Sunday, August 31, 2008


(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Clark Fork River, Montana

Driving from Idaho over to Kalispell, Montana, the road follows the Clark Fork River for miles. The whole trip is absolutely beautiful. This one looks back towards Glacier Park.

(images copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Friday, August 29, 2008


(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

During World War II, my father was stationed at Wattisham near Ipswich, in Suffolk, UK. He was a fighter pilot with the 435th Fighter Squadron, 479th Fighter Group of the Eighth Air Force. He flew 39 combat missions in a P-51 Mustang escorting bombers of the 8th over Germany. During his service, he had the opportunity to go into London on leave. He spent VE Day there. Dad always told stories of his experiences, and he often spoke of the red phone boxes he saw all over England. They are still there in places, but becoming fewer in number. This one is in London, near Parliament.

My Dad

Sylvan Roscoe Routh 1924-2007

Today is my Dad's birthday. We lost him last year at the age of 83. Dad was a fighter pilot, an Elon College alumni, a dairy farmer and a school teacher and principal. He was a church and community leader, a husband, a father, a grandfather and most of all a friend. He was my rock. I miss him.

(US Army Air Corps photographs)

High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
No 412 squadron, RCAF
Killed 11 December 1941

For more info about my Dad's World War II experience, go to

Thursday, August 28, 2008

ASMP/North Carolina Hosts Jack Reznicki

Register and come join ASMP/North Carolina Tuesday, September 9 on the RCC campus in Asheboro, NC for a fun and informative evening with Jack Reznicki, one of the original Canon Explorers of Light.

Humor, wit, and more than a passing familiarity with the absurd have all helped Jack Reznicki become one of the most sought-after illustrative and people photographers in New York. In recent years he may be best know for his expressive photographs of kids or as he says, “Kids as kids.” Jack will go over how to direct people to get those expressions he’s so well know for. He believes the people and kids in front of your camera should not be there just to reflect light; they should actually look full of life, regardless of what type of photography you do.

Always insightful, entertainingly outspoken, and refreshingly candid, Jack will discuss in this far-reaching session, his commercial and personal work and how they interact, his vision of the future of our industry, copyright and licensing issues, and his popular “Lighting Concepts.”

For more information, including registration forms, go to:
(info courtesy of ASMP-NC)

Thursday Image ... Polo

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

I don't really know a lot about polo, but it looks like it's an interesting and difficult game. The horses are magnificent and the action is visually explosive.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Driving in the Rain

I woke to the sound of rain beating down on my house this morning as the remnants of tropical depression Faye moved through our area. Driving to work was a real thrill and reminded me of watching sport cars race around Virginia International Raceway in a downpour. Not quite the same, but real close. At least at VIR all of the cars are going in the same direction (most of the time).

(images copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Merchants Millpond

Along with their standard blue jean lines, Wrangler produces several lines of outdoor wear. This image was part of a catalog shoot produced at Merchants Millpond in northeastern North Carolina. It is a black-water swamp filled with huge cypress trees with Spanish moss and miles of canoeing opportunities.

The millpond is located not too far from the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Near Nags Head is Jockey's Ridge, one of the largest single sand dunes in the country. This image is from the same shoot.

(images copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cedar Falls Doorway

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Image was shot while I was location scouting. I love scouting. It becomes an opportunity to produce something unintended and an excuse to go out and shoot. I was looking for backgrounds for a fashion shoot and came away with a nice still-life.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Cowboy Images

A few shots from various western jobs. Horses are big in our area, and there is a lot of riding and roping. We keep one horse on our farm. My wife adopted a wild mustang from the Bureau of Land Management about 25 years ago and she's still with us. Unfortunately Rienzi thinks she is a cow now, so she is pretty much retired (the horse that is).

(images copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Miami Motorcycle Cop

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

If you're in Miami, you may want to think twice before you speed.

Note: I just got back from lunch at my local Wok N Roll. When I opened my fortune cookie, I saw this, "With a little more hard work, your creativity takes you to great heights!". Now, is that a Chinese fortune, or just a great slogan to live by?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

On the Lake

Images from a recent outdoor apparel shoot.

As I work on this blog, viewers my realize that my photography is rather eclectic. I shoot a lot of different types of subjects with a lot of different styles. Part of this because of where I live and work. Being outside of the major advertising centers of New York, Chicago, LA, etc., I haven't had the luxury of specializing in one particular type of photography. The client base out here is varied and I have had to adapt. The same goes with style. Different clients have required different styles. That's not all bad, however. I've been able to experiment with different things, which fits my personality. My own interests are varied and I never get bored. It's interesting to learn how to solve all sorts of creative problems. I've learned a lot over the years, and I continue to experiment and learn.

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Thomas Routh

My Dad's first cousin Thomas lives down the road from us. He is a retired dairy farmer and he and his wife Lula Mae raise vegetables that they sell at the local farmer's market. Both in their upper eighties, they grow their plants from seed, transplant, tend, harvest and transport all their produce by hand, by themselves. This year Thomas told me they were going to cut back. I asked him how many tomato plants he had transplanted this year, and he replied, ..... 680.

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Sunday, August 17, 2008


With all the Olympic coverage going on, I'm sorta in the sports mood. Since I'm not in Beijing, here's something from the U.S. Vince Carter makes a pretty monster slam as a freshman at North Carolina. Kind of a blast from the past, but I think his form holds up well.

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

From the Vault

This image was shot from the front seat of a Waco RNF biplane built in the early 1930's. The pilot, Ken Brugh, was in his mid-80's at the time. Something pretty cool about cruising along at about seventy with the wind blowing through your hair. I shot this several years ago for a "day in the life" book on North Carolina. Ken was an interesting man with a world of aviation experience. He grew up barnstorming in the 20's and 30's. During World War II he ran a flight school for the Army and ran the fixed base operation Air Services in Greensboro after the war until he retired. He owned and flew this airplane as well as a Waco cabin biplane and an Aeronica.

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saturday on the farm

Of course no farm in complete without a cat or several of them. Scamp stalks through the pasture.

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Blue Jeans

It has been my pleasure and good fortune to work within the denim industry for many years, primarily shooting for Wrangler. They are headquartered in Greensboro and have been a local fixture. In fact my studio and office is located in a renovated mill building where Wrangler blue jeans were originally made. I shoot a variety of things for them including onbody fashion and still-life product work.

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

You're doing what Dad?

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

When I told my younger son Devin that I had started a blog, all he could do was stare at me with a odd look on his face. You're doing what Dad? Guess I will have to work hard to prove to him that the old man can learn a few new tricks.

Speaking of my son Devin. He's an undergrad at UNC and an aspiring writer and poet. Here's some of his work:

Where I’m From
Devin Routh

I’m from rolling pastures
Veined by dry creek beds.
Where centenarian white oaks,
Younger than great-grandma Lucy
And her calamine feet,
Shade the black angus mixed with
The santa gertrudis as they
Chew their cud.
I’m from kitchens
Where green beans
And ice cream
Make music when we
Cook them,
Gardens and orchards where we
Grow corn and tomatoes,
Watermelons and apples,
And enjoy the occasional persimmon pudding.
Ambrosia isn’t coconut and pineapple,
It’s two cups of sugar,
Two cups of milk,
Two cups of flour,
Four eggs, cinnamon, vanilla,
And two cups of persimmon pulp.

I’m stuck between Erect
And Climax,
On the way to High Point
But I never go there.
I go down yonder
And ask ‘chup to?

I buy hay from Jack Fagg,
Honey from Janice Horny,
Meet John Brown at 3 a.m.
To discuss politics and watch
His drunk father drink more.

I see my cousins
When I drive 22 to town,
“Routh Oil Company,”
“Alvin’s Automotive.”
Eric, adopted Cherokee,
Still my blood kin, gives me 5th Avenues
To say goodbye.

In the barnyard,
I smell the diesel
Granddaddy Routh used to scrub
The grease from under our fingernails.
At the dinner table,
I taste fire in the peppers
Grandpa Cranford collected in his shirt pocket.

I’m from coldwater springs
Where we lose boots and calves
To the mud, like quicksand but only knee deep.
I’m from flower gardens
Where opossums slumber,
Where they wake under the moon
To eat the leftover cat food.

On my farm,
We build cairns as monuments
For the dogs and cats,
Feed corn to the deer and save them
From the hunters.
Sanctuary. “Jesus is Lord
Over Gray’s Chapel,”
But my grandpas taught me
How to fish, how to sow,
To kiss the catfish
And throw them back
(Their lips look just like a person’s),
Taught me how to look for pine hearts
And cut wood already fallen,
How to give life
And only borrow it.

Motor Racing

One of my weaknesses is cars, especially race cars, and in particular, old race cars. Something about seeing and hearing a 50 year old race machine attack a track at speed sends a thrill down my spine. Not that I aspire to be a Juan Manuel Fangio or Jackie Stewart or even a Richard Petty, but the excitement is there. I travel north from Greensboro from time to time up to Virginia International Raceway where time rolls back. In addition to sanctioned Rolex, SCCA and AMA races, VIR holds it share of vintage events where Ferraris still fight it out with Porsches.

In addition to vintage racing, I have covered many racing events over the years for editorial and advertising assignments. I have shot NASCAR, NHRA, CART, AMA, Rolex GrandAM and ALMS events as well as providing studio and track images for several individual teams.

(images copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Black & White or Color, Film or Digital ..... Stock or Assignment

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Black and white. I learned photography shooting and processing b&w and that's where my heart is. I guess most advertising and product photography is shot in color, but I still get excited when I see a good image in tones of gray. It may be all those books I read by Ansel Adams and I do still think in terms of the Zone System.

I learned on film, I shot every format of film available from 126 to 8x10 and for most of my professional life I survived on film. But, I guess I will take digital. Not that I think digital is any better than film; to be perfectly honest, I don't really see any difference in the end product. Face it, film cameras and digital cameras are just tools to produce images. It's just that today, it's a whole lot quicker and easier to do things digitally. In my area labs are becoming fewer and farther apart and it's almost impossible to find large batches of film for sale. Even if I shot on film, I would have to digitize the image to get it into my workflow so I find it easier to start with a digital file. I shoot in RAW format so my original files act as a sort of a digital negative. I find it pretty easy to replicate a film image with digital. Granted it does take some post processing. And, I really don't miss keeping my hands in D-76 and fixer.

Assignment for sure. Today we are seeing more and more agencies and companies depend on stock imagery, the predominant reason being cost. I understand the economic reasons. Believe me, I understand the state of the economy. It just pains me to see part of the creative process disappear. Traditionally, an agency would create an idea for an image and then assign someone to produce it. I always have enjoyed being part of a collaborative effort to bring an ad or a brochure or an article to life. Today those same creatives either by choice or necessity seem to lean more towards stock imagery, royalty-free images and now even to free image services like Flicker. Sometimes they start with an idea and locate an image to illustrate it, and sometimes they find an image and come up with an idea to match it. If it works they are successful. But it seems to me that a lot of folks are trusting to luck, luck in finding that right image. There is an old saying that "it's better to be lucky than good", but my father told me that for the most part in life, "you make your own luck". Don't get me wrong, there are some talented designers that can use stock images very well, and there are some talented designers that can also shoot their own great images. I myself shoot stock photography and do indeed make sales. I just hope assignment photography survives, partly for the selfish reason that I survive financially on it, but mostly because I want to see the most creative, professional part of advertising and commercial photography continue. I hate to see that artistic collaboration between photographer and art director go away. After spending 30 years producing images, I think I still have something creatively valuable to offer. For the agencies and companies that depend on free or royalty-free or stock photography I hope they consider assigning more work and recommending to their clients that they do so, before someday their luck runs out.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Moving Day

(Photo above courtesy of Sara Lyn Photography. Many thanks Sara and Phil. You guys did a wonderful job covering the wedding.)

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Today was one of those parent days. You know, rent a Ryder and spend the day sweating trying to get the kids moved into their apartment, struggling all day getting boxes of books and furniture up stairs. But today was a little more special. We moved our son Tristan and his new wife Christine. Married on August 1st and back from their honeymoon, today they launched their life together in their own apartment. Christine was able to get her china on display and her kitchen together, so things really did look like a home. My wife and I are so excited to have a new daughter. She is a keeper! And thanks to my other son Devin and his girlfriend Rain. We couldn't have done it without them. Oh yea, we move Devin on Saturday.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

While I'm on Farms

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

I recently shot a series of portraits for a new website for a local PR firm. One of the subjects wanted to do something in honor of his Grandfather, a farmer from Missouri.

Farms and ..... Chickens

I live on a 150 acre farm in rural Randolph County, North Carolina. I've lived here all my life. My Dad ran a dairy farm and taught school for about twenty years. When my brother and I left for college, he lost his free labor, became a school principal and shifted the farm over to beef cattle. When I married, my wife and I moved into the old farm house and have lived here for 31 years. I helped my Dad with the cows until he passed away last year. Since then, I have taken over responsibility for the farm. We've raised 2 sons, one an undergraduate at UNC and the other entering law school at UNC and just married. My wife has always loved the cows, but recently she and my older son decided that a farm can't be a farm without chickens. Now I'm in the chicken business with 3 bantams, 3 Dominickers and 6 Guineas. Here we go. Hope I get an egg soon.

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

Here's Marco Polo, our rooster.

In My Own Backyard

(image copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)

I've begun to notice that you don't have to go far sometimes to find interesting images. I love to travel as much as anyone and sometimes I feel that if I'm not in some exotic local, I can't find anything to shoot. Then I walk out my backdoor and stumble upon something that grabs my attention. I hope from time to time to share my backyard moments.

Friday, August 8, 2008

I'm finally here.

In this day of unbelievable gas prices, it's becoming harder and harder to travel for jobs. Fortunately, I am blessed to live in an area that is full of wonderful locations. We were asked to shoot a series of fashion images to go in the window of a showroom in Los Angeles with a vintage car and a gritty American background. We pulled it off just a couple of miles from my farm in rural North Carolina. Oh yeah, the model came in from LA.

(images copyright 2008 by Dan Routh)