Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the Codas – Rich, Michele and Lindsay!

Click on the image for an animated version.

Vdara Hotel, Las Vegas, NV © 2010 Richard M. Coda

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Inspirations #29: Henry Gilpin, 1922-2011

Highway 1, 1963 © Henry Gilpin

Henry Gilpin is a familiar name on the Monterey Peninsula in California. He was an educator, a photographer, a citizen, but most of all, a gentleman.

He was a contemporary of Ansel Adams, Brett Weston and Morley Baer, all of the "West Coast School" of photography, made popular by Edward Weston, Ansel Adams and others years earlier. He took his duty as a citizen so seriously that he joined the Monterey County Sherrif's Department in 1952. He taught photography at Monterey Peninsula Community College for 37 years. It is hard to put a number on the photographers that he has taught or influenced. He definitely influenced me.

I remember my first trip to the Peninsula in 1984... a journey to walk in the footsteps of the masters who had preceded me. Henry's most famous image (above) was one of the images that made me want, excuse me, NEED, to visit this beautiful place to see if I could make photographs worthy of it. My first attempt was "Sea Lion Cove" that year. One thing I see now, looking back at that first trip, was how overwhelming it is "your first time". Your senses are bombarded by the beauty of nature at every turn. I think I exposed just over 80 4x5" negatives in just 4 days.

Sea Lion Cove, Pt. Lobos, CA, 1984 © Richard M. Coda

If you have ever been on Highway 1 in Big Sur or just south of San Francisco, you know that every turn can "kill you". The road, built in the 1920s-30s, hugs the coast and has wicked hairpin turns, often just inches from a 300 foot fall to your death. The first time I took my wife on the road (1989) from San Francisco to Carmel, she almost became ill.

My next trip in 1986 produced this image, an 8x10" negative.

Garrapata, CA, 1986 © Richard M. Coda

On a trip in 1987 I made the image below. You can see Highway 1 in the top left of the frame.

Big Sur Coast, CA, 1987 © Richard M. Coda

The photographic community is saddened at the news of Henry's passing on December 13, but he leaves behind a legacy of photographs to inspire future generations of photographers. I am very proud to have Henry's "Highway 1" hanging in my living room. It is an image I will always treasure.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Eclipse... 1982 style

Total Lunar Eclipse, July 6, 1982, Pompton Lakes, NJ © Richard M. Coda

July 6, 1982 to be exact. That could only mean Tri-X on the 4x5.

I had no idea what I was doing or how to properly meter and expose the moon. So I just set up my 4x5" camera in my parents driveway and left the shutter open with the lens cap on. I removed the cap every 10 minutes and I honestly cannot remember how long I left the cap off. Judging from the negative and flare I would say I over-exposed it by at least a stop, maybe two.

Anyway, I missed the eclipse just a few days ago... it occurred in the early morning and I needed some sleep. Hopefully I will be ready for one of the next eclipses visible in North America during my lifetime.

One of these days I am going to photograph the Milky Way on my 8x10" camera... the night skies in my backyard are incredible.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Third Place - 2011 Black Mountain Photography Contest

Sunset and Thunderstorm over Black Mountain, Scottsdale, AZ © Richard M. Coda

I am very pleased to announce that one of my photographs was awarded Third Place in the 2011 Black Mountain Photography Contest sponsored by the Desert Foothills Land Trust here in Arizona.

Black Mountain is the signature peak in the far north Valley, situated in Cave Creek, AZ.

To celebrate this award I am offering pigmented ink prints on Epson Ultra Premium Glossy paper for $30.00, shipped via USPS Priority Mail (USA only). The prints are on 8.5x11" paper and the image is 10" wide. The prints are signed by me and are an open edition (not numbered).

To order a print, please click on the button below, where you may pay securely via PayPal account or your credit card.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Inspirations #28: Bill Fuller - Urban Architecture

Chicago Athletic Association, 1981 © William W. Fuller

As I have mentioned in the past, I used to photograph landscapes when I started in photography. Over the years I have been drawn to more urban subjects, especially abstracting modern architecture.

San Francisco, CA, 1987 © William W. Fuller

I recently met and befriended Bill Fuller through INFOCUS at the Phoenix Art Museum. Bill is a very interesting guy, a well-educated and self-taught photographer who has several large bodies of work, including "The City - A Formalist View of American Urban Architecture". I first became aware of his work a few years ago when I saw it in Lenswork and B&W Magazine. I loved the way to brought order to chaos in the city by reducing the scene to basic components of shape, line and tone. I noticed a similarity in the way we both photographed urban architecture, but also some significant differences.

Seattle, Washington, 2008 © William W. Fuller

Bill generally shoots from a distance and his subjects are very large. Although there are angles in his work he prefers straight on and he rarely includes the street or street view.

First Presbyterian Church of Phoenix, AZ, 2011 © Richard M. Coda

I, on the other hand, prefer to get in closer and almost always include a diagonal line in the composition. I often include reflections as the main focal point, as well. My subjects are smaller and a fair amount of the time I include the street or street view. See this blog post for some 2008 images from Phoenix.

From Chase Plaza, Phoenix, AZ © 2011 Richard M. Coda

Dodge Building Reflections, Phoenix, AZ © 2011 Richard M. Coda

But there are times when we have a very similar approach to our images.

Embarcadero, San Francisco, 2000 © William W. Fuller (left);
Phoenix Skyscrapers, AZ, 2011 © Richard M. Coda (right)

Tempe, AZ, 2008 © William W. Fuller (left);
14850, Scottsdale, AZ, 2008 © Richard M. Coda (right)

Long Beach, CA, 1999 © William W. Fuller (left);
Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ, 2011 © Richard M. Coda (right)

Yerba Buena Center, San Francisco, CA, 2003 © William W. Fuller (left);
Downtown, Phoenix, AZ, 2008 © Richard M. Coda (right)

Chicago, IL, 1987 © William W. Fuller (left);
Chrysler Building, NY, 2005 © Richard M. Coda (right)

All of my images made before 2011 are purely coincidence, or an instance of great minds thinking alike. My images from 2011 were inspired by Bill.

I recently designed a website for Bill at Please visit it to see his wonderful body of images.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I have been selected as a finalist in the Black Mtn. Photography Contest!

Sunset and Thunderstorm, Black Mountain, Cave Creek, AZ, © 2011 by Richard M. Coda

Today I received notice that I am one of the thirteen finalists in the 2011 Black Mountain Photography Contest. Black Mountain is the signature mountain at the far north end of Valley in Cave Creek, AZ.

Each of the thirteen finalists will be published in the annual Black Mountain Calendar. There are prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, but also a "People's Choice" award that can be voted on in person at either the Cave Creek Museum or the Desert Foothills Library, or online via Facebook. The winner of the People's Choice will get the calendar cover.

Please vote for my image by clicking here.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

You should never mix brown and blue...

Plywood, Miami, AZ, 2009 by Richard M. Coda

What? Who made that rule? Tim Gunn?

For as long as I can remember they (who is "they" anyway?) always said never mix brown and blue. I think they were talking about suits... don't wear a brown tie with a blue suit. Well, I was never one to follow what the fashion police said... but I think in this case they are wrong. I do know brown and yellow go together from listening to Rodney Dangerfield... "I told my dentist my teeth are going yellow. He told me to wear a brown neck tie."

Anyway, here are a few photographs where brown and blue are the two main colors... and they work very well together.

Rusted Garage Door, Superior, AZ, 2009 by Richard M. Coda

Pt. Lobos, CA 2007 by Richard M. Coda

As I am color blind (red-green) I have never believed anything anyone has ever told me about color... I can only tell you what I see. All photographed on 4x5" Fuji Velvia 100 film. Thanks to the famous Larry Golsh for egging me on to take the Superior and Miami images...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Photograph Accepted to Arizona Valentine Exhibit at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport Museum

Central Avenue looking North, Phoenix, AZ, 2008 © Richard M. Coda

I'm an Arizona Valentine!

This image was recently selected as one of sixty artworks (out of 572) to be included in the "Arizona Valentine" exhibit to be held at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Art Museum, Terminal 3, Level 2 from November 12, 2011 through June 17, 2012. I am not sure if there will be an opening reception, but as soon as I find out I will post that information.

This image is from an 8x10" negative. I have contact printed it as well as had a 40x32" pigment ink print made of it. The silver gelatin contact print will be on exhibit at the Airport Museum.

Friday, September 9, 2011

10 Years Gone...

September 11 World Trade Center Memorial, Freehold, NJ, Nov. 9, 2002

Then as it was, then again it will be
An' though the course may change sometimes
Rivers always reach the sea
Flyin' skys of fortune, each have separate ways
On the wings of maybe, downy birds of prey
Kind of makes me feel sometimes, didn't have to go
But as the eagle leaves the nest, it's got so far to go

From one of my favorite Led Zeppelin songs, "Ten Years Gone".

It is hard to believe that it was 10 years ago that America was attacked. I remember that day as if it were yesterday. I remember my little girl had just turned 7... this week she just turned 17. She's a senior in high school now with college next year. A beautiful young lady, with amazing talent and compassion. A lot has happened in these 10 years, but a lot has not changed either. I won't get into politics here, but there is a lot still to be done.

I was going through some old photograph files and came across these. I had almost forgotten I had taken them. On November 9, 2002 we had gone to the Freehold, NJ September 11th Memorial. It is a beautiful monument. Scale replicas of the Trade Center towers made of granite. I remember it being odd that there was no one else there, even only 14 months after the attacks.

I also remember making some photographs on one of our frequent trips into New York with my college roommate, Steve Alex. These are from 35mm black and white film.

I wish we could all go back to September 10, 2001, but as we all know, that is not possible. So we must push onward, trying to make the world a safer, better place for our children, if that is even possible anymore.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Primordial: 2010 has been nominated for a People's Choice Award

I am very excited to have had my book, Primordial: 2010 - Photographs of the Arizona Monsoon, nominated for a People’s Choice Award in the Photography Book Now (PBN) International Book Competition on

Please take a peek at my book and vote for it as many times as you are allowed. And tell all your friends, too! To vote, click here

In addition to the blurb version, there are still 12 signed/numbered limited edition books available, each with a signed, limited edition print of the cover image. Click on the image or the first link for information on how to order.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Inspirations #27: Rocks

Earlier in my photographic journey I lived for landscapes, often traveling very far to get what I thought I was after. Living in NJ for all of my life (at that point) I was always searching for a wider view, which is very hard to get in the Garden State, except at the beach. Starting in 1983 I took my vacation every year in California, the epicenter of great landscape photography.

During my 1987 trip I had read about the Pinnacles National Monument. It had been described as a "mini Yosemite" where you could sometimes have the park almost to yourself. The park is actually half of the park... the other half is 195 miles to the southeast. The San Andreas fault had split the park some 223 million years ago and ever since it has migrated northwest to its present location. So, I made the trip one day and was not disappointed. The day I was there I exposed maybe two dozen sheets of film, and most came out pretty well. I think I crossed paths with 10 souls that day... nothing like the droves of people at Yosemite.

The park is very hikable, and even if you want to go vertical it's not that bad - unless you're carrying 40 pounds of gear with you! But I was 27 and in good shape so I couldn't complain. This image was made about half way up my hike to the summit.

Pinnacles National Monument, CA, 1987 by Richard M. Coda

Wonderland of Rocks, 1937 by Edward Weston

Moon and Half Dome, 1960 by Ansel Adams

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Imageworks show at ASU Central Library

Imageworks had its first opening reception for the Large Format show at the Central Library Vault Gallery at ASU on Friday, Jan. 21. 2011. The opening was well attended and the work is top notch. Photographs ranged from 4x5" contact prints to 11x14" contact prints to to 48x60" face mounted color prints.

Three 48x60" color images by Juan Garcia

32x40" pigmented ink prints by Richard M. Coda

The Vault Gallery is a very large space and can accommodate a large number of prints. The members of Imageworks are a varied group and many decided to do "something different" for this show, which emphasizes work created with large format cameras. Juan Garcia and I decided to make prints much larger than we are accustomed to and we were both pleased with the results.

Below are some random snapshots of the opening reception. There are two more receptions scheduled for Friday, Feb. 18 and Friday, March 18, both from 6 to 9 PM. If you are in the area and enjoy good photography, please come and visit the show.

And one final shot that I have to go back for with the 4x5 in color...