AF-S NIKKOR 24–70mm f/2.8G
This photo series consists of 12 photographs taken over the span of 4 months. The locations are spread across 4 different places: Point Reyes, California, Lake Tahoe, California, Las Vegas Nevada, and Chirripo, Costa Rica. Usually, my work contains some element or presence of a human being or a human interaction because people, in my opinion, are the most interesting things on this planet. In this project I specifically untether humans and nature as two separate entities, which is the increasingly dominant narrative of today’s societal belief and practices, and solely present nature as my subject.
I implement HDR, tripod maneuvering, as well as patience and a keen eye for natural light. Working with nature as your subject matter was more complicated than I expected because the natural cannot be controlled so easily. By working with the natural elements, I had to factor in a significant level of unpredictability, which did yield frustration and many unsatisfactory images, but on the flip side, photographing nature also yielded astonishing landscapes and striking lighting situations. It was a different approach photographing natural light for what it is as an element, rather than photographing natural light on how it transforms human subjects, during golden hour for example.
I photograph water in the form of ocean waves and cloud vapor. I photograph earth in the form of fissured and geometric rocks. I photograph biological matter in the form of gnarled and unruly trees. Lastly, I photograph air in the form of wind as it shapes the waves and cloud formations, while also creating a transience and impermanence to each of these formations.
The format of this photo assemblage is not random. While selecting this particular orientation of the photographs, I mainly aimed to create a mirroring of elements and coloring to create a feeling of parallelism and balance for the viewer. The oceans begin and end the collection, bordered by the rock formations and the singular branches of the trees. The photographs containing the trees symmetrically oppose each other, while the clouds dominate the center of the photo formation beginning from bottom left to upper right.
Humans can only orchestrate so much. Humans cannot control nature. They cannot control the intervals between the waves crashing one after the other, the dissipation of clouds as they swirl with the rhythm of the wind, the contorted tree branches as they chase their way towards the sun, and the fissures of rocks as they bear witness to time. These elements were here before us and will remain here always, constantly evolving and changing their forms. During this photo project, I consciously made an effort to escape human and urban dwellings, and in the process, I had forgotten and re-learned how dynamic nature can truly be. I learned how quickly the landscape shifts before and with the fading light and gusts of wind. Each scene that passes only lasts a singular second before vanishing forever as it evolves into something else. These photographs immortalized 12 seconds of nature’s infinite ensemble that it constantly and ceaseless is orchestrating. Every piece by nature claims a uniqueness and originality that I aimed to capture with these photos. I was both a fanatic type of spectator, chasing the changing light and seeking different angles by tilting my lens and body in various ways, as well as the passive spectator, absorbing the scene that manifested right in front of me, simply enjoying the show that nature was orchestrating. Nature is quite the performer and orchestrater. Attention to nature through this project brought me into a reflective state of the power a camera has while with me. The ways that I experience the present moment changes with a camera in hand, because the present and everything surrounding me commands my attentiveness. I am reminded that Nature presents itself as the most impressive of art forms, for it is unbounded and infinite, never the same, and always creating.