New Book: Insights From the Creative Path – Find Meaning, Fulfill Your Vision

final-cover-3dI’m really excited to announce that my new book “Insights from the Creative Path: Find Meaning, Fulfill Your Vision” is finally out!

It’s a continuation of my first book, Insights from Beyond the Lens, where I take you further along the creative journey I’ve experienced as a landscape photographer. While it does offer some technical information, it’s more about the why than the how. That’s a question that is lacking in today’s world of photography, but can unlock so much of your creative potential.

It’s a book I’ve been working on for the past two years and composed mainly of blog posts I’ve written here. I didn’t just copy the articles, however, but re-wrote many of them, and organized them into themes to create a better narrative about the things I’m most passionate about; creativity, inspiration, and vision. It’s also about how you can start to apply those themes in the field.

In many ways it’s a book about more than just photography, it’s my attempt to distill what it means to integrate creativity into your life without division or separation. It’s a mindset that enables you to expand your vision regardless of whether you have a camera in your hand or not. In that sense, I hope it appeals not only to nature photographers, but anyone who wants to explore the creative path.

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The book is available here on this website in PDF, Mobi, and iBooks formats, and also on Amazon.com.

BONUS

Buy the book on this site and also receive as a bonus – 3 Creative Guide Companion Guides that give you more resources to develop the most creative life possible.

3-guides

I’m really excited about this book, and while sales are encouraging and helpful, my real goal is help you live a more fulfilled, creative life. If you’re passionate about photography or art in general, then creating meaningful work is really all that matters.

Thanks for your support and for continuing to motivate me to share my thoughts and ideas here on the blog.

Get Your Copy and the Bonus Guides Here

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On the Value of Self-Validation

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Hudson River, Beacon, NY / Canon 1ds Mk III, f/8 @ 1/500 sec, ISO 200, 45mm, no filters

I’ve been thinking about self-validation a lot lately and how it affects my approach to photography. Validation by others is certainly something I care deeply about. This may seem like a contradiction, but I think both internal and external validation play a critical role for the development of any artist. Without a healthy awareness of how my work is perceived and affects others, I would find it very difficult to put in the time and dedication that makes photography so worthwhile for me.

Yet I think too many photographers seek external validation without understanding its implications. Painter Robert Genn says, “I’m an advocate of self-validation. It’s an acquired skill. Encouragement, yes. Constructive criticism, yes. But artists should be aware that petty stroking could be the source of arrested productivity. An artist’s job includes the avoidance of premature closure by the begged or gratuitous approval of others.”

That is a profound if not controversial statement. There are those that might let this approach lead them to over-confidence, hubris, or conceit. But I think that misses the real point of how self-validation can potentially be a way to real growth. Only you  can decide if you’ve fully developed an idea, or explored a subject to your innermost satisfaction. Maybe you need to visit a location fifty times before you understand how to capture why you feel drawn to it. When do you decide to move on; when others validate your work or when you decide you’re satisfied with your results?

The most important point in Genn’s stamement is that self-validation is an acquired skill, which is another way of saying it needs to be earned. If you’re not sure of your work, you need to seek opinions, feedback, and encouragement from those you can trust.

But gaining the confidence to say, “I’m not happy with this image” even though others say they love it is not so easy. The opposite is equally difficult, especially in today’s popularity driven world. But to do either, to know that your work validates something inside, takes time and a clear sense of why you photograph.

Be less critical, and more curious. Have fun while you photography. Smile at the sun. Let your emotions pour out for an awe inspiring moment that will never come again. That should provide all the validation you need to make a photograph that matters.

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Creative Developing in Lightroom Video – Fog at Sugarloaf

Creative photography not only involves the work you do in the field, but also how you approach the processing stage. Your goal should be to let your vision for the image serve as a creative guide from beginning to end, whether that’s a finished file or a fine art print. It’s an approach that I believe yields better results, gives you a much better sense of creative direction, and enables you to use the tools in Lightroom much more effectively. Why to use a tool becomes much more important than how. 

Check out my latest screencast where I share my creative approach in processing a recent Photo Journal image: Fog at Sugarloaf. (The original post explains my notes on the making of the image.)

Please share your questions, comments or feedback below – I’m always happy to clarify or help in any way I can.

Watch on Youtube.

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April 2015 Free Desktop Wallpaper

The April 2015 Free Desktop Wallpaper is now available for download. I’ve also decided to change the format to include more of my standard images instead of the panoramas. Hope you like it!

As always, come closer to nature in the Great Smoky Mountains.

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1920 x 1200

1920 x 1080

1680 x 1050

1280 x 800

Instructions:

First determine your screen size. Your Current Resolution Is:

Then click on the link for the correct size. When the image opens in a new browser window, right click on the image and select “Set as Wallpaper” (on a Mac, select “Use Image as Desktop Picture”).

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