Sunday, August 28, 2016

Oh, the places you can go!

I gotta admit - seeing the Subaru Outback in my driveway makes me think of all the places I've been, and so desperately wish to see again: southwest Colorado; south-central Utah; northern Arizona; all of California; southern Oregon. These are places my dad and I went. Places I went with other photographers. Places I went by myself. The forest service roads off the highway, the dirt and gravel roads of the Utah wilderness, the paved but rough highway in the middle of the Redwoods. I'm thinking of doing the "power weekends" like I used to, where I'd head off early on a Saturday, and drive someplace that I could get to in 4-5 hours. I'd then do photography all afternoon, get up early on Sunday, do more photography, and then jet back home after lunch. 

Road to Kolob Terrace, Zion National Park, Utah
Photo credit unknown
The Outback is just a car. But to me, it's also a symbol. A symbol of something that I had enjoyed at one time. A symbol of something that gave me peace, self-confidence, and a sense of balance. I never can determine if I used to do my photography as an excuse to be out in nature and out on the open road, or if I used the open road and nature as a means to do my photography. They are inexorably linked. And my motivation has changed. 20 years ago, when I was doing major trips around the southwest, my goal was to capture images that I could print and sell as large wall prints. Now, my motivation is to share my images via social media and a website, and if someone wishes to purchase them, well, then, I'd create an online store, maybe even self-publish a book. 

But the real motivation now is to get out there. Just to be out there. One of my favorite remembrances of traveling with my dad was the miles and miles and hours and hours of silence. It wasn't that we didn't have anything to say to each other, or that we were uncomfortable talking with each other. It was that we both appreciated the road, and the scenery that we saw as we drove. And when we'd stop, we'd grab our camera bags and head off in different directions. We both allowed the landscape to speak to us in its own language, and it was a language that we both understood. 

Coastal Drive, Prairie Creek Redwoods, California
Photo credit unknown
For you see, Nature is a constant work of art, and in and of itself is the inspiration for all artists, be they visual or aural. When you're schooled in the basic rules of artistic composition (rule of 3rds, perspective, lines and curves), then you find yourself attuned to Nature and the brilliant natural compositions she shares with us. Sometimes we see these gifts easily. More often, we have to look for them. And sometimes, we don't have to look for them because we are so sensitive to what Nature provides us, that we respond effortlessly. 

And so, for me, the Outback is calling me to take it - out there. To see what I haven't seen yet, to find what I found a long time ago. And to listen to what Nature has to tell me.