Every action of your life touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.
Edwin Hubbell Chapin
A hike in the mountains with me isn’t for the faint of heart because rarely is reaching the summit important, and the person that can come with me and take pleasure as well in the findings along the way is a true gem.
The woods are full of stories. Stories of rebirth, life and death struggles, hope and renewal. We found these scars encircling this tree scraping higher and higher. All around were other trees burned, some to charcoal, others merely kissed by flames.
Black bear we figured. We like to think he survived the fire of 2017 but can only imagine how many animals did not.
I had a recent review of a group of five photographs done by an industry professional whose words struck a chord with me. He referenced a serenity and poetic quality in my work and spoke of how most offered elements that existed outside of the frame.
I’m still thinking about those words and how to dig deeper, not just when I have my camera in hand but every day for it’s not just in the image where elements exist outside of the frame.
Something to think about as this year draws to a close…
Photography is an austere and blazing poetry of the real.
I’ve been playing around with portraits lately, you know, part of that exercise to do those things that you’re the least comfortable with. Replacing fear with confidence allows you to make choices that aren’t predicated around a feeling that you could fail.
When your life has gone through a complete upheaval the tendency is to analyze every choice that you made and to find reasons why you made the choices that you did.
I think that it’s a necessary part of recovery but there also comes a time to let those things go and take a good long look in the mirror. I’ve found through chance encounters that my story is not all that unique and with that discovery comes a sense of relief. I am grateful to those women who have shared their stories with me.
The photo above is about looking in that mirror. It is a self portrait of where I am right now in this moment.
Every so often in nature, with jaw dropping vistas a far as the eye can see, you encounter a tiny intimate landscape that just speaks to you on a whole different level.
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.
Some people can go all of their lives and never see a glimpse of these top of the apex predators.
This year I’ve been on a roll, catching my first glimpse from 20 feet away. A chance encounter on foot that fortunately ended well, no cubs to protect or kill to guard. Considering that they’ve been clocked at 30 mph it makes 20 feet feel like a hop, skip, and a jump away.
When we first saw this most perfect of natural track traps laden with grizzly prints set by a layer of frost covering the wet mud, I almost had to remind myself to breathe.
Tracks are rapidly becoming something that I find great joy in photographing. I think in part it’s the transient nature and the luck involved with encountering them at just the right moment. Capturing them, these intimate landscapes, provides a permanent record that places like this still exist.
They tell a story as you follow them ever mindful that the beast that created them has been there and still might be. Interspersed amidst the grizzly tracks were tracks from black bear, mountain lion, elk, and later on, those of my Staffords.
But soon the wind will blow and the snow will fall, erasing the signs that in the wilderness the wild is never far away.