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Starlight Sonata :: CO

11 Sep
Starlight Sonata :: CO

Starlight Sonata :: CO

I frequently wonder if I’m doing enough to make this world better. Am I recycling and conserving water? Am I speaking up about serious topics like conservation and equality? Am I leading by example?

The answers to those questions are both yes and no. I am doing those things, but I feel like I can do more.

The world is a spectacular place and for some people, a photograph is the closest they will get to seeing some of the beauty our world has to offer. There is something gratifying about knowing I’m able to give that gift to people through my images.

That being said, I think there is opportunity for photos to be more than just a passing like or comment or wallpaper. Sometimes I see shots that make my heart flutter (currently obsessed with @nlwirth ‘s tree work for example). I think that connection is the start of something magical. If you can make people love something, then they’ll work to protect it. Yeah, yeah, logically we KNOW we are harming our planet (our ONLY place to live, I might add) but it’s easy to shrug it off as our children’s problem. Or to rationalize current wants despite the consequences. But when you LOVE something you’ll be driven to protect it.

That is what I think a landscape photographer can be. They can be part of something bigger than a “pretty” or “gramable” shot. Photography can be a vehicle for change. So when I ask myself if I’m doing enough, I need to also think about the current political climate and policies, the attitudes towards keeping our planet healthy enough to sustain life, the voiceless who need help to retain their basic human rights and dignities…

Without question, I can do more. We all can do more.

This is Independence Pass in CO. And that is what night skies without much light pollution look like.😍

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Migration :: CO

26 Jun
Migration :: CO

Migration :: CO

“It’s your pasture now, and it’s not so big–only three thousand miles from east to west, only two thousand miles from north to south–but all between, where ten thousand points of light prick out the cities, towns, and villages, there, seeker, you will find us burning in the night” -Thomas Wolfe

To me, this photo is one of journey and transition, like the snow melt’s path down the mountain. Similarly, like many Americans, I’ve been deeply troubled by the recent zero tolerance policy at the border that infringes on the human rights of children. Am I glad the practice of separating families has stopped for the moment? Yes. Am I concerned about the welfare of the 2000+ children in detention facilities since May? Yes. Am I worried the most recent executive order flies in the face of the court precedent preventing detention for longer than 20 days? Yes.

Do I have a solution? No.

I do know that thinking in absolutes is dangerous though. Very little in life is 100% black and white, and this idea that to be strong, we must give up compassion is immature. Compromise is a way forward. Understanding is a way forward. We are a nation of immigrants, many of whom were seeking asylum themselves. It’s foolhardy to label all asylum seekers as dangerous criminals and its unethical to treat people as animals or monsters. While I agree crossing borders illegally is, well, illegal…I also recognize we have a complex and confusing immigration system.

Do I want safeguards and background checks and asylum hearings in place? Yes. But I can I understand the urgency of some refugees situation that puts them in the difficult position of choosing to cross illegally? Also a yes.

I don’t know where the middle ground here is but my heart tells me without any doubts that our morals and ethical standards, and our compassion for people in need, should not be forsaken. I hope our Congress (contact your reps) can have some meaningful conversations in the coming days and get those children reunited with their families soon.

Firestarter :: Iceland

12 Apr
Firestarter :: Iceland

Firestarter :: Iceland

 

Pure Serenity :: Iceland

5 Apr
Pure Serenity :: Iceland

Pure Serenity :: Iceland

A Sliver of Hope :: Iceland

27 Feb
A Sliver of Hope :: Iceland

A Sliver of Hope :: Iceland

 

When we start out as landscape photographers, most of us probably don’t go into it realizing the weight of the responsibilities that come with it. You see, these days, every like, and double tap and +1 you get represents a responsibility to be a leader.

Part of that means being a good steward and protecting our collective “office”, the planet. There is a lot of debate about what exactly that means, but it benefits all of us -photographers and non- to embrace things like Leave No Trace, and to actively work to conserve our wild spaces.

The second part of this is to be a role model. Whether you like it or not, what you do and say makes an impact, and by choosing to break rules or ignore courtesy, you’re green-lighting that behavior for others. This shot is a particularly memorable example of how one person’s sense of entitlement/elitism, can ruin an experience. Last October Melissa and I decided to detour to see this beautiful canyon despite the rain. It involved a moderate, if somewhat slippery hike up to the first lookout. I had just set my tripod up and begun focusing my camera when a…let’s call him “gentleman”…. walked up and demanded I move so he could take a cell phone snap. I explained I had just set up my composition, and would be just a moment. Rather than wait politely, he put his arm directly into my frame, then crowded me on a slippery cliff-edge, to intimidate me into moving. If you know my friend Melissa, you know she doesn’t put up with rudeness and used it as a teachable moment to remind the gentleman of his manners. Lol

The outdoors are for everyone to enjoy and simple consideration and courtesy can go a long way towards helping everyone fall in love with (and subsequently see the value in protecting) nature.

Windswept :: Scotland

20 Feb
Windswept :: Scotland

Windswept :: Scotland

“When the roots are deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” -African proverb

I went to Scotland with a long list of spots I wanted to see, knowing of course, that I’d only actually get to photograph a handful.  One of those “spots” was the drive through Rannoch Moor, which is in my opinion, one of the most beautiful drives on the planet. ❤

Dark Skies, Warm Nights :: VT

13 Feb
Dark Skies, Warm Nights :: VT

Dark Skies, Warm Nights :: VT

 

It’s snowing and sleeting here today, so I spent my time daydreaming of warmer nights under the stars. ✨🌙❤

This was taken in lower VT, and is the first night sky photography trip that I brought the dogs along for. I wasn’t sure if they would be good, to be honest, but they surprised me by being patient and well mannered to whole night (which is quite an accomplishment for the younger dog).

The only time they started growling was after everyone else had left, and something big started moving in the woods behind us. It didn’t take long for whatever it was to move along.

Who’s a good dog? My dog! (Sometimes.) 🐶

For those of you looking to learn a bit more about star trails, you can check out my article in Light & Landscape (Issue 31), or wait for the upcoming book on night sky photography! 🙂  Want to know more about that?  Sign up for my newsletter, and follow me on social media for the latest updates.