Tag Archives: Mount Goliath

When Words Fail

A Bristlecone Pine and a View Mount Goliath, Colorado, 2015

A Bristlecone Pine and a View
Mount Goliath, Colorado, 2015

One reason I like photography (and painting, and sculpture, and all of the visual arts, really) is that it is communication without words.  I suppose this concept is fairly obvious to understand, but really, it’s pretty deep with you think about it.  If you’ve been moved by a work of visual art (and I hope you have), it’s not because someone described it to you, or explained it to you, or communicated the nature of it to you in a code of linguistic symbols having abstract meanings attached thereto by which we exchange concepts and ideas with one another.  It’s because when you looked at it, it acted on you in ways that defy speaking and writing, that refuse to engage the cognitive and reasoning parts of the brain that are required to process language.  Instead, it reached out and touched the parts of your brain that don’t work on a linguistic level, but that respond instead to line and shape, to tone and luminosity, to space and arrangement, and it made you

feel something

That’s pretty cool.

Not a slam on my writer friends in the audience, just an interesting observation.

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Stifle Your Incredulity

Eventually, the Trees Give Way to Rock Mount Goliath, Colorado, 2015

Eventually, the Trees Give Way to Rock
Mount Goliath, Colorado, 2015

I am not a deep thinker.  No really, stifle your incredulity, it’s true.  If you want to read some deep thoughts on photography, go check out Guy Tal’s photography blog.

Still, you don’t need to be a deep thinker to practice photography in a thoughtful way.  Being thoughtful can take many forms – thinking about why you photograph, thinking about what you hope to accomplish, thinking about what others are doing and where you fit in to the tradition of photography.  The list is potentially limitless, and I suppose the difference is that of photographing within some kind of personally relevant context versus photographing in random, directionless ways or for external motivations or validations.

I sometimes wonder why I still write this photography blog, given that it does not seem to have achieved the goals I set out for it when I started (a topic I’ve touched on now and again in other posts).  Earlier today it occurred to me that, if nothing else, it’s been a tangible manifestation of my own thoughtfulness as it relates to the practice of photography.  Interesting reading for myself, if not for (or if only for a few) others.

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Daylight Savings

Tree Split Mount Goliath, Colorado, 2015

Tree Split
Mount Goliath, Colorado, 2015

About a week ago it was daylight saving time here in the U.S., which means that clocks were pushed forward by one hour.  I’d been looking forward to this for some time, because the additional hour of daylight in the evenings means that there now is enough time to do whatever it is I may be doing during the day, and still have enough light for some photography in the evening.

For example, this past weekend I spent the day both Saturday and Sunday skiing, but after the ski day was over there still was enough daylight to do some exploring and photographing in the snowy mountains near the ski area.  As the days get even longer, I’m looking forward to getting out in the evenings after my day job to photograph in and along the Front Range near my home here in Fort Collins, Colorado.  By June and July, there will be enough light for me to make the hour or so drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park and still have an hour or two to explore and photograph before it gets dark.

It’s fun for me to get out with my camera, but there’s a bigger point at issue here.  It’s the idea of working photography into my daily routine.  As I’ve mentioned before, I have a full-time day job as well as all of the chores and responsibilities of daily living.  Often, at the end of the day, I’m tired and it would be easy just to wind things down and call it quits.

But I think photography is kind of a “do it or lose it” discipline.  Staying engaged with it on a daily basis – be it making captures in the field, editing captured work, or simply reading and learning new things – is necessary to keep developing one’s art and craft.  I think it’s important, therefore, to find ways to work it into the daily routine.  Fortunately, for me anyway, it’s not hard to do because the desire is there.  It’s simply a matter of making it a priority and following through with it.

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Making Time for Photography

Windswept Bristlecone Pine, Mount Goliath, ColoradoI’ve been fairly busy lately and haven’t had a lot of time for photography and photography-related things.  When I say I haven’t had a lot of time, I mean solid, continuous blocks of time in which to get things done – a weekend, an evening, a couple of hours, whatever.  In the past, this really might have slowed down my output.  After all, why would I want to work on, say, editing an image when I don’t have the proper amount of time to commit to it?

What I’ve learned, though, is that this is pretty defeatist thinking.  It’s a great excuse for not getting things done.  Instead, I’ve been using the time available to me – 15 minutes here, a half-hour there – to work on my images.  Granted, I don’t get finished in one sitting, but I do get them done.  In the process, I’m able to make photography a more realistic part of my everyday, work-a-day life.  It keeps me continuously involved in the craft, and keeps the inertia going for generating work.

But doesn’t the quality of the work suffer by working in a somewhat piecemeal, fragmented way?  Surprisingly, no.  The image in this post, “Windswept Bristlecone Pine,” was made by working in this manner.  So were several other prints over the last couple of weeks that I’m fairly happy with.  Conversely, there have been many occasions where I had several hours in which to work, and produced nothing that I really liked.  There seems to be no real correlation between the amount of time within which to work, and the quality of the output.

Stated differently, I believe there is no need to wait for the “perfect conditions” in which to work on one’s art.  Even if there were such a thing as “perfect conditions,” waiting for them to occur would likely result in a lot of down time where nothing gets done.  And, if anything, working on an “as-available” basis seems to produce just as good a quality of output on just as consistent a basis, at least for me.  So, my suggestion is to just get on with it, and work your photography (or whatever art or other endeavor you may be involved in) into the available time that you have.

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