Produced by:
James A. Martin | Michael T. Lee
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What on Earth is Down Window?!

What it is, technically, is a publishing company, and it's made up of just two individuals. But it is also a beginning -- the name represents how The Islands of San Francisco Bay book really got moving.

To preface -- James and I (click photos at below left for bios) are "big-time" rock-climbers, as well as photographers. We're also explorers, roaming around like curious kids fascinated by... pretty much anything. It's great not to 'grow up' in some ways.

On a long return trip after photographing Yosemite and Bodie, we took Sonora Pass as an alternate route home. The truck was struggling to make the pass, and using the air conditioning to defrost the windows after the rain wasn't helping its sluggishness at 9,000 feet elevation! With the rain no longer falling, one of us had the bright idea to roll the windows down ...and things have never been the same.

The air was unbelievably fresh, and what transpired after the windows were down was about 15 minutes of frantic remarking at the wonderful aroma, as well as repeated questions why we "didn't roll them down earlier?!". (Drenched conifers and granite beats Febreeze any day, hands down.) We continued our characteristically endless chatter after the pleasant aromatic shock settled, and James began talking about his long-dreamt book project on the Islands of the Bay.

Something about all that oxygen rushing in through down windows, he asked if I'd design his book.....

My initial response was something akin to: "dude, I don't know how to do a freakin' book." James' response: "well, I mean, you're good with computers and I need someone to design everything". The fact was that I was never trained in photography or web design either, but I had still built both a portfolio and a website for my photos. Another fact was, and is, a guiding tenet of life: if someone else can do something, why can't you?

Weeks later, I accepted, and so began the truly enriching partnership that comprises Down Window Press.

Everything in this Press company started with James' initial vision, and his tremendous drive. His and my collaboration to produce something people will value and share with others is what we hope you will take away from each page of The Islands of San Francisco Bay.    -- mtl

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