One of my favorites poems is from the Disney movie Never Cry Wolf. Its an old Inuit Eskimo poem that I think about every morning when I rise before dawn to catch a sunrise:
think over all my adventures, my fears
As a teenager, I set a goal to never miss a sunrise or sunset in my life. Ive pretty much stuck to that goal and most of my images are the product of doing so. Even if I dont get a picture, I still treasure being up and greeting the day. Getting a nice picture is a bonus.
When Albert Schweitzer was asked how he did his work in Africa he said:
You start with a reverence for life
I hope my photography shows my deep reverence, respect and appreciation for the natural world. I truly believe they contribute more to making my images than anything else, more than any knowledge of photography I possess or technique I use.
Being out in the natural world is a spiritual experience. Ive always felt closer to who or whatever might have had a hand in creating it when Im out there than I ever have in man-made cathedrals. Its been said, By His works one knows the Creator. What better place to get close to the Creator? And what better way to show appreciation, gratitude and respect than to capture it in all its beauty on film and share that with others and try to foster the same appreciation, gratitude and respect in them. Its the basis of my environmental ethos.
Ive traveled to, and photographed just about every one of the best scenic wonders in our country. Ironically, some of the best images Ive ever made are not from our national parks and monuments, but from local areas. I had a poster in my classroom that said:
Beauty is all around us, for those who wish to see it
Seeing is such an important part of taking beautiful landscapes, and it seems Im seeing things better as I age.
I find myself extremely drawn to the serenity of mirror image reflections in water. Ive also noticed that Im drawn to scenes where there is a wide diversity of plants competing for space, but yet living in visual harmony. Peace and harmony are things ... Ive always sought.
Im a big picture kind of person in my photography and life. I shoot almost exclusively with a super wide-angle lens. My pictures always include objects that are just a few feet away as well as the distant horizon, and any clouds that might be there, with all in focus. I want the image to give the viewer the sense of being in the picture as I was when taking it.
I call my work Natures Masterpieces because I wanted to pay Nature its due. I dont create the scene, Nature does. It would be there whether I stumbled upon it and photographed it or not. Luckily, I have managed to be at quite a few right places at the right time.
I also will admit to having an agenda with my work. I sincerely hope that people will enjoy my images so much that they will be motivated to seek out similar experiences in the natural world for themselves. And, after having done so, I sincerely hope they will be further motivated to join the rest of us who enjoy, and are trying to protect and preserve what remains of the natural world for ourselves, our children and those yet to come.