing the country looking for something… We met a very, very small group of local folks that were also true gems, people trying to make a better place out of where they are. Some of the usual “locals” we encountered along the way didn’t seem to trust outsiders, or maybe they’re suspicious of everyone. Some even came across as down right mean spirited. Strange and sad at the same time, as half the fun of travelling is the people you meet along the way.

180930002Ada, Ohio

In a very small number of these rural communities we were made to feel like we should leave! In those cases we followed our gut instincts and kept moving… We heard, “We don’t serve yer kind” and “Yer not from around here, I’d suggest you move along” and price gouging happened to us outsiders a few times that we noticed. The suspicious nature of these folks makes for a real dome scratcher. In some communities people would actually follow us around their town, taking photographs of us when we would stop to make images of their community. And, sometimes, these leary individuals would escort us to the the city limits. Yep! We’re not from around here. Sorry, you don’t trust outsiders! Get over it…

181007069Saint Sylvestre, Quebec

Everything changed entering the Northeastern United States. The landscape massively changed and the people became far more friendly and not suspicious of outsiders. Plus, the food became edible again. We arrived just in time for leaf peeping! We ended up going into Quebec and Ontario, Canada as we had never been to any of the Eastern Provinces before and the fabulous fall colours were a huge enticement!

IMG_5948Adirondack Mountains, Quebec

It rained a lot in Quebec, making the Crown roads a bit muddy, but the fall colours were nothing short of spectacular!

181029002Clermont, Iowa

On our return west across the United States we took a more northerly route yet, still keeping to backroads.

181101014Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Leaving the industrial agriculture complex of the Midwest, crossing the Missouri River and finally arriving at Badlands National Park, we felt as though we had made it back to the west again!

181108005Reed Point, Montana

The last wind farm to be photographed on this trip was near Billings, Montana. Winter had hit, with high winds, a light smattering of snow and temperatures barely breaking the freezing mark. Beautiful to behold, bone chilling cold to be outside photographing in it.

181108022Yellowstone River, Montana

It’s cold in Montana this time of year and getting colder! Once photography had been completed on the wind farm we started to drive south hoping to catch up with warmer weather to better accommodate camping. A cold arctic front met us in Montana to photograph the site. Then, another cold front chased us south. We drove two days staying in motels as the weather was so cold neither one of us was interested in sleeping in the Sprinter.

181120020Tonopah Test Range, Nevada

What an amazing trip! We didn’t have nearly enough time to explore all of the possibilities. The Northeastern United States has lots of amazing historic opportunities and the landscape is quite a relief from the mundane flatness of the Midwest. We found the NE over populated and difficult to navigate due to said population. We saw lots of photographic opportunities everywhere, but with so many people around it’s hard to get any good images. Getting through to the paranoid people of the Midwest that you’re not a threat to national security is another. We found several places in Kansas that I would be interested in returning to for a photographic expedition. Missouri and Iowa I hope to never set foot in again…

 

 

 

 

 

Life on the Road: Camping with a Cat

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Deon’s decided to share the blogging load with me and instead of being editor and I am now a guest blogger or perhaps a co-blogger… so if you don’t like cats, move on…

When I tell folks we travel with our cat, Rusty, I usually get a weird look from them obviously questioning my sanity. Others look at me with jealousy! We met Rusty in September of 2007. He was just a kitten, maybe five or six months old. He was mewing near the big tree behind the Jackson House in Eureka, NV. We just got a new camera and I was playing with it when I spotted this cute, little orange kitten! He kept wanting to get too close to the camera and Deon was just coming over from the train car gallery. He picked up the kitten and held him so I could make some photographs. He didn’t put the kitten down for nearly two hours. We had made an agreement, long before, to not touch any of the feral or stray  cats and kittens in town as we wanted to eventually be petless to make travel easier. Well, so much for that idea! Mamba (our deaf calico kitty of 16 years) died in February and I guess seven months being catless was enough. We both just loved having a kitten around! He was pretty funny and Ruby didn’t eat him on sight. Ruby was actually pretty good with cats which is unusual for a Husky.

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Rusty and Ruby were best friends for their four years together. Ruby, the Siberian Husky, was actually quite cat-like in her ways. And Rusty is quite dog-like in his ways. He plays fetch and comes when you call him. They were even the same colors, except Ruby’s eyes were blue and Rusty’s are green. They slept together, ate together and played together. I’m not sure why we didn’t take Rusty camping while we had Ruby. Ruby was a handful on her own and that’s probably why. It was cute to see their greeting when we’d get home. Rusty would jump out from nowhere and wrap his front paws around her neck, giving her a big hug!

We were scheduled to be at Great Basin National Park in a couple weeks for our Darwin Lambert Artist in Residency program. This idea of a kitten was throwing a wrench into our plans. What to do? Can’t have a kitty sitter with such a new addition. There wouldn’t be a house to return to…We decided to take him with us! We made arrangements with our hostess to include the cat as she had already approved of Ruby, and she was fine with it as long as we clean up well when we left.

We borrowed a dog kennel and put Rusty’s blanket, a small litter box and food and water in it. Rusty’s first road trip was the drive to Great Basin National Park. He talked a bit, but overall, handled the drive better than we expected. Our two weeks in the park were incredible. Rusty was a real trooper and we never had a problem with him the entire time.

Rusty didn’t go camping with us until five years later in 2012…Ruby died in 2011 and we were in the process of buying a new van. We found camping with our critters was more fun than worrying about them when we weren’t with them. After all, we’re family! So, in the process of outfitting the van, we included a cat house and a litter box! Our first local test with him went pretty well. We drove about an hour or so and found a place we felt would be a good first camping experience for all of us.

We went out to the Diamond Playa where it was fairly open and no place for the cat to run and hide from us. We didn’t really know what to expect. We got camp set up and now we are ready to let Rusty out! We opened his house door and he cautiously walked out checking out his new surroundings. For the cat, when we open the van door, it’s like the TARDIS, you never know what’s going to be on the other side of it. We had acclimated Rusty to the van and he knew he was safe there. He would jump out of the van onto the step and just hang out there to take in his surroundings. If he heard a twig snap or any noise, he’d jump right back in the van. We were happy to see that! We didn’t want him to run off into the wild and then need to chase him. I’m sure just about all our previous cats would have bolted and hated the entire idea of camping, but Rusty’s different. We have a harness and leash for him, but, there’s not much point in using them as he can slip out of it in the blink of an eye.

It wasn’t long before we were going a few hours to camp and that took an adjustment on all of our parts. We learned if Rusty eats anything a couple hours before leaving, about an hour down the road, it’ll all come back up. So, in addition to picking up his food a few hours before departure, I found an old bath mat about the right size for his home. That way, if he did throw up, I could easily pull it out and he wouldn’t have to lay in it for the rest of the trip. Another thing we learned, is to try to keep him from eating grass. I know, it’s supposed to be okay, but in camping reality in the Great Basin, the grasses are not that beneficial and when they are dry, which is most of the time, it’s even harder on their digestive system no matter which way it exits.

We are always concerned about extreme temperatures which are common in the Great Basin. It didn’t take too long for Rusty to figure out to crawl in the sleeping bag with us to stay warm. It’s probably easier to keep him warm than it is to keep him cool in extreme heat. This summer has been hotter than ever. We’ve been on the road for over five months now. For most of the summer, we needed to take extra measures to keep Rusty as cool as possible. While camping in Nevada we didn’t always do a good job. There were times he had to stay in the van while we worked. We had water and food out, the curtains pulled, the fan running, the windows open and we even used damp cloths like a swamp cooler on him which he seemed to appreciate. If we were miserable, he was miserable, too. To show his dissatisfaction with us, he once peed in Deon’s clothing bag. Oh joy. And we had just been to the laundromat…

For the most part, Rusty is an excellent camper. After five months on the road with some extended stays with friends, he understands the processes for set up and pack up and he doesn’t cause much fuss. When we’ve been driving all day though, he starts getting noisy if we are not camped or settled somewhere by 5pm or so.

6441AC17-153D-4FE1-97D5-DE7278F8F595

I’m glad he sticks around, for the most part. He has his moods, too. He gets van fever if we’ve been driving too much and he wants out as bad as we do! One night, Deon had to respond to Nature’s call and the moment he opened the door, Rusty shot out. It’s dark. no moon. Deon doesn’t have his glasses on. I shot out of bed from a sound sleep and fortunately, for whatever reason, Rusty jumped right back in. Whew. Don’t want to go through searching for a cat in the middle of the night again!

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At any rate, we are thrilled Rusty likes camping with us! Here are a few more photos…

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Early morning prowl at Chase State Fishing Lake, Kansas

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Canada geese watching at Wakonda State Park, Missouri

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Rusty seems to blend in well with most environs…

Stay tuned for more travels with Rusty! Thanks for reading and I appreciate your comments!

A Change in Direction

And now for something completely different! While exploring New Mexico we received confirmation of an anticipated job photographing wind energy for a company we have worked for over the years. Here is a link to the Center for Art + Environment on my “Harnessing the Wind” portfolio of images and ephemera from shooting wind energy across America.

So, off we go! “Gig Economy” is a phrase that has become popular lately and one we find humorous, as this is how we have always made our living as did my father before me.

We will be photographing several utility grade wind farms across the country for the company’s tenth anniversary. This postpones our house hunting for the moment, but, we’ll be back at it next year when we’re finished with the project.

180913023180913001Clovis, New Mexico

After photographing two wind farms in New Mexico, we are now heading east across the Great Plains. We’re keeping to back roads and byways across this flat landscape, avoiding freeways as much as possible. This may take a lot longer and that’s the point, making frequent stops to create photographs along the way. We want to get to know more of this country.

180915294Texico, New Mexico

180909070Melrose, New Mexico

180912073House, New Mexico

We have never considered living in the Midwest and this trip totally confirms it! When we set off on this expedition I didn’t even think I was interested in photographing what I thought was a boring landscape. Boy, was I wrong! I found the landscape to be an amazing place to create images. I would consider returning, as I found some places that I would like to spend more time exploring.

180308079180308087Tall Grass National Preserve, Kansas

We thank science and Mercedes for having a de-humidifier in the climate control system of our Sprinter as the humidity here is unbearable. At camp, we are incredibly uncomfortable especially when you add all of the insects! There are all kinds of insects, some are noisy, some are annoying, and most bite. Between the humidity and the bugs, we don’t get much sleep.

180923090Blaine, Kansas

“Whatch ya’ll doin’ here?” is the most commonly heard phrase since heading across the backroads of the Midwest. Most folks we encounter are superficially friendly at best, but clearly not trusting of strangers. Others just glare at us with that “what the fuck are you doing here” look on their face (these people make us nervous). Once we explain we’re making photographs, they quickly want to know our religious affiliation and then where we stand politically to find out who we really are. Obviously, we dodge their questions, which generally confuses them. At this point they usually glaze over and the conversation ends… I understand not everyone is like this across the Midwest, especially in the cities. But, this is what we have encountered… Why do these things matter so much to everyone? I’m not interested in folks’ religious or political inklings, there are so many other interesting things to talk about… Like the weather!

180922003Kingman, Kansas

Revival tents, religious slogans and confederate flags seem to be the best way to decorate yards in the rural Midwest which makes for fantastic fodder for plastic cameras! That means I have a lot of film to process. Common bumper stickers: “Not a Liberal” and “Spank your Children They Might grow up to be Democrats”. Common graffiti we’ve seen include “I (heart) JESUS” closely followed by “I (heart) TRUMP”. You get the idea. Makes one embarrassed to be American…

180919422Hereford, Texas

There’s a pervasive smell all across the Midwest. An unbelievably strong smell of animal excrement and death, topped off with a hint of agricultural chemicals. Just add a ton of humidity and insects on a flat landscape and you have rural Midwest living…

Still, it’s a fascinating place to photograph…

_B4A1626Paxton, Illinois

All images © 2018 Deon Reynolds

Looking for a Place to Make Art

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We departed Carson City, Nevada back in August heading east across Highway 50 with the goal of investigating new places to call home and make art.

180805009Along Highway 50 in Nevada “The Loneliest Road in America”

Prior to our departure we had Rack Attack install roof rails and cross bars on our Sprinter so we could carry our canoe. Three times I said to them, “the cross bars are not far enough apart”. They insisted it was fine, showing us manufacturer’s displays saying it was the correct way to hold a canoe. By the time we got across Nevada with a strong cross wind, our 17′ Old Town Canadienne had pushed its way across the roof damaging the roof vent.

180822019McCormick, Utah

We lashed the canoe to the roof as best we could, but by the time we got to Hanksville, Utah it was clear the rack situation was not working. So, instead of spending time in Utah hiking and making photographs as originally planned, we found Denver had the closest rack installer. It turns out we found another Rack Attack location and they were able to accommodate us and our schedule. We just threw money at it… Hey Rack Attack, will you pay for a new Fan-Tastic powered roof vent that was damaged because your staff insisted it was the correct way to install our rack? No, I didn’t think so…

180825104Comanche National Grassland in Southeastern Colorado, with a roof rack that holds the canoe firmly in place.

After dealing with the canoe rack we turned south out of Colorado into New Mexico to explore places we might want to live.

180826038Kiowa Mesa, New Mexico

Special thanks to our friend, Astro Beck, who sent us to the Salinas Pueblo Missions. These missions are nothing short of gorgeous and the best part is so few people visit them. I shot a lot of film! I brought plenty of 35mm film for my plastic panorama cameras, but it turns out not enough 120 film. So, now I need to figure out how to purchase more film while on the road. That’s not so easy since we’re on the move, traveling the more rural areas to photograph, avoiding larger cities.

180829086Quarai Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, New Mexico

180829096Punta de Agua, New Mexico

180904031Gran Quivira Salinas Pueblo Mission National Monument, New Mexico

One of our biggest concerns of living in the Southwestern United States is water. I need a wet darkroom. We found some communities had great water and others places everyone had to truck their water, and that won’t work for us… I will be implementing a new water recycling system to greatly reduce water consumption in the darkroom, but I still need a good water source. Any thoughts?

180905026180905013Carrizozo, New Mexico

New Mexico has several amazingly strong art communities in some very surprising places. We found many affordable areas filled with artists and like minded folks who welcomed us into their communities (how refreshing!). Our questions are: Do the artists in these communities make a living, or are they retired with a pension or spouses wealthy enough to pay for the art supplies and bills?

180909045Tucumcari, New Mexico

 

www.deonreynolds.com

www.trishreynolds.com

All images © 2018 Deon Reynolds

Artists and Art Organizations

Sorry Nevada, it seems your time has come and gone. This makes us very sad, as we both fell in love with your amazing and inspirational landscape.

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Trish and I are full time artists, which means we need to make ends meet though our art. We did indeed make ends meet when we first arrived in Nevada thirteen years ago, but the last few years haven’t worked out so well. We have noted that many of our artist friends are also experiencing similar issues. I think it has a lot to do with the state of this nation, but that’s another story. Neither one of us have a trust fund and obviously we’re not married to someone wealthy who can pay for our art supplies and monthly bills.

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From our perspective, many of Nevada’s art organizations can barely support themselves and most do so on the backs of artists, the ones they should be supporting. We are always thrilled to hang a show, however these organizations put the financial responsibility on the artist for delivery of a gallery ready show. Do you have any idea what that costs? Not to mention how much we already have into our works (Education, time, materials, transportation, etc)? Think about it, it’s not cheap! Why do you always want something for free? Most of these galleries/organizations don’t actively work for the artist to make sales, it’s just entertainment for the public and putting their space in the limelight. Many of these galleries often have hours that are not conducive for folks to visit or are simply closed when they say they’re supposed to be open. We have had so many complaints from folks because they were unable to visit one of our exhibits. Exposure is always a good thing, but if they have weird hours, or a location that is difficult to find, what good is that? Artists need to make a living and sales are beneficial to both the artist and the hosting gallery. Years ago, most real galleries and arts organizations would compensate artists for hanging a show. This would help, as now days it’s always money out of our pockets, not theirs. We make these galleries/organizations look amazing, at our expense. The least they could do is work for us, too.

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Many Nevada non profits ask us to make art donations, and we have gladly fulfilled their requests many times. While we both received lots of thank you’s, donations have never lead to a sale. It seems to only bring in more requests for art donations. Making an art donation takes time and money to create, frame and deliver. While we like supporting the organizations, our accountant scolds us for doing so. There’s something truly wrong with this lop sided picture…

Apologies for the rant, but folks need to understand that art takes time and money to create.

Please feel free to make comments, we would love to hear from you!

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www.deonreynolds.com

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All images © 2018 Deon Reynolds

Where to Live and Work as an Artist?

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Trish and I have been without a house or studio for 142 days now. We have been traveling around in our Sprinter looking for the next place to call home. Living in our van has not been a bad thing, although we do have our moments… Mostly, we’re having brilliant fun traveling around exploring new places, meeting new people and creating lots of images. We have zero intentions of living in a van down by the river! We do in fact, plan on purchasing a home/studio in the near future. So, our plan is to take our time and carefully choose where we want to call home.

2012Sprinter

We have spent months scouring Nevada’s real estate, first searching the internet for listings, then traveling to those properties spending time to check out the communities first hand. We found, if the property was affordable, it was located in an area that was undesirable at too many levels to be considered. We also learned that most of the locations that would help us connect to the arts in Nevada are WAY out of our price range. Our travels have very sharply pointed out that Nevada is not an artist friendly place to live or work. First off, Nevada has little to no affordable housing/work space options for creative people. Plus, very few Nevadans truly support the arts at any level. We applaud and very much appreciate those that do. Thank you for your support over the years!

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After months of exhaustive house hunting in Nevada, we decided to briefly look back to the Pacific Northwest, as many of our friends were prodding us to do so. We are both done with the rainy damp weather that occurs west of the Cascade Mountains. So, the only option is to look east of the Cascades. After a month of touring the Northwest, we only came up with one somewhat viable location to consider. So, we have decided to expand our search, traveling beyond our range, looking further afield.

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If you have any ideas or comments regarding where two artists would fit in and make a living, please let us know, we’re all ears! Feel free to contact us. Thank you!

All images © 2018 Deon Reynolds

 

 

Day Trips Around Eureka

120316053The Geographic Center of Nevada is located not far from Eureka, Nevada.

For 13 years we’ve taken regular day trips around Eureka, shooting both film and digital images depending on our mood of the day and subject matter. This is what we will miss the most about living in the centre of Nevada. Sometimes during the Spring and Fall (our peak), we would take day trips every week. Winter and Summer are great times to be out too, but winter snows and muddy roads frequently makes back country travel difficult, not to mention dangerous. During the summer months it can get down right hot in the valleys, making it so you don’t want to get out of your air conditioned vehicle. The area around Eureka has an extremely low population density. What this meant for us is fantastic photographic opportunities, unencumbered by people getting in the way.

Please enjoy a photographic journey around the centre of the Great Basin Desert!

131108016Monitor Valley

040313c#6Kobeh Valley

150608110Smith Creek Playa

060815#30(SmithCreekValley)Smith Creek Playa

NV-2307Austin

101313#00(MustangWindmill)Diamond Valley

131013004Diamond Playa

052513#11Black Rock Desert

130714113Jumbled Rock Gulch

032313#16(BUMP)Lida Valley

NV-****Lahontan Valley

120330083Lunar Crater

111129082Potts Ranch

NV-1932*Buena Vista Valley

151013009Schell Creek Range

130106043Newark Valley

Thank you for taking the time to check out our adventures!

All images © 2018 Deon Reynolds

 

13 Years in Eureka, Nevada

I grew up in Portland, Oregon, Trish grew up across the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington. We met in a camera store in Portland, imagine that! This part of the Pacific Northwest is what we call the wet side of the Cascades. In other words, it’s usually grey and drizzly if not down right raining most of the time. The rain is something we ultimately dread despite our excitement of going back to the Northwest to visit friends and family.

051298a#3(7thStreet)“7th Street” (1998)

“7th Street” is located just outside of Eureka in Diamond Valley. I created this image in May of 1998 when Trish and I were exploring the state creating images for a “NEVADA” calendar long before we ever considered moving to Eureka.

WARNING: sunshine is habit forming!

030609#11(DiamondMountains)“Diamond Mountain Sky” (2011)

For nearly a decade we had been creating images for “NEVADA” calendars and eventually our “NEVADA” book, both published by Graphic Arts Center. This was before we made the move to Eureka in 2005. So, we were already very much accustomed to the sunshine, low humidity and the high elevation of the Great Basin Desert. It wasn’t long before we learned the shoulder seasons were the best for our outback adventures that were just outside our door living in Eureka.

001“General Store” (2009)

Moving from the damp and rainy climate of the Pacific Northwest to a completely new landscape in a completely new climate zone was nothing short of exciting! Eureka is a small community (pop. 500ish) and at 1,975 metres, it’s high in the mountains of North America’s Great Basin Desert. Eureka gets about 22 centimetres of precipitation a year that mostly falls as snow. Eureka, also enjoys 300 days of sunshine and due to the high elevation it usually doesn’t get too hot during the summer. We found the artistic possibilities to be endless in every direction. The flip side however, it’s a very long drive before you find a real grocery store.

009“Eureka Angel” (2005)

123109c#33(NEVADA)“Snow On It” (2009)

111417#14(TwoHeadStones)“Two Headstones” (2011)

123109d#11(EurekaAngel)“Sky Angel” (2009)

Eureka has several very photogenic historic cemeteries, a frequent stop during our daily walks.

111417#16“Main Street Cowboy” (2017)

023“Walt’s Western Art” (2017)

070416c#8“Alpine Hotel” (2016)

111109#7“No Trespassing” (2009)

013“Hardware Store” (2017)

Eureka is filled with historic buildings in various stages of decay, or if the property is lucky, restoration. Trish and I walk regularly and most of the time I would pick a camera that inspires me that day and take it along on the excursion.

040313c#1(EndOfTheRoad)“End of the Road” (2013)

010210b#9“Mobile Living” (2010)

007“Little Trailer” (2010)

Eureka’s mobile living is not quite as old or as historic as other buildings in town. However, mobile living is part of a miner’s life, whether they are hauling their tree limbs from camp to camp, or moving their 5th wheel to the next big thing. I find these homes to be very interesting photographic fodder.

052013c#5“No Outlet” (2013)

Living in Eureka was an interesting experience to say the least. We were consistently amazed at an ever changing landscape, providing ceaseless inspiration for our art work. Plus, the wildlife we encountered while in Eureka was nothing short of amazing (I’m not a wildlife photographer, so don’t expect that). Our photographic library in both analog and digital grew exponentially, a tribute to the fabulous space known as the Great Basin Desert. And yes, we have images available for license.

So, why leave, you might ask? Several factors forced our move. Economics and death threats lead the list. Nevada Tourism changed how they promote Hwy 50, “The Loneliest Road in America” and at the same time, the Eureka County Commission cut funding for tourism and economic development. This double whammy effectively stopped tourists from visiting Eureka ending our seven year run of the Eureka Gallery. Next up, quite a few locals made our lives miserable. The so called art collector that encouraged our move to Eureka in the first place, turned out to be a sociopathic narcissist (run don’t walk away from these people). Plus, the last couple of years we received numerous death threats from newly empowered, uneducated, racist gun nuts. The last year we lived in Eureka we mostly hid out of fear, going out at odd times for errands and exercise. Just flat out being gone was our best option. Clearly we didn’t fit in Eureka, time to move on…

Photographic note: All of the images on this post were created on film with either a Kodak disposable, Holga or Hasselblad camera.

All images © 2018 Deon Reynolds

 

 

 

 

 

Rogue Wheat Paste Installations

171118023“Old Woman” (Nov. 2017)

Trish and I started collaborating and experimenting on this series of five wheat paste installations in October of 2017. We were given an opportunity to go through and scan what ever we wanted from several boxes of old photographs that came from a house being demolished in Eureka, Nevada. This started to give us ideas for installing large scale wheat pastes of old photographs of people who lived in the community, bringing them back into old abandoned buildings they may have interacted with back in their day.

180727043“Old Woman” (Aug. 2018)

These five installations are all within the Eureka, Nevada surrounding area. “Old Woman” was the first in the series to be created. The excitement surrounding the creation of “Old Woman” fuelled us on to create even more! She is very well protected inside this old house, subsequently keeping her in pristine condition.

Amazing note: Without prior knowledge we found out that the woman in “Old Woman” actually lived in the house we placed her in!

Photographic Note: Colour differences in above photos: Top image shot with snow on the ground reflecting into building, lower image with the yellow of dried grass reflecting into the space.

 

171118026“Five Sisters” (Nov. 2017)

180727034“Five Sisters” (Aug. 2018)

The spot we picked for “Five Sisters” experienced some water damage from the non-exsitiant roof in this particular mine shack. Plus, someone pulled loose paper off, vandalizing the work. I still like how it’s aging, even though I didn’t like the fact someone tried to pull it off the wall.

180117041“Chair Baby” (Dec. 2017)

This installation takes us to another mine shack in a different location near Eureka. When I saw this room, I immediately knew the photograph I wanted to place here. We found this room this way. We do not style any of the rooms we have put our installations into, other than the wheat paste mural itself…

180117052“Chair Baby” (Dec. 2017)

180727111“Chair Baby” (Aug. 2018)

Someone smashed the chair since we last visited “Chair Baby”… Glad they didn’t vandalize the image! But, I sure loved that old chair sitting there.

180207009“Baby Watcher” (Dec. 2017)

This room intrigued me from the beginning with its slatted walls, ceiling and blank slate wall framed at one end, not to mention “Chair Baby” down the hall.

Watch a time-lapse video of Trish and I installing “Baby Watcher”. (click here)

180727038“Baby Watcher” (Aug. 2018)

180727104“Baby Watcher” (Aug. 2018)

I’m amazed at how well this installation has weathered since there is no roof to speak of on this structure.

180127026“Twins” (Dec. 2017)

An experiment on what to do with a nice corner?

180727123“Twins” (Aug. 2018)

We added more paper over the top of the door frame to the right to give this piece a more finished look. “Twins” sits in a space that offers more protection against the elements than most, making for a longer lasting wheat paste installation.

So, if you think we’re just camping out lolly gagging, you would be wrong… We’re busy coming up with the next new thing and creating all kinds of new artistic endeavours. Contact us about your upcoming projects, we’d love to collaborate! e-mail me

All images © 2018 Deon Reynolds