Lord Huron at Red Rocks

To date, I’ve enjoyed a dozen Lord Huron concerts. The venues have been varied, with some of my favorites in historic theaters like National Theater in Richmond and the Midland in Kansas City, Missouri. One exception is the open-air amphitheater at Red Rocks.  It’s beyond description and has been host to some of the biggest names in music.

After 2 years of pandemic-related postponements, Lord Huron performed to sold out crowds June 1st and 2nd, and we were anxious for the long anticipated experience.

From the top row, I photographed an overview with the lights of Denver as a backdrop.

From the “pit” I was close to the action with my friend, guitarist Tom Renaud up front.

Bassist Miguel Briseño performed brilliantly on the right side of the stage.

Singer, songwriter Ben Schneider was captivating center stage.

The rest of the show, I shot mostly from a ticketed seat in row 9.

My lens choice was mixed with some wide angle and short telephoto options.

Brandon Walters (top left) is a versatile guitarist and has toured with the band since I first saw them at the Ritz in Raleigh 2015. Misty Boyce’s amazing keyboard skills and voice round out the touring group.

When Ben transformed into his alter ego Cobb Avery, the audience went crazy.

With constantly changing lights, my mirrorless camera made ongoing exposure adjustments. It’s hit or miss and a bit of luck!

Ben’s “I Lied” duet with Misty was a huge crowd pleaser.

Mark Barry was electrifying on drums.

Encore calling has evolved from Bic lighters to smart phone flashlights.

Toward the end of the show, I had a strong emotion, knowing it was finishing. All the energy and excitement was at a crescendo.

Lord Huron left the stage with an appreciative audience after an energized 2 hour show.

To celebrate, there was cake for family and friends.

After a 2-year hiatus, the band continues to tour with sellout shows and at music festivals.


Ray Matthews 1950-2022

I hadn’t lived on the Outer Banks but a few weeks when I met Ray. He was a waiter at Seafare Restaurant when I was in the kitchen putting dirty dishes through a Hobart machine. We became good friends. He was getting his feet wet with photography, and I was also becoming immersed. That commonality solidified our relationship. 

Months later we discovered our birthdays were the same day. Surely we were kindred spirits. Times were spent with photography. I delved into his collection of books, learning more about master photographers, composition and technique.

He had just built a small darkroom where with his help, I made my first color print. It didn’t turn out well, yet inspired me to set up my Beseler enlarger at home. From then on I was off and printing. His statement “I want to make photography my life’s work” is etched in my mind. At that time he was determined and couldn’t have been more than 24 years old.

Over the years, we collaborated, commiserated and at times competed for art shows and publications. Always friends, we both explored and consumed the nature around us. His work ethic was energizing for me to continue photography even though at times, things seemed tough.

Over decades, Ray produced an extraordinary body of work, and he loved it. I will truly miss him and his influence on what I do. Mostly though I’ll miss the little things, like his occasionally dropping by my studio announcing, “Mike, let me take you to lunch, my treat.” That would mean a ride to Lisa’s Pizza and Ray ordering Chicken Parmesan.

I’ll miss meeting with him at another favorite place, Cape Point, where on more than one occasion we toasted each other with a rum and coke, waiting for the magical light of a setting sun. 

Our friendship was perhaps the longest, most endearing of my life. If it hadn’t been for Ray, there’s no telling where I’d be, just not shoving dishes through a Hobart.

Red Rocks Reboot

Plans to attend a Lord Huron show at Red Rocks in June of 2020 were stymied by the pandemic. A rescheduled concert for 2021 was also canceled. Then in 2022, as pandemic conditions improved, we were still determined to see Lord Huron at this legendary Colorado venue. We arrived for two sold-out shows on June 1st and 2nd.

On the first day, we arrived at Red Rocks early for the band’s sound check.

It’s great fun watching them prepare for a show.

Situated between walls of red sandstone, the natural amphitheater is spectacular.

With sound check over, a distant parking lot began to fill up.

As the crowd assembled, Erin Rae with her band from Nashville opened up the show.

Minutes before Lord Huron’s appearance, I scanned a capacity crowd from the Pit.

To be continued…



Chalk Up Another

After a few days of northerly gales, I got up this morning to hear about another oceanfront building succumbing to the perils of the sea. It was not unexpected. I wanted to have a look, and the area south of the Rodanthe pier was ground zero.

There was already a contingent on hand to see the spectacle. With visitors here, I’m sure most of them had never seen such a sight. Walking in I saw photographer friends, Don Bowers and Dan Pullen. Sauntering around various vantage points, I settled in on a wind-protected elevated perch where Don and Dan joined me. They were shooting up a storm.

Over the years I’ve lost count how many buildings I’ve seen destroyed. I’d venture that it approaches 50. In 2008 I watched one on Sea Haven Street actually buckle and go down.

Today after a 2 hour wait I got to witness another one in the process. It was leaning eastward on piles high over the beach as waves plowed beneath it.

 After an hour we heard a little snap. Fifteen minutes later another cracking sound. It was then I knew it was going to sea. Five minutes later we heard another crunch. A minute passed and the creaking picked up into a crash. Suddenly before our eyes, the foundation gave way and lowered the structure on to the incoming waves. It reminded me of the Wicked Witch  getting splashed with water and melting away.

In a matter of seconds, it had collapsed…

At first it floated around, teetering in the surf.

As water poured in, it began breaking apart, expelling contents.

Dan got up-close and personal as a wall of debris washed toward him.

In less than 5 minutes, you’d never know it was a two story house.

As man builds so close to the sea, the messy spectacle continues!

Rodanthe 1975

I spend lots of time looking through old images. They bring back bygone memories. It’s taught me that a photograph taken today, later becomes a document of history. Interesting old photos appreciate with time because they can never be taken again. In the Summer of 1975, something possessed me to shoot a sign directing folks to the booming pier complex at Rodanthe. Nearly 50 years later, I realize how my hometown has changed.

All the buildings in the background are gone, washed away or relocated. The open field of sand, grasses and wildflowers is now covered with McMansions. The sign indicates that Elvin Hooper had caught his world record channel bass less than 2 years prior.

How I miss those days!