Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Seen But Not Heard



“Your heart influences your art.” 
Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha

Two years ago last May, I had purchased my first full-frame sensor camera, a used Canon 5D Mark II.  A few months after that I bought my first Canon L series lens, a 24-105mm. It's the only lens I own that I bought new.  I still use the same gear today.  I was so excited about the camera but it took a awhile to actually have the money. In the meantime, I'd read the entire David Busch manual on the camera before I ever even touched it. 

Published: Outdoor Photographer Magazine


Published in the Black and White Issue, August 2014

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Field Of Dreams



“Every day brings us a chance to start over. We all have those stand down moments when we need to clear the way for truth and transformation. Sometimes those are painful moments. Though it’s hard to imagine, when you lose what you thought was a valued relationship, when the job that defined you for twenty years is gone, when the people you counted on turn their backs on you; you may actually be taking a step forward on the path to your truest desires and ultimately to your destiny. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014


"Come over the hills and far with me
And be my love in the rain." 
— Robert Frost

There is a certain melancholic sleepiness I'm drawn to within the scenes of the American countryside. Laced eloquently with small man-made structures amid rolling green pastures , majestic mountain ranges dwarfed by the brooding heavens. Where the frailties of man mingle with the exquisite beauty of nature.

Robert Frost's "Road less traveled" seen in the foreground

Friday, August 15, 2014

“Some beautiful paths can't be discovered without getting lost.” 
― Erol Ozan

The Scenic Roads
Indian Route 60, Arizona 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Life's A Journal


 Amidst the sterility of the surgical environment, the antiseptic trays, cold mayo stand set ups and the endless gloving and de-gloving sometimes the human element is over-shadowed by volume and simply referred to as a case. 
In my particular niche of surgery (I work as a surgical technician)  the case if often referred to as a body part.  The nose in 5, or the eyelid in 6.  I drive in dark morning hours, greeted by security in a high-rise setting deep in the city. Many times while setting up a case I have stared out the window to view the downtown city lights twinkling as the concrete jungle prepares for a new day. I think of where I want to explore next and how I'd rather have my tripod in my hand and my hiking shoes on.  I count myself as very fortunate to have been gainfully employed in a medical specially that funds my gear, explorations and gives me the room and time to roam the American Southwest. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Featured On Luminous Landscapes

I'm very honored to be featured on such a well-respected website as; 

This website has been an amazing source of information, education and inspiration for my emerging career.  Kevin Raber has been watching my development since the very beginning so he's seen the good, the bad and the emerging. 
Kevin and Michael and Jeff have been a huge part of my development and I'm very grateful. 


Fields of Gold


"You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You'll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we walk in fields of gold


So she took her love for to gaze awhile
Upon the fields of barley
In his arms she fell as her hair came down
Among the fields of gold"

-Sting-

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Me



I had a couple of hours to come up with a bio and photo of myself for a photography project I was working on.  To be truthful, I knew I had to do it but procrastinated hugely.   I was actually on my way out to hike with my dog and had to turn around when I got a email  to "get it done" today.

Even though at one point in my years as a California beach girl, I did print work. I was never prepared for the industry.  I'd been "scouted" one day at a gym and didn't give it much thought.  A "particular" shot went viral on AOL and driving one day in my car, I actually heard the local DJ's talking about my photo, I became suspiciously fearful of attention.

 I loved the photography but after a while, the act of having the camera pointed at me created a full-blown phobia. I have no idea why, I just know the anxiety it produced. If you want to get rid of me, you'll never have to insult me, just aim a camera at me and  I'm gone.

  How do you explain such a fear.  At a breakfast meeting with a group of photographers, one literally sat across the table and aimed his camera at me while I tried to eat.  I left.  I now found myself avoid meetings, meet-ups, anything like that, and yes, I know it's my loss.  I'm trying to work through it. 

After delving into a crash course in self-portraiture this weekend, I realized the whole time, my heart was pounding!  I'd get the camera in focus and my face wouldn't be. I'd get my face in focus and my tripod wouldn't be. I had  a tough time with focus and this is what I got!! . I know I had this naive notion that as my photography was getting more and more exposure, I could still live in an anonymous role as just the person behind the camera or  behind the pen. My theories were starting to break apart, into reality. Especially with the advent of social media, obscurity is an obscure notion.  Recognition happens, albeit uncomfortably. 

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Before All Else: Love

" But before all else, a work of art is the creation of love. Love for the subject first and for the medium second.... Love is the general criterion by which the rare photograph is judged. It must contain it to be not less than the best of which the photographer is capable" 
Eliot Porter 

If there is ever a place that fully delights all my sensibilities, the hiker, the painter and the photographer and more, it is
 The Painted Desert.
 (Arizona) 

It conjures up memories of those narrated Walt Disney nature movies, that little rock collection my mother bought for me at the Grand Canyon which held a little vial of layered and colored sand. It delights every bit of the artist within when I see pastel layers now brought into full chromic saturation by the summer rain. The colors seem to run as they do on a sheet of pre-moistened warm Arches, down slopes, into crevices creating patterns and mingling with the next hue in fine outstretched fingers. Sweeping lines and soft muted domes like a field of sweet ice-cream cones rolling on forever. In my compositional thought processes I make no distinction between photos or paintings, paint or pixels. 

It's all art to me. 

Monday, August 04, 2014

Knowing

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” 
― Maya Angelou

The Blue Lakes Trail, Colorado

For almost a year I prepared for a hike and to photograph at a location I'd seen in a magazine awhile back.  I purposely wanted to do the hike during the monsoon to insure some dramatic skies or at least hope for them.   The surgeon I work for had also planned in advance an extreme backpacking trip out of the county so I had enough time to reserve a cabin in the area for several days in case I needed the extra time.  During the months that lead up to the hike I had plenty of time to study about the trek, terrain, wildlife and angles to consider with the photography.  Probably the most prepared I've ever been for a hiking/photography endeavor or so I thought. 

Sunday, August 03, 2014

An International Affair

Interviewed by the UK magazine: On Landscape 

"There can be many reasons why we first pick up a camera, but sooner or later it takes us on a journey. A relatively recent traveller is North American landscape photographer Valerie Millett. You should not delude yourself over her apparent speed of travel, however effective her use of social media. Behind the development in her image making lies a firm determination to better herself, and a considerable amount of hard work. She is now carefully forging a path of her own choosing, travelling at her own pace. You may have come across her blog which reveals that she is as comfortable with words as with images, however created. A mix of apt quotations and her own words tell of a developing dialogue with land and light and reveal something of the soul of this particular photographer."


Doesn't require a paid subscription, just registering to view entire article. Take a look and if you need to register to access 'Free with Sub' content this link will be helpful https://www.onlandscape.co.uk/wp-login.php?action=join_onlandscape

However the features and images always appear at their best in the PDF which subscribers can download (soon).

The Painted Desert


Saturday, August 02, 2014


Around me were the echoing dunes, 
beyond me and through me
This is where I feel you close
where I remember you most
The cold and ever moving creek nestled in 
among the supai sandstone in muted echoes 
We two will pass through death as ages lengthen
Before you hear that sound again with me


Thursday, July 31, 2014


A favorite subject of mine is that of still water and its reflections. 
I'm often actually standing in the water and have to remain perfectly still. 
It is essential for my images to be very sharp so I can not have any
camera movement.  I ALWAYS use a tripod and ball-head. 

I use Induro gear for my photography and it
has no doubt simplified my shooting process.  It's been dragged through the 
mud and snow, banged, beaten and taken a licking. 
I was interviewed by Marisa Getz of the Induro Company about my
photography and the article is featured on their blog. 
I'm very grateful for the exposure. 
Thanks to the kind people at Induro for
taking an interest. 



And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, 
They danced by the light of the moon." 
— Edward Lear 


Great Sand Dunes National Park

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


"Life is complex.
Each one of us must make his own path through life. There are no self-help manuals, no formulas, no easy answers. The right road for one is the wrong road for another...The journey of life is not paved in blacktop; it is not brightly lit, and it has no road signs. It is a rocky path through the wilderness. " 
— M. Scott Peck

Friday, July 25, 2014

Inspired


As a long time painter, I was often so moved by the works of others that it occasionally hampered my own creative efforts. I was hugely inspired by John Singer-Sargent's watercolors and his ability to manipulate the luminosity of his images and create stunningly vibrant scenes by his brilliant knowledge of warm and cool tones and where to lay them. The watercolorist in me was always a bit insecure, a difficult medium to conquer no doubt but Sargent was a hard act to follow. Eventually, as in all art forms, you become the most creative when you follow your own voice but there's much to be said for being inspired. He made me a much better painter. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


"These woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep." 
— Robert Frost

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


The Open Road

I've explored the country back roads of Colorado and I'm heading over to New Mexico just to see what I can see. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Keep Your Word




"The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them -- words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they're brought out. But it's more than that, isn't it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you've said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That's the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a tellar but for want of an understanding ear." 
— Stephen King (Different Seasons)

“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” 
― Friedrich Nietzsche



You’ve written that you have now stepped into the image on the page and are starting to live your dream?


As a child I’d escape through the pages of National Geographic and I’d sit on the floor and just dream of those places. The deserts, the Grand Canyon and the National Parks.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Monsoon


The moonlit storm crept over the hill and whistled, beckoned and danced at my window.  The damp summer breeze, heavy, musty and powerful swirled around my room.  I could hear the tall country grass bending and the leaves hitting the screen and I watched the distant lighting play against the sky. Cracking, rumbling, rolling thunder I could feel in my chest. 


I lay there, jaded city girl untrusting of all of this, yet not wanting it to end. In the morning, as if in a dream, the adventure had slipped away silently leaving only a whisper with the sunrise. 

Monday, July 07, 2014


It would seem more apropos that with my photography I'm not so much a seeker of the great landscapes or grand vistas but simply one in love with the light. 

Great Spirit


Wandering in the beloved landscapes of the master himself,
 Ansel Adams. Yosemite was an amazing experience.  
There is a distinct feel to the place, a reverence.  

As seen in Outdoor Photographer Magazine 
August 2014 Black & White Issue

Wednesday, July 02, 2014


“Lonely trees are not lonely; they have their eternal companies: Songs of the birds; shadows of the clouds; lights of the Moon; whispers of the winds… 
Lonely trees are not lonely!” 
― Mehmet Murat ildan

Monday, June 30, 2014


He had an attitude that gave the impression of grandeur,
but was really just a reaction to low self esteem.
It meant he acted large and important, but inside felt small and empty.
Which was sad, since everyone could see what he couldn't: 
That his was a magnificent soul -Karen Hutton

Sunday, June 29, 2014



Such a departure from my static sandstone canyons. Not foreign in the least, as I'd grown up among the coastal California landscapes but a whole different world as a photographer. 

Noisy and wet, cold and damp. Walking on these rocks was like walking on concrete shards of glass. The patterns and textures of the natural jetties were beautiful and with each wave, little waterfalls sprung to life. Sea spray danced as the waves crashed and little pockets of tide pools hide their treasures. 


It was moving and rhythmic. 

Melancholy

Primordial

Saturday, June 28, 2014


"You will hear thunder and remember me,
and think: 

she wanted storms..." 

Anna Akhmatova

Monday, June 23, 2014

Recent trip to visit  family and explore the California coast. I stayed in Southern California for a bit then headed north to the central coast and Big Sur area.  Then I shot over a bit west  to exploreYosemite. Quite an amazing road trip!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Open Book


When the artist is alive in any person, whatever his kind of work may be, he becomes an inventive, searching, daring, self-expressive creature. He becomes interesting to other people. He disturbs, upsets, enlightens, and opens ways for better understanding. Where those who are not artists are trying to close the book, he opens it and shows there are still more pages possible.” 
― Robert Henri 


Never let anyone tell you how to express yourself, find yourself, your style or how to create and explore your art. Don't let them close your book. Whatever the medium, paint, photography, video, the digital brush or the sable brush, it's YOUR art. There's no wrong way to do it or master it. There isn't ONE expert on the planet to say otherwise or one opinion that matters in the least.

Remember that. Just be.

Open your book, be wonderful, be an expressive creature. 
Damn the torpedos!

Whimsical

Desert Botanical Garden-Yucca

Friday, June 20, 2014




“She was sitting in a garden more beautiful than even her rampaging imagination could ever have conjured up, and she was being serenaded by trees.” 

― Lynn Kurland, Spellweaver

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Desert Botanical Garden-Time To Study



During the Summer months here in the Sonoran dessert going out to photograph means a bit of extra planning. Since I camp out my SUV some areas that I visit and hike often with cooler temps can be dangerous when the heat is on.  My trips are limited a bit but I still want to keep practicing my photography so I'll often head to the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. 

Fragile Things


"She seems so cool, so focused, so quiet,
 yet her eyes remain fixed upon the horizon. 
You think you know all there is to know about her immediately upon meeting her,
 but everything you think you know is wrong. 
Passion flows through her like a river of blood. 
She only looked away for a moment,
 and the mask slipped, and you fell. 
All your tomorrows start here."
Neil Gaiman

Friday, June 13, 2014

Intimate Yosemite



Most of my experience as a photographer in the Sonoran Desert and the surrounding landscapes have been with sandstone and red rock canyon walls.  What struck me about my first visit to Yosemite National Park to photograph (I'd been there as a child) was the granite rock faces. 

I thought they were exquisitely beautiful and powerful.  Strong and bold with artistic color variations and hues.  This combination with these ethereal and wispy waterfalls, a juxtaposition of contrasts of soft and strong and light and dark where immensely alluring . 

Sunday, June 08, 2014

It's A Girl's Life


"That time of day when the sun hasn’t come up yet, but you can already feel it coming. It’s an elusive warmth, like a subtle promise whispered in your ear and you can go on with your day knowing you’ve been given another chance to get it right." 
— Cassia Leo 

Sunrise on Oak Creek 

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Milo And The Magic Stones

“There is more to a boy than what his mother sees. There is more to a boy then what his father dreams. Inside every boy lies a heart that beats. And sometimes it screams, refusing to take defeat. And sometimes his father's dreams aren't big enough, and sometimes his mother's vision isn't long enough. And sometimes the boy has to dream his own dreams and break through the clouds with his own sunbeams.” 
― Ben Behunin

"Milo And The Magic Stones" read from a mother's lap, now rests with your own magic stones, treasures and little boy things where mother's tuck them away to remember those days that now seem stolen. 


Dream your own dreams and dare to dream big,  shine in this world with your brilliant sunbeams.  Make mistakes, make a difference but make your world a place of excitement and wonder. Never doubt that are so loved and so cherished. That will never change. 


Whispered in your ear for all these years "You are my sunshine" and you will continue to be until it shines no longer for me. 


Go conquer the world…

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Free To Be




Death Valley was about the light. Certain landscapes just lend themselves to an almost animated state washed in the first rays of a sunrise or the simmering glow of a sunset. No doubt about it, Death Valley is one of those places.  My itinerary was this; Sunrise, Sunset and canyon exploration in between and I did this for 6 days.  On several occasions I missed a sunset by misjudging distances but these things happen. A location of note in that I kept moving, hiking, working and exploring from sunrise to sunset in a state of complete and utter blissful exhaustion.  I'd stop into town to eat occasionally, charge camera batteries and when the electronics would spring back to life I'd connect with family and the outside world. For the most part I found myself alone and content.