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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 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. 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.

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