Studio Address

14010 N. El Mirage Rd
El Mirage, AZ 85335

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pacific North West

   Few weeks back I had the opportunity to travel North with my family.  We spent a little over two weeks and drove 3600 miles.  We Spent the first two nights in Yosemite National Park, where we were greeted with rain on the last evening.  Picked up camp the next morning, after a somewhat sleepless night due to the conditions, ....   Warmed up with breakfast at a cafe by the lake then proceeded  to make our way North, via the Tioga Pass, topping out at over 10,000 feet with much snow on the ground.  Had intentions of visiting Bodie, however, timing, adverse conditions and a road under construction said otherwise.  Planned on making it to the Shasta area, however Susanville became the next stop for a warm shower, soft beds and all the other comforts that come with a room.  After a good nights rest we were on our way, stopping in Shasta for a picnic under a tree, with Portland our destination we made haste.  Arrived in Portland after 9:00 sometime, we were greeted with a dinner that was prepared for our arrival, Thank you Layne and Stephen for your hospitality.  Spent the next couple days relaxing in Portland, then headed up the Columbia River Gorge toward Spokane, our next stop.  On the way hiked up several trails and observed rushing water making its way off of the steep slope to the river below.  Some of the most amazing waterfalls are in this area.  Steep short hikes, and tight switchbacks get you to the reward.  As we drove East the gorge gradually became shallower and shallower until the river spilled out into a hilly grassy covered landscape.  Not what I expected....after couple hundred miles of this terrain a city appeared from nowhere, Spokane.  We spent several days in the area taking in the sites and visiting with family, Thank you Chris and Erin for being such wonderful hosts.  One day Erin took us out into the country where I captured many images of decaying barns resting in infinite golden grassy hills.  Check out some of the images from our trip....Happy Trails!

 Flickr Set

Monday, May 16, 2011

Walking Home Stories

  Last weekend I had the opportunity to join Laura Milken's on a small stretch of road while on her 2000 mile journey to walk home from Tucson to Michigan .  I learned about Laura's journey from my dear friend Debra.  Thank you Debra.  Debra's daughter Hannah also joined us on the trip.  The trip   took some careful coordinating and timing to make possible, due to Laura's walking schedule.  A couple weeks prior we had various communication with Laura via  phone, email, Face book etc.....we had learned the dates and locations that Laura would be closest to our homes.  Debra thought that it would be a great idea if we were to meet up with Laura as she approached Globe, as I was working on a photographic project of the Toastmaster Cafe it seemed appropriate.  We both agreed that we would camp as close to Globe as possible since there were no actual campgrounds in Globe, Roosevelt lake, 25 miles away was the best choice.  Laura had planned to meet up with some friends from Tucson around the same time.  These friends would be driving a motor home and help support her during her first week.  The motor home provided a way for Laura to discard some of her heavier gear, as well as be joined with a walking companion for two 15 mile days.  We learned that Laura would be staying just outside of Globe the night before we would arrive.  We determined that we would meet up with her at the lake to spend the night, drive into Globe in the morning and continue where she left off the day before.  We arrived at the Windy Hill Campground  around 7:30pm, met Laura and her Tucson friends at the campsite.  We set up our tent, grilled some turkey burgers on the Coleman stove and shared stories by the campfire till late in the evening.  Our tent slept three comfortably, however, we did not get the best nights sleep.  Looking back I thought we might as well have stayed up and gazed at the heavens instead of rolling around in the tent all night.  At one point I got up, nature was calling, and exited the tent.  As I made my way to the restroom I looked up into the sky.  The Milky Way was staring back at me in all of its glory, its milky appearance stretched across the sky, horizon to horizon.  What a beautiful sight, I wanted to share my discovery with the girls, in hopes that they would take a look, however I did not bother them fearing that they needed as much sleep as possible.   We could see the Milky Way through the mesh ceiling in our tent, although the view was not quite the same as outside, we made due.  We must have managed to get some sleep, since Hannah accused us the next morning of snoring .....I do not recall doing so.  We were awakened at dawn by the sounds associated with lakeside camping;  a speed boat and an owl being the most dominant.  We were also greeted by small birds perched in the tree just above our tent.  We got up made breakfast, consisting of fried bacon which possibly awoke the others, due to the sound and the smell. Eggs, granola, yogurt, fruit, coffee and juice rounded off the mornings feast.  We all ate, had good conversation and shared photos via I-phone.  We tossed the Frisbee around as we packed up our gear and broke down the tent.  We left the campground headed back to Globe, created a shuttle by dropping off the car in Old Town Globe.  We jumped in the motor home and headed to where Laura had left off prior.  I knew that it would not take long to get to the drop off and enjoyed friendly conversation while Abba songs played in the background.  The motor home came to a stop and we all collected our gear and spilled out of the vehicle onto the gravel beside the hwy.  We all said our goodbyes took some pictures and proceeded to walk down the hwy.

 We followed Laura, walked alongside her and talked about different things for the next 6 miles.  We all took turns doing this.  I also ran ahead, climbed up on hills beside the hwy, ran across to the other side, in order to document the journey from different perspectives.  The images are available on my flickr page.  On another note, I wore the wrong shoes (worn out Chuck Taylor's), and my feet were killing me after about 3 miles.  The black asphalt was hot and unforgiving.  This gave me perspective.  I knew that Laura had just completed 1/20th of her journey (100 miles), and that she had a long way to go.  I thought to myself that you have to buy a special kind of person to attempt this sort of thing.  I am so glad I got to meet Laura and be part of her adventure.  Perhaps someday I could do something like this. I have always wanted to hike the PCT.  Some day!.......You can also check out The PCT Hikers Handbook for more information and advice from an experienced distance hiker.  Ray Jardine has hiked the PCT in its entirety three times.  Ok, back to our trip.......We made our way into town, stopped in front of the Toastmaster for a photo opportunity.

We walked by a church, which provided Laura with a motel room for the night, had some lunch, found the car, said our goodbyes wished Laura good luck and headed home.  I am glad Debra and I were able to be a part of this journey and the time we spent together was special.   It meant a lot to all of us, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity.  Laura is an inspiration......... Please check out Laura's website, watch live video feed, and read her blog as she makes her way home.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Save the Icehouse


The Icehouse has been one of my favorite creative spaces in the valley.  It has much history and has been providing a space for creative individuals for decades.  It would be a tragedy if this space was to disappear.  I am concerned about its fate......however, on Friday May 27th there will be an exhibition to help save the Icehouse.  Over 100 artists including myself will be in attendance, displaying there artwork which we will be for sale, with all are part of the proceeds going to save the Icehouse.  There will be hundreds of people in attendance, music and food will also be available.  If you have not been to the Icehouse, this would be a great time to do so...The space is amazing!  Here are some links to information about the Icehouse.

Please come out and join us, mingle with the artists and purchase a piece of artwork for a good cause.  See you on the 27th.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

In the News

Surprise resident unveils new dimensions in ‘Mysterious Light’ exhibition


Valley  photographer  and  Sur-prise  resident  Thomas  Schultz will unveil his latest body of work, “Mysterious  Light,”  at  a  special artist  reception  from  6  to  8  p.m. Friday  at  the  West  Valley  Arts Council’s gallery,13243 N. Founders Park Blvd. in Surprise. The  reception  is  free  to  the public  and  will  feature wine, hors d’oeuvres and music. Schultz  has  been  following  the decay  of  the  landscape  for  over three  decades.  Using  his  camera, he  documents  the  interaction  of he  human  resolve  and  a  harsh, unforgiving  environment  in  the Southwest  along  deserted  highways  and  forgotten  towns.  Drawn to the decayed and abandoned, his images evoke feelings of loneliness and  despair  immersed  in  sublime beauty.  His  newest  exhibition  is  no  exception.  Comprising  earlier  work as well as his most recent project, 20  large-scale,  color  photographs depict vast landscapes juxtaposed with once glorious metal relics.  “The  photographs  on  display capture  and  record  a  condensed moment  in  time,”  says  Schultz.  Each image contains multiple moments in time layered upon itself.”  Last  spring,  Schultz  attended  a night photography and light painting workshop  at  the  now-defunct Pearsonville  Junkyard  in  the  Mojave  Desert,  assisted  by  an  artist grant  from  the  West  Valley  Arts Council.  The  junkyard,  full  of hundreds of rare cars, trucks and buses from the 1950s-1970s, provided  Schultz  with  a  unique  environment.  Coupled  with  full  moon exposures and light painting techniques, Schultz created a series of haunting images documenting the abandoned  and  rusty  American automobiles  and  another  piece  of Americana  on  the  verge  of  extinction  —  the  junkyard.  Earlier  this year,  the  yard  was  liquidated  and almost every vehicle is now gone. “Mysterious Light” is open from 9  a.m.  to  5  p.m.  Monday-Thurs-day  and  9  a.m.  to  noon  Fridays through May 20. For information, call the West Valley Arts Council at 623-935-6384  or  visit

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mysterious Light Photography Exhibition

Mysterious Light
Photography Exhibition

April 8-May 20 

Artist reception
April 29th, 6-8pm 

Musical Performances by:

 Masato Tachi 
Michael Hernandez

West Valley Arts Council
13243 N. Founders Park Blvd.  Surprise, AZ

Gallery Hours: Mon-Thurs 8:30-5pm, Friday 8:30-noon

Meet the artist, musical performances, food music, beer/wine.
Free and open to the public.

Mysterious Light: 
Thomas Schultz

  Since time immemorial man has looked to the heavens for answers to the questions: Where did I come from? Why am I here? And What will become of me?

  "It is certainly interesting to know that we come from the stars, but even more interesting is the realization that we're part of the cosmos, [and] although we may only be a speck in the immensity of the universe, we are the Great Father's children, and our destiny is linked to that of creation. Every being has a role to play, a destiny to fulfill, and so every bit of existence is transcendent." ~~~Don Isidro, Mayan Sage

  The photographs I display here are each literal photographic time capsules ~ a moment captured and recorded under the light of the moon. Seemingly ethereal, they depict a time and a subject, though time itself also serves as a subject.  Each still depicts a measure of the now....and the now...and the become what is shown: a singular event within an extended passage of time.  Each image portrays this time lapse; we need only to expand our vision to see beyond and into this space. In these individual time segments, the possibility of multiple dimensions can be conceived, and that these captured moments create perhaps a dimension unto itself in an idea of condensed time.  This concept makes one question the relationship of time and space, and of co- existing realities.

  Our belief systems are based on experience, knowledge and intuition, therefore we “know” what we see and feel. It would be easy to take reliable objects like the sun, the moon and the stars for granted, especially in a world so far removed from itself. What I feel is now more than ever we need to use our intuition and our knowledge to return to nature, to live in the moments, to see past our accepted reality.

  “Reality is the vision we have of what surrounds us, but there are other, much more subtle realities which are more important. As humans evolved, they lost this ability to perceive and are thus disconnected from the cosmos; in a state of neglect they seek to fill with material goods. This only condemns them to self- destruction and is the reason a return to the Natural Order is imperative." ~~~Ramon Carbala, Mayan Mam

  The primitive natives of the Malay Peninsula believed the firmament was solid. They imagined the sky as a great pot, held over the earth by a slender cord. If the cord broke the pot would fall and the earth would be destroyed. They also imagined the Sun and Moon as women, and the stars as the Moon's children. Legend tells us the Sun long ago had as many children as the Moon, and fearing that mankind could not bear so much heat and brilliance, they both agreed to devour their children. The Sun kept the bargain, but the Moon hid her children. The Sun was very angry and sought to kill the Moon. As she pursued her, the chase of Sun and Moon became a perpetual one. 

  It is our perceptions of time and space, which root us to a milestone, a memorable event, a singular moment. In any lapsed segment of so-called reality, we can sometimes see beyond what we previously knew to be possible, or what we imagined was reality, from just the moment before. Before, that is, it slips away into another, and another, and another; the sands of time in an endless hourglass, eons unfolding into eternity and a greater abyss of space.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tetnus anyone!

Two weeks ago my friend Andrew Phelps was visiting from Austria, he just left town this morning to attend a lecture in New York.  Andy and I attended the same high school and spent many days together during our young adult years traversing the state of Arizona in search of adventure.  We often took our cameras and our skateboards on our trips, with hopes of finding a drainage ditch or empty backyard pool to consume the time.  Back then we did not have to travel far to reach the edge of town, and once beyond, the empty space was ours for the taking.  Little did we know that the landscape which we played would be a major part of our lives and the focus of our photography today.   Last week, while Andy was in town, we had the opportunity to go out into the abyss once again in search of lost luxury.  He suggested we head to Maricopa which was one of the cities worst hit during the real estate crash that began in late 2008.  When we arrived in Maricopa just after sunrise, it became apparent that much had changed since the late 80s, however it seemed that much of the developers got out in time, and the city had not suffered as dramatically as we had thought.  I was under the impression that Anthem was looking into a development in Maricopa, but we found no signs of such.  We did discover that Home Depot and an unknown movie theater had pulled the plug in the nick of time, however many homeowners and Walmart were not as lucky and remain stranded in the void many miles from anything.  These home owners were taking advantage of the amount of home that they could purchase compared to a home half the size in town.  Today in Maricopa you will find a handful of track home communities in which you will find homes huddled together, like desert wildlife taking shelter from the elements.  These small groups of homes are surrounded by vacant lots with streets, gutters and light poles, and the scene takes on new meaning.  Surrounded by a 6' block wall fence tumble weeds take rest as they are trapped in corners while the top edge of the wall creates a new horizon. 

We made a couple exposures then headed west on Maricopa Road in search of a site where an individual had collected 10 million used tires with plans of converting them to fuel. Tire story we located the site but were unable to enter due to a locked gate and a posted sign with the words No Trespassing State Property.  Neither of us were willing to take the we headed back in the direction we had came to photograph an abandoned double wide off the side of the road which we had seen on the way out.  On approach the home seemed to be in great condition, and I wondered why someone would leave a perfectly good home in the middle of nowhere.  The windows were covered with screens as if the owner had planned to return.  A golf club was inlayed in the thin top crust of the desert soil.  

Two iron stakes emerged from the ground with a short distance between, which Andy determined was the remains of horse shoe pit.  Both of us remembered the Brew and Shoe, which was a yearly event held at his families cabin on the rim, and symbolized a happy and care free time in our lives.  I found a single horse shoe later in the bathroom of the home, and on the way to the car I pitched it at the pin, the shoe hit the metal pole and rang out loudly.  It remained close enough to yield a point.  But before I had flung the shoe, I decided to exit the trailer from the front door, instead of the side door which I had entered, in hopes of discovering new photo opportunities, which I did...however, I discovered after jumping off of what remained of the front porch,  I was surrounded by a thick pile of tumbleweeds. 

 At first I thought I could just blaze a trail through, so I started forward but changed my mind at the last second.  At that moment I stepped into the tumbleweeds and onto a board hidden in the weeds.  A sharp pain entered my foot, I lifted my foot up to inspect as the board was stuck to it.  I pulled the board off my foot with much resistance, similar to removing a nail from wood with a hammer.  I then thought of Tetnus.  I hobbled back to the car expressed to Andy that I had stepped onto a nail and we needed to stop at a store in town and purchase supplies to clean it my wound.  The pain was hardly bearable, and I could feel that it was bleeding inside my shoe.  I did not even want to take my shoe off since there was nothing I could do at that point.  On the way back to town, we discussed how dangerous some of these locations are, and I had brought up the story of the photographer who died in a building in Detroit.  
Richard Nickel was interested in documenting with photographs abandoned buildings in Detroit, designed by Architect Louis Sullivan.  Through Richards work many of the buildings would be preserved. Like Richard I am very aware of hazards in and around abandoned buildings and take precautions to minimize injury, but I also realize that accidents happen.  Richard payed the ultimate price for his documentation of Detroit's disappearing architecture, and I a sore foot for about 4 days.  I will live to shoot another day...... see more pics from the trip

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Video Decay

You never know what you are going to find in an abandoned garage in a small mining town in Arizona.  Today on our return trip from Globe to photograph the Toastmaster before it is no longer, we stopped to photograph an old sign in front of a derelict gas station.  I made several exposures as I made my way around the property.  The garage had a couple roll up doors, which most of the glass was broke or missing. Without hesitation I proceeded to investigate by leaning my head through an opening.  Like I said you never no what you are going to find......see more.....

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Burnt Out......

Last week as my son and I were heading to the Burton Barr Library in Phoenix, a small building on the side of the road caught my eye.  My son was not very happy with my discovery, since I did not have my camera with me, and I suggested we turn around and retrieve it from home.  Normally, I would have just shot it on another day, but the lighting was perfect!  The above shot was taken inside the bathroom of another house close to the small shack that initially caught my eye.

 The home was practically burned to the ground, what was left was completely charred.  Remnants of the family that lived in the homes posses-ions were scattered about the rooms, melted and blackened from fire.  My son found some pretty interesting artifacts, some of which I photographed, and we took home with us.  I could not help but to think about the family that once lived in the home, I thought to myself;  I hope that everyone survived the fire.  I was also very surprised at how easy it was for me to move about the wreckage without much thought considering my past experience with fire.  I blame the moment.....I seem to get lost in composition and thought while I am photographing, it is somewhat therapeutic.  I normally discover the fine details later in the process when I am post processing the images.  I have often felt cheated when it comes to giving these details the credit they deserve while at the scene, however I find comfort knowing that I will be able to revisit the scene at will through the exposures that I make.  You can view the entire set here

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Snow Blanket

Happy New Years......New Years Day 2011, Gold King Mine, Jerome, Arizona, everything was covered with snow......  Earlier in the day driving North on the 17 leaving Phoenix, I was unsure of the possibility of snow coverage in Jerome, but as we approached Cottonwood, doubt turned to promise as frozen fountains appeared along the roadside and the side of the hill that Jerome sat precariously upon was pure white, with the exception of the contrasting dark lines of rooftops perched on the steep slope.  As we made our way through town, we were positive that there would be good snow coverage at the mine.  I became restless, and could not contain my excitement.. the thought of the rusty plethora of vehicles that were scattered around the property, potentially sitting under a fresh coat of snow, made me want to explode.  I was worried that the owner would not be home and the gate would be locked, since during our last visit two weeks prior, the mine was closed for the Christmas holiday.   This time we would not be denied, we were in luck, and as we rounded the last corner just before the property began, today we would not greeted by a large chain link gate topped with rusty razor wire and a sign which a crudely crafted skull and crossbones was painted and the words" Trespass after 5:30 and Die" was hand scribed with what looked like blood.  We were in....once through the opening, we were fairly positive that we would soon be making our way through the maze of automobiles that were perfectly placed by the owner.   We made our way up to the house where we would pay our $10.00 entry fee.  Its all a blur after that...but luckily I had my camera with me and recorded the entire process.  I do remember the sun was shining brightly and the reflection of it hurt my eyes.... The snow was dry and fluffy, terrible for snowball creation, but nice for tromping around in.   The air temperature was a brisk 27 degrees, which did not seem to bother us at first.  We were somewhat prepared for cold conditions;  I had on boots, thermal underwear, jeans, t-shirt, and a sweatshirt, with a Northface shell and gloves just in case.   We shot all morning and afternoon, probably would not have stopped until we froze to death, however we became hungry and needed a break.  We ran into town, had a Ghostburger and headed back before we were finished chewing our food.  By this time the sun had made its way behind the mountain and most of the place was in shadow, which made for some wonderful light conditions, however it also made for some extremely cold temperatures.  Within 5 minutes, my fingers began to hurt from the cold, I was forced to put my gloves on and my pant legs were frozen stiff from the bottom up to almost my knees.  It was as if I were wearing bell bottom pants made of steel.  We made our way around shooting as much as we could, until we just could not take the cold any longer and the light ran out.  We knew we only had little time, the place normally closed at 5:00 pm.  We entered the house where we originally payed our entry fee with just 10 minutes to spare.  We said our fairwells, banged the snow off of our boots as we hopped in the truck and headed home.  EPIC!........Field Recordings