Never let your imagination be limited by your comfort zone
“From the first time I saw a Galen Rowell image I knew the type of photography I wanted to do.”
I was walking by an office one day and saw the late Galen Rowell’s incredible image of Yosemite’s El Cap in Fog on a poster. It left such an impression on me that it launched my long-standing interest in photography into high gear. The thought of finding a lo9cation and capturing a large landscape with sweeping panoramic vistas using my camera brought out the adventurer in my soul. It began with trips into the mountains of Colorado, the woods of Arkansas and then the open prairies of Oklahoma – my home state. Then, after an unexpected opportunity to study with Galen arose, I jumped at the chance and spent time high in the mountains of Colorado trading camera shots with the master of adventure photography whose work set me on my path. In learning by doing and watching – and sharing my photographic vision with my mentor I came to learn this about photography:
Photography is about adventure: It is about going somewhere you have never been before or taking a road which you don’t know where it goes just to see what is down the road.
Photography is like a time capsule: From an image you can see what a place was like at another moment in time – and experience it again.
Photography is a revelation: By looking back at the images you have taken you are reminded of what is important to you.
Photography is expanding: In traveling to new places to photograph you meet new people, experience new places, eat at new places and stay in new locales which opens your mind to new possibilities.
LIFE GROWS OR SHRINKS IN DIRECT PROPORTION TO ONES COURAGE. – ANIAS NIN
Some thoughts on photography and being a photographer
Photography isn’t just about the art of creating an image, it’s also about getting outdoors and experiencing new places, people and the journey in getting where you’re going. Some of my best discoveries have come from turning down an interesting road or just heading out on a day that didn’t appear to have anything spectacular in store. I always encourage new photographers to turn off the TV, get off the couch and just get outdoors with their camera. There is so much to enjoy about heading out for a day of creating images – from cranking up my favorite music in my SUV, packing up a lunch/supper/snacks in an ice chest and enjoying the sights along the way. What I like is going somewhere I’ve never been before, hearing from the locals about an area and experiencing the adventure of bringing some part of it home with me. Behind each of my images there is a story of how and why an image came to be.
Photography: Philosophically Speaking
No matter what kind of camera you own – you can make great photographs. It’s not the camera that makes a great picture – it’s you and your vision of what you want to capture. I have had in my arsenal of cameras at one time or another a Minolta Maxxum 7, Fuji GX617 Panoramic camera, a Kodak DCS Pro 14n and currently the new Nikon D800 digital camera. These cameras have some of the most advanced features and highest resolutions for thier time. But, did you know, that some of the best known images in the world were made with camera gear that didn’t have the majority of the features of these cameras? What makes for iconic images is the imagination brought to capturing an image. How I see something versus how you see something is what makes for the wonderful variety we see in photography. No matter what kind or how much gear you own, your imagination is your greatest asset. Philosophically speaking, when Socrates said “I think, therefore I am” he was not only talking about conciousness, but also implying that each person is unique in their ability to recognize and interpret the world. To make great, iconic images – get out there and interpret the world in your way.