Why Do We Like an Image?

Gone the Sun

Gone the Sun – Ontonagon, Michigan

Since the beginning …

Since the beginning of my “pro” digital photography life (back in 2009) ,  I wanted to get some outside confirmation that my photography was any good.  So I chose to compete in the local camera club competitions.

The camera club only allowed nature photographs.  The club defined a nature photograph as a photograph of nature that did not have evidence of hand of man, as defined below. So, I have looked mostly to create nature images, eliminating such hand of man images from my own artistic consideration.

“Nature photography is restricted to the use of the photographic process to depict observations from all branches of natural history, except anthropology and archaeology, in such a fashion that a well informed person will be able to identify the subject material and to certify as to its honest presentation. The story telling value of a photograph must be weighed more than the pictorial quality. Human elements shall not be present, except on the rare occasion where those human elements enhance the nature story. The presence of scientific bands on wild animals is acceptable. Photographs of artificially produced hybrid plants or animals, mounted specimens, or obviously set arrangements, are ineligible, as is any form of manipulation, manual or digital, that alters the truth of the photographic statement.”

— The Hand of Man as defined by the Photographic Society of America

Until now!

What changed my mind? In the voting for my top photographs of 2017, the image above was in the top four, and, there were two people (that I know of) who liked this image the best.  Is there a problem?  Yes, the fire on the beach is definitely hand of man!

I have essentially been keeping most of my hand of man images unpublished.

So now, I am going to go through my hard drive inventory of nature type images that contain hand of man, and I will share that collection with you.

Thank you for you support over the years, and for the voting for a campfire that has given me a new thought.

I hope you will enjoy whatever comes next!   🙂

Heaven or Hell? You Choose

One of my earliest childhood memories of joyfulness was taking my friends down to the corner sandlot and exploring.  In there, among the trees and the bushes and sandpits we could find a world of adventure, away from the grownups, exploring “nature”.  Or, were we exploring our own nature?

Fall Forest Panorama

Fall panorama in Morton Arboretum

Since then I’ve morphed into a what I thought a grownup should be, and spent most of my life putting away the sandlot explorations in pursuit of the almighty dollar. With the market crash of 2008-2009, some of those dollars vanished.  I wondered if my quest for sandlot adventures had vanished too.

With some nudging from a dear spiritual teacher, I discovered that the world was still my sandlot.   I enjoyed being in nature, and photography became my focusing lens to help me to concentrate on beauty and the seeing of it.

Photography has brought me many benefits:

  • The busy one who has been chasing the buck has found beauty and an increased intelligence about what my emotions are telling me (gift of feeling)
  • The introverted one who is unsure around others has found confidence (gift of self-esteem)
  • The quiet, reserved soul has found a way to connect with others (gift of leadership)
  • The Capricorn soul who is always carrying such burdens of doingness has had his load enlightened (gift of wisdom)
  • The sandlot explorer has reclaimed his childhood joy of discovery by capturing the beauty of the world (gift of wonder)

What a beautiful place!  Waterfalls!  Sunrises!  Sunsets!  The Moon and Stars!  Canyons! Mountains!  Rivers!  Oceans!

Water Color

Water Color
Cannon Beach, Oregon

Lake Moraine Sunrise

Lake Moraine Sunrise
Banff National Park, Canadian Rockies

Little River Sunrise

Little River Sunrise
Great Smoky Mountains NP

Haystack Moonset IV

Haystack Moonset IV
Cannon Beach, Oregon

LaTourell Falls I

LaTourell Falls I
Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Perfect Moon Waves

Perfect Moon Waves
Cape Cod National Seashore

Hickoy Nut Falls I

Hickoy Nut Falls I
Chimney Rock State Park, North Carolina


Beauty helps us to recognize who we are.  We are all explorers, and creators of our own lives. Let us share in the joy of creating with the One who created all. It starts in the choices of the mind …

“The mind is its own place and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”  ~~ John Milton

Saturday Night Pacific

Saturday Night Pacific
Oregon Coast

My wish for you in this season of Light — Have a Joyful, Heavenly Holiday, and an Amazingly Beautiful 2018!

— Harry Hitzeman

Reaching into Reality

Tree Light

There are moments in our lives … when we seem to see beyond the usual – become clairvoyant.  We reach then into reality.  Such are the moments of our greatest happiness.  Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom.  …

At such times there is a song going on within us, a song to which we listen.  It fills us with surprise.  It fills us with purpose.  We marvel at it.  …  These moments are the pinnacles of our experience, and it is the desire to express these intimate sensations, this song from within, which motivates the masters of all art.

~~ Robert Henri, The Art Spirit


Anza-Borrego Desert

Cherish Your Own Emotions


“Fonts Point IV” at Anza Borrego Desert, California

“You have to make up your mind to be alone in many ways. We like sympathy and we like to be in company. It is easier than going it alone. But alone one gets acquainted with himself, grows up and on, not stopping with the crowd. It costs to do this. If you succeed somewhat you may have to pay for it as well as enjoy it all your life.

Cherish your own emotions and never undervalue them.

We are not here to do what has already been done.”

— from “The Art Spirit” by Robert Henri