The image above was taken at a studio we were borrowing for an afternoon to experiment with flash and portraits, something I want to have a better understanding of. This ladder being used as a casual bookshelf of sorts was begging to be photographed and as I approached it I noticed there must be a fan of Kerouac that works in the space.

I’ve always wanted to dive into the books of Kerouac, at least his classics, but the few times I have tried I could never find myself pulled into the story or the characters enough to want to finish them. The two I have cracked open were Dharma Bums and On The Road, both well acclaimed works of fiction that I feel as though, based on my personal taste, I should really enjoy but neither have been able to grab hold of my imagination. I’m sure I will pick them up again eventually but for now they can simply sit among my collection.

When it comes to books and reading I more or less only read fiction. The only non-fiction books I read are typically product manuals (which I always read or at least glance through), and occasionally a book on photography or a good indie book such as the few offerings from Patrick Rhone.

Fiction inspires me in a way non-fiction can not. My creative thinking is very much emotionally driven and novels provide an emotive backdrop that makes me want to create. Non-fiction provides lessons worth learning but history only supplies a guideline for what has worked or not for others, valuable information but rarely gives me the raw energy that it takes to make me want to create and explore the world. So I often gravitate to fiction when I want to create, and non-fiction when I need to learn. Huh, comme ci comme ça, I’m sure there are plenty of opinions on the matter, either way, enjoy the new desktop!

Black Tap Coffee

Black Tap Coffee

While in Charleston a few weeks back we visited this amazing little coffee shop tucked away in a nondescript building called Black Tap Coffee and could not help but go back at least three times while in town for a couple of days for more. The inside of the space has a beautifully light tone to it causing you to feel right at home and the coffee is, not surprisingly, fantastic. The shop features a namesake black tap that dispenses iced coffee which is honestly one of the best cups of iced coffee I have ever had and is well worth the trip so if you ever find yourself in or around Charleston by all means, stop by and see for yourself.

Processed with VSCOcam with e2 preset

Neon Graveyard

Some of you may remember that I spent some time in Vegas recently for a big industry trade show and while I did not have a lot of free time to explore the city we did make time early one morning to see something I have long wanted to check out, The Neon Museum. A humble but fun corner of Vegas where many of the old signage from casinos have gone to spend the rest of their existence as a homage to the rapidly evolving face of the city.

The signs here are from an era that has all but vanished from Vegas which has turned to giant LED displays instead of classic neon and bulbs for obvious reasons. Evolve or be left behind. It’s great knowing there are people committed to preserving these signs in a way we can all enjoy. The thought of them sitting in a dump somewhere is just depressing.

The only way to visit the museum is by guided tour, mostly due to liability I’m sure. It’s a playground full of broken glass and old rusty metal, not exactly a place you want to allow people to run loose in. Especially considering how eager photographers are to crawl around for JUST the right shot. A couple in my group were so over eager and snap happy I swear they must have taken a few thousand photos on the short tour. On that note, the museum is surprisingly stern on photographers and only allow a minimal amount of camera gear on the general tours yet offer photography specific sessions and the ability to rent the space for photo shoots at a higher rate.

I took my usual minimal approach and brought along my X-Pro1 and iPhone though I sure wish I had a wider lens for the Fuji! I managed well enough considering and captured a few detail shots that I thought you guys could enjoy as desktops. The sunlight was unbearably bright (and hot) as we took the tour, a scenario where the iPhone excels by the way. The top two photos on this post were shot and edited with VSCO Cam on my 5s and for anyone interested, here are the full resolution output of those shots (first / second) if you would like to use them as a wallpaper, they are too small to crop for regular use but why not share.

The museum is well worth seeking out if you are in Vegas at any point, the history lesson alone is worth the price of admission and there is a lot more to see than this modest little collection. In the mean time, enjoy the colorful decay of these classic Vegas signs and I will see you guys here again soon! As usual, the images are available through download links at the bottom of the post, in order that they appear below as well as in a big zip file with desktop, iPad, and iPhone versions all in one place.










At home we have a new miniature garden and I found a great moment to capture it late one afternoon just as dusk was settling in. It was taken on one of those days where my desire to shoot weighed on my mind yet my ability to get out somewhere fresh to capture was limited so I turned to the corners of our apartment and searched for light. The plant photographed here is called an elephant plant. I have had a few desktop requests for this one after posting it to YWO so I thought I would take this slow afternoon and toss this up for everyone, enjoy!



Finding good ambient music seems to be getting harder. Not because there is any shortage of it, but because it’s hard to find interesting new takes on the genera. While I don’t need music to constantly break new ground I do like it when I come across something refreshing  enough to go beyond my expectations going in. That said, this new release by Stephen Vitello and Taylor Deupree is really hitting the spot.

I have always had a soft spot for field recordings and Captiva is full of them. Recorded while in residence at a beautiful looking guesthouse/studio in Florida you will hear sounds of birds, water, shells and other samples from the ocean fall intimately together with guitar, piano and synthesizers. The music found here is not something that will grab ahold of your attention and stick in your head. It’s more suggestive and leads your mind through various moods and landscapes as it evolves.

I find it perfect for stolen moments of meditative time at home or while at work during a stressful day. While this release is available digitally they only pressed 300 copies of the double 10” vinyl so if your interested don’t wait to pick up a copy of your own. A great addition to any collection and one I am sure to be putting on for a long time to come.

Release page on 12k with more information.



A couple years ago I was traveling to San Francisco and took a photograph of a bridge platform control board and always enjoyed the photo, it was candid and from the hip quickly. On a recent trip to Las Vegas I discovered another control panel of a similar make and jumped at the opportunity to get another photo so I dug down into my bag for my camera and snapped this shot just as I was stepping onto the plane. Maybe it’s the warm colors and nice window light that makes it for me but I enjoyed this shot and figured I would share it with everyone as a desktop. Hope to get more new ones up this week so check back soon.



For years now one of my biggest inspirations to start working on more print projects has been the enduring and creative output of Phil Elverum through his P.W. Elverum & Sun record label/shop. Most know him through his work as either Mount Eerie or The Microphones as he creates music that straddles calm frozen landscapes and roaring oceans. I saw him perform years ago at a free show in the lawn of a university and after casually picking up a cd that night I was hooked. His music and philosophy sunk into the emotional mess that I was at that time in my life and pushed me along in surprising ways.

I followed along as he broke away from K Records to pursue his own independent label through which he has released a number of albums of his own music and others. They are often paired with photography and art inside books, on oversized prints, or through other creative printing techniques. I have often looked on with a fond admiration that has left me with a number of ideas for projects that I am still patiently waiting to have time and resources to get off the ground.

Dust Inside

His most recent release is a book of photographs called Dust. Inside you will find a loose yet cohesive collection of images taken all over the world, no doubt during his travels as a musician. In the rear of the book you will find a list of the locations for each photograph as well as an addendum in the form of a smaller softcover book also full of photographs.

To describe his photographic work I feel the best place to start would be by examining his music and the emotions he explores therein. He has long examined loneliness and the joy of being found by getting lost and coming to terms with the ghosts that surround us from day to day. The beauty of his vision of the world is not always seen through rays of sunlight but through foggy landscapes where nature and man collide.

The photos in this collection are dark and seem to stray away from current trends in photography and processing offering a viewpoint all their own in a delicate way thats hard to put into words. Both candid yet well considered he explores dusk and the fine line between light and darkness. The places he explores seem nearly forgotten and un-noticed by most that pass them by with exception of a handful of beautiful landscape photos of mountains lost among the clouds and moments stolen with friends.

It’s a wonderful book that I’m excited to have in my collection. The cover is bound in a semi-course linen on which the cover and spine graphic were pressed with a somewhat rubberized texture using a process I have not come across yet as far as I can remember. The printing is gorgeous considering the challenges involved in printing these photographs, many of which are dark and low in contrast, a tricky combination to get right.

I can easily recommend that any fans of Phil’s other work not even think twice about picking up a copy and anyone who loves independently printed and distributed work as much as I do have a closer look. It’s a beautiful collection well worth your support. For more information and to order this book (and a few records while you’re at it)  visit his online shop here.

Dust Inside Dust Inside Dust Inside Dust Addendum

Glass Lake

Glass Lake

Last friday I unexpectedly found myself with a free afternoon and being met with beautiful weather I decided it would be a perfect chance to get out to the lake. YoungDoo, my brother, and I rented a few kayaks and set out for somewhere around five hours on the lake, a much needed respite  after a string of busy weeks. This is the same lake I have been revisiting for years and years and I always manage to find new ways to photograph it. Ive seen it in the snow, the pouring rain and completely empty during a drought yet it never fails to entertain my need for calm.

This shot has an odd focus to it, the camera was touching the water as I held it over the edge of the kayak and focused somewhere just shy of infinity. The water was nearly dead still as we paddled back to the dock giving it a beautiful glass like appearance I won’t soon forget. After a couple of requests to post this as a desktop I found some time today to get this up for you guys, enjoy!

(On a somewhat related note, I took a bunch of iPhone 5s video clips that afternoon and in a moment of downtime yesterday I used iMovie on the phone to make a “trailer” for the desktop, you can see that here if your interested)


Time Versus Inspiration

Sometimes it’s hard to find a peaceful enough state of mind to shift gears into creative thinking. It’s easy to read motivational quotes and seek out the advice of others making life and photography seem so damned dreamy and perfect but there is a simple, under published truth to the matter which is that it is not always that easy.

There are periods of time where I feel as though I am walking through thick mud, each step a long, focused movement and eventually my shoes stick in the mud along the way. As time passes things get messier as I stumble forward still looking to seek out beauty with a mind distracted by simply staying balanced and upright. A beauty that is so easy to idolize in retrospect or from someone else’s point of view who may not have been quite as preoccupied.

“Photography is about life, people, light, and chasing down the joy in discovering a vitality hiding behind each new story, moment, or shared experience,” says the collective hopeful and unafraid of the world (including myself at times).

I work in an industry that is unpredictable and my schedule shifts on the fly from day to day so free time often comes at unexpected junctures and it makes planning time off tricky. Some days I wish with all my being that I will find a creative spark hiding in between pragmatic thoughts of cables, video resolutions, or the shade of purple that makes a client happy but try as I might I often find no room left when my body is drained and ready to collapse at the end of a day. After which comes another next morning and I wake again trying to sort out a healthy balance between day dreams and the obligations of reality.

I’m writing today because I know I am not the only one who struggles to find time to set aside for creativity. Even with all of the hopeful organization and time management in the world there are still unexpected distances I am forced to navigate and this often leaves me combing through my destiny like a blind man feeling his way around a photograph. It’s slippery, and I often fear that if I can’t get a firm enough grip the whole lot will come to its inevitable collapse wherein I look back 10 years from now and regret not doing more to fight to keep my creativity alive and burning.

Yet, despite these fears, when the black is as black as it can get and my eyes can barely hold their own weight after a long day, I am sometimes able to find bits and pieces of my devotion to creative thinking tucked away in an old song that once moved me through trying times, in flipping through an old book of photos, or recently, among the pages of a good novel. The funny thing about the present or the uncertainty of the future is that yesterday is always there to remind me that no matter how far removed from times of unhinged creative freedom I may be, there is usually a way to unlock that door my mind and seek refuge.

It seems ironic that I am finding creativity in writing about a lack of it but this isn’t all that surprising. In facing something I struggle with using writing as a means of escape I often feel the muddy clot in my mind loosen and wash away. Writing often brings with it a certain degree of mental lucidity and an excuse to clear my mind of other stresses to focus on one specific task. It’s therapeutic, both while watching the ink dry on a page as I write by hand or in the hypnotic rhythm of typing on a keyboard. Gathering up the best words to describe a feeling often seems to reorganize my mind and refocus it so even at times when I have absolutely nothing at all to say I start writing words on a blank page in an effort to untangle my thoughts. An idea crossed my mind recently to try and write short fictional passages, tiny stories, as a means to clear my mind and nudge it into a creative space.

When it comes to photography there is an entirely separate set of complications in locating that “on” switch while my mind is lost in the shadows of a stressful mind. With photography I not only need to focus my eye to see light as exposure and shapes as composition but I have to be physically present within a beautiful moment. I have crossed this topic before on these pages and have been slowly picking away at a dedicated writeup for what feels like ages now. To capture beautiful photographs one must exist within beautiful moments. This is not always practical or possible when, for instance, I am back and forth within the same venues from day to day, I commonly run out of fresh places shoot and can not always afford the time to go exploring.

Inspiration is a fickle thing, and unfortunately life has no pause button, so one must be vigilant. I often think to myself that I am “doing my best” to accomplish the lofty goals that I create but I have recently been considering what my best really is. Any time I catch myself browsing around for a new pen, camera lens, or record I double back and imagine what I could have accomplished in the time spent “researching” for some future purchase to aid a future project. Daydreams are a blessing and a curse. Some of us live in the past, others are perpetually stuck in the future, lest not we forget the present for it is what dreams are made of. That is, if you’re doing it right.

I have come to discover that it is all too easy to overthink and in turn loose focus of the act of being creative due to that hopeless search for the best tools for the job. It is sometimes all too tempting let the idea of perfection get in the way of thinking creatively. Finding the perfect app, having the perfect workflow, using the perfect camera, these things can end up making me second guess myself all too often. Relax, simplify, and move forward. I can’t count the number of times I have felt pangs of regret for not focusing free time on chipping away at a project rather than planning for them. You have no idea how often I have the thought, “if only I could focus all of my time and energy to fiftyfootshadows, then I could do something really great,” forgetting that there is plenty I could be doing to facilitate forward movement if I didn’t do so much second guessing.

Which brings us back to time, oh time… so fragile and misunderstood. There is a heaviness to each second we live and the weight can feel opaque and haunting when we are too exhausted to focus on being happy, yet when we manage to get our sails set straight into to the wind it quickly becomes a breeze that cools our impositions and leaves us having to anchor ourselves down to keep from cruising right passed all the best bits. The only way I have come up to manage the curse is to be aware, even if that simply means stopping something important for a few seconds and taking one deep, satisfying breath.

I wrote this at first out of a personal meditation in DayOne so the conclusion may not be one of any grand opulent revelation. It did help me focus on a few things by writing out my frustration and observations though, and as mentioned above, writing can be surprisingly effective for cleaning out the cobwebs. Now tell me, should you have an opinion on the matter, how do you manage to stay focused and inspired amid stressful days? Feel free to use the comments or link back here from your own site with thoughts, I would love to hear them.

To whom it may concern,



• Enjoy the images! It’s a labor of love, thanks for your support!
• Share with friends.
• Send me a quick mail if you are interested in using an image for commercial or personal use other than wallpaper.


• Post these elsewhere online.
• Share links directly to images.
• Pass them around in mass.
• Make prints.
• Use images for web banners or graphics.
• Use them in commercial work.

If you help me out with these I will be able to keep doing what I love to do. Thanks again, really, for your support and understanding. -J


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All of the images contained within this website,, are property of, John Carey unless otherwise posted. The images are distributed as freeware but they are available for personal use only on your personal computer, tablet, or smartphone as your wallpaper image. Any use of these images for any purpose other than this is a violation of these terms and anyone found using said images will be asked to either compensate the creator for doing so or be asked to stop using them immediately.

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Use your best judgement and we will get along just fine.

Thank you for your understanding and support!

-John Carey (curator, owner)