Cole Thompson Photography

 Issue 60     

December 1, 2013   



New Monolith Images

Oregon Images

The Rest of the Story Behind the Image



Dear Cole,


Each year I go to Bandon, Oregon to photograph. In most years the weather is exactly right for my type of photography: sunny with scattered clouds. But on my most recent trip the conditions were terrible...or so I thought.


The weather was mostly foggy and in the past I'd have lamented my situation and waited for better conditions. But recently I've found myself having a different attitude.


Instead of defining what are good or bad conditions, I've been trying to see the great image that can present itself in any condition. I believe that in every situation, in every light and in every weather...the potential for a great image exists. But to see it, I must first be open to the idea of creating outside of my comfort zone.


Armed with this new attitude and lots of foggy weather, I set out to discover what I could find. "They Walk Among Us" (above) is one of those new images. 


Please enjoy and thank you for your interest in my art, I appreciate it!





P.S. Here are two videos that have inspired me since my last newsletter:




View this newsletter on the web at





New Monolith Images


Monolith No. 68


Most of my portfolios are started and finished very quickly, but I've been working on "Monoliths" for five years now.  And even though I've walked the two mile stretch of Bandon Beach hundreds of times, I still keep seeing new images.


This is my favorite new Monolith image from my trip in October.


View the "Monolith" series, including my six new additions.






Oregon Images


Isolated No. 3


On this trip to Oregon it felt like I spent the entire ten days in the fog, with little respite. On my last day when I was driving back to Portland, I came into a small valley where the sun suddenly appeared and offered up this scene.  


In all, I came home with eleven new images including a new "Lone Man" and one named "Buoy."


View all eleven of my new Oregon images.






The Rest of the Story Behind the Image


The Angel Gabriel

The Angel Gabriel


The Story:


This is the Angel Gabriel.  I met him on the Newport Beach pier as he was eating French Fries out of a trash can. He was homeless and hungry.  I asked him if he would help me with a photograph and in return, I would buy him lunch.


The pier was very crowded and I wanted to take a 30 second exposure so that everyone would disappear except Gabriel. We tried a few shots and then Gabriel wanted to hold his bible.  The image worked and the only people you can see besides Gabriel are those "ghosts" who lingered long enough for the camera. 


Gabriel and I then went into a restaurant to share a meal; he ordered steak with mushrooms and onions.  When it came, he ate it with his hands.  I discovered he was Romanian and so am I, so we talked about Romania.  He was simple, kind and a pleasure to talk with.  


I asked Gabriel how I might contact him, in case I sold some of the photographs and wanted to share the money with him.  He said I should give the money to someone who could really use it; that he had everything that he needed. 


Then the Angel Gabriel walked away, content and carrying his only two possessions: a Bible and a bed roll.


The Rest of the Story:


After I had processed this image I was excited to show it to my mentor who was an artist, a curator and a teacher of photography. She looked at it and exclaimed "Never center the image!"

I was perplexed because her advice ran contrary to how I felt about the image, how I had seen the image and how I had envisioned it...but reluctantly I followed her advice because she was the expert.  

So I went home and cropped the image so that Gabriel was no longer centered.

The transformed image was hideous and I immediately knew that my vision of the image was the correct one.

This taught me a great lesson; people may be well intentioned, have a degree in art or be an acknowledged expert...but there is one subject they are not expert Vision.  I vowed that never again would I ask for, or follow, another's advice regarding my images.  

Creating the Angel Gabriel wasn't just a great personal experience, it was also the turning point for both finding and following my Vision.  It was the first time that I trusted my instincts over an "experts" and it was the last time that I ever asked anyone for their opinion about my images.

This was one of the most valuable lessons I've ever learned and I've been centering my images ever since!






The winner of this month's drawing is Tamara Rodgers who will receive a signed print of "Iceland No. 12." 


Congratulations Tamara! Please contact me so I can arrange to send you the print.


The next drawing will be for a signed print of "Alphie" above.  


For those of you new to my newsletter drawings; simply email me at and put "Alphie" in the subject line.  




About Cole Thompson Photography

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Phone:      970-218-9649



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