My Inspiration: National Parks and Photographers
On August 25th, the National Park Service celebrated its 100th anniversary. Across the web there has been a flood of spectacular photographs, both old and new, celebrating this centennial. The older images taken by photographers like Ansel Adams are breathtaking in terms of their technical perfection. Using a large format camera, Adams was able to achieve startling sharpness and clarity. His attention to detail and his mastery of the exposure and the printing process are perhaps unmatched by any other American photographer. His National Park images are worth a view: Ansel Adams Image Slideshows.
Equally impressive is the work of contemporary National Park photographers, some of whom still use film, while others have migrated to digital. Their work is different from that of Adams and his peers in terms of composition, look, and feel. But these recent images are also technically stunning.
The color digital images of Stephen Wilkes, featured in this National Geographic piece, are one example: "How National Parks Tell Our Story—and Show Who We Are". I was dumbfounded by what appeared on my screen. His work exemplifies the range of today's digital photographic techniques. When you look at his work, see if you have a similar reaction!
It's intriguing, though, that interest in film, traditional wet processing methods, and black and white images remain steadfast among some photographers. Despite the colorful brilliance and razor sharp detail that can be achieved with digital cameras, the look and feel of black and white, particularly when done with film and processed using traditional darkroom methods, is difficult to surpass. There are a handful of skilled photographers who cut their teeth with film and wet processing in the days before digital. When digital cameras and digital processing emerged, they took their traditional photographic knowledge and blended it with these new technologies. I find the work of these photographers particularly inspiring because they move freely and effortlessly between the analog and digital worlds, pulling the best from both and knowing which particular piece of equipment or process will yield a successful final image. The breadth of technical knowledge and expertise required to achieve this type of blending is impressive.
One such photographer is Mark Burns. As luck would have it, some of his most recent and beautiful work centers on the National Parks. This article from The Atlantic: "An Explorer’s Ode to America’s National Parks", outlines his newest project and features his gorgeous black and white images.
Closer to home, I draw inspiration from the National Parks and these great photographers to make landscape images in our little corner of the world. With that in mind, I set out a few days ago for Bragg Hill Road in Norwich to shoot images of a lush early morning. Here are three of my favorites. Enjoy! Thanks for reading this post.
Bragg Hill Road, #1
Bragg Hill Road, #2
Bragg Hill Road, #3
Visit Through My Lens to see my previous posts and to subscribe to this photo blog. You can see more of my work at: sethharpergoodwin.com. Or, follow me on Instagram @sethharpergoodwin and Facebook at Seth Harper Goodwin Photography.
About the photographer: Seth is based in Norwich, Vermont and works full-time as a professional photographer. His main areas of photographic interest are landscape, nature, photojournalism, and travel. He gives photography lessons to individuals and small groups, does freelance work, offers his images and prints for sale, provides digital darkroom processing, and makes custom digital inkjet prints. Seth welcomes all inquiries and questions about his work, potential projects, and collaborations.
All photos Copyright 2016 Seth Harper Goodwin