- Enjoyment of the whispering winds, the zephyrs, the airstreams of the Sierra Nevada and Great Basin areas of the United States.

Dale (Pee Wee) Schwamborn

Pee Wee the photographer

Samples of Pee Wee's photos

Photos and commentary on the historic Route 66

Where to begin?

click on image for larger view

When I was young I took a few pictures with a very old boxy Kodak. When I went to Europe Wally gave me his Argus C3 camera, which I used again on the 1957 Eastern Canadian Caravan. From time to time I used it until I went to Africa.

For Africa my Dad selected a camera for me to use on the trip. It broke down. The focusing of pictures went bad, and finally it just completely went kaput. Wally loaned me his Contax. I took a few more pictures. I was faced with two situations while in Africa. Limited time to take pictures, and money to buy film.

Peter Turner was an inspiration with his tonnage of cameras and professional approach to photography.

I purchased a Nikromat in 1972. This was my introduction to better 35mm photography. In 1973 we moved to Pennsylvania, I was transferred to a new plant. In 1975 a Nikon F-2 came into my hands via a credit card and months of salivating. From this more camera bodies, many lenses, flashguns, tripods, cases, and on and on and on.

Sue and I moved back to California in 1976. We saw an ad in a local paper, in 1978, about a adult photography school in Covina, CA. I was working and Sue went to enroll me. She got there only to find out that there were many budget questions due to Prop 13. So…..
The school was closed for the summer, but a seminar series was held twice a week in a bowling alley. When we went back to the classrooms we had a full range or classes, color, and black and white labs, a studio and field trips. Great!

They started a certified program with the State of California. I was one of the first grads. Sue took classes and learned to not only use the camera, but to go on and win a gold medal at the Los Angeles County Fair. The best I managed was a bronze.

After taking classes with a very rigorous schedule, I went on to take a reoccurring class called Creative Elements One and Creative Elements Two. These classes dealt with leaving behind your hang-ups. One of the examples is little Mary in her first grade class. The teacher asks the students to draw a picture of a rose. Little Mary has a pot, grass, sky, sun, clouds and a rose bush. The teacher walks around the class to examine the products of the students. When gets to little Mary, she tells Mary that her picture is all-wrong. Mary you know that grass is green, not purple; the sky is blue not yellow; the sun is always yellow, not black; your rose my, oh, my, roses are red, not blue; leaves are green, not orange.

From the time we begin to learn parents, relatives, siblings, employers, friends and teachers stifle our creativity. Creative Elements returns the power to you.

We still haven’t visited Igor’s castle.

In conjunction with the Creative Elements there is a campfire. The campfire requires each person attending to give a three-minute presentation of anything. I have seen some very, very tearful presentations, and some very soaring presentations. I have been to 7 or 8 Creative Classes, they normally last 6 to 7 weeks in the summer. Campfires 12 to 15. I feel grateful that my Mother attended several evenings of the Creative Elements. Also she went to two campfires. She was amazing she took over the class. Sharp, witty and right in the swing of what the class was all about.

Part of my on-going benefits is the invitation every year to the Pageant of the Masters with a group of 30. It was last night and I had to miss it. I will go again next year, plus going to the campfire.

Igor is my friend. Igor founded the school. Igor is teacher of Creative Elements. Igor is one of the smartest and most creative people I know. Igor is Alan Weiss.

Alan always wanted to build a castle. Through inheritance, and investments he built a +8,000 square foot  home. Over the years Alan saw bits of castles and he picked and pasted individual concepts into Igor’s Castle. There are creative items throughout the castle. If my Mother20had lived, and if she felt well we were going to celebrate her 100th birthday at the castle.

In a few hours of meeting my Mother and Alan developed a great respect for each other. I would never expect less. My Mother in all circumstances could take charge of her environment. There are more tales to tell about photography but this is a fun part of it. Pete Turner ( asked me to a party in New York City and that is how I met my Susan. Yet another story.

Igor’s Castle - beware there is a dungeon.

For those familiar with my photography and the photography school that I attended I want to tell you about Igor's Castle.

On Thursday, August 9th, seventy hearty souls went to the Castle to present their homage to Igor. I was fortunate to be one of them. But first you need to understand why we went to the Castle.

In the early 70's a photography school was formed under the auspices of the Tri-Community Adult Education. It had extremely humble and meager beginnings. Alan Weiss was the architect for the program and the director.

Through the years there have been many activities. The  most eye-popping were the Academy Award style photo contests, with music, dancing, presentations and thousands of attendees.

The school began in a Quonset hut and is now in a very attractive, functional and full air conditioned building. The variety of classes has grown from a few basic classes to over 80 classes dealing with beginning camera use to Photoshop and all of the digital trimmings for the photographer of today's technology.

One class stands out more than any other. It is the Creative Elements course. CE, as it is referred to, deals with creativity and not photography. The class is held every two years in the Summer session of program.

Here is a scenario that may put the concept of the class in perspective.

In Kindergarten little Mary has been asked to use her crayons to create a scenic picture of a rose. Mary very excitedly begins her journey in her young creative life. When she finishes she raises her hand in pride. The teacher comes over looks at her picture and with dismay tells Mary it is all wrong. The sky is blue, not purple. Grass is green, not orange. The sun is yellow, not red. Roses are red, not brown. Leaves are green, not yellow. Little Mary is embarrassed, dismayed, and shattered. The teacher asks her to redo her picture. The teacher comes back and Little Mary has a "perfect picture." The sky is blue, the grass and leaves are green, the sun is yellow, and the rose is red. The teacher tells Mary how excellent her second picture is.

The premise of the class addresses the loss of creativity that we all fight through our life. Teachers, parents, peers, relatives, and even employers throttle our ability to express ourselves. Creative Elements is a portal to give back the lost creativity taken from us through out our life.

As a student of Creative Elements I have seen fellow students undergo life changing thinking that helps them break free of the chains of the ordinary and begin to follow the path of the extraordinary. The last class is held at the Castle. Each student or former student must give a three minute presentation, or a hand out. A hand out is something very special to the individual and is an item they want to share with their fellow students.

I returned to California for this wonderful evening of fellowship.

The presentations are made after a very scrumptious meal.

The documents provided and the pictures in these photo galleries have been used with permission of Dale Schwamborn. They are intended for personal viewing and enjoyment only and are not to be used in part or in full on other websites, for commercial purpose, or for any other use. For information on this material you can contact Dale at peewee(at)sierranevadaairstreams(dot)org

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