Search Results for: Camino

Last Gas

I found this signage advertising the “latest” bar on the Camino Portuguese shortly before the Spanish border where the great pilgrimage trail crosses the River Minho to Tui, Spain. By “latest” I’m pretty sure that they meant “last”—so this is one of those signs like “last gas in Nevada.” Does one really care? Are the bars in Spain so different from those in Portugal? Experience tells me: not so much.

Last Gas © Harold Davis

Posted in Bemusements, Photography

Roman Bridges of Galicia

There are literally hundreds of Roman bridges in Galicia, many used by or adjacent to the Camino Portuguese.

Some of these are more recent constructions on the Roman-engineered foundations, but with other the literal stones of the bridges date back millennia. The Oronelle Bridge, shown below, was built by the Romans, and is still quite usable,

It’s amazing to see the grooves in the stones worn by cart wheels and foot tread over the vast span of years!

Oronelle Bridge © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography, Spain

Inside Tui Cathedral and I Have a Bilbo Baggins Moment

Tui Cathedral is nominally the starting point for my Camino. This is where my pilgrimage begins. The distances are calculated from the doors of the Cathedral.

Inside, the Cathedral is a heady and eclectic blend of Gothic, Romanesque, and Baroque styles. In the image, the double organs across each side of the nave is something I’ve never seen anywhere else. In addition, the Cathedral was a frontier fortress with battlements, terraces, and a fortified cloisters, on active alert across the River Minho facing the “enemy” fortress  on the other side for centuries.

Inside Tui Cathedral © Harold Davis

This morning I had my “Bilbo Baggins” moment. A somewhat portly, middle-aged gent, I checked out of the hotel, leaving my key at the front desk, slipped on my pack and headed across the meadow to the trail. Oh, the moment was slightly spoiled when I had to adjust the lacing on my boots before getting started (hobbits don’t wear shoes of course).

The sky was gray with storm-wracked clouds and the forecast was for wet weather. Instead of worrying about a pocket handkerchief as Bilbo famously did, I wondered whether my the rain cover for my pack was handy.

Posted in Spain

Excited about new upcoming adventures

I’m excited about my upcoming trip to Europe. I’ll be in Germany working with my friend Julian Kopke to make more x-rays and fusions x-rays, then leading a small group of photographers in Paris, and then after Paris walking the Camino Portuguese. For this walk, I’ll be heading north on this pilgrimage trail from Tui at the Spain-Portugal border on the River Minho north to Santiago de Compostela. Like last year’s Camino, I will be photographing and hope to be blogging my adventures as I go.

Paris from Montmartre © Harold Davis

Triple Spiral Stairs (Looking Up) in Santiago © Harold Davis


Posted in Photography

Explorations, projects, digital collages, constructions, and more

I confess: sometimes I lose track of my own work. Lately—over the past year or so—I’ve been working on related themes, groupings of images that are tightly, or loosely, linked. The very nature of blogging and social media, not to mention photography’s voracious ability to create imagery of all kinds, means these themes can get lost. In response, I decided to start an Explorations page with links to…explorations, digital collages, constructions, meanderings, and ongoing artistic projects—organized thematically.

This has been an enjoyable way for me to get a better handle on what I’ve been up to (sometimes this isn’t apparent even to the artist until some way down the road of creation). Maybe you will like some of the projects and ideas as well.

X-rays and Fusion X-rays (2018-2019); About

Camino de Santiago (2018-2019); Story

Monochrome Florals (2011-2019); Story

Bottled Light (2018-2019); Words

Curves Ahead (2019); Words

Homage to Rothko (2018-2019)

White Daemon (2018); About

Easy Travel to Other Planets (2018-2019)

Optical Studies (2018-2019); Story

Petal Galaxy (2015-2019); Story

Dancing with the Stars (2017-2018); Story

Blades of Grass (2017-2018); About

Posted in Photography


X-rays and Fusion X-rays (2018-2019); About

Camino de Santiago (2018-2019); Story

Monochrome Florals (2011-2019); Story

Bottled Light (2018-2019); Words

Curves Ahead (2019); Words

Homage to Rothko (2018-2019)

White Daemon (2018); About

Easy Travel to Other Planets (2018-2019)

Optical Studies (2018-2019); Story

Petal Galaxy (2015-2019); Story

Dancing with the Stars (2017-2018); Story

Blades of Grass (2017-2018); About

Malta (2017-2018); Stories


Landscapes (2005- )

B&W (2007- )

Nachi-san © Harold Davis

Japan (2013); Stories

Harold Davis—Best of 2018

2018 has been quite a year in art for me. Travel has included the Southwest of France, the Balearic Islands, a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago, teaching at Maine Media Workshops, New York City, Heidelberg and Berlin Germany, Paris, Malta, and Sicily. My time at home has been productive as well. 

Below each image, I’ve added links to the relevant blog stories that include my selected images (where I blogged them). Self-selected entries from previous years going back to 2013 can be found here.

Study in Petals on Black © Harold Davis

Blog story: Studies in Petals

Red Anemone © Harold Davis

Blog story: Red Anemone

Devotional Pose © Harold Davis

Blog story: Devotional Pose

Vitruvian Woman © Harold Davis

Blog story: Vitruvian Woman

Egg © Harold Davis

Blog story: Egg

Papaver Nudicaule © Harold Davis

Blog story: Color Field of Flowers

Above the Gran Via © Harold Davis

Blog story: Above the Grand Via

Dandelion in Calvignac A © Harold Davis

Blog story: Dandelion in Calvignac

Bridge Fun © Harold Davis

Blog story: The Art of Being Alone with Oneself

Twisted © Harold Davis

Blog story: Seriously Twisted

Summer Grass © Harold Davis

Blog story: Summer Grass

Poppies and Mallows on White © Harold Davis

Poppies and Mallows on Black (Inversion) © Harold Davis

Blog story: The Art of Photographing Flowers for Transparency

Poppies Dancing © Harold Davis

Poppies Dancing Inversion © Harold Davis

Blog stories: Poppies Dancing and Poppies Dancing on Black

The Passion of the Rose © Harold Davis

Blog story: The Passion of the Rose

Papaver Pod from above © Harold Davis

Blog story: Papaver Poppy Pods Gone to Seed

Poem of the Road © Harold Davis

Lonely Road (Poem of the Road) © Harold Davis

Blog story: Poem of the Road

Sunflower X-Ray Fusion © Harold Davis

X-Ray, Sunflower © Harold Davis

Campanulas X-Ray on White © Harold Davis

Blog story: Revealing the Unseen with X-Ray Photography of Flowers; FAQ: X-Ray Photos of Flowers

Ladyboot Arch © Harold Davis

Blog story: Under the Wide and Starry Sky

Dawn East of the Sierras © Harold Davis

Rising © Harold Davis

Red Pitcher © Harold Davis

Bridge of Light – Color Version © Harold Davis

Bridge of Light © Harold Davis

Blog story: Bridge of Light

Heceta Head Lighthouse © Harold Davis

Heceta Head © Harold Davis

Crepuscular Coast – Black and White © Harold Davis

Crepuscular Coast © Harold Davis

Blog story: Crepuscular Coast

Earthlight © Harold Davis

Blog story: Earthlight

Paris from Montmartre © Harold Davis

Blog story: View of Paris from my room

Paris Paris © Harold Davis

Blog story: Goodbye Paris

Time Machine © Harold Davis

Blog story: Time Machine

Mosta Dome © Harold Davis

Blog story: Mosta Dome

Abstract 1 © Harold Davis


Check out my self-selected bests from previous years in Best Images Annuals!

Posted in Best Of, Photography

Greetings from a peripatetic photographer and writer!

I’ve just returned from a voyage to Paris, then leading a group in Malta, followed by a week exploring Sicily. Prior to this, in October I was on a road trip up the California and Oregon coast. In September, I was photographing in the rugged land east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Over the summer I was in Maine, New York, and Germany. The spring found me first in the southwest of France, then hiking along the Camino de Santiago in Spain, and finally in the Balearic Islands.

If you are interested in the images from these travels of mine, I urge you to take a look at my blog. Words do matter to me, and many times the words in my blog tell the stories behind the photo, or at least my thinking making the photo. For your reference, here’s the Paris category on my blog, the Malta category, the first story from the coastal Oregon trip, and the story that marks the start of my Camino. My Flickr stream and Instagram feed have more images than could possibly be on my blog, and these photos may help to fill in some of the backstory.

For personal, familial, creative, and artistic reasons I am contemplating a future with less in the way of in-person workshops that I lead. On this good news and bad news paradigm, I still will be teaching via my books, video courses such as my Photoshop Backgrounds and Textures, and on this website. I have book revisions scheduled for the coming year, along with new books, and a new video course planned for early in the year. 

Poem of the Road © Harold Davis

Lonely Road © Harold Davis

It’s not easy to change course on a dime, and this will be a busy workshop year for me as well. For a long time, folks have been asking me to lead a workshop in Florida. I am finally doing so in February, at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre, with the topic being Garden and Flower Photography

In April, I am looking forward very much to once again to leading a destination travel workshop to Paris and Monet’s gardens at Giverny. If this intrigues you, this small group of photographers is edging towards completeness, so it might be a good time to sign up, particularly if you are interested in gifting yourself and/or a loved one with a lavish photographic Christmas present.

June brings once again our annual Photographing Flowers for Transparency master workshop, held here in Berkeley, California (a few spaces are still open).

In October 2019, I am planning to be the photographic “Golf Pro” on a destination photo workshop to one of my favorite parts of the world, Northern Morocco, with logistics spearheaded by a major travel organization.

I like to quote Yogi Berra’s witticism that “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” But of course we all make these predictions (and plans) regardless. As I look ahead at the new year, and contemplate both the needs of my family and how best to nurture my own artistic creativity, I do feel that cutting back on in-person teaching is almost certainly a step I need to take, at least for a while. 

The implication of course is that if you’d like a hands-on workshop with me, or to travel with me, this would be the time. If not now, when? Click here for my Workshops & Events page with the 2019 listings.

Bridge of Light – Color Version © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography, Writing

Stories that weave through my blog

I’ve been writing this blog since 2005, which is to say over twelve years. Sometimes there’s more, and sometimes I have less to say, but the average is about ten stories a month. That’s quite a bit of material; back-of-the-envelope it comes to more than 1,400 stories.

Of course, some are more weighty than others. But it will probably come as no surprise that some stories are serial and sequential, and build on each other through an adventure or fraught life event. 

Kumano Sanzen Roppyaku Po © Harold Davis

Kumano Sanzen Roppyaku Po © Harold Davis

The purpose of this meta-blog story is to point out a few of these embedded series, and to show you where you might start reading if you are interested.

The Birth of Katie Rose—My daughter was born very prematurely, and we didn’t know if she would survive. I photographed her in the NICU, and wrote about what was happening in real-time. You can start with First Look or The Birth of Katie Rose Davis (written after she came home and was out of danger).

Hands © Harold Davis

Hiking the Kumano Kodo—In 2013 I hiked the famous Kumano kodo pilgrimage trail in Japan. You can read about some of my adventures in Japan starting with Noriko Tries to Poison Me, and read about my hike starting with On the Kumano kodo.

Tree and Reflection, Nara © Harold Davi

Tree and Reflection, Nara © Harold Davis

Camino de Santiago—More recently, in the spring of 2018, I hiked a portion of this famous pilgrimage trail in Spain. My pilgrimage story starts with Beginning My Compostela.

Romanesque Bridge along the Camino © Harold Davis

Does the Wilderness Care About Me?—Back in 2005, I launched myself on an ill-prepared early season venture into the Ansel Adams Wilderness. I survived to tell the tale that starts in A Walk on the Wild Side.

Alone I Stand © Harold Davis

Vietnam—In 2017 I visited Vietnam with my longtime friend Eric. Our ostensible goal was to visit the largest cave in the world, Son Doong. Along the way, we saw many strange and wondrous things, starting with the Long Bien Bridge that was important during the American-Vietnamese war because it connects Hanoi by rail with the port of Haiphong.

Son Doong Cave © Harold Davis

Cuba—In 2009 I visited Cuba with a photography group. You can read some of my observations starting with Fifty Years after the Cuban Revolution.

On the Cover © Harold Davis


Posted in Cuba, Japan, Katie Rose, Vietnam, Writing

Through a Glass Lightly

The last few years have been traveling years for me. This means time in restaurants. Sometimes alone. Waiting for food. Or with a crowd out eating, but alone inside. Either way, what better time to play with photography and glassware? Here are some of my favorites…

After a long day walking the Camino, I stopped at a small hamlet for a meal and bed. Watching the trees from the perspective of a glass of wine I felt I was in touch with a holistic sense of the world, and that everything would be integrated and alright:

Trees and Wine © Harold Davis

In a French brasserie they take their glassware and bottles seriously. I got up from my culinary meditation over an excellent cassoulet and photographed these blue bottles at the bar:

Blue Bottles © Harold Davis

Blue or green, what’s in a color? Apparently, this depends on the shadows against a stucco wall:

Green Bottle © Harold Davis

Bottles come in ones and twos, and perhaps the Pepper Shaker enjoys a colloquy with the water bottle in this Maine waterfront restaurant:

Two in a Bar © Harold Davis

Across the spectrum red is possible as well as blues and greens at this informal place in Paris:

Carafe at Lunch © Harold Davis

Sometimes the cutlery likes to get into the game, and the spoon is reflected in a polished, reflective carafe in Germany:

Spoonerismo © Harold Davis

It’s a short leap from spoons refracted in a reflection to a place setting reflected in a napkin holder at a roadside rest in Portugal:

Napkin Holder © Harold Davis

Other times things can get rowdy as when I lined up these glasses at an end-of-workshop party in Heidelberg:

Wine Glasses at a Dinner Party © Harold Davis

I photographed this glass and carafe in a cafe on the main square of Monpazier, one of Acquitaine’s signature bastides (you can see the covered market structure through the open doors):

Monpazier Cafe © Harold Davis

Neither white nor red, but definitely a good watercolor subject:

Rosé © Harold Davis

At a romantic, candle-lit restaurant in Germany I made an abstraction of a candle refracted in a drinking glass. The glass was green and held some kind of fancy drink. The shape of the green glass occupies the right side of the image:

Glass and Candle © Harold Davis

In the historic Ferry Building, in downtown San Francisco:

Glasses © Harold Davis

Waiting for service in a restaurant near Valletta, Malta:

Maltese Cross © Harold Davis

Paint-it-darker patterns and magnification with a beaded placemat in a casual Dordogne restaurant in Brantome, France:

Glass on a Placemat © Harold Davis

In Bourges, France, I was primarily interested in the differing way the shadow from my glass fell on the table cloth as opposed to the way the shadow fell on the wood of the table itself. The bright, curved lines within the shadow are created by bright reflections off the water in the wine glass, but they aren’t quite aligned at the borders of the cloth and wood, due to the differing refractive qualities of the two surfaces:

Shadow of the Glass © Harold Davis

A different phenomenon of light and shadow is to be found in this glass of wine, with the sunlight coming through an awning in Varenna, Italy, where I was enjoying a late lunch beside the Lago di Como with my good friend Mauro:

Eye of Sauron in his Cups © Harold Davis

No matter where you are, and what you are doing, you can always find interesting visual subjects, things to photograph, and ways to make art. Olé!

Posted in iPhone, Photography

Summer Grass

In the traffic island in the middle of our Morning Glory Circle, as spring turns to summer the grass is drying and turning a California brown. I cut and carefully arranged a few stalks on my light box, and used LAB inversion to add a black background.

Before I had left for my Camino, I started photographing grasses and “weeds”—I think this has become a whole, interesting sub-genre for me. After all, it is the wise botanical artist who knows the distinction between flower and weed is somewhat arbitrary, and in the eye of the beholder. The less-well regarded weed can often surpass in structural interest the hoity-toity flower.

Summer Grass © Harold Davis

More images of grasses and such: Oxalis; Street Grasses; Decorative Grass; Blades of Grass; no real flowers need apply!

Posted in Monochrome, Photograms, Photography

Atlantic Coast of Galicia

The Atlantic coast of Galicia is rugged. Sheer cliffs reach down to the ocean at the end of long peninsulas. Skies are often gray, and waves can be large. No wonder this was called the “Coast of Death” (Costa da Morte)—although nowadays the moniker is used primarily to sell souvenirs. No wonder that the end of land here where the ocean meets the sky seemed to pilgrims the end of the known world.

Faro de Cabo Villano © Harold Davis

Click here for the first story about my Camino to Santiago de Compostela.

Posted in Photography

I Hugged an Apostle

As I wandered about the interior of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, I noticed a sign saying “Embrace the Apostle.” There was a line of people waiting behind a rope barrier in single file beneath the sign. So I added myself to the back of the queue.

We inched forward, finally reaching the place where you went in to the Apostle’s area. By the way, in terms of Apostles, we are talking about none other than Saint James a/k/a “Santiago”, the first of the apostles to be martyred. His remains seem to have turned up in this area sometime in the ninth century, with the tale of how they got here shrouded in myth, legend, and the slaying of dragons (I kid you not).

There was a stoplight contraption, and when it went green the person at the head of the line went up a short and narrow flight of stairs.

When it was my turn, I went up the stairs, then stood on a small stone step, and following the example of the person ahead of me, put my arm around a wooden paint-and-gilt bust of St James. Unlike the person ahead of me, I didn’t kiss the statue (memories of a certain Isak Dinesen short story came back to me, with the thought that one might catch a disease, otherwise I might just have kissed the old wooden cheek).

So I hugged an apostle! Another first for a memorable Camino…not quite in the same transgressive league as the Katy Perry song, but still something.

Posted in Photography

Triple-Spiral Stair

The Vatican has its famous and grand two-spiral Bramante stair, and there are other examples of double-spiral stairs throughout the world; for example, Calling Alice (San Francisco) and Edificio Cuervo Rubio (Havana, Cuba) are images I’ve made based on two-spiral staircases. But as far as I know, Santiago de Compostela boasts the only three-spiral staircase. At least the only one I have ever seen or heard of. Please let me know if there are others I’ve missed.

Triple-Spiral Stairs (Looking Up) © Harold Davis

The image above is looking up, and the image below was a quick high ISO photo with a gaggle of kids from a class trip looking up at me!

Triple-Spiral Stairs with School Group © Harold Davis

I really like Santiago de Compostela very much. Not only does it have a triple-spiral stair, it also has a wonderful old town, a university population, and a constant flow of colorful incoming Camino pilgrims.

When the Camino de Santiago first became a pilgrimage, it was thought of as a walk to the edge of the unknown. Remember, Columbus was still centuries in the future at that point, and the apparently endless Atlantic lies only a short distance beyond Santiago. So pilgrims came laboriously from all over the known world to get a taste of the unknown.

For me, walking to this city still has a bit of the edgy feeling of contemplating what comes after all that is known.

Posted in Photography

Compostela Haraldum Davis

Compostela Haraldum Davis © Harold Davis

Today I trudged into Santiago de Compostela, having completed my Camino, tired and footsore, but happy. At the queue in the cloisters waiting for our certificates we all compared blisters to see who had the biggest (losing a toe nail seemed to outrank my painful blisters).

The line to show our Credencial with its stamps from along the Camino reminded me of a passport control line, with an electronic board and buzzer in the front to show which station one should go to to get the Crendencial checked. Sheer numbers help explain the queuing and the setup: right now 600-700 pilgrims a day are coming into Santiago de Compostela off the various Camino routes.

I had heard that in order to get the Compostela in Latin (as mine is, shown above) one had to do one’s Camino for religious or spiritual reasons (otherwise you get a somewhat smaller certificate in Spanish). One of the people I was chatting with on line told me he had a friend who liked to joke around, and last year when asked why he had walked a pilgrimage route said that he had walked his Camino to “lose weight”. He tried to take it back when he realized he would be denied his Compostela, to no avail.

So when I filled out the form that had three possibilities (Religious, Spiritual, and Cultural) I knew not to check Cultural. If you are curious, I went for Spiritual reasons, which is even mostly true (I think).

The image below shows my stamped Credencial and my Compostela in my rather incredible room at the rather incredible Hostal dos Reis Catolicos Parador. Since I am staying a few nights here, I am looking forward to photographing the four interior cloisters and other unique features of this place.

My room at the Hostal dos Reis Catolicos © Harold Davis

Posted in Photography