Sunday, December 26, 2010

Basement Improv

I offered to do a portfolio shoot for a friend of mine - with a limited schedule, my sparse gear kit and the freezing cold weather outside, I cleared out boxes and cobwebs in a corner of my mom's basement and set up a work lamp and fan.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Tillman Nature Preserve, Clarence New York

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Prints for Sale

Offer ends January 2011

To all who may be interested: In an attempt to earn extra cash for some new camera equipment and my return trip to Ecuador, I'm selling some prints of my favorite work (Unique holiday gifts?). If you are interested, please contact me at for orders and pricing. Individual photos as well as entire sets are for sale.

Sets Include: Joyous America Series/ Discovering Ecuador Selects/ Northern Spain in Passing/ Monasteries of Armenia Collection/ Small Things

Joyous America Series

Sunset along the Missouri River (Joyous America Series 1)

Watkins Glen (Joyous America Series 2)

Rodeo (Joyous America Series 3)

End of the Night Shift (Joyous America Series 4)

Blues Festival (Joyous America Series 5)

Discovering Ecuador Selects

Flight - Cuenca (Discovering Ecuador Selects 1)

Camino del Inca - Pichincha (Discovering Ecuador Selects 2)

(Discovering Ecuador Selects 3)

Northern Spain in Passing

Carretera 1 - Pais Basco (Northern Spain in Passing 1)

Carretera 2 - Pais Basco (Northern Spain in Passing 2)

Zorionak - Bilbao (Northern Spain in Passing 3)

Gemelas - Navarra (Northern Spain in Passing 4)

Monasteries of Armenia Collection

The Altar (Monasteries of Armenia Collection 1)

Restoration (Monasteries of Armenia Collection 2)

(Monasteries of Armenia Collection 3)

Prayers 2 (Monasteries of Armenia Collection 7)

Prayers (Monasteries of Armenia Collection 4)

Priest in a Museum (Monasteries of Armenia Collection 5)

Stone Vines (Monasteries of Armenia Collection 6)

Small Things

Chestnut (Small Things 1)

Old Brick Wall (Small Things 2)

Inyaki's Shoes (Small Things 3)

Edibles (Small Things 4)

Order Prints? e-mail me at:

(Order by December 11th for prints to arrive before Christmas. United States shipping only.)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Day in New York

A Quiet day in midtown. Reflections.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Vista, hasta la vista mi vista

The view from my apartment in Quito. Leaving the city and this view behind causes a bit of nostalgia.

The volcano Cotopaxí stands watch over Quito miles Southeast of the city. On clear days Cotopaxí appears stunning. It is the highest active volcano in the world.

La Virgen del Panecillo overlooks mid-town Quito from its perch on a hill whose name translates "the little loaf of bread".

Morning view from my bedroom window frequented by pidgeons.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Tear Gas and Tears

I went to the protest at the police hospital on Mariana de Jesus in the middle of the afternoon on September 30th. I wandered around the crowd of Correa supporters who bore the hot green flags of the presidency and the primary colors of the Republic, shouted insults at the police and chanted slogans in support of Correa and la patria: ”¡El pueblo unido, no será vencido!” “¡Correa amigo, el pueblo está contigo!” Street vendors wove in and out of the crowd selling bunches of whistles.

I cut my way to the front of the crowd, facing a row of riot police. They were blocking off the entrance to the hospital with shields, gas masks, and tear gas shooters. The President, somewhere tucked away on the third floor, claimed they were holding him hostage. A group of photographers and videographers stood clustered against one wall on a bank of grass overlooking us all, waiting for events to transpire.

The crowd had gathered at the hospital since mid-morning, where the president sought refuge after being tear-gassed and rustled up by protesting police while speaking at a barracks in Quito.

The police were protesting a new public service law that would cut their (excessive) bonuses and benefits. It is believed that opposition factions had stirred up the police forces, most of whom had not even read the law. In their protests they had left the nation's streets empty and unguarded, leaving the cities and citizens open to theft, assault, and other crimes.

“¡Chapas de mierda!” “¡Cobardes!” “¡Cerdos!” shouted the crowd in various choruses.

At intervals, the confrontation became heated. The crowd pushed too close. A few young and foolish began throwing rocks. The immediate response of the chapas was to shoot rounds of flaming tear gas into the crowd, at which point, the people scattered like cattle.

The first round was the scariest; I heard shots but had no idea what they were shooting at us. The crowd started to stampede.

“¡Despacio! ¡Despacio!” a few cool-headed protesters shouted out to the chaos around them.

Then, I felt my saliva burning my throat, my mouth, my lips… It was impossible to close my eyes and impossible to keep them open. All I could manage was to blink and to cry fat, burning tears. It was difficult to breathe. The smoke had so enveloped us that I knew not how to escape.

The stampede created a buffer zone between the crowd and the police with only a handful of the most fool hearty remaining to throw rocks amidst streams of gas. Some even dared to pick up the burning gas and throw it back at the chapas. Others tore signs off nearby buildings and began using them as shields against the fire.

“¡No lanzen piedras!” shouted several cool-headed protesters, “¡Somos una gente civilizada!” (“Don’t throw rocks….we’re a civilized people!”)

In the hour or two that I remained in the crowd, we endured several rounds of this fire. Those who bore the brunt of it could be distinguished by their swollen, red eyes, their tears, their breathlessness…water could not wash it away, only more smoke.

More fires were lit: newspapers on street curbs, fallen branches in burnt-out tires…Kind members of the crowd offered to blow their cigarette smoke in the faces, the eyes and the mouths of those who were badly gassed. With every onslaught of tear gas, the vendors started to shout with all the fervor of their opportunism, “¡Tabacos! ¡Tabacos!”

I left the protest well before nightfall, long before any changes were to occur. It would end up taking a squad of militia with gas masks and firearms and several armored vehicles to escort the President from the hospital grounds to the capital seat, Carondolet, in the Quito’s Plaza of Independence. The President was extracted beneath an exchange of gunfire which all of Ecuador watched over national television. By this hour, the streets surrounding the hospital had been emptied of all protesters and most journalists and been transformed into a ground zero of deserted streets filled with an eerie mix of rising gas and dull, fluorescent street lamps.

Casualties were minimal – two policemen, two soldiers and one civilian – but unprecedented. In the previous coup attempts of the past decade, there had been no deaths.

“We have a tradition of protest but not of violence,” said Dolores Padilla, once a vice presidential candidate and an influential women in Ecuador's political scene, with whom I watched the events.

At the height of the conflict, when the gunfire began, Dolores started to wail in agony for her country – “¡Nunca! ¡Nunca!” she mourned. All she could do was offer the room glasses of whiskey to ease the waiting.

“Why did they wait until night to do this!” she asked. Another woman in the room had predicted that the worst would happen after nightfall – when darkness and shadow could obscure responsibility.

Earlier in the day, the President – who has a strong costeño personality and protagonistic governing style – had challenged the police and opposition, shouting from his hospital room, “Here I am! Kill me! Kill me if you are brave enough!”

It is difficult to call this a coup attempt since there was no one else the opposition had lined up to seat in Correa’s place. While it may have started as a protest, the conflict escalated – whether by the manipulation of the government or the opportunism of Correa’s opponents.

Coup attempt or not, four bullets were later found in the walls and windows of the President’s armored vehicle. Coup attempt or not, a sizeable faction of the national police had expressed aggression on a hospital (attacking an ambulance bearing patients), something not even allowed during wartime by international law.

Government manipulation or not, Correa would come out of the day’s events a hero, while no other institution in the country – the police, the military, the ministries who are supposed to be in tune with public opinion – would emerge strengthened. Government manipulation or not, all alternative television channels were indefinitely suspended throughout the day, allowing only the official version of events to reach the people: “A coup attempt!” “The President sequestered!” “A violent rescue!” Political spokespersons appeared, urging the people to appear en-masse outside the hospital and at the Plaza of Independence to show support of the president.

Twelve hours after the conflict began, a cheering crowd complete with flags, banners and band greeted the President in Carondelet. Just like that, with the President’s assumption on the palace balcony, the conflict was over.

From his balcony at Carondolet, Correa shouted to his supporters: "Tears fell from my eyes! Not tears of fear, but tears of sadness that Ecuadorian blood was spilt, blood of our brothers, in vain!"

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


There comes a time in every traveler’s experience when she feels not just alone, but lonely, uprooted, worn by the wind with insufficient strength to stand proud and an emptiness throbbing from the inside out. Her reasons that used to suffice to explain the many anomalies of her existence are somehow lost, no where to be found...“Why here?”, “Why this place?”, “Why do you remain here?”, "What do you want?" Moving alone, she is her own source of her answers - she has that power and responsibility - so when the source runs dry...what is there?

“…O white moon, you are lonely,
It is the same with me,
But we have the world to roam over,
Only the lonely are free.”

Sara Teasdale, from Morning Song

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Quitos of Guayasamín

“The Pichincha mountains are a pure expression of my mood; sometimes it arises a pink Quito, filled with light; at times, a black Quito, a red Quito or that Quito from where breaks out a red that flows until the very deep.”

Images from the Capilla del Hombre by Ecuadorian artist Oswaldo Guayasamín.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Snow on the Equator

Any travel guide about Ecuador will make note of its spectacular and diverse climates. Ecuador has no seasons – only different altitudes. It is possible to have breakfast on a hot and humid beach in Manabí, lunch in eternally spring-like Quito, afternoon coffee from a thermos at a natural park in the snow dusted Andes and dinner in the Amazon basin. Although this is generally known information and has been told to me time and again by every Ecuadorian with whom I have traveled, I am surprised to see snow in September and surprised to see my breath in August on chilly nights in Quito…

The morning after one particularly chilly night I accompanied a friend on a filming trip to the subtropical forest of Baeza, an hour and a half outside of Quito. We drove through a mountain pass dusted in snow and cloud…an hour later we were filming butterflies, orchids and waterfalls in our short sleeves, skin toasted by the warm sun.