Bring Back the Experience
"Take only photographs, and leave only footprints."
The American landscape holds a lifelong fascination for me. Searching for the same unspoiled wilderness experienced by my artist mentors, I have traveled throughout America to record special places, thankfully protected in our national and state parks. From coastal seascape to desert landscape, from mountain peaks to virgin old-growth forests, I am in love with the grandeur and restorative power that our parks offer to each of us.
Without knowing it, I began my love of the land while summering in Maine. Roy Whitman, my grandfather and mentor, instilled in me the curiosity and respect for the land and water, and I have been hooked for life.
Robert Frost personally inspired me to love the land and look beneath the superficial. Indelible months working for Ansel Adams in Yosemite further anchored my passion for the power and beauty of nature.
"Study nature. Love nature.
Stay close to nature; it will never fail you."
-- Frank Lloyd Wright
A park ranger in Glacier National Park told me that over 90% of the visitors to any of our magnificent parks never venture more than 100 yards from their cars or tour buses. As I embrace the unique visual qualities of each ecosystem, I strive to hike well beyond the hand of man, observe and inhale, and respect the sensory details that shape my experience of a place. Then my goal is to bring some of it back on film (or, soon, a high-capacity memory card). The challenge when I am photographing is to retain what continually slips away - timeless moments and changing light.
Perfect conditions often arrive after plenty of prep work. I have the reality issues to deal with... Learning the best time of year, best time of day, and anticipating changing light conditions are all part of laying the foundation. Most of my "photographic time" is invested in scouting for location, hiking to identify optimum camera position, and waiting for just the right light and weather conditions to converge. Figuring out how to avoid unsightly elements that a painter can simply ignore. Days of planning and hours of waiting often culminate in a few minutes of intense action when the image is actually recorded. It's a wonderful job!
The wild places are where we began. We must protect and nurture them. Visit these places where time runs along at its own pace. Listen a little and talk less. Learn to absorb, respect, love and remember unspoiled nature.
"Human kind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together." -- Chief Seattle, 1858