Tag Archives: insecurity

Longs Peak

Longs Peak, Cloud Dance. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 2013.

Longs Peak, Cloud Dance.
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 2013.

Longs Peak is a landmark on the Front Range of Colorado.  At 14,259 feet, its summit is readily visible from Denver, and indeed can be seen for many miles up and down the Front Range.  Its distinctive, flat-topped profile is easily identifiable and recognized, even in the image in this post, where I deliberately placed it toward the left lower corner of the frame, unobtrusively behind the Never Summer Mountains in the foreground and beneath the dancing display of clouds in the sky.

It’s not very difficult to photograph Longs Peak.  Some of the best views are on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park.  There must be at least six or seven pullouts or parking lots that offer tremendous, breathtaking views of this gorgeous mountain.  In the evening, the position of the setting sun produces very dramatic sidelight that creates extremely compelling shadows on and around the peak.  Throw in some dramatic clouds in the sky – not an infrequent occurrence up there – and you have an excellent base of ingredients for good photography.

Having captured many images of this peak, I will confess to having a bit of insecurity about them.  Isn’t there something wrong with capturing what are basically variations of the same image over and over again?  Aren’t these images just derivative of what others have photographed before?  Shouldn’t I be devoting my scarce time for photography to other, less discovered subject matter?

For a long time I’ve resisted building a collection of Longs Peak images, for the reason of not having great answers to these questions.  But the truth is, I’m really drawn to this mountain.  I feel a connection to this subject matter, it speaks to me.  What better reason is there to photograph something than this? If I build a collection of images, perhaps there will be documentary or artistic value in the collection as a whole.

So I’m setting my insecurity aside and going with the flow.  Trail Ridge Road opened for the season this weekend, and I’m looking forward to many summer evenings with this peak in the weeks ahead.

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Taking Chances With Your Work

RE/MAX Building No. 1, Denver Tech Center, Colorado

Not too long ago, I spoke to someone who had looked at this website for the first time.

“Nice work,” they said.  “Why are there so many pictures of trees?”

Since this post really isn’t about the tree images I’ve made, I’ll save a discussion of that for another time.  Rather, this person’s comment got me thinking a bit about insecurity and taking chances with your work.

The image in this post, “RE/MAX Building No. 1,” was captured, edited, and printed a good six months ago.  It has been ready for posting for awhile, and yet I’ve hesitated to put it out there.  Why is that?

I suspect it’s because at the time I made it, it was quite a departure from the typical kind of work I had been making public.  Over the last year and a half or so, I’ve been principally preoccupied with making landscape and nature images (including, yes, many images of trees).  To the degree that people have taken an interest in my work, I suspect that they’ve come to expect landscape and nature images from me.  That’s great!  I love doing the landscapes and nature images, and I look forward to doing many more to come.

This image, however, is quite different from the landscape and nature work, I think.  Not only is it different, but to me, it’s really kind of in-your-face different.  At the risk of engaging in a critique of my own work, I would venture that the centered composition, flat image plane, and somewhat graphic feel of this image is rather at odds with the more arranged compositions, greater depth of field, and more “photographic” look of the landscape and nature images I’ve done.

Put simply, I was afraid that putting out this image might alienate the people who have come to be interested in my work.  It still might, but I’ve concluded that I can’t let that stop me.  It’s important to take chances with your work – it’s the only way to stay true to yourself, grow, and mature as an artist.  Consider the alternative.  If you put out the same kind of work over and over again, then in the best-case scenario, your work becomes solid, maybe even good, but always predictable.  In the worst-case scenario, it becomes dull and repetitive.

So, here’s to taking chances with your work.  May you always have the courage to do so.

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