No Clue

Some people appear to lead planned lives. They know what they want to do early in life, get the education they need and become professionals. Then there are people like me. It’s not that I’m not educated or don’t have goals. It’s just that when I seem to be hard at work on these goals, some opportunity hits me from left field and my life does a 180. A good example of this is that after years of mostly short-term unfulfilling relationships, I joined a community and trained to become a monk. It was then that I met my future wife. Our marriage is going on its 26th year.

About 13 years ago I was hiking on a beautiful trail outside of Crestone, CO. Every so often the beauty in front of me would just stop me. I’d stand there and just take it in for a while and then I would think about capturing it in a photograph. But I knew all about nature photographers. Those guys wandered the mountains with those large, heavy view cameras spending hours just putting together one image. Doing that was a life’s work in itself. I neither had the time or patience for doing that.

I started playing around with nature photographs about three years later only because I felt that the technology had improved so that I wouldn’t have to be saddled with a large format camera. I could do my shooting with lightweight 35mm cameras.

Now, what am I doing? Wandering the hills with a heavy view camera. Oh well.

The same cluelessness seems to accompany my attempts at producing beautiful images. We recently had a week of much needed rain in our area and I was very excited about getting some nice photographs of the spring flowers. Not living in an area with mountains for backgrounds, shooting landscapes can be problematical in getting the light of the trees, sky and foreground balanced.

The above photo is probably the first image that I shot and the one I had the least hopes for. I’ve tried to photograph this tree in rain, dense fog, morning and late afternoon sun and in all seasons and have never gotten anything. I was sure that the current image would be as boring as the previous ones.

Now it’s one of my favorites.

These thoughts comfort me now as I face unemployment, the loss of health insurance and the dwindling of our savings. Something has always been at work in my life and it appears to know better where my life is going than I certainly do. Who knows where it will lead.

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~ by danbaumbach on April 22, 2009.

4 Responses to “No Clue”

  1. I’ve decided that people are not living in an environment for which nature designed us. For hundreds and thousands of years humans roamed the forests searching for ways too live, and now only in the past few hundred years have we settled down into a civilized society. However, i think our deepest nature fights against this mundane integration and stratification of society. that is why there is so much crime and unhappiness in all big cities. I feel that the more we try to immerse ourselves as a member of society the more we disconnect ourselves as a member of the natural world. So there is always a tension, for me at least, of trying to reconcile those two selves.

    Anyway, I am not a photographer but i found your site about 4 or 5 years ago and have been returning to it ever since. Each picture that you capture feels like some dreamscape that is both familiar and strange. Sometimes I just stare at a picture of a forest for hours just trying to imagine that small scene around me. Your art that allows me to escape my thoughts, if only for a moment, and admire the beauty of the natural world around. You have a rare gift for capturing that elusive grace of nature. I just wanted you to know that your work made a difference in my life.

  2. Jim, thank you very much.

    – Dan.

  3. Dan, this photo is realy stunning. I found in your portfolio a lot of photos taken in forests. I think that in forests you find the most difficult conditions for taking well-balanced photos – it’s difficult to exclude objects from the scenery. So I appreciate your ability to take this photos.

    As for the unemployment and the loss of health insurance, well, it happens. In such situations I always recall that our lifes consist of black and white stripes, and after a black stripe there always comes a white one.

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