Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Capturing The Land
Scenic master George Ward gives insight into his passion for photography and how he keeps his vision fresh
George Ward was 33 years old when he first picked up a camera in a meaningful way. Having grown up as a surfer from the age of 13, the seashore always has had a magnetic effect on him. The pivotal moment came when he awoke one morning and drove to the shore well before sunrise. Looking down, he saw millions of tiny multicolored stones in the sand and was compelled to photograph them. So he drove home, found the Nikon FE and 105mm ƒ/2.5 Nikkor lens that a friend had given him years ago and became obsessed with nature photography.
Experiences like hearing the bark and wail of coyotes, the high-pitched cry of elk in rut and the deeply satisfying call of sandhill cranes—a wild noise that simultaneously combines a rattling sound with a soulfully hoarse voice—filled him with creative inspiration.
Ward believes compelling outdoor imagery always combines some kind of personal connection to nature and skillful technique.
“The former seems to be a form of grace,” he says, “the latter an act of will.”
To keep his passion for photographing nature fresh, Ward puts himself in situations that keep him feeling connected, such as waking up at 4 a.m. to get as far out into the wild as possible to re-live all of the sensations that inspired him in the first place. Before sunrise is his favorite time of day as the air is usually still and the smell is sweet, he says. To Ward, the will to get away from city life, with just a camera in tow, is as essential to becoming a good photographer as working on technique or acquiring new equipment.
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