cole Thompson Photography

Issue 73

April 1st, 2016



Dunes of Nude

Do You Have My Correct Email Address?

Death Valley Images

Speaking in Denver

Discovering Your Vision in B&W Video

LensWork Magazine

Print Drawing


Dear Cole,


It seems that no matter how old I get, I am still learning new life lessons.


In February I spent two weeks on the dunes in Death Valley. On this trip I turned off the camera feature that writes my images to two different memory cards. This feature works as a backup, in case one card were to fail.


I thought because I had never seen a card fail, it would be safe to turn off this feature.


I'm sure you can guess what happened: the card failed and now I did not have a backup!


Fortunately I was able to recover those images by sending the card out to a service that specializes in such disasters. And while I am thrilled that I was able to recover my images, it was an expensive lesson to learn...or relearn.


In this newsletter you can see those "almost lost" images.


~ ~ ~ 


I arrived in Death Valley right after the big snow storm and by the time I left, the flower bloom was occurring. It was spectacular to see the desert come alive. 


But alas, I took no pictures of those colorful flowers for I am but a poor black and white photographer!




P.S. Here's a great video of historic old photographs, colorized:








New "Dunes of Nude" Images



Dunes of Nude No. 146 



I have been working on the "Dunes of Nude" series for several years now and many of the images were created in Death Valley at the Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes where I've recently returned.


For some reason the dunes seemed different to me this year...or perhaps I simply saw them differently on this trip. It's hard for me to tell the difference. 


I have tried to put into words how they were different, but I cannot. They just felt different.


So here are the "indescribably different" new images from the Dunes of Nude series.




Dunes of Nude No. 171








Dunes of Nude No. 170








Dunes of Nude No. 169








Dunes of Nude No. 135








Dunes of Nude No. 168








Dunes of Nude No. 167








Dunes of Nude No. 163







Dunes of Nude No. 162








Dunes of Nude No. 160








Dunes of Nude No. 158








Dunes of Nude No. 157








Dunes of Nude No. 154








Dunes of Nude No. 151








Dunes of Nude No. 149








Dunes of Nude No. 148








Dunes of Nude No. 145








Dunes of Nude No. 142








Dunes of Nude No. 141








Dunes of Nude No. 140








Dunes of Nude No. 139








Dunes of Nude No. 138








Dunes of Nude No. 137








Dunes of Nude No. 136








Dunes of Nude No. 134








Dunes of Nude No. 133








Dunes of Nude No. 127








Dunes of Nude No. 126









Dunes of Nude No. 125








Dunes of Nude No. 124








Dunes of Nude No. 122








Dunes of Nude No. 121








Dunes of Nude No. 120








Dunes of Nude No. 119








Dunes of Nude No. 118








Do You Have My Correct Email Address?

As many of you know, I recently retired from my full time job. Many say to me: I thought you were a full time photographer, what did you do for a living? 


My answer is this: I did it for almost 40 years and I don't talk about it any more! 


But one thing that I do need to talk about is my old work email addresses. Please, discard that and contact me at my photography email address.


The correct email address to use is:




New Images from Death Valley


Death Valley Twig No. 1







The Dune Most Traveled







Self Shadow, Barely There No. 1







Mud Art No. 1







Lone Man No. 55








Isolated No. 15








Fast Clouds on a Slow Desert







Death Valley Sand Detail No. 4

Death Valley Sand Detail No. 1

Death Valley Mud

Dark Dunes


Speaking in Denver on Tuesday, April 26th, 2016


Moai, Sitting for Portrait



I'll be giving my presentation "Why Black and White" to the Broomfield Photo Club on Tuesday, April 26th at 6:30 pm. 


If you're in the area, I'd love to see you. And if you do attend and we've communicated before, please do come up and say hello! At my last Denver presentation two friends were in the audience and did not come up and introduce themselves to me, and I felt bad about that.


What's the presentation about? Well, it starts off talking about "Why Black and White" and I think I make a compelling case that B&W is good for any type of image or photography. But really what the presentation is about is finding your own Vision, following your Passion, forgetting about what others are doing and photographing what you love.


My presentation is 1 hour and 15 minutes long and as is my tradition, three prints will be given away at the end of the presentation.


Here are the vitals:

  • Who: The Broomfield Photo Club
  • What: Why Black and White
  • When: Tuesday, April 26, 2016
  • Time: 6:30 pm
  • Where: Broomfield Community Center, 280 Spader Way, Broomfield, CO 80020

Thanks all, I do love giving this presentation because I truly believe in the message I am delivering! I love what I do.






Discovering Your Vision in Black and White Video


Moai, Sitting for Portrait



In case you hadn't heard, my video tutorial "Discovering Your Vision in Black and White" is now available. It's a two CD set: one shot while I'm working in the field and the other at the computer showing my very simple Photoshop techniques including dodging and burning with a pen and tablet.


My biggest concern while shooting was: What if I don't see any good images? I'll be documenting myself failing! 


Fortunately we found a few including "The Road to Nowhere" above. This video will show you how I saw it, shot it and processed it.


You can order the video here:



This video is an honest representation of what I believe, how I see and the way that I work. I sincerely hope that you will find it interesting and helpful.





Moai, Sitting for Portrait featured in LensWork Magazine




My portfolio from Easter Island: "Moai, Sitting for Portrait" was featured in the January/February issue of LensWork.


If you'd like a signed copy (the cost is $10) just email me at


Here is my artist statement for the project:




Moai, Sitting for Portrait


Easter Island is a Chilean island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, 2300 miles from Chile's west coast and 2,500 miles east of Tahiti. In January of 2015 I spent two weeks photographing the Moai; monolithic human figures carved by the Rapa Nui people between the years 1250 and 1500 CE. This fulfilled a lifelong dream, one that started when I was 17 and read the book "Aku Aku" by Thor Heyerdahl. I became fascinated with the Moai and they have been on my mind and influenced my art for these many years.

As I progressed the 4,700 miles from my home in Colorado to this tiny island that is half the size of Denver, I tried to imagine what I would encounter. During my long travels I had an unusual dream that I had invited the Moai to come and sit for a formal portrait. 

When I awoke I thought "why not?" 

I knew there would be challenges: the Moai are reserved, aloof and almost unapproachable. They had suffered greatly at the hands of outsiders and the question was: would they come to trust me? 

Distance was the first hurdle to be overcome: the island is small by automobile standards, but when we are talking about the Moai who walk everywhere, traversing the island to get to my makeshift studio could be difficult. Then there was the Moai's physical condition: many were incapacitated by war and the ravages of time and could not make the journey. And how would I accommodate the size of the Moai, with some towering 33 feet tall? 

Facing these challenges and armed with nothing more than a dream and hope, I issued the invitations and waited.

Initially only a few came; the younger and less suspicious ones. But slowly, as word spread of their experience, others started to arrive...alone or in company. There were touching moments as old friends were reunited after years of separation.


Photographing the Moai created some interesting situations: one older Moai refused to allow me to photograph his face and turned his back on the camera. Another arrived with a hawk and insisted on having his portrait taken with the bird atop his head. Several Moai with bullet wounds, inflicted by outsiders, insisted that I document those scars. And there were tense moments, as two rival Moai came together face-to-face in the studio, but which ended well when they agreed to be photographed together. 


As you can see from their expressions, the Moai are reserved, stoic and dignified. With nearly 900 Moai inhabiting Easter Island, I was honored that a number of them accepted my invitation to sit for these portraits - thereby fulfilling a dream that has been on my bucket list for some time.



Print Drawing




The winner of this month's drawing for "Time No. 2" is Nick Upton. Nick, please send me your address and I'll get this print right out to you!

The next drawing will not be for a print, but for a prototype book I am exploring (above).


For those of you new to my newsletter drawings and would like to enter: simply email me at and put "Moai Book" in the subject line. 




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