A Letter from Senator Harry Reid

A Letter from Senator Harry Reid

“Harnessing the Wind”

I am beyond thrilled to be a part of the Archive Collections of the Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art!

01_080812432Spring Valley, Nevada

My portfolio “Harnessing the Wind” consists of 21 – 14” x 21” color digital photographs, printed on 17” x 22” Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Bright White 301 gsm smooth paper on an Epson 7890 printer using Epson’s Ultrachrome K3 inkset. I made 15 in depth visits to three utility grade commercial wind energy projects in the United States. The photographs were created between 2012 and 2014, printed by myself in Eureka, Nevada in November of 2015.

02_080812436Spring Valley, Nevada

I was contacted by a San Francisco advertising agency in 2011 to document construction of Nevada’s first utility grade wind farm, and was excited to work on an assignment incorporating a gorgeous landscape with an industrial scale renewable energy project.

03_080812591Spring Valley, Nevada

Pattern Energy’s Spring Valley Wind is situated on 7,680 acres of BLM administered land, thirty miles east of Ely, Nevada in White Pine County near US-50. Spring Valley Wind consists of 66 2.3 megawatt Siemens wind turbine generators. The 152 megawatt facility started selling electricity to NV Energy in August of 2012.

12/17/2012 Spring Valley Wind ParkSpring Valley, Nevada

After negotiations, planning meetings and scheduling, I finally had the opportunity to explore the Spring Valley construction site in October of 2011. I located the lay down yard covered with pick up trucks, heavy equipment and temporary office trailers and checked in with the staff of Mortenson Construction. Site specific safety training and personal safety equipment are a prerequisite prior to entering the construction site. We were escorted by a safety officer for a tour of the site while working out the best way to accomplish an extensive shot list.

121912 Spring Valley Wind ParkSpring Valley, Nevada

We scouted locations the day before for early light and arrived the next day about an hour before sunrise. Provided we followed strict safety rules, stay out of active construction zones and wore our safety gear, we were free to roam the site making photographs of the largely unfinished wind farm. Shortly after sunrise, crews began arriving for their daily safety briefing. We met our safety officer, who escorted us to the individual construction sites. He introduced us to each site’s foreman, who in turn would go over site specific safety concerns and then had us sign in.

121912 Spring Valley Wind ParkSpring Valley, Nevada

My wife, Trish, who is also my producer and assistant, would set me up with equipment for the particular scene. Sometimes, she would need to stay back while I went into the active construction site with the safety officer watching my back enabling me to get close to the action without getting hurt or impeding construction. At sites that were less hectic or dangerous, she’d assist by holding a radio controlled strobe or fill card to help with lighting.

121912 Spring Valley Wind ParkSpring Valley, Nevada

Because Spring Valley is located on BLM public lands, excavation was done with archeologists observing for artifacts. The BLM also required the areas around the turbines to be restored to its natural state upon completion to have as little impact as possible on the fragile desert ecosystem. At this early point in construction, other than the grid of access roads, most of the landscape was undisturbed. I documented workers using heavy equipment excavating, setting rebar and then pouring concrete foundations. After those tasks, more earthwork was done to back fill the foundations.

08_130619090Ocotillo, California

We returned to Spring Valley in April of 2012 to photograph a much more evolved construction site. Although far from it, the site looked largely complete. This time, we photographed tower erections and 174’ blades being connected to the hub. The lift involves picking up a complete rotor assembly, lifting it to the top of the 262’ tower with a giant site-built crane while workers inside connect the two pieces.

09_130619134Ocotillo, California

Returning in August 2012 we photographed the grand opening for Pattern Energy which was preempted by stormy weather. It was spectacular weather for me though, so I was busy until it was too dark to shoot creating many of the images found in this portfolio.

10_130619229Ocotillo, California

Our last photo shoot at Spring Valley Wind was to document the entire wind farm in the winter. The snow finally flew in December and we spent a couple of beautiful, but very cold, (-18˚C / 0˚F) days photographing.

11_130620309Ocotillo, California

The success at Spring Valley Wind led to an invitation to photograph Pattern Energy’s Ocotillo Wind facility located on 12,500 acres of BLM land, northwest of Ocotillo, California in Imperial County. This site consists of 112 – 2.3 megawatt Siemens turbines. The 265 megawatt facility started selling electricity in July of 2013.

12_130621036Ocotillo, California

On our first trip to Ocotillo, we arrived at the mostly completed wind farm in mid June. Ocotillo is just 12 miles from the US Mexico border and it was very hot. For our three-day photo shoot the lowest temperate was 28˚C (83˚F) and the high was 46˚C (114˚F).

13_130621200Ocotillo, California

This photo shoot was very different from Spring Valley. My shot list was primarily to create beautiful landscape images of the facility and to make it look like it was functioning when it was not.

14_131121088Ocotillo, California

I was also charged with documenting this facility’s unique feature, the “Bird Tower”, an observation tower staffed by an ornithologist to watch for avian activity. The ornithologist has the ability to shut down the entire facility to reduce bird mortality. The facility was also stocked with equipment to respond to any wild animal event. I spent three days photographing Ocotillo Wind. We returned one last time to document the grand opening event and to photograph the fully functioning power generating facility.

15_140617185Panhandle, Texas

The next invitation from Pattern was to the Panhandle of Texas for a three day photo shoot in June of 2014.

16_140617301Panhandle, Texas

Panhandle Wind is divided into two wind farms with both facilities located north of Panhandle, Texas in Carson County. Pan 1 is located on 52 privately held parcels of land with long-term lease agreements consisting of 118 – 1.85 megawatt General Electric turbines generating 218 megawatts. It began commercial operation in July of 2014. Pan 2 is located immediately west of Pan 1 on 40 privately held parcels of land with long-term lease agreements consisting of 79 – 2.3 megawatt Siemens turbines generating 182 megawatts. It started commercial operation in November of 2014.

17_140617414Panhandle, Texas

The Panhandle of Texas is so flat you can make out the curvature of the earth. I thought the location was going to be a challenge since all the other wind farms I’d previously documented were surrounded by dramatic geologic formations. Turns out, the flat landscape didn’t make the location any less interesting to photograph.

18_141114206Panhandle, Texas

Pan 1 was finished and producing power and Pan 2 was well into its construction phase. I was charged with a long shot list of specific construction images to be completed plus a few landscape shots of Pan 1 since it was finished, and any images I could get of Pan 2 that made it look like it was up and running.

19_141114239Panhandle, Texas

We returned to Panhandle, Texas in November of 2014 for a one-day photo shoot to document the grand opening event and create beauty images of the now fully functioning Pan 2. For several weeks prior to the grand opening the weather had been dull, gray and raining and it wasn’t looking promising for photographing anything outside.

20_141114297Panhandle, Texas

We had luck on our side though. Other than it was 10 degrees and windy, we had blue sky and sun. The turbines looked fantastic and were operating at peak capacity. I came prepared for any weather and donned my arctic parka and took to the wind farm once again to document it from before sun up to after sun down.

21_141114709Panhandle, Texas

Here is a link to the “Construction” portfolio.

Special thanks to NV Energy, Pattern Energy and Mortenson Construction for their generous contributions that helped to make this portfolio possible!

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9th Annual RayKo Plastic Camera Show

I’m very pleased to announce two of my images from Burning Man have juried into the RayKo Photo Center’s 9th Annual International Juried Plastic Camera Show. Thanks Ann!

090215#12

“Temple”

090115#8

“Hat Trick”

I am frequently asked, “What is a plastic camera”? Simply put, it is a camera made of plastic or more specifically a lens made of plastic. In other words, low quality, crappy optics. For me using a plastic camera translates into freedom from the technological aspects of photography allowing me to concentrate on the graphics and design of an image.

These photographs were created using a Kodak “Fun Saver Panoramic” disposable camera that I reload with Kodak Tri-X black & white film. Like most artists I’m a control freak when it comes to my art. I process my own film and do all my own printing, both optical and digital. I make my own scans and print these images digitally on Hahnemühle Photo Rag paper using an Epson 7890 printer with K3 ink set for an archival quality print that will last for generations.

The Opening Artists Reception is Wednesday, March 9th from 6-8pm.

The exhibition runs from March 9th through April 29th, 2016

The Opening is free and open to the public. Many of the artists will be at the artists’ reception. Please support the arts by attending arts events and buying art. Hope to see you there!

RayKo Photo Center

428 Third Street

San Francisco, CA 94107
415-495-3773

 

Burning Man 2015

Burning Man 2015

Burning Man has never really appealed to me. Maybe because I become uneasy at the thought of large crowds, let alone a really large crowd in a place that Trish and I have been camping in for decades. Camping without a crowd, or without seeing … Continue reading

Plates to Pixels “Landscape”

I am pleased to announce that I juried into Plates to Pixels’ annual “Landscape” show!

Tecopa_Cross

“Tecopa Cross” was photographed using a Kodak “Fun Saver Panoramic” disposable camera reloaded with Kodak Tri-X film.

You can view all of the show on the Plates to Pixels website by clicking here.

New Website Portfolio

I have added a portfolio of 32 all new images to my website on “Mining”. Checkout my website HERE! All of these images were created using a Kodak “Fun Saver Panoramic” disposable camera reloaded with Kodak Tri-X black & white film.

110813b#13

Northumberland Mine, Nevada

022013#5

Round Mountain, Nevada

03061217

Ruby Hill, Nevada

122494#32

Rhyolite, Nevada

100113#5

Louderback Mountains, Nevada

040313c#1

Diamond Valley, Nevada

062010a#2

Berlin, Nevada

Photographic Expeditions

2012Sprinter

Hot spring hopping in North America’s Great Basin Desert.

Recently I began a blog about our photographic expeditions across North America’s West Coast.

Click HERE for the link to my new blog.