Publishing

Blogging My Book: Nature Nourishes

NOTE: This post features the second of the three themes of my forthcoming book. I covered the first theme, Nature and the Built Environment, last week. Here’s the answer to the question that’s on every desert gardener’s mind: How do you water it? My gardening water comes from three sources: Our local utility, Tucson Water….

Blogging My Book: Nature and the Built Environment

During the past couple of decades, I’ve learned a lot about water harvesting and landscaping in an arid environment. In my forthcoming book, I’ll share key insights with you. Here’s a preview: Xeriscaping 101 My initial foray into water harvesting was motivated by a desire to save on the water bill more than anything else….

Blogging My Book: A Peek Inside

In my forthcoming book, I’ll elaborate on these three themes: Nature and the Built Environment. Nearly all of the photos in this book are from my yard during 2018-2022. Nowadays, it’s a mature environment, but it hasn’t always been that way. It had to be created from scratch, and that was a project that involved…

Blogging My Book: Selecting the Photos

In last week’s post, I established my reputation as the meanest photo editor west of the San Pedro. In other words, I’ve been shooting thousands of photos for my book, but I’m only planning to include a few dozen. What types of photos will be lucky enough to be granted admission by Mean Ole Martha?…

Blogging My Book: Getting the Photos Right

In last week’s post, I noted the challenge of getting the words right, and the people who are helping me do that. Well, there’s more to this coffee table book than words. It’s also going to feature my photography. How many photos have I shot? Thousands. How many keepers? That number is approaching 500. How…

Blogging My Book: Getting the Words Right

During a 1958 interview with George Plimpton, Ernest Hemingway talked about writing — and rewriting. Plimpton asked Hemingway about the amount of rewriting he did, and Hemingway replied, “It depends.” Hemingway went on to explain that he took the ending of A Farewell to Arms through 39 rewrites before he was satisfied. What was the…

Blogging My Book: Inspired by an Empty Palette

There’s nothing like being a first-time buyer during a housing bubble. That was the challenge I faced when I started house hunting in June 2003. A severe inventory shortage – combined with skyrocketing prices – turned my search into an ongoing series of frustrations. Then, in October 2004, I found a cute little brick house…

Blogging My Book: Pedaling to Better Powers of Observation

When I was in my early twenties, I set the goal of bicycling through all 50 of the United States. It only took 12 years – and more than 15,000 miles – to reach the finish line. That happened during a predawn thunderstorm outside Las Vegas, Nevada. Along the way, I met such on-the-road challenges…

Blogging My Book: Finding My Artistic Home

While I was in high school, I made a discovery that would change my artistic life. Simply put, I just wasn’t good at drawing or painting. Sculpture? Forget it. Ceramics? Meh. Printmaking? Nope. Photography was a different story. Almost immediately, I felt like I was born to do it. In photography class, I was introduced…

Blogging My Book: Art in Math Class

In my previous post, I noted my family’s move to the woods when I was eight years old. Our house was just two doors away from the neighborhood elementary school, and I went there for three years. Unfortunately, I quickly ran into the same problem I experienced at my previous school. I was a smart…

Blogging My Book: Lessons from the Woods

When I was eight years old, my family moved to the woods. Although we were an hour’s drive from Philadelphia, the city seemed like it was light years away. And light, what was that? The interior of our new house was so dark, we had to keep the lights on during the daytime. No sense…

Blogging My Book: Celebrating Nature in the Heart of the City

This publishing adventure began as an effort to master the intricacies of camera equipment I purchased in June 2018. Since it was too hot to leave home and practice in public, it was time for a self-assignment. Open the doors to Martha’s Back-Yard Photography School, because class is now in session! I figured that my…

Photo Essay: Living Off My Land

Yesterday was my eighth house-iversary. Meaning that it’s been eight years since I first became a homeowner. Being in charge of a 56-year-old house that sits on a small plot of land in central Tucson has been quite the learning experience. One of my ongoing areas of study is self-sufficiency. To what extent can I…

Freelancer’s Guide to Starting a Successful Photography Business

While the Internet is full of advice on how to take better pictures, information on the business side of photography can be hard to come by. To fill this void, I created the Freelancer’s Guide to Starting a Successful Photography Business. It showcases more than 50 resources that will help freelancers learn professional business practices…

Photo Essays: Graffiti Eradication

Graffiti is one of those blights that never seems to go away. These days, it seems as if any object is a tempting target for taggers. Central Tucson certainly isn’t immune from the graffiti plague. Street signs are especially vulnerable… When they’re not being stolen, traffic safety devices are also quite the target… Locally, there…

Photo Essays: March of the Mini-Dorms

About 10 years ago, a new kind of student housing started popping up in neighborhoods around the University of Arizona. Developers were buying old houses, doing interior and exterior renovations, and adding a second story on the back. Then they rented them to groups of five or more students. These structures became known as mini-dorms….

Photo Essays: From liquor store to school

For many years, the northeast corner of First Avenue and Lester Street was home to a convenience store that sold little more than liquor. Place was a magnet for drug buyers, sellers, and other nefarious types. We neighbors weren’t too pleased with the goings-on, and most of us steered clear of the store. There wasn’t…

Photo Essay: Empty Houses, Tucson, Arizona

The nationwide real estate meltdown has hit Arizona hard. Our state has one of highest foreclosure rates in the country. And you don’t have to look very far to find evidence in central Tucson… If it’s not the signs announcing foreclosure, it’s the empty houses. Not all have been taken back by banks. Some may…

Photo Essay: Shoefiti, Tucson, Arizona

Shoefiti is one of those things that isn’t unique to Tucson. It’s the practice of tying a pair of shoes together, then tossing them at overhead wires. The goal is to get them hanging up there for all to see. This example of accurate tossing can be seen along North Fourth Avenue… Which begs the…

Photo Essay: Homeless Hideouts, Tucson, Arizona

One of the more visible signs of our tough economy is the increase in homeless people. To be sure, Tucson has long been a wintertime magnet for those who are down on their luck. After all, where would you rather be on the streets in January? Minneapolis? Or here in Arizona? In central Tucson, our…

Photo Essay: Euclid Avenue, Tucson, Arizona

Euclid Avenue isn’t one of Tucson’s glamorous thoroughfares. It’s a workmanlike street that takes you past apartment complexes, strip shopping centers, schools, and sturdy little houses, some of which are a century old. While much of central Tucson’s transportation improvement efforts are centering on the Grant Road widening project, Euclid is still, well, Euclid. No…

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