Newsletter #175: December, 2019
© Chris Harris. All rights reserved.
An expression of winter in the grasslands
This time of year, I always feel grateful for the many blessings I have experienced; not just during this past year, but throughout my life.
Many of my blessings have been the result of photography, for it encourages me to explore the natural world, always seeking its mysteries and then sharing my thoughts and feelings through the art of visual expression.
Art is the Language of Expression
It has been said that art is the highest expression of the human spirit. Whether we express ourselves in words, clay, paint, culinary arts, music, or images, they are all part of how we communicate with each other.
My language of expression is a visual one; it’s photography.
As a presenter and workshop instructor, I am most frequently asked “how do you do that”? To me, that is the least important question. Of greater concern are the questions of why and what.
When I head out with camera in hand and decide on a subject to photograph, the question is, why did I choose that particular subject (an emotional response), and what am I going to communicate about it. Only then can I begin to decide how I am going to express myself with the tool of my craft; my camera and lens.
For me, the excitement and pleasure of being a photographer is in the adventure of exploring expression.
Over a year ago, I decided that every time I drove to Vancouver, I would dedicate time to stop and make images; anywhere along the way, whichever route I took, and at any time of day. As a result, I have never enjoyed the drive more than I do now.
Here are a few images I have made this year along route 99, the Duffy Lake Road via Lillooet.
Heading north at dusk, just before reaching Lillooet, I climbed up a ridge to capture an
expression of this mountainous stretch of highway.
On another day, a different quality of light allowed me to express a completely different
response when viewing Seaton Lake.
A line is a shape that can be used to express an adventuresome journey.
When a dash of warm light hit the mountain peak, it reminded me of climbing at high elevations
where that touch of light and warmth was all- meaningful.
As a layer of mist descended on the forest, there was just enough contrast to capture my
feelings of witnessing extreme beauty.
With the addition of colour contrast, I was able to make a different expression of the forest.
As an eagle flew over Duffy Lake, I experienced a sense of value for vast wilderness. I chose a
focal length to express that feeling.
Pointed shapes of high contrast is set against the rhythmic lines of reflected trees.
The art of expression should be exploratory. This expression of reflected light is the reward
of my visual adventure.
Trees amidst mountains; another exploration of visual expression.
The contrast of melt holes in the ice provided me with another opportunity; the freedom to leave
representational qualities, and abstract the landscape.
In late spring, the triangular shape of this avalanche remnant caught my attention.
After exploring several modes of expression, I felt most gratified with this interpretation.
I saw a boulder along the side of the road. I stopped and began a visual investigation.
Although abstract, it is a representational portrayal of the beauty I found in subtle colours.
At a lower elevation, the snow disappeared but the mist remained. The yellow line was my guide.
Along the Sea to Sky Highway between Whistler and Vancouver, a large stand of alders
caught my eye. Upon closer examination, the crisscrossing tree trunks generated a scene of complete chaos.
By exploring different modes of expression, I discovered a way to substitute confusion with rhythm and pattern .
Eventually I found a stand that displayed a more evened pattern; I communicated this
uniformity through a sense of motion.
Next month, join me on a journey through the Fraser River Canyon and along the South Thompson River Valley.
Workshops for 2020:
Informative, Inspirational, Challenging & Creative
An expression of an Arbutus tree.
Dennis Ducklow and I are offering THREE 7-day workshops, in THREE different world-class locations, in which we approach photography as an art form.
Be prepared to venture beyond representational image making and open up new worlds of visual expression. With personalized attention, you will take your photography beyond the obvious, and to a level you never knew existed, or thought was possible.
Merry Christmas to All!
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Thank you. See you in 2020!