Me hiking back from photographing bison and the Grand Tetons
Since purchasing my first camera, I have been living a visual feast that has cost me a real estate career in a lucrative Southern California market. My scenery seemed to always be just over the next hill somewhere, cityscapes just were not my kind of inspiration, and I soon tired of local beach sunsets.
So it wasn't long before I was traveling farther a field, weekend trips to Big Sur, Lake Arrowhead, Yosemite, and yes, a three-day driving marathon to the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park. I decided that my weekends just were not long enough. I would just have to take more time off work, and then I could make it to Tahoe, the costal redwoods, and the Oregon coast.
My sister Rhonda shot this while we were both shooting a sunset in Los Osos California
All that driving wore out my car; it must be time to move to a prettier place. Then the moving began. First to the local mountains, Big Bear Lake, that was pretty nice for a while, and then Lake Tahoe sounded like a good idea. While living there I read about Fred Joy, a photographer in Jackson Hole, Wyoming who was making a real good living from a photo gallery he had there, so I decided to go see it. The gallery was excellent, but Jackson Hole was awesome! Not only did it have outstanding mountains and lakes, it had wildlife everywhere, and I'm not talking about The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. 8,000 elk on the National Elk Refuge outside of town, big horn sheep on the mountain tops, moose up the side canyons, deer on the buttes, antelope on the flats, bears hiding in the trees, buffalo wandering from here to there, and more nature photographers than you could shake a stick at. But I moved there anyway.
Being a wander lusting, vagabond photographer wasn't conducive to a real estate
career so, out of hunger, I turned to the service industry of the tourist resorts
I frequented. During the tourist season it worked out ok; in the off-season
it didn't. Any time of year it was considered poverty with a view.
Me shooting fall colors at Green River Lake, my friend Jerry Patterson took the shot.
Photography has delivered me through a metamorphosis of a life based on financial achievement to a simpler life based on aesthetic fulfillment. Wherever I travel, I am always on the lookout for beauty and the ever-changing light, nuances I never noticed before my photo education made me aware of them. It doesn't have to be a beautiful day; it can be an ugly day as long as there is a beautiful rectangle that you can isolate out of the chaos. Photographers can find that window on an ugly day because we have been trained to see. Often I find myself up before daylight and gone during dinner hoping for the perfect light on the mountains, or a moose having dinner in a pond with the Tetons in the background.
Me in the View Camera Days
Before I learned to see photographically, I believed that the desert was a barren wasteland, and I was right, however, I learned to recognize the beauty in it, I was learning to see. A rainy day used to be a good time to curl up at home with a good book. Now I drive around in the rain and hope for a hole in the clouds so beams of light can disrupt the murkiness and illuminate something to photograph; or in the evening for the sun to sneak in under the cloud cover and light everything up.
The purchase of my first camera was the beginning of an inadvertent money abatement program, but I believe that I am ahead of the game in the trade-off. When I visit the city and my old associates, their incessant drive for upward mobility, the mental strain of living and competing with seven million people makes me realize that wealth isn't necessarily measured in dollars.