Showing posts with label art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Art and Instagram

Burrowing Owls Cuddling, Zanjero Park, Gilbert, Arizona

I’ll be honest with you. I’m sharing this image because I know it will do well on Instagram.

Even though I consider myself a nature photographer — I photograph wildlife and wilderness! — on social media, my wildlife images take priority. It’s the animals that get the digital hearts from my followers.

This image should hit all the right buttons. Owls are always cute. Burrowing owls are among the cutest. Two burrowing owls cuddling should be off the charts.

Friday, November 30, 2018

In the footsteps of the Impressionists

God Beams and Manneporte, √Čtretat, France

The art that we create today stands on a foundation built by the imaginations of the artists who have come before us. No matter how original any new work of art may seem, the artist who created it was able to draw from thousands of years of experiences of other artists. Nothing truly comes from scratch.

Even though I am a nature photographer, for the past several years, I have found my inspiration in the work of Impressionist painters. Last month, I got a chance to travel to the Normandy region of France to photograph locations featured in some of my favorite paintings.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

In honor of Mountain Light Gallery

Waterfalls Near the Continental Divide, Glacier National Park, Montana

While I learned the art of nature photography through independent study, there’s no question that Galen Rowell was my professor. We had never talked and he had likely never seen any of my work. He died 15 years ago, just before I landed my first major publishing credits.

But about 10 years ago I got an opportunity to visit his Mountain Light Gallery in Bishop, Calif., which had become a museum for his life’s work. In addition to showing his classic prints, there was even a display case housing one of his lightweight Nikon 35mm cameras. I’m heartbroken on hearing the news that the gallery will close within the next few weeks. Everything — including the last prints bearing his signature — is priced to sell.

To be an artist, it’s imperative that you find your own voice, but you start that journey on a path others have laid.

Friday, June 30, 2017

There are no correct answers in art

Willow Sprouts, Levee Pond

When I first took up photography, I read a lot. I hadn’t studied art previously, so I didn’t know about composition, lighting, design — the elements that turn a snapshot into a photograph. And the more I read, the more I was turned off.

A common refrain was that there was a “correct way” to photograph everything. It quickly became obvious why all of the animal pictures I had seen in local photo competitions looked the same and why there were so many images of flowers growing out of old wagon wheels.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

That's not art, or is it?

Beam, Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona

There’s been a lot of talk lately in nature photography circles about what constitutes art. This discussion comes up every so often, but this latest round was spawned by what seems to be an absolutely amazing accomplishment from one of our own — not that many of his fellow nature photographers want to claim him.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Happy anniversary, Wilderness Act

Whitehorse Mountain, Boulder River, Washington

The Wilderness Act, which has preserved some of the most pristine areas of the United States, turns 50 next week. My absolute passion for nature photography has just turned 14.

The two are more related than they might seem.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Best images of 2012

While it is a new year, I do want to take a moment to reflect back on 2012. Compiling a few of my favorite images from the past year has become an annual affair. This task isn’t easy. Artists generally aren’t all that good at editing their own work. Boiling an entire year down to 10 images can seem like an impossible task.

But it can also help you look at your work in new ways. The passage of time has helped me evaluate some of my images with new eyes, freeing me from some of the emotional attachment to the image at the time of capture. That, in turn, helps me figure out what I like — and don’t like — about the work I’ve been producing, helping me to grow and set a direction for the new year.

In no particular order, here are a few of my favorite images from 2012:

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Setting limits to remove limits

We are creatures of habit. That's well documented. In stores, we buy a particular brand simply because that's the brand we always buy. Many of us regularly check our messages whether or not we're expecting anything because we've gotten into that habit.

And as photographers, we're inclined to photograph a familiar subject a particular way simply because that's the way we've always done it. It becomes habit and we probably don't even think about why we're setting up the shot that way.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Everybody's doing it (and you should too)


I'm waiting in knee-deep snow for a natural light show that may or may not happen. So are hundreds of other photographers. Any parking space within a half mile of good vantage point was claimed three or four hours before show time.

We're all waiting for the setting sun to light up Horsetail Falls, a thin thread of a waterfall that occasionally glides down El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. For a few weeks in February, if the conditions are just right, the setting sun will make the waterfall appear as if it were on fire.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Leave them wanting more

A great image, whether used in a magazine or a textbook or on an art collector’s wall, says something. It creates a feeling. It tells a story.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Big images from little lenses

Quick! There’s a bald eagle across the river. What lens do you use?

To make art, we need to break ourselves from the habit of always answering “the longest lens I have.”