Now for something completely different

If you ever want to test the durability of your camera equipment, photograph a motorcycle hill climb. Especially in the dry, dusty, hot and sweaty conditions of southwest Idaho. These photographs were shot this past summer. There are 2 hills, one run has a length of 250 ft and is the “small” hill. The other is over 460 ft, with the upper 100 or so feet nearly vertical. The top 3 photos are from the small hill and the remaining images are on the big hill. At the end of the day, it looked like I and my camera had just been dug up out of the ground. The motorcycle in the bottom photograph, if you notice, is missing its rider.

As a wildlife biologist and conservationist, this type of activity creates some interesting feelings and internal debates while at the same time fuels my photographic intent of showing the human interaction and connection with nature, however slim, destructive, endearing, or nurturing.

A bit about myself

I’m not a professionally-trained photographer. I’m self-taught. Been photographing almost my whole life, but wasn’t your typical photo guy, no yearbook jobs, mostly snapshots until the 80s when I started getting pretty serious. My education, degree, and career is/was wildlife biology. Spent a few years with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, Colorado State Parks, private consulting (had an influence in the design of the newest U.S. ski resort), the Denver Museum of Natural History, then decided I should switch gears and become a photographer since I did a lot of that when I was out in the field. So, here it is. Opened a full time studio in May, 2004 and continue to make a run at it. It’s tough, but I love working for myself. Sometimes the government can get under your skin just a little. My website is if you want to check it out.

The photo is the Middle Fork of the Boise River, up the river about 40 miles from Boise, Idaho.

I shoot commercial (products, storefronts, architecture, etc.), fine art (nature, abstracts, hot rods, figure studies, anything that attracts my eye), conduct classes and workshops and plan the occasional trip (working on my 2006 schedule now). I also have a line of photo-imaged products that I make here in the studio (stone coasters, glass cutting boards, decorative tile murals, etc.).

I don’t know exactly what this blog is going to contain, or how often I’ll update it. I’ll shoot for once a week and also show new photos, pass on interesting information I come across, and probably list some upcoming events. You never know.

The Elegant Solution

In my photography classes I emphasize the “Keep It Simple” guideline. This guideline comes from many different sources, but I relate it to science, which is my background, and another guideline which is called “The Elegant Solution”. The Elegant Solution is what most researchers strive for. It is the maximum desired effect or explanation for a given phenomenon achieved with the smallest or simplest effort or description. The word elegant implies fine quality, refinement and simplicity.

How does this apply to photography? In composition, primarily, reducing the elements to the simplest arrangement and number creates an uncluttered image, allowing the viewer to easily identify subject, subject matter, meaning, intent, and the relationships among and between the elements shown.

Imagine yourself reading a book. It doesn’t matter what kind of book, technical manual or novel. You’re reading along, getting comfortable with the writing style of the author, taking in the information, letting your imagination meld with the text your brain is assimilating and processing. When photographers really get into the process of creating an image we get into what is called “The Zone”. Our senses and attention are tuned to our surroundings, our concentration is finely focused, our peripheral vision may become restricted and our hearing receptive only to what we’re photographing. We lose track of time and ignore people and other distractions around us. Good books cause this same effect in readers.

Then, all of a sudden, you come across a misspelled or missing word or a sentence that seems very much out of place. Photographers are interrupted by sharp sounds or physical contact or darkness. What happens? You’re jerked back to reality

Copyrighting your photographs

The copyright of a photograph is inherent at the moment the shutter is released and the image recorded (on film or digital sensor). It’s important that photographers are aware of this fact and that even though an item is sold, such as a photographic print, the copyright remains with the original creator unless signed over to another party. Registering your copyright is