Fine art photographer Donald Hill shares a collection of nature images focused on capturing the quality of light. See more on his website.
After I retired as an architect in Seattle, I found time to spend on my growing interest in photography. I turned my attention to exploring the world around me, bringing my camera on daily adventures along nearby rivers and lakes, and exploring cities and shorelines.
I also enjoyed immersing myself on long summer hikes at high altitude in the Cascade mountains, exploring Mt. Rainier National Park, and making trips to the rainforest and beaches of nearby Olympic National Park. Of special interest to me was finding the quality of light in the landscape which brought life to my photographs.
I was always noticing how the sun gave richness to my photographs, like waterfalls creating mist and rainbows, sunbeams giving bright illumination, and how the light and the mood changed in the evening. I wanted to capture the complexities of nature and connect people to the artistry of the urban and natural world around us.
I happened to notice a sunbeam coming through the forest canopy and highlighting this small waterfall. I tried to capture the flow of the clear water and how the light illuminated the pool splash and colorful bedrock. Good photography relies on the art of noticing good quality lighting and capturing the moment, which can be fleeting.
Spring flowers and fall leaves seem brighter and have a richness in color when backlit by the sun. Shoreline photography with bounce light off the surface of the water, combined with direct sunshine, also makes the colors richer. A stack of colorful kayaks, brightly illuminated on the marina dock, reflects an abstract image rippling with the movement of the water. Urban areas have glazed high rise buildings reflecting colorful neighbors with bulging windows and distorting the dreamy, reflected images.
This photograph falls into the category of “I just happened to be there at the right moment.” As I approached, the sunbeam was on the sea lion and its perch and all I had to do was lift my camera. I wandered into a scene nature had cleverly created and noticed the moment, which can be fleeting.
During my career as an architect, I was involved in healthcare projects at many of Seattle’s hospitals and clinics. Since retiring, I have been serving on hospital advisory councils, studying patient recovery experiences. Over time, through photography, I have been developing an understanding of the healing power of art and the importance of connecting patients back to the beauty of the world around us.
My photography, which was used in those healing environments, was selected because it was uplifting. It gave patients and their families hope and emotional comfort and was meant to reduce patient anxiety and stress.
The quality of lighting in my healthcare photography gives life to the subject matter and contributes to the feeling that it belongs as an integral part of a patient’s healing process. Welcome to the view of our world through my camera lens.
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