Denver Street Photography | Family

This is one of those pictures that I hardly ever share. I am so unsure of it. I study photography so hard, it almost paralyzes me with worry that I am being too cliche or breaking some rule that I forgot about. The truth is, I’m not really that smart. I can’t keep track of all those rules and cliches. You live by the mantra of the famous Robert Capa: “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough” Capa lived and ultimately died by following that way of thinking. He also produced some of the most amazing images ever seen in the medium of Photography.

I know for a fact that I have a lot to learn, and my work is nothing compared to greats like Capa, but what is bugging me is that I can’t get rid of the sense that there is someone out there that is going to hate the work I put out no matter how hard I try.

So I sit on my images forever. I worry over them. I know why I like the image, but then I just start to imagine what people are going to think about it. Will they just blow by it? Is it really that interesting, or I am just crazy? Its at this point that I become really frustrated. What am I doing? I’m constantly out in public, battling my fears, trying to summon up the courage to get as close as possible. I’m studying backgrounds, and waiting for that magic moment to present itself. Sometimes I just force it. I just keep snapping indiscriminately. I don’t think, I just shoot.

I want to be good at this so badly, that I constantly beat myself up over not living up to my own lofty expectations. I always feel like I leave something out, or that I am holding something back. I feel that I should be better, and I’m disappointed in myself. I forget that I am only half way through college. I wish that I was just a natural talent, someone that didn’t need to be educated, they just put out brilliant work because it is in their DNA.

One thing I can say about getting a formal education in Photography is that you at least expose yourself to what society and history have decided is good photography. You get to soak in amazing imagery and try to put the concepts of the greats into practice. There is also competition though, and I really think that everyone secretly wants to be “the best photographer in the class.”

There are strong opinions expressed in both negative and positive ways. I won’t touch HDR processing because of the hateful things people say about it, and I know for a fact that I am getting hated on for having an Instagram account. Sometimes I think I am too sensitive to be a photographer. You really need to have a thick skin and believe in yourself, that is all there is to it.

I have so many images that have never been viewed because of this irrational and unnecessary fear. It’s my blog and I can post whatever image I want, and if nobody likes it, who cares? You go back to the drawing board and you try again. Why stifle yourself based on how you think others perceive you?


Denver Street Photography | Family




suspended in air
force velocity

My photography flow is in flux as I transition to a new computer. This means that my photography, much like my brain, is scattered all over the place. I’ve always been interested and amused by the jump shot, so I am constantly cajoling my daughter Penny to jump up and down for me. I don’t think she will always be this willing of a participant so I’m taking advantage of her unconditional love and willingness to please me before she grows up and leaves the nest.


Road Rage Rant

She came out of nowhere. A streak of red just entered my peripheral vision. The truck she drove was hurtling down the highway and pushing me out of my lane. I slammed on the brakes to avoid the impending collision. They say the frontal cortex goes dark when you are angry.

This woman, so unconcerned with the safety of others or herself, so inconsiderate that she cannot even bother to use her blinker as she cuts me off. I found myself so angry by what I feel like she did to me. How she disrespected me, how she put me and my daughter in harms way, my mind raced and the anger grew and the brain darkened. The next thing I know I was screaming through the windshield as if she could hear me. I cursed her name and shook my fist in her direction.

I was enraged, my heart was pounding, my palms were sweating, I could feel my skin getting hot so I know my face was bright red. In my fit of anger I broke the windshield. It was already cracked and needed to be replaced, but the thing is it was the windshield splintering into that crazy spiderweb that snapped me out of it. I saw damage from my actions and it was like a flip of a switch, I was coming down from my rage binge. Anger is my worst nemesis, I struggle to control it daily.

Today I bought my daughter a kids meal from KFC, it comes with a Capri Sun to drink. Have you ever tried to put a Capri sun straw in with greasy fingers? Even the little things set me off. I know that’s what napkins are for, or maybe I should put the straw in for her before I start eating. That’s not how anger works though. It’s a knee jerk reaction.

There is nothing rational about anger. While your angry you might be trying to rationalize what you are doing in your head, but if you’re honest with yourself you know that you are wrong. Punching holes in walls, breaking windshields, destroying everything in your path, that’s uncontrolled rage. It isn’t anything to be proud of.

It’s embarrassing and sad. It’s a mental thing. What does it stem from? I don’t know. I was taught from a young age that violence is an answer. Is that bully bothering you? Well kick his ass! Fight back, don’t let anybody push you around. When I finally took that advice the bullying stopped.

I was applauded and rewarded for finally beating up the tormentor. Is this the lesson I was supposed to learn? To fight fire with fire? To retaliate to injustices with violence? These are the lessons that I have learned. My skills at being angry and violent were further honed in the Marine Corps.

All my life, I was pushed towards the side of anger. Now that I am a grown man and on my own in the world this propensity towards anger is frowned upon. So I have to unlearn everything I was taught. Violent rage is not the answer. I am not the Incredible Hulk, or the little skinny kid with pimples, a bad haircut, and thick glasses. I am an adult in contemporary society.

I am a role model for my children, and a person who wishes to contribute positive things to this world. I have to realize that anger is not the answer. I have to practice being calm. I have to practice slowing down my thought process. My blood boils, I need to learn to control that heat. How?



Denver Street Photography | Crumple Zone

I walked into this scene and as a photographer I could not resist the urge to take a snapshot. When I realize they were both staring at me I approached the man and told him “I’m sorry, I just couldn’t resist. Are you okay?” He immediately let his guard down and proceeded to tell me in great detail what happened. His girflriend or wife suddenly moved me aside gently with her arm, looked at him and said “Don’t talk.”

I was thinking about this encounter and how I felt immediately after it. I realized what I have suspected all along, that to be a photographer is to be hated. To this woman, I was the enemy. A stranger documenting a crash on a public street, but the man did not give me that same reaction. He trusted me from the start, and only stopped talking after his wife told him not to. I guess opposites really do attract.

I told her she didn’t have anything to worry about and I went on my way. The lesson I took from this is that to be a photographer, you need to have a thick skin. I take these moments, and I internalize them. I go over them in my head over and over again, replaying everything that happened and everything that was said. I think about her facial expression, and the mans dumbfounded look right after his wife shusshed him. I wonder what the cop on the scene thought about me talking to the driver and taking pictures. I worry about what she is saying at the dinner table and to her co-workers about me. Is she calling me a dirty photographer with no respect for privacy? Is she wondering and worrying if I am going to do something bad with the photographs? I think about all of this, and many other aspects of what happened constantly, and I do this with every experience I have in life. Photography wise, I truly cannot resist getting the image. I am a little aprehensive and shy before every single photo I take, but if am drawn to what I see, the shyness subsides and curiosity wins out.


Denver Street Photography | Crumple Zone


Denver Street Photography | Experiential Anecdotes

“Hey, what are you taking my picture for?”

The man shouted after me, I ignored him and continued to shoot. This was the next person to cross my field of view. I find it fascinating the differences in people’s behavior. this person loves the camera, he was flattered that I found him interesting enough to take a picture. The guy behind him was with four other people, when he shouted after me it didn’t even really startle me. It isn’t the first time someone has yelled at me for taking their picture. In the past few days I have been approached by several people with various inquiries:

“Hey man do you ride the bus?”
(Which is code word for, I have a fake bus pass that I will sell you for your real cash… I just barked NO and continued walking)

“Excuse me officer, could you help me out with some change to get a hamburger” (I told this person that I only have plastic on me, his rebuttal was a request to take him into the store and buy him some food)

“Hey man, quit takin’ pictures of people; that shit is illegal.”
(This person was very drunk and said it with a mean look and a stern voice, when I smiled and laughed at him the stern glare turned into a toothless smile and a wave)

“Excuse me sir, excuse me…could you roll your window down for a second”
(This one was an odd situation, I was shooting late at night, taking pictures of some graffiti and a group of three or four men with one woman pushing a shopping cart passed by. I was using flash and it was attracting attention, this woman snuck up on me as I was pulling away from the alley, something about it didn’t feel right so I drove off without talking to her)

I had one other strange experience shooting murals at night downtown, as I was shooting I noticed a dark figure approaching me really fast. I instantly got that sense that I was in a bad situation, I stopped what I was doing and got to my car as fast as I could. I had left the door unlocked because I am just paranoid and that night I was really thankful that I did. I don’t know what he wanted, but he scared me, and I’m just not taking any more chances than I already do. The man got right up next to the car and stared me down as I drove away, when I glanced back at him in the mirror he was heading back to where he came from. Maybe I dodged a bullet, or a knife, or a beat down, maybe not. Maybe he wanted to say a friendly hello and be my best buddy. I wasn’t sticking around to find out.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that I need some photography buddies to shoot with. People just seem to be really angry and aggressive these days.

I have also been screamed at and for some reason I seem to attract a lot of aggressive behavior. Maybe if I was a hot girl I would get better street photos. I feel like people are put off by my appearance. I can’t decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing. One thing for sure, is that it is MY thing, and that’s what makes it good to me. I suppose every one else can take it or leave it.


Denver Street Photography | Experiential Anecdotes


The Sounds of Silence

Pinhole Self Portrait

The whirring of the fan beneath the outer layer of the computer

The fan over the dining room table wobbles and groans in an upbeat tempo

The refrigerator hums and chortles as it kicks into it gear

The drone of an airplane motor can be heard passing overhead

The tippity tap of my fingers typing ever present

Every so often my breath skips a beat

I scratch my beard and the side of my head

Pop my knuckles

And belch under my breath


Everywhere, Every Place


Inspired by George Ella Lyon

Everywhere, Every Place

I am from eyeglasses,
From blurred vision and vicious taunts
I am from the flawed recesses of society
(Sweaty with low self- esteem, we smell of desperation.)

I am from the yellow footprints
Which all Marines before me have stood upon
Each of them in search of their own identity
I’m from a case of beer and a pack of cigarettes
From Miller Lite and Marlboro

I am from fist fights
and lost causes
From dirty jail cells and hard metal bunks
I’m from crooked fingers and double vision
From the skewed vision that makes my head throb

I’m from hard work and hope
Dreams and goals
From proving the disbelievers false
I am from you, and you are from me
We are from everywhere and every place

All of us,
Decended from the same cell
From racism and bigotry
From wars and disease
From Ignorance and Advancement
Morphed and twisted into
What we have become
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