It is difficult to take sea- and sand-scapes at Point Lobos or in Big Sur that are not breathtaking. Satisfied until I asked myself what imparted such beauty to these scenes, I began to crop areas of interest characterized by bright colors or unusual patterns. I discerned the secrets of nature's techniques and palettes of color—broad strokes, trailing wisps, evocative veils, impressionist dabs, pointillist dots, random splashes, cubist lines, and contorted angles. Artists from Renoir to Rothko had recognized this palette and devised transformative ways of interpreting what they saw and felt. Thus art evolved from realistic representations of the natural world to the extraction of its essence. Similarly I discerned those features that gave spirit to a sea- or sand-scape, extracted them in my mind's eye as if I were an abstract impressionist, and captured them in images no longer cropped from larger ones. The art of my photographs became the discovery of life imitating art. Nature did the painting, but I saw this process as painters did when photography obviated the need for journalistic representation. I use photography to create painterly images. Fashioned by light and wind, the images of my subjects—never before seen, seen no more—give permanence to the evanescent.
Currently, I use a Nikon D800 camera. For the images shown here, I employed a Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 lens with a Nikon 2x teleconverter. This camera and lens enable quality enlargements up to 40 x 60."
Using Aperture 3 digital photo-processing, I apply only minor adjustments to my photographs, most commonly a polarizing effect to eliminate glare, or an occasional tweak of the exposure or black point. Some might consider even these adjustments a meddlesome intrusion into nature's handiwork, but the performance of even these minute changes, in a digital darkroom, enables me to contribute, in a creative fashion, to their impact. I am conscious, also, of the importance of composition and the balance of color fields. As evidence of this, most of my images photographs remain coherent whether viewed right side up, upside down, or on either side.
Rotate this image from China Cove 90 degrees counterclockwise, and the image becomes five pine trees silhouetted by the aurora borealis.
Having overcome the guilt of even minor computer manipulation of my images, I began, while in the field, to view their potential as art pieces. I accomplished this by photographing a scene with 30 degree tilts to the right and left and juxtaposing them as a dyptych as seen in the following construct of images from Whaler's Cove.
Photography, like life, is a journey of discovery, a process of becoming.
The journey is endless.
"Alas for those who never sing,
But die with all their music in them!"
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
11 SEPTEMBER, 1891