One of my goals for this year was to get 500 trail miles in. A goal that I thought was pretty far out their when I set it, but am quickly realizing is very obtainable. I intentionally did not set any goals directly related to photography. I have realized that when my primary goal is to capture a good photograph, I enjoy the experience less and less. Nature for me is amazing and restorative no matter where I am or what the weather is doing. There is truly something of beauty to always be seen and appreciated in the outdoors, whether it would make an award winning photograph or not. I feel like many photographers these days fail to see this simple truth, and unless conditions are ideal go home grumbling and upset that they didn’t get their “wall hanging photograph”. This is one of the main things that bothers me about the current state of landscape photography, the idea that only the most amazing places under the most special circumstances are worthy of a photograph. I have heard several prominent photographers say something along the lines of “As I have photographed more and more it takes increasingly better views and conditions to really wow me” I feel like it’s missing the forest for the trees. I try not to by an opinionated douche bag, I just know that for a while my constant pursuit of “light” and “amazing conditions” really ruined my appreciation for nature. The more I was concerned with capturing that special photograph the less I appreciated the landscape, the harder it was for me to lose myself in nature, and the less peace and tranquility I got from being in the outdoors. In short it just wasn’t working for me. These days I go out because I want to be out, I bring my camera with me in case something special happens, but if it doesn’t I still love the time I am able to spend outside.
I’ve written on here before how my taste in photography has changed over the last few years. Photographers who I used to admire and greatly look up to no longer inspire me. I haven’t been sure for a long time what has caused this change in tastes, but I think I finally nailed it down. I am drawn to images that make me feel like I am standing there, looking through a window into the landscape. Very few photographers seem able to create that feeling for me, even most of my own images don’t qualify. while Marc Adamus, or Ryan Dyar, or Miles Morgan all have beautiful images in their portfolios, none of their images create this sensation for me. They are beautiful, but they don’t transport me. Perhaps it’s the heavy processing, or the fact that they all feel the need to add fake glow and haze to their shots, or that they are overly dark and moody, or perhaps it’s the extreme wide angle views often shot from a mere inch above the ground. I am not sure exactly why, but none of their images make me feel like I am standing there looking into the landscape. It’s a rather ambiguous and abstract concept, but is something I am trying to strive for in my own work.
2015 is shaping up to be a great year for me. I am trying to get out more and more. I have many really exciting trips planned for this year. My enthusiasm is sometimes tempered by the realization that I have a job, a family, and a new baby coming towards the end of the year, but luckily I have a wife who supports my obsession. Here is to a great year!