Monday, June 29, 2009


One thing I have found through the years of being on the shooting end of the camera is that you tend to feel safe or at least somehow removed from the reality of what’s happening right in front of you.
Last week I was on an extensive shoot for an environmental organization which took me all around the island of Sri Lanka. It was a treat once again to see the raw beauty and diversity of the country since mobility has been limited for many years due to the civil war.
On one stretch of road carved out of dense jungle a thin wire had been erected along one side to keep the elephants off the road and away from the sparse settlements on the other side. The locals said they put an electric charge through the fence at night and the pachyderms had learned to keep a little distance from it. As we drove down the road, I spotted elephants right inside the wire and immediately ordered the driver to stop! We eased our way to a stationary position and tried not to spook the ele’s. But, our caution had been unnecessary. They stayed put and didn’t seem bothered by our presence. These guys were as wild as can be but must have been attracted by the action along the road as a form of entertainment unavailable in the bush. Or, maybe they had scored an occasional treat from the homo sapiens who ventured to stop and were waiting for another handout.
Well, I not only ventured to stop but, encouraged by their inviting demeanor, beat a quick path to the fence, trusting the mammoth had fresh memory of a recent zapping and trusting someone had remembered to turn off the juice.
I didn’t want to see any fence in my wildlife shots, so I poked my head and camera through the wires and began shooting with delight. Sriyani and the others stayed in the van and screamed blood curdling encouragement each time a big one would make a move.
We made three such stops and I was in my elephant element!
The last guy was the kicker, though… I noticed he was all alone and seemed a little feisty (the neighbors called him ferocious!). I couldn’t resist a beautiful open vista behind him and had to stop one more time. Brimming with confidence, I assumed my newly acquired elephant dance mode and began shooting this Goliath through the wire with a wide angle lens just a few meters away… This big fella wasn’t as cordial and began making gestures which I’ve since learned mean ‘get the #!!*%!# outta here or I’ll kick your little skinny white *%+#!’  Still trusting my wire protector I diligently shot on until the inevitable happened… The high pitched screaming sounds of excitment coming from the van finally spooked the big guy and he just couldn’t take anymore. 
He made a surprisingly quick and athletic lunging move in my direction! Amazing!!! Being a creature of instinct myself, I spun and began my own sprint to safety. Not having previously calculated the 2 foot anthill right behind me, I went flying and so did my camera and glasses (which came up missing after an inventory check of body parts after limping to the van).
On reflection, he could have had me if he wanted me, but probably got a big kick just seeing me scramble.
Camera was OK. I was a bit bruised, but WOW! What a thrill! ...a face to face, personal encounter with the amazing, wild King of the island and coming up with some great shots was a bonus!

humbling along and still happy to be here...

I love this place!


Thursday, June 18, 2009


Oh, the streets of Rome are filled with rubble…ancient footsteps everywhere… At least that was Bob Dylan’s take on the city. So much history to the place. I’ve always felt cities and specific areas in the world have ruling spiritual authorities over them which tend to define their personality and direct their priorities and activities through the years. Dominance and the quest for worldly power have been the obvious historical theme of the ancient Roman Empire, and with the continuing religious nerve center of the Catholic Church locating in the Vatican City, the beat goes on. Impressions of grandeur and systematic control keep the people connected with ‘something bigger than themselves’ and in awe of their handlers…
Nevertheless, people come and go and leave not just their footprints, but works of artistic expressions everywhere… In addition, these folks know how to make a pretty good pizza!
Here are a few impressions from our recent whirlwind tour…

I'll be out for a few days, but will be posting more pix of Rome on the website next week...

till then,
God Bless and Happy Birthday to Sriyani, today!!!
She is my blessing every day!


Sunday, June 7, 2009


As Sriyani and I worked our way from the States over to Sri Lanka, we took a rare detour for a couple weeks. It was my great pleasure to have young Luke along for a few days at the start. He is a great guy! I would go anywhere with him. It’s so neat to watch… wherever he goes people naturally are drawn to him and he reciprocates with kind and genuine interest. He’s a great friend and I don’t think he realizes what a gift he has for making friends and being a such a good one. He takes it all in stride…pretty cool….
I’m sure he got a little tired of posing for Dad, but hey…when he’s flipping through his family album with his grand kids, he’ll have something to talk about.
In the meantime, let me introduce Luke….. O'Hare Airport Chicago

...leaving the States

...with Mom at the Vatican City

...1st day in Rome

...a striking similarity!

...checking out works of the Masters the Sistine Chapel the Pantheon the Colosseum of Rome

If you want to see some more pix of Luke check them out at

...a friend indeed,


Monday, June 1, 2009


…to Center Court at the French Open, that is.

Sriyani and I looking a little wiped out here. That’s because we were. After several days on the road and an especially long one the day before, we timed our moves to be in Paris during the French Open and realize a dream of seeing the matches at Roland Garros. We were a bit too assuming though, thinking we could just show up, stand in line and purchase our tickets at the gate. Well, it seems our chosen day was also the day for several thousand other fans with the same idea in mind. So, to our huge disappointment we arrived in the morning greeted by the news of ‘All Sold Out!’ No Way!!!… If I was a crybaby that would have been my cue. I came REAL close...

Deciding not to accept defeat, we returned for the evening session and not only made it through the gate, but slipped into one of the smaller court venues, saw a great match and had a wonderful time. The Annex Courts as they call them surround the bigger main stage courts, and are the exquisitely manicured, intimate atmospheres for epic battles for the up and coming stars and seasoned veterans.
Fortunately, we settled into a great 5 set match between an Italian and a Russian player, Igor and Fabio…I’ll let you figure which one was from where.
I had my little pocket camera with me and snapped off a few pix while we were there….

I have started a new feature on my website called ‘Latest’ (separate from ‘Greatest’) just below the picture on the home page. There I will be featuring shots of whatever I’m shooting or working on at the moment. Most of the time I’ll make reference on this blog, then have more pix of the same subject over there.

See you over there. Till then, I will be…

painting the lines,

Tom………..oh, yeah, Igor won 7-5 in the 5th