My work has appeared in Audubon, National and International Wildlife, Natural History, Ranger Rick, and Life., as well as in my own books. In total, photos from my nature and horticultural files have been published by more than 45 national and international book publishers, 25 calendar publishers, and 75 magazines in the US and abroad.
The sun is the source of all life. The sun’s effect upon us is archetypal, ancient, profound. The many moods of natural light have shaped us throughout the evolution of our species.
I have vivid childhood memories of walking the grassy fields at sunrise, facing the sun, marveling at the sparkle of dew on grass, the drapery of droplet-covered spider webs, the halo of frost on every leaf. A life-long love affair with sunlight was born on those early-morning walks in the natural world.
When I first picked up a camera in high school, I began recording what I saw and felt in the diminutive world of the California grasslands around my home, illuminated by the life-giving rays of the rising sun. In time, as I began to understand the abilities and limitations of color film, I discovered the potential of the soft, even light of overcast days, the cool blue light of open shade reflected from the clear blue sky above, the rich orange light of sunset, and learned to avoid the harsh, contrasty light of midday.
I have always been stubbornly anti-technological, nowhere more firmly expressed than in my photography. I have used the bottom-of-the-line, simplest manual 35mm cameras, beginning with the Nikormats and graduating no further than the Nikon FM2. All my photographic equipment except the tripod fits into one small fanny pack. It was thus only consistent with my nature that I avoided the use of electronic flash and other artificial lighting technologies. But deeper than this resistance is my belief that experiencing and interpreting the natural world must be done in the presence of and through the agency of natural light itself.
My romance with backlighting began on those childhood morning walks toward the rising sun. Much of my early macrophotography pioneered the use and perfection of backlighting. As my work has shifted more toward horticultural photography, I have increasingly relied upon the soft diffused light of overcast days, employing the use of a white diffusing umbrella once in a rare while when I am forced to work in bright sun. Whatever the conditions or photographic requirements, however, I am always blessed with having a direct relationship with the sun, source of all life, and experiencing the joy of infusing my photos with the moods and feelings invoked by the magic of natural light.