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on Aug 5, 2014 in Friday Thoughts

“Why Do You Shoot So Much?”

Grizzly Bear 0650

“Why do you shoot so much? You have so many great images, why are you always out shooting?” This question came in lately and it struck me as a little odd but then I started to notice things on the web that might have been the genesis of this question. The first and most heartfelt answer to why I shoot so much is simply, I love it! And just can’t think of anything else I want to do (being with Sharon of course goes without saying). Is there another reason?

Long ago, an editor said to me, “You’re only as good as your last published image.” Is that true? I don’t know but I took those words to heart. I took them as meaning that I need to constantly shoot to improve my photography and more importantly, visual storytelling. I need to perfect those techniques that are working and find new techniques for those photos that fail. It’s a constant process which is kept alive simply by shooting, a lot. Also, some of you are LONG time fans (to which I am ~very~ grateful!) and I think I owe you not to show you the same, old image over and over and over again. Same reason why at Photoshop World, I don’t repeat an image in all my shows (at least try like hell not to do that).

Grizzly Bear 0070

Sharon & I take off tomorrow to Alaska for, I don’t know, our hundredth trip perhaps, to spend more time with Grizzly Bears. My original reason to spend time with them was to understand an important part of California’s wild heritage which has disappeared. But within the first five minutes with them I was hooked and keep going back even though I have over 60k images of them in my files and they DON’T sell! What you see here are a couple of the first digital images I took of griz, shot in June, 2000 with a Nikon D1 / 400f2.8AFS (no one was shooting digital in June 2000). They don’t suck, pretty good biology but at this point, they are fourteen years old. I feel if I were to settle with these as all I want in my files for Grizzly Bear, I’m not only not growing photographically, but I’m not finishing the visual story I want to share with all of you about griz.

Every photographer follows their photographic passion differently and that’s what makes photography so great. We can all do just that! But for me, repeating old photos over and over again leaves me feeling, “I’m not learning much and don’t have much to share.” And quite the opposite is the case, I am constantly learning and I have lots to share. So, that’s the long winded answer to why I shoot so much.