All my life I have been pulled in three separate directions - outdoor
activities, doing "technical things", and expressing myself artistically.
For a career I chose "doing technical
things". After attaining a BS in Physics and MSEE in Computer Science, I worked
in software development 26 1/2 years before retiring from Hewlett-Packard in 1999.
Weekends and vacations were spent hiking, canoeing,
bicycling, x-c skiing, camping, backpacking... My love for the outdoors started as a
Boy Scout, and has continued to grow ever since. I fell head-over-heels in love with
mountains the first time I came to Colorado, and have lived here continuously since 1975.
Artistic expression came initially through music.
I became a folk guitarist in college, and continued to play for fun and at
church for over 25 years.
Around 1982, I discovered photography, or photography
found me - I'm not really sure which. Photography was a natural extension of my
outdoor activities, technical enough to be interesting (especially with an old timey wooden camera), and the opportunity for
artistic expression goes without saying.
No longer pulled in three separate directions, the pieces came together. I
started a part-time photo business in 1993, went full time in 1999.
Until 2005, I used a large format field camera almost exclusively. The choice of Ansel Adams and many of today's landscape masters, its large film size (4"x5") and additional focus controls allow sharper, clearer photos than possible with 35mm. And the aesthetic feel of the wooden body, leather bellows, brass knobs, ground glass focusing ... - it's indescribable! The large canvas Giclee's I produce from these images have a tremendous WOW! factor.
In late 2004, I got a digital SLR to "play with". It was a lot lighter than the 4x5 and much less expensive to operate. I started carrying it to "scout locations", and noticed I was taking a lot more photographs, going further into the back country, doing more backpacking - and not doing much with the 4x5. Hmmmm.... I had some prints made, and they were pretty good in smaller sizes. Still, the best of my digital photos could not compare with the best of my 4x5 images, and could not be printed as large canvas Giclee's - which had become my pride and joy, (and a huge part of my business!)
In early 2008 I decided to give digital photography a serious try - to apply the same uncompromising approach to digital photography I had been using with the 4x5 - to seek out and explore locations with high potential, to put energy into being at the right place at the right time, to take time to carefully set up a composition then wait....... for conditions to be just right, to return when conditions might be better. I also purchased a new Digital SLR which would allow larger prints, and a photo quality inkjet printer. I began using Photoshop and Lightroom to do my own “digital darkroom” work and to produce my own prints. My computer background was a huge help. Again the pieces came together!
By the end of 2008, I had captured and printed a handful of images that were of the same quality as my best 4x5 work. Any doubts were put behind me. I was able to print a 16x48 panorama on canvas that was stitched from 8 individual photos. I also printed a single photo at 29x40 on canvas. The quality is superb, though I still can’t go as large as I could with the 4x5. Nikon now has a camera that closes the gap, but that purchase will have to wait. I haven’t sold my 4x5, so I can use it in special cases, but I’ve become primarily a digital photographer.
My overarching goal remains the same - To combine my love of the outdoors with my technical and artistic skills to create works of art that express something of what I experience in the natural world. Nature continues to provide a welcome respite from the stress of modern living – soothing my psyche and uplifting my spirit. Perhaps my photos can bring this feeling to an office or home - maybe trigger fond memories, maybe create a sense of peace, calm, and wonder - a reminder that there's more to life than the demands of everyday living.
Special thanks to my wife Jill, whose love for the
outdoors if anything exceeds my own.