Reconnecting

Let me begin with a quote by Edward Abbey from Desert Solitaire: “The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need—if only we had the eyes to see.” As I continue to learn to “see,” I feel privileged to be able to share my vision with you through the photographs. I bring them to you as a hiker and adventurer, an avid photographer, but most of all a devoted admirer of Nature. Most come from a remote region straddling the Arizona and Utah border known as the Paria Wilderness in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument.

The photographs portray mostly off beaten path locations that can only be reached after hiking for miles in a desert, sometimes in pitch dark, rock climbing, braving the elements, including scorching heat and flash floods. The habitat is alive with creatures that call the desert home -- rattlesnakes, bats, and packs of howling coyotes. The pictures require patience and careful planning and sometimes also pure luck as not only the capricious weather and the time of day are essential to obtain the special light I seek but also the season and even the Moon phase play their role. Night photography holds a particularly special place in my heart because I have loved astronomy since I was a child. It still feels like a miracle to point a camera to what appears as darkness to the naked eye, expose for fifteen seconds while caressing the subject with a flashlight ... and to capture a colorful scene adorned with the Milky Way dramatically hanging above. Sculpting with light comes to my mind as a fitting metaphor.

Observing the scenery as a photographer enhances the experience as I engrave the three-dimensionality of the scene in my mind. Besides magnifying and digitizing the light, the camera helps me absorb the moment and find unique combinations of light and angles. It is fascinating to realize that a picture could convey the feelings of a person observing the hues of dimly lit sandstone walls in a slot canyon or the warmth of the last sun rays touching fragile sandstone formations.

In the wilderness, away from the connectivity of modern society and in a complete solitude, I reconnect with Nature because it is She who the real artist is. I am a mere mediator.