I've never considered myself much of a landscape photographer. Even back in the day, with large format cameras and 4x5 black & white film, the outdoors excursion was largely an exercise in perfecting exposure techniques. And largely, too, just plain old exercise: these were big heavy cameras, after all. But the past couple years or so I've been having a remarkably fun time wandering around out there, looking -- and photographing -- the immensity of beauty that's all around. It's funny how I'd never really noticed, never even really seen it all before, and I imagine it's because I wasn't really looking. Now I can't not look. It's driving me crazy. I love it.
And that's how it was this week, when my sister and my niece visited from land-locked Colorado. A fine photographer in her own right, we worked a bit in the studio, but we also spent a beautiful day at the Oregon coast. Delicious rain, delicious light, and countless familiar and often-photographed scenes -- which gets to the point I want to make: it hardly matters if the landscape before you is iconic, recognizable, familiar. Ansel Adams once said that in any landscape, there are only two people: the photographer, and the viewer. So take out your camera and use it; you will put yourself into that image and make it a personal statement. Every photo you take is an intimate moment. I may have seen dozens of photographs of Hay Stack Rock in Cannon Beach...but I haven't seen yours.
"What moves those of genius," according to Eugene Delacroix (who you'd think would know), "what inspires their work, is not new ideas, but their obsession with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough."
No, I'm not sure what he's talking about, either. But I am going to keep looking at things with fresh eyes, and keep taking photos over and over again for the first time.
I hope you don't mind.