Landscapes

Lehi's Dream

 

The Mormon prophet, Lehi, dreamt of a path with a sturdy rail leading to a radiant tree. This wondrous Tree of Life represented salvation, and by holding fast to the rail of faith one could avoid the pits of temptation and despair. When Russell’s mother would tell him this story, the tree represented the deepest dreams of his heart, and by holding fast to the rails he would surely reach the Tree of Life, his very reason for being. Although Lark has been gone for many years, this pastoral scene in Kentucky immediately reminded Russell of his mother and her belief in the power of dreams and perseverance. 

Dreams of Grace

 

This is one of the first images we created when we began experimenting with our new technique and it remains one of our favorites. The element of surrealism that makes the palm fronds appear to be feathers from a glamorous jazz-era fan delight us as much as the actual memories of that day in Key Largo. Now that we’ve moved from Florida to Illinois, we especially cherish our memories of listening to the surf, feeling the warm breezes, and dozing on the beach in our own little paradise. 

Central Park Promenade

 

This elegant pathway of elms and historic cast-iron lampposts has been a gathering place since the mid 1800s. Once considered ‘an open air hall of reception,’ in its early days, visitors would have seen stately carriages and pedestrians in their Sunday best socializing and enjoying the luxury of leisure time. Today, visitors from every walk of life cherish this sanctuary of green space; and strolling beneath the canopy of elms remains a timeless, enchanting experience that is quintessentially New York. 

Ghost Within A Ghost

 

Angela has always been mesmerized by fog. It draws her eyes and beckons, inviting her to walk within all the mystery and poetry of the universe. When immersed in any fog, her mind turns to Eugene O'Neill - always. He understands the allure of fog, perhaps better than anyone, and the words from one of his most searing works haunt her. 

 

"The fog was where I wanted to be. Halfway down the path you can’t see this house. You’d never know it was here. Or any of the other places down the avenue. I couldn’t see but a few feet ahead. I didn’t meet a soul. Everything looked and sounded unreal. Nothing was what it is. That’s what I wanted—to be alone with myself in another world where truth is untrue and life can hide from itself. Out beyond the harbor, where the road runs along the beach, I even lost the feeling of being on land. The fog and the sea seemed part of each other. It was like walking on the bottom of the sea. As if I had drowned long ago. As if I was the ghost belonging to the fog, and the fog was the ghost of the sea. It felt damned peaceful to be nothing more than a ghost within a ghost." 
— Eugene O'Neill (Long Day's Journey into Night)  

Secret Garden

 

The Secret Garden has been one of Angela’s favorite books since she was a little girl; and although this image was taken in northern Florda, not the moors of England, it’s haunting beauty always makes us think of the magical garden from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic novel. After all, every garden has its secrets and stories - and the best gardens have winding paths that draw you deeper into secluded nooks and quiet alcoves. This enchanting place is no exception, and while they lived in Tallahassee, Russell and Angela spent many happy hours here - planting the seeds for this photographic collection.

Bridge Of Silver Wings

 

This ethereal image takes its title from the writings of Aberjhani, a poet who has thoughtfully explored how people manage the transition from imminent personal destruction to unaccountable personal victory. We love that this image seems to evoke a similar feeling - that just through the arch of angel wings and beyond the rise of the bridge we can find our greatest joys.

Cill Dara

 

Our Tribute To The Angel Oak Of Charleston

 

If you’ve ever stood before a magnificent oak and felt transported or moved by something sacred, you are not alone. Oaks have been revered for millennia. It has been said that they have the ability to heal the heart and nourish the soul after times of hardship. This is especially true of the Angel Oak of Charleston. Hundreds of years of storms and floods and development as the world grew around her have not diminished her strength or glory. In fact, she seems all the more remarkable for her ability to survive and gently inspire generation after generation. It is this spirit that led early Christians to build their churches beneath oaks; and it is what continues to lead people to stand, reverently, before the Angel Oak. This image is our tribute to a radiant tree that touches us with grace and profound joy simply by continuing to be. 

Enduring Oaks

 

The adventure that brought us to this image makes it one of our favorites. After a long day of photography during which nothing seemed to pan out, we passed this field—and these oaks. While we were shooting, a local kid told us that the two trees in the middle of the sugar cane field survived year after year – through floods and storms and even hurricanes – because their roots were entwined. A single tree standing alone in the field would have been easily felled, but the two that stood together could withstand anything. Enduring Oaks holds a special place in our hearts and speak volumes about what it means to us to build this collection – together.

Dreams Of Palms

 

This is one of the first images we created when we began experimenting with our new technique and it remains one of our favorites. The element of surrealism that makes the palm fronds appear to be feathers from a glamorous jazz-era fan delight us as much as the actual memories of that day in Key Largo. Now that we’ve moved from Florida to Wisconsin, we especially cherish our memories of listening to the surf, feeling the warm breezes, and dozing on the beach in our own little paradise. 

Fairchild Palms

 

More than almost any other image in our collection, this photograph invites daydreams and delicious fantasies of escaping to a tropical paradise. You can almost feel the warm breezes and see the hammocks and fruity rum drinks beckoning you. In reality, this scene was captured at Fairchild Gardens, a botanical heaven in Coral Gables, Florida. For more than 75 years this organization has been studying, conserving and educating people about the wonders of tropical plants. 

Anne's Beach

 

Russell grew up in Miami and has spent many years chasing the perfect mangrove shot, yet he never felt that he had really captured their magic. These amazing trees shelter and nourish creatures of the land, the sea and the skies above. For a man who has spent his life studying coastal environments and biology, mangroves are sacred and no ordinary photograph would do them justice. After more than 30 years of effort, as the sun began to set on Anne’s Beach in the Florida Keys, Russell raced along the boardwalk and perched on a slippery rock to finally create the image that turned his vision into reality. 

Secret Waterway

 

Deep in the Everglades during a quiet time of year when few visitors were exploring the park, Russell showed his Wisconsin-born bride some of his favorite places. The tranquility of this particular spot has always been especially close to his heart. Growing up, he spent plenty of days paddling through mangrove tunnels, listening to silence only broken by bird calls and pausing to study the way light slips through the lush greenery to illuminate the most beautiful parts of this Secret Waterway. 

Date Palms And Ladders

 

Few things make us happier than seeing ladders among the date palms because that means it’s HARVEST TIME! The sweet, sticky dates of the Coachella Valley have NOTHING to do with the dried out dates we Midwesterners usually associate with weary looking Christmas baskets and EVERYTHING to do with the nearly-sacred fruit of paradise that has been treasured by ancient cultures since at least 5000 B.C. Oh - and these absolutely delicious jewels also come from superbly photogenic palms that truly deserve their status as fit for - and at one time exclusively reserved for - royalty!

The Prickly Path

 

Some people look at our storm photography and see the danger inherent in following such unpredictable forces of nature. Yet, truth be told, this particular image represents the most painful day that we've suffered to date. While Angela moves through nature cautiously watching for anything that can bite, sting or scratch causing injury, illness or itchiness, Russell tends to rush headlong into field and fray in search of the perfect shot. Alas, after the euphoria of capture, he realilzed that his socks and shoes and pants legs were covered with nasty, hitchhiking little cactus babies. Every step scracted and sliced him from ankle to knee. Ill prepared for this level of engagement with nature, he had brought no change of clothes. To ease his pain, Angela used tweezers to pull out as many prickers as possible and the skin balm they always carry for their pug's nose to tend Russell's wounds. This deceptively simple image truly represents the most prickly and painful path we've ever traveled for a photograph!

The Lone Cypress

 

The Lone Cypress of Pebble Beach. The Angel Oak of Charleston. The Golden Gate Bridge. Central Park. There are places that we have photographed that have been the subject of countless photographs, paintings, poems and stories long before we arrived. Why, then, do we tread this same path? Aren't we creative enough to seek out new ground? Come up with our own subjects? I believe that our collection shows that we absolutely can - and do - create work that is strikingly original. But there are some scenes that are as irresistable as they are famous. I've often said that, for us, it's like Shakespeare. His plays have been performed and interpreted in a myriad of ways over hundreds of years. Directors and actors bring their own experiences and vision to each new rendition. Similarly, we bring our own technique and approach and voice to our photographs of these familiar places. Recently, though, we read Don DeLillo's White Noise; and I think he helped us better understand our own interest in photographing these places.  In White Noise, he describes the numb feeling that washes over tourists when they gaze upon the most-photographed barn in America. "No one sees the barn," he says. "Once you've seen the signs about the barn, it becomes impossible to see the barn." I think, for us, photographing iconic places allows us, personally, to really SEE them. Thinking about the scene, it's significance and how we will bring our own artistry to the capture allows us to see these places - not for their landmark status - but for the original spark of something special that ultimately led them to become legendary. We also hope that in capturing these places using our own artistic style we enable others to really SEE them, too.

Gold Beach

 

Gentle Giants

Centennial At Yosemite

 

Every photographer will admit that part of creating an incredible image is being in the right place at the right time. Which means part of the frustration of photography is finding yourself in the right place at the wrong time. That is what we love about this image. The truth is, we were completely in the right place at the wrong time. Somehow, we had not realized that the days we scheduled to be in Yosemite were during the U.S. Park Service centennial celebrations. There were no photos to be made that didn't include hikers, bikers, campers, picnicers and sunburnt tourists by the busload. Yet, that is the magic of Yosemite. Somehow, even on a phenomenally busy day in the park, she will still reveal places of peace and beauty to the patient and diligent explorer. This radiant valley, away from the hustle and bustle, gave us a moment to privately celebrate the parks we love and protectors we appreciate. 

Headless Horseman Bridge

 

We love working together - doing art shows and creating images - but what we love best is that our profession requires us to wander and explore. For example, while doing a little art show in Armonk, New York, we were very excited to spend a dreary day at the nearby Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. The conditions could not have been more perfect. It was cold and damp and began to rain while we stood in front of Washington Irving's grave. For hours, we walked over hills and among crumbling tombstones with curious inscriptions and slimey, mossy paving stones. Eventually we came to the Headless Horseman Bridge. The sky grew darker and darker while we photographed the scene; and, never short of imagination, Angela half expected to see the ghostly image of Ichabod Crane or terrifying tormenter when they developed their film a few weeks later!

Crystal Mill

 

Our journey to the Crystal Mill remains one of our very favorite adventures because it included two of our very favorite people. Joined by Russell’s son, Kevin, and his best friend, Ian, we hired a driver with a jeep. Then we lurched our way up the mountain. The boys clung to the bar above their seat and peered into the plunging, jagged ravine below. Yet, every tight turn and bruising bounce was worth it. Despite its precarious position, you can still feel the power of the Crystal Mill’s purpose as the river thunders around it. What’s more, it was in this remote valley that pioneers and miners of the late 1800s wrote some very surprising chapters of American history. As area silver mines closed,  they  introduced the exquisitely pure marble quarried here to the world. In this most unexpected of places, there is a vast quarry of marble that rivals the best of Italy and Greece. Among other notable structures, Colorado’s Yule Marble  has been used in both the Tomb of the Unknowns and The Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. 

Sixes Mill

 

This old mill was a large producer of gold and an essential part of one of Georgia's earliest settlements. It survived the Civil War and although it has been more than 200 years since it's last major renovation, it still stands proudly beside the Etowah River in astonishingly good condition. 

Old Mill At Berry College

 

This old mill is more than just a charming, fairy tale scene. It is a beautiful symbol that represents the values of a unique school. The students of Berry College in Georgia helped to build and run this mill; and the cornmeal, wheat and grits produced here helped to sustain them during the Depression. Years later, when the mill had fallen into sad disrepair, it was students who lovingly restored it. Based on the vision of founder Martha Berry, the school still aims to provide preparation and inspiration that will lead students into lives of service. Their lessons often involve projects that benefit the community, and for more than 85 years this mill has stood as a tribute to timeless values.​

Glade Creek Mill

 

This beloved mill in West Virginia represents a time when more than 500 mills were the beating heart communities throughout the state. Although few still remain, the Glade Creek Mill has been constructed from parts of several historic mills and operates today to educate and honor this important chapter of West Virginia's history. 

Lovers Leap

 

Many towering bluffs in America have been named ‘Lovers Leap,’ and every single one has its own collection of dramatic, ghost-filled legends. Although we have yet to find any satisfyingly gothic stories about this particular site, we could not imagine a more visually perfect setting for a Lovers Leap. Local history also lends itself well to such tales. From the expeditions of the late 18th century through the Civil War, Lookout Mountain has been a vantage point for countless adventurers and soldiers. Given all the souls that have passed through this area, it’s hard to believe there aren’t a few restless spirits still wondering the bluffs by moonlight in search of lost loves.

Rainbow Falls

 

People often ask us which photos are our favorites. It's a difficult question to answer. Some images are favorites for a while. Others hold a special place in our hearts from the moment we process the film and first see what we have captured. This one is a forever favorite. We took this photo in Hawaii, just days after our wedding, while touring the island with Angela's parents and Russell's son. This perfect waterfall, surrounded by radiant tropical plants, carries with it all the loveliness of that magical time. 

Solitude

 

Silence and solitude, the soul’s best friends.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

 

Although we know we are very fortunate to travel, create and work together, the pace and unpredictability of our lifestyle can leave us feeling frazzled. Spending more 

time on the road than at home means that we have found little Wonderlands all across America where we can retreat from world for a while and renew ourselves. This scene of blissful serenity is one of our favorite places to escape and dream anytime we are in Louisiana. 

Montrose Post Office

 

From its fairy tale name, to its whimsical appearance, this tiny post office looks too sweet to be real. One half expects to see the White Rabbit hurrying in to claim a package from the Mad Hatter while a grinning cat watches them from the branches of the towering trees. Though many a child thinks they have stumbled into Wonderland, this is, in fact, a real post office. In the late 1800s and early 1900s it was cheerfully operated by the Marshall family as they and their neighbors built a tiny community on the great red bluffs of Mobile Bay. 

 

Wormsloe

 

To us, this image is pure southern Gothic. It has everything: a shadowy road beneath gnarled oaks, Spanish moss, and even a cracked stone arch with a mysterious inscription.  It seems like there should be a crumbling mansion and a tragic, romantic anti-hero at the end of the road. The reality is just as interesting. This was once the estate of the Noble Jones family. Jones was a carpenter who arrived with the first English settlers to make their homes in what would become Georgia. He survived hunger, plague and warfare: and he went on to serve the colony as a doctor, constable, Royal Councilor and surveyor. Even without the Gothic drama, the true story of this family is still intriguing after almost 300 years.

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Artwork Return Policy. Artwork purchased during an art festival or event may be exchanged during the show. No exchanges or returns are available after the show has ended. All sales are final for artwork purchased through the web site and for custom orders. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ All images © 2010-2020 Russell Grace Images & Best Light Collection All photographs appearing on this site are the property of Russell Grace Images & Best Light Collection. They are protected by U.S. Copyright Laws, and are not to be downloaded or reproduced in any way without the written permission of Russell Grace Images and/or Best Light Collection. Copyright 2010 Russell Grace Images/Best Light Collection All Rights Reserved.