I was thinking the other day about the influence of place on my approach to photography. In my early years I spent most of my time in Colorado, Washington State, and traveling the world. At that time I concentrated on landscape photography. More recently I made many trips to the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota as well as a number of trips to the Canyonlands of Colorado, Utah and Arizona. I continued to photograph mainly landscapes.
After I retired I started to spend more time photographing around my 80 acre farm. There were no grand landscapes to photograph. In fact, I live amongst a pine and hardwood forest so I’m lucky if I can see the sunrise and sunset. This has definitely had an impact on the way I see things to photograph. I’ve become much more engaged in looking for and photographing what I call intimate nature.
I started out documenting what I saw as a walked around the farm. The more I spent walking the farm the more interested I became in photographing small objects. This lead to the purchase of a Macro lens so I could better photograph insects, small flowers, leaves and other small objects. This interest has carried beyond the farm. As I travel I find myself spending more time in intimate nature photography. Rather than photographing entire waterfalls I spend just as much or time photographing small sections of the waterfall to capture water running over a rock or the sunlight reflecting off a small portion of the falls.
I also spent more time watching birds. The more I watched them the more I became interested in photographing them. I purchased a 200-500mm lens so that I could get more intimate photographs of them in their natural environment. This led to a greater interest in avian photography in general and I started adding wildlife areas to my travel destinations.
After a year of photographing around the farm I realized that what I was doing was documenting nature throughout the seasons in one small place on the planet. This also influenced the my approach to photography as I visited other sites. I started visiting the same sites at different times of the year so I could capture the site as it changed throughout the seasons.
The farm has also influenced the way I organize my entire website. Generally photographers organize their website by topics such as waterfalls, fall colors etc. I’ve arranged my website by location and as I continue to visit many of the same sites at different times of the year I’ve also started to document them by seasons. I would like to feel that viewers of my website can use it for planning trips during various times of the year and be able to see what they might find when they visit the location at a particular time of the year.
You can see more of my photography at Philip Schwarz Photography.