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I'm one of those. A camera from grandfather in junior high school, with a contact printer and developing needs. I was hooked. Looking at his slides in Kodachrome from his trips hooked me more. In college minor missteps in other majors sent me into the arts. I studied photography, film and art history, drawing, lithography. My life drawing prof looking over my shoulder one day politely asked "You are in photography eh?". At my affirmative reply he nodded, repeating as he walked off "good, good". Drawing was not my thing.
I "came into the country" as has been said of other places, in 1973. I awakened that morning in the Capitol Creek valley near Aspen. I came during the night. When I woke up in the morning, I looked out of my room directly at Mt. Sopris. A line of high ridges connected it to Capitol, Daly, and the Elk Range. It was a brilliant Labor Day weekend morning. Snow dusted to the tree line. High aspen groves glowed yellow gold. I came for a winter and stayed for the better part of 8 years. I never forgot that view, it's branded in me.
I left for other pursuits, more training at RIT, meaningful work, relationships and family. Advertising photography gave me all those things though not easily. A long meaningful and beautiful 30 years in the city followed. It was a time I enjoyed and learned from. I raised and mentored children. I dealt with the fires of relationships, economic disaster and physical injury. I saw all the joy and sorrows of having and losing parents, watched children be born and grow up and as may be said, seeing "them changes", both expected and shocking, in self and others.
Tongue in cheek I claim my reason for returning to Aspen six years ago was "the kids are grown up so I no longer have to be grown up". This being more my approach than reality. I do enjoy the quiet after the adventure of raising a family and the stresses of my studio in advertising photography. A toe hold in this new life is going well, and the images on this website are an expression of that. Equally engaging is the fun of teaching others to ski here. That's a topic for another site perhaps. The oldest image on this website, I shot days after arrival in 1973, a week or two after waking to Mt. Sopris. This is my why, please read on if you're interested in the how.
The Story of Mountain Light Images
I shoot outdoors since the first days of my time in Colorado. Whether I hike, bike, ski, camp, or take road trips, I bring the cameras. My schooling provided technical, design, and entrepreneurship skills. Quality equipment necessary in business provided tools for solid practice and some mastery. 17 years later burn out was creeping in. I thought it would be fun, perhaps profitable, and at least different to branch out rather than torture my family with images I had taken over the years. A friend in the ad biz, in the mountains outside Denver was doing outdoor shows and thinking about a gallery. With his mentoring and some hard work of my own I began showing images of which I was the sole creator. In advertising one fills a client's need, which is a very different animal. It was engaging to learn a different business model, and see perhaps an eventual lifestyle change. So, I kept at it. I ran smack into the "great recession" which slowed that down!
During the warm seasons my booth at the Aspen Saturday Market is a studio that fits into the back of my truck. The virus pandemic has created a new challenge. This new website is partly a response to that...though it has been in the wings since last fall.
Looking for moose in the rain. See what I found in my wildlife gallery.
Technical and Process
My tools today are primarily Pentax DSLR cameras and lenses. I use an Epson Stylus Pro 7600 roll printer for numbered editions and the lab for online orders uses the best printer/ink/media for the project in front of them. Look at my quality shipping and return policies in the FAQ for more.
Most of my more panoramic images (and many others) are "panorama stitches". This process captures the image in overlapping chunks to achieve greater sharpness at larger sizes. One of my daughters would say that, I "can make prints the size of Africa". I will just say a sharper image at very large sizes is the result. My use and understanding of Photoshop and Lightroom continues to grow and change. I use both programs gently, seeking to get depth and color of the scene into the final image. It is possible with these programs to achieve a similar feel to viewing a slide. Analog color film/print materials just don't get there. I do not digitally alter elements of any scene. A potential client once asked if I could remove a particular part visible on the huge bull moose in my wildlife gallery. I refused to geld the beast in the name of making a sale!
My online store printing is fulfilled by a quality lab that uses all the media types you may be looking for, canvas, plexiglass, metal, wood prints, and more. Many photographic and fine art papers in several finishes are also available. Finishing options range from framed with or without mat, to frameless hanging systems for a more modern look. Look at the bottom of every page of this site for my FAQ about service, quality, and archival materials used.
Image limited editions are numbered, signed and printed by my hand using the Epson Stylus Pro 7600 professional printer mentioned above. Epson printers for pro use are operated by many fine museums for their print offerings. the Boston Museum of Art is one of them. Inks are archival, the prints do not fade in 150 years, and the color gamut (range of colors) is as good as it gets. If I wear out the printer and can find a larger studio I will move from the 24" width to a 44" or 60" width. My friends at Reed Photo in Denver will be called on to print anything larger than the 7600 can handle. (this would be more than 24" in any dimension from a file I have approved.)
I was fascinated by the processes of photography long before it became digital. The moment of capture has changed little. The supplicant must be there with intent, be present to the moment, and keep at it. Perhaps one goes careening off the road, dives into bushes off a trail or falls in deep snow holding the precious camera high. One may sometimes make others wait. To be aware of the moment's awesome presence, or be able to discern that "No, this is not it" is more a skill than the use of the hardware. One must be a student of light, time, weather, composition, sun angle and the calendar. One must be willing to wait, perhaps for another day, better clouds, more green, a better yellow, or a different season. And those @$%&#*!! elk will never move into the right spot. But then they do..... Click to see!
One spends hours sometimes or even years looking at a picture. Revisiting, rethinking, re-imagining what is in the minds eye and heart, refraining from settling if possible. I once lassoed a travel companion into a 7 hour excursion to Steamboat Springs from Denver: normally a 2.5-3 hour trip. We scouted a route never taken before and with no hurry. On that trip there was great visual opportunity. One evening a late night earthquake was mistaken momentarily for someone hitting a pylon in the underground parking. Seeing new possibilities is always fun. Some of them I return to years later looking for the light, angle, weather, time, wildlife and season. When there is deep inspiration it's unmistakable.
I am asked often where an image was taken. The person asking often wants to "go get the same shot". I smile and tell them. Here's reality though, it will never be the same image. Stand in the same spot sure and I will tell you where it is. But it won't be the decisive moment, light, weather, karma, technique, openness, willingness to stand and wait that caused me to trip the shutter. It's ok, you can easily possess my image, and not make the arduous trip. That's part of why I do it. In sharing what I have found and what I am learning to find better, I hope you may get it.
What is it tho? My images attempt to share a moment, a feeling, a time in which I almost tamed the awesome randomness of nature. The majesty of the peak. The quiet of the valley. The nervousness of wildlife. Time frozen to be recalled. You may during a deep viewing smell an odor, hear a breeze, feel the wind and cold, sense the warmth of the sun, be stunned by the stillness, tremble that the beast may look at you.
If we are lucky you feel the same shiver up your spine I did at the capture of that moment Cartier-Bresson called decisive. It's a feeling like only a few others. It may exceed love, rapture, being out of one's body, transcendent lovemaking, incredible powder skied more truly than ever before.
To be succinct (once in a while I try), if one of my images transports or moves you, then it has succeeded for us both. Thanks for that, let me know if you care to share what was felt. It’s part of the high for me.
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Returns and exchanges for quality and material defects or shipping damage. Other than the above all sales are final. For shipping damage please DO NOT discard the shipping materials. A cellphone picture of the image damage and the package damage along with a description is needed. Please send both via email ASAP. Return of the damaged image may be required, return label will be provided. A replacement print will be put into process within 24 hours of receipt of your email.
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Printing papers used are archival. This means that under standard lighting conditions the print will retain color fidelity a minimum of 100 years. Prints on art papers (giclee prints) will extend this life. Metal and acrylic mount prints have similar archival characteristics. For archival canvas prints please select "canvas archival" media when ordering. For best life your prints should not be hung in direct sunlight. A very bright room across from windows is suitable!
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