Tag Archives: Photography

Photography; it DOES get in the way

Winter in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Mt. Blackburn, Alaska.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Wrangell Mountains and the Kuskulana River, Mount Blackburn, near Nugget Creek mine. Winter, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger versoin of this photo.

Hey Folks,

The other side of the same coin, I suppose. How many hours have I spent looking at a computer screen, sifting through snippets of html code for a closing bracket (>) or some php code for a dollar sign, etc, etc, etc. Please, don’t answer that. 🙂

How many hours have I hacked, stabbed, mauled, wrestled with and mangled some code to tweak my website/s? Days (i.e., months) fiddling with photoshop, trying to learn how to process an image. Upgrading software, learning software, relearning software, replacing software, trialling software, etc, in the interest of my photography. Those hours could’ve been spent in the woods. Continue reading

Photography; does it get in the way

Aurora borealis and Denali, Denali State Park, Alaska.

Aurora borealis lights up the winter night sky over Mt McKinley, highest mountain in North America, also called Denali. Viewpoint from Denali State Park, Alaska. Click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

One topic I’ve often heard discussed relating to nature and outdoor photography pertains to the value of the experience itself. Does photography “get in the way”, and limit the photographers’ realization of the experience itself, or does it add to it?

I have friends, for example, that don’t like to bring a camera on a backpacking trip because they feel it hinders how they are able to soak up the actual experience. They’d rather sit and watch that glorious sunrise than fiddle with the camera and try to get a good composition. They’d rather sit back and stare in awe at the Aurora borealis do its thing over Denali than take their gloves off and tweak camera settings. Continue reading

Click This – March 2011

Backcountry Skiing trip, Kuskulana River, Mt. Blackburn, winter, Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Backcountry Skiing trip, Kuskulana River, Mt. Blackburn, winter, Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Hey Folks

The next of the monthly series for 2011. The biggest news, of course, in photography this month was the Oscars. I, of course,  missed them. Again. Ahh well – there goes pop culture, I spose.

The next biggest piece of news is that I’ve been spending quite a bit of time out of town, tooling around in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, enjoying the mountains. A few days here, a  few days there; beats the heck out of navigating the treacherous icy roads of Anchorage. And much more interesting than reading the news. 🙂

Below is what caught my eye this month. I’ve been in the mtns a bit, so might have missed some good stuff. Feel free to add your own stuff of note.

In no particular order: Continue reading

Photography ≠ “Painting with light”

Black and white photo of Great Egret, St. Augustine, Florida.

Black and white photo of Great Egret, St. Augustine, Florida.

Hey Folks

“The word photography is based on the Greek φῶς(photos) “light” and γραφή (graphé) “representation by means of lines” or “drawing”, together meaning “drawing with light” (ya gotta love Wikipedia).

“Photography means painting/drawing with light”.

It’s time photographers (and photography) mature, and walk away from this virtually meaningless phrase. The phrase is a fabrication, deception at best, and  has never been valid. Let it rot. We’re not painters, we’re photographers. We no more “draw with light” than does any person with their finger in the sand. Pixels and film aren’t light, they don’t even “capture” light, they merely represent it – to propose otherwise suggests only a childlike understanding of what light might actually be.

If interpreted in this callow manner, all painting would similarly be “painting with light”. Indeed, all visual art could be a form of painting with light; drawing with pencils and crayons, digital graphic arts, sculpture, pottery, dance, et al. Van Gogh painted with light. Michaelangelo painted with light. Early aboriginal cave paintings were painted with light; with no light, there’d be no painting. Most certainly, there would be no viewing these paintings. The idea that we paint with light is no more valid than saying carpenters sculpt houses with stardust.

Continue reading

The Art of Learning; step toward the unknown

Hiker looking up the Lakina River, Wrangell-St. Elias, Alaska

A backpacker/hiker stands and looks up the Lakina River drainage to the Lakina Glacier, on the side of Mount Blackburn. Wrangell mountains, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

If art is exploration, then perhaps one of the best modes of “practice” we might undertake is the challenge of the new; stepping outside our comfort realms and engaging something new. Stepping toward the unknown.

The process of learning is stimulating in itself, but I think it’s more than that, too. It’s stepping back and revisiting how to learn. Going through the process of picking up at the beginning, and working toward building a comfort level with some kind of form.

Art involves, essentially, that process. With that in mind, I find it great practice to pick up something I’ve not done before, something I know nothing about, and step into it. This winter, for example, my goal is to learn to telemark ski. I’d fooled with it briefly last year, but didn’t really understand or know the process. Also, as I found out this fall, had all the wrong gear for learning on. So, I’ve set myself up this winter with a nice rig, and taken some lessons.

The good news; what started out as essentially a “Special Ed” class is gradually molding into something resembling telemark skiing. It’s great fun, and quite a workout. On top of that, it’s stimulating! Continue reading

Do you practice?

Grizzly bear, from behind.

A grizzly bear, rear view, Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

As often as I’ve run across discussions about art and photography, I’ve never really heard anyone ask this question. Most artists, painters, writers, musicians, sculptors, dancers, etc, practice, routinely. But how much practice do you, as a photographer, actually do?

I don’t mean “time in the field shooting”. I mean time in the wood shed, practicing, honing your chops? I mean sitting working on a particular technique, idea, composition, theoretical study, etc. Continue reading

More Stuff To Click On

Morning in the Wrangell Mountains

Morning in the Wrangell Mountains

Hey Folks,

‘Stuff to Click On’; videos, photos, articles, quotes, etc .. stuff that caught my eye during the month. If you missed last month’s posting, you can read it here.

In following up from last month’s comments, I guess one of the things I get frustrated about with the “Social Media” whirlwind is the barrage of cr** that folks seem to love to scatter all over the internet. Jeff Sweat, writing for the Huffington Post, says “It’s as if you’re trying to feed someone by shooting pieces of a sandwich — bread, tomatoes, meat — past their head at 90 miles an hour. And half of the things flying by them aren’t even food, they’re garbage. Or toasters. The odds of someone eating your sandwich are pretty slim.” Note to Twitter users; just because it landed in your feed is no reason to pass it on. It reminds me of those emailers we all seem to have in our address book, who pass along every single joke/cartoon/touching story of faith, etc that comes their way. People, please stop.

An example? Here, look at this article on the Huffington Post. The title of that page is “21 Insanely Gorgeous Valleys Around The World (PHOTOS)”. How about “21 Insanely Mediocre Photos”? We kind of expect this from the news media, I suppose, as they strive to sell advertisements. But friends on Twitter, Facebook, etc, etc .. let’s not stoop to that. You love it, post it and say so. If not, don’t regurgitate drivel. Continue reading

Stuff to Click On – Oct 2010

Chuck and his MSR hubba on the coastal plain, ANWR, Alaska.

Chuck and his MSR hubba (tent) on the coastal plain, ANWR, Alaska. We spent 2 weeks rafting the Canning river, and this photo was taken toward the end of the trip. It wasn’t as cold as it looks; Chuck’s from Florida. Good times indeed.

Hey Folks,

I’ve decided to make some changes to the blog and will be trying to get them up and running in the coming months. The first one is in this particular post. I want to post a kind of ‘Clips of the Month’ page; videos, photos, articles, quotes, whatever, that caught my eye during the month. I find nowadays there’s simply so much amazing material getting blasted around the web that it’s about impossible to keep up with even a fraction of it. Facebook posts and Tweets come down the pipe a mile a minute, all pushing (and pushed) down the page, completely gone; disappeared before I’m done reading the actual link; it’s a frustrating race to the bottom. I end up missing most of what folks post out there.

That’s compounded by a popular trend whereby (some) folks think it’s good to simply tweet and post every link that runs across their monitor – which wastes an awful lot of time for the receiver. Rather than simply tweeting every single post that says “Hey, check out this totally awesome photo”, I thought it might be useful to post a collection of links that (a) I’ve actually visited/read/watched, and (b) I honestly thought were not just above the banal, but that I felt were pretty cool/interesting/and yes, even awesome. Hopefully posting them as a blog page makes the content a little less transient, as well. We’ll see if the idea is a good one or not. It’s simply a collection of links to articles, photos, etc, that I ran across, one place or another, and thought were actually worth sharing. Continue reading

Internet Radio Interview

Male grizzly bear, brown bear photo, Katmai National Park, Alaska.

Male grizzly bear, brown bear photo, (Ursus arctos) Katmai National Park, Alaska. Please click on the thumbnail to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks,

Just a quick note here to say if you can, check out this online radio interview (GONE) Tuesday, May 4, 2010, at 9pm EST. I’ll be talking with photographers Greg Downing and E.J. Peiker, of Naturescapes.net, and  host Dave Warner, from Lensflarelive. It should be a lot of fun to do, and hopefully interesting and useful as well. I know I’m excited about it, Greg and EJ are great photographers whom I’ve admired for a long time, and it’ll be nice to talk with them.

Well be talking about wilderness photography, backpacking and hiking and photographing, as well as some environmental/conservation topics that might be relevant to nature photography. Greg also had the idea of present a few images online and we can discuss those and present a little more context about the work. I’m not really sure all of what we’ll talk about yet, but the show is open to call in, and it’d be great to hear from you on air. Hopefully the conversation will be interesting.

The broadcast can be heard live here. If you miss the show, it will be edited and available as a podcast soon after – I’ll add a link to this post when that becomes available.

I hope you enjoy the show,