Just With a Camera

White Trees, Series 2, No. 8

White Trees, Series 2, No. 8

You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”

- Ansel Adams

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What It’s About

White Wall, Black Vine Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2016

White Wall, Black Vine
Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2016

I’ve heard it said that photographs should be about something.  Is this photograph about something?  I think it probably is, but I like the fact that I can’t (and don’t need to) put it into words.

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Questions and Answers

Five Silos, Clouds in Motion

Five Silos, Clouds in Motion
Fort Collins, Colorado, 2014

” … photographers don’t benefit very much with answers from other photographers. What is more beneficial is to ask questions of ourselves and see what thoughts float out from within.”

- Michael Kenna

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Theft and Authenticity

Marin's Figures, Study No. 1 Denver, Colorado, 2017

Marin’s Figures, Study No. 1 (El Tiempo by Jorge Marin)
Denver, Colorado, 2017

“Nothing is original.  Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination.  Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows.  Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul.  If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic.  Authenticity is invaluable, originality is non-existent.”

- Jim Jarmusch

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Everything in its Time

Triptych, Radiance No. 1

Triptych, Radiance No. 1

I remember the first black and white photograph I ever made, the one that really got me into photography in a serious way back in 2012, was an abstract triptych I made using an iPhone camera as the capture device.  For awhile, back then, I was really into these triptychs.  I made quite a few, and then, one day, nothing.  Completely lost my interest in them.  I still thought they were pretty cool, and tried from time to time to rekindle the magic, but I found I couldn’t make one worth anything even if I tried.  The interest and inspiration just wasn’t there.  Years went by.

And now, suddenly, they’re back.  Again, using an iPhone as the camera.  The interest and inspiration is there again.  I’m not sure what changed, nor how long they will be with me, but I’m happy they’re back.  Everything in its time, I guess.

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When We Look at Our Photographs

Baroque Figures, Study No. 1 Asamkirche, Munich, Germany, 2017

Baroque Figures, Study No. 1
Asamkirche, Munich, Germany, 2017

When we look at our photographs and find not the slightest reflection of ourselves, it’s a good sign that our images have lost their souls.

- David duChemin

For the record, I’ve always considered my photographs to be highly reflective of myself.  For better or for worse, I can’t imagine undertaking photography (or any kind of art) in any other way.

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And Stars Too

Two Stars Over the Never Summer Range Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 2017

Two Stars Over the Never Summer Range
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 2015

“What are men to rocks and mountains?”

- Jane Austin, Pride and Prejudice

And stars, stars too.  If I am recalling correctly, the two stars here actually are the planets Jupiter and Venus, which came into (I believe perfect) alignment a couple of years ago.

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The Real Magician

Twisted, Tumbling, and Twined Mount Goliath, Colorado, 2016

Twisted, Tumbling, and Twined
Mount Goliath, Colorado, 2016

I knew, of course, that trees and plants had roots, stems, bark, branches, and foliage that reach up toward the light.  But I was coming to realize that the real magician was light itself.”

- Edward Steichen

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Catching Up

Julie Penrose Fountain, Study No. 5

Julie Penrose Fountain, Study No. 5
Colorado Springs, Colorado 2015

Things are pretty quiet with photography for now while I get caught up on other things.  Hopefully I’ll be able to return my attention to it again before too long.

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On Inspiration

Standing Wave Over the Mummy Range

Standing Wave Over the Mummy Range
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 2016

It’s that time of year again, when there is enough daylight to allow me to drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park after work.  For example, if I leave my house in Fort Collins at 6 p.m., I can be at this spot by around 7:30, and still have a good hour and a half of light to work with for photographing.  I’ve been making these trips in June and July for the past four or five years.  They began as an exercise to help me practice my outdoor photography skills, but have since developed into a cherished summer ritual.

Truth is, for a while now I’ve been pretty uninspired when it comes to landscape photography.  But I plan to continue my visits to the Park if for no other reason than that I’ve come to enjoy making the trip so much.  I’ll bring my camera along too, because that’s part of the ritual.  Inspiration is a flighty thing, it comes and goes without much rhyme or reason.  But I believe that so long as the underlying passion remains, the inspiration will return, and I’m not yet prepared to concede that the passion is gone too.

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