Thursday, October 23, 2008


There is an old saying "If you want to make God laugh, make plans". I don't know who to give credit to for that saying but I certainly think there is much truth in it. And, if there is truth in it God has been rolling on the floor laughing at me.

I recently started leaving my beloved Montana in the winter so that I could continue my quest for capturing nature at her finest and most interesting. It's not that there isn't plenty to capture here in the winter. Heaven only knows winter in Montana has it's own special beauty. The problem is traveling around it can be dangerous for a solo traveler. The roads are treacherous and quite honestly they terrify me. I found that I just wasn't getting out with my camera as much as I would like and it was beginning to frustrate me. So, I had an epiphany. I would saddle up my RV and go where the roads were clear. Last year I photographed from Cape Disappointment, Washington to San Luis Obispo, California.

Such a good and productive time did I have I started "planning" my 2008/2009 winter's junket whilst still on my 2007/2008 trek. I decided I would like to shoot the Gulf Coast and up into the Piney Woods region of Texas. I spent months collecting maps and information and plotting my course. Then Ike showed up and that was the end of any idea I could shoot the the Gulf Coast this year. That hurricane literally tore through every place I had planned to visit. I do not intend to trivialize the loss for the people who had to survive this natural disaster and my heart truly goes out to them for their loss.

Suddenly, it was the end of September and I had no place to go. I admit I am the type of person that gets a little discumbibulated when plans change late in the game. I was at a complete loss for what to do. It then occurred to me that the desert might be a likely subject for winter shooting so I started looking into Arizona. Normally, I fly by the seat of my pants and do not make reservations. I like to spend just a week or two in each location and move on to the next place. I soon learned that wasn't going to happen in Arizona. The RV parks fill up quickly. People book way in advance and for the whole winter. So, not only wasn't I going to get to take the trip I had so meticulously planned but I wasn't going to get to travel the way I like. I ended up booking two months in Tucson and two months in a place called Apache Junction which I gather is close to Phoenix.

At first I was not at all pleased with my new itinerary, a little petulant in fact. But, the more I thought about it I began to see how it just might be for the best. Over this past summer I have been busier than a one armed paper hanger. In addition to traveling to shoot I published a NEW BOOK and developed a NEW WEBSITE that did not go live until October 8th. Frankly, I was/am pretty tuckered out. Suddenly, sitting in one place started to seem not such a bad idea. Running a rig, towing a vehicle is a lot of work for one person. Every time you move there is a lot to do and a lot of responsibility.

I'm actually looking forward to this new way of doing things. And, I guess that's the lesson learned. Don't attach too much of yourself to your plans because they have a way of changing on you. And, if you look, you may find that it all turns out for the best!

The photograph above isn't really tied to this article. It's just one I recently took that I rather fancy and wanted to share. Please visit my new website. I think you will find other photographs that will give you a moments respite from this topsey turvey world. Kinsey Barnard's Fine Art of Photography

©Kinsey Barnard

Monday, October 20, 2008


When I was a little girl a frequent guest at my family ranch was a fellow by the name of Clark Gable. Probably a lot of you don't even know who that is but he became known as "The King of Hollywood". He died when I was only 11 years old so my memories are those of a child.

Mr. Gable, and his wife Kay, came to stay most often during duck hunting season in the fall. Gable was very much the outdoorsman, a man’s man. I was of an age that I didn't really know who he was but after meeting him I was always excited to see him. Even not knowing what an important movie star he was I recognized him as a very special man. He was tall, good looking, and had a smile that stretched from one famous ear to the other. Best of all he was very kind to the little girl that was me.

I remember on one visit he lost his car keys. You can see from the above, never before seen publicly photograph, he drove an unassuming Ford station wagon. The Boxer he’s holding was our boy Guess. Celebrities are very different today. They play lip service to wanting their privacy and then flaunt themselves to get everyone's attention. Not Mr. Gable. He was a class act all the way. Although, I must admit one time he did arrive in his gull wing Mercedes Roadster. Wow! What a car. Anyway, everybody searched for an hour trying to find those keys and guess who found them? Yes, that would be me. When I brought the keys to him he smiled said "You are my hero." Well, I may have only been eight but I'm sure I must have swooned. Even at that tender age I knew that was the kind of man I hoped to marry!

Another fond memory involved one of his movies. It was 1958 Run Silent Run Deep had recently been released. I was all of nine. The adults had decided that it would be a capital idea if my older sister would haul us kids to town to see the new movie and get us out from under their feet. It may not seem far by today’s standards but it was seven miles to town. In those days lemon and avocado orchards lined the road on both sides almost the whole way. Now, of course, it’s nothing but houses and strip malls. Today, what used to be our family home is now inside the city limits and surrounded by tract homes. Not a site that warms the heart of this country bumpkin.

The adults may have been trying to “ditch” us but we were only too happy to oblige. It was a rare day in May that we got to go to the “show”. We all piled into our father’s station wagon and away we went with visions of Fire Sticks and Milk Duds in our heads.

For those of you who may not have seen this film, it’s about a submarine captain that goes around the bend, is relieved of his command and confined to quarters. In the end he dies necessitating a burial at sea. The film shows what looks to be the captain’s body on a stretcher draped in an American flag. After a few words they slide the bundle into the sea. And, so we say goodbye to the captain.

Back at the ranch the adults were doing what they did best back in those days, having cocktails. Old screen actors Rod La Roque and his wife Vilma Banky built the place in the 1920’s. It was their weekend retreat. It is also said that it was at this ranch, which grew lemons, that La Roque invented the dry martini with a twist.

The house was a Spanish style home with a courtyard in the middle. One whole side was what we called “the playroom”. In it was a huge copper bar with everything behind it you would find in a commercial bar. When we returned from the movie we all ran around to the playroom to check in with the parents. I’ll never forget the site that I saw when I arrived. There was the guy I had just seen buried at sea standing behind the bar. I couldn’t believe it. How could it be? It was an amazing moment in my life and one I will never forget.

I suppose a nine year old today would not have the same reaction but in the fifties we were a little more naïve. It was also the moment when I realize this guy really was somebody! To our delight Gable shared stories about the making of the film. One bit that I remember was what a hard time they had getting the body dummy to sink after they slid it into the sea.

The last memory I have of Mr. Gable was not an in person one but a phone call. One evening in 1960 the phone rang whilst we were at the dinner table. Normally, my father would never take a call during dinner but it was Gable, those calls were always taken. He was calling from Nevada where he was filming “The Misfits”. Of course, I could only hear my father’s side of the conversation but it was clear they were commiserating. When he finally got off the phone my father told us some of what was said. The quote I will always remember was “The woman, referring to Marilyn Monroe, is going to kill me” and so she did as Gable was dead at the age of 59 shortly after the film was completed. He was the same age as I am today. At the time I thought he was an old person. Now I understand he died very young.

The saddest thing, Gable always spoke openly about how much he wanted a child. At the time of his death his wife Kay was pregnant with John Clark, the son he never got to see. I never met John Clark. After Gable’s death, as so often happens, my parents’ relationship with Kay just faded away. I’m sure being Clark Gable’s son has not been easy the public can be a great tormentor. But, if I could tell him one thing it would be that I know for a fact no child was ever wanted more.

I often wish I had been older when I knew him but I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to know him at all. I often think, although he was the King of Hollywood, he mostly played himself. More than a celebrity he was a great person. Elegant, down to earth, humble in his way. If you would like to know Clark Gable just watch his movies.

©Kinsey Barnard

Thursday, September 4, 2008

What Chopping Wood Has Taught Me About Life

Readers of my blog Koty & Kinseys’s Excellent Adventures are already aware I love to work in the woods with my chainsaws and chop wood. I recently wrote a piece on that very subject Extreme Weather & The Timber Terminator. In addition to the sheer joy the physical activity brings I have also learned an important life lesson from this, some would call, menial task.

First let me say I believe now, and forever will, that self-knowledge is the most important knowledge you will ever acquire. All the schools and degrees in the world will not garner you wisdom. Wisdom, I believe, comes from self-knowledge. Self-knowledge generally comes from introspection and introspection is most successfully achieved in a singular state.

I have been particularly fortunate in that I live alone with just my dog Koty Bear in the most beautiful place on the planet, smack dab in the Kootenai National Forest, Montana. I’ve lived here in the forest for six years and they have been the best six years of my life. But, I digress. The point is, I have had a unique opportunity for introspection. I like to think I have put it to good use.

When I lived in “the other world”, which is what I call everything outside of my home territory, I was the typical Type A personality. Along with that type comes a penchant for control. And, believe me I was true to my type. I still struggle with it and every time I chop wood I am reminded how important it is to “let go”.

When addressing a block of wood one’s first instinct is to raise that maul and really take a whack at it forcing the head down on the block with all your might. That would be the wrong thing to do. The fact is the easiest way to split wood requires the least amount of effort. What you do is let the maul do the work for you and you do that by, quite literally, letting go.

Here’s how it works. You raise the maul back over your head and as you reverse the motion and start down toward the block you let your hands slide to the end of the handle and let the momentum of the maul carry itself to the block. All you do is follow along, go with the flow so to speak. The maul cuts through the block like a knife through butter. Pop!

Absent a teacher it took me a lot of whacking to figure this out. And, each time I chop, I have to get reacquainted with the technique because for all my trying I still have those control issues at my core. I must focus and be present in my work to get it right. But, most importantly, I must remember to “let go”.

What I have learned about chopping wood has taught me something about life. And, every time I chop it reminds me to stop trying so hard. It reminds me that all I have to do is do raise up that maul. The splitting of the wood will be take care of itself. Letting go is not inertia. It is, in fact, one of the most powerful things one can do.

©Kinsey Barnard

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Courage and Connection

Courage. defines it "the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery."

The above photograph is called "Lily Pad Hunter". It speaks volumes to me about courage. In it a tiny American Pipit hunts for food on a carpet of undulating lily pads. The little bird was intrepid and fearless as it hopped here and there searching for morsels. I remember being moved by such a tiny creature all alone in such a great big world. I was so fascinated I nearly missed the shot. This is not uncommon for me. I often get so wound up observing I forget my mission as a trapper of moments.

Some would say that the pipit, being a bird, is not displaying any such thing as courage. It is simply doing what it does instinctually, mindless of any danger hence no courage required. I beg to disagree. We humans have an arrogance about us that, for the most part, denies our kinship with the animal world. Yet, my years of observation have led me to believe we are connected in ways yet to be fully understood or appreciated.

Many years ago I had the privilege of watching a pair of hawks come to the same nest five seasons in a row. It was like live theater. I was able to observe the complete cycle from nest refurbishment to departure. What I remember most is the utter amazement I felt, that first year, when I realized birds have to learn how to fly! I had always assumed they just knew how "instinctively".

The baby hawks would hop up on the edge of the nest, teeter back and forth and scream their little heads off in what could only be described as terror. It took quite awhile before the first chick had the "courage" to make the leap. Soon the others screwed up theirs and followed.

I'm uncertain that I know where I am going with this other than to say we are so much more connected to the natural world than most of us are willing to admit. I believe we are particularly connected to animals. Ask any marketing expert how to reach people and they will invariably say through emotions. Why? Because our emotions are who we are as individuals and animals are no different. I have observed in them love, tenderness, joy, terror, pain, jealousy, anger all the very same emotions we humans express.

It is said that we are more intelligent. This may be true although I sometimes have my doubts. But, on a fundamental basis we are more alike than different. Our so called intelligence is the very reason I believe we have a responsibility and obligation to treat all animals with kindness and care.

©Kinsey Barnard

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I think I feel some moralizing coming on.

Not many people know that photography is a second career for me. A dream come true you might say.

My first career was as an investment banker. It was back in the 80’s and early 90’s. I was a vice president back in the days when a female vice-president was about as common as snowbirds in Montana in January. I worked for a British company running their San Francisco office. Those were heady times indeed for this country girl.

Anyway, I like to think that my experience affords me some knowledge of finance and economics. Thanks to the Internet I have been able stay in the loop, so to speak, and do for myself what I used to do for others.

I am well and truly worried. It appears my fellow Americans have gone on a spending spree the likes of which has never been seen in human history. Wall Street and the government have colluded to convince the average citizen everyone gets to be a millionaire or at least live like one. We as a nation have sold our very souls for trinkets from China. And, we make fun of the Manhattan Indians!?

Wall Street, Madison Avenue and our very own Federal Reserve have conspired to lead Americans, and the world, down the primrose path. First Wall Street got the average American investing in a market he knew nothing about. Every Tom, Dick and Harry could be heard boasting about the killing he had made in the market. Then Tom, Dick and Harry got killed when the whole thing blew up. All the while Wall Street was conspiring to weave an unregulated and tangled web of derivatives that no one could or can conceive. I know I was one of the original architects. At the behest of it’s masters the Fed showed up in the nick of time to lower rates to zero so that everyone could forget about the stock market and get rich buying a house for no money down and no income qualification. A house he really couldn’t afford.

Why were people encouraged to engage in reckless behavior? Greed, pure and simple. The people peddling the stocks, the real estate, and running the companies that sold the junk were making money hand over fist. And there was no downside for them. If a CEO bankrupted a company he/she was rewarded with a $60,000,000 golden parachute. Meanwhile shareholders and responsible people who know it is always prudent to set aside some acorns in good times got screwed. They were pariah, party poopers, not team players. I know I was one of them.

I believe we are on the brink of an economic collapse, and, no sniggering from my foreign friends. It’s going to be global. This insatiable appetite for consumption in America has led to the same in countries all around the globe. Can you blame them? They see how we live. They want a piece of the dream. And, they’ve been working very hard to provide us with all the junk we want but do not need.
So, now the real estate bubble has burst and all the want to be millionaires are weeping. They’ve treated their homes like piggy banks, run their credit cards to the moon buying $6.00 cups of coffee and crying about $4.00 per gallon gasoline. Our banks are now in trouble because there were no lending standards. The mantra in the real estate lending area was “If you can fog a mirror you can get a loan” and so they did. And all the while that nasty derivatives tangle looms. But now, there are no more bubbles to blow and the piper is about to get paid.

What’s all this have to do with nature? A lot. Everything in nature runs in cycles. When cycles are left to run their course, in their own good time, the highs are not quite so high and the lows are not quite so low. But, when greedy people endeavor to control those cycles by blowing bubbles in order to keep the party going much longer than was natural you are asking for disaster. When greedy people entice the masses to indulge in conspicuous consumption way beyond their means something bad is going to happen.

In finance there is a term “reversion to the mean”. What that means is, things will ultimately get back into their normal range. So, when you manipulate cycles and make them run far longer than they were meant to the reversion is going to be nasty.

Don't let the money mongers fool you old bromides like "A penny saved is a penny earned" and "Save for a rainy day" are not outdated. Just the other day someone sought to insult me by calling me "old fashioned" to which I replied "Yes, thank goodness".

Greed is one of the seven deadly sins. I believe we are about to find out just how deadly.

Fasten your seatbelts folks! I think we are in for the ride of our lives.

©Kinsey Barnard

PS. The photo is entitled “Maniac”.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Patience & Promise

If there is one personal attribute that I continually struggle with it's patience. I find myself saying at once "Life is just flying by." and "Crikey, why does everything take so danged long?!".

And it's true, life is just flying by so what's my damned hurry? Can't wait to meet the Grim Reaper? I think not. I love my life. Yet time and again I lose my patience over stupid things over which I have no control.

I spend so much time in the company of wildlife you would think I would take their cue. Animals have an incredible aptitude for patience. Their very lives depend on it so they develop the skill at a very early age. It's absolutely fascinating to observe wild animals on the hunt. They can remain motionless for very long spans of time in hope of catching a meal.

I'm sure in the course of human history we had these skills too but they seem to have gone the way of the dodo bird. I fly through the super market like a witch on a broomstick. I need no patience to get MY vittles.

Yet, I sense we need patience every bit as much as those snowy egrets in order to survive. A lack of patience is a great source of stress and I truly believe stress is the root cause of all disease. Just get yourself worked up over something not happening as quickly as you would like and see how fast your blood pressure spikes.

So, I hereby make myself this promise, I will practice every day to be a little more patient with myself and others. I will constantly remind myself there is no rush. Everything happens in its own good time, just as it should.

We're all on the road to the same destination so we might as well relax and enjoy it. Don't you think?

©Kinsey Barnard

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Dark Moods & Recycling Kindness

The above photograph is from my Limited Editions – Photographic Abstracts gallery. I have entitled it “This Way Darkly”. A play on the words of Shakespeare’s “Something wicked this way comes”. I couldn’t really tell you where my titles come from. They just pop into my head. But, this seems a good photo to accompany this piece on dark moods and recycling kindness.

Since I have yet to achieve total enlightenment, short by light years, I have a tendency to have dark moods every now and again. Some prefer to call these episodes depression and take Zoloft. I prefer to call them “dark moods” and work my way through them with extra exercise and more attention to my diet. Inhaling deeply of fresh mountain air is also very therapeutic.

When one of these moods sets in it’s no fun at all. Even though I live in beautifully forested mountains I sometimes can’t see the forest for the trees. Even though I try and go with the flow my emotions get so twisted up my flow is round and round in circles. Sometimes I just have to hitch up my bootstraps and wait it out. Sometimes a fellow traveler bails me out.

Recently, I had one of these nasty moods. It may have been some kind of post partum reaction to ending my five-month trip in Clementine. Maybe it was this very strange spring that has refused to come. I really don’t know for sure but whatever it was it knocked me right off my happy go lucky, optimistic perch. Silver linings were not forthcoming to my consciousness.

Just when I was ready to fling myself from my ground floor window my friend and sister, Karen, sent me an e-mail and signed off with “I care”. I cannot tell you why but those two simple words were like magic. The ugly mantle of my dark mood began to lift like the fog. It wasn’t long before I was back to being my Pollyanna self.

Not long after my bout with darkness another friend wrote to tell me she was having a devil of a time. Murphy was at her house and running riot. I decided to see if those two words could do for another what they had done for me. So, I replied ending my message with “I care”. And, guess what? They worked the same magic!

Another thing about these moods, I always seem to learn something, gain some new insight or just get a refresher course in things known but ignored. What came from this episode was a reminder how very powerful recycling can be.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

Monday, April 14, 2008

Home Is Where The Heart Is

I know my title is a warn out bromide but I have found there is so much truth in these old, hackneyed sayings. I have just returned from five months on the road with my best friend, Koty Bear. We drove our motorhome Clementine and pulled along our little Shadow as I photographed the Pacific Coast from Cape Disappointment to Morro Bay.

It was a fantastic trip. We made many new friends and beheld many of Mother Nature's splendors, splendor of a sort one does not experience in Montana. The ocean is such a powerful and awe inspiring beast particularly in winter when storms have roused Her from a deep sleep and Her mood is clearly dark. It is truly breathtaking and a privilege to try and capture.

But, as great a time as we had, being back at the ranch is, well, being home. From the moment we crossed the border in Idaho, between Bonner’s Ferry and Libby I could feel a change come over me. It’s rather hard to explain. The feeling was like releasing a deep sigh of contentment.

The photograph above I named “Montana in My Dreams”. I called it that because it depicts the essence of why I call Montana my home. As a child growing up on a ranch in California (in case you missed it you may wish to read My California) I dreamed of one day living in Montana. Living here is quite literally a dream come true. Why the mountains call to me I cannot say. The mountains in the background are the Canadian Rockies, some of the most majestic mountains in the world. This was a particularly good year in terms of snow so they are at their very best.

I see this view every time I leave my place. The first time I left the ranch, after returning from the trip, I wept for the heartbreaking beauty of it. And, with those tears and that tightness in my chest I knew I was home again living my dream.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Clouds. I love clouds. I can just sit and watch them float and morph for long periods of time. They are so beautiful and alive. I may be prejudiced but I believe the most beautiful clouds on the planet are to be found in Montana.

The photograph here is a reflection of clouds on a lake. I love the colors. And, believe it or not, the colors in the picture are unedited, right from the camera. It's hard to see but there is a little duck swimming in the tree tops at the bottom. These are Oregon clouds reflecting on Cleawox Lake.

My mother used to tell me “every cloud has a silver lining”. When I was younger I thought every cloud was a cloud, a bummer and a mean, personal attack on moi. I thought my mother was silly to say such a thing.

Now that I’m older I have seen the wisdom. Life has a way of beating up on all of us every now and again. There is nothing personal about it. We all get our turn in the barrel, as the saying goes. Maybe these times are just a way for the universe to get our attention?

What I do know is my mother was absolutely right! Every cloud does have a silver lining. But, you have to look for it because it isn’t always apparent and sometimes it takes awhile to find. Reflecting on past disappointments I can see the linings more clearly now. I can see that things I had been so disappointed about at the time had actually happened for the best. I can see some good in even tragic events.

These days I always look for the silver lining. I’m a much happier person for it. And yes, sometimes, I have a little bit of a hard time finding it. Often, when that happens, I go sit and watch clouds. Clouds are like live theater. There can be so many interesting characters parading across that celestial stage. I can lose myself in the production. What one sees is only limited by one’s own imagination. Many times that lining still eludes me but I feel so much more at peace and refreshed for having spent that time with clouds.

©Kinsey Barnard

Monday, March 3, 2008

Sailing Solo

I have never married, never had children and, according to society’s rules, lived an empty life. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth.

I never had children because I never married. I never married because I never found the right partner. It really was as simple as that. I would have married in a heartbeat if I had found the right man. And, believe me, I gave it the old college try!

In my day the term “Old Maid” was still quite popular. Look around you. See very many failed marriages? I honestly believe a lot of that has to do with societal conditioning and pressure. Many enter marriages simply to meet society’s expectations and avoid being seen as “damaged goods”, hopefully, not so much anymore.

That line of thinking was useful when we had a country to populate and a work force to develop. But, we’ve got all the people we can handle on this planet. Women are not dependent on men for their very survival any longer. The playing field has changed. For the better I think.

In truth I have lived a fascinating life, one that probably could not have been lived in a married state. I have loved and lost. I have had a very successful corporate career and I am now living my dream with photography as a second career.

Do I ever get lonely? Not really. Do I ever wish I had someone with whom to share the splendors that I see? Absolutely. But, I have always felt that if it were meant to be, it would. I may be crazy but I believe that this is exactly how my life was destined to be. And, I am living it without regrets. I actually, find I am far more content and at peace than many of my married counterparts. One of people’s favorite warnings is “Oh, but you’ll die alone.” Well, I have a news flash. We all die alone. No matter how many people are in the room.

Life truly is what you make it and what you make it really is up to you. Despite what people may tell you, most of them discontent themselves, there is no right way to make this journey. There is just your way. For me the best way has been just to let life take me where it wanted and for some reason it wanted me solo. And, ever since I gave up fighting it, it’s been a wonderful life.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

Sunday, February 24, 2008

My California

Although I am now a resident of Montana I was born and raised in California. The California I grew up in was much different than the one you see today. Much of it was rural, agricultural and a very real part of the Old West.

My great grandfather, Austin Denny Barnard, came to San Buena Ventura in the mid-eighteen hundreds and my grandfather, Charles Ventura Barnard was born there in 1869. Ventura County is where I grew up on a citrus & avocado ranch. Ironically, I am only third generation even though the first generation was born there nearly 140 years ago.

When I was a little girl, everyday after school, I would run to the barn, saddle up my horse and ride away. I loved to pretend I was Annie Oakley. I would go into the hills and pretend to track rustlers. I was really tracking cowboys herding cattle.

Fields and orchards were never fenced. I was welcome to ride across any neighbor’s property. We treated each other’s property with respect in those days. Oh, yes, we misbehaved now and again. But, it was usually things like swiping a watermelon out of a neighbor’s patch. Course, nobody really cared but if you got caught you got in big trouble just the same. It was the principle of the thing.

Those fields and orchards I used to race across on my horse are no longer. Clapboard houses crammed together like sardines in a tin now cover that beautiful, fertile land. Also gone are the trust, respect and consideration people once had for each other. Just too many people competing for too little space I reckon.

I have often been asked if I miss California and I quite honestly answered no, not really. And, it seemed to me I really didn’t miss anything about California the way it is today. But, I was wrong. I recently visited California and I realized there is something and it is the rolling hills and majestic oaks. The California oaks are the most beautiful trees in the world in my opinion. Somehow I had forgotten what an impact they have on me. There aren’t as many as there once were but where they still exist they reign supreme.

I shall soon be returning to my beloved Montana mountains but I will never again forget what I will always love about California.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

Monday, February 18, 2008

Painting With A Camera

In the scheme of things what I am trying to accomplish with my camera is to create photographs that more closely resemble paintings, at least in my minds eye.

Since I was a kid I wanted to be an artist. I simply adore color and design. But, try as I might I simply had no talent with paintbrush or pencil. Then, some thirty five years ago, I was introduced to the camera at college where I took several courses. There was no looking back. I had found my Muse.

I was back at my alma mater, Cal Poly, this past week as a guest speaker. There have been many changes after all this time but the most endearing change was that photography, which was in the Journalism Department, is now where it belongs in the Art Department.

So, I think it was only fitting that I should be able to shoot what I think is a classic example of what I mean by "camera painting". I captured the above image at Morro Bay harbor. It is of kayaks reflecting in the water. To me it looks more like a painting than a photograph.

Of course, with Photoshop or other digital manipulation software you can create just about anything you want. In my work, I choose to except the challenge of doing it without "manipulation". Oh, yes, I do tinker sometimes but no more than you would or could in a traditional darkroom. My choice is in no way meant to be judgmental of other ways of doing things. I've seen some very beautiful creations using digital manipulation. It's simply my way.

This then is my painting Kayak Fantasy

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Creativity & The Road

One of the many things I get a big kick out of, while traveling, are the myriad of creative works one can observe right along the road. The signs and displays people dream up are just amazing.

This particular photograph was taken on the road between Morro Bay and Atascadero, California. I simply had to stop and make a picture of it. It was so colorful and clever. It made me laugh.

It also got me to ponder the very idea of creativity. It seems to me that creativity is a compulsion and basic to the human condition. It begins with the most fundamental drive, to procreate, but seems to extend so much further into our psyche. We are creative creatures.

What drives the driver? I think it's the need to communicate and connect. I certainly know that I am trying to connect and communicate with the viewers of my photographs. I would like people to feel some sense of wonder or amazement. I would like them to feel what I feel, a sense of "Wow"! See The Fine Art of Photography
The irony of creativity is that it can be applied to both good an evil. It took a lot of creativity and imagination to pull off 911 and was certainly one hell of a communication.

Well, this post is a toast to my fellow Americans who constructively fulfill their creative drives along the highways and byways of this great land. You sure make my day. Thank you very much!!!

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My Best Friend

My best friend is a dog. He is a purebred Siberian husky and his name is Lakota Sunrise. Lakota for his father Lakota Brave Heart and Sunrise for his mother Tequila Sunrise. I mostly call him Koty. Koty has been my constant companion since he was eight weeks old. He flew to me on December 1, 1999.

He saw me through the long years of caring for my mother and now he brightens my day every day. Koty is a tenderhearted boy and I have never known anyone with the joie de vivre that he exhibits. If I had a dollar for everyone who asks me how old my “puppy” is I would be a millionaire. Lakota is a master at living in the moment.

Today I realized that I have been living so much in the moment with my photography I haven’t been with him very much even though he is with me every step of the way. I have just been dragging him from one place to another telling him to hold still. I’ve been so totally focused on "my" moments he has been left behind. The realization did not make me pleased with myself. So, I determined that Lakota and I would spend the day just we two. I would not even take my camera with me.

We had a grand day. Most of it spent combing the beaches. Koty raced around in the sand, smelling all the delicacies the ocean had thrown up on the shore. I reveled in his delight and enthusiasm for the mundane. We sat together and watched the waves roll in. We were in the moment together.

It got me thinking about living in the moment again. And what I thought was; living in the moment is all well and good but not to the exclusion of our companions and loved ones. One must be careful and not selfish in their pursuit of a full life. Maybe we ought to make the effort to spend more conscious time in the moments of those we love?

© Kinsey Barnard

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

In The Moment

It is so important to live in the moment. Because moments are all we have or can ever hope to have. Moments are everything. Eastern philosophies understand this inescapable fact.

Photography is all about moments. No matter how good or how bad your image is, it is yours. It is a moment in time that can never be repeated. No one, now or in the future, can take that photograph. It is unique for all of eternity. Think about it.

In this photograph the lighting is unique to the moment. The colors are unique to the moment. The droplet of water, falling from the egret's beak, will only fall in that way once in all of time. How incredibly awesome is that?

Live the moment! It's all you've got!

© Kinsey Barnard

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Keep Me Close

This photograph I call "Keep Me Close". It was taken in Jasper National Park, Alberta Canada.

When I spied this mother and child, high up on a cliff, they brought tears to my eyes. The sight of them flooded me with memories of my own mother who I lost five and a half years ago to Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's is a nasty business. Watching someone you love just fade away right before your eyes is heart wrenching to say the least. I cared for my mother for seven long years and I have tremendous empathy for those who are doing the same.

For those of you who are fortunate enough to still have your mother cherish every moment. After all this time I still have my "Mama Moments" when I am overwhelmed by her loss. I used to say to her "You are my mother and I shall know no other." And how true those words were. I wish she could know how much I miss her. I think she would want to know that.

I still talk to my mother. Especially when I am out in the mountains searching for subjects to photograph. I speak often to both my mothers. Mama, my earth mother, and Mother Nature my spiritual mother. I feel so close to them when I am in the wild. I always ask of them "Keep Me Close".

© Kinsey Barnard

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Just a Relic?

Today is my 59th birthday and I am wondering if I am just a relic like this old boat I photographed at Inverness yesterday.

Granted 59 isn't very old and I am in exceptionally good health and physical condition. As I peer out from this carcass I perceive myself as the same "girl" I was at 18. However, those eyes looking at me are no doubt seeing a woman with some barnacles and rust. I am most cognizant that time is marching on and the days are flying by, as I was told they would.

What got me wondering is; I have been asked to lecture at my alma mater in February. I am just starting to formulate my talks and I am trying to remember who I was when I was college age. I suspect the students I will be addressing are much different than I at that age. Our respective sets of experiences which led us to college must be so very different. The world is so very different.

To give you an idea: When I was in college I took a computer science course. At the time we used punch cards and the computer filled up a whole room!

I haven't quite run aground yet but I am certainly starting to show some wear and tear. I'm electing to age naturally and, hopefully, accept the evolution gracefully. In some ways I hope I am like this old boat. A relic to be sure but also interesting and not without a certain charm.

© Kinsey Barnard

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Life is an Illusion

Life is an illusion and things are often not what they seem. Life got much easier for me, on this mortal plane, when I finally understood this simple truth.

In my youth I took myself and most everything seriously, much to the chagrin of those around me I am sure. I believed there was but one reality and that what I perceived was what everyone else perceived. I've since come to discover that there are as many realities as there are people. We each have our own.

Look at the above photograph. What do you see? The moon shining on the water? A tropical island in moonlight? Personally, I like the tropical island in moonlight interpretation. As the photographer I don't care what you see as long as what you see evokes some kind of positive emotion within you. It is what it is to you and that's all that matters.

The "truth" in this instance; The photograph is of Humboldt Bay in the middle of the afternoon. I used no post production manipulation. So, you see, even the camera can be fooled!

© Kinsey Barnard

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Photography: An Art Form

As one might imagine, I am passionate about Nature. To be able roam this great land and observe Nature in all its magnificence is a gift beyond measure. If there were no cameras I would do it anyway. But, there are cameras so I try and share with you that which I see.
I see the natural world as one huge canvas filled with living art.

When I started out in photography, some thirty-five years ago, it was pretty much considered a science not an art. I have never wavered in my belief that, in the right hands, the camera is the equivalent of a paintbrush and every bit an art form. I continue to try and prove my point with my own camera.

The above photograph is a very simple picture of a loon floating on Pyramid Lake in Jasper National Park. From my point of view the image is not so much about the loon as it is about the water. Don’t get me wrong. Loons are incredibly beautiful creatures and their call is one of my three most favorite sounds in the wild. (The others being the howl of the wolf and the bugle of an elk.)

I don’t know if you can really see it in this photograph, you might want to view it here Canada Loon. Make it as large as you can. The color and the texture of the water make this photograph appear is if it were a painting. The rich blue and gold colors swirling on the water would often be missed by the casual observer. It is very exciting for me to be able to capture this with my camera and share it with those who appreciate the artistry of nature as I do.

©Kinsey Barnard