Jamie Margolis: Blog https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog en-us (C) Jamie Margolis [email protected] (Jamie Margolis) Tue, 12 Mar 2024 20:01:00 GMT Tue, 12 Mar 2024 20:01:00 GMT https://www.margolisphoto.com/img/s/v-12/u248123531-o974006704-50.jpg Jamie Margolis: Blog https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog 90 120 Backyard https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2023/9/backyard      Here is a link to some of the images that I took over the past few days.  These were taken in the early evening hours at the Airbnb where Eva and I were staying. The people who owned the place previously were also heavily involved in antiques and filled their enormous backyard, replete with hiking trails they have mowed into their land, with relics from the past.  Many have now been entwined in vines or surrounded by various grasses and plants.  They remain antiques and take on a different mystery when the sun begins to fade.  We were ever so amazed by the hard work that goes into creating and maintaining such a yard as well as the enormous creativity such a yard requires. 

Click Here To View



[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2023/9/backyard Mon, 04 Sep 2023 01:22:41 GMT
U20 Athletics Championships in Jerusalem https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2023/8/u20-athletics-championships-in-jerusalem Today I photographed the U20 Athletic Championships (It is bold and blue so click it to see the images)...from the sidelines.  I was supposed to have been let onto the track, as a photographic volunteer, but this did not work out.  I am less than one year removed from teaching (for 42 years) and in less than a year, I figured out how to take sports images (one camera and normally one lens for now) going from rugby (Tel Aviv Heat), to bike racing, 3X3 basketball, lacrosse, and now track and field.  I did a wedding, a Bat Mitzvah, and lots of portrait work.  Not enough landscape work, but did get good images in Tuscany and in Greece.  Still slowed by the broken ankle (December) but finally seeing more improvement.  

In the fall, I will be photographing sports in New Hampshire for a company, and hopefully doing other work for clients and lots of landscapes for my soul. Will keep at it until they actually let me onto the field!  Kidding.  J  

[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2023/8/u20-athletics-championships-in-jerusalem Mon, 07 Aug 2023 15:45:24 GMT
My Rugby Magazine! https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2023/6/my-rugby-magazine So here is a link to my Tel Aviv Heat rugby magazine!



[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2023/6/my-rugby-magazine Sun, 11 Jun 2023 17:38:33 GMT
Embrace Your Youth https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2023/5/embraceyouryouth  

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Yesterday I did one of my volunteer jobs or donated my time to do some photographic work for a worthy cause.  I have been doing this to both provide a service and to better improve my eye.  I am selfish and I am kind.  

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Photographing at the Sylvan Adams Velodrome last week was an experience that tapped the resources of my camera.  I found, as I have before, that getting quickly moving objects to maintain focus is not a simplistic task for my Nikon Z7II.  However, it is possible, and many of the images were tack sharp.  

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The lacrosse images I took yesterday were also difficult if the action took place near me, but as long as I had some distance, and got the focusing box to cover where the action was taking place, I was successful.  

[email protected] But who really cares?

I don’t.  I care about the composition and about getting, if possible a mini-story of sorts in an image.  

Was I successful?  Yes and no.  

I think one needs to have context for many of the images that I was taking.  Without that, some of the images are just people racing around a track or kids running with a stick and a ball.  

Yet others almost tell a short story which is what I truly aim for.  

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On another note, the youth I photographed in both venues may not at this time know how very lucky and special they truly are.  There are some in these images who have been to the Olympics already or are close to that precipice.  They give 100% and then some.  A few feel deeply about their presumed failures when success is not achieved.  That is the beauty of sport.  

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Am I a sports photographer?  No.  I am just a storyteller and however, I can tell the story I will. May we all have stories and memories that never fade with time

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[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) adams aviv bicycle bike racing competition contest cycle israel race racing sport start starting line sylvan tel velodrome https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2023/5/embraceyouryouth Wed, 10 May 2023 17:53:24 GMT
My Heroes Have Always Been... https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2023/4/my-heroes-have-always-been Let's get this straight, I mean straighter than a ruler, an arrow in flight, a Koufax fastball, an answer from your father when you were 16...I don't have many heroes outside of my home.  Nope.  Love people with great talent like some of the great photographers I know, or the wonderful clarinetists that Eva has introduced me to over the years, or the many athletes I have met in my life from Micky Mantle (I really did meet him) to Eric Heiden who I once raced against on the bike, and Calvin Murphy (I had a really nice chat with him) the amazing basketball player.  Respected these guys but no, they were not my "heroes."  I suppose the few heroes I have had are the ones who work in nature.   Jane Goodall (who I also met and spoke to), comes to mind for me.  Many war vets and war writers who put their lives on the line.  Those amazing firefighters and police who almost never back down and are called into service at a moment's notice to risk their lives.  Special force units who have to coordinate their actions in order to save the lives of others.  Our great doctors and surgeons, especially the ones with hands of gold.  Those incredibly bright people who invent things not for the profit it will bring them, but for the amount of good they will do for the world.  Doctors Without Borders and the many NGOs and volunteer agencies and people who give of themselves and their time just to make a difference.  Oh, this is Saturday morning and I am ever so humbled and all to have gotten up today and just felt a bit thankful.  

I leave with an image of mine of the ever-so-talented Jasa Veremalua.  He has played rugby at a high level since 2012 and won a Gold Medal in the Olympics as a member of the Fijian Seven's team.  He is so very humble as well.  I got to photograph him (along with all the other members of the Tel Aviv Heat) last year.  

I have been lucky in many things in life.  I got to teach for 42 years and had many good experiences (though some were not so great) and have gotten to travel a lot as well.  I have loved taking photos from day one and continue to try to improve my skills, though it is pretty tough, to say the least.  Perhaps my greatest hero then is just opportunity and respect for the time that is given to me by a greater power.  

Jasa VeremaluaJasa making a burst down the field in a game during the fall of 2022.



[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) Aviv Fiji Israel rugby sports Tel https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2023/4/my-heroes-have-always-been Sat, 22 Apr 2023 05:39:15 GMT
Last Time You Said My Name https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2023/1/last-time-you-said-my-name  

Leaf on FernLeaf on FernA maple leaf with dew or rain sits on a fern in the early morning. One of those Vermont hikes that I love so much.

Last Time You Said My Name

The last time you said my name

You were wrapped in a waking dream

Your eyes were opened shut

Your mouth playing with words that sounded silent


The last time you said my name

I saw you from afar

You were prompted over and over again

Until something issued forth from your lips

Something I did not hear because I got distracted


The last time you said my name

It was winter, and all the memories of summer

Had turned a pale white, and only the blue in your eyes

Broke through that bleached countenance

Like a robin’s egg


The last time you said my name

I felt the pain I had been feeling disappear

Like the smell of a birthday cake

Or a trip to Florida on a cold Connecticut day





[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2023/1/last-time-you-said-my-name Sun, 08 Jan 2023 21:20:12 GMT
Change to 2023 https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2022/12/change-to-2023 Oh, what a year on so many levels.  I retired and then unretired and started down a different road taking images of a rugby team.  I had never photographed a professional team and was ignorant on so many levels of both the game and how to take sports shots.   Yet, to address my obvious deficits, I asked questions and researched.  I figured out how to make my Nikon Z7II work for me and dealt with its obvious deficits. I loved photographing sports almost as I have always loved playing them.   Some of these images will appear in my galleries in the future, for there is an art to good sports photography that I am starting to grasp.  

My best landscape photography took place during the summer when I hiked in the Catskills and pursued my Hudson River Project.  I did manage to get a number of strong images that depict that region's elegance, and I hope pay homage to Thomas Cole, Frederick Church, Albert Bierstadt, and many others who were part of that movement.  I went to museums to view their works and read books on them too.   

At the end of this year, however, while photographing in Europe, our rugby team, I suffered a fall while photographing in Lisbon and broke my ankle one month ago.  As I write this all that time later, I am still not allowed to put any weight on my foot, and the swelling is still extreme.  I have my "Walking Boot" on though it is still a non-walking boot, to be honest.  I almost don't go out, and with my metal plate and screws in my leg, I only hope that I will walk normally again and be able to carry my camera gear on my hikes.  

I leave you with one of my images from the Catskills.  Jamie, December 31, 2022

Catskills Early Morning Hike with Clouds StreakingCatskills Early Morning Hike with Clouds StreakingPart of my Hudson River Painters project. This image was painted as well by those in this movement.

[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) catskills cloudscape exposure Hudson long morning mountains New River York https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2022/12/change-to-2023 Sat, 31 Dec 2022 20:47:20 GMT
The Retirement Thing https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2022/11/the-retirement-thing So I have been officially retired since June.  This means that I no longer go to work as an educator after 42 years of this routine.  I should be thrilled, and in many ways, I am, but having more time in an environment that does not meet my needs to be in nature or have quicker access to it, has always been a problem for me, and my age and time left on earth is limited.   This photography stuff is not easy.  You need basic skills for sure (though having high-level skills would have been really nice!).  But there are physical components such as your eyesight, ability to carry equipment around, and having good athletic skills to hike.  I have all of these still, but for how long will they stay?  Regardless, Downward Elephant is a summer image that took a lot of hiking (well, at least after I took this image) and a bit of luck as I fell on wet rock and did not get all that hurt (a bump on my arm).  This photography stuff is not easy, as being retired is not easy.  Filling in the empty hours is going to take some time.    Downward ElephantDownward ElephantCaught by a sudden (kind of) rainstorm in the Catskills, I chose to take images. The sky chose to rain on me. We make choices.

[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) catskills cloudscape mountains new rainstorm york https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2022/11/the-retirement-thing Tue, 08 Nov 2022 21:38:06 GMT
That Other First Day https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2022/8/that-other-first-day How very strange, after 41 years of teaching, after 32 years at the same school, to not be attending those first-day meetings with other educators asking, "So how was your summer?"  Hearing, especially from the international teachers I have worked with for so long, about the far-off reaches they have ventured to during this time. 

Then the general meeting and the great hope and expectations, summations of the obvious, official proclamations, and, at least for me, a huge curtailing of the creative photographic process that I love so much.  So though I am old now, at least my legs are strong, and my eyes (as my eye doctor told me the other day) are in good shape.  

This has been a summer of learning and working on my Hudson River Artists project.  I have an amazing mentor helping me to work on skills that are important to me and, at least from what I have seen, what I am learning will be relevant and, in some cases, "dramatic" to the photographic process I follow.  

There will be more time now to pursue what I love most, and if I use it wisely and don't waste this opportunity, I will continue to improve not only in photography but in other areas that define what is most important to me.

SierraSierra: "You still here?"

[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) 25 not back to school rule https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2022/8/that-other-first-day Wed, 10 Aug 2022 07:23:08 GMT
New York https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2022/4/new-york Over the past weeks, the level of violence in the world has been even more than what is normally not acceptable.  Ukraine, of course, tops the list.  The endless war in Yemen is always there and far too underreported as well.   The violence on the streets where I am with shootings and knifings and the predicted spiraling seems to be picking up again. 

New York has seen a dramatic increase in violence over the past year.  We all have theories as to why this is happening, and I will not weigh in on this one, for I am far too ignorant to fully understand what is going on and why this is happening.  What I do know, is that someone with deep hate in his heart chose to throw a smoke bomb and then randomly begin to shoot at those going to work early in the morning yesterday.  Some people seem surprised that we have such violence going on in NYC or in this world, but this is always going on and has always been going on.  However, when you strike in a major city, it gets turned into the tragedy it really is by the media while other similar incidents make it to page three and perhaps ten seconds on the local news if at all.  

Has man changed?  I don't think so, but then again I am not a sociologist or a psychologist.  It seems to me from ancient times, that we found war to be an acceptable endeavor to assure that we get our way.   Great empires were built on the blood of others.  Man has always justified his fanatic desire and ability to kill scores of others, and we continue to see this today.   To even think that this can be stopped is just foolish and a waste of our time.   All we can do is support those whose job it is to protect our societies.  All we can do is try to live a good and just life and endeavor to help others.  My New York abstract is the distorted reality of a beautiful building mishappen by light patterns and lens distortion. 

New York AbstractNew York AbstractColor, shape and pattern in this NYC building.   

[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2022/4/new-york Wed, 13 Apr 2022 08:57:31 GMT
Some Yellows and Blues and Two Angry Cloud Birds https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2022/4/some-yellows-and-blues-and-two-angry-cloud-birds Forty more days until I retire.  What a tough week this has been dealing with COVID that continues to linger and do tricks on my body.  

Yet, let's be honest, the law says I can return to work even though I am still testing positive and despite the fact that I feel so awful.  I told this to my doctor, told him about my stomach issues, and the pain COVID has left for now in my feet, and he said not to go to work.  When I was young, I would have gone in and burned myself out so that I either relapsed or spent my upcoming weekend (in this case, a vacation) once again sick.  

So no...I am home, working on images and hoping that I will recover quickly and that I can get back to exercising and walking in nature. 

So no...I am dreaming about how I really will fill my days and what these remaining years have in store for me, my family, and this world. 

Some yellows, some blues, are buried in this image, a testament to my family's past and our connection to Ukraine.  Two angry cloud birds (well that's what I see) fighting it out and then shifting into other forms when the wind blows high in the heavens. 

So yes...We need to take care of ourselves, for we are always forgotten by most and remembered for our images, our words, and our deeds. 


Timna ReflectionsTimna ReflectionsThere was so much silence and color in the sky this winter evening near Timna.

[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2022/4/some-yellows-and-blues-and-two-angry-cloud-birds Wed, 06 Apr 2022 09:16:15 GMT
Curiosity https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2021/12/curiosity As an educator, and an educator about to retire in June, I am confused as to what life will next bring and what I will do with my time that remains on my clock.   I love photographing, love some of my older images that finally are now workable with some of the new changes to Lightroom and other plugins.  Perhaps there are some superstars that I am yet to work on from so many years ago and at least  I will spend some of this time attempting to create art and beauty. 

I will say on this blog of sorts, that I am hopeful that I will be able to travel and take images until I can no longer travel and take images.   The best outlet, at least for me, is being outdoors in nature or in an interesting city or place.  I need to have a view outside of my window that is appealing as well.  I also need to live in a place where peace is more desired than conflict.  

Little things, like standing in a cornfield photographing and then turning to see people going off to Church and young kids looking at me (the "English") with curiosity.  Or maybe I am just channeling my George Tice.   One has to wonder.   

Amish ChildrenAmish ChildrenI was photographing corn and these folks went by me. I quickly had an image of some George Tice photos and with my camera still on the tripod got one image. Still one of my favorite photographs of all time.

[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) amish buggy church horses pennsylvania rain https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2021/12/curiosity Sat, 18 Dec 2021 19:11:00 GMT
Sierra The Pro https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2021/10/sierra-the-pro This was asked of me today: "Are you a professional photographer?"

So what would Sierra say if another dog asked her these questions?  "Are you a circus dog?  Are you a show dog? Are you famous? Are you just a dog?"

It is funny, that if you strap on a camera with big lenses, people want to know if you are a professional.  I have seen the work of many full-time professionals and they are not nearly as interesting, artistic, as those who are amateurs.  I wonder, without being controversial, if the better question to ask might be, "Are you passionate about what you are doing?"   Also, "Is there a place where I can view your images?"  

It seems to me that some of the photos these days are sledgehammer-like and knock you sideways with their perfection.  I do admit, that I am stunned, awed with these as well.  I am guilty of pixel peeping and I am guilty of being sucked into the patina of colors or tonalities that come along with many of these.  Also, there are many now that are perfectly sharp.  Eagles flying at full-tilt with perfectly in-focus eyes and feathers.   Drops of water suspended with such precision that you can see the reflection of the photographer off in the distance (well a slight exaggeration but you get what I am saying).    Sierra The Pro

But then, there are the images, in which the photographer got the feeling of the scene, but was a bit off with her/his focus.  A bit off with her/his framing.  A 99 out of 100 image that gets trash basketed on whatever social media platform this photographer uses, or never makes it outside of the photo-editing catalog where it stays forever.  

My images today, with a lens that does not have auto-focus, were a bit soft. Yet, I am thrilled with them.  To me, and certainly, I realize that editors and pixel peepers will most likely not agree with me in too many cases (yes, there are some), those of us with a camera have to enjoy our subjects and rejoice in the substance of the image that extends beyond the technical.   

Sierra is a beautiful young dog as I write this posting.  She is normally in full motion and normally struggling to set herself free from our arms when we are outdoors.  Today I had Eva attempt to hold her and was able to get a few captures of this beautiful animal.  I struggled with the focus and each image is a drop-off.  But each image I got today, captured more than perfect reflections in her eyes.  For me, they all seemed to capture her essence which is at this time, youth, curiosity, and mischievousness.   But is she a professional?  No, she's a dog and I am just a photographer when I take an image. 



[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) dog pet poodle Sierra https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2021/10/sierra-the-pro Sun, 10 Oct 2021 13:01:28 GMT
When New and Old Merge https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2021/4/when-new-and-old-merge This is a point in time, in my life, in my career where I am pondering about where to go next.   As an educator of 40-years, I do feel the need now to explore other options but the leaving of the old and venturing at this stage of life into the new is extraordinarily challenging.   

When I photograph animals, and I do apologize if images of zoo animals offend some, but they do exist in these settings whether we agree with this or not.   I try to capture their beauty, grace, and if possible something deeper, something other.  During my two-week spring break, I did a good deal of photographic learning.  I finally get the hang of TK panels thanks to Sean Bagshaw's great tutorial.   It was 49 videos of learning and really did take the entire vacation.  Thirty-five notecards worth and a ton of practice.  Yet, how long can one keep the methodology of anything in their head if they don't practice?   The new can never become the old if you don't take time to practice. 

So here is to old elephants whom I pray are happy, and that they are always being well-taken care of as I feel this one has been at the Attica Zoo outside of Athens.  Here is to merging new and old in some type of harmony. 


[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2021/4/when-new-and-old-merge Sun, 18 Apr 2021 11:25:03 GMT
"When I was 15..." https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2021/2/-when-i-was-15

The wonderful photographer Cole Thompson (https://colethompsonphotography.com/) posted this in a note and I am passing it on here.  I do suggest that all people should go to Cole's site to not only view his work, but also to learn something from him for he has so much wisdom.   


“When I was 15, I spent a month working on an archeological dig. I was talking to one of the archeologists one day during our lunch break and he asked those kinds of “getting to know you” questions you ask young people: Do you play sports? What’s your favorite subject? And I told him, no I don’t play any sports. I do theater, I’m in choir, I play the violin and piano, I used to take art classes.


And he went WOW. That’s amazing! And I said, “Oh no, but I’m not any good at ANY of them.”


And he said something then that I will never forget and which absolutely blew my mind because no one had ever said anything like it to me before: “I don’t think being good at things is the point of doing them. I think you’ve got all these wonderful experiences with different skills, and that all teaches you things and makes you an interesting person, no matter how well you do them.”


And that honestly changed my life. Because I went from a failure, someone who hadn’t been talented enough at anything to excel, to someone who did things because I enjoyed them. I had been raised in such an achievement-oriented environment, so inundated with the myth of Talent, that I thought it was only worth doing things if you could “Win” at them.”


- Kurt Vonnegut



[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2021/2/-when-i-was-15 Fri, 05 Feb 2021 19:12:43 GMT
Living in the fog https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2021/1/living-in-the-fog I am hesitant to make an analogy between my images and the fog of now that envelopes us, but I am going to go down that path with the intent of not insulting anyone or trying to sound preachy or political.  That is not my intent.  As I write this, I am still an educator at the American School here in Israel and as we are back in lockdown, back to virtual learning.   The new strain of COVID is scary, daunting, and presents an unknown that helps to confuse the future.   The vaccine has arrived, but some of us are hesitant.  Some of us are not.   The political situation in the US is also scary, daunting, and presents so much unknown about the future.   This fog, this mist, that blurs the lines of what we think we see versus what is actually there, reminds me of this image I took during the summer in Odem which is located in the Golan Heights.  Odem, even without the fog, is located in a region that too has its own blurring quality and is next to El Rom where one of the fiercest tank battles took place.  

I look for beauty in what is easy to see and I look for beauty in what is smoothed out by the mist that nature sometimes provides.   This old oak tree that sits in a field in Odem has seen a lot.  Surrounded by a crown of thistles and rounded smooth by the cattle and goats that eat its lowest leaves, it persists and flourishes.   Perhaps this tree is a sign, an allegory for something bigger and more remote... perhaps.  Maybe we'll never know.  

Tree In OdemHow nature accepts the fog and mist to become beautiful and mysterious.

[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2021/1/living-in-the-fog Sun, 17 Jan 2021 11:42:06 GMT
Using Time https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2021/1/using-time With my vacation at its end, our travel during the last week that we had planned canceled due to another "lockdown," I reflect on what I learned photographically for that's what this blog really is about in the end run. 

I decided to return to some basic skills that I learned in the past but have forgotten, but I also decided to work on some black and white techniques (programs) that I think meet my artistic needs.  The problem with some of these techniques is that they are, to me, so very complicated and difficult to retain.  However, I have gone slowly over the past few weeks and inched forward with my learning.  At the end of this break, I find that I have accrued a good number of skills and the palette of my black and white is smoother, with whites that appeal more to me and blacks that have greater depth to my eyes.   The image below used a bunch of these techniques and is from my small Fuji XT2 but has, at least to me, a bigger camera look. So here's to 2021 and great images, walks in the woods, and health for our lands and the people who must take care of them.  


Evening Fog on Ricker PondEvening Fog on Ricker PondA mix of fog and smoke from campfires blow across Ricker Pond in Vermont. I was set-up in the pond as always hoping my tripod really was set!

[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) black and white ricker pond vermont https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2021/1/using-time Sun, 17 Jan 2021 11:41:10 GMT
Missing Forrest https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2020/12/missing-forrest It was one year ago that I received a phone call when I was overseas that my dog, my beautiful and kind Forrest, was deathly ill.  I am one of those people who expresses their emotions explosively, to say the least.   I found myself in a hotel room bathroom crying hysterically into a towel with those animalistic and guttural cries of pain that can only be conjured up by the loss of something you care so much about.  It was one a.m. and Eva had Masterclass to teach (we were in Bulgaria) the next morning and willed herself to sleep.  I remained awake the entire night.   By 7 a.m. we received a call, the call, informing us that she had died.  I had prepared myself for this as best I could, but more cries of loss ensued.   

I can't include a photo here for it was a year ago and the pain has still remained to a degree I did not think was possible.  During the year, especially the months after this loss, I kept a journal of the range of emotions I experienced.  I collected these into a book I made, with many images, and called it "Letters To Forrest."  It helped greatly and I will always treasure the words (which are so hard to read now) and the images of her life.   

Tonight I laid her favorite toys on the couch where she slept so often.   I lit a memorial candle for her as well.  We spoke about her goodness and how content she was.  We also joked about how impossible it is to find a small dog, a puppy, during this time of COVID and how people have jacked up the prices in order to make a huge profit.   

I miss my dog.  I miss how she filled our house with her presence and how she made us laugh.   I miss my late night walks with her and talking to her as if she really understood.  I leave clothing by my bed each and every night for her (and also because I am sloppy) to sleep upon.  I hope she is with the people that I love most who are no longer in our lives.  I hope she is with my father, Michael, and Paulina who loved her so too.   Okay, enough of this far too personal website blog posting.   Next posting will have some images!


p.s. Happy New Year to anyone reading this and be safe and healthy.   

[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) beautiful dog Forrest Poodle Yorkiepoo Yorkshire https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2020/12/missing-forrest Wed, 30 Dec 2020 18:11:33 GMT
Locking Down https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2020/9/locking-down Ricker PondRicker PondRicker Pond in northern, Vermont. Early morning light with a mist in the distance. Every so quiet and ever so beautiful.


One has to think that nature must rejoice when we are locked down.  The fish feed without fear of being hooked and brought into an environment where they are forced to breathe oxygen laden air and suffocate on what sustains us.  The forest animals have much less to fear and the sunrises and sunsets are quieter and more beautiful as the air has fewer pollutants to tarnish it.  

I suppose I am exaggerating, I do that a lot.  Looking back on this morning from several years ago, I remember the quiet after a hike on another pond and that I was drawn to the mist, the reflections, as well as the stillness I saw as I drove back to my campsite and then stopped when I saw this view right off the road.  I have always thought that the world would in many ways be better off without us and that we just don't have the ability to learn from our mistakes.  This has been reinforced with the lockdown we are experiencing here.  We were warned.  We knew that our behaviors would increase the risk of spreading this virus to others.  Yet we've chosen not to believe and not to care.  

There is quiet in the woods that I wish I could be near to at this moment.  There is a calm that soothes the soul. 


[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2020/9/locking-down Sat, 26 Sep 2020 15:51:16 GMT
Odem and Mountain Bike Riding https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2020/8/odem-and-mountain-bike-riding We are in Odem in the Golan Heights for the second time this summer.  It is cool here at night.  Cooler than most areas during the day in Israel at this time of year.  Today I completed a mountain bike ride I began yesterday and then found myself doing much of what I did yesterday again.  Strange.   I found so many images that I have stored in my head for another time, another season, and will come back again now to pursue these images in the next few years.   I was surprised with how I could still climb.   Near El Rom the concussive sounds of tank shells and the persistent machine-gun fire caused me to pause and think about where I was and what the history of this part of the world means to Israelis and Syrians.  We have battled hard against each other.  Our fear and our hate are never-ending.   But I was mountain biking and there were miles to go and hills to climb and a little extra time in the hills where the Druse farm so beautifully.  Yet this extra time and the missing piece to this trail was puzzling.  Perhaps I missed a turn or the trail was just different than I had thought it was.   


[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2020/8/odem-and-mountain-bike-riding Wed, 19 Aug 2020 21:51:43 GMT
Letters To Forrest is finally complete... https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2020/8/letters-to-forrest-is-finally-complete To those of you who know me well, you'll know that I love animals and have always loved them to my core.   I grew up with cats and transitioned to dogs since I have lived in Israel.   

There is not an animal I had that when he or she died, the feeling of deep loss did not permeate my soul and leave me both better understanding how limited our time is in this world, and how very extraordinary it can and should be.

The loss of Forrest, however, has hit me in a way that I still don't fully understand or comprehend.  Maybe it's my advanced age, maybe it's the uniqueness of who she was, and maybe it's just mental and hormonal changes we go through as we age and have to deal with loss.  I miss my friend.  It's that fucking simple.  

Though this has been an up and down summer as we have not been able to go back to the states, we have explored areas here and I have completed projects that I promised I would do if I just had the time.  Writing my book on Forrest was my main project and it is done.  Here is the link if you are interested in reading this book and seeing the images that I included:   LINK PRESS HERE

We have spent a good deal of time in the Golan this summer as well.  Time in Odem was amazing, to say the least.   The upper altitude means it's much cooler.  But prices to stay in these places are beyond my means.   I rent my place in Vermont for $115 a night.  It's a HOUSE and people still complain that it's too much (man, Americans are really spoiled).  Here, these tiny rental rooms start out at about $250 a night and that's cheap.   I miss my Vermont and I miss simple things like fresh spring water that I can bring back to the house or onions from a fruit stand up the street (which is what the following image is all about): 

OnionBeautiful Onions Near My House in VT

So what more can I say?  Letters To Forrest is the best work I have ever done and I only hope that in twenty years, my granddaughters will take a few moments to read about her and remember the times we all had.  They were such good times and when they were not, Forrest made them seem like they were.  

Much love-Jamie

[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2020/8/letters-to-forrest-is-finally-complete Sun, 02 Aug 2020 16:38:10 GMT
Good VS Better https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2020/6/good-vs-better I was viewing this guy's Youtube channel and in his video he said he didn't expect his photo to be "good."  I posted, foolishly for you set yourself up for getting flamed when you are honest that, " Seems to me we should always expect our photographs to be good. But sometimes, we should expect them to be better."   

I was thinking that as I was making my breakfast. It made me think about a photo I took in Bulgaria and how when I was taking it I wondered if the conditions would make this a "good" image, but my mood, my feeling, told me that it would be and that this beautiful stream needed to be photographed.  Thankfully, I was able to work through the detritus and come up with something that was "better" and also helped me to remember something not directly related to the image itself.  

Clear Water in DevinClear Water in DevinI was hiking along the Devin River in Devin, Bulgaria. It was a cold winter day and there was little color and blustery winds. Later there would be snow squalls. This trip will always be in remembrance to Forrest, my beautiful dog, so each image is special. It's one of those streams that she would have loved to walk.


[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) Bulgaria Devin water https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2020/6/good-vs-better Mon, 08 Jun 2020 04:01:15 GMT
Rocks and Things https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2020/6/rocks-and-things Our world is imbued with wonder that sometimes knocks you over the head.  Yes, I would love to travel to the distant regions of the world and always have access to the wonders.  However, there are times when you are heading down a trail in a nondescript area and you see a stone wall with patterns embedded in rock.  The light is challenging.  If you have planned ahead, you have a tripod with you and can take a few images to blend later.  Then you can pull out the shadows and give them depth and texture.  You can find your highlights and let them shine.  You can also dial back the brighter areas that are going to distract you later when you come back to the image to view and enjoy.  All of these criteria are part of the image below.  I could never have even gotten it to the point where it is now if I had not worked over the past few years to learn at least the basic skills that I now have.  I wish it was as easy as hitting a button and it would come out as you envisioned.  At least for me, it is not.  I don't want to miss these subtle features of our world that are as important as a view of The Canyon of my youth.  Well, at least kind of close.  

Rock Pattern NorwayRock Pattern NorwayWhite streaks on rock with a hint of light from the left.   



[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2020/6/rocks-and-things Sat, 06 Jun 2020 17:20:38 GMT
A Life of Iterations https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2020/5/a-life-of-iterations A lot of life  is intricately tied to the various iterations that are imposed upon us or which we end up imposing upon ourselves.  Today I took the image I am posting here through numerous iterations.   It began with the basic changes that I made to the image and then got intense with close to two-hours of dodging and burning and then tweaked again and again.   After this, I started thinking about how to tone this image and what made the mountains and clouds of Norway come to life in a way that I perceived it when I took this image.  It was a calm morning in the middle of the summer and the clouds were lightly lit by a sun that had never really set.  Also, I already had this image on my website here but I never liked it as much as I felt I should.

So I posted this new iteration on a Fuji site on Facebook where I sometimes include my images.  My stuff usually does not get a lot of looks, but if I put a cute photo in, a macro of a flower with bright colors, or a super sharp butterfly in flight, well then these images get lots of feedback.   

I then put the following above my photo:   “Though Photoshop has so many gadgets we can use, I find and found with this image that the best tool I could use was the dodge and burn tool and a Wacom tablet.   It takes a great deal of time, focus, and sitting back to evaluate how the slight tonal variations make an image come to life.  There is no warp tool, super clarity or sharpening tool, or clone tool that was or should (in my opinion) be used in nature photography beyond the most minimal tweaks.  Our attention should be drawn to the subject by how real it looks not by how creative our Photoshop skills are.”

One Day Later:    So the image did not even garner a comment or any feedback at all.  It is certainly not spectacular in its uniqueness and is nothing more than water, mountains, and clouds.  Were these iterations too mundane? Should I have elongated the main peak and threw in an ethereal beam of light hitting this mountain?  

But it is not social media only.   There are a lot of fine art sites where the images have this other quality that I recognize but either don’t have the skills to emulate or the desire to attempt.  So I plod on with images like the one on this page that depict a natural world that is multi-layered and with each iteration helps me to better understand both the art of nature and its potential.  

Yet, I think it is fallacious for any photographer to suggest that they only take images for themselves.  Every photographer has an audience for their images tucked in their mind.  I do want my immediate family to enjoy many of my images.  I do want my images published and though I do sell to stock agencies, I would prefer that they are published in true fine art venues.  When they are shown in such a manner, and though the audiences may be smaller, they are better understood it seems to me.  Not sure what other photographers think on this subject and getting back to the iterations theme this has wandered from, I wonder to what degree we create iterations specifically for the venues where we are showing these images or if there really are some people who go year after year creating images only for themselves and live their lives in a state of obscurity but maintain their personal vision.   Morning Mountains in NorwayMorning Mountains in NorwayThe sky at 4 in the morning called me out of bed. The layers of clouds and the deep hues render in black and white and color with so much beauty.



[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) and black burning dodging norway photoshop white https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2020/5/a-life-of-iterations Sun, 10 May 2020 06:55:52 GMT
Shrugs https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2020/4/shrugs We are all aware of the challenges that this COVID-19 poses.  If you are over 60 or have any health issues, then you are just that more fearful.  

So what have you been doing with your time?

I have gone back to black and white school.   I missed it greatly and the more images that I have of late worked on of late as black and whites, the happier I have been.   Yet, I am overwhelmed with the number of ways that one can process an image.  From the myriad of Photoshop tricks to the endless number of plugins that some of us have bought and maintained over the years.  

One photographer who I know (though have never met) is Cole Thompson. I have enjoyed Cole's images for a good number of years now, and have written him letters to discuss both his creativity and vision as well as technical issues. Cole keeps it smart and keeps it simple.  He converts his images to black and white in a basic way and then dodges and burns with a Pen and Wacom tablet.  His results, as you can see on his site, are stunning.  However, you can have the most perfectly exposed and perfected photo and it can end up saying nothing.  Cole's work always seems to have a message and always seems to have meaning.     

So this is what this post is getting at.  While we were in Bulgaria we went into the mountains outside of Devin.  A very light snow had fallen at the altitude where we were but a more significant dusting covered the higher peaks.  I loved how the snow streaks flowed down the mountains.  When I showed Eva the RAW file on the computer.  she shrugged her shoulders.   However, I felt that there was something here, something that brought back the memory of the mist and quiet as well as wind and cold.   It took some time, but after a huge crop to the sky (sorry sky), I saw what I had been looking for.  I ended up doing a great deal of dodging and burning and took out distracting elements.  

When I saw the image on the screen, it made me feel good.  Made me happy.  Made me think of that walk and my excitement when I saw the clouds wrapping themselves around the mountain; changing shapes in the winds that at our altitude were so strong.   I showed the image to Eva on my screen with great excitement.  She shrugged.  I love photography!

[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2020/4/shrugs Sun, 19 Apr 2020 16:45:38 GMT
Inner Projects https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2020/4/inner-projects Inner Projects Hungry SkyThe clouds kept reshaping themselves and then looked like they were about to eat the new buildings in Ramat Gan.

Over the past few days, I have been contemplating the inner projects that one can commit to during this time of COVID-19. There is a lot that each of us can address in regard to our inner workings.  I won’t go into this, for that’s not the intent of a photography blog, but suffice it to say, lots of work can be done. Lots should be done.  

My students have been learning online.  For some, it has been a bit of a challenge, while for others, they have figured out a way to work from home in this time of lockdown.  I am overall really impressed with how my school is endeavoring to keep the flow of learning proceeding through a situation that none of us have ever had to face before.  

Yet, my life is much more than just being an educator at the American School.  As I get ready to retire, well hopefully, I realize that retirement will give me the opportunity to fully engage myself in photographic work.  When I first started in photography my greatest love was the darkroom and the beautiful black and white images that now and then would appear. Don’t get me wrong, as much as I love the beauty of black and white, a beautiful image is a beautiful image and if something looks better to me in color then I am not going to force it into grey tones.   Hummus BeansEva set out hummus beans and when I saw the reflection in the morning on the wood I grabbed my tripod and camera and got at it.

Yet there was something in my past, something that we carry with us as analog photographers, that is intrinsic to why we started spending so much time and money on this pursuit.  It’s the desire not to make a pretty picture, but instead to make a personal statement.

Being indoors now and looking in the distance at clouds as well as being so set apart from nature, is trying.  I am attempting to find interesting shapes and patterns that exist outdoors and can be experienced from my window.  I am running after early morning light in my apartment looking for how it hits familiar objects and seeing if they suddenly look interesting.  Most don't. However, up to this point, three have.  

So this is what this blog posting is all about.  It’s about three images. A crazy sky that appeared a few days ago and only lasted for a few moments.  Cranes and a Tower that I can see from the rear window in our place. Finally, my wife’s hummus beans soaking on our counter.  

My inner photographic project is keeping me busy and thinking.  Most of the images I just deleted as they were foolish and just did not work.  However, three did. May you all find some inner projects to get you by during this time.  

Cranes and TowerThe skyline here is filled with cranes. Soon the views that I get will be even more obliterated. Progress? For some yes. Give me my pine trees.

[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2020/4/inner-projects Wed, 01 Apr 2020 17:15:40 GMT
Hashana Rabbah https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2019/10/hashana-rabbah I was up ever too early to photograph at the Western Wall and found that there was a celebration occurring for Hashana Rabbah.  It was wonderful, enlighting, and soul lifting.  I took images of the celebration as well as Islamic sites as the sky took on its morning colors.  It was simply a stunning morning.  


Here is a link to the images:  Link

[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) Holy Jerusalem Jewish Judaism Kotel Land Middle East https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2019/10/hashana-rabbah Mon, 21 Oct 2019 20:09:04 GMT
Reflections https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2019/10/reflections I find it very important throughout our lives to reflect and take account of what we have or have not done and where we need to go in the upcoming days.  Mind you, just staying home or in your neighborhood is fine as long as you are getting it done and achieving goals that you have set for yourself.  

It is easy, far too easy, to just sit back and do little.  We don't always have to challenge ourselves, but we better make sure that we set the bar high several times a year or we just get stagnant.  I teach, and though I am far from a great teacher, I endeavor to make a difference and to always learn in order to be better at my craft.  

But what I love most in life is photography.  Sorry G-ds of pedagogy, nothing brings me more joy than a beautiful image.  So back to reflections.  Eva and I had taken this nice walk in New Hampshire.  I could see storm clouds coming in and found a dirt road that dead-ended by a small pond (well that's how I saw it on the map).  When we got there, it started to rain.  Then it would stop.  I took images both with the rain falling on the water and then some with the water dead calm.  I ended up liking the calm for I could clearly see the reflections that for this image added the element of dimensionality that I was looking for and felt fit the mood of this place.  So the image posted here, worked on a bit, is a reflection and a statement of sorts.  Stop, look around and then move on.  When you have time, come back and revisit (in my case with Lightroom and Photoshop!).  


[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2019/10/reflections Sun, 13 Oct 2019 17:33:12 GMT
Garden in Westminster https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2019/7/Garden This is a collection of photographs that I took in a garden in Westminster, Vermont in July of 2019.  It is from the garden of Gordon Hayward who is a well-known master landscape artist.  Click here to View the photos.  

There is also a bit of commentary that I will add.  WE do live in a world where we tend to scroll at rapid speeds seeing as much as we can, but never really stopping, slowing down, or inspecting carefully.  I tend to do this as well, but then I catch myself and make a conscious effort to see more by seeing less.  

Today I will visit a few galleries here in NYC.  Instead of trying to see endless galleries, something foolish for I know I'll start rushing and not of the patience to exam well the few images I am sure will speak to me, I will visit only one or two and then wander around and look at things and hopefully get an image too.  

But first, back exercises.  You don't wander well with a sore back.  Talk about words of wisdom.  

[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) and black color garden gardening gordon hayward vermont westminster white https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2019/7/Garden Fri, 26 Jul 2019 04:45:29 GMT
My Attempts https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2019/5/my-attempts I attempt with my camera to use it for environmental purposes.  I have been involved in an ecological program where I teach for many years, but as I am getting close to ending my teaching career, I will be resigning from this post.  I do hope that I find other venues where I can use photographs to depict the beauty of nature and those who try to protect it.  Here is an article was written about that program and contains two photos that I did.  Here is the link:

[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) AIS American Ecology GAIA Greece School https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2019/5/my-attempts Tue, 28 May 2019 18:33:27 GMT
The Clouds https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2019/4/the-clouds This Passover we went north.  For three days I felt the joy of no direction, of side roads I have not been down, of only glimpses at my watch.  Lots of clouds and lots of rain.  Snow in the north as we have entered deep into spring.  I am just starting to work on images, but these basalt walls struck me not because this photo is so perfect, but because of the geometry of these rocks and the patina of age.   Basalt Walls:  Ayit WaterfallBasalt Walls: Ayit WaterfallBasalt walls next to a waterfall in the Golan. There was just a bit of sunlight that day. I was lucky to find it.

[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) Ayit Golan Heights Waterfall https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2019/4/the-clouds Tue, 23 Apr 2019 22:06:07 GMT
A Brief Time In The States https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2019/1/a-brief-time-in-the-states I travel.  I travel because it brings me joy and allows me to better see and understand the world.  To me, once you better understand the world, you have a reasonable chance of better understanding yourself.  Yet, with a 94-year-old mother who is succumbing to the challenges of dementia these trips back are essential and let me spend these last times with her.  

I was able to get in a few photographic hikes and here are the first ones that I kind of like.  I will include these in my galleries once I get back and link the to this posting.  


[email protected] (Jamie Margolis) https://www.margolisphoto.com/blog/2019/1/a-brief-time-in-the-states Thu, 03 Jan 2019 02:50:06 GMT