parkerparker :: design | photography: Blog en-us (C) James W. Parker 248.229.7900 (parkerparker :: design | photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:25:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:25:00 GMT parkerparker :: design | photography: Blog 80 120 Upcoming Presentations in March I have two interesting presentations coming up in March.

The first will be Sunday, March 10, in Rapid City, South Dakota. I will be speaking to the Black Hills Corral of the Westerners about my ongoing project, "Preserving the Legacy". Dr. Watson Parker left a treasure trove of lectures, slides and audio recordings, which I am in the process of transferring to digital media. The talk will focus on my workflow with some examples of Dad's captivating lectures. The presentation will be at Revel Coffee House, 719 Omaha St., Rapid City, SD. Lunch and snacks available. Socializing and munching from 12-12:30, a short business meeting to follow, and then the presentation. More info on the Black Hills Corral Facebook page.

I'm also scheduled to present at the Business of Photography Boot Camp at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, on Friday, March 15. I'll be discussing "Time Management & Business Strategy" as it relates to photographers, and anyone with an interest in professional photography is welcome to attend. The following information is from the Entrepreneurship Center at Washtenaw College.

This all-day event will give you an opportunity to learn how to start, build or grow your business through presentations and discussions with working professional photographers. These professionals in the field will give their experiences and tips to the audience on the following topics:

  • Time Management & Strategy – Jim Parker 

  • Marketing, Branding & Websites – Dayna Mae Mager 

  • Pricing, Proposals & Copyright – Steve Rich & Ann Savage

  • Networking & Getting Leads – Rob Woodcox

In addition, Rob Woodcox, fine art and fashion photographer and WCC Photography program graduate will give an extra presentation on Thursday, March 14. Here’s more information on each event:

“The Power Within You: Taking a Stand and Having a Purpose to What You Create”
Presentation by WCC Photography Program Graduate Rob Woodcox

Thursday, March 14 @ 7:00pm 

Morris Lawrence Building at WCC 

FREE event open to the public, no registration necessary 

Click Here for More Info

The Business of Photography Boot Camp 

Friday, March 15

Registration: 8:30 – 9:00am, Event: 9:00am – 4:30pm 

Morris Lawrence Building at WCC 

Cost: $25 or FREE to current WCC students – Lunch Included 

(call the Entrepreneurship Center at 734-249-5880 or email [email protected] to get the FREE student registration code)

Click Here to Register

Please let us know if you have any questions! 

Entrepreneurship Center 

Washtenaw Community College | Damon B. Flowers Building (Facilities), Room 120

734-249-5880 | [email protected]

EC Hours: Monday-Thursday 9:00am-4:30pm, Friday 12:00-4:30pm


(parkerparker :: design | photography) archive business Dr. Watson Parker historical history legacy photography preservation Watson Parker Sat, 02 Mar 2019 15:39:45 GMT
Resources for Photographers In conjunction with the next Photographers Business Boot Camp Friday, March 15 (2019), at Washtenaw College, I have revised this resource page. Many of the links were mentioned in the all-day seminar; others are lucky-strike extras. Please feel free to leave comments about other software or articles that you've found useful.

Here is a link to the updated presentation.  Time Management 2019 2Mb

Here is the presentation with speaker notes.  Time Management 2019 With Speaker Notes

I found it interesting that no one asked what the significance of the barrels and milk cans is in the first and last slides. They represent buckets of time. In case you were curious.

(Please note that this post is moderated, so if you add a spam link, it will be deleted.)

(Republished with revisions 3/16/2019)

Imaging Software

Adobe (Lightroom, Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator…) 

Affinity Photo, Designer & Publisher (Adobe alternatives) Affinity

Aurora HDR and Luminar (Skylum Software)

OnOne Software


Nik Plug-ins (now owned by DxO

Topaz Plug-ins


Raya Pro

AstroPad - use your iPad and Apple Pencil as a tablet

Business Tools

FileMaker Pro






Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint

FotoBiz X



Google Calendar

Google Drive

Writing Tools


iA Writer

Pages (Apple)

Web site development

ZenFolio Use referral code 9BP-ZYX-ECM for a 10% discount


GraphPaperPress (WordPress Templates)

PhotoCrati (Photographer specific WordPress Templates)​

Elegant Themes (Divi)

Email Marketing


Vertical Response

Constant Contact


Navigation Tools - for mobile and desktop

FocalWare Lite - the original FocalWare is no longer available in the App Store...

The Photographer's Ephemeris -- web app, iOS and Android

PhotoPills -- another very useful tool to have on the mobile device. Both iOS and Android

Waze - Live traffic, crowdsourced accident reports. iOS and android

Garmin InReach Mini - A very useful satellite communication device for the backcountry

Articles for a Deeper Dive

David Allen “Getting Things Done” 

The Pareto Principle

14 Time Management Tips (All Creativelike) 

Creating a Business Strategy

How to Write a Business Plan

Guide to writing a NASA-grade mission statement 

The Big Lie of Strategic Planning 

Five Reasons You Should Stop Multitasking

Nine Ways Multitasking is Killing Your Brain and Productivity According to Neuroscientists

How to Get More Work Done in a Week Than Most People Do in a Month

The Eisenhower Matrix

Why Your Instagram Nature Shot is Breaking the Law (Outside Online)

Fine Art Resources


Juried Art Services

Entry Thingy

Art Show Photographers Facebook Group

Alyson Stanfield "Art Biz Success" 

Art Fair Calendar

Art Fair Insiders

Art Show Photo website

Larry Berman’s website


(parkerparker :: design | photography) articles how-to information links resources software tips Sat, 02 Mar 2019 15:14:52 GMT
"Stories Told in Things Left Behind" Hardcover Book Stories Told in Things Left BehindStories Told in Things Left Behind48 pp hardcover 10" x 8" book, with over 42 images and descriptions from work in the "Stories Told..." series. One image to a page, with explanatory information about each image following at the end. Printed dustcover, not an image wrap. $85 + $15 shipping.

This first edition is limited to 25 signed and numbered copies.
I am pleased to announce that my second book is now available for purchase! The first edition features over 42 images from the "Stories Told in Things Left Behind" series, and is printed on heavy satin stock. Hardbound with a linen cover, the book also has a four-color dustcover. Each book will be signed & numbered. There are 25 books in this limited edition. Order before December 10, 2018 to ship in time for Christmas, and use coupon BOOKIT2ME for free shipping. 

Building on my early black & white photographs in "A Disappearing Agrarian Landscape”, the new book showcases over forty images with stories to tell. From the empty interiors of Bannack to the gold fields of Vulture City, each picture offers insights into the lives of the miners, ranchers and ordinary people who built these towns. Dishes left on the table, patterns of faded wallpaper, fields of flowers colored by the setting sun — each image illustrates another life, another time.

In this collection, I trace my development as a visual historian. Having spent the better part of my photographic career making pictures in these old homesteads and towns, the new book offers a glimpse into life as it was, each image stands on its own, and relates to the next in a never-ending thread stretching back 100 years.

Photographed with small-format digital cameras and lenses, these are more than pictures. They are romantic sketches of how we perceive the historical past to be. Many miles were traveled & many hours were spent behind the viewfinder. If you've ever wondered what the story behind a particular image was, this book offers up some clues.

“Stories Told in Things Left Behind” started as a tagline to succinctly describe the motivation behind this project. As the miles fell behind the rear-view, certain themes began to emerge. Doors, certainly. Chairs in shafts of light. Sparse interiors. Prairie churches and majestic elevators. 

Each of these stories lets the viewer bring their own experiences to the telling. This photographic journey covers many miles and many years. And if the tale ain’t true, it sure ought to be!



(parkerparker :: design | photography) abandoned ghost towns monograph photographs retrospective Stories Told In Things Left Behind Thu, 06 Dec 2018 17:24:45 GMT
A Note About Image Sizes and Ordering There are several options when you order prints from the website. Most of my images are in an aspect ratio of 3:2, the size of my camera sensors. All sizes listed are the inside frame dimension, not the actual image size. Since I carry both matted and un-matted frame types, this is the most consistent way to state the dimensions. 

When you click on the "Buy" button next to an image in a gallery, a list of options is displayed on the right hand side of the window. Your options include:

Matted prints. I offer three sizes of matted images, using the same 6-ply AlphaCare white mat and archival backing board. Other sizes are available for standard aspect ratios on request. 

Standard Image and Mat Sizes

Image Size

Mat Size

Border Widths

Mat Color






















Standard Framed prints. Generally, I stock two sizes of frames, in the Palladio black/brown style. Both sizes will come with TruVue Conservation Reflection Control U/V non-glare glass, a Tyvek dustcover on the back, plastic-coating hanging wire and hangers already in place, ready to hang. My stock sizes are 16x20 and 20x26. These sizes refer to the matted size, not the overall frame dimensions. For a Palladio frame, each arm is about 1 7/8" wide. Other sizes are available, and can be custom ordered by calling the studio at 248.229.7900.

Custom Barnwood Laminated Prints. Printed on canvas and mounted permanently to Gatorfoam, these images come in two standard panorama sizes, and two standard aspect ratio sizes. Each frame is unique, made by hand, and sizes may vary. Panorama and canvas laminate sizing refers to the size of the image, not the overall size of the frame, which may vary an inch or two in each dimension. Standard sizes for normal pictures are 24x36 and 32x48. Standard sizes for panoramas are 48x20 and 60x24. Other sizes can made by special request.

Canvas Wraps. Although not listed on the site, canvas wraps are available in the following sizes. 20x30, 24x36, 26x40, 20x48 and 24x60. Each wrap is custom made. Tryptchs and diptychs are available as well. 

You can see additional details about the piece you are about to order in two ways. From the gallery preview, click on the "Buy" button, which will open a list of the most popular options. Add one of these to your cart, and then view the cart. Clicking on "Edit" next to the selection's title will let you add a note or change quantities, and will display the full product description. If you use the "Visit Shop" button from the Buy panel, it will show all the options available in several categories. Choosing one of these categories and then one of the options will show the full details.

As always, if you have questions, please don't hesitate to call us at 248.229.7900.

(parkerparker :: design | photography) custom frame size framing image size Thu, 29 Nov 2018 13:55:14 GMT
Time to start thinking about the holidays Every year, Kozo and I send a Christmas card to friends & family. Years past, I've used a wintry landscape shot... a hay bale with a red bow around it, a buffalo with a Rudolf-inspired schnozzola. So this year, in keeping with some of the interior studio shots I've been making, I wanted to do something a little different.

Shooting in the studio requires a bit more preparation than just going out and finding an interesting picture. As a former art director, I start out with a concept, and a layout. Since this layout isn't going to be presented to a client, I can get away with a lot more than I did in the old days.

StillLife_10Concept Layout for Christmas Card  I use an app (GoodNotes) with my iPad to sketch -- it's easier than keeping track of 10 different yellow pads, and I can sync it via iCloud to my desktop machines for use in a blog for example. The Apple Pencil is by far the most responsive pressure sensitive tool I've used. Better than a Wacom even, for simple sketching. I wanted something that captured the magic of coming downstairs on Christmas Eve and seeing the tree all lit up, with the toy train magically making it rounds, waiting for Santa to arrive with a bag full of goodies.

Once I had the idea, I went looking for a pre-lit Christmas tree. Initially it seemed as if an old-fashioned feel would be nice, so I got some larger colored lights, and brought out my HO scale trains. I soon realized that the scale of the train, while it worked well for a real Christmas tree, was a bit small for the height of the tree for the base. It was a struggle to make up the space between the lowest tree branches and the train. I shot some test images with my phone, and then set up the tripod and camera. Initially, I tried a wider lens, my Sigma 35 Art f1.4 which is a beautiful lens that lets in a lot of light. But the depth of field was too shallow, and the tree looked messy no matter what angle I tried.

I switched to a longer lens. Having limited space in the studio, I fitted the Canon L 70-200 f2.8. A higher angle helped to minimize the distance between bough and track. Lots of little packages had to be wrapped and staged under the tree. The colored lights proved to be another scale problem, so the old-time angle was somewhat abandoned. The train also dates back thirty years, not fifty, and so I experimented with various combinations of locomotive and rolling stock until I had a basic feel for what I hoped to accomplish.

After I had the train track set up in position, I wrapped the tree stand with a white tree blanket to hide the ugly black legs. Staging the presents around the tree, and working to the camera, I started to get some of the feel I was looking for, but I still wasn't getting enough emotion.

I decided to press on, and hang some ornaments to get a better feel. Lighting had not been set up yet -- I typically will just use a big 1K Baby bounced off the ceiling as a work light, and while it's not terribly dramatic, it does let me see what's going on with the set. There were some big holes between the tree and the track that definitely needed filling. As I hung ornaments, it became apparent that using an artificial tree was going to help me, as the branches could be bent, and would hold their shape much better than a live tree. Score one for fake trees!

Test ShotA basic test shot with the iPhone to find the proper angle and distance for the camera At this point, I was ready to do some real test shots. The camera was locked down with some sandbags holding the tripod steady -- I have a tendency to stumble into things and wreak havoc on a delicate camera position. Still using the broad overhead light, I fired off a couple of brackets to see how everything lined up. The shot was still looking pretty bland. Colorful, yes. Dramatic, not so much.

Out came the small Mole Richardson "inkies". These are tiny little tungsten luminaires, with 150-250 watt bulbs, and the ability to block off the light with barn doors. They have fresnel lenses so they can be spotted down, or flooded out. Perfect for old-style drama. These are my favorite lights -- I like them over the big studio strobes, my LED flat panels, or the documentary style Lowell lights. For this shot, I didn't need a lot of light. After all, it's supposed to be night time. We're waiting for Santa!

Working in low light situations is interesting. It helps to tether the camera to a laptop so that focus can be determined more precisely. Canon has a utility that they ship with their professional cameras that lets you do this. Unfortunately, it doesn't function well under Mac OS Mojave, which is what the laptop is currently running. Lightroom has a basic tethering capability, but it doesn't let you control the camera remotely.

Enter Kuuvik Capture. When I discovered that Canon Capture wasn't updated for Mojave, some Googling brought me to this lovely bit of kit by Laszlo Pusztai -- Kuuvik Capture. It runs independently of Lightroom, saves images on the laptop and on the camera's capture card. It allows remote focus from the computer, as well as setting up brackets of 3-15 exposures, interval shots and more. And of course it's not cheap. But it is a finely written professional tool. Very useful. Lighting Set-upTwo Mole Richardson "inches" and a Mole "Baby" for the background

I tried adding tinsel to the tree branches. Still going for that nostalgic feel I remembered from my youth. It looked horrible. Luckily it didn't take long to decide to ditch that idea. Quite a bit of time was spent in noodling ornaments, repositioning boxes, eliminating odd overlaps, and getting everything still enough to stay sharp during the long exposures the shot required. I did a five-exposure bracket, with steps in 1 and 2 stop increments. To get the spectral highlight on the white lights I had the lens stopped down to f32, so my lightest exposure was 30 seconds.

The Burlington locomotive proved to be a bit dark for the scene. Down at Empire Train and Hobby in Troy, they hooked me up with a beautiful little Santa Fe DSD75M. The color works better with the shot, and of course it says "Santa" on the side! A few little packages in the hopper car add to the feel, along with a Merry Christmas boxcar from the 80's. Kozo used to buy new rolling stock for the layout every year until we stopped putting the train out with the tree. (Our cat Sasha liked to derail the cars when they were moving.) 

Adding another light to fill in the background a bit seemed to help define the caboose a touch. An out of sight mirror, some fill cards pushed little shafts of light around the set. Kozo suggested changing out one of the packages because the pattern seemed overly intrusive. Did that, it was a good suggestion.

Work in ProgressBack light added, package swapped, fill cards added in  Along the way, it should be pointed out that the brackets for each shot are combined into one image, using Aurora 2019. The shot above is a single exposure out of five in each bracket, without any post-production work. When I finally got an image that I was satisfied with, I made the HDR composite and then brought it into Photoshop for additional editing. The flooring on the left was extended, some minor issues with wrapping paper were fixed, and some reflections were cloned out. And then, the Photoshop edit was further refined for drama inside of Lightroom, where some additional emphasis was added, a vignette around the corners was placed, and some other magic waved over the file.

North Pole ExpressFinal image, after retouching and compositing

Here's the final product. I hope you like it -- if you'd like a copy of the Christmas card, please drop me an email at info at with your name, address and what you'd like Santa to bring you for Christmas!






(parkerparker :: design | photography) art Christmas night photograph presents stocking studio train tree Wed, 21 Nov 2018 02:21:43 GMT
Grizzly Bear Creek -- Hidden Waterfall Hike A Little Drop of WaterA Little Drop of WaterGrizzly Bear Creek, Black Hills National Forest My friend Eric and I were talking about Grizzly Bear Creek the other evening. We used to hike from Mt. Rushmore down to Grizzly Bear Falls, where a lush plunge pool awaited the intrepid hiker. It's a steep walk to get from the parking area down to the creek, and then some foraging is required to get upstream to the falls themselves. But this post is about the lower part of the creek, a part that I had never walked.

From Mt. Rushmore (16A), follow the Iron Mountain Road south maybe a mile. There's a campground, with a couple of day use parking spots at the very back of the campground. It's $4 to park and probably worth it. Find the campground host and pay them for a parking permit. The trail itself starts between two horizontal parking barriers, and heads south towards the creek, which you can hear from the campground. You'll cross the creek almost immediately after getting into the forest. There is no bridge, so be prepared to wade the shallow creek. A walking stick is useful, if you need a little extra support for balance. There are four more fords after this one before you reach the hidden waterfalls, and you will get your feet wet if the water is running high.

Grizzly Bear Falls 1Grizzly Bear Falls 1One of several small cascades along Grizzly Bear Creek The trail winds around, mostly following the course of the creek upstream. There is thick undergrowth, pine and evergreens, and in a wet year, lots of poison ivy. Be on the lookout for it, and wear long pants with socks and hiking boots, rather than shorts and sandals, if you are at all susceptible. Fording the creek does help to wash off the poison ivy, but be cautious.

Dreamy FallsDreamy FallsThis falls is easy to get close too, if you are willing to scramble down the bank a few feet After about a mile, you'll cross the creek, and can hear the rush of the first of two slightly larger waterfalls. Big boulders dot the stream, and it takes a bit of a scramble to get the best view. Another falls cascades over the boulders about 100 yards upstream. It may be possible to follow the stream all the way to it's junction with the stream coming down from the big Grizzly Bear Falls, which is marked on the USGS topo.

Double FllaDouble FallsTo get this shot, I had to scramble up a ten foot boulder along a dead tree conveniently lying in a stagnant pool of water. It's impossible to see both streams at once otherwiser. If you'd like to explore this trail yourself, drive through Keystone towards Mt. Rushmore on 16A. Take the Iron Mountain Road instead of heading up to Mt. Rushmore, and drive about a mile. When you see the Grizzly Creek Campground, turn in, and find a place to park. Or camp.

This link will take you to the GAIA Pro map route, which shows distance and elevation. I spent a lot of time making pictures, so your hiking time is likely to be much less, unless you stop to swim or bask in the sun.

Length: 1.1 miles to the second waterfall, about 1 hour each way.

Effort: Easy

Notes: Poison Ivy. Wear long pants.

(parkerparker :: design | photography) Black Hills Grizzly Bear Creek hidden hike hikes natural beauty photographs photography South Dakota trail water waterfalls Sun, 08 Jul 2018 23:03:36 GMT
Stolen Trailer Update In April, 2011, our art show trailer was parked at the Marriot Towne Place Suites in downtown Fort Worth. We were participating in the Main Street Fort Worth Art Festival. On Thursday night, the first day of the show, we came back to the hotel to find our trailer, “Artan” (short for Artanic), missing from the parking lot at the hotel. The trailer was reported to the police, we carried on and had a successful show, and on Sunday the trailer had not been located. The Fort Worth police said that in all likelihood the trailer had been transported to Mexico for resale. We were sad.

Artan ChiricahuasArtan ChiricahuasPace American AeroSport and Toyota Tundra, sunset, Chiricahuas, Arizona April 2008 I rented a U-Haul and we took our tent, display panels and artwork back to Michigan. I filed a claim with State Farm, ordered a new trailer, made new artwork, and carried on. I never heard anything from the Fort Worth police about the trailer, and the claim was processed by our insurance company, checks were cut, and we were mostly whole again.

Fast forward to June 4. I am on my way back from a show in St. Louis, and I get a voicemail from a police officer in Texas.  After seven years, the trailer has been located. I kid you not. It was in Texas the whole time. I had a good conversation with the officer. Evidently the trailer was being towed by a man who claimed to have bought it for $2000. The VIN numbers had been removed, as well as all of the identifying manufacturer’s marks. The man claimed it was a “home-made” trailer, but the police, part of a Grand Theft Auto Task Force, knew better. In Texas, you don’t need a title transfer to register a trailer plate, but you do need VIN numbers. It’s illegal to remove them from a vehicle. So they confiscated the trailer, and then did some legwork. The office who called me found a partial VIN number, traced it back to the Fort Worth police report from April, 2011, and gave me a call. I corroborated some details about the trailer I had owned, and verified that it was the trailer they had in their possession.

He was nice enough to send me some pictures of the trailer. Artan is in good shape for having been sold into slavery for seven years. The trailer still had the rack in the back that we used to store ProPanels; the tape from art show parking permits on the front; and the hooks for the weight-balancing rig we used with it, when we towed it with a Jeep Cherokee. It appears to have had a forklift driven through the front diamond plate, and it looks like it has a new tongue jack, but other than that, it’s pretty much the same. 

Since the claim was processed by the insurance company, the trailer now belongs to them. They may auction it off to recoup some of their money, or they may not. I am amazed that it turned up after 7 years. 

(parkerparker :: design | photography) artan theft trailer Thu, 07 Jun 2018 15:27:18 GMT
Framing Information Beyond Basic Black

While I carry several different styles in stock, that doesn't mean that your choices are limited. Please give me a call for a personal consultation to discuss your particular design needs. I work with several large national frame moulding distributors on a regular basis, and can provide custom framing services from a simple gift to a whole office project.  Call or email, and I can provide corner samples, and more images of frame projects.

Classic Frames

The corner chart illustrates the main frames that I stock and hang on my art show walls. Click on any picture to see it larger in the frame information gallery.

Frame Styles
  Redwood and Cherry3" Redwood paired with Brazilian Cherry cap Solid Walnut Frame3" Walnut frame with hand-carved v-groove and walnut cap Basic Black Laminate Frame3/4 Black Frame -- perfect for smaller groupings 1 1/2" Black Wood LaminateWider Black Laminate frame suitable for larger work Palladio Hand-waxed frameBlack/brown Palladio frame with hand-rubbed beeswax finish
  Redwood/Cherry Solid Walnut Basic Black Wide Black Palladio Hand-waxed


My favorite frame for the moment is Palladio, in black/brown. It's a mildly distressed wood frame with a beeswax finish. The dark tones complement most of the "Dakota Montana" and "Stories Told in Things Left Behind" series. I pair it with TruVue's Conservation Reflection Control glass (CRC), which pairs a diffusion layer to keep glare down, with a UV protective coating on the back. Frames are finished on the back with sturdy hangers, plastic coated wire which won't rust or stain your walls, and a black Tyvek® dust-cover.

Peaceful Easy Feelin'Peaceful Easy Feelin'Horses and corral, working ranch near Hot Springs South Dakota   River ViewRiver ViewRuins of the settlement at Lee's Ferry, this window looks toward the landing. Limited edition of 250, signed and numbered.

26 x 20" Palladio Frames with Conservation Reflection Control Glass


The Gallery Frame

Another old standard is the black wood gallery frame. On the larger pieces, (20x26 and above), it's a 1 1/2" matte black style, with simple square lines. For smaller pieces, a variation of this frame in a 3/4" molding is used. And as a third option, I offer a metal frame with a brushed "Florentine" finish, also in black.

Typically with the gallery frame, I use TruVue's Conservation Clear glass, which is offers less expensive UV protection, without the reflection control. Larger pieces (up to 30x40) can be framed and glassed, either in the Palladio style, or in a black gallery frame. On occasion, I also use acrylic glazing to keep the weight down for a more traditional presentation in a frame.

Medium width black frame 8411"Door, Unopened", 16x20 showing proportion of mat and frame. Special Order only.    Thin black gallery frame AF104"Door, Unopened" in thinner black wood gallery frame with conservation glass


Glassless Styles

I've also begun producing larger prints in several glassless configurations. A canvas photograph is laminated to a backing board (GatorBoard) and then framed. The backs are finished with heavy-duty hangers, plastic coated wire and a black Tyvek dustcover.

These laminated pieces also look great in my new custom barnwood frames. You can get these in a number of styles, including the Western style barnwood frame; a redwood / Brazilian cherry combination; and a solid walnut composite. Each frame is crafted by hand, one at a time. Four types of hand-made reclaimed wood frames are available to you, in sizes 16x24 on up to 6 feet wide. 

Redwood/Brazilian Cherry

Redwood and Brazilian Cherry Frame"Watering Hole" 48x32 in a custom made redwood and cherry frame.

48x32 "Watering Hole" in a Redwood/Brazilian Cherry custom frame. Overall size approx. 60" x 42


"Driftwood in the Moonlight" 36 x 24" Redwood and Brazilian Cherry custom made frame

36x24 "Driftwood In the Moonlight", in Redwood/Brazilian Cherry. Overall size approx. 46" x 34"


Leave A Light in the Window framed in walnutWalnut capped frame with hand scribed v-groove 48 x 32

48x32 "Leave A Light in the Window" framed in 3" solid walnut frame with walnut cap. Overall size 58" x 42"


Western Style Frame

You can also choose a simpler barn wood style, the Western Style frame. Constructed of simple aged wood, it frames a traditional image perfectly at an affordable cost. 

36x24 Gray Barnwood "Western" style frameDry Well in classic Western style frame 36x24

36x24 "Dry Well" in Western style gray barn wood frame


Panoramic Photos

In the Shadow of the Bear, custom barn wood frameHandmade frame, 48x20 image

48x20 Panorama "In the Shadow of the Bear" - custom made from reclaimed barnwood


Traditional canvas frames with liner

For a more traditional look, I use a dark-toned 2" square frame with a 1" linen liner, as well as a wider 3" rustic frame paired with a 2.5" liner. These are lightweight, and avoid the obvious issues of shipping and hanging a larger piece of glass.

48 x 20 In the Shadow of the BearTraditional 2"Black frame with 1" natural linen liner

48x20 Panorama "In the Shadow of the Bear" - traditional black frame with 1" natural linen liner


"Roll Out the Barrels" in a traditional frame with liner3" Brown scoop frame with 2" natural linen liner

48x32 "Roll Out the Barrels" framed in 3" Brown Scoop with 2" natural linen liner


Linen Liner Styles

The two styles with liners can be configured with different width liners. I carry three liner widths, in a natural linen: 1", 2" and 3". See the chart below for a comparison of how each looks.

Linen Liner Styles
Liner Width 1" 2" 3"
2" Antique Black Frame 2BLK 1L2" Black frame with 1" Natural Liner 2BLK L22" Black frame with 2" natural linen liner BLK2 L32" Black frame with 3" natural linen liner
3" Brown Scoop Frame 3BRN L13" Brown Scoop frame with 1" natural liner 3BRN 2L3" Brown scoop frame with 2" natural linen liner 3BRN 3L3" Brown scoop frame with 3" natural linen liner

The styles shown are by no means the only frames available to you. Please feel free to give me a call or drop me an email with your requirements. I can also post alternate ideas modelled after your room. Contact me for details on how that can be accomplished. I look forward to working with you on your next decorating project! 

(parkerparker :: design | photography) barn custom frames hand-made reclaimed wood Sun, 03 Dec 2017 21:43:16 GMT
Fair to Midland One summer ago, I met a lovely family from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, at the Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff in St. Joseph, Michigan. She had grown up in West Central South Dakota, and we had a great conversation about the farm country. As it turned out, her grandfather had built one of the grain elevators in town, and I volunteered to make a photograph of it for her.

Moonset, BadlandsMoonset, BadlandsSage Creek Campground, Badlands National Monument, SD

Later that summer, I had the chance to make a quick trip out to Midland. It's a long drive from our ranch near Hill City, so I camped in the Badlands the night before to get a head start on the morning. Camping is free at the Sage Creek Campground, if a bit spare in the accommodations. I did a bit of a hike the evening before, saw the buffalo herd from a great distance and almost stepped on one of the prevalent rattlesnakes.

Midland ElevatorMidland ElevatorDakota Grain, Midland SD The next morning, I hopped in the truck and made tracks for Midland. There are three elevators in town, a big concrete structure now owned by Dakota Mill & Grain. Down the tracks there are a number of grain bins and right in town, there is an ancient wooden elevator that no longer appears to be operating.

Rarin' to GoRarin' to GoMidland, SD

Kathy had given me some ideas on other places in the area to photograph. After the sun got a bit higher in the sky, I headed down Bad River Road, towards Capa and Van Metre. Along the way, handmade signs indicating the presence of a historical Indian trail popped up along the fence line. 

Indians This Way CameIndians This Way CameBad River Rd, Midland SD

The RoostThe RoostCapa, SD Before reaching Capa proper, this old homestead  stands proud along a weedy reservoir. The remains of a toothpaste display sit in the living room, showing that perhaps this building was also used as a store. Capa itself consists of a church where the front and back wall still stand, but the roof and center has collapsed. The school and several houses surrounding it are mostly locked up. I was working my way through the field and making pictures in the backyard of the most central house, when I noticed that the electric meter on one house was actually spinning! The front door was open, and I could hear a fan blowing. Later I learned that this is the last remaining resident of Capa. I probably should have knocked on his door and made friendly conversation, but I had miles to go before finishing this particular assignment. 

Cold SpellCold SpellCapa, SD School's OutSchool's OutCapa SD His & HersHis & HersSchool Outhouses, Capa, SD

A bit further down the road is the leaning remains of the Capa Hotel, which was distinguished by a small hot spring and spa in the back. This area was well-known for its hot springs, as evidenced by the Inn at Midland, which also advertises Hot Baths. The structure was a bit too decrepit to go into, but picturesque nonetheless.

Capa Hotel and Hot SpaCapa Hotel and Hot SpaCapa SD After leaving Capa, I moseying further eastward. A couple of the bridges on Bad River Road are quite sketchy, but solid. The road almost peters out in a couple of places, even though the GPS indicates a through path. I never did find Van Metre, although I did find this ranch on Van Metre Rd. 

Patriotic ActPatriotic ActNear Van Metre, SD

Eventually I came out on a main North/South route and headed South towards Murdo and I-90. Along the way, I came up on a combine moving slowly along the road, headed towards the next field. He graciously pulled over to allow me to pass. A mile or two later, I spotted some magnificent sunflower fields, and had to stop to make photographs of the sunflowers.

Waiting for the SunWaiting for the SunCentral South Dakota

This crop is catching on in the Dakotas, and South Dakota has been the top sunflower-producing state in the US three years running. While I was shooting, the combine caught up to me and passed. Back on the road, I waited patiently for an opportunity to pass. Luckily for me, he turned off on a field road not too far down the highway.

Long RoadLong RoadLooking towards Murdo SD

After twenty miles slow miles, the road jogs into Murdo, where I joined the interstate, and headed for home. A journey well worth taking. I feel as if I didn't cover all of the photographic possibilities, and one of these days plan to head back to the prairie for another go. If you'd like to see the rest of the pictures, click here for the full gallery.


This is the general area covered -- from Midland to Capa to Murdo, SD.

(parkerparker :: design | photography) capa dakota farm midland murdo photographs rural south Sat, 18 Nov 2017 14:29:12 GMT
A Brookside Story My first show of the month is in Kansas City, MO. A favorite in KC, and a favorite of mine, the Brookside Art Annual takes place on Brookside Plaza just south of 63rd in Kansas City. The last time my wife Karyn and I were there, it was cold. And snowy. We tried to setup on Friday morning to be ready for the evening show, but heavy snow hampered our efforts. The big tent, which many artists are under, collapsed during the afternoon, and forced the cancellation of the Friday evening show. We all came back on Saturday, set up in record time, and had a great show despite the cold. And the best part of this particular show was meeting one particular person. 

Splendor in the GrassSplendor in the GrassMercedes on abandoned homestead, Ardmore, South Dakota.


We had a corner booth outside the main tent, on a soggy plot of grass. It was so wet that show volunteers brought hay bales to soak up the excess snow melt. We constructed a back room as sort of a warming hut, and fired up a portable propane heater to stay warm. On my outside wall, we had this large image of Ardmore, South Dakota. Ardmore is one of those towns that I come back to again and again, to document its decay, and to keep an eye out for changes. [image Splendor]. During the show, a woman and her husband came to the booth, and spent some time standing in front if this picture, admiring it, thinking. Finally, she approached me, and said/asked,"That's Ardmore, isn't it?"

I replied, yes, and gave her some background on how I came to make the shot. She replied," I believed my sister-in-law lived in that house." I was taken aback. We meet lots of people during the course of a show, and often, we share common friends, or geography. But I'd never met someone who had lived in one of the abandoned towns I photograph. Not even a relative. Teresa introduced herself, and her husband Cyrus. We exchanged information, and later that week, she forwarded these images of her sister-in-law, Estelle and her husband Paul Allen, in front of the house. The distance between the vibrant town in the sixties, and an abandoned Mercedes in the 21st century is wide. Note the cut grass, and the sidewalks in the second picture. These two pictures are priceless to me, and I thank the family for letting me display them here.

Paul & Estelle Allen HomePaul & Estelle Allen HomeArdmore, South Dakota
April 1966
Used by permission of the family
Paul and Estelle AllenPaul and Estelle AllenArdmore, South Dakota
April 1966
Used by Permission of the family

One of the most rewarding aspects of my job as a visual historian is meeting folks whose history reflects our common experience. The stories in the photographs are often left to the imagination, and it's heartwarming to run across people who can provide details about the places I visit. In that way, a little bit of history is preserved, and passed down. Perhaps you have a story to tell. Many of my shots were the results of someone's reference or an offhand comment while shooting the bull at a show. Come visit me at this year's Brookside Art Annual, and share your stories. Booth 182, outside the big tent on the south end of the show.

(parkerparker :: design | photography) Ardmore Brookside Estelle Allen Pattenson Paul Allen South Dakota ghost rural town Tue, 02 May 2017 15:08:04 GMT
Just One More I've wanted to get a shot of the Red Door in snow for quite a while now. Got my chance after Christmas, when we had 10" of new snow and blizzard conditions on Christmas Day. The door has faded since the first shot I made of it some years ago. I wanted to capture the layers of snow piling up on the masonry work, so this image is not cropped as tight as Red Door, and Red Door II.

Red Door in WinterRed Door in WinterThird in the series -- shot after 12" of snow in December, 2016


(parkerparker :: design | photography) Red door black hills south dakota Wed, 28 Dec 2016 21:00:37 GMT
The Year in Review Reeds and Outlet RocksReeds and Outlet RocksSylvan Lake, Custer State Park, SD As 2016 draws near to the end, we often reflect on the things we accomplished and the tasks left undone. I spent a few hours this week, looking back on my photographic journey. It was a good year. Click here you'd like to see the full slideshow.

As usual, there was time spent in the Black Hills. I was on the road for art shows a good part of the spring, spending time in Florida, Texas and Mississippi. Spring and summer brought the usual warm temperatures, and two road trips. The big expedition of the year was to the Wind River Range, between three western art fairs in Denver, Park City and Evergreen, Colorado. I climbed my first fourteeners, thanks to Ed Dunne, who I met at the Park City show. Karyn and I reconnected with Tom & Randi Nigut in Evergreen, and their son Zach, who worked with me in another life in Chicago. 

A Winter's DreamA Winter's DreamBear Butte, SD I started the year with a week in South Dakota. For some reason, shooting in January always yields interesting images. Mom and I went looking for a barn out by Bear Butte. That drive proved fruitless, as Bear Butte was socked in. The next morning, I tried another approach, and was able to shoot "In the Shadow of the Bear" in sub-freezing temperatures. I also visited the famous Meeker Ranch near Custer, and made friends with some lonely ponies in the aspen grove in Palmer Gulch.

Singin' the BluesSingin' the BluesGround Zero Cafe, Clarksdale, MS Other highlights of the year: a driving in a torrential downpour in Memphis, with dime-sized hail so fierce I had to pull off the road, on the way to the Ridgeland show near Jackson, Mississippi. After the Ridgeland show, the trailer burned out a wheel bearing and had to be driven 25 miles on a smokin' axle to have it repaired. More rain on the way home, through Vicksburg, and on to Clarksdale, where I made some interesting pictures of the Delta Blues Cafe and almost broke my wrist falling backwards off of a curb.

Souls of the Dear DepartedSouls of the Dear DepartedChickamauga Battlefield, GA From Clarksdale to Chattanooga, and an unremarkable show at 4 Bridges. The highlight of Chattanooga was a visit to Lookout Mountain and the Chickamauga Battlefield. The stillness on these hallowed grounds never fails to impress me. The view from the top of Lookout Mountain shows the strategic importance of the Tennessee River. After Chattanooga, spring was upon us. A quick flight to Rapid City, and a late spring snow storm gave me an interesting view of Sylvan Lake and a beautiful shot of Harney Peak and Elkhorn Mountain snow-covered with green fields (below). Another visit to Owanka to see if the elevator had collapsed yet. It hadn't.

Lazy SundayLazy SundayPalmer Gulch, South Dakota

More shows in Springfield, Illinois; Birmingham, Michigan; and St. Joseph's Krasl Art Fair. In between, I again drove the truck out the Black Hills, where I was able to do some hiking. Rediscovered the Golden Slipper mine, where we rode horseback as kids. Mom and I drove out to Dewey, at the edge of the Black Hills. Dewey is an old railroad town, with a few residents still hanging on. One rancher stopped by in his pickup as we were lunching on the grass. He seemed surprised and amused that we'd come all the way out to Dewey to sit under a scrawny cottonwood and picnic, until I explained our historic mission.

New LifeNew LifeSagebrush Pals Clubhouse (former Presbyterian Church) Dewey, SD Back in Michigan, Kozo and I drove to St. Joseph for the Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff. We skipped Ann Arbor this year, and thankful, because it was beastly hot. At the end of July, I wanted to spend more time out west. This time I hauled the trailer out to Denver for a three-show tour. First up, in Denver, the Cheesman Park show. Kozo and I spent time with my niece, Noyes Combs, which turned out to be the highlight of that show. From Denver, I took the trailer up past Cheyenne and across the prairies to the Hills for another week in Palmer Gulch. 

I hung out with family, and then went out to the Badlands for an extended day trip over to Midland to shoot rural scenes and the elevator for some folks I met at Krasl. (Kathy's grandfather built one of the elevators in Midland, and she gave me some great locations to scout.) I spent an evening camped in the Sage Creek Natural Area, and hiked up on the bluffs overlooking Sage Creek. 

Midland ElevatorMidland ElevatorDakota Grain, Midland SD After Midland, I went through Capa, where I almost stumbled on the last remaining resident. I was photographing the abandoned school and the collapsed church, when I inadvertently walked into his backyard. I noticed the the electric meter was running, on what appeared to be an abandoned house. The front door was open, and I could hear his fan whirring. Too shy to make his acquaintance, I did get some interesting images from Capa, including one of the outhouses behind the schoolhouse. Further down the road, near Van Meter, I came across this flag and cow remains. Driving south to pick up the interstate, I headed for home. There were a lot of miles covered that day.

What Once Was...What Once Was...St. Barbara's Church, Miniature church near cemetery, Imlay SD Later that week, my brother Dave and I went looking for St. Barbara's church again, and this time we found it. It wasn't the church I was looking for, but the expedition was worth it. (See previous blog post). St. Barbara's sits in an incredibly remote, incredibly beautiful spot along the White River in the Badlands. All that's left now is the miniature church and the graveyard, with the remains of the church foundation up on the hill.

Wild HorsesWild HorsesPilot Butte, Rock Springs, WY Back on the road with the art show trailer, on the way to Park City, I hiked up to the top of Pilot Butte, near Rock Springs, Wyoming. There's a Masonic plaque bolted to the rock at the foot of the cliff. Wild horses roam the plateau of White Mountain, and I was lucky enough to get close to one of the bands before they quietly moved out of range onto the prairie.

Mt. Helen,  Mt. Sacajawea, Fremont PeakMt. Helen, Mt. Sacajawea, Fremont PeakIsland Lake approach to Titcomb Basin, Wind River Range, WY After Park City, I headed up to the Wind River Range in Wyoming, to clear my head and do some backpacking. Overnighting in Pinedale, I left the Elkhart Park trailhead early in the morning, and walked up to Titcomb Basin. A three day trip all-told, with two overnights between Little Seneca Lake and Seneca Lake. Island Lake was busy with backpackers as it's a popular base for those seeking to bag peaks  up in the Basin, or head over Indian Pass or Dinwoodie Pass.

Titcomb Basin TarnTitcomb Basin TarnWind River Range, Wyoming The light was beautiful, with the threat of thunderstorms almost constant. Rain only came in the last five miles on the way back to the parking lot, with pea-sized hail for a few minutes. More Winds pictures, here.

Open RangeOpen RangeNewcastle, WY From Pinedale, I went back to our ranch in the Black Hills to do some maintenance around the place. I didn't do a ton of shooting, but I did head out towards Wyoming for this shot of the stove sittin' in a field. On the way home, I discovered an old round barn that had been converted to a dance-hall, and a deserted gas station. Later in the fall, Mom and I went down to Buckhorn, and talked to the folks who owned the bar there. They said they knew somebody who'd gotten married in the bar there, but didn't know any of the history behind it.

Kelso RidgeKelso RidgeRocky Mountains, Clear Creek County, CO Back in Denver for the Evergreen show, Ed Dunne and I hiked up Grays and Torrey Peak. One of the first snows of the fall left almost 6" of snow on the trail and added to the challenge. The shot of Kelso Ridge with a snow storm fast approaching is my favorite image from that walk.

September saw us back in Michigan for three shows in a row, and a trip to Peoria for the final show of the season. The axle that burned out a bearing in Jackson, MS burned out again coming into Peoria at 10PM Thursday night. It was bad enough to force me to rent a trailer for show set-up. I was able to tow the trailer to a repair shop and park it. Hauling the show material home in the U-haul, I drove back to Peoria via Indiana to pick up a new axle for the trailer. Got the trailer fixed and towed it home.

Stay AwhileStay AwhileFairburn Hotel, Fairburn SD In October, I caught the last of the fall color in the rocks in the Upper Pine Creek Natural Area. Visiting the ranch town of Fairburn later that week, I met the new owner of the Fairburn Hotel. He was gracious enough to give me a tour of the interior and share his plans for the building. I drove by Dan O'Brien's buffalo ranch and watched the bison grazing on the way home, and that was it for the Black Hills in October.

The Garden GateThe Garden GateGreen's Plantation, North Caicos, Turks & Caicos Islands Karyn and I took our annual vacation to Grace Bay in the Turks, where we went exploring for the first time. North Caicos and Middle Caicos Islands are accessible by ferry. We went over with friends, and visited an old plantation, and walked the secret beach on Mudjin Bay. We also visited some caves and hung out with bats. A key takeaway from this trip? Bring lots of bug spray. The no-see-ums are fierce while waiting at the ferry dock.

Bottle Creek DaydreamsBottle Creek DaydreamsNorth Caicos, Turks & Caicos Islands And that's the year in pictures. View the whole slide show, or view more pictures in the gallery. Things left undone? I'd like to go back to the Winds and spend a little more time. I felt rushed in three days, and didn't get to the head of Titcomb Basin. I still need to find the church in the Badlands. And I'm starting to work on a new project that will take photographs of mine and match them to shots that Dad and my mentor, Hugh Lambert used for their ghost town research in the 60's and 70's. 

If you'd like more information about any of the images, please call or email. Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

(parkerparker :: design | photography) Colorado South Dakota Wind River Wyoming elevator farm fine art horse horses photographs plains rural Wed, 14 Dec 2016 17:18:42 GMT
In Search of St. Barbara's Catholic Church A couple of years ago, I ran across an old photograph taken by my father of a church across a wide chasm in the Badlands. As part of an ongoing project to ​revisit some of the spaces in "Black Hills Ghost Towns", I went looking for this church.

From "Black Hills Ghost Towns", © Watson Parker & Hugh LambertAn unidentified church sits on the edge of the Badlands desolation. Repeated searches have failed to turn up the location of this church.

At first, I thought it was St. Joseph's Catholic Church, on Cuny Table. I visited that church twice, and couldn't match the angle in the original photograph. It is a beautiful church, sitting atop a wide table overlooking the Badlands, but it isn't a match for the picture Dad took in 1957. Spirit Of the PrairieSpirit Of the PrairieSt. Joseph's Mission, Pine Ridge Reservation, SD I kept searching for the church. Another Catholic mission on the Pine Ridge reservation looked promising. The only problem was that it was difficult to access. St. Barbara's sits atop a table just south of the White River, miles from any main highway. From the north, maps showed it accessible from Bouquet Table Road, and indeed, Google Maps showed the most direct route crossing Cain Creek and the White River. Only problem was, there are no bridges. The first time I attempted this route, I went with Mom, and it was springtime. A wet year. We got five miles south of the highway, and were turned back because the area around Cain Creek was flooded, and there wasn't anyway to get across it in our little Subaru.

The Long Way HomeThe Long Way HomeBouquet Table Road, Badlands NP, SD This view is looking back north towards the Badlands, after Mom and I turned around and headed home. The clouds were breaking, and the patterns on the fields were beautiful. Even though we didn't get down to the church, we had a wonderful drive through the Badlands.

White River FordWhite River FordWhite River Ford near St. Barbara's Church, SD

My brother Dave and I took the Toyota down that direction just this past week, and took another road that branches off of SD 44. After some wrong turns, and a few very vague tracks, we managed to get down to the White River, where we tested the water for fordability. In August, the river is low, and the bottom firm. Dave walked across, and I brought the truck over with no real issues.

St. Barbara's ChurchSt. Barbara's ChurchMemorial church and cemetery

Just across the river, we found St. Barbara's cemetery. A miniature memorial church sits atop a small knoll overlooking the plot, where several families have lovingly tended to the graves of the departed. The church is a model of the real church, but it's only about 4 feet high. From a distance, it looks like the real thing.  St. Barbara's Church CemeterySt. Barbara's Church CemeteryCemetery plots and miniature memorial church St. Barbara's ChurchSt. Barbara's ChurchMiniature church near cemetery GravestoneGravestoneSt. Barbara's Church Cemetery

Up on the hill, we found the remains of the original church. Nothing was left but the foundation and a few scraps of tin from the roof. The concrete steps led up to where the door would have been. We walked the entire site, looking for the broad chasm shown in Dad's picture, but again, could not match the site to the photograph. There are other churches in the Badlands, but this was my prime candidate, until now. There is no deep gully anywhere within walking distance of the original church as in Dad's photo. There is a road that looked interesting, heading over toward Conata and another river crossing, but we did not explore that route.

RemainsRemainsSt. Barbara's Church foundation Badlands BluffsBluffs near St. Barbara'sThe road up to Conata crosses a wash here, and runs up the hill towards the White Rive. FoundationFoundationSt. Barbara's Church, all that remains.

River RoadRiver RoadKyle SD

We took the southerly route home, down River Rd. towards Kyle. This valley is remarkably green for August, and a beautiful part of the Badlands I had never seen. It's definitely a 4WD road, with several rough spots, and a couple of creek crossings, like this one, with a VERY dubious bridge. (An alternate route crosses the creek without a bridge, but has an extremely high exit angle that the truck might not have been able to negotiate.) Looking back, I might not have crossed this bridge, as the supports are eroding away from the bank on the entrance side. Note the wrecked car under the bridge in the stream.

A Bridge Too FarA Bridge Too FarWash crossing, RIver Road, Kyle SD The search for St. Barbara's is over, but the search for the mysterious church on the edge of the Badlands desolation continues... If you have an idea of where the church in the original picture might have been, please contact me, or comment below.


(parkerparker :: design | photography) Badlands Catholic Catholic Church Church Kyle Pine Ridge South Dakota St. Barbara's abandoned cemetery mission Mon, 08 Aug 2016 17:25:29 GMT
The first edition of the "Disappearing Agrarian Landscapes" book has arrived! After many requests from friends and patrons, I've designed and printed a coffee table book of my "Disappearing Agrarian Landscape" photographs. It is hard-bound, and printed on high quality matte stock, with a dust cover and accompanying copy explaining how I got started making images of the American West. I have a few copies that are signed and numbered, and would be happy to send you one upon request. The books are expensive to produce, and I am only charging a bit more than they cost me to produce. If you'd like one, please drop me a line or call my studio line at 248-229-7900. They are $60 each, and that includes shipping.

A Disappearing Agrarian Landscape -- text and photographs by James W. Parker $60 with free shipping

(parkerparker :: design | photography) Parker landscape photographs rural Tue, 14 Jun 2016 13:53:36 GMT
Winter in the Black Hills I love coming to South Dakota in the winter. Besides being quiet and peaceful, the light is amazing. Recently, I had the chance to shoot up at Sylvan Lake, at the old Meeker Ranch near Custer, and at Bear Butte. The light was soft and cool, and the snow on the ground sparkled.

Sylvan LakeThe lake is completely frozen over in January, allowing one to walk out in the middle. This photograph is one of my favorite vantage points, near the shore at one end of the lake.

Sylvan Lake, Custer State Park

In the Shadow of the BearIn the Shadow of the BearBear Butte, Sturgis SD

In the Shadow of Bear Butte


The Meeker Ranch, Custer SD

Meeker Ranch BarnMeeker Ranch BarnThanks to Jon Crane for the tip

Barn at the Meeker Ranch

Tiny House on a HillTiny House on a HillMeeker Ranch, Custer SD


Spaghetti WesternSpaghetti WesternMeeker Ranch, Custer SD

Spaghetti Western

CollectionCollectionMeeker Ranch, Custer SD



(parkerparker :: design | photography) Bear Black Butte Dakota Hills Lake Meeker Ranch South Sylvan photograph Mon, 11 Jan 2016 23:02:48 GMT
In Search of St. Barbara

In Dr. Watson Parker's book "Black Hills Ghost Towns", this image of an un-named church appeared. Sitting on the edge of a Badlands chasm, I thought I'd located it last year when I photographed St. Joseph's Mission, on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Mom and I went back this spring to see if the angles from the old shot matched. They don't. We then spent a couple of lovely hours driving around the Badlands, detoured by a road closure on the two-lane between Scenic and the White River Ranger station. We drove miles out of our way, over Red Shirt Table all the way to Kyle and back to Rapid City.

We went back a few days later, and tried to access another possible mission that I've only found on the 7.5 minute USGS quads. Five miles down a single track farm road on top of Bouquet Table, we were turned back again by high water over Cain Creek. This year has been especially wet in Western South Dakota. Lots of hail, thunderstorms, rain. The resulting muck in the Badlands clay is not a pretty sight when you're stuck in it, so we turned around. On the way back, the clouds broke, and I got this wonderful shot looking northward toward the Badlands.

The Long Road HomeThe Long Road HomeBouquet Table Road, Badlands NP, SD

We did have a lovely outing in the Badlands. I got my Senior Interagency Access Pass for all the National Parks -- an amazing value for $10, BTW! You can get 'em at any National Park entrance station, or by mail order for an extra $10. And we spoke to a ranger at the visitor center, who confirmed my guess that St. Barbara's is likely the church in the 1958 photograph. Google satellite imagery is unclear as to whether the church is still standing. It appears as if it may have burned down. 

I'm going to give it another shot this August, and see if I can find the church from the south, unless the river crossings have dried up. (Not likely). It will be a good adventure, nonetheless.


(parkerparker :: design | photography) Badlands Black Hills Pine Ridge South Dakota abandoned church expedition ghost mission town Wed, 05 Aug 2015 17:39:05 GMT
Free Shipping Ended Free shipping on small and medium prints has ended as of August 5, 2015. Thanks to everyone who ordered prints and took advantage of the offer! 

(parkerparker :: design | photography) Wed, 05 Aug 2015 13:14:29 GMT
Mississippi In between shows, I spent several days in the Vicksburg, Mississippi area. My main objective was to revisit the town of Rodney, once a booming town south of Vicksburg. The town has a long history before the Civil War, but now only a few residents remain. While I was there, wandering the dusty streets, the sound of someone mowing a lawn drifted through the town. Two churches remain: the Baptist church, which is deserted, and the Presbyterian church, which is in much better condition. I'll post a few more images next week, but this shot from the Baptist church speaks to my soul.

In the Presence of the LordIn the Presence of the LordRodney, Mississippi -- The Baptist church, established in 1870, abandoned now. The pews are stacked along the wall, and the rain weeps through the windows.

(parkerparker :: design | photography) Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:22:32 GMT
The Woodlands Waterway Art Festival Look for some great artists at this year's tenth anniversary Woodlands Waterway Art Festival, in The Woodlands, Texas. I'm lucky to be one of the invited artists again this year, and I always look forward to festival, the people and the wonderful venue along the Waterway. You can find me in booth 225, round the middle of the pathway near Town Center Park. I'll be showing some brand new work as well as some of the old favorites. 

Visit My Booth at the Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival]]>
(parkerparker :: design | photography) Texas Waterway Woodlands festival photography show Wed, 01 Apr 2015 02:41:56 GMT
Under the Oaks at Vero Beach March 13-15, 2015 

The first show of our 2015 season, "Under the Oaks" in Vero Beach, Florida, was a resounding success, thanks to the new friends we made, and the images we sent home with several happy customers. While the visitors to Vero's Riverside Park event seemed sparse, there were buyers out looking. I had some very interesting conversations with several of you, about traveling the backroads, ghost towns and photography in general.

Behind the scenesYou get to park your trailer behind your booth at Under the Oaks The show is easy to do, logistically. You gotta love a show that lets you park your van or trailer behind your booth. It sure makes it easy to restock inventory, or find a piece that isn't on display. And since Karyn and I hadn't done an outdoor show for several months (Michigan is just not conducive to outdoor festivals in January or February), we were a bit rusty on the details. UTO gives us the perfect opportunity to get our routines down again, and remember where we stashed that critical piece of equipment.

The show set-up is Thursday, before the show opens on Friday. Driving into the park, I was greeted by the show folks at the entrance, and given my packet with directions to my spot. I backed the trailer into position and got the canopy and walls up with only minor discomfort. Karyn was not with me for the first part of the set-up, due to a delay in her travel plans from Detroit. She usually flies in for the weekend shows, while I'm the one who moves the show trailer from city to city. This time, her flight plans had been derailed, and she planned to fly into Orlando and rent a car to meet me later in Vero Beach.

After hanging all the art on Thursday, we went to our hotel, and a pleasant romantic dinner for the two of us at Carraba's. Friday morning dawned clear and bright, and we got the display open and ready for business by 9AM. We saw the quality control volunteer and then shortly after, the judges came by to evaluate the artists for awards.

Friday we sold a few matted prints, but after about 1PM, the crowds thinned out, and by 3PM it was pretty much a ghost town. The show hours run from 9-5 both Friday and Saturday, and a very civilized 10-4 on Sunday. Friday night, the Vero Beach Art Club hosts an artists dinner at the Elks Club, catered by Scampi Grill. We enjoyed the party and the food, in the company of several artist friends. I was pleasantly surprised to win an award this year -- Second Place in the Photography/Digital/Mixed Media category. This is primarily a painter's show, and there are three separate categories for painting, while other media are lumped together in one homogenous group. Glass, Wood and Crafts are all in the "Crafty Crafters" category -- our friends Beth and Stephen Radtke won for their marvelous carved gourd work.

Second Place Award at Vero BeachIt's a wide open category... Secret Garden Saturday was a repeat of Friday, with a few sales of smaller matted work. We had a steady flow of customers, and lots of interest about the subject of my work. We kept busy until about 1:30, when again, it got a little too warm for folks, and the foot traffic dwindled. In Vero Beach, people like to come early before the sun heats up the path too much. It's a pleasant experience in the morning, and many people opt to come for an hour or two before the heat of the day. Saturday night, we had light snacks and cocktails at the bar at Bonefish, a favorite hangout. Then it was off to a party at one of the artist's homes in Vero. Alan and Barbara host a party for the UTO artists every year, and they have a lovely home with a secret garden. Lots of fun with friends.

Sunday we rinsed and repeated. Two very good sales, and lots of laughs with new acquaintances. I tried out my new iPad email sign-up form. I'm using Chimpadedoo, which is tied to MailChimp. It's simple to setup, but seems to suffer from a lack of visibility, since an iPad mini doesn't look like a guest book. The form is hard to see in bright light, too. Some bugs to work out, but I like the idea of letting guests type in their own email address, and once entered, the data isn't visible to other people.

Under the Oaks at Under the OaksVero Beach Art Show Load out was easy. The predicted rain shower came quickly and was over fast around noon, and we had dry tents by load-out time. Most everyone was gone by the time we had our work packed and reconfigured for the next show in Naples this coming weekend. I'm going to try something different at this show. More about that, later.

It's a local show that's well-supported by a well-educated older population. The work is biased towards painters, since the Vero Beach Art Club, who runs the show, is primarily an organization of painters. No photographs on canvas can be hung here, which is somewhat of an arcane rule, but it's their show. They can run it however they see fit. It has its quirks, but all in all, it's a well-run show, and easy to do. This year, sales and attendance seemed lower than in years past. You couldn't blame the weather, and we did well. All in all, we had a fun time in Vero Beach.

If you are interested in applying to the show, applications are posted to Juried Art Services in the fall preceding the show year. The show's website is

(parkerparker :: design | photography) Beach Florida Oaks Under Vero art festival painting photography show the Tue, 17 Mar 2015 13:30:00 GMT
New Season, New Blog To celebrate the coming of spring, and the start of a new art show season, I'm moving my blog posts to the ZenFolio site in an effort to post more. The old blog, Life As An Itinerant Artist, will remain live at for the time being, as the WordPress installation offers much more control over the back end. I'm also thinking about a site redesign, which may or may not include the store functions here on ZenFolio.

What do you think? Do you like the ZenFolio store? Have you found it easy to navigate and locate images that you love? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

(parkerparker :: design | photography) art artist blog festival itinerant photography show Mon, 16 Mar 2015 11:28:41 GMT
Free Shipping on Small & Medium Prints! For a limited time only, I'm offering free shipping on 11x14 and 16x20 matted prints. Just add your selection to your shopping cart, and we'll do the rest.

I'm thinking about streamlining my 10x10' art show display by showing fewer prints at shows, and giving visitors more room to view the framed work. To do that, something has to go. And, as an experiment, I'm not going to be using the large double-sided bin at the Downtown Naples Art Festival this coming weekend. That doesn't mean you can't purchase the smaller work, but it will only be available online during the month of March. So to make the transition easier, you save when you order prints online! Win-win!

(parkerparker :: design | photography) parkerparker photographs Mon, 16 Mar 2015 11:20:14 GMT