Category Archives: Photography

Strolling down memory Lane – Bedford Riding Lanes Assocation, NY

Mid- October, forests of leaves are beginning to change color, when my brother and I met in Stamford, Conneticut  to  revisit our lives 40 years past.  On the first evening we met up with Alice Carter.  A horse and mini dacshund lover/trainer and daughter of  Sue and Fred Carter, my mom – Spencer’s friends, banker and estate trustee.  We -McLeans are thankful and appreciative of all that the Carters did for our family and thus it was great to reconnect with Alice 40 years later.   The first evening Alice laid the ground of what to expect the following day’s visit to Bedford (NY) and beyond. She and Hoot reminised, recalled names and faces and updated us on North Salem Hunt Country.  In typical “Craig” fashion, I fell asleep. My horsey saturation point matured at a young age.

The following morning we had a 10 AM appointment with Charolotte Kooyman – BRLA maintenance coordinator volunteer who also happens to live in a “new ” house below our former  Hook Road ” homestead” – Stirrup Cup Farm.  BRLA stands for the Bedford Riding Lanes Association which is a network of trails crossing and looping through mostly private lands.  The now non-profit association manages well over a 100 miles of trails. My mom -Spencer, held the same position as Charlotte 40 years past and  my  life roots developed  and grew along these trails.  Revisiting the BRLA trails around our homestead was the focus of our visit.

My intention for the visit was to scope out a potential 40 year, retrospective photographic portfolio project.  Since my early years, the natural environment has been and is the focus of my life’s work.  As a young child, Spencer put me on horseback and took me on her daily rides.  My memories were that of boredom as mom and lady friends rode ahead, dragged me along, chatting about this and that.  Thus at the time, I did not know what was happening as I bonded to the natural world.  My live as a child was all about the woods, streams and trails.  Since moving to Colorado, growing up, I earned a masters degree in ecology, have taught outdoor/ environmental education, was a field biologist and now a fine art contemplative, nature photographer.  About a year ago, I began reflecting upon my early childhood influences, horse trails, Lee’s Pond and St Matthews Glebe land. I started talking to my brother , interest grew and here we are in Bedford

Here we are  at our first photo stop,  parked at the intersection of Hook Road and route 22, the location of the historic Bedford Oak Tree.  The surrounding meadow and golf course across the street appeared more overgrown but the Beddford Oak looked the same, situated behind a green wooden gate and bordered by stonewalls.  The branches sprawl and extend like spider legs reaching out in space.  The trunk is moss covered, and knotted with warty growths.  The tree exudes age, wisdom and earned respect; and in this wealthy provencial suburb of Manhatten, there is another non-profit association that supports the elder care needs of this amazing tree – the Bedford Oak Foundation.  After a brief moment of admiration and photographs, we continued up the still dirt Hook Road. We passed the Pattersons, Reimers, Lees, Davidson, Cunningham, Gwynne, Nicely, Gaul, Ewing/George, Mitchell, Winnokur, Snake Ladys house, Alperts, Saunders, Holiday, McLean and finally reached the gated Kooyman home, a stone’s throw from the  river of my childhood memories.Charlotte is a lovely gracious woman who was excited to meet us, serve us coffee and be our tour guide for the morning.

I shared a collection of old photos from the family scrap albums and gave her a book about Spencer and her life on horseback that my sister Cynthia wrote after mom died in 2005.  We began the tour walking up past the old “homestead”.  The area looked significantly different.  The barn and garage were still in tact.  The house looks much nicer as to the yard/grounds.  Everything was manicured.  The split rail fencing was replaced with white plastic fencing and our horse pastures were mostly lawn.  The hillside down to Charlotte’s house was terraced and much of the vegetation near the creek was removed giving way to river views from Charlotte’s living room.  No horses lived on the property.  The driveway was paved and new, square edged stonewalls replaced most of the previous hand-stacked stone walls.  Yet, it was the stonewalls that gave me my bearings.  The homestead land looked much smaller, everything was much more dense and compact.  From the intersection of our old driveway and road extension to Charlotte’s we accessed the BRLA that paralleled our propertyline and a stonewall.  The trail was wide leaf covered, the woods were drastically different. 40 years ago, the woods were a mix of pine and hemlock.  The understory was mostly needle duff and easy to navigate cross country. The woods  and creek were my playground,  a place to make forts, swing on vines,  raft the rapids, discover and explore with my imagination.  The woods were a short cut to school, to friends houses and town.  My childhood was all about the woods, a place that nurtured my soul and spirit.

It is now January 2015, three months later and I keep thinking about the visit to my childhood woods.  They were different.  The coniferous trees were gone and replaced by weedy brambles and impenetrable thorns.  Everything was overgrown or gentrified with manicured lawns, gates, rock walls, fortresses and no trespassing signs.  The church lands were posted with ” hike in pairs”, it was no longer safe to walk the woods alone.  Ticks and lyme disease are a hinderance too.  Nature was no longer a place for children to play.  It is a dangerous, unstructured, unaccountable place for children.  The woods were dead and my childhood memories of joy, adventure, creativity, exploration and free form play is a thing of the past.  I am dated, old fashioned  and an advocate for nature.

Communities need places and organizations like the BRLA trails.  People need to be in nature.  Nature and the out of doors are healing.  We need need sunshine and connection . The modern world is forgetting and in this (hopefully short lived) amnesia we are creating havoc on the planet and to ourselves. We need places like the chapel in the woods, the st. matthew glebe land, the national forests, wilderness, and free flowing rivers to nurture our birthrights of love, creativity, imagination, body awareness, emotions and intellect.  We think we can solve our problems with intellectual reasoning and science.  Much of which we can,  but we need to reconnect and drop into our hearts.  We need to learn to listen deeply and pay attention to our internal knowing.  Nature is our guide and we need to come home and give her thanks.  Life will be better when we reconnect and nourish ourselves and nature.






Boulder Open Studios Oct 2014

Tour my studio and gallery at Boulder Open Studios, October 4th-5th and 11th-12th.

Please join me for my premiere Open Studios exhibit on October 4th-5th and 11th-12th (Saturdays and Sundays). This juried, fine art exhibition showcases some of Boulder County’s most talented artists right in their studios so you can see their workflow and ask questions about their techniques in person. Admission is free. My doors will be open from 12:00 – 6:00 pm each day. Please feel free to contact me for directions, or support the OpenArts community by purchasing a map to over 125 artists’ studios for just $12. This is a great way to spend an art-filled weekend in one of the most beautiful cities in the country! More information is available at

OPENING RECEPTION: One of Boulder’s biggest nights for the arts is the Opening Reception for Open Studios. Each artist will have one piece on display so that visitors can select which studios they want to visit, and maps will be available for purchase. Join me and over a thousand art enthusiasts as we kick it off on Friday, October 3rd from 5:00 – 8:00 pm at 2525 Arapahoe Avenue, #E34, in Boulder (in the Village Shopping Center, on the west side, next to the Pedestrian Shop). Refreshments will be served, dress is casual. If you’ve attended the Opening Reception in the past, please note the venue change for this year.

WILD Womens Week, July 26-August 1, 2015, Crested Butte, Colorado

Womens Wellness Week  highlights (July 26-August 1, 2015, Crested Butte, Colorado):

  • Disconnect to Reconnect, Recharge and Re-focus
  • Hike in spectacular aspen, wildflower and alpine environs. Purify self in mountain streams.
  • Nourish your body, mind and spirit with healthy foods, essential oils and flower essence.
  • Re-ignite your creativity through journaling, photography and collage
  • Dance, sing and share stories around a campfire
  • Have fun, make new friends and grow your potential
  • Crested Butte Arts Festival Week

Suggested Itinerary:

Sunday July 26: Arrive to Crested Butte, relax and settle into your new home. Lodging and transportation not included.

Monday July 27:  Orient yourself to town,  acclimate to the altitude, make it a spa day to fully relax and settle.  Monday evening: Music/dinner in the park and meet your group. Orientation to program and coming events.

Tues/Wed/Thurs July 28-30:  Main Attractions ( a suggested itinerary)

  • Tues: 9am start, body warmups and attunement, stretching and brisk walking to aspen meadows (or rent townie cruiser bikes and explore upper loop/slate river watershed).  Learn meditation basics.  Mindful eating and nourishment presentation/discussion followed by a balanced and healthy lunch, dark chocolate too!  Walking meditation, goal setting and journaling activities. Pre-planning for next day wilderness hike and exploration.  Evening program.
  • Weds:  meet at shuttle bus at 7:30 AM.  Shuttle to trailhead.  Safety/equipment talk.  Body warmups,  walking meditation/hike into backcountry.  Lunch in backcountry. Shinrin yoku, nature photography and journaling.  Spa time available in late afternoon/early evening.
  • Thurs:  sunrise start.  Oh Be Joyful trailhead hike and water purification ceremony (weather dependent).  Using nature as metaphor and working with life challenges and transitions. Back in town by 4pm.  Group dinner in town.
  • Friday:  Optional alpine hike day.    Art festival kicks off at 5pm,  downtown Crested Butte.
  • Sat/sunday:  Crested Butte Art Festival. Head home refreshed in paradise!








Oh Be Joyful Journeys

DSC00672 Welcome to Oh Be Joyful Journeys. OBJoyful provides customized contemplative healing art journeys in nature. We host classes in Boulder, Crested Butte and someday Beyond! Our motto is: Disconnect to Reconnect. It is our goal to help people reconnect to their center place, to reconnect to their biology, to reconnect to their heart and to reconnect with what matters most. We teach people how to drop into themselves, how to quiet the mind and how to fully awaken to the wondrous world around. We use nature as our metaphor and healer. Our curriculum of activities are specifically designed to fully integrate nature within our cells and to discover a deep appreciation for ourselves and for nature. We are interdependent,  co-creators and codependent energy beings. We need each other to thrive and fully engage our senses. Life on earth is meant to be a sensual, pleasurable experience — if we know how! Oh Be Joyful Journeys helps facilitate the awakening of our precious gifts both within ourselves and on this earth.


Oh Be Joyful Journeys is a collaborative community of people who are learning how to create beauty from darkness, learning to befriend demons, adapt to change and grow love from life experiences and traumas. Oh Be Joyful teaches and customizes journeys through a variety of creative modalities; photography,collage, journaling, meditation, music, breath exercise, hiking, nature bathing (shinrin-yoku and ishnaan). We schedule dates to honor the sunrise, to acknowledge the changing of the season and to embrace the abundance and gifts of the earth. We explore the mythologies of the evening skies. We nurture our body, mind and spirit with healthy foods and habits. We are a growing, expanding community learning to be vulnerable enough to discuss our personal challenges. To acknowledge that we aren’t alone, we are not perfect but we are unique and beautiful in our own way. No one person is the same like no one snowflake is the same. We all have special gifts and with Oh Be Joyful as our guide, nature as our healer, and a personal willingness to follow the practices, transformation can happen.

Oh Be Joyful can also help you disconnect from mental agendas, relax into a sense of place and fully embrace life in Crested Butte – a Rocky Mountain paradise!

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Oh Be Joyful provides 2-hr, 1/2 day, full day and longer retreats for individuals, groups, families and adventuresome friends. All activities are catered and customized to our clients needs. Just ask and it will be given…. First rule of the universe!

Black and White Photography

In 8th grade, I took a black and white darkroom photography class and was hooked! I like black and white photography because it is simple, rich in details and highlights the aesthetics of composition, textures, lines, light and shadows.  My current work is all digitally produced, captured in color and converted to monochrome in post-processing.  I like this workflow because more of my time is spent outdoors  than in.

Fall Aspens
Fall Aspens