About the Photographer
I'm not a professional photographer. I have no aspirations to be a professional photographer. In all likelihood, I wouldn't make it as a professional photographer unless I made some serious concessions regarding the subject matter I like to photograph.
In High School I signed up for a photography class and got my first taste of the concept of creativity through photography, and I think - subconsciously at least - that I was hooked at that point. At the same time I also was introduced to web programming, and the combined interests led to the creation of the Northwest Waterfall Survey, and later on the World Waterfall Database. Several years later this in turn led to an opportunity to work along side renowned Japanese photographer Yoshikazu Shirakawa as he completed his World's 100 Greatest Waterfalls project.
My enthusiasm for landscape photography as a whole didn't really set in until the mid 2000s when I started to come around to the idea that there were subjects other than waterfalls that I could actually enjoy photographing, and from that point on my drive to explore the natural world has only gotten stronger.
Philosophy & Approach
Landscape Photography for me is about capturing a moment that I personally experience and trying to depict it artistically but realisitically. I'm fully on board with the idea of taking artistic liberties for the sake of art, but because my connection to the images I make is ultimately about capturing and connecting to my experiences, I want and need my work to stay grounded in reality rather than transforming into some painterly adaptation of a romanticized of that moment.
As much as I possibly can I avoid adding anything to my images that wasn't there in the first place, and I do not and will not warp, distort, or alter the subjects of my images in an effort to try to make them look more imposing or dramatic (a practice that unfortunately seems to be more and more broadly adopted), because it's important to me to depict the natural world in a way that doesn't set unreasonable expectations. In the few cases where I have taken some liberties with my images I do strive to be as honest about it as I can because I still want that connection to a grounded reality - the moment I actually experienced - to shine through.
A big part of why I approach my images like this is because over the years as I've grown as a photographer, I found I was chasing this artificial paradigm that was being set by images from other photographers which depict incredible dramatic light, or conditions that either simply aren't realisitic to witness without dedicating incredible amounts of time, or were just overly altered and straight up didn't exist in the first place. And that was setting my own expectations to a height that I was simply not going to ever achieve, for a number of reasons, and those lofty expectations ultimately started to erode my mental health and my attitudes toward my interest in photography as a whole. I wasn't chasing this concept because I wanted to experience it, I was chasing it because I thought that was how I had to portray nature in order to be a successful photographer. And not only is that not true, but I find it to be an incredibly toxic attitude.
It took me a while to understand this, and as much as I love photographing dramatic light when I get to experience it, I try to be content with the conditions I get specifically because those every day, bland, uninspiring conditions are the norm. As a landscape photographer I feel like I have some responsibility to show that norm - and that it can still be depicted in interesting and creative ways. And honestly, I find it far more satisfying to create a successful image under less than inspiring conditions than when the sky is completely blowing up.