About Joe Whitten - Whitten-Photography

  I've been a photographer since I was a teenager. However, I only began to take photography as an art form seriously when I was in my late twenties. Always thinking that getting a great photo was just a matter of good fortune, being in the right spot at the right time, I was not prepared to be a good photographer. One day I was reading a book of famous quotes and I read something that changed my mind set: Luck favors the prepared individual. For some reason that line made me stop and really think about how I looked at things and why, maybe, I was a mediocre photographer. Eventually it made me realize why I could never beat one of my friends at backgammon but that's another story. Suffice it to say that after I bought a book about backgammon and read about strategies of the game, he stopped beating me so often.

  As I began to read books about photography and art, I realized that I was a mediocre photographer because I had never spent any time trying to learn what it was that separated the really good photographers from those like me. I read the books that Ansel Adams wrote and that is when I began to awaken as a photographer. Pressing the shutter release should be the beginning of a process, not the end.

  I began, like many photographers, using film cameras. I loved my Nikon FE2 and Kodachrome film. The anticipation while I waited for my slides to come back from the Kodak processing lab. Viewing them, making prints using Cibachrome paper (expensive and time consuming). Except for cropping in the enlarger I was also very limited in the editing I could perfom on my photos and resigned to accepting what came out of the camera.

  With the advent of today's DSLR cameras and Photoshop, photography is very exciting and the possibilities seem limitless. Photography is much more easily approached as an art now. Even though high end cameras seem expensive, the money we are not spending on film, film development and printing more than makes up for the cost of cameras. With my D7100 loaded with two 32gig SD cards, I can shoot 1200 or more photos without having to load new cards. With film, that would be sixteen 36 exposure rolls at roughly $5.00/roll = $180 or twenty-five 24 exposure rolls at roughly $4.00/roll = $96.00 - and then there's the cost of processing. Unlike film though, I can use the SD cards over and over and I can view and edit my images immediately. I love technology.

  Unlike trying to show friends and family slides projected on a screen, I now use programs like ProShow Producer to make visually appealing slide shows with music and let people watch them on a 50 inch HD television or on their PCs streaming from SmugMug. I really love technology.

  I enjoy traveling and taking photos. I plan my vacations based on places I think provide great photographic opportunities. I also enjoy hiking through the woods looking for insects, birds, or anything else that most people might never notice.

  My objective always is to capture a moment in time that would otherwise be lost. Before I developed the passion I now have for photography, I seldom noticed the contrast between the skies and the green leaves in trees. Occasionally I would look at clouds, but I never really noticed how much beauty clouds add to the sky until I realized how bland solid blue skies tend to look in my photos. Clouds have texture and dimensional qualities that can capture the imagination and I have never seen two clouds that look alike; similar, yes, but not exactly the same ever. Without clouds to bleed color into the early morning or late evening sky, a sunset is just a sunset. Clouds add the smooth, saturated colors that can make sunsets and sunrises special. Frequently the moment only lasts for a few moments and when It's gone it's gone - unless someone captures it with a camera. I have thousands of photos of clouds. I never get tired of photographing them.

  Without a camera, I would never see many of the small things in the world. Because I love to create images of things we normally pay little attention to, I am willing to crawl around on the ground with a macro lens on my camera looking for the small creatures that live underneath leaves and rocks. I see insects that I never knew existed and because I have my camera, I can capture that moment to share with others who might otherwise never see some of the things I see.

  After a rain leaves, limbs, vines, flowers, and many other objects may have water drops clinging to them. Those drops can become lenses holding images of their own waiting to be captured for human eyes to be amazed by. Without a good lens to zoom in and see this, it goes unnoticed by most people walking by.

  All around us every day textures, shapes, patterns, colors, and contrasts exist, but many people are too busy or just unaware to take the time to notice. My goal is to capture as much of this as I can so others may enjoy it through the images that I capture in my camera.

  I love to hike, especially in the mountains and the desert. I was in Arches National Park in Utah a few years ago and I marveled at the the faces that I saw in so many of the rock formations there. It was as if some distant civilization carved reminders for us to see. Maybe they were trying to tell us exactly how these strange formations of rocks appear to spring from the ground in an otherwise flat desert.

  Water splashing, smoke curling into complex geometric shapes, petals on flowers withering away, the spider hiding in the corner of the bathroom; there is an entire unseen world within arms reach of many of us every day. I want to record as much of it as I can and share that pleasure we all get when something appeals to our aesthetic and artistic senses. I also want to record the splendid, grand scale things on earth such as valleys, canyons, flowing rivers, oceans and beaches as well as the smaller things such as flowers, buds about to turn into leaves, baby birds with wide open mouths waiting for their mother to bring them a worm.

I hope you enjoy my photographs. Please leave comments and / or email me if you are inclined to do so.

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