Valley Public Radio - Live Audio


Randi Lynn Beach / used with permission

California's mammoth feats of water engineering in the 20th century turned the barren west side of the San Joaquin Valley into the most productive farmland in the world. But in the 21st century, as society's appreciation of the environmental costs of these water diversions, many have questioned whether west side farms will last into the next century. Combined with the threats of drought, climate change, and increasing salinity, the question is fertile ground for photojournalist Randi Lynn Beach.

Michael J Semas

Michael J. Semas has an interesting perspective into valley history thanks to his collection of thousands of rare postcards, many more than 100 years old. Real photo postcards captured everyday life in Central California, and in many cases, they may be the only images remaining of certain communities, people or buildings. 

Scott Lange and Nick Foster /

Imagine for a moment hiking the majestic John Muir trail in the High Sierra from Yosemite to Mount Whitney. Now imagine doing it in the middle of the night, with a load of sophisticated cameras, tripods and telescopes. That’s just what Scott Lange and Nick Foster did last summer, all in an effort to produce breathtaking long-exposure nighttime images of heavens and the landscape.

Some artists are truly prolific. Composer Franz Joseph Haydn wrote over 100 symphonies. Science Fiction writer Isaac Asimov wrote over 450 books.

Our guest is nowhere near as famous as those two men, but he is just as prolific. He has taken over 300,000 photographs of life in Fresno since 1973. He is retired Fresno attorney Howard Watkins, and some of his best work is part of a new exhibit at Fresno State’s Henry Madden Library Elipse Gallery. It’s his first solo show, and it’s on display now through August 14th.

Heyday Books

Local photographer Joel Pickford's new book "Soul Calling: A Photographic Journey Through The Hmong Diaspora" is an intimate look into the world of the Hmong people.