The Photographer


    
An artist that works with paint and canvas is creating something new in the sense that his finished work will not be the same as what's been done before. It may be the same person, object or view others have painted before, but his rendition of it will usually be noticably different. Every artist looks at what's before him and tries to capture the essence of what he sees, but each one may may not "see" or focus on the same thing. And so as the artist paints he will emphasize his focus, hence producing something unlike another.
    An artist using a camera tries to have that same distinctiveness in his art, but has to accomplish it differently. A camera will try to render everything before us exactly as it is. In order to bring what he sees to the fore, a photographer has to employ many and varied techniques. Position; trying to position the camera where it will capture the what he sees. Light; having the light that brings out what he sees. Light may relate to position, but more likely will have more to do with the time of day, or even time of year. Other things involve the technical aspects of his equipment, such as focal length, shutter speed, lens opening and the list goes on.
    The differences then, between the painter and the photographer are many, but the object is the same, to produce a picture that interests the person viewing it and causes them to "see" what the artist did.
A barn in front of Chopaka Mtn

Chopaka Mountain and Old Barn


     This photo, taken in the summer of 2005 near Palmer Lake in Okanogan county, Washington, is a treasure to me. The reason I say that is not so much in the photograph itself, but in the subject and setting. I find it is getting hard to find these old buildings still standing. In earlier days I used to pass comparable scenes with hardly a glance. Now it's likely that an old barn, if it is standing at all, has a tin roof and/or is surrounded by trash. And the background is more likely to be a housing development or such. As it were, I had to work carefully to keep the nearby single wide mobile out of the picture.
An old snag

An Old Snag


     The Snag; waiting to see if the approaching thunderstorm will be what brings it down; or will it be the insects and internal decay that cause it to fall; or perhaps some purpose of man will bring its final demise. Whatever the cause, its end is imminent. And indeed, as with the snag in this photo and the barn in the one above, even the settings themselves are becoming rare, especially so on unprotected private lands such as this area. As the human population increases, such places are bound to disappear. How obvious now is the wisdom of those before us in setting aside some lands as parks, wilderness areas and refuges.
    The highest of the peaks in the background of this and the previous photo is Chopaka Mountain. From its peak to this valley floor is a vertical descent of over 6000 feet. The land behind the mountain is Okanogan National Forest and the Pasayten Wilderness.
Sunrise on a small pond

Sunrise on a Small Pond


     Lest I seem to be on a crusade, this shot was taken in the area around Graham, Washington, close to home and fairly populated. This sunrise over a small pond has all the magic one gets from such moments. This particular morning I had detoured from my usual route to a house I was working on with the intent of enjoying, and possibly photographing the sunrise. I wasn't disappointed. This small pond on a small farm (5 acre or less) is a spot I have passed many times. I have tried several times to capture the appeal it has for me, but this moment when much of it isn't even visible is the one that does it best.
Marina at Langley, Wa

Marina at Langley


     This is almost a full frame shot taken with a Minolta Htsi with a 28-135mm lens. It was about two years before I retired and I was becoming serious about birdwatching, photography and retirement. This is perhaps the best picture I shot with that camera. Not anything to do with the camera itself, but autofocus and telephoto lens were new to me. If I had ever known about exposure compensation it had long since been forgotten. In other words, I didn't know what I was doing! But a few successes and I was hooked. Being able to scan into the computer and work on them was a dream come true compared to the agonizing time I had earlier spent in the darkroom.
    The location here is in Langley, Washington on Whidbey Island. My wife and I spent a couple days exploring the island, getting "warmed up" for retirement. It was a fun time.
Sunrise

Sunrise


     Sunrise is perhaps the best part of the day. I've always liked to be up and able to watch the day dawn. Here in western Washington we don't always get to see the sunrise, but when we do, watching it is a nice beginning to our day. To be comfortably dressed, have that first cup of coffee in hand, a good place to perch and a fine dog to talk to........ Is there anything better?
    This scene was in front of a home we built and lived in near Graham, Washington.
    If you don't have a dog, and the wife is up, you can talk to her but she'll probably answer back.
Winter

Winter


     This is the same scene as the one above except for the time of year. This is about the last real winter I remember in western Washington. I believe it was the winter of 1979-1980, but it may have been one year later. You can see through the trees the wetland known as Patterson Springs and the creek, one of several forks of Muck Creek. As I said earlier I've traveled around some over the years but it seems some of the best sights and sounds have been in my own front yards. I'll have more to add to that later.
    When the weather is like this you have to be careful what you say about talking to the wife.
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