1629 These comments could just as well apply to any of my images, but I'll use this one as an example.

When creating a landscape photograph, I tend to think of it in musical terms. Let me explain.

There's a phenomenon called synesthesia, in which one sense (say, vision) triggers a response in a different sense (hearing). I experience this when creating my landscape photos. This relates to my love of classical music, especially chamber music, because of its simplicity (compared to symphonies). And music is all about relationships: dynamics, tempo, harmonies, tonality, counterpoint, repetition, the character (timbre) of the various instruments, a sense of movement or development through the piece, and so on, that together express certain emotions. All parts of a musical composition must work together to create a sense of wholeness. And there must be no sour notes.

We can think of visual images in much the same way. Consider this image, for example. Look at the arrangement of rocks, solid, static and ancient; the water, lively, energetic and freshly melted from the alpine snow above; the vegetation, in its late-season colorful glory. Explore the depth of the image, from the nearby rocks to the distant peak; as the water flows toward you, your eye is drawn into the depth of the image. It has a certain dynamic quality. My goal was for all visual elements to work together in harmony to create an engaging overall expression, a sense of wholeness. And to not have any sour notes!

So this is how I think about my photos as I'm creating them. I think of them as musical compositions, in a sense. I imagine this is similar to what a composer experiences when creating a new piece of music, although I've never tried that. I must first respond emotionally to the subject before me, because, at the end of the day, it's those emotions I'll attempt to express through the final image. I'll then try to determine what elements elicited that emotional response and arrange (compose) them as best I can so that they harmonize with and express my feelings. This implies that I must not include anything in the image that does not contribute to -- or even detracts from -- its overall effect. I must distill the image, or edit it down, to its essential elements.

You, the viewer, cannot know what I was feeling at the moment I made this image, so you can't judge how successful I was in capturing and expressing those feelings. But if this image grabbed you -- if it made you pause and explore it -- and if it spoke to you emotionally, then I feel it's successful. When I make landscape images, my immediate goal is to satisfy myself. But to the extent that they "speak" to others, I feel we are connecting, through my art, at a fundamental and meaningful level, and that means the world to me.