We are fortunate to live on the incredible North Coast of California, about 100 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The scenery here is unsurpassed with a rugged coastline and ridges that rise up from the Pacific Ocean and provide spectacular views. Ocean meadows, lush green in the winter rainy season, turn golden by late-spring. The coast can be shrouded in fog many mornings, but it’s that fog that provides most of the moisture for our redwood trees that grow in a narrow band along the coast. California’s famous Highway 1, the coastal highway, winds through our area and links the still lightly populated villages and settlements.
The primary goal of my photography is to capture the unique beauty and serenity of our surroundings, enhanced by wonderful light. We are located on the edge of the continent, and away from much of the urban bustle and congestion that characterizes too much of our modern age. I aim to convey some of that tranquility in my images. Photography captures the light, and the moisture from the ocean seems to help soften the light in ways that help to convey that sense of serenity. I think these messages of beauty and serenity are repeated at all scales in nature and thus my work includes both traditional grand-scale and intimate or small-scale landscapes. The details, patterns and textures in small-scale landscapes reveal our surroundings in ways that we often miss as we rush through our busy lives.
Living full-time on the northern coast of Sonoma County, I have an opportunity to watch the daily and seasonal rhythms of the light, land and ocean, and I endeavor to impart a strong sense of this place in my images. One could spend a lifetime photographing this area and still have a long list of places yet to visit or re-visit. As many landscape photographers, I have found that one’s best work often requires repeated trips to an area to absorb the landscape, to understand what I want to convey in my images and to wait for the best light. Most of my photography is done along the coast, ranging from Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County, about 25 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, through my home area in coastal Sonoma County, to Westport in Mendocino County, about 175 miles north of the Bridge.
Most of my work is done in color. I do find that even subtle, desaturated color such as occurs when objects recede into the fog, simply adds information to a photograph that is absent in monochrome photography. Still, I am increasingly using “black and white” photography, particularly for images that are highly graphic or in which I want to emphasize shapes and texture.