Less is More (sometimes)

Isn’t it funny how things change when we become more seasoned. More years
under our belt.

As a child, especially as a teenager, but even through my twenties, I often (not
always) wanted to be where the crowd  was. Where it was “happening”, so to
speak.  For many years now, and especially for the past twenty, I strive to be
where it is not happening. More and more as the years have passed,  I have
avoided crowds.  In my last several photography trips, I went to amazing lengths,
to miss our big cities. Even when I flew into them, I got out quickly and only
came back when it was time for the flight home. 

The intentional missing of our population centers became a permanent way of
life for me. I cannot any longer imagine, actually desiring and wanting to visit
them. What they give us in culture, they take away in lost safety, and of course
in the space and distance that allows us to breath.

Originally when I looked for what if any images I would share today, I
thought I would use overly complicated photos first, and then more organized
and less crowded images to show that indeed “less is more“. Instead I grabbed a
folder at random and decided to share whatever I found, regardless of whether
they follow the title of today’s post or not. Oddly enough, some do, although
they are a close call.

With the first landscape photos I ever made at exotic and beautiful locations, my
main desire was to capture what those places looked like. To share the
geological and plant life in an attractive manor.  While the desire to accomplish
that never went away, I eventually wanted to share my personal feelings and
visions of each location. Places, much like plants, animals and even people,
have their own “personality” if you will. How each place made me feel when I
was there, was what I wanted to share.

One of my favorite locations was White Sands National Monument in New
Mexico. I believe I visited White Sands three times.

There are plants that live in them there dunes. Capturing those plants as they
lived within the dunes, was an obsession. They made for interesting and
informative photos.

Still, they were an anomaly. They were not the life and breath of White Sands. At
least not for me. The clean, simple, elegant patterns and the sweeping vistas of
such, were what was percolating inside of me. Waiting to get out. I let them
out. I made thousands of such pictures, and if I could, I would go back today and
start all over again.

Below is the “less is more” theory put into practice.

Great Sand Dunes National Monument in Colorado, is a horse of a different
color. So to speak.

Here, the way the shear size and volume of the dunes, played against the full
sized trees you see at the bottom, became the driving force for my visual
comments. Whether this image is less or more, was admittedly irrelevant to me
at the time of conception.

Photography works best, when you have something to say.

In the image below, the Great Egret looks almost lonely as it scanned the water
for fish. It tells a story. Maybe less is more?

The closer you get (or a long lens or a crop) to your subject, the less lonely it
gets, and the more the subject becomes a part of our lives. Visually at least.
 Below you will find a Double-crested Cormorant, a female Northern Shoveler,
and a coyote in the morning light.

A young Pronghorn Antelope runs alone across a Wyoming prairie and I find
myself hoping it can get back to the herd before those wolves catch up. Just
kidding, or better said, imagining.

The truth is, when I created some images with more of the brethren in one shot,
the mood changes. Added or subtracted information in a photo, will change
the way people think about the picture, and therefore it will change the mood.

Groups of animals seem more friendly. There are also more compositional
decisions to make, although ultimately, it is up to the subject to pose.

Below you will find in order, young Great Blue Herons, a trio of American
Avocets, two young first winter male Goldeneye Ducks, and a noisy Canada
Goose with pigeons. A group of some sort of wild ducklings. A Tree swallow
colony enjoying a morning in the marsh, and some Milkweed bugs enjoying a
morning meal.

More or less? 

Either way, it is up to serious and willing photographers to capture
what they see, and/or what they feel. Both serve a purpose. Our
images can live on.

Leave behind signs of who you were and, what you had to say via the images
you create.
God Bless,

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