Refrain from the Mundane


I push myself to make photographs of what I see in my mind; I avoid the typical photo or photos that other photographers have made. I refrain from the mundane or boring image that I've seen countless times before -- the rock, the brook, the mountain, the tree, etc... In full disclosure, there was a time when that's all I did. I photographed everything that was in front of me. I'd return from a photography trip with hundreds of rolls of film and look for that one special image. It was the machine gun approach: shoot as many as possible, I was bound to hit something.


Over time I began to realize that if I ever wanted to be more than a landscape Xerox machine, I had to step up my game; I had to see and think differently. If I were a painter, was I painting houses or painting paintings?



Being creative is not easy; often, when I look at the landscape, I see images that have been done before (by me and others). I avoid those photographs because they detract from the time I have to create the wow image.


If I spend time making a photograph that begins from a vision within me, the result will have a value that transcends the landscape that was in front of the camera because I will have added to it. My photographs should have two elements: the landscape and my contribution to it. If it lacks one of these elements I failed.


In the above image I was captivated by the river and the trees on the snowy mountain. I drove along the road for many miles without stopping because I knew that without a mental vision for an image I would merely photograph those elements and waste the time that could be used when I came up with an idea. As frustrating as it was to drive past the beauty I knew it was the right choice. And then I realized the above photograph. I pulled over, grabbed my Hasselblad 210mm lens and made a series of exposures of the mountain and golden reeds reflected in the river. My exposure was 1/3 of a second at f/25 and I used a 0.75 Grad ND and 81C warming filter.


I made this photograph using my digital Hasselblad camera.



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