Category Archives: Video

higher ground – for meditation and contemplation

(after clicking play, click on lower right icon of player to see full screen)

higher ground

i feel the rain come in
the smell before the wind
leaves fold down
those pale green crowns
yima yima yai
yima yima yai

i watch the river rise
both forks are snake eyes wise
set me down on higher ground
yima yima yai
yima yima yai

i’m back where i came from
the trees the old deer run
worn out trails
tucked tired tails
yima yima yai
yima yima yai

i’ll meet you up the hill
your hair it’s falling still
lay me down on higher ground
yima yima yai
yima yima yai

the nights were cold and clear
and every star hung near
reaching round for higher ground
yima yima yai
yima yima yai

— david elias
photographs from windy hill, northern california

request free 1080p download of video by contacting david at or use this form:

aspen rose – beauty in the wilderness

the story of aspen rose is a complete sequence of life in four verses starting with the innocence and beauty of youth, the connections between all of us and all things on the planet back to nature itself and the planet we are all in and part of (not on and owners of), the powers of the romantic in all of us and the quest for communication and connection to and comfort with the essential beauty in ourselves through others, and finally our depature from our present incarnation with some better love and understanding of the universe that lies ahead in our imagination…


aspen rose

aspen rose your toes remind me of a summer lost
beauty in the wilderness unspoiled and untamed
aspen rose your ruby nose reminds me of another frost
straight down from the north comes forth
we’re boiling tea again

aspen rose your blonde hair glows as sunrise
easing up the mountains
you’re wandering through the pines
aspen rose your youth shows
silent as the twilight
settling through the window
calming down my inner mind

aspen rose recall those nights when we were strangers
unknowing to the dangers
that surrounded us like thieves
aspen rose nobody knows
how things could not change
we flowed like a river
right beneath october trees

aspen rose i’ll go i’m sorry that i’m weary
afraid that i have come too far
in far too short a time
aspen rose your heart’s
the slowest burning fire
i’ll ever know
it’s time to go
i love you more than i


recorded off grid at kitchen table to a korg mr-1
on battery as dsd64 in hamakua, east hawaii

windows open, chimes ringing, gecko chirping,
$89 nylon string guitar from hilo guitars

used the korg 2m-cm stereo mic that came
with the mr-1 offloaded directly from
mr-1without edits or eq of any kind

** this is an HD video – please set youtube to 720p
(change video res thru the little gear icon on the
lower right of the video player **

early photos in the video taken in the san mateo hills
(way up on skyline) on the peninsula in the sf bay area

the later photos in the video are reverse shots from all the way
down near the bay at the leo j. ryan memorial park in foster city looking
out and back up at the san mateo hills where the inital photos came from

ground zero, nyc

And I Said…9/11/2001 in Memory

And I Said…

It’s the end of summer see the red lights running
‘Cross the open interstate
And the wind feels good through the summer wood
The evening’s getting late
I’m with my little boy wearing corduroys and
He’s looking up at me
He says why’d they kill those people there
In New York City
And I Said…

So we lit 3 candles sitting on the wall
While the stars were coming on
And we said our prayers in the early fall
For those never really gone
One for the bodies of the innocent
Good God let them rest in peace
And one for the minds in the universe
That learn from tragedy
And one for the Spirit and the Souls at large
May we find true Unity
In a little boy wearing corduroy
He’s looking up at me
And I say…


Written and recorded immediately following 9/11/2001 and uploaded to the web as an audio mp3. I created the video in 2007 after visiting Ground Zero and taking the photos. Posted today in memory…Namaste

near red mountain in new mexico

it’s all october…new mexico in b/w

I have traveled a lot by myself in all different ways. Maybe you have too. I probably started travelling when I was a young boy investigating a large woods and creek behind all the houses where we lived in Ohio. There wasn’t any development beyond that boundary and so the woods and creek had their places undisturbed as long as I lived there which was until 16.


Beyond the woods was farmland. As far as I know none of that has changed but believe me when I say I’m not in a huge hurry to go back and find out. I like it the way it “is”. There were easy adventures to make from there since the boundary was as far as I knew and believed limitless. In my teen years it was even possible on good winter spells to cross-country ski back there. And we did.


So travelling alone was really an adventure in nature to me then and remained that way until this very day. It doesn’t have to be far and it doesn’t have to have any particular route or destination. It’s an adventure after all. Not remembering exactly where I’d been or how to get back there was half the thrill. it still is.


In these ways I often learned about places in sensory ways. I didn’t care much about maps and never used a compass and just didn’t pay attention to external descriptions of where I was moving through. Instead I would create these catalogs of internal information about how things responded to me being there. This rarely included running into other people. It was very much about the space and how it received me being there.


One of my all time favorite songwriters and arrangers as well as singers is Neil Finn from Crowded House fame. But his solo records that began quite awhile back after Crowded House faded away are out of this world.  Anyway, one of his songs says “Birds talk to me. Birds talk to me”. That is very much how I’ve felt many times in the right place on a nature adventure, even if it doesn’t have anything to do with birds, though it might.


So I got in my car one late December day in California up in the SF Bay Area and headed south to LA so I could turn East and go back to Joshua Tree. Or somewhere like that. It turned out I ended up driving 2500 miles all the way out to northern and southern central parts of New Mexico, between Hwy 40 and Hwy 10, stopping in Arizona and the Grand Canyon on the way.


I remember that when I got to the intersection of Hwy 25 that runs straight up into and through Colorado I found out that the entire highway had been closed in the state of Colorado. There was so much snow up there that year at that very time I was travelling that I think they stopped delivering mail in Boulder for a couple days at least. Isn’t that not supposed to ever happen? Life is like the weather. Neil Finn sings “Everywhere you go, always take the weather with you, everywhere you go always take the weather.” Go Neil.


So I found a lot of very quiet, snowy, icy, sunny, cold, spotless, rockfull, watery, frosted, thawing, running, frozen, squeaky, silent, spacious, sacred, resting, sighing, bowing, crawling, ancient, memorial, shadowy, brilliant places to walk through, sometimes sleep in, often sit still in, and sometimes photograph. I don’t recall the trail and have only one photo of one sign reminding me that it was Red Mountain I was around that day or two.


So Christmas Day came and went through the mostly silent patience of some very beautiful roads and country. I felt like I was taking care of something by paying attention to the right things. I didn’t meet up with or speak to many people overall. It was a silent journey. But a lot was being said to me.


I have a song called “It’s All October” that became a video using shots from that same journey.  All the B/W photos were taken in digital B/W on a small 1M Canon Powershot. Instead of converting color frames to B/W later, I feel that setting the camera to B/W (mono) is the only way to see things right when I’m shooting. I also have this tech-suspicion that light and exposure might be handled differently by the digital camera based on the different settings between B/W (mono) and color. Just a feeling.


“It’s All October” is something of a journey in itself back to those days I was investigating the edges of woods and farmlands in unknown parts of the south boundary of the town I grew up in. I was learning how to pay attention to space. In writing the song, I was also learning how to live with less.

It’s All October

Set my boot on the ice under frozen fields
Took my breath right away
Watched the rings of those vapors fade from the real
It’s all October today
It’s all October today

I looked around to see where all the leaves had gone
But a few left to stay
There to remind me that nothing was really wrong
It’s all October today
It’s all October today

As I fall on those clear and cold autumn blues
Where some part of me stays
I still live through those colors that came with you
On those October Days
It’s all October today
It’s all October today

Set my boot on the ice under frozen fields
Took my breath straight away
I’m still living through those colors we came to believe
On those October days
In those October days
It’s all October today

Just Say NAK…

train through southern cal near the arizona border

train through southern cal near the arizona border

Just Say NAK – The Art of Listening: Part II

We might not think about it this way often, but we are all message driven. The multimedia culture we’ve created for ourselves worldwide makes this clearer every day. However the types of messages we choose to receive and send are of course just that: our choice.

But often (i.e., incessantly) we are confronted with messages that make every attempt to disregard those choices and so be delivered without our recognition or agreement. In data communications there have long been different protocols for sending messages. A favorite standard is referred to as ACK/NAK which stands for Acknowledgement/Negative Acknowledgement.

In an ACK/NAK world, messages are sent (say as a stream of characters as text) one at a time, perhaps controlled by the number of characters (say a fixed length of 128 or any other number), or perhaps controlled by a special character or two that indicates the end of the line of text (say a carriage return/line feed).

There may also be other information in the message to help ensure the integrity of the data being received. This is usually referred to as a checksum which is just a number calculated using the content (character by character) of the current message. The receiving end does the same calculation and compares its result to the checksum number sent, hoping they match indicating that the data received is “good”.

The beauty of the ACK/NAK protocol is that the receiving end must either acknowledge the receipt (and integrity) of the last message by sending an ACK character back, or deny it by sending a NAK character back. The receiving end may also end up doing nothing!

The only way the sender can continue its delivery of messages is to receive an ACK back! It essentially lives for ACK. If anything else happens, like nothing comes back or it receives a NAK instead, it may try to resend the last message. But that will only go on for a limited number of retries before the sender quits….This result is bliss to me.

Maybe the message I’m sending here is “Just Say NAK“…if you choose to. You may have to say it more than once, but before long, that message you’re NAK’ing will cease to come back. You can also say nothing with the same result. I’ve learned from applied statistical probability theory and strategic planning of different types that doing nothing (no decision) is often a very good choice to make!

I’ve developed ways of saying NAK to messages and media that suit my lifestyle. These include avoiding being bombarded with negative news and information that seems to have completely dominated the common media. Predominately we are confronted with bad news on a fairly never ending basis through typical sources of information like newspapers, web giants, and television. In fact I’m beginning to believe there is only one source feed of all media worldwide. But where is it coming from?

By not ACK’ing that source, I am keeping my channels open for receipt of other messages that are more beneficial to my well-being. That’s my direction anyhow. I am often surprised by where the messages I do receive and acknowledge are coming from.


The other interesting thing to me is the idea of applying the checksum to everyday communications. As years go by, it seems more and more obvious to me that no two people witness the same event the same way, at least in recollection. The event can be as simple as a short conversation between two people. Neither one will recollect the conversation the same way.

The words change and all the extra information entwined in body language, the weather, the mood, the time passed, all change completely, even within each retelling of the story from the same source. No checksum!

It is always someone’s story (version) of what happened and what was said. We expect accuracy in the story’s retelling but it is never probable or maybe even possible. This is due to our lack of skills in listening…

So instead of tuning up and tuning in to our observational, listening and memory apparatus it appears to me that culturally we have moved to a much simpler but woesome way to achieve accuracy: We put cameras and other recording devices everywhere, everywhere, everywhere…

The documentation of what happened everywhere is captured by data recording, video and still camera gear everywhere from yours or my driveway to the first traffic light we come to, to the first public or private building we walk by or into, to the first GPS’d phone call we make, to the first no-cash-accepted-here transaction we make, to the first Google search of the day we make, and then back again. Woesome.

As much as I like photography and video for their artistically expressive capabilities, I shudder and say NAK to the incessant recording of my daily activities.

It is our own societal escape from the Art of Listening in action. We don’t want to pay attention to what we hear or even see it seems.

We let devices do it for us. And so what is it then that we are doing?