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Friday, January 20, 2017

Weekly Post: My Life in the Garden of Eden by Robert Glenn Ketchum

My Life in the Garden of Eden
by Robert Glenn Ketchum

As part of paying the bills in my professional career, I photographed a number of significant gardens. I helped create several pretty amazing ones as well. Some of these pictures have been published in various books, but most have never been seen. In this blog, I will show you all my best garden images AND discuss garden design.




Friday, January 20, 2017


My Life in the Garden of Eden, #29:
Garden, #29:  Mature “islands” in a large garden can be quite spectacular and provide interesting textural juxtapositions because you can have plants that need very regular watering next to ones that thrive in dry habitats. Given the pictures I just posted on this blog of the garden I am building, here is the manifestation of those design ideas playing out on a much larger and more mature scale - this is Lotusland. Starting with the chip path, to its left is an island of things that like it wet, bromeliads of several varieties including billbersia. Receding into the distance on the left are other bromeliad islands that create depth in the garden view. This, then, is further accentuated by the spiky, blue cluster (middle frame, left) of very large, blue agave BUT they are part of a DRY island. The most dramatic island here, however, is clearly surrounding the large oaks. There are bromeliads, and clivia on the ground, but Ganna also took advantage of the massive oak limbs to grow some gigantic hanging plants, notable in this shot is the “ball” of staghorn fern, a plant I especially love because it needs no soil base and feeds out of moisture in the air. You can also see smaller staghorns attached to branches of the trees. Now, garden middle-right, I have saved the most unusual for last. The thin, bluish, grass-like blades that form the island on the right are Puya, but bear the common name, “Sapphire Tower” - that tower would be the very tall stalk and flower that you see rising above the spikes. This is a massive, brilliantly blue cluster of flowers that every flying thing in the garden loves. It is an awesome plant, BUT when I said “spikes,” I meant it. Those leaves are NOT grass blades, they are vicious, thorny-edged, and cactus tough. This plant also grows large and spreads. It is a wonderful addition to any garden, IF YOU HAVE THE ROOM FOR IT - but beware, this one is SO defensive, I declare it another of the “unweedables."
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Weekly Post: The Daze of My Life: Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography


Biographies are studies of someone's life based on cumulative research. Good ones may reveal something, but probably barely scratch the surface of what actually went on. The internet is allowing me to do something VERY different. 
~Robert Glenn Ketchum



Friday, January 20, 2017

The Daze of My Life:  Robert Glenn Ketchum, An Autobiography #29:
Daze, #29:  As the 1971 yearbook covers clearly illustrate, although I had graduated from UCLA, I still continued to experiment in the darkroom and play with my images even though I had stopped shooting in the night clubs of LA and had turned my attention to the natural world. Another of my photography instructors at UCLA was Edmund Teske, who did a lot of work with a technique called solarization. Basically, you turned the darkroom light on and off quickly while still processing the print, and a lot of weird things occurred. It was VERY random and NOT repeatable, but when it worked it was a dramatic, graphic effect. Since I was no longer shooting pics of rock stars, this is my good friend and upstreet neighbor, Robert Fishman. He has not died, nor is he decomposing. Social media has not made zombies a phenomenon yet. This is just what solarization does, and Heinecken liked it enough to put it in a national show of emerging photographers that he curated. Eventually I would cease working in this way, but before doing so I produced a few other hand-colored and manipulated images that were important to my evolution, as you will see in future posts.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Weekly Post: SILK ROAD - Embroideries of Robert Glenn Ketchum

Silk Road - Embroideries of Robert Glenn Ketchum


The city of Suzhou, China, produced China's most beautiful silk and silk embroidery practiced by generational families for 3,000 years. My purpose in going to China starting in the mid-1980's was to turn my photographs into textiles, and this is my story. ~Robert Glenn Ketchum



Thursday, January 19, 2017

Silk Road - Embroideries #209
SILK ROAD #209:  This is the 3rd panel (moving left-to-right) of “YK DELTA FROM 1500.” Remember, this embroidery is comprised of two photographs, each of which has been divided. In the order of the ACTUAL flight, this panel is 1/2 of my 1st shot. The 2nd shot was taken several moments later and the plane had moved a good deal. Although the middle “seam: between panels 2 and 3 may appear to be relatively contiguous, it is not. Panel #3 features something VERY different from what I showed you in the detail of panel #2, the last post. In that post, the vegetated area of the swamp reveals an astoundingly complex use of the numerous warp threads and complicated shuttle system to create the look of the various plants. In this 3rd panel, although the brown, “fuzzy” section just below the middle of this frame, appears to be an extension of that same swamp detailed in the previous post, it is not. In fact, this section actually seems to have surface texture like an embroidery might. I used the term “fuzzy” because if you compare this “surface" to other areas in the weaving, it is clearly quite different. In panel #3, the vegetated swamp seen in panel #2, HAS COMPLETELY DRIED UP, and all that is left visible is the brushy, leafless debris that remains. In the photograph, this dried up part of the delta, looked very different from other parts of the collective image, and Zhang wanted to capitalize on that obvious difference, so she revived an historical weaving technique to create the effect you see. Next week we will have a closer look, and you will be amazed at what has been done to achieve what you see.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd #Embroidery @WesCFA @RSSDesigns
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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Weekly Post: Adventuring on the Yakutat Forelands - Bowing before St. Elias by Robert Glenn Ketchum

Adventuring on the Yakutat Forelands - Bowing before St. Elias
by Robert Glenn Ketchum

The Yakutat Forelands are where the Tongass rainforest and the Chugach forest to the north meet. It is also home to many large glaciers, a stunning coastline, the huge Alsek-Tatshenshini river, and Icy Bay, which sits at the foot of Mount St. Elias, the greatest vertical rise from sea level in the world. There is a lot of powerful energy out here.



Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Adventuring on the Yakutat Forelands - Bowing before St. Elias, #2:
The Yakutat Forelands, #2:  Yakutat is a small community of less than 700 people, but interestingly in the vast scale of Alaska, it is one of the largest counties in the US. The city sits at the mouth of Yakutat Bay, a relatively protected harbor, surrounded by Forelands and at the foot of the massive coastal range. At the deepest point of the bay, it connects to Russell Fjord and the Hubbard Glacier, America’s largest tidewater glacier. As the Forelands spread north of Yakutat, you truly enter a world of Alaskan superlatives: the first encounter is the spreading braids of the massive Alsek-Tatshenshini River flowing out of Canada to the Pacific; then comes the Malaspina, the largest piedmont glacier IN THE WORLD. Now in significant retreat, the Malaspina was 1,500-square-miles in size at one point, and THIS is an amazing thing to fly above; just past that (and visible here) is Icy Bay, another large bay like Yakutat, but created quite recently by epic glacial retreat (it is now 30-miles deep); and lastly, Icy Bay brings you directly to the foot of Mount St. Elias, at 18,008ft, the second tallest summit in North America, AND the greatest vertical rise from sea level in the world. The massif of St. Elias also defines the western boundary of Wrangell-St.Elias National Park and Preserve which includes the Malaspina and Hubbard glaciers. Wrangell-St. Elias is not only our largest national park, it is the largest designated wilderness as well. All of this is VERY accessible because, although small, the Yakutat airport is serviced by major daily flights, AND in keeping with the Alaskan “welcome,” as your plane begins to land, you will notice one of the large hangar roofs painted in bold letters: “FOOD, BOOZE, BEDS."
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Weekly Post:, ARCTIC: At the Cutting Edge of Climate Change

ARCTIC:  At the Cutting Edge of Climate Change
by Robert Glenn Ketchum



In 1993, I began traveling to the Arctic. I have been across The Northwest Passage by yacht; to the North Pole twice; to little-visited Russian islands; and aboard research vessels in Greenland, Labrador, Newfoundland, and Baffin Island, taking the opportunity to visit Iqualuit, the capital of Nunavut, the recently created Inuit nation and territories.



Wednesday, January 18, 2017

ARCTIC:  At the Cutting Edge of Climate Change, #23:
ARCTIC, #23:  Looking behind our boat in the direction of the continental shoreline, there was still little visibility because even though the arcus cloud had rolled past us, the weather above it was ongoing. The sky was slowly opening but squalls continued to blow by. As the storm progressed, it began to clear and some very confusing light displays occurred. At the horizon in this image, it may appear that there is a black line mirage, but the “black line” separation is being caused by a glow of reflection coming off the ocean surface, directly beneath an opening in the clouds that is letting sunlight through. These “golden spots” would open and close around us for many minutes as the storm continued to pass and lift off, and I DO mean lift off! As the last of these rain curtains passed, much like in a theater, the “curtain” went up. Behind it was a stunning reveal.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Weekly Post: THE TONGASS: Stop the Cut, There are Salmon in the Trees by Robert Glenn Ketchum

THE TONGASS:  Stop the Cut, There are Salmon in the Trees
by Robert Glenn Ketchum
In 1985, I began a 2-year commission to explore the Tongass rainforest, the largest forest in the United States Forest Service (USFS) system AND the largest temperate rainforest in the world. It was a unique, old-growth environment under siege from industrial logging. The resulting investigative book I published helped to pass the Tongass Timber Reform Bill, protect 1,000,000 acres of old-growth, and create 11 new wilderness areas. This is the story of how that was achieved.




Tuesday, January 17, 2017


THE TONGASS:  Stop the Cut, There are Salmon in the Trees, #21:
THE TONGASS, #21:  About the time we were to return to the skiff that would ferry us back to “Observer,” it began to rain hard. Once again we had to wade relatively deep water to get to the boat and most of us got wet to some degree or another. The wind chill of the skiff added to our collective chilling, so I must say I was SO GRATEFUL to see the warmly lighted decks of our “home” awaiting our return. Hot showers, terrific food, and a warm, dry bed were guaranteed for a night out “not fit for man nor beast.” Clearly I was not yet ready to be camping in these conditions! Our plan was to remain at anchor in this protected cove for the rest of the night, and then we would depart early for a morning cruise to a spectacular fiord wilderness area just to our south called Tracy Arm. Although not part of my Tongass commission because Tracy Arm was already protected by Wilderness designation, this first encounter would leave an indelible impression on me of this remarkable place, and over 25yrs. I would return many times, once to due a 10-day kayak camping trip, the story of which you might enjoy as previously published in this blog.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Weekly Post: NO PEBBLE MINE: Pictures from Ground Zero by Robert Glenn Ketchum

NO PEBBLE MINE Pictures from Ground Zero 
by Robert Glenn Ketchum

Thank you to the EPA for recognizing the value of the Bristol Bay fishery. 
NOW, what can we do to protect this habitat further? 
Mission: To protect the national parks and national refuges of southwest Alaska, 
and the Bristol Bay fishery from the development of the Pebble mine, and other commercial risks.



Tuesday, January 17, 2017 


NO PEBBLE MINE #227, Pictures from Ground Zero:  NO PEBBLE MINE #227:Boy! That little sandy spit looks like a great place to camp for awhile. There is no stinking 18ft tide to worry about either - LOL! We have come to the end of one of the lake arms and we will now follow the valley and river (middle, upper half of pic) back into the range to explore a complex of rivers and lush elevated valleys and plateaus thriving at the foot of some very rugged peaks that still hold remnant glaciers and attract DEEP winter snows. As it is fall, the final fish runs have come in and bear, moose, wolves, caribou and many others are preparing for winter and are quite visibly out and about. Hunting is allowed in this park, but it tends to concentrate around the lakes that have cabins and a few select basins. Taking an animal is one thing, but getting it out may be a much more complicated deal if you are too far from your support base. This is big, WILD country!
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2016, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd @NRDC @OrvisFlyFishing #NoPebbleMine #LittleBearProd

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Weekly Post: The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get by Robert Glenn Ketchum

by Robert Glenn Ketchum


Growing up my parents had a home near Sun Valley, Idaho. It was there that I learned to ski. Over many years I befriended members of the Decker Flats Climbing and Frisbee Club, with whom I had both life, and art-forming outdoor experiences. I had my camera, and these are my adventures.




Monday, January 16, 2017

The Higher You Get, The Higher You Get - Sun Valley and the DFC&FC, #37:
THE HIGHER YOU GET, THE HIGHER YOU GET, #37:  Another of the images that I printed and that sold well at the time, this reflection in Redfish Creek deals with the landscape as an abstraction, but as is apparent, it is not really dealing with the landscape of the Sawtooths in any descriptive way. There was some part of my own emerging vision that wanted to be able to see and understand the greater landscape, while still rendering it abstractly, a technique and way-of-seeing that I found in the best of Eliot Porter’s images, especially those from the New England woods and the slot canyons of Utah. I began to consider the words of my former instructor, Robert Heinecken, that I might want to use a larger camera to photograph the landscape, and indeed, Eliot shot with a 4x5 view camera. This kind of thinking would eventually have me commuting between Sun Valley and Santa Barbara so I could attend the Brooks Institute of Photography. For the moment, however, it was summer, it was hot, I had the weekend off from teaching the Photography Workshop program for the Sun Valley Creative Arts Center and my DFC&FC friends, Gordon Williams and Chris Puchner were going camping in the Sawtooths to climb the Finger-of-Fate. They thought I might come along and take some pictures. While I had been camping, I had not yet backpacked, so it was off to The Elephant’s Perch for some new gear.
photograph(s) © copyright, ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM, 2017, @RbtGlennKetchum @LittleBearProd #LittleBearProd
SOCIAL MEDIA by #LittleBearProd: http://www.LittleBearProd.com
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Orvis Supports No Pebble Mine

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