THE PHOTOGRAPHS in “the lake” represent days, weeks and years of successes and failures; many early mornings and late afternoons (in all kinds of weather); moments of frustration, experimentation and risk — and moments of pure joy and elation.
Over the years, I’ve shot hundreds of thousands of photographs for this personal project. Decisions about which ones to use and which to discard became more and more difficult as I neared completion. And, in the end, every photo needed to take my breath away to make it into this book. To be included, a photograph had to show something truly special — something I had never seen before.
Or, something that I had seen many times but successfully captured in a unique and artistic way. I had more than a few sad moments saying farewell to one of my babies — a photo I loved.
When I work (and in my life), I’m always asking myself, “How can I make it better? How can I shoot this in a more interesting way?” Experimentation is a huge part of the process, and not all experiments succeed. Many times, I returned to a subject to look for a new angle, a better light, a different technique or a different approach entirely. Some days were utterly frustrating, but on other, better days, you might hear a cheer from my office — when I knew I had a “keeper” for the book.
To create this work, I took photos on the water, in the water, over the water and underwater. I shot from a boat, from the shore, from my own back deck. Nature photography takes a lot of patience (which I’m admittedly not that great at) and a lot of perseverance (which is a quality I am very well-known for). There were many mornings when I looked out my window at some pretty iffy weather and had to make a decision: “Is it really worth putting on layers of warm clothes, securing my dogs and hauling all my gear down to the lake?”
Many times, shooting for hours turned out to be fruitless. And yet, other times, something magical happened right in front of me, and I was able to capture it forever. Even the unproductive days were worth it, as I got to spend time in nature and experience the many facets of the lake.