My inaugural experience in the outdoors was a trip to the Grand Canyon at a few months old, where my parents 'baptized' me as a son of nature under the sprinkling Ribbon Falls. They may have gotten more than they bargained for. It wasn't until two decades later, however, that my love for nature culminated in me picking up a camera. Today I can not imagine a more fulfilling experience than standing atop a wilderness mountain peak at the break of dawn, watching the stars melt into pastels that soon transform into the warm rays of the rising sun. I find unparalleled exhilaration and inspiration, a sense of awe and discovery, and a healing calmness in the outdoors, and I hope my images allow you to feel the same. In truth, a photograph is only part of the story, and until you have felt the desert sun and sand between your toes, smelled the damp moss after a fresh rain, and heard the American Dippers chirping alongside babbling brooks, you will always be missing something. I hope that seeing my images compels you to explore your own local ranges to complete the experience. Nature is good for the soul. The human species evolved in the natural world, and thus our brains are programmed to glean satisfaction, motivation, and inspiration from it. I find my images can transport me back to those times, keeping me at ease even when I am trapped in a world of asphalt and automobiles. Perhaps they can do the same for you.
Art has always been a large part of my life, and I can confidently say that in addition to the countless hours I have spent out in the woods, my photographic style has been largely influenced by my experience in painting, jazz guitar, and engineering. Eventually, I settled on nature photography for my creative outlet as it combines my passions for the natural world, discovery, innovation, excitement, and inner peace. In a single outing I can experience the thrill of a close encounter with a bear, dream up new ways of capturing light and form, and relax beside an alpine tarn - no other activity provides me with the diversity of experience that nature photography does. I started with bird photography, a result of my interest in painting birds, but quickly progressed to incorporate the rest of the natural world into my photographic vision. I now spend as much time as possible photographing on backroads and in the backcountry, exploring places far from tourists and crowds, free to create my art at my own pace. I wish I could say I did photography for some good reason like environmental awareness, but in truth the driving force behind my photography is simply a passion for the natural world and an expression of my creativity. My hope is that these images, created from the heart, will touch and inspire others to appreciate, and care for, the world around them.
I make my home in Pasadena, CA, a place devoid of nature and saturated with cement, people, and cars. But, I live just hours away from some of the most spectacular scenery in America: the Sierra Nevada, the southern deserts, and the California coast. When I am not out exploring and photographing, I am most likely working towards my PhD in Control and Dynamical Systems at the California Institute of Technology, where I study insect flight dynamics using high speed videography and realtime 3D multi-target computer vision based tracking.
About my Images
Each of my images is the result of patient hours spent in the field, exploring, learning, feeling, and seeing. Occasionally everything aligns and I get to bring home meaningful images, but I enjoy every minute of the wilderness regardless of my photographic success. Currently, my equipment of choice is a Canon digital SLR, a wide array of Canon lenses, and Singh-Ray filters. This is an exciting time in photography, and I fully embrace the power of the digital darkroom to turn the raw camera data into works of art that have the emotional impact of a painting, but with the detail, authenticity, and direct connection to nature that comes with photography. It is very important to me that my images are photographs, and not paintings, as it means that they are in fact real events that I experienced in real places. You could go out and see these places for yourself, in fact, I hope my images inspire you to do just that.
The brain is a wonderful piece of machinery; a complex network of close to 1 billion neurons, and of those almost 300 million are involved in visual processing. What this means is, what you "see", is not in fact, "reality" as it is. If you need convincing, take a look at some of these optical illusions. Thus, it should be no surprise to you that using a camera to produce an image that looks similar to what we experience is not trivial. In fact, in many cases a significant amount of post processing of photographs is required to render the scene as it was experienced in person. So, while I do my best to capture my photographs in traditional single exposures where possible, often times I will make use of multiple exposures of the same scene to blend together for increased control of tonal range, image quality, and subject motion. In every case I strive to make my art honest to the original scene, with modest contrast and saturation adjustments for aesthetic considerations; I never add or remove significant elements. If you are interested in learning more about my methods, I invite you to read my articles, peruse my blog, and sign up for a workshop. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.