The Magic and Mystery of the Southwest…’s what I LIVE for!

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To me there is nothing more mystical and magical than shooting photos at the many ancient ruins and sacred places that are scattered throughout the Southwest. Living in the region since 1989 and having studied the Ancient Cultures of the Southwest for many years, I love to sneak off and commune with the Ancient Ones any chance that I have. Luckily my work takes me to most of these places.

SmHand of Time


Having been born and raised in Miami, Florida and spending the first 30 years of my life there, I was unexplainably and immediately captured by the amazing history and mystical feel of the Southwest the very first time I visited it back in 1989. So much so that when I returned home to Miami after that trip I sold all of my worldly belongings and what I did not sell I put in my little car and drove west. At the time I had a successful kids clothing design business with my twin sister in Miami but I walked away from all of it to follow my heart and pursue my passion. It did not go over very well with my family but I knew I had to move west, it was my calling and it was time. In high school I took some photography classes and instantly fell in love with spending hours in the darkroom and the creativity of it all. Those classes captured me like no other class I ever took and I finally knew that I found something I was good at. After high school though I do not touch a camera for years but I knew that I had to try to make a living when I moved west so that is when I decided to pick up the camera again and see if I could carve out some sort of living for myself. So that is exactly what I set out to do and that is what I did. For the last 23+ years I have been exploring and photographing the remote reaches of the Southwest and loving every minute of it. One of the most magical things to me is to explore and shoot photographs in the mystical places once inhabited by the Anasazi or as we now call them, the Ancestral Puebloans.

SmChey shooting at FK-2_Snapseed

I love searching out ancient Kivas and mystical ruins and spending time there feeling what it must’ve been like to be there hundreds or even thousands of years ago. Some of these places are so powerful and you can still feel the spirits of those who were there before. When I shot the photo below in a Kiva at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado it was a very magical moment. When I climbed down into the Kiva there were several people down there, it was summertime and it was very crowded. As the people climbed up the ladder I watched as the dust from the Kiva floor was kicked up and the minute the people got off the ladder a beam of light shined straight down into the Kiva and mixed with the dust, that is when the magic happened. With only seconds to spare before someone else climbed down into the subterranean chamber, I pushed the person next to me out-of-the-way (nicely), leaned up against the Kiva wall, held my breath and shot as many photos as I could and I shoot fast! Luckily I had my wide angle lens on which is why I needed as much room as possible and had to gently nudge that person out of the way! I was NOT going to mess up this photo opp. After the “opp” was over the person that I had gently nudged out of the way looked at me and said, “I don’t know where you just went but you were glowing, it’s as if the suns energy was going through you when you shot that photo” and I said, “Well, at times I do feel like I am channeling some ancient energy when I shoot some of these photos because I don’t often know how I get the results that I get. I know that sounds very twilight zoney but it’s true. At times I feel like a vessel translating an ancient message with my camera. It is a very powerful experience to feel like that and I feel very fortunate that I am able to be aware and feel that feeling!” They just looked at me and climbed up the ladder, I’m sure that they thought I was a nut. And I am sure it was way more info than they needed…….Oh well…it’s the truth!

Kiva Light


I have been lucky to shoot this amazing light beam in several Kivas around the Southwest as well as travel into some very remote ruins that are not on any map. I just show up at the right time and BAM….the magic happens. Last year I thought long and hard about putting together a very small Photo Workshop to take some people into some of these places that are so meaningful to me. I was a little hesitant at first because I wanted to make sure whoever I took into these places felt the same reverence and respect for them that I did. Maybe that was a lot to ask but I thought if I didn’t find the right people or they did not find me then I just would not do the workshop and that was okay. It has to be right! But I did find two very special people to do my first Land of the Ancients Photo Workshop & Tour that I held last September, it was perfect. They agreed to keep some of my “secrets” and not divulge a few of the places that I shared with them since I don’t want these magical places to become overrun with crowds – ever! I have decided that I will be doing another one of these magical workshops, or as I call them Exclusive Workshops in June 2014. We meet in Moab and for 4 days I immerse you in the magic and mystery of the ancient Southwest. If you have ever wanted to immerse yourself in that part of the Southwest and return home with magical photos then this is the workshop for you. Be sure to visit my workshop page and read all about this magical offering, you can even read the testimonials of the people that did it last year. One word of caution though, there is some very rugged hiking involved in getting to some of these remote places and I have to pre approve anybody that is interested in doing the workshop via telephone. I cannot take chances with your health and welfare or anybody else’s on the trip, including mine, so I cannot be too careful about this.

SmLand of the Ancients 16x20

I look forward to sharing these magical places with you. Please visit my Photo Workshop page for more information about my “Land of the Ancients” 4 Day Exclusive Photo Workshop & Tour. 

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