Chapter Two: The Inspiration

“Every artist was first an amateur.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ve drawn inspiration and encouragement in my life from a multitude of people.  People to whom I am forever indebted, but a few years ago, though sheer happenstance really, I came across the work of two photographers that I suspect have done more than any to open my eyes to what photography is and could be.

The first, Justin Terveen, based out of Dallas I first came across Mr. Terveen’s work not long after he had first picked up the camera himself.  He would post pictures of the city on the Dallasmetropolis.com forums that stood out to me.  He had a knack for new and refreshing angles and perspectives.  For fresh ways to photograph buildings and people.  Through Flickr and Facebook I have followed his work for years.

The second photographer was Trey Ratcliff.  At the time Mr. Ratcliff was an Austin-based (he has since relocated to New Zealand) travel photographer who created the site StuckInCustoms.com.  Ratcliff, like Terveen was new to the photography game and brought fresh ideas and techniques that peaked my interest.  Ratcliff is often credited with popularizing HDR photography and for his unapologetic exploration of the photographic possibilities allowed by modern computer software.  Like Terveen, I have followed Ratcliff’s work religiously for many years.

Through those two and the online realms in which they wandered I was introduced to the work of many other great photographers like Karen HuttonRC ConcepcionSerge Ramelli, Benjamin Von Wong, Eric BowersCaras Ionut and so many others.  A day really isn’t complete without at least a quick visit to their blogs, Facebook, Google+ or 500px to see what new and wonderful things they have created.  But I always find myself particularly drawn to Terveen and Ratcliff, not only for the wonderful work they do and the inspiration I draw from just that, but because I have been following them long enough to see how much they have grown in their craft.  Both are brilliant photographers… neither started that way.  Don’t get me wrong, it was evident from the beginning they both had a gift, but as you watch their work develop over the years you see how they have grown as artists.  Ratcliff even talks about how he leaves a lot of his older work up so others can see it and just how much growth is possible.  I see the same by looking through Terveen’s Flickr portfolio which dates back to 2006.

I get ideas from their work and techniques and perspectives, but their growth as artists is what really inspires me.  It inspires me to keep experimenting and challenging myself.  I have no idea what the future holds, but if I can achieve anything with this blog, I hope to document my own growth.  I hope to one day look back at these first few posts and laugh because they serve as evidence of how far I have come.  We will see.

The above is an example of literal inspiration.  I saw a fantastic picture taken by Justin Terveen from right about that same spot.  I’m not going to lie, I straight copied it… the location anyway.  After 30 minutes spent scanning Google Earth looking for the exact spot, I found it and I was off.  The circus was in town at the time and the train pictured is how the entire circus moves from city to city.  Because I was shooting into a setting sun, I took the opportunity to try a true multi-exposure HDR.  The sky was seemingly exploding with light and texture and it was my desire to convey the drama of scene.

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