Paul Cockrell

Paul Cockrell's picture
For something a little different, take a look at the images in my INDUSTRIAL portfolio. While I love landscape nature photography, I make my living photographing engineering projects.

About Me

Paul Cockrell's Resume

I have been interested in photography since about the 3rd grade, which is now close to 50 years ago. At that time, my father had a garage darkroom and taught me the basics of B&W film development and printing.

In junior high school I graduated to 35 mm and then in 1980 bought my first medium format camera (Pentax 6x7), and later, a used 4x5. A few years ago I switched to digital. I still have a refrigerator drawer full of out-of-date 120 and 4x5 film, but have no plans to go back to film photography any time soon.

Landscape Photography
Landscape photography is my passion and I particularly enjoy photographing the Eastern Sierras along highway 395 and the foothills where I live in Placerville, CA. For many years I was only interested in B&W photography and developed the film and made the prints in my home darkroom. After I began color photography  I tried wet chemistry color printing but the results were uneven and too time consuming. I now do almost all my printing (B&W and color) with an Epson ink jet printer and am very pleased with the control and quality of the prints.

I have had my fine art landscape photography in various galleries in Northern California for over 20 years and was a startup partner for Gallery4 in Placerville.

Commercial Photography
I have been a successful commercial photographer for about 20 years but my success has been in a specific niche. I am also a mechanical design engineer. I design energy systems (pipes, pumps, boilers, engines) for water and wastewater facilities and, on a lark, decided to photograph a wastewater facility during a colorful sunset with my medium format camera as if it was fine art. The marketing department of my engineering employer saw the images and wanted to use some of them in a new brochure. They also sent the images to one of the trade magazines, which used one of the images on the cover of the next issue, at a generous usage rights fee, and they wanted more images for future issues. So now, when I traveled for my engineering work, I also spent some time at sunset/sunrise carefully photographing the water or wastewater plant. With a little marketing effort I was soon doing photo assignments across the US for plant owners, engineering designers, contractors, and equipment suppliers, and selling stock photography images. Often the assignments included an aerial photography element. I began to get photo assignments for other engineering projects such as bridges and roads, power plants, and buildings. I also started doing construction photography. One construction assignment consisted of monthly photography for three years of the construction of a bridge over the American River in Folsom. My success is due in part to my photography skills, but also to my engineering knowledge of these projects and comfort level in a heavy construction environment. I don’t need an escort to point out what to photograph and I am happy to wait for the best lighting conditions.

In 1985 my wife and I bought an old farmhouse on 12 acres in Placerville. We lived in the farmhouse for a few years while building our home on an adjacent parcel. The farmhouse was then a rental for many years but we grew tired of being a landlord and about 6 years ago we converted the farmhouse to a studio/gallery, where we now have weekend art shows a few times a year. We added tract lighting, display cases, flip bins, pedestals, and painted the walls gray. We typically have several guest artists with a variety of art mediums for each show. Send me an email if you would like to be invited to our next show (


Paul Cockrell's Artist Statement

I hope you enjoy the photographs on this website. I plan to add, subtract, and modify the images over time, and eventually add content to the other tabs. I’m sure it will be a slow process but at least I’ve got a fair number of images uploaded and sorted into albums.

A little about me and my photography –

I’ve been interested in photography since I was a child and am now middle aged. I am also a semi-retired engineer and have a successful commercial photography business photographing engineering projects, which requires frequent travel across the US. It is a niche photography business, which utilizes my engineering skills and photography skills. I plan to describe this business in more detail at a later date. I’ve included a few of my engineering images in the Industrial Album.

I’ve lived in Placerville, CA on 12 acres since 1985. There is a second home on the property, which is an old farmhouse that I converted to a studio/gallery about 5 years ago, by adding track lighting, display cases, and flip bins. I use the farmhouse for weekend art shows several times a year and usually have several guest artists in a variety of art mediums. There are some interesting outbuildings and mining artifacts scattered around  the farmhouse. I plan to upload some photos of the studio/gallery in the not too distant future.

I do half day beginner/intermediate level workshops at my studio/gallery. The workshop covers the basics of digital photography and Photoshop and I go over the techniques I use for my work. Drop me an email if you would be interested in coming to a future art show or workshop. I also keep my photography up on the walls and matted prints in the flip bins and will open the gallery if requested.

I bought a “true fixer” house in Mono City, CA this summer. Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierras are some of my favorite places to photograph and this house will provide a central base. So far, I’ve made 19 construction trips to this house and it is now essentially weather tight – the inside work starts soon. There is an unobstructed view from the back deck of Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierras. I’ve seen a variety of weather in those 19 trips and plan to post some of the “back deck” images of Mono Lake soon. When all put back together, I hope to offer 2-3 day workshops from this house.

I currently use a Canon 5D Mark II and am very happy with the results. I’ve been digital for about 5 years. Before switching to digital I used medium and large format cameras. I bought my first Pentax 6x7 in 1984.

Prints of the images on the website are available for sale. Prices are -

11x14 matt (approx 7x9 image)         $49
16x20 matt (approx 10x13 image)   $119
18x24 matt (approx 12x18 image)   $169
22x28 matt (approx 16x22 image)   $329

11x14 matt (approx 7x9 image)       $129
16x20 matt (approx 10x13 image)   $189
18x24 matt (approx 12x18 image)   $289
22x28 matt (approx 16x22 image)   $489

Shipping costs depend upon size and whether unframed or framed. Photographs can also be picked up at the studio/gallery.

I use an Epson 4880 printer (17” wide) for most of my work and print on matt paper. I also have an Epson 7800 printer (24” wide), which I’ve used for matted prints up to 30x40.


Contact Information

For something a little different, take a look at the images in my INDUSTRIAL portfolio. While I love landscape nature photography, I make my living photographing engineering projects.

  • Cell: 530-748-5036