What was it like being on a trip where photography wasn’t the main focus?
It’s nice to experience the world without worrying about finding/making images—but it’s hard to turn off that vision, to stop ‘seeing pictures’. For the most part, I gave myself specific times to do photography, and the rest of the time was spent without a camera, or just making snapshots—mementos of the trip and not ‘art’.
What was it like being off the grid for 18 days?
It’s great to be disconnected from devices, the internet, phones—that’s amazing. It’s the issue of power that was tricky—being a digital photographer in the wilderness creates all types of issues for charging up batteries—from packing in multiple pre-charged camera batteries (expensive) to having a solar panel to recharge in the field (slow and time-consuming).
How did you decide what to photograph? How did you choose your subjects?
There are a few games I always play when I’m out hunting landscape. I’m looking for shapes and alignments of distant objects and features, or repeated patterns and juxtapositions of lines and angles. I also look for disappearing moments; the light in the Canyon is amazing but fleeting. It’s being sensitive to how the light is moving and changing—which in the Grand Canyon is all the time. Have a camera ready and photograph it “now’ because it will be gone by the time you dig your camera out of the bag.
How did you tackle the scale of the Grand Canyon?
The scale in the Canyon is beyond human—you build your impression by looking all around you because you are surrounded by amazingly huge and formidable forms. You can’t possibly photograph the complete vista, so I’m looking for ways to evoke a sense of wonder and place without burdening myself with an impossible assignment. Even “small’ features in the Grand Canyon are gigantic.
Of course, the literal idea of scale is possible using the same tricks that photographers of the early west used—include a body in the image for scale.
Looking at these images now, what comes to mind?
I want to go back and photograph the Grand Canyon again—I learned a lot about my process and seeing light + shape in that amazing place. Seeing these images with fresh eyes makes me happy.