This series celebrates the wilderness and the greatest artist of all, Nature. Using slow acting geological forces and abrasive powers of wind and water, she patiently sculpts fascinating formations that transcend comprehension and stretch our imagination. In the wilderness, some stand proud, posing for crowds while others hide away in solitude. Many become so delicate that the very forces that created them eventually end their existence.
I want to tell the story of such creations in a way that will entice and motivate the viewer to learn and explore. The series title, Elusive, refers as much to the unique light conditions I want to capture in my photographs as to the relatively short geological life span of these formations.
Long term meticulous planning is required to achieve the desired harmony between the subject and the quality and direction of light I seek. Multiple revisits and a little bit of luck are often necessary because not all can be preconceived and anticipated as Nature presents herself in fascinating and unpredictable ways.
Most of the photographs in this exhibit come from a remote region that straddles the Arizona and Utah border, a place known as the Paria Wilderness in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. Some of these locations can only be reached after hiking for miles in the desert, in scorching heat with a threat of flash floods. At night, the habitat becomes alive with creatures that call the desert home - rattlesnakes, bats, and coyotes.
Nighttime photography holds a special place in my heart because I have loved astronomy since I was a child. Night landscapes are especially challenging because of the need to work with very faint light. The technique I use might be called “purist” because the entire image is always formed in the field during the exposure with the light available at the moment, be it a residual sunset glow, moonlight, or the light supplied by a flashlight. This gives the photographs an atmosphere that is difficult to achieve by alternative techniques such as blending exposures taken at different times of the day. Light painting with a flashlight can be described as real-time dodging and burning similar in spirit to that which is done in a conventional darkroom during developing.