Why I Photograph

Falling Back-Asswards Into A Passion.

It Began In The Stars.

Holiday Lights At Nubble Light.

Some of you know how I came to find a camera in my hands, many do not.

Here’s my story.

Unlike a lot of photographers, photography was never my “Thing.” I hadn’t been shooting for decades, born with a camera in my hands, lamenting the loss of film. To me film was pretty much a dinosaur from the past. Sure I’ve heard about it, even seen it before, but as far as I was concerned it belonged right next to the dinosaurs in a museum.

Digital was well established by the time I started looking for my first camera, so that’s the way I wanted to go. I was on a budget, and not having to pay for film processing was a huge draw.

Back in ’07-’08, I had a brief, expensive but brief, interest in astronomy. I had my own big(read lots of $$) telescope, and all the fancy gear that went with it. Looking through all the astronomy magazines I started thinking, “I could get some of those awesome photos through my telescope too.” So off in search of a camera I went. I figured I should at least get a camera that I could use to take snap-shots too, as opposed to a dedicated astro-imaging camera, a little box with a sensor in it that needed to be hooked up to a computer while taking photos. Something a little more practical.

I didn’t want a point and shoot though, had to be a DSLR. And since two friends were Canon shooters, I became one too.

A lone mute swan sits motionless on the still surface of the water, with a wall of brown reeds as a backdrop.

 

Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun.

Antique Side-by-Side On Autumn Leaves

Coincidentally, I was an avid hunter at this time as well. The passion I have for capturing images of the great outdoors now, I put into my pursuit of all things feathered back then. Ducks, geese, pheasant and grouse were my quarry of choice. And along with my dog Bailey, pursue them I did.

Dear Sweet Bailey

My dear sweet Bailey was the sweetest dog I’ve ever known, gentle beyond measure, my first daddy’s little girl.

Put her in the woods however, and she changed. Miraculously that sweet, cuddle on the couch, member of the family, was replaced by an all business, pure bird hunting machine. It was pure joy to watch at work. Those of you with any experience seeing a good bird dog work the woods know exactly what I mean, she was canine poetry in motion.

Sadly, around the same time I was in search of my first camera, Bailey was becoming too old to hunt. The desire was there, I could see it in her eyes, but what her mind wanted, her body could no longer deliver. While I continued to hunt, without her with me, my joy of time spent in the woods lessened considerably. Without my girl it just wasn’t the same. I started looking for reasons to stay home.

Yet a spark in the back of my mind had begun to glow.

Blue Mountain Layers

All those mornings spent standing in a beaver pond, or laying in a corn field, waiting for the first mallards or geese to come in, also held something else.

They held magic.

Surprisingly up to this point in my hunting life, as many times as I had thought, “this would make an amazing picture,” as I witnessed the world waking up, seeing nature come alive in ways most will never see or experience, it never clicked that maybe I should get a camera.

What can I say, I’m a slow learner.

Passion Is Born In 2008.

Long exposure image of an unnamed waterfall on the Mad River, Farmington, NH

Once I started taking my camera with me on my hunting trips, it really didn’t take long to convert my love of all things hunting into a love of hunting a different, and often more elusive prey, with a much different “weapon” of choice.

All the time spent in the woods, I was never blind to what was around me, but I didn’t really see it either. I had always felt deep in the forest was one of the most beautiful places I could be, but it took leaving my gun at home, entering the forest armed only with my camera, to really begin to see and appreciate my surroundings. It was then that perfect light became my quarry, and I was relentless in my desire to capture it.

So, I gave up hunting,  sold all of my firearms, and I’ve been focused, pun completely intended, on capturing and sharing the beauty of the natural world ever since.

Beauty most people will never see first hand.

On the plus side of giving up hunting with a gun, I don’t need to pluck a photograph. The downside though, they don’t taste very good either.

That was back in the spring of 2008.

I hadn’t set out to become a “photographer” back then, that was purely by accident. I never thought photography would become anything more than another in a long list of expensive hobbies.

I’ve never been so wrong about anything in my life.

Swiftwater Falls, Winter

 

So, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

And for those of you wondering, I fell so deeply in love with capturing the landscape here on Earth, I ended up selling my telescope without ever having so much as mounted my camera on it.

 

What brought you to photography, I’d love to hear your story.

Re-Igniting A Passion.

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.”  Norman Maclean,  A River Runs Through It

A fly fisherman standing in the middle of the Cocheco River, casts a dry fly.

Long before I ever picked up a camera, I was an avid fly fisherman, though I’m not sure “avid” even begins to describe my love of the art of casting a fly. Back when all I thought about was achieving a perfect, drag free drift, I spent as much time in the mountains chasing fish as I do now chasing sunrises.

There was something so peaceful and relaxing about casting a dry-fly to rising trout. And there is nothing like the satisfaction of catching a wary trout on a fly I’ve tied myself. Unfortunately fly fishing has taken a back-seat to photography the last few years.

The legs of a fly fisherman standing knee deep in the water, net hanging from his hip, stands patiently waiting for a fish to take his fly.

The photos seen here were all created by request for someone who contacted me looking for fly fishing photos to give as a gift. Since I had no fly fishing images in my portfolio, I was eager to get right on it and create a series of images from which they could choose.

Little did I know that I would also be receiving a gift in the process. A gift in the form of a rekindled desire to cast a fly, to be on the water attempting to entice a fish into accepting a hand tied fly.

Having been so busy getting my photography off the ground, I hadn’t realized just how much I missed fly fishing until I started making these photos. The rods will not be so neglected this coming year.

The legs of a fly fisherman standing in the ripples of a stream. Landing net and line, being gently pulled by the current.

Saving the best for last, if only because these were the ones chosen, these last two, both 20″ x 30″ (51cm x 76cm) canvas gallery wraps, are to be Christmas gifts for someone who will hopefully be very happy with what Santa brought them.

A Sage 1 weight fly rod with an Abel TR Light reel, leening up against a stream side rock, with a waterfall as background. Long exposure giving the water going over the falls a smooth, silky look.

A Sage 1 weight fly rod with an Abel TR Light reel, leening up against a stream side rock, a wooden landing net as backdrop

My New Years Resolution for the coming year, put the camera down more often, and pick up a fly rod.

See you on the river!

For Love Or Money, Why Do You Make Photographs?

(Also for the weekly photo challenge: Indulge.  As in, indulge my passion for photography and the outdoors)

A Passion Is Born.

About four years ago I picked up a camera for the first time. Well, not really the first time, I had dabbled in the past but nothing serious. Something was different this time though. Almost immediately I realized I loved the act of making a photograph.

It all started innocently enough. I had an interest in astronomy at that time and thought how cool it would be to take a photograph of some of what I saw through my telescope. I was also an avid hunter and “this would make an amazing picture” was so common a thought as I wandered the forests early in the morning that looking back, I’m a bit surprised I didn’t pick up a camera sooner. Once I started taking my camera with me instead of my gun I was hooked, and I haven’t looked back. Never did get around to shooting through my telescope though.

Show Me The Money.

Initially, a lot of my photography was just plain crap. There, I said it out loud. Take a look at the early stuff on Flickr, and I’m sure you will agree. But after a while I noticed my images were getting better. And others did too.  After being told countless times that “your pictures are good enough to sell,” and a few first place finishes in local photo contests, I finally made the effort to do just that.

I’m not sure I would like to make photography my full-time profession, but the idea of selling a few photos to offset the cost of new gear is very appealing. Especially to my wife!

Over the last two years I have been putting more of a serious effort in getting my name and images into the public eye than I ever thought I would. A websitefacebook fan page, and this blog. Me? I don’t think so. But here I am. All in an effort to get my name out there and sell photographs.

 Cape Neddick aka "Nubble" Light. York, MaineCommon Loon with wings spread after dive.

(my three top sellers)

The Ultimate Compliment. 

Someone actually paying their hard-earned money for one of my photographs(see my 3 top sellers above) is to me, the greatest compliment. In this tough economy no one “needs” a new photograph for their wall. So when someone pays for one of mine, I am so honored I can’t put it into words. But making a sale is not what inspires me to pick up my camera.

The Ultimate Reward.

Thinking about my photography recently, it occurred to me that image sales plays almost no part in what motivates me to head out with my camera. I would still be out there making photographs if I never sold another print. I was always creative in school, pretty much living in the art room and always drawing something. I was good at it too. Imagine my surprise when, after a lot of years not drawing anything, I felt I needed that creative outlet again, and the realization that drawing is a use-it-or-lose-it talent (and I had lost it) hit me like a freight train. Fortunately my camera has replaced pencil and paper, and photography has filled that creative need I’d been ignoring for far too long.

With photography, the creative juices are once again flowing full force. The pure and simple enjoyment I feel while out making photographs, coupled with the sense of satisfaction I get when viewing the finished photograph, is what gets me up at insanely early hours for sunrise, and has me knee-deep in mud to photograph a wild orchid.

Do I want to sell photographs? Of course. Will I give up the camera if I never sell another one? Not on your life! What I see on my computer, and hanging on my walls is really all the reward I need from my photography. The money from a sale is just the icing on the cake.