going beyond the obvious

Originally posted about three years ago. I’m reviving it here. It’s still a challenge I’m working on, though I’ve expanded my subject matter to include life in the desert and human impacts as well as the natural world around me.

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​Photographing the desert well can be a real challenge. The beauty of it, the starkness, the openness is there for all to see, and countless photos have been made of it. Many are quite good.
The obvious photos aren’t that difficult to do — the brilliant sunsets, the more subtle but equally beautiful sunrises, the 30-mile vistas, the Joshua trees and rock formations here in the area I’m in — these are all pretty easy to get pleasing photos of. But to capture the real soul of the desert, the harshness, the feeling of sparseness, the pace of life in an extreme environment — these aren’t so easy to express visually. You need to take some time to connect with the pulse of the desert, to adopt it’s pace and rhythm. Only then will it begin to reveal it’s power and spirit.

The challenge for me will be to go beyond the obvious, to get beneath the surface, and begin to portray the vital and powerful spirit of the desert through my photographs. Time will tell if it’s a challenge I can meet.

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