“Upon The Forest Floor”
Throughout my career as an artist, I have been heavily inspired by the work of Ansel Adams, especially since I took on the challenge of photographing strictly in black and white back in 2017. I have collected three books of his work in a short amount of time and frequently look upon them for inspiration. It was when looking through one of these books - this one in particular - that I came across a photograph he made of leaves and ferns upon the ground. This photograph was then turned into a three-panel privacy screen that Ansel himself had in his home.
I have kept this photograph of his - or at least a rough approximation of it - in my mind since seeing it. I crafted a goal of my own, to create something in a similar vein, yet I didn't want to copy his piece.
While walking through the woods in my family's cabin in northern Pennsylvania, I came across a patch of ferns that I simply could not resist photographing. With my newly acquired Pentax 67 film camera, I setup my composition and did what I could to get as much in-focus as possible. After pressing the shutter and trying out a few different patches, I packed up and walked back to the house. From that moment until I got home and found some spare time, I could only wait in anticipation to see if I got the shot I wanted.
After finally developing the rolls of film and deciding which ones I would scan and edit, I found this photograph in-particular to be the best out of the selection. I did a quick edit and put it away for a while. A few weeks later, I did a small 8x10 test print to see how I liked it and what needed to be further tweaked in post-processing.
Today, I can happily say that it is ready for release to the general public. It has been months in the making, first taken back in July 2018. And while it may not end up being turned into a privacy screen like that of Ansel Adams' photograph, I am pleased with how it turned out. I can only hope that you feel the same.
“Given A Chance”
Back in August of 2017, I decided to go on a solo adventure to a state park in northern Pennsylvania. It was my first time exploring this particular area - of which I chose for the waterfalls, but stayed for the beautiful woodland scenery, of which there was plenty. Although I had not gone back until October of 2018, it is still a place I wish to explore further in the upcoming year. There's much left to be seen.
With this photograph in particular, I remember seeing just how much the tree stood out from the background, how the light highlighted it so well. I knew almost immediately it would turn out to be a wonderful, high-contrast black and white photograph. While I loved how it turned out, it wasn't until recently that I had decided to print it out and see how it looks. Truthfully, I had forgotten all about it. Looking at it now, I'm unsure as to why that is.
Regardless, I gave this one a chance and did a 12x15 print and fell in love almost immediately. The sharpness of the entire image is astounding and further amplified by the contrasted nature of the photograph as a whole.
It was a foggy day in January of 2018 when I captured this moment. I remember being with Melanie, having stayed over the previous night, when I looked outside shortly after waking up to a cloudy, foggy atmosphere outside. Fog that sticks around throughout the day is a rather rare occurrence where I live, which makes it very tough to capture good woodland photography. The separation of the trees simply isn't there without it and I honestly don't enjoy waking up early enough every morning to check and see if there is fog, only to miss it by the time I drive somewhere new.
Regardless, as soon as I saw the weather conditions outside, I coaxed Melanie into going to a local park with me so I could capture at least something. Luckily enough, the fog stuck around in low amounts as we walked along the path before diving deeper into the woods.
This tree stood out amongst the rest of the barren forest, it's leaves refusing to drop, having withstood the trauma of the winter months. At the moment, I didn't realize it but now that I look upon the photograph whilst typing this, I have come to be inspired by the strength of the tree. It's resilience to not be beaten by the cold, nor the wintry storms; it's willingness to stand out amongst the rest, when the rest had already chosen to conform.
There is so much that nature can teach us. We simply need to take a moment to listen.
“Amongst The Dead”
When Melanie and I took the three-hour long journey from my family's cabin in northern Pennsylvania up to Kaaterskill Falls in New York, I didn't expect to come back with much more than a photograph of the waterfall itself. I don't want to go into these new areas with high expectations, hoping to come home with plenty of new content that is print-worthy. Truth-be-told, this photograph itself I was unsure of for a long while. It wasn't until recently that I began to fall in love with it, deeming it worthy enough to be in my portfolio.
I pulled into the main parking lot only to find a multidude of tree stumps that littered the surrounding area. It appeared as though they were expanding the parking lot, given how the trees had been chopped down in a squared-off form. While Melanie gathered her things and put on her boots, I chose to explore a bit around these stumps. The forest that still stood intrigued me, the trees looking as though they would fit very well as a black and white photograph. I just had to figure out how to best compose my desired shot.
Although I tried my best to get the shot before walking down the trail and capturing the photographs of the falls - titled "Withstanding" and "Forest Views" - nothing seemed to line up as I wanted. None of the shots I took were what I wanted and I knew that from the moment I pressed the shutter.
It wasn't until coming back to the car after spending time getting soaking wet from the waterfall that I was able to see a composition. As I mentioned previously, this photograph still had not immediately grown on me and was one that I had considered trashing multiple times, thinking it would never workout. Yet here it is, officially released, as the print looks far too good to not hang on my own wall.
“Looking Down Upon Me”
The fourth photograph taken whilst exploring Kaaterskill Falls in New York, this one depicts Bastion Falls which sits further out and a bit lower than Kaaterskill. We had passed it at first while driving up to the main parking lot, deciding to wait until afterwards to see if we could get anything worthy here. When all was set-and-done and I gotten the shots I wanted, we drove down to the very small parking lot situated a five-minute walk from this waterfall. Carefully we made the trek down to the trailhead and I began running ideas through my mind in terms of compositions for the scene. I knew that I wanted a strong foreground, something that led up to the waterfall, drawing attention to it immediately.
After trying out a few different spots, I found one that I liked most and began tweaking my tripod and camera until I was happy with it. What drew me to this one the most was for sure the tree in the top-middle of the frame which seemed to look down upon me as I did my work. It seemed to challenge me, in a sense, to see if I could make something worthy of this scene; something that would end up printed in the homes of individuals around the world. While the latter part of that challenge is yet to be determined, I feel as though the former was. Especially once printed, the sharp foreground does just as I had wanted it to. Even on a matte paper, the contrast of the photograph gives the print a seemingly glossy feel that I love.
I wanted to take a moment here to thank you for checking out these new releases and reading what it is I have to say about each of these photographs. It means the world to me to be able to do what I love, to capture these special moments in time and share them with you all.
My hopes are to one day turn this into a full-time career where I can travel further than my neighboring states to create fresh content. However, I can only do such a thing with your help, which is - in part - why I offer each photograph as a print.
Sizes start at 12x15 for standard images - such as "Upon The Forest Floor" and "Amongst The Dead" - with prices beginning at only $90 plus shipping. More information can be found by clicking upon one of the newly released images or simply navigating to the shop page.
Thank you again for all of your support. I look forward to working with you if you so choose to collect a piece of my art.