One of the professors at my junior college didn’t think much of landscape photography. I think it was the commercial photography guy. He categorized work from the likes of Carlton Watkins, Ansel Adams and Clyde Butcher simply as ‘rocks and trees’. Here come more rocks and trees, he would say when seeing someone carefully matting their newest enlargement of a forest. I didn’t take those underhanded jabs too close to my heart. Internally, I knew that rocks and trees are as important, if not more so, than the latest cover of Vogue or Interior Design Digest. I also knew that, in order for nature to present itself in a two-dimensional form afforded by photography as more than just rocks and trees, within the photographer there had to be a deeper connection formed to both nature and the craft of image-making. Over the following 20 years, I’ve continued to practice landscape photography and also made countless trips to the wilderness for prolonged periods of time in order to train the eye and mind to see nature at its best.
Earlier this year, having now practiced wet plate collodion for over 5 years, I decided to make a special trip aboard The Photo Palace Bus in order to create a visual ode to the rocks and trees so disregarded by my old professor. There was no real road map for the trip. I stayed on the western side of United States as I’ve done a fair amount of traveling before and this part of the country always inspired me more. There’s a lot that’s on the way when you go from San Diego to North Dakota and back, so 8 National Parks, 4 National Monuments, and uncounted number of National Forests and State Parks were visited. 6000 miles were driven, and most of them were along small highways, running through some beautiful back-country of what used to be wild west (and it still really feels like it in some parts). I made stops whenever inspired by light or a particular scene and made a total of around 130 tintypes and ambrotypes varying in size from 4x5 to 8x10in (with very few 8x20in as well). From those, 45 images were selected as movements for this visual ode. Calling them ‘movements’ makes sense to me on various levels. Elements in natural scenes to me resemble notes on a page, carefully arranged to make each final composition sing its own unique song. Movement is also what one does a lot while making location tintypes. Going into details of physical tribulations required for creations of each plate here would take up too much of my readers’ time, but I’ll just say that some of the acrobatics performed with an 8x10 camera over the shoulder, and the many sprints back and forth over the slippery river boulders or over fallen branches big and small, while carrying a loaded holder to and from the camera were rather challenging.
It was all worth it though. It was all for the glory of rocks and trees.
*To order prints of any images you see here, please see details at the bottom of this post
*Plates below are presented with no titles or sizes attached in order to better distill their visual impact. Prints will have original plate size and location listed in back along with signature and edition number.
Presented above are the plates that will be kept in my archive. Please feel free to contact me about signed and numbered limited edition high resolution archival prints on cotton rag fine art paper, which are available to be made from any images in this post. Prints will be made on demand in maximum number of 10 prints of any size from each image. Sizes available are standard 8x10, 11x14, 16x20, and 20x24.
Prints can be ordered via email only – firstname.lastname@example.org
When sending email, please let me know the number you see under the image(s) you'd like to have print(s) of, and the size(s) you'd like to have made.
Print prices (including worldwide shipping):
8x10in - $115
11x14in - $145
16x20in - $185
20x24in - $245