Artist's Statement

The significance of a photograph is fully realized when it is considered in the following context: the making of a photographic image is, in effect, "freezing" a moment in time.  The landscape has never before looked exactly as it does at that moment, nor will it ever appear exactly the same again.  If someone is present to personally experience that moment and is fortunate enough to retain the scene in his or her memory, then the moment lives on.  But perceptions differ, specific details may be overlooked, memories fade, and people pass on.  And it is impossible to adequately share that sensory moment with others verbally.  Enter the significance of the photographic image.

Landscape and nature photography has profoundly enhanced the quality of my life.  The evolution of my vision, cultivated from a photographic perspective, enables me to see what I didn't see before, and the search for the next image leads me to places that I otherwise would not have discovered.  I enjoy sharing these "frozen moments in time" with others, from remote wilderness waterfalls and mountain vistas, to the underappreciated scenes that may be passed by each day because people, in their too-busy lives, just don't take the time to see.

Learning to use a camera is relatively easy, and achieving technical quality is a matter of paying attention to detail.  However, creating images that capture the essence of the landscape and evoke an emotional response in the viewer is the real challenge.  The intangible element which determines the success or failure of this effort is an appreciation for that which is being photographed.  The photographer's emotional involvement with the landscape is key to producing a successful image.

On a cool October morning as I stood overlooking this Pocahontas County, WV, mountain vista, fog rising from the valleys below, the whole scene bathed in the surreal glow of the early morning light, the silence pierced only by the screech of a Red-tailed hawk, I realized that if not for my interest in photography, I would not have been there.  And perhaps more significantly, that moment in time that I "froze" as I captured this image, that I am able to share with you now, would have been lost forever.

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the influence of the late Arnout "Sonny" Hyde, Jr. (1937-2005), the preeminent West Virginia landscape photographer whose images in Wonderful West Virginia magazine inspired me to capture the beauty of the landscape on film and digital sensor.

Sonny Hyde served as inspiration, mentor, and friend to a whole generation of West Virginia landscape photographers.  As long as there are beautiful landscape images of West Virginia being created, Mr. Hyde's legacy will live on.  As co-founder, photographer, and long-time editor of Wonderful West Virginia magazine, he loved the Mountain State and dedicated himself to presenting West Virginia in a positive light.

Even more significant than Sonny's professional accomplishments were his kindness, generosity, and humility, evidenced by the following anecdote.  He told me on several occasions how grateful he was to the West Virginia photographers who supported him and Wonderful West Virginia, and that he could not have produced the magazine without our help.  The truth is that if not for his influence, many of us would not even be landscape photographers.  West Virginia lost a true friend with his passing.

Finally, but most importantly, one cannot have such an intimate relationship with nature and the landscape without developing an enhanced appreciation for The One who created it all.  "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork" (Psalm 19:1).

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