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I recently came across a quotation from Galen Rowell that resonates strongly with my own photographic ethos:

I’m exchanging molecules every 30 days with the natural world and in a spiritual sense I know I am a part of it and take my photographs from that emotional feeling within me, rather than from an emotional distance as a spectator.

This is a statement akin to the notion of biophilia, an inherent sense of connection with the natural elements of the Earth, expounded by E. O. Wilson.  Such an awareness is what largely motivates my photography.  As I have previously written, nature photography serves to enhance my interaction with nature by redirecting my attention away from the self and out toward the environment.  Through the lens, I am reminded that there is no such thing as the mundane.

Yet, there are times when I find it difficult to achieve a balance between observing through the lens, and simply experiencing the natural world without a goal to make a good photograph.  This is especially challenging when I am under a clear night sky distant from by the glow of urban lights.  Shall I attempt to make a photograph, or shall I simply gaze heavenward?  Perhaps the ideal is to learn to follow both paths at once.

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