Limekiln State Park

Paige and I are back from our first father-daughter camping trip. We went to Limekiln State Park south of Big Sur on HWY 1. Paige is effervescent and highly talkative. I learned A LOT. I learned that in her next life, she wants to be a four-leaf clover, because she wants to bring good luck to people. Either that, or a squirrel, because they’re cute. Here she is playing at the confluence of Hare Creek and the Pacific.

Neilson landscape photography california big sur hwy 1 limekiln state park hare creek pacific ocean sunset

My kiddo, taking the measure of a redwood sapling. How cool would it be if, one day, the redwood tree stands over 200 feet and has notched several hundred years, and Paige was the only human on the planet to have patted its crown, wishing it well?

Neilson landscape photography california big sur hwy 1 limekiln state park redwood sapling

Hare Creek in the late afternoon, burbling out of the Los Padre National Forest, on its way to the Pacific.

Neilson landscape photography california big sur hwy 1 limekiln state hare creek burbling among redwoods

Pure, unbridled Paige.

Neilson landscape photography california big sur hwy 1 limekiln black and white smile

Strolling among giants of the Earth.

Neilson landscape photography california big sur hwy 1 limekiln state park redwoods

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On the road

Life got busy in October
Busy is good
I photographed families
Couples
Teens
Kids
Business pros
And lots of scenes
Whatever caught my fancy,
From central Oregon to the Bay Area
Too many images to share at once
So I’ll start with scenes
Hope you enjoy!

Smith Park State Park, Oregon

oregon smith park state park landscape photography path bridge sky

Crater Lake National Park

oregon crater lake national park landscape photography

Red bramble on the banks of the Deschutes River

oregon deschuttes river red bramble wilderness nature photography

Deer: Sawyer Park, Bend, Oregon

bend oregon sawyer park pale yellow grass deer

Fall Colors on the Deschutes River

bend oregon deshchuttes river stone landscape photography

Grass at twilight in central Oregon

bend oregon deschuttes river grass landscape photography

Homestead: Somewhere, central Oregon

oregon homestead at nightfall landscape photography

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Take Me To Church

Iceland, summer, 2019—I love churches, mainly as symbols of quiet and stillness. I’m intrigued by “religious” or “spiritual” values: charity, kindness, sacrifice, forgiveness, transcendence, and so on. I’m especially fascinated when religious values conflict with profane ones. Like efficiency, productivity, and the bottom line. I salivated when this alarm-red truck rocked the scene in Reykjavík.

neilson bay area travel photography iceland church coca cola

Such a great juxtaposition! It reminds me of Thoreau who despises rampant commercialism.

“I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself, than this incessant business.”

The next image is angelic and demonic all at once. It’s OK to gasp in terror before a church. After all, it’s stitched together from bits and pieces of cracked humanity.

neilson bay area travel photography iceland church moody

But it’s also OK to be awed by its beauty and hopefulness…

neilson bay area travel photography iceland church sunset

…and its quest for simplicity and good manners.

neilson bay area travel photography iceland church on a hill

Gavin and I had to earn this next church. We were at camp when I noticed the sun setting just so. Camera in hand, I walked west without a word. Gavin followed. We hustled up a steep hillside, then bowed before lupine. Graced by sun flare.

neilson bay area travel photography iceland church sun flare

Sometimes when I compose a scene, it triggers a verbal experience. As this one did when I squared up to photograph it:

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow’r,
And all that beauty, all the wealth e’er gave,
Awaits alike th’ inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

That’s Thomas Gray, by the way.

neilson bay area travel photography iceland church cross cemetery

This last image also composed itself to a verbal tune, and from no less an authority than the Bible.

There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. —Exodus 3:2

neilson bay area travel photography iceland church grass mountains

Except in this case it’s grass and not a bush that burns and isn’t consumed. A fine pastoral scene, elemental, with basic physical realities—spears of grass, game trails, a sharp ridgeline, and a small red and white church, eeking out a living in the immensity of it all.

Thanks for visiting, hope you enjoyed!

Contact me for kids, teens, couples, family, and corporate photography in the Bay Area.

The Color of Water

Glaciers are mesmerizing.
All that gray, swirling ceaselessly,
Above in the clouds and below in the water.
Then suddenly—almost prophetically—a splash of blue.

neilson travel photography bay area photographer iceland glaciers three one small

Onlookers are drawn to prophetic blue.
A patch of yellow signals the arrival of someone else.
A comrade-photographer angling low for a shot.

neilson travel photography bay area photographer iceland glaciers yellow backpack

Before long, the scene shifts.
The colors intensify as if by magic.
Bright and moody all at once.
Forlorn and revelatory.

neilson travel photography bay area photographer iceland glaciers three one bright

Gavin walks to the water’s edge, irresistibly.
A California kid—hanging loose—misplaced in this vast glacial lagoon.

neilson bay area travel landscape photography iceland glaciers santa cruz kid

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Photography as Rorschach Test?

Photography is influenced by psychology in a big way.
Take a look at these images,
Which I created over the last four years.

From image to image, the similarities are striking, right?
One person, not two—or more.
Face and eyes are largely hidden from view.
Shoulders or backsides get a lot of play.
Ratio of subject to negative space is fairly consistent,
With negative space predominating in the scene.
And of course, we’re outside, where wilderness abounds:
Sky, mountains, ocean, lakes, fields, trails, vistas, trees, and so on.
If photographs are inkblots, and they are—always!—
What do these images reveal about my beliefs and preoccupations?
And what do they reveal about your worldview, as you engage and react to them?

Explore family photography, and check out the promotion I’m running this June.