A few years ago a friend who is an accomplished aviation and wildlife photographer paid me an unsolicited compliment that I cherish: “Peter, you are a master of the 600.”, meaning a big 600 mm telephoto lens I use to photograph airplanes—and art nude models—from a distance.
The lens in the above picture [or my Nikon version] is often my “go to” “money maker”. I have a lot of experience with both, and I love using these tools because I get excellent results with them.
The photo gear in this picture cost approximately $21,000.00: $13,000 for the lens, $7,000 for the camera, $500 for the tripod, and $500 for the tripod head. The most important thing, however, is A) what is between the ears and behind the breastbone of the guy behind the lens, meaning my skills or lack thereof; B) my passion; C) my commitment; C) my people and problem solving skills; and D) my vision, meaning my ability to pre-visualize an excellent image, coupled with my ability to reduce that pre-visualization to a well composed, technically perfect, artistic image worthy of critical acclaim.
I would not trade my camera gear for all the wealth in the world [money, land, jewels, etc.], if, as a condition, I had to give up photography, because I cannot take a picture with a $100,000 bill, with land regardless of how expensive, or with any precious jewel, regardless of how beautiful, desirable, or expensive.
I am a retired lawyer, 75 years old, fortunate enough to be reasonably successful in life, in good health, able to travel, free to travel, in command of my time, enjoying life, embracing life fully, squeezing it for every drop of joy.
While I am 75 years old chronologically I think and feel as if I am young, blessed with the wisdom I earned.
Before 2017 I photographed primarily airplanes, wildlife, scenics, historical re-enactors and statuary. My original Internet site is www.cloud9photography.us. That site is a treasure trove for excellent, hard to find, historical, world-wide military airplane pictures and wildlife pictures.
In 2017 I started to photograph artistic nude models, as a change of pace, for the challenge and fun of it.
As to my character and personality, friends and enemies have told me I have all of the following good qualities: Fiercely independent; adaptable; self-reliant self-starter; energetic, tenacious, focused, industrious; goal oriented; reliable, trustworthy, honest; accountable; proactive and decisive; committed to excellence; analytical; an independent and strategic thinker; often unconventional; detail oriented, thorough, and focused; no nonsense oriented; confrontational; not easily intimidated; gutsy; classic Type A; Alpha male; competitive; intense and passionate; able to be candid and blunt or diplomatic and tactful; effective; appreciative; loyal to those who manifest loyalty; patriotic; principled [I reason from and to the U.S. Constitution, the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule].
I do not like cowards, shirkers, racists, malcontents, fools, constitutional illiterates, mean spirited people, toxic trouble makers, liars, people who lack courage and convictions, ignoramuses, usurpers, addicts, and/or stupid people.
Friends and enemies have also told me I have the following allegedly bad qualities: Rigid; sloppy; not well organized; insensitive to others; at times socially awkward; asshole; aloof; pig headed; incorrigible; unrealistic; dreamer; too idealistic; unhinged; scary; weird; deviant; I “crash through life”; and I am an embarrassment to others.
To my critics, I say this: A) Until you convince me on the merits I am wrong I shall remain partial to my own judgment, but, prove me wrong on the merits and I will gladly promptly change my position, but not before; B) I adhere to a popular adage among the Roman Empire’s elites: ONE MUST HAVE A GOOD DEAL OF CONCEIT ABOUT HIMSELF; C) I fight to keep my bone and to stay on the porch; and D) How arrogant of you to think I care about what you think and do not annoy me by trying to control me and force me to conform to your standards. I am not on probation or in prison.
In early 2021, while on a long trip in a large van with models and photographers, I had long conversations with a female model, a Chinese-American immigrant. We were strangers before our conversation started. After a few hours she told me I have “a kind heart”. I was shocked to hear her say that, so much so I asked her to repeat what she said. I understood her correctly the first time. When she confirmed I understood her correctly I laughed and told her many who have known me far longer than she has would vehemently disagree with her. Her response was, “They are wrong. They do not understand you correctly. I do. I am a good judge of character. You do have a kind heart.”
I have pondered what that model told me. She is correct.
Too many people misconstrue my kindness for weakness and try to exploit me and leverage my kindness against me.
I am sick of that dynamic.
I have zero tolerance for people who do this: They persist in provoking me enough to bring out the monster in me, and, when I enforce my reasonable boundaries against them, they then attempt to play the victim and they accuse me of being the monster who is triggered and out of control, but, I contend they are the monster because they provoked me enough to bring out the monster within me.
Some of my key interests include reading, travel, art, politics, history, current events, business, military aviation, photography, anything creative, people, friendships, cultures, self improvement, learning, and photo manipulation software.
Friendships are extremely important to me. A single good friendship is an excellent reason for wanting to remain alive, to be able to enjoy one’s treasured friend(s).
For years, I use to make Herculean relationship repair attempts, but, not anymore. Currently, if and when a person manifests toxic behavior or a failure to appreciate me, I am strongly inclined to walk away and exclude them from my circle of friends. I do not enjoy being abused by toxic people and I do not want to fight with them. As a result, my circle of friends grows smaller but their quality is better.
If I could draw or paint better, or sing better, I would probably draw, paint, or sing, but, I can’t do any of those well. I can, however, take good pictures, and, sometimes, I make zingers-pictures that are “sticky”, meaning, they command a long second look.
Some of the reasons why I became interested in photography are stated below.
Reason No. 1
My father was a U.S. Air Force flight medic. He used a Canon rangefinder camera on his over seas flights to strange, fascinating, far away places. With his pictures, he was able to show my family and I places he had been to and the people he had photographed. Thanks to him, as a child, I became acquainted, through the medium of photography, with Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Alaska, and islands forming in the Pacific Ocean, which the airplanes he was on, by chance, over flew. To appreciate the significance of photography in those days, one needs to realize that television in the early 1950s was not common in ordinary households. Thus, what my dad was able to show me via his camera was wondrous.
Reason No. 2
I have always been impressed by the power of photography. Some examples are: The German zeppelin burning and crashing after it caught fire in the United States; the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor; the raising of the American flag on Iwo Jima during World War II; the man in civilian clothes who stood in a public street in Saigon during the Vietnam war, who aimed a handgun at another person, allegedly a Viet Cong, and, apparently, executed that person by shooting that person in the head; the Chinese protestor who had the courage to stand in front of a Communist Chinese Army tank in Tiananmen Square and refused to get out of the way of the tank, daring to pit 150 pounds of human flesh and intangible human courage and defiance against 50 tons of steel, loaded guns, and god-awful oppression; flag draped coffins of American battle field casualties; and the destruction of 3,000 lives and the Twin Towers on 9/11.
Reason No. 3
The desire to be creative, to have a way to constructively channel creative energy and use images to communicate.
Reason No. 4
The pursuit of, the challenge of, and the excitement arising from, trying to make a truly memorable photograph, especially of God’s finest and last creation: Woman! Becoming a lawyer was not my first career choice, but I became one because I wanted to help people with legal problems and to fight the good fight to advance the cause of individual liberty, freedom and justice. I also like trying to solve complex problems, and I like to argue and stand up for what I believe is true and right and for the underdog.
Looking back on my life I am proud that I was able to become a licensed lawyer and I worked in the trenches representing clients for 40 years, but, looking back, if I had to do it over, I think I would have strived to become the actual movie camera photographer who took pictures for real big screen movies. On the other hand, I have the deep satisfaction of knowing I did my best to represent the people who hired me.
Some lawyer skills are transferable to being a good photographer: The need to think well, proactively; the need to pay constant attention to details; the need to prioritize; the ability to solve problems; the need to adjust to a changing situation; and the ability to be firm when necessary.
I like cameras, a lot, because they are wonderful. Cameras allow us to capture an image, to preserve an instant in time, and to reproduce images on paper or a screen, with incredible detail, to enjoy for years. In that limited sense, they are somewhat like a time warp tool.
I am not exaggerating when I state that I now produce pin prick sharp huge prints with ultra amazing detail. I relish that capability.
I am also fascinated by wide angle lenses and big telephoto lenses and the different effects obtainable with each lens type.
I love coming onto a scene, the challenge of studying it to figure out what are the latent best photo possibilities, to see beyond the clutter, to pre-visualize how I can exploit to best advantage what is before me, how to select which lens to use from which perspective and how to set up the camera to capture what I pre-visualize.
I love the creative freedom photography enables me to enjoy. I feel liberated from the confinement and oppression of thousands of complex rules in law books that I had to comply with as a lawyer. I love not having to cater to a judge, a client, a witness, a government official, or an opposing attorney.
I also love working with a ravishingly beautiful, friendly, intelligent, cooperative, non-Diva type, model who is comfortable with her sexuality and is willing to pose to be photographed nude. I appreciate the trust such models place in me. I will never become jaded or cynical or take for granted their beauty, at skin level and below.
My artistic nude model style of photography includes the following: I use professional gear and a wide range of lenses. I prefer tight cropping, dynamic action, and clutter free images, with a thought provoking subtle message, and/or with an emphasis on unusual angles and dramatic lighting. I absolutely love environmental nudes. Au natural in nature combines the best of woman, Mother Nature, and liberation from confining social norms.
I am a photographer, not a snap-shooter. A photographer plans ahead, pre-visualizes images he wants, works to get the opportunity to take the image he wants, hones his skill, and, on a consistent, assured basis, executes well so that a high percentage of his images are zingers, namely, images that command a long look.
I do not rely on luck or haphazard clicking away; however, I admit that “luck” [preparation meeting and seizing opportunity] often trumps pre-planning or skill, no matter how refined.
Years ago, a bad experience with a Kodak photo lab motivated me to some day sell my own pictures with an emphasis on uncompromising highest quality. When I was in my early twenties, my mother gave me a wonderful gift: An expensive, medium format, Hasselblad film camera with a pin prick sharp Zeiss lens. This was a true world class camera. NASA’s astronauts used a modified for space version of this camera to photograph the moon, space, and Earth.
Soon after I used that Hassy, I discovered something significant about ordinary Kodak photo labs: They did not pursue perfection. I learned this when I read a note, from a Kodak lab, in a package of prints I picked up that that lab made from my Hasselblad negs. This note said Kodak did not want my business! This Kodak lab told me I expected unrealistically high standards, and the reason their prints from my Zeiss lens’ negatives were not sharp was because Kodak’s lab technicians put a diffusing filter between its enlarging lens and the paper to blur out specs on the paper or the film or both! Unbelievable. Outrageous. How dare them to go out of their way to undermine high resolution? In context, Kodak admitted that Kodak went out of its way to reduce the resolution power of my pin prick sharp Zeiss lens! That revelation infuriated me. When I read that note I decided some day I would sell my pictures when I could maintain control over the entire photographic process, without compromise.
Well, that “some day” is now. Today, I have substantial control over the entire photographic process-from original image capture to print production. To be blunt and truthful, I make awesome pictures and big, drop dead gorgeous, lush, detail rich, huge prints.
My pursuit of perfection has a tight lock on me, one I cannot escape. For example, I am waiting for the release of an entirely new professional grade camera system that will increase the megapixels of my original image capture by more than 100%. When that system is available, I will buy it. This is because every link in the chain of photography is crucial to the final result, and I refuse to compromise.
Currently, with my existing cameras, I can make huge prints that show lush rich detail but, when new technology makes it possible for me to do even better, my drive for perfection tells me, “Peter, go for it. Buy it! Don’t stop. Don’t look back.”
I do my best to give my customers excellent value. I want to make all WOW customers not just satisfied or happy, but giddy when they hold a WOW print in their hands.
I offer a money back guarantee because my quality control is high, and I have supreme confidence in what I offer for sale.
Increasingly, I have become keenly aware of insights about myself: (1) I suspect that my passionate artistic pursuit of photography, with uncompromising high standards, is a form of sublimation, namely, a manifestation of me obtaining gratification from a socially useful, lawful, non-violent, substitute when more direct forms of impulse-gratification are blocked and a form or rebellion against authority and rules; (2) After photographing over 80 nude models and getting to know them better, I have rediscovered what I knew and believed long ago: The most important quality about a woman is not her external beauty but her “core”, meaning, the quality of her heart, her mind, her IQ, her personality, her goals, her values, her commitment, and her cooperation, or lack thereof.
Questions: All things being equal, which would you rather be: (1) A son-of-a-bitch or a damn fool? and (2) be right or be kind?
As I grow older and, hopefully, wiser, my answers to those questions evolve. I would not want to be a SOB or a fool, but, if forced to choose, I would prefer to be a SOB, and there was a time when I would prefer to be right even if unintentionally not kind. However, currently, I now strive to avoid being a SOB and/or a fool. Now, I am far more inclined to be kind and not driven to prove I am right. “Be kind”, I think, is a wise big component for a good “philosophy of life”.
Why the change? I do not know, exactly; however, I know this: Life is precious, life is meant to be enjoyed, we all have a tombstone in our future, and what we do with the balance of our lives will affect how others—living and yet to be born—including our loved ones, will live. So, being kind without being a fool has become increasingly important to me.
Thank you for visiting this site. I hope you experienced it to be sticky, meaning, the photo galleries hold onto you and you, in that sense, get attached to and stick to them, and, you love the pictures so much you will buy some and tell your friends about the WOW site.
I encourage you to use the “Comment” feature to express your subjective opinions about the models’ beauty and/or the quality of the photography.
All the best and kindest regards to everyone, now and forever, especially to each model who trusted me, who undressed before me, and who shared with me up close her uncovered beauty.
Have a good deal of conceit about yourself; never let anyone squeeze you out of you, put you down, or hold you back. NEVER.