Intro to Tom
While I carry a bit of envy of those who “always knew” they wanted to be photographers, especially those who from a young age felt driven to make their livings as photographer,. I imagine that my journey with photography is a more common one.
I can recall vividly, pointing my Kodak 126 out the window of a tour bus in Athens, Greece and being really happy when the box of slides showed up back home, because my photo of the Acropolis was absolutely beautiful. From today’s vantage point I have to ask,”Was it really?” I may have that slide somewhere, but I don’t have a clue where that might be. That was pretty much the story of my photography for the next 34 years. More vacations and family outings. More snapshots. Some looked pretty nice at the time.
Though I was introduced to photography a little more seriously during my 12 years in the United State Air Force beginning in the early ‘60s, no one would have called me a photographer. Indeed, as a staff writer for the Air Force’s Airman Magazine, I traveled all over the US and the world as the writer member of a two-man writer/photographer team.
It wasn’t until my wife and I moved into our current home in 2000 that my interest in photography began to take on a serious note. To this day we don’t know how it is that I started receiving a subscription to Outdoor Photographer magazine. But, I credit the writers, editors and photographers of this fine magazine with piquing my interest in trying to learn how to intentionally capture beautiful images.
I’m seldom without my camera these days. So, most of my images are captured at venues close to home in Central and Upstate New York . . . the Finger Lakes and Adirondack regions of our state. That said, I’ve been fortunate in recent years to be able to travel to some prime photography locales such as the coast of Maine, the glaciers and rain forests of southeast Alaska, the central coast of California, some iconic vistas of Arizona, Vermont, and the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, to mention a few.
Still, as enjoyable as these places are to photograph, it is always nice to get back home and to recognize the “beauty in our backyard.”
For the most part, I take the photos that work for me, catch my interest, will look good on the walls of my home or office, or that I think may work to help illustrate a magazine article. For certain, it’s always a thrill to have others enjoy my images and even want to hang them in their homes or offices as well.
That’s one of the great things about being able to have my work in shows, galleries and stores. As one of the owners of Gallery 54 in Skaneateles, NY, I often get to witness visitors enjoying the results of my efforts, without realizing that the guy who took the photo or photos they are admiring is the one standing behind the counter. Gallery 54 is a popular gallery featuring some 50 upstate New York artists.
While there may be some of my work in a small collection of retail outlets around New York State, I’ve elected to make Gallery 54 the primary venue for viewing and purchasing my work, besides this website. I hope you’ll visit us sometime.
It’s ever changing
Like everything else in life, photography changes. We all know how much the technology in and around photography has changed since the introduction of digital photography. It’s a challenge unto itself just to keep up with the tech changes.
No one will ever consider me a digital photography technology guru, despite my sincere efforts to keep up with changes that impact my own photography. Yet, it’s this very technology that has spurred the success of my photography workshops. It’s the technology that allows us the ability to freely experiment with our cameras, without the costs that used to be associated with film – the film itself and the film processing costs – that made us think twice before trying new things.
The world of art has opened up to us
Even more important though, is the ability digital photography puts in our hands to allow us to explore our creative sides, to use photography to create art. While in past years some people have claimed that photography could not be artistic, there are any number of artists today who challenge that notion. Perhaps more importantly, whose creativity with a camera, with post-capture processing, even with the presentation of their images creates the art that annihilate’s (which according to Webster means “to reduce to nothing” even the implication of such a notion.
Probably the greatest personal benefit of my photography has been a recognition of the beauty the Good Lord has surrounded us with. It makes little difference where we are. From sunsets to waterfalls, from winter ice storms to wildflowers, from mountain valleys to local parks, from oceanside cliffs to neighborhood streams, His beauty is all around us…we only need to see it and then apply the tools available to us in this marvelous age of digital photography. I think that’s what’s led me to offer my work in galleries and shows. I often heard people comment on how lucky I am to be able to travel to so many beautiful places. They are typically surprised when I tell them that the vast majority of the images they are enjoying are within a couple hours of where they are standing – “our backyard”. Similarly, I’ve had people recognize a distant scene and muse that they had been there but didn’t come home with “such a beautiful picture.”
At such moments I’m always anxious to share some insights into how their experiences could be different and, indeed, that’s what motivated development of my workshop schedule and what my tours or workshops are all about . . . helping people not only enjoy the beautiful creation around them, but also helping them bring home images that more closely reflect what they remember, what they felt, what they experienced. Nature photography has become a tremendous blessing in my life and I’m always anxious to share it others.