Colorado Scenics- Images of the American West

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For me there’s something very special about the Central Rockies of Colorado. Then I’m rather biased, having first connected with the place as a boy of eight. Big mountains make for even bigger impressions in the mind of a child.  Back on the playgrounds of my flatland home in Michigan, I would dream about the Rockies. When, oh when, were we going back?

The seasons changed, leaves fell and snow flurries flew, and back into the van we’d go, on that great roadtrip westward. For twenty hours, three restless kids would splay across the bench seats in an advanced state of boredom.  As Nebraska gave way to Colorado, we’d start peeping our heads up like anxious prairie dogs, eager to glimpse those snowy peaks rising above plains. Such impressions last a lifetime, and then some.

scans_09  11810_v.jpgNo surprise then, to find me back there again, twenty years later, this time toting a brand new 35mm camera, tripod slung over my shoulder. I was a the keen amateur, bathed in warm sunshine, face blushed, in search of beauty and finding it everywhere. No better place to forge my skills, slowly, methodically, choosing wisely so as not to waste precious film. My life was a John Denver song, breathing the thin air, two miles high and flying it.

Throughout much of the nineties I made my home in Colorado. By summer I working for the Forest Service and, during ski seasons took ski bum job.  The rest of the time I was largely pursuing my photography.  From this work I launched a nice little stock business, selling images to local tourism publications. The tourism industry thrives on a steady stock of fresh, stunning images that showcased the place.

Landscape photography was a natural, given my backcountry skills, inherent patience, and perfectionism. I’ve an innate ability to sit and wait for the light to change, and the clouds to lift. Something deeply contemplative and relaxing about this, being at one with nature. Making the most of whatever comes your way. Even when it didn’t pan out, at least you enjoyed some fresh air and cleared your head. Plus I’m a wicked stickler for composition and so relish the deliberation and exactitude the genre demanded.

scans_09  11747_v.jpgNearly all my shots were composed, slowly and methodically, on tripod. The slow speeds of my preferred film, Fuji Velvia, required it. The rich and vivid colors the film rendered, further accentuated by my obsessive use of a polarizer, became my signature. Since clients were in the business of selling supernatural beauty, this formula for success paid off, time and again.  The sleeves of slides I handed in to the Photo editors would practically jump off the light table.

This gallery represents a selection of some of the best images from this era.  These days I look back on this body of work with a sense of pride and accomplishment.  These images represent hundreds, indeed thousands of hours of hard work.  I was driven by the passion of capturing beauty, with little concern for actually making money. It was the quintessential life of a struggling artist, unsure when the next paycheck would come in, but loving life all the same.

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