Most of my photography takes place close to home. Or, at least within a few hours from home. I do travel further on occasion. Maybe a Springtime and or Autumn trip to the Mountains or Ozarks. Still, both these places are within a day’s drive from my home base in NE Kansas. There have been and still may be visits to the Oceans and desert areas of the United States. I always look forward to travels to new lands.
Over the years, looking forward to traveling has, in some instances been the most enjoyable part. Exploring a new location in no way guarantees good photographs. That is true no matter where one is. There are many aspects that go into creating a photograph, the least of which is where you are.
Taking The Picture
It has been said that if you want a great photograph stand in front of a great subject. I understand this statement, but that doesn’t always work out. Sure, much of the problem could be with me. But there are other unknown issues that can, at a moment’s notice cause the most thought-out plans to go awry.
On many occasions, I have set out to photograph what I thought would be a great subject. Sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moonset. Only to have my attempts thwarted by Mother Nature. More and more I try to keep plans to a minimum. I may decide on a specific area, such as the county, and then further narrow it down to direction to travel. Other times I just go with the flow and let my imagination guide me. Over the years it has become apparent that the photographs made when planning is at a minimum are the ones that move me the most.
You simply can not plan for the “spectacular event”. All I can hope for is to be there as much as possible so when Mother Nature decides to share such wonders with the world, I will be there to witness it. And, maybe, just maybe, be able to photograph it on top of that.
Create The Image
While I like to believe there is a sense of reality in my images, the truth is, reality, or realism, is not my guiding principle when capturing or processing an image. Every image is uniquely different. Even if taken just moments apart. In the field, there is a gut feeling that determines what I capture and how I decide to capture it. Later, when processing it in Photoshop it seems to be more of a mood or ambiance I try to get across.
With this being said, the final image may be much different than the original capture. Not in subject per-se, but in quality of color, contrast, and light. This can at times extend enough to make the initial subject unrecognizable. These are personal creative decisions I make with each and every image that ends up on my website. By then they have, in some form, spoken to me and I have replied.
Print The Image
The final and equally important step at this point is to produce a physical print. At that point, the image becomes a photograph. To me, a photograph must be a physical thing. Images on a computer screen are not photographs, they are something else. Basically, an image. Over the years I have been through many iterations of printing techniques. Every so many year’s something changes. From the quality of printers, inks, to different media and techniques. Not all are worthy of much attention or consideration. There are some media and techniques that I will not use due to low overall quality. Some I will not use due to poor archival properties. And some still I will not use because they do no meet my criteria for the art I chose to produce. At this time I do not offer prints on metal for these very reasons.
Presently I produce all prints up to 13×19 inches in my own studio. They are produced using a Canon Pro-1 printer on a few various types of papers. Those typically are Canson Photographique, Palo Duro Smooth Rag, and Breathing Color River Stone Satin Rag. All are considered fine art papers with museum-grade archival properties. When combined with the archival ink of the Canon Pro printer the archival ratings reach approximately 90+ years. On occasion, I will use other papers as well that are considered photo papers as opposed to fine art paper. Photo papers print beautifully but do not have the archival rating that fine art papers possess. Typically photo papers combined with archival inks may have a 20+ year archival rating.
As you have noticed most of the print sizes offered are well over the 13×19 inch size. The primary destination for the photographs I create is wall art. With this being the case the majority are produced in sizes ranging from 20×30 inches to 40×60 inches. Panoramic format images have been produced to over 100 inches.
I can provide this type of final presentation due to the relationship I have built over the years with professional printmakers. It has taken many years to find the printmakers that can consistently produce my work to the standards that I demand. I have tried many over the years. It might be somewhat negative for me to say, but the truth is, most have been very disappointing. That is not the case today. Today I have full confidence in the making of large fine art prints. This is true for prints on fine art paper, canvas, plaque mounted, and diasec acrylic. Each of these options is, in my opinion, (but with years of experience to support it) the best available in the world of printmaking today.
There is no one part of the creative process I like better than the other. Each step supports the next. Things will continue to change. I will continue to adapt, adjust, and learn. I look forward to each part.