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.