Dig Deep

“There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.” Ernst Haas

I have walked this beautiful Death Valley canyon perhaps more than one hundred times. It is a spectacularly colorful serpentine canyon with deep, polished narrows and many potential photographs along the way.  I made all the obvious photographs over my first tens of visits. All of my walks since have produced exciting discoveries that can really only result from intimacy. I’ve not once been bored by this familiar walk (refer to the Haas quote) and I’ve never run out of opportunity or ideas. I walk with no photographic preconceptions as they act as barriers in my ability to *see* and experience.

These four geologic panels are millions of years old and found over a two mile span of the canyon. I made these photographs not because they are colorful and could compose well, but rather because I am fascinated by the geology of this canyon and the Death Valley region and have studied it extensively over the years. I now know these walls and every twist and turn of the canyon as if it were my own home.

My heart grows only fonder, the experiences and photographs get only better.

You are visiting the blog of landscape photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his website or follow him on Facebook and Instagram

Desert Candles (Caulanthus inflatus)

Of all the arts, I believe that photography – specifically nature photography – is the one that encourages the highest levels of observation, awareness, sensitivity, and curiosity. Non-photographic artists can invent their subject matter and works. Photographers need to find theirs. We have to be intimately attuned with our surroundings and subjects and aware of the many photographic possibilities in order to make great images come to life. Such photographs never happen by accident or luck (although the latter remains a constant point of derision for our medium). Combine the love of photography with a love and awe for desert, botany, light, and life, and you’ll find someone who is willing to wait for hours to spend an entire afternoon photographing an odd patch of desert plants.

The funky-cool and not-so-common Desert Candles (Caulanthus inflatus) flickered for my attention one recent afternoon on the Mojave Desert. This California endemic – found only here – arises only after a good rainy season. And man, did we have one. In the Brassicaceae family, they may look like asparagus but are related to cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli. I arrived at this incredibly unique garden under the hot light of midday but these flaming candles told me to stay until the light ran out.

There were no tulips here but still I tip-toed through the Candles and Fiddlenecks (Amsinckia tessellate). One can easily make such photographs without injuring, killing, or ripping wildflowers from their beds to impress a social media audience. It’s not really hard to do and requires no special skills or talents. You just need to care and recognize that your wants should never outweigh the needs of other living things. I treat my own garden no differently. What sort of person would destroy a wild one?

Wildflowers matter. Perhaps not to you, but they matter to every bee, moth, and butterfly that pollinates and depends upon them for their existence. Wildflowers are living things that bring life and joy to all who utilize and love them. Crushed wildflowers cannot go to seed. Less seed means a smaller seed bank. A smaller seed bank means less potential for future “super blooms”.

Should you visit any wildflower fields this spring, please be a good steward for the flowers and for our shared planet by carefully tip-toeing through them. Leave no trace. Leave it better than you found it. Give a damn. Thank you!

You are visiting the blog of landscape photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his website or follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

Special Discount Offers in 2011

Despite being several years deep into our economic recession, the end does not appear near, and many are still without work long after having lost their jobs. We’re still deeply entrenched in a time where folks must weigh food for their families over photographs for their walls.

On a relative track, I recently received an email from James from Pennsylvania, who now owns two of my 8″ Mini-Prints. He had this to say:

Thank you for offering the lower priced open edition prints. I’m an amateur photographer and a lover of photography and with a young family, mortgage, etc. There isn’t a ton of money for purchasing original work from photographers, but it’s folks like you, Brooks Jensen, and Mike Johnston over at The Online Photographer with his print offers that make it possible for a lot of us who normally wouldn’t have access to good photography to amass small collections and enjoy the work as a daily part of out lives.”

After reading James’s message, I realized that I could go even further towards helping others own and collect my work. I will not be raising my prices in 2011 (nor did I in 2010), and effective January 1, 2011, all Mini-Print purchases can now be applied as a discount toward the future purchase of any Limited Edition print (maximum discount per Limited Edition print is $39). Similarly, if you buy one of my high quality posters for $25, I’ll also apply that $25 towards the future purchase of any Limited Edition print (maximum discount per Limited Edition print for poster purchases is $25). To take advantage of this offer, you’ll first need to buy a Mini-Print or Poster!

Not only can you now own more of my work for less dollars, it’s also a great way to “test drive” the quality of my photographs, prints, and finishing prior to committing a greater number of dollars to a larger purchase. Thanks for looking and shopping!

You are visiting the blog of fine art photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website.

New Products! Greeting Cards and Posters

Alpine Sunrise poster

Alpine Sunrise poster

Four high resolution posters featuring four of Michael’s most popular photographs are now available! Printed on high quality inkjet paper with Epson professional printers and Epson K3 inks, these deluxe posters are 20×24” in size and arrived rolled in a sturdy tube and ready for hanging. Please see my website for more details and to purchase.

Also now available: beautiful high-quality glossy UV-coated greeting cards featuring six of Michael’s most popular color photographs! Please visit my Greeting Card page for more details and to purchase.

You are visiting the blog of fine art photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website.

FREE Wallpaper for Your Desktop!

The Disciples

The Disciples

Eight of my most popular photographs are now available as beautiful and FREE wallpapers for your desktop! Each image is optimized for your particular display resolution.

Please visit my new Wallpaper page, select your desired photograph and display resolution, and follow the instructions for saving to your desktop. Enjoy!

You are visiting the blog of fine art photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website.