Photography was a multipurpose, multidimensional and multifaceted gift
in my life, for a very long time.
It was a great way to make new friends, and spend time with old ones.
It was also the perfect way to spend some alone time, although when I
was out in nature, I was never truly alone.
It was a way to feed my creative urges.
It was a way to practice a type technical expertise that was in some
respects, the exact opposite of feeding the creative side.
It was a way to make extra money.
It was a way to make my only money.
It was a way to go to school and learn. Learn about both photography
and whatever the subject was.
It was a way to “catch a thrill”, whether that thrill be edging along
a cliff for the perfect shot, or standing 40 feet from 180mph race
cars with no barriers between us.
Photography was a way for me to put my personal stamp or signature on
a finished piece of work.
A way to make a statement about how I saw the world around me.
Whew, that’s a lot. What does photography mean to you?
Being in a good place at a good time (your decision), composing your
image via lens selection and where you position your tripod, is pretty
much what photography is all about. Those components make the picture
yours, and unique to you.
This a winter’s morning on Lake Michigan. I have made more
spectacular images of this sort, but this is truly what I saw, and
what I felt in that cold morning.
It is true that we are more at the mercy of our subjects and what they
do with wildlife, than with the land or water. Still, everything you
do can have a personal stamp on it.
Turtles are known to be slow. That doesn’t mean that a Painted Turtle
can’t run. When turtles do run, it is seldom within the sight range of
a photographer. I was making portraits of this one and turned my back
for a split second when he “made for the swamp”. Thankfully because I
was making super close-ups I actually had my 105 macro lens connected
to my camera. It was the perfect focal length to catch my friend in
Composition is the essence of photography. This is a crop. Would you
have placed the subject into the power point intersection that I did
here? Probable not, that’s why this is every bit my picture, and you
would have created your own.
Okay, I admit this is a unusual or weird point of view. I got lots of
profile and head on super close-ups of this Bull Frog when I felt the
urge to take things a step further. I am confident that if four of us
were making pictures of this guy, that I would have gotten the only
image from this point of view.
This image was made in a wilderness canyon in Colorado in 2007 as a
storm moved in. This is a very conventional landscape composition.
Bringing wildflowers close to the viewer and leading them off into the
distance towards that peak and the storm, is as old as is landscape
Using old traditional photographic comps, does not make it any less your own.
This type of silhouette of ragged stark shapes on top of layers of
rich colored skies, is rarely employed by photographers. With that
said, it is one of my signature compositions and is has much to do
with how I personally see when I am out in the field. That makes it a
very personal statement.
Using leading lines to lead viewers straight or in curves towards a
horizon is traditional and comes from many of the master painters and
photographers. This picture from White Sands New Mexico however, has
an uneven crest at the top of the dune, and the lines lead to the
short section of sky. It seems illogical but art is art and I’ll keep
Whether you rely on tradition or uniqueness, if It works for you, it
is yours. Own it.
I love photography, but has I reread the article above, I sometimes forget to mention, that above all making pictures should be fun. Interpreting how and why we do things can be a great educational/learning experience for us, but if it’s not fun who
Go out and have a blast!
Wayne, I’ve started reading your blog and enjoy it a great deal! I love your photography! Except for a college course in black & white darkroom, ( deep love for that) I have not had a formal photography education. Much of what I have learned comes from experience and “you tube university”.
I wonder if you might tell me where your Colorado wilderness storm photo was taken? I love it! I love Colorado for photography. I did not know brilliant blue skies until moving here in ’84. I came from Iowa, lots of humidity and gray sky, and a boring landscape, as far as I was concerned!! This summer, however, has been a real challenge due to almost daily smoke from all of the western wildfires. Today smelled so smoky that I actually looked around the house and neighborhood for fire! I am thankful not to live in California, but worried about the most beautiful forests I have ever seen there and here just burning up! Wilderness means everything to me! This will not be “mended” in my lifetime! This will not be mended in my great grandchildren’s lifetime!
Anyway, yes, photography is a great, great joy and love for me. Your comments and encouragement are hugely appreciated! Best Regards!
Hi Debbie I apologize for missing your comment.
Most of my photographic education came with camera in hand, so I understand. My time living in Colorado was spent mostly in professional commercial photography but being there taught me how to compose the “big picture” much better.
Keep doing what you are doing and thanks for the comment!