Utopia by PaulZizkaPhoto

What’s your idea of the perfect night out?
For me, hard to beat a wild place for the tent, icebergs, aurora, stars, calm water to reflect all of it, a few friends to share the view and a cup of tea to top it all off. The only thing missing was the family!
Self-portrait, Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland.

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Lone Tree by EdErglis

Star Trails from White Pocket area, Arizona

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Lone Tree by EdErglis

Star Trails from White Pocket area, Arizona

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Limited by TjThorne

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I had been listening to a song recently, one that I have been listening to for almost 20 years now. At the beginning of the track they have a sample from the movie ‘The Sheltering Sky’:

“Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don’t know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It’s that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don’t know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”

Chew on that for a bit.

I think often about how much of life is.. forgettable. And I don’t really mean it in a bad way. I just mean.. it’s life, ya know? Driving here and there, standing in lines, sitting on our couch, on our computers, on-the-clock at your day job, and just….. bleh.

I also think sometimes about how awesome.. and scary it would be to be able to retrieve ANY statistic about your life:
How many pounds of ice cream have I eaten in my life?
How many times have I sneezed?
How much money have I spent in my whole life?
How many hours have I spent browsing Facebook?
How many hours have I used the restroom on-the-job? (Quick do some math to find out approximately how much money I’ve been paid to use the restroom…)


How many times have I told my son I loved him?
How many times have I clicked a camera shutter?
How many times have I felt at home?
How many hikes have I been on?
How many leaves have I touched?
How many streams have I stepped in?

That’s my thing about landscape and nature photography: It helps me remember. I have been to Abiqua falls more times than I can count. But I remember two excursions the most. I remember the feelings.. both physical and emotional. I remember who I was with and the journeys on the way. And I remember those experiences so profoundly because I came back with a photo.

Super special internet high-five if you know the song I’m talking about. 🙂

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Feeling small…… by P-ANilsson

A day in at work in the mountains, when one look around you all things are huge and beautiful and one feels small an unimportant. That is something all power brokers should feel, start flyfishing!! Trout never dwell in ugly or small places!!
Cheers my friends!!

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Lands End by DanielJGreenwood

There is nothing more inspiring and fulfilling then inspiring those around you. Best viewed on black!

I truly enjoyed my exploring and travels through the coast of the island last weekend. Nothing beats hiking for miles along the coast line with not a single soul in sight for miles. It was pretty great getting away from everything and with no cell phone reception as well. I decided I had gone far enough after a few hours of scouting and hiking. This truly was the lands end with nothing but open ocean to see for miles and miles.. All I was surrounded by was the smashing waves, the rising moon and a billion stars lighting up the night sky.

Technical stuff… This scene is composed of multiple exposures taken at multiple time frames throughout the night then hand blended..

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To Live is to Fly by TjThorne

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This is the third image from my Artist-in-Residency appointment at Crater Lake National Park in October of 2014.

Taken from the very top of Hillman Peak, this panorama is a shot that I was determined to get during my residency. No matter how busy the park had gotten, I always found myself alone up here and seemingly.. alone in the whole park. It’s by far one of the best and least visited views of the lake.

My two week stay was dominated by clear blue skies. And while the weather was beautiful for swinging in a hammock, relaxing, and taking in the view, it left me unfulfilled in terms of my photographic desires. Time and time again I would make the hike to the top of Hillman Peak with my gear (including camping gear because I never knew if I was going to spend the night up there) and get shut down by any kind of desirable light or conditions. I’m not complaining. I mean, how could I complain about getting to watch sunset after sunset from this vantage? The fact that I had two whole weeks to do as I pleased, away from responsibilities, in a place as magical as Crater Lake is something that I will always be extremely grateful for. This experience would have never happened if I didn’t have the support of my friends and family, the encouragement from the photography community, and of course the honor of being selected by the National Park Service to be one of four artists brought into the program. I’m a pretty lucky guy sometimes.

But that’s not to say there wasn’t frustration. I was, after all, expected to produce art during my stay. I had never had expectations around my art put upon me until then. Not only did I want to produce art that fell in line with the program’s focus, but I also wanted to produce pieces that originated more from my love for photography and nature… something personal to me and something that I could use to convey the wonder and appreciation that I feel for life in nature.

That brings me to this night. I made the steep climb to the top of Hillman Peak for the eigth time with not a cloud in sight in my shooting direction. My expectations for a shot I would like were pretty low. But I got there early enough to relax, let the sweat dry from my brow, feel the breeze blow through my shirt, and witness the shadows fall across the lake once again. I had a wall of clouds to the west, and so the chance of nice light hitting the rim was nonexistent. And there I sat, frequently looking back to see if there would be a break in that wall of clouds, but it was not to be. The minutes passed and those clouds drew closer. Soon enough, they were at my back and I watched them spill over the rim into the caldera. I was enveloped in the quickly moving atmosphere and it was the first time during my residency that everything I had been waiting for bubbled to the surface. Maybe not the light that I was expecting.. but what I wanted was to feel alive. Not relaxed.. but ALIVE. All of those frustrations were whisked away by the elements and I shot away with a huge smile on my face. The excitement of living filled me to the brim and I couldn’t help but let out a ‘wooooooo!’ at the top of my lungs. The sound echoed through the park and I have no doubt that if you were standing on the rim of Crater Lake on October 14th, 2014 that you heard it. But up here in the fog with my camera and my goosebumps.. I was the only man on earth.

This shot epitomizes so much about my personal experience during the residency. It might not be a shot that fits within the program focus, but it’s the crown jewel of my stay. I hope that you can experience a little of what I felt when looking at this photo.

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