I began guiding on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in central Idaho in 1991. For years I spent summer after summer living and working in the largest wilderness area in the lower forty-eight states. My eyes were opened by the vastness and beauty of the river and it's canyons. I could hardly believe that an entire drainage system (over 2.3 million acres), whose main stem was over 100 miles long, could remain protected and relatively unspoiled by man. At index and among friends and family, I struggled to describe the wilderness in which I worked. Words failed.
My early experiments with a fully automatic, 35mm SLC camera also failed. Time and again, I would excitedly open the camera shop envelope and be disappointed by the images that lacked the depth and color my eyes saw in the real world. The results could be attributed somewhat to the camera and development, but much was due to my naivete as a photographer and my understanding of film.
In 1998 I planned to travel on a climbing trip to Patagonia with my brother. It would be an adventure to a strange and beautiful landscape full of new sights and unknown challenges. I could return year after year to the Middle Fork, but the trip to South America would be a one-time experience. I purchased a Canon camera body, variable zoom lens, and 20 rolls of Fugichrome Velvia slide film. The color saturation and "what you see is what you get" nature of slide film seemed a perfect medium to capture and convey the spirit and adventure of the wild Patagonian landscape.
To some extent I succeeded. The relatively lightweight nature of 35mm format allowed me to carry my camera into the mountains and up the cliff walls of the Argentinian spires. I learned a tremendous amount about the medium, but yearned to know more about the nature of film and the technique of photography. My lifestyle back index guiding on the Middle Fork and adventuring in the mountains provided the perfect palate for experimentation.
The wildness and natural beauty of the landscape inspires me. My photography has evolved from the desire to create technically perfect images of what I see with eyes. As I spend more time looking through the camera lens and analyzing the results on the light table, and now on the computer screen, I gain a better understanding of the limited and limitless nature of photography. I am driven by the challenge of being in the right situation to capture the image I visualize in my head, and the adventure of chasing light through the landscape.
My goal with photography is to capture the reality, spontaneity, and beauty of the natural world. At the same time I strive to push the limits of both my body and my camera, creativity and composition to create beautiful and inspiring photographs.