Like most of us of a certain age, I shot thousands of rolls of film over many, many years. As a result, I have five large, steel, filing cabinets in a cold room that are just chock full of carefully filed archival slide pages. Those who feel a pang of nostalgia for all of those 2 x 2” cardboard slide mounts, please raise your hand.
Some of the most peaceful moments I find in nature are those spent next to the smaller rivers and streams that course through a landscape ensconced in forests, shaded from the open light and giving a sense of seclusion to the experience. When I was living in northern Japan, the situation was no different. About thirty minutes from my house was one of the most beautiful places to see fall colors in the entire country. For me though, this place was amazing at all times of the year and it gave me a Top 100 photo in NANPA’s 2022 Showcase competition.
Getting out in nature is good for the soul, good for our photography, and maybe even good for business. As nature photographers, we intuitively know that being outside, immersed in nature, is good for us. It fills our creative and artistic needs, but it also makes us feel better, physically and mentally. A variety of scientific studies prove these truths we’ve known all along. As health care systems realize the healing power of nature, more are placing nature photos in hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices. I was reminded of how important those health benefits are and how they impact nature photography by a couple of recent stories.
Back in the days of film, I used to carry a complete assortment of filters in my camera bag. I had warming filters, cooling filters, neutral density filters, graduated neutral density filters, special effect filters and, of course, a polarizing filter. The digital age had made life much easier. Most of these filter effects can now be applied in post with much greater precision and in varying degrees of intensity. Not having to carry so many filters is a definite plus, but there are some filter effects that can’t be created digitally… yet.
America’s 63rd and newest national park was created earlier this year when the Congressional resolution authorizing it was buried deep in the text of legislation intended to address financial issues related to the COVID pandemic. Not one to look a gift horse in the proverbial mouth, I am just grateful that these 73,000 scenic acres have been awarded the nation’s highest level of protection. Just 10% of this territory is included in the actual national park. The remaining 65,000 acres make up a national preserve. So, what makes this area special?
Peace, beauty, balance and humor are what I hope my art expresses and how I would like it to affect others.
I feel that Morning Grasses fits my creative philosophy and my mission as a photographic artist and leaves room for the viewer’s interpretation and wonder. I’ve always been interested in alternative styles of creative photography, including hand painting silver prints, Polaroid SX-70 manipulations, digital multiple exposures, and currently, Creative iPhoneography.
I love capturing moments in time with my camera. I am drawn to whatever resonates with my creative soul. I think as much about the design, light, shadow, pattern, texture, or gesture in the image as I do about the subject itself. I search less and let my awareness draw me to what I can use as my canvas, and I often add layering of texture or color to my original image, as I have done with this one.
I started photographing burrowing owls in 2016. They’ve become one of my favorite subjects. I can’t resist these little characters with all their expressions. After a session, I can’t wait to get home to look through the images to see what I’ve captured. When I got to these three owls, their interactions with each other were amazing, but what really stood out was this little owl showing off his ability to levitate. The two things I strive to capture in an image are emotion and/or moments you wouldn’t be able to see with the naked eye.
While my intention that day was to photograph one of my favorite flowers, lotus blossoms, I like to keep my mind open to whatever opportunities arise. Lotus blossoms, buds, leaves, and spent seed pods are all things I had photographed many times. But this seed pod was in an in-between state I hadn’t ever noticed before. The surface of the seed head seemed like an alien landscape, or some sort of mythical multi-eyed creature. I was fascinated by the textures and shapes and just had to photograph it, even if it was outside my normal subject matter. By isolating just this portion of the seed pod, I’ve made an abstract interpretation of it, adding a sense of mystery about what it could be.
This photo is special to me because it evokes emotion. My goal as a photographer is to capture pictures in such a way that the viewer will feel the same thing I feel at the time of the photo. There are some pictures that I think are great as a photographer, but they don’t resonate with others. I could tell immediately after sharing this picture that it evoked the kind of emotion in others that would help facilitate positive change. It has been used by conservationists throughout Louisiana to help clean up our stormwater collection system and bring attention to our litter and pollution problems.
This experience was one of the most incredible spectacles of nature I have ever witnessed, in some ways fulfilling dreams I have had since I was a child. I have always been fascinated by the mystique of big cats—the more elusive the better. Some of my earliest artistic memories are drawing big cats out of the well-worn photography books I adored, which gave me my initial interest in pursuing wildlife photography. After what had been a slow winter for wildlife sightings, this mountain lion was such a gift to me as she spent about a week of her life in Jackson Hole, feeding on a mule deer she killed during the night. It was of crucial importance to me when I arrived on scene to capture an action shot of this sleek creature as it was a situation I had dreamed of my entire life.