This is one of the fabulous waterfalls in the Columbia Gorge. The extreme range of light required using HDR.
The tremendous diversity of what I see on aminus3 has put me in a reflective mood and caused me to once again ask some basic questions about my goals in photography. Some of you are excellent photojournalists such as Evelyne Dubos; Evelyne also uses her photography for significant humanitarian purposes. Many of you are constantly pressing the envelope of creativity. For some, this creativity covers such a range that you as the photographer are not easily identified; k@ and Zoom (Florence) immediately come to mind. Others of you have a creative style that for me is more easy to spot; such as Sharon (bluechameleon). A number of you have a commitment to monochrome; Jerry, Annie, Max (although on occasion Max goes a little crazy and posts something in color). Some are drawn to a particular subject matter; I think of Magda and her gorgeous daughters, or Anita with flowers, or Judy with her lovely family. A number have a stated desire to express deep feelings, and there are those who pull it off; I think of Khorshid who takes us again and again into the dark side. Some, such as Sarah, are incredible portrait photographers. Alivia (Dane) boggles my mind and my eyes with what she produces with a point and shoot camera. And we even have some professional photographers in aminus3; the work of Don Smith and Gary Hart never ceases to blow me away, and show me how far I have to go; and I find Don's amateur friend, Scott Schilling, to be in the same league, as is Lee from Ontario. (Don and Gary constantly teach us, not only with their exceptional photographs, but with their commentary. Folks there is incredible free teaching for all of us just for the taking. Almost daily, I offer a prayer of gratitude.) Many whose names I have not mentioned I count among my dearest and most precious new friends; it was at least one of your photographs that created our original connection, but something far deeper now exists, and it is relationships that are of the greatest value to me.
So what about my goals. I desire to be a fine art photographer producing work in both monochrome and color. My subject matter is primarily the natural world, and I am magnetically attracted to macro work with flowers. I want to capture as much as possible in camera. I seek to keep my post-processing to a minimum, doing only what a RAW file requires. Except for occasional fun, I use HDR only when the exposure range exceeds the capture capacity of my camera. I seek a mystical connection with everything that is a part of the picture taking process - camera, subject matter, weather, the rest of the environment in which I find myself, etc. (Photography is an integral part of my spiritual journey, as I have said, ad nauseum.) Simplicity is a constant goal (which I think that I pull off better than anywhere else in some of my flower photographs); integral to this is the goal of embodying a Zen way of life. Having a commitment to Zen, it may seem strange but I also believe that being a part of photographic communities such as Aminus3 and the Willamette Valley Photo Arts Guild greatly enrich my life as a photographer. Although I am a strong introvert, I believe that we are created for community; the Earth is a community; the Universe (think about the word) is a community. Any way that I can use my photography (or any aspect of it) to benefit others, I will do it. I will gladly print anything I have for anyone (my printer size limit is 13x19 in.) for no charge except for shipping.
One thing that I believe strongly is that I have at most (and I mean this quite literally) one fine art photograph a month in me; the truth is more like 4 or 5 decent photographs a year. I sometimes feel like a prostitute putting up on Aminus3 something every day, but that is the only way that I know to stay connected to all of you about whom I care so much. The great Reformer, Martin Luther, said about the Church, "She may be a whore, but she's my Mother." Well you can say about Jack, He may be a whore, but he's my friend.
(PS - I also put up some similar ruminations in a Comment on Barbara's post yesterday http://barbaraann.aminus3.com/image/2009-05-14.html)