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Olympus E-M1,  f/8@ 1/320 sec, ISO 200, 40mm, no filters

Patterns, textures, and colors are everywhere in the southwest, often in the smallest of details. While I love the grand landscape, there’s a personal satisfaction I get from noticing the essence of a location. How can a story be told with a color, or a shape, or ultimately what Jay Maisel calls “gesture?”

One way is to contrast the details with the grand, experiencing “awe” at nature’s beauty and simplicity. That challenges the viewer of your images to observe the world in a new way, and may elicit the same emotions in them that you experienced when you pressed the shutter. For me that’s the ultimate goal of nature photography, to inspire discovery and introspection.

That may seem like something too conceptual, too abstract and far reaching. But it starts the moment you walk into the field with your camera. There’s an extra sense of awareness, of the surroundings, the environment. Then you look and try to see. When you make an image that expresses what you appreciate and resonate with in nature, it brings you one step closer to that elusive concept of “personal vision.”

“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau

It’s the hard road in photography for sure, but certainly the most meaningful and worthwhile one you can travel.

Olympus E-M1,  f/11@ 1/2 sec, ISO 200, 24mm, no filters

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