For as long as I can remember I’ve been in love with the natural world and its wild places. Mountains, rivers, oceans and forests—these things have a special hold on me and have exercised and enormous influence in my life. The flash of wings as an osprey dives for a fish, the excitement of seeing paw prints in the soil and wondering what eyes are upon you from the brush, the moment of frozen motion as you encounter a deer on a mountain trail. All throughout my life the most special times have been when I am away from the habitats of man and into the realms of wolf and bison and raven. It is because of my love for these realms that I hike and backpack, choosing to connect with them in the most direct fashion I can, eschewing mechanical mobility and virtual vistas for shanks mare and direct input.
The art of photography is—for me—the patience for the moment when wind and beast and the turning of the earth are all in alignment and a perfect picture can be made. The craft of photography is obsession with detail and a willingness to dedicate yourself to learning techniques and skills that can be as enduring as granite or as ephemeral as the wind. The inspiration of photography is being fortunate enough to be able to be at the place and time when magic can be created. If it seems from my descriptions of photography that I relate it to my love for the outdoors then you are absolutely correct. My photography is intimately and inseparably connected to how I feel about nature and wilderness. Look through my pictures and I think you’ll see better in them what I can only struggle to say here.
I am, at heart, a storyteller. All my life it is through the written word that I have found myself communicating most easily and most fully. Be it poetry or prose (and I would argue that there is little difference, when done correctly), it is through the lens of language that I have seen and spoken most clearly. When I put pen to paper windows and doors open in my mind, connecting me to an ocean of meaning, where the spark of intellect and the rolling thunder of imagination give birth to sorrow and joy, terror and comfort, passion and logic. In every place I go, no matter how far out on the wild frontier of human expression, I attempt to craft language as one my most powerful tools for understanding.
I never had any drive or desire to be a teacher when I was growing up, or for that matter well into adult-hood. I wanted to be a paleontologist and then a roboticist (and you better believe I was going to build robot dinosaurs!). I wanted to work for Industrial Light and Magic and I wanted to work on Broadway. It never entered into my mind, or into the minds of anyone who knew me, that I would develop the patience and the pedagogic skill necessary to pass along knowledge and inspire learning. Nonetheless my time at Apple has helped to bring me to just that place, and since discovering that I am good in this field I have been able to bring it to my love of the outdoors through my activities with Washington Trails Association. For all of that I will be forever grateful to Apple and those there who helped to shape me.
If you’ve made it through the preceding paragraphs without gaining a sense of how much nature means to me I’m not sure what else to do other than come right our and say it: I am an environmentalist. I do, in fact, believe that any job losses are worth absorbing if it means shutting down a polluting coal plant (or all of them). I do believe that protecting a habitat is for more important than ensuring that logging jobs are kept in a small community. I will align on the side of every environmental group and environmental cause, and against every polluter and exploiter and slash-and-burner out there. I am an Edward Abbey environmentalist. On a good day I’m a John Muir environmentalist. On a bad day I’m a George Hayduke environmentalist. There is no dirtier or crueler phrase in the English language than “market-based”. If we can’t agree that humankind needs wilderness to be preserved then I’m afraid that there’s nothing left to talk about.