Strolling alongside a canal at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve on an overcast winter day, I met a woman hauling her gigantic lenses/cameras/tripods in the opposite direction. She spied my Nikon d7100 and longish lens, and grumbled, “The light is terrible today.” I watched her walk to the parking lot. Then I continued making photographs.
Hiking the Wildcat Trail in Monument Valley on a bright sunny spring morning, I met a couple of German tourists bedecked with cameras. We exchanged pleasantries, and then one of them said, “The light is terrible today.” I replied, “I guess we’ll just have to play the cards we’re dealt.” With a puzzled look, they returned to the hotel. I continued making photographs.
My philosophy is similar to that of famous Danish photographer Prince Hamlet, who told me, “There is no good or bad light, but thinking makes it so.” Or something like that. It was a long time ago and we may have been drinking mead. But I stand by this mantra: There is no bad light; only opportunities for photographic exploration.
Whether we are professionals or amateurs, cameras and lenses might be our tools, but light is our medium. And light should be one of our true loves, whose beauty can always be found simply by looking for it.
I get paid to make photographs for a handful of clients, but I make many more photographs for the sheer pleasure of making them. You might say I’m a professional amateur, since “amateur” literally means, “does it for love.”
This is not a site for professional photographers or even aspiring professionals: This is a site for amateurs who spend too much time on the Internet having their confidence undermined. I want you to enjoy photography. I want to share inspiration and trickery I’ve picked up on my journey so your heart will be flooded with joy* every time you raise a camera to your eye.
Digital photography may be the most democratized form of self-expression ever, and self-expression provides an excellent platform for self-exploration. The photographs you make are yours, and they are you. Love them. Indulge YOUR aesthetic sensibility, not someone else’s. Play, Learn, Repeat. Hopefully the one-minute tips and tales on this site will encourage ever-happier moments of light for you.
*Human hearts are designed for pumping blood and should not be flooded with other substances except under the care of a highly skilled cardiac surgeon or undertaker. Please experience the ecstatic joy of photography responsibly.