I’ve come to appreciate the process my photography reveals to me, where it comes from to where it takes me. Some of my best and most enjoyable moments of capturing images have occurred without any agenda or expectations of what I’ll find. Of course, there are many times when the circumstances are not so much by chance but in these cases, there are expectations in place and the surprises of the moments are much narrower. Also, this is not to say that planning has kept me from getting images I enjoy. There are many, many places I’d like to go and photograph where planning and logistics would be a likely factor to get to “the place” at the right time.
A problem with being in a situation where you feel rushed can impact how good or not so good the experience becomes. There’s nothing worse than finding out that the shots were less than ideal after all the planning you did to be at a great place and you missed the moments completely right from under your nose. Or worse yet, feeling like the situation is in a “meltdown” and the moments speed away faster than your imagination right out of your grasp. For me the reality has been that there are always surprises in every situation that can disappoint to many degrees. There’s a better way to get through the surprises. Try and make a surprise out of the surprise. These situations will usually remind me that I really enjoy taking pictures and in the worst case scenario, I’ll just wing it – something good will usually happen.
Now, missing moments when shooting landscape and scenery is far from any equivalent of what I’d call a tragedy but many “diva spins” including my own, have occurred from far-less complicated situations.
This takes me back to the process I’ve come to appreciate about my photography. The lessons have come as tragedies that I’ve created and some as enlightenment I’ve received. The truth is that I’ve ended at “a place” that’s infinitely bigger than I am… A place that has been the stage for the past and will be for the future.
March 27, 2009 – I was wandering around west of Fort Worth, TX looking for fields of bluebonnets that grew as far as the eye could see, not just the familiar patches growing along the highways. Unfortunately I would not find such a place on this balmy day but there was plenty of cow pasture in all directions where new grass and tree growth was revealing signs of spring.
I’ve always been fascinated with clouds because I associate them as part of the Earth’s spirit displayed in one of its most elegant visual metaphors. When I see how they move and change into shapes as the climate dictates, I can’t help but feel my own spirit connected to the Earth. Sometimes they look like a beautiful Serengeti migration in the sky moving along in the wind or they convect into bold displays of grandeur. Sometimes they hug the lowlands as fog or ascend to wispy layers of strata. When I take the time to watch them it’s like seeing life move in slow motion and it brings calm to my soul. When they leave us with only beautiful cloudless skies, I know they will always return in new shape and form for they are truly free spirits and masters of their realm.
Saturday March 27, 2010, the sunbeams were poking through this cloud layer beautifully just 2 hours earlier which got me to get out and find a location to catch the event. I caught the sun setting on this road after chasing it about 50 miles north of Dallas, TX.
There’s a children’s picture book series out on the horizon called the “The Cloud Seekers”, written by Robert L. Calixto. It’s still in the early stages due out next year but the concept is about a group of friends who explore the possibilities in what takes shape in the clouds. A simple concept, reminiscent of a time I remember and certainly fun to share with little ones.
This Mother of a cloud illuminates and reflects off the water with the Channel Islands and an offshore platform in the distance. Taken 1-3-05 at 5:54 PM, just north of Refugio Beach State Park, CA. The cool thing about this image for me is that my Mother and I watched this scene for about half an hour as the light dissipated from the cloud.
I’ve always been fascinated by how much a print technician can do to bring out dynamic range in prints from film through basic “dodge & burn” darkroom techniques. The collaboration between a printer who usually has never been to the locations photographed but can interpret what the photographer saw is a creative process many photographers depended on. Now with the digital process a photographer can experiment with dynamic range in images that bridge to the surreal. This image is tweaked with an exaggerated Shadow/Highlight & Contrast layers in Photoshop. There is software that will take images to the creative extremes like in this blog site: