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The Tune of June

June 8th, 2018

The tune of June. Every morning there is the sound of nature outside our window. Birds are amazing creatures even if they begin singing at 4:30am in my part of Montana. It is as if they are saying, "Wake up! Wake up! Waste not a moment of the day for winter days will come again."

June is an amazing month in Montana. Deer are fawning, elk are calving, bears are out and about with their cubs, birds are nesting and most have fledglings at this point. Flowers are blooming everywhere as well as our world we call Montana explodes into a season of new.

No matter what direction you go, there are amazing things to see. Often June is the month tourists return and everyone flocks to the ever amazing national parks....but despite their beauty, there are many places no one visits....those back road adventures and sites that few know and are seldom on a map. That is where you find me this time of year.

It may be walking up a deer trail off an unknown and unnamed road to find Fairy Slipper Orchids, or capturing a Townsend Warbler in a tree on the side of a mountain left un-named.

Not only is June a time for being in the forest, it is also a time for gallery showings and preparing for the fairs, meet and greets and basically the busy side of the business. Each year I am able to display my work in more and more places and your followings and support of my work has aided that opportunity for which I am forever thankful.

Follow along as I share with you my latest works from the season I call the Tune of June.

May- The Month of Transition

May 3rd, 2018

I'm totally not sure what happened to March and April. For all of us here in Montana it was winter extended. Long and drawn out! Next thing I knew it was May!

May! The fifth month of the year but what May is more of is a month of transitions. Migrations near end. Snow leaves, waterfalls come. Flowers bloom. Birds are all caught up in nesting and mating rituals, animals are having their young. The intensity of it all is overwhelming to many and yet goes on without being noticed by others.

Some how in a blink of an eye Montana changes from this stark, drab landscape of post winter season of mud to a colorful sea of activity. One month. Thirty days.

As a nature photographer, there must be a plan in place or it is like the fox chasing the geese. You miss it all. Luckily as this transition unfolds the light of day lengthen and changes. I have a plan. I always have a plan, but the plan must be flexible. Nature is wonderful but nature is smarter than us human-kind and often does not go along with my plan.

So for me, the plan is where do I go to capture the best opportunities of maximizing my chance to capture the best I can capture to bring back to show my viewing and purchasing friends. Some places that is a simple choice....point A, or point B and if not point C. In my part of Montana, it is not so easy during the month of transition.

Everywhere you go something is happening. That is great, until you are deciding where to go. So regardless where I head on my pre-dawn outings I can see grizzlies, moose, elk, deer, black bear, all kinds of birds, massive waterfalls, silent alpine lakes, carpets of wildflowers, dancing butterflies and some of the most awesome landscapes one can find before the transition month is over.

Each outing will be a surprise because one never knows what is around the bend in the path of discovery and adventure! Follow along!

February- The Thinking Month

February 3rd, 2018

Well hello February!

In my part of Montana February is the month I tend to begin looking forward to spring. Most years spring comes in March though I do recall some springs coming in May or June or not at all. Generally it is what I call the thinking month.

With almost a foot of snow still on the ground in the backyard my thoughts have turned to how long it will be until the pasque flowers bloom, the snow geese begin winging north and I listen for the sounds of the swans as they migrate overhead.

It is also the time I plan most of my outings for the year. There will be sharptail grouse to find on their lek, elk herds to locate, mountain goats and their young, bears....always bears. For landscapes it will be the Tetons, Glacier, Yellowstone for the iconic places but there are a million places that are not iconic that will pull my attention.

Do not get me wrong, I love capturing the beauty of the iconic places....but so does everyone else. That is fine but the planning is focused on places others tend to ignore or do not know they exist. I would love to say I go to these unknown places to provide you with different views of common spots or to provide you with fresh landscapes, but at the risk of sounding selfish....it is because I prefer my trails to be less traveled. I suppose Montana has spoiled me.

This February since my health has been restored, will also be the month I build my new lumber racks in the wood shop, do a little housecleaning out there and build a new work bench. For years I built furniture but the last couple years the shop has been far to idle. Photography and woodworking always tend to occupy the idle times to the fullest. It will be good to be back making sawdust and perhaps a project of two.

February 8th in Kalispell five of my prints will be on exhibit and for sale at the Montana Modern Fine Art Gallery on Main Street. The showing is “All You Need Is Love” and it is a juried Small Works show. Small works is defined by being no more than 12” x 12”. I took the chance and submitted three Nature based Abstracts which are the only photography work I use any post editing special effects on yet keep the coloration and connection to nature as the focus. I also submitted two of my Forest Illusions which are all planned camera movement and long exposure works. ..no post editing happens to them.

I had hoped I would get one in through the jury process and much to my delight, all five entries were accepted. There will be 40 artists and 100 works displayed from paintings, sculptures, pottery and photography. If you get a chance and live locally...stop on down and view the creativity on display.

Here is to a safe and great inspirational month of February!

Reflecting Back and Moving Forward in 2018- Patience is a Virtue

January 1st, 2018

Many people make resolutions for the new year and that is great but I can honestly say I do not. I make goals but then I make goals through out the year. Sometimes they are about making myself a better person, or perfecting a certain skill with my camera, or spending time in my wood shop or a better balance in my life.

The ending of the year is about reflecting on the past year and how to improve on the coming year. There is always something to learn. 2017 was all about learning patience. We are all busy people and I tend to always make myself as busy as I can. There is never a day I can ever say I was bored. Busy is good, right?

Somewhere in there, there must be a balance which can not be obtained in my opinion without having patience. Patience is a work in progress. I have been at it for 61 years and I can tell you, it has not always been with the best results.

In April of 2017 I learned patience probably better than any time in my life. On a routine followup with the doctors I was discovered to have an emergency need for a five bypass heart surgery. No symptoms, no warning, no pain but there it was. I spent four days in the hospital under watch of the doctors awaiting surgery. Surgery went well and for the past eight months I have worked hard on exercising, getting back into shape through recovery and on patience.

But what does patience have to do with photography? It has a lot. In my opinion, patience has as much to do with nature photography as knowing how to use your camera. You can know that camera inside and out but when you are out trying to capture moments in nature, it is patience that rewards you with the greatest opportunity.

If I have learned anything in all my years in the mountains around nature it is simply this. Nature does not care if you have patience or not, but nature teaches you that having patience brings you rewards in the beauty it offers. Nature does not share its best with you unless you are patient.

Wildlife waits to show itself only when it is comfortable and only when you are patient enough to reward you with its more intimate side. Animals and birds may show themselves to you quickly, others do not. If you wait long enough, they will show you their more playful side, their courtships, their daily rituals. You must have patience for this opportunity. The rewards are greater than you can ever capture with a camera. The memories are etched forever in your heart and in your work. So when you are out with the camera or even without the camera, remember patience has great rewards.

Even the sunset and sunrises require patience. Often the best colors come when you have given up or not expecting it. A cloud, a glimpse of sunlight, misty rain falling all change the landscape from mundane and ordinary to something extraordinary and mystical if you have the patience to wait for it.

So here is to 2018 and all it brings to us when we exercise the value of patience.

I appreciate your continued support through your viewing, comments, sharing and purchases.

Thank you
Doug