His early work as a photojournalist brought Jack Dykinga a Pulitzer Prize. That was just the beginning. He subsequently became one of the finest and most celebrated landscape photographers of our time.
In this interview, Jack discusses how he takes photographs, digital processing, the challenges of making a living at photography, conservation, and much more.
We don't need to travel to scenic places to find good subjects for photographs. I've taken many photographs that I like, within a few miles or even a few blocks of my home.
How do we find such images? It's mostly a matter of learning to look carefully at the details in what we see around us. When we've found a detail that will work as a subject, we then need to be creative in finding the right composition.
I was traveling six hundred feet down and a thousand years back, more or less. The trail from the rim of Canyon de Chelly to the White House Ruin begins with a series of steep switchbacks. On one side, there's a wall of rock. On the other side, if you're clumsy, there's a fall that's long enough to kill you. I watched my step.
A few weeks back, I was exploring a rock formation near the Little Colorado River. I found a number of petroglyphs. It occurred to me that almost all the petroglyphs and ruins I've encountered in the Southwest were near rivers or streams. The ancient desert people had compelling practical reasons for living near water. I suspect, though, that they also enjoyed simply looking at it.
I love to include water in my photographs. Judging by what I see on photography forums, I'm not alone. Water can significantly improve a photographic composition. It's worth considering why.
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