(I don't hear from many people in Internet land, received the message below last week. Pertinent today as OBL inserts himself in American Politics. Hey, man with beard, we have enough to think about already. Vote!)

The flag in your picture atop Roan Mountain was placed there by my family on the weekend following the attacks of 9/11. I had wanted my young son and daughter to have a memory of having done something to remember that awful time. We hiked up as the sun was setting and placed the flag on the trail marker. For our effort we were rewarded with wonderful views of the starry heavens. Unfortunately, I had not thought to bring a flash light and the walk back down to the parking lot was a little scary for my children as we stumbled through the pines. Thank goodness for indiglo watches or I would have walked off the trail at one point.

I was recently recruited to Tulsa, OK and my family and I have not been atop Roan Mountain since last November. And periodically when homesickness overtakes me, I surf the web for pictures of the most beautiful mountain in the Eastern Appalachians. And this evening I happened on your wonderful image. Yours is the second picture I have seen of our little flag on the internet. How amazing. I told my children that night that their little flag was possibly the highest flag flying in tribute to those who lost their lives on 9/11.

Thanks for taking and posting your picture.



To my mind, this camera is the culprit. The Canon AE-1, the first incredibly successful point and shoot don't-worry-about-the-exposure 35mm camera. This machine was at the vanguard of an incredible rush of applied technology.
Now you can the AE-1's descendant, the Canon 1Ds, for $7,000, an amazing digital camera. 20x24" prints at the push of a button, look ma! No film!
Natch, I'd love to have a state of the art digital camera, but it is a machine for the professionals. Need cash flow to tote around equipment like the 1Ds. Need good PR smoke or a production line of salable images.
Have to make lots of money. The 1Ds will be out of date in 6 months, obsolesced in a few years. Have to buy another and another and another...

beach casualty

The owner of this camera was less than careful at the beach.
I've been wrestling computer technology for the last few days. The internal CD in my desktop machine died. Its an 8 year old machine, in those 8 years the machine hasn't lost any of its functionality, but it has lost 99% of its resale value. Repair or replace? Repair. Found a used CD-ROM in California for $3.99, $6.99 shipping and handling. Installed it this evening.
Once upon a time tools were expensive, beautiful and lasted a lifetime.


Pictured above, Steve Ashby, Delaplane VA artist, 1975
Steve Ashby Received a well-deserved note from JD, in essence "where are the updates."

That is all I am working on these days, updates, but they are going to paper instead of pixels.

The Internet is a double-edged sword. Of course a wonderful thing about it is the expense of publishing. The cost is low, very reasonable.

But I am getting on in years, I'd like to eat something other than tuna fish + be able to refresh the technology that I use to capture and preserve images + buy a new ride (my vehicle was made in 1980 Has 267K miles).

People will not buy prints from the Internet. That is smart, like buying a "pig in a poke". They need to see prints in the flesh and then they are willing to spend money.

I have to get my "works on paper" into the hands of people who sell works on paper, that is the long and the short of it.

So gentle reader, are you a gallery owner, are you a book publisher?

Give me a call.


Up late. Technology has been smiting me. I had one . out of place, shut down a section of my website. Took hours to find the problem.


Hurricanes have come and gone.

I have relaxed slightly about the end of silver-gelatin products.

Sophie and I were out walking the tracks, ran into Yoda the cat. Made a digital color picture and yet we live!

enemy at the gate


The tools involved with film-based imaging are elegant in their simplicity. I have a camera that can function without batteries, an enlarger that produces prints without software. The tools are relatively inexpensive and they last a lifetime.

August 23rd, the maker of my gelatin-silver photo paper went bankrupt.

I take comfort in the familiar. The sun rises in the east and I am happy.

Silver-based photographic process is an old and familiar friend, its practice a personal sacrament.
The darkroom is a place of refuge, reflection and creation. It is the place I dance.

Enter the news item. My elegant technology is being shot in the head and the life-ring hurled my way is planned obsolescence.
Would I decry the invention of the washing machine.

Oh man, I really miss pounding my clothes on the rocks!

Don’t get me wrong. Its thrilling to have the digital tools. They are fine tools.

I carp and gripe because I am a cheap bastard.

I can keep doing what I do, but doing it digitally will cost four times as much per print.
Additionally, massive infusions of cash will be required to keep the image-production hardware and software up to date and to re-archive image files as one form of storage media succumbs to the next.

I have been painting my house. Seems like I have been painting my house forever.

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