David Ottenstein PhotographyDavid Ottenstein Photography


Exhibition at Palmer Museum of Art

June 21st, 2012

The Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State has an exhibition up now and hanging through August 19, 2012. One of my photographs that the museum recently acquired is part of the exhibition. Color My World: Color Photographs from the Permanent Collection puts me in good company. Among others, the show includes works by Eliot Porter, Steve McCurry, John Paul Caponigro, Gregory Crewdson, and Cindy Sherman.





New photos at The Grove

April 16th, 2012

I’ve recently added 6 more photographs to the walls at The Grove, 71 Orange Street, New Haven, where I’ve had black and white images on display for some time. All the new photographs are color, and some are brand new images, on display for the first time. The Grove is an exciting new community that offers shared and cooperative office space and resources, designed to foster collaborative thinking and innovation. It has been fun being part of this venture by having my work on their walls.




April 14th, 2012

The 31st Annual Connecticut Photography Competition & Exhibition, IMAGES 2012, will be hanging at the Guilford Art Center through April 21. Three b/w photographs from my recent (Dec. 2011) visit to Great Sand Dunes National Park near Alamosa, CO are included in the exhibit and received honorable mention from the judges. IMAGES is sponsored by the Shoreline Arts Alliance in Guilford, CT.



Recent Acquisition by Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

March 23rd, 2012

I am excited to announce that, as a result of my meeting with the photography curator during my western trip this winter,  the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art has decided to acquire two of my photographs for their permanent collection. Here is information about this exciting museum and the Hallmark Photographic Collection that the museum acquired in 2005.  http://www.nelson-atkins.org/art/Photography.cfm. The two images they selected appear below.




The Drive to California

November 10th, 2011

We had some challenging driving between Denver and Grand Junction Colorado, especially in the ski areas near Vail. Arches National Park was amazing and the 6 inches of snow that fell as we drove to the Grand Canyon produced a spectacular setting for photographs. At Noah’s repeated urging, I persevered on our 6 mile hike on ice, snow, then mud, down the Bright Angel Trail 3 miles into the Grand Canyon (and back to the rim 5.5 hours after we started).

The following photos are from my always-in-my-pocket iPhone until I have time to edit my real pictures.


near Vail, CO

Utah landscape

Arches National Park

Monument Valley, Utah

Monument Valley, Utah

Grand Canyon

me at the Grand Canyon

On My Way Home

June 25th, 2011

After almost a month, I am on my way home. The final leg of my trip is central Pennsylvania. I was out shooting today with Bill Coleman (http://www.amishphoto.com/gallery.htm). As we always do, we enjoyed sharing stories of our experiences photographing, comparing technique and approaches and discussing light. We went to some of our usual locations and explored some new roads and towns as well. A country church, a barn, a general store. An auto junkyard and a gorgeous clearing at the edge of the woods along a mountainy road.

By tomorrow evening I’ll be back in New Haven, ready to begin processing my pictures – in the darkroom and at the computer. Next step: begin to plan my next western trip.

Thiessen Farmstead

June 22nd, 2011

The Thiessen farmstead that I came across yesterday in Tama county was a pleasure to photograph. I first met Roger Thiessen who’s own farm is just down the road. He was busy working on one of the barns. He thought it would be OK for me to take pictures, but said I should really check with his son, Darren, who recently purchased this farm and would be back in a little while. Darren was as excited as I was about my photographing the place. He intends to demolish the house which he feels is too far gone to save. He’ll keep most of the other buildings, including the summer kitchen that he’ll let a friend renovate and use. Darren, like so many other farmers I’ve met in Iowa has a strong sense of history and proud awareness of the significance of the old farm structures. He’s invited me to stop back whenever I wish and photograph inside and out of any of the buildings.

Later that day I met Don Anderson who owns the land along Richland Creek that I have photographed repeatedly over the years. He, too, was pleased that I’ve been using his gorgeous piece of Iowa to make photographs. That morning, while taking pictures of a windmill (that I later realized I had photographed many times before), Gary Dolezal, spotting me from up the hill where he was working, drove down to see what I was up to. We had a long conversation during which he explained that he will be the last of four generations to farm this land. He has no children and his nieces and nephews who will inherit the land have no interest in farming. I hear this or a similar story quite often.

Perfect Day for Taking Pictures in Iowa

June 22nd, 2011

Heavy storms overnight produced a dramatic, fast moving, cloud filled sky this morning that lasted until sunset on this, the longest day of the year. I was busy racing around northern Poweshiek County and southern Tama County taking advantage of the exciting light and dramatic clouds. I was reminded why I love being in this place so much – the varied green landscape of fields of young corn, soybeans just emerging, and hay interspersed with uncultivated waterways can be simply breathtaking. Richland Creek, where it crosses G Avenue in Tama County, is one of my favorite spots to photograph in Iowa. The landscape there was posing for me today, just as it seems to do almost anytime of year I stop by to shoot. A creek, an old barn, cornfields, a fence, pasture, and usually a group of cooperative cows – all the elements I need for capturing Iowa. Here it is in February 2010 and again today.

I also found a really nice farmstead southwest of Tama and spent almost 3 hours photographing inside and outside the farmhouse and numerous out buildings. More about that tomorrow. Below are a few of the hundreds of landscapes I shot today.

On to Grinnell

June 21st, 2011

This morning after breakfast in Hamlin with Dennis and some local farmers, including a man who demolishes old farm buildings (!) for part of his living, I proceeded on back roads to make my way to Grinnell while hunting photo opportunities. The gravel roads were very soft and sometimes treacherous because this part of Iowa got another 2 or more inches of rain the previous night. I was out early, and the sky, still boiling with clouds from the storm was quite dramatic.

I spent much of the day in Guthrie County again and found some nice landscapes. Finally got back to the farm outside of Grinnell around 4:00pm.

Long Road from Omaha to Grinnell

June 21st, 2011

I left Omaha Sunday morning, fully intending to return to Grinnell by late in the afternoon. I only made it as far as Harlan, Iowa, (go check your map – it’s not very far), but enjoyed Father’s Day with friends and found some good material to photograph. I was a couple hours late visiting my friend Ruby in Macedonia (who, over the years, has come up with some really nice places for me to shoot) because I got sidetracked by the Fairview Chapel on my way there. A farmer passing by on his tractor stopped to see who I was and what I was doing. Turns out he’s Ruby’s husband’s cousin. He called his brother who came over with a key to let me into the chapel. There was also a nice barn and old windmill nearby.

Later, I made it to Harlan in time to catch the tail end of a Father’s Day cookout with my friends Dennis and Linda who, beginning with my first visit to Iowa in 2004 have brought me to many good sites. After supper, we – me, Dennis, Linda and some of their family – got into two pickup trucks and toured the county chasing a few more places to shoot before dark.