Photography: My Passion
My love affair of cameras and photography dates back to when I was 10 years old. Ah, the joy of that first Instamatic camera using 127 film, utilizing the full array of 'accessories' like the snap-on plastic 'macro' and 'telephoto' lenses. Seemingly endless days awaiting the return of the film followed by the joy (at times sorrow) of how my vision technically translated through the camera into a print (like I really knew anything about the concept of "technical")! Admittedly, photography as a child was challenging: unending passion coupled with a lack of knowledge and experience, my mode of transportation on foot and bicycle, limited time to photograph (that school thing or family projects thing) and a VERY limited budget from the paper route. Still .... the joy and fascination from those formative years never diminished.
In my early 20's I left home and moved to Colorado where my first major purchase was a Canon FTb SLR camera and shortly thereafter a set of manual extension tubes. And a switch to shooting transparency film so I could see the results when processed more .... hmmm .... understandably than interpreting a negative. Soon thereafter a telephoto lens. On my own, camera and lenses in my backpack, roaming the Rockies. Life was sweet! In later years, I discovered the thrill and challenge of photographing the landscape with a large format view camera, something from which I have never recovered. Hopefully, never will.
My philosophy is unchanged since I began. Photography, and art in general, is about vision and communication and how one uses the tools of their artform. It is about how we see what makes our images not only unique but compelling and learning how they connect with the viewer. The process is about learning to see. Where is the composition? What is the composition? Horizontal or vertical? Do I leave this tree in or take it out? What is the right time of day? Morning, midday or afternoon? What season of the year is best? What conditions do I need? Clear sky or clouds? Why type of clouds? Light rain? Fog or frost? These are all part of the process. The camera is and always has been a tool to achieve that vision. That is not to say the technical aspects of any type of camera is not without its merits, but the camera has to be directed by the photographer and their vision. Pointed at the wrong composition or a good composition at the wrong time of day and the image may be technically outstanding, but artistically lacking. No matter how expensive the camera, or how many bells and whistles are built into it, photography as an artform is still about how that tool is used to achieve one's vision. It is the challenge of my artform to use it wisely and masterfully.
As Joseph Wood Krutch wrote, "The rare moment is not that moment when there is something worth looking at but that moment we are capable of seeing it".
Formally trained as a biologist, I worked for over 15 years as a wildlife ecologist conducting studies of the effects of pesticides, heavy metals, and other chemicals such as PCB's and dioxins on wildlife populations. Projects took me around the country and overseas on occasion and I loved each and every journey. Besides the joy of the work was the unique opportunities to encounter spectacular landscapes, from the Great Lakes and Pacific Northwest to the Southeastern United States and down to the Esteros del Ibera of Argentina. I also worked with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Colorado Division of Wildlife on various vertebrate inventories and research studies in Colorado, North Dakota, and the Canadian prairie provinces.
Professionally I have been doing photography for 38 years. My imagery has been published around the world. Some years ago I was bitten by the dream of amassing my fortunes through exhibiting and selling my photography at art shows, which I do full-time at juried art shows nationwide. The greatest joy is someone walking into my booth, discovering a photograph that speaks to them often in ways they cannot express: perhaps emotionally, spiritually, or psychologically or some combinations. Then deciding they want to enjoy those feelings in their life every day.
Technically, I still photograph landscapes primarily with film cameras: a Linhof Technika IV 4x5 view camera and a Fuji 680III medium format camera. I have been switching my closeup or macrophotography to digital capture with image stacking for depth-of-field sharpness. Most all images are taken on Fuji Velvia ISO 50 film under natural light conditions using longer exposures of 1 to 8 seconds. Until late 2007 all images were darkroom printed. Since then I have converted to digital printing on an HP z3100 44" pigment ink system. My film is scanned to a digital file to print from. My macrophotography is taken with a Nikon D800 with extension tubes and macro telephoto lenses.