Welcome to my web site. Here for your enjoyment are images from areas that I am drawn to over and over again for their beauty, peace, and charm. Each of these represents a special moment in time, the fortunate intersection of season, light, weather conditions, and of course, my being there to witness and record the scene. Some were chance encounters, the serendipity sublime. These moments where all the right conditions intersect are fleeting; most will never be repeated. My best efforts to recreate favorite images done years ago on small film have been largely without success, but have led me to wonderful new scenes none the less.
Once I identify a promising location, I attempt to determine optimal conditions, often returning repeatedly to the location just as a gardener checks his crop. Sometimes the composition itself is predetermined, sometimes simply the location and the conditions (such as peak bloom or fall color). Often up before dawn, many miles from home, the final image may represent days of work and lengthy travel. Some even required hiking in the dark for hours through trail-less wilderness to be on site for first light, or hiking out in the dark after last light.
Film has been largely supplanted by digital capture, and a long essay regarding its benefits is pointless here. Modern sensors now equal or surpass the 4x5 and 5x7 inch films that I favored. No film or digital sensor captures the range of colors that the human eye can see, and photographic dyes used in the printing process have further quirks and limitations. Digital capture has the capability to reduce the color rendering problems posed by film, and as such can render a more "pure" result, subject to recollection of the moment. There is no "absolute" reference other than the mind's eye.
The digital process - making a print.
Printing from a film capture involves several steps, the workflow is far simpler with digital capture. Once processed by the lab, the selected transparency goes then to the scanner, which does introduce artifacts, as well as softening of detail and contrast, which must be corrected back to baseline. Large format sheet film attracts dust like a magnet, leaving spots on the original image. The digital process allows spotting out that dust like Ansel never thought possible, and sidesteps the need to spot the final print with ink. Preservation of reality is not a contentious issue in black and white printing, because everything is interpretation. Ansel stated that the negative was just the beginning in the art of print making, and worked those negatives to death to produce his fine images.
We accept almost any manipulations in black and white as being fair game, but decry even minor manipulations in color as trickery. Yet each of us perceives color differently: age, gender, genetics, mood, and time of day all play a part in how we "see" color.
People frequently make the comment, “That can't be real”. That's partly correct, it can't. The color print is a compromise, an interpretation of an original scene to the best that dyes can be transferred to the final print with all the limitations inherent to the process. There are wide differences in the way film and paper render color. The print, or printed page, is in fact a facsimile under the best conditions. My goal is to share special moments in nature with you, using modern methods to optimize the process of conversion from magical light to printed page or display print.
Is it art?
In the fine art world, nature photography has always been the red headed stepchild. Only with the passage of time have the works of Ansel Adams, his contemporaries, and the many fine artists who followed gained acceptance. Yet Ansel's own fine color work to this day remains obscure. Those who chose to work in black and white have my undying respect, for they seek to interpret a world of infinite color in shades of gray, and they create magnificent works in doing so. Having worked in black and white for several years, I still cherish those earlier prints, but I was born with color vision, and now work in that medium. Color prints of landscapes and other natural scenes are frequently denigrated by some in the art community as “poster art” or "post card art", not worthy of serious consideration. The “art “ was created by an artist much greater and more skilled than any of us; I simply record those moments that I am privileged to share. Let the chips fall where they may; critics do not create, but they often destroy. You be the judge.
The world of nature
Our grand scenes are rapidly vanishing, under the onslaught of clear cuts, cell towers and ridge line development. Our unblemished natural heritage still clings to life in protected enclaves, and in areas too remote to have yet interested developers, but it is only a matter of time. One has only to walk through a stand of old growth to realize what a forest should be. Where have they gone? We cut them down. We all became poorer, our national and world heritage reduced to so many board feet for export at below cost prices. There is still a wonderful natural world out there, but it is under siege on all fronts. We are failing in our task as stewards of these natural areas, and have little hope of leaving them to our children in the same condition they were bequeathed to us. I hope these images in some small way will inspire you to value and help protect our natural heritage.