The resulting photograph shows a place that looks pretty much as it did thousands of years ago. That's one of the really neat things
about natural subjects. They are timeless. And you wouldn't know there were so many people along side and behind my camera.
Am I pleased with what I consider to be my best artistic interpretation of my journey to the falls that day? Yes. Would I rush back
there again soon? With all apologies to that beautiful place…no. For as beautiful as it was, and still is, I personally feel compelled
to visit places at the end of roads less traveled by. I prefer to artistically seek out those scenes and subjects less seen.
When my dear friend and a talented artist in his own right first set his eyes on the Snake River from the same vantage point in
Grand Teton National Park that Ansel Adams made famous, my friend turned to me and said…I think I'll try to find another
perspective rather than attempt to capture one that has already been explored. My friend was right.
As artists, we shouldn't try to respond creatively to a scene or subject that has already been artistically explored time and time again,
no matter how tempting that may be. In my opinion, we should strive to find a new visual, musical, or poetic arrangement of the
scenes we experience in life and work to present our discoveries in order to satisfy ourselves and our audiences. Only then can
we call ourselves true artists.
Still, you should never miss an opportunity to partake of the incredible, whenever possible. Maybe the next time I find myself at an
iconic location, I'll leave my camera behind and experience the scene as one of the tourists. Yeah, right! Who am I kidding?!
The artist in me would never allow that to happen. I'll be bringing my camera along with me for as long as my journey in this life lasts.
I will, however, always try to find another perspective rather than attempt to capture one that has already been explored. For that I
say, thank you, Dale!
All artwork featured in the SPOTLIGHT © copyright the respective artist. All rights reserved.
For this month's Spotlight, Artists Are Always Right features an exploration into one of publisher and editor Douglas Schwartz's
experiences as an artist.
LOWER YELLOWSTONE FALLS, YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
Iconic locations for visual artists as well as other literary and performing artists seeking inspiration for their work abound in the United
States. I've personally been to several of them. Otter Cliff (Acadia National Park, Maine) as well as Pemaquid Point also in Maine.
Clingmans Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Numerous locations in Cape Cod National Seashore and Pictured
Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan. My to do list would also include Niagara Falls, Grand Canyon National Park, Monument
Valley (including the famous Mittens) and Yosemite Valley (as seen from Artist Point).
The reason why so many visual artists visit places such as these is very simple. These places are extraordinarily visual! If you are a
visual artist and find locations such as the ones I mentioned boring, perhaps you should reexamine your life and explore the possibility
of becoming a shoe salesperson. Not that being a shoe salesperson is a bad vocation considering that artists need shoes to get to the spectacular places I mentioned, but I digress.
For those of you who have never journeyed to Lower Yellowstone Falls in Yellowstone National Park, allow me to share my experience
with you. And if you have been there, see if you can relate.
Lower Yellowstone Falls is one of the most beautiful natural formations in the world. The incredible volume of water cascades over
300 feet (which is nearly twice as high as Niagara Falls) over rock which is 590,000 years old. That's about as much left-brained
thinking as I will impart. Now on to the aesthetics of the experience!
Getting to the vantage point where I created my photograph is relatively easy enough. Simply drive to the parking area, exit your
automobile, and walk a short distance. A piece of cake, shall we say…as long as you like eating your cake while surrounded by a
multitude of other cake eaters.
Because most likely you will notice, as did I, that there are a lot…and I do mean a lot…of people around you doing the same thing.
There will be parents with rambunctious children, elderly people, along with a bunch of fellow artists carrying tripods or toting
sketchpads and easels. You may feel that you are on some sort of pilgrimage to hallowed ground (or water), which I actually believe
to be the case, and that you and the crowd are being magnetically drawn to such a scene that no hand of man could ever create.
And then suddenly, it is before you. You look at it as if
you are the first person on Earth to see it. You blink.
You blink again. Can it be real? At that moment,
someone bumps into you by accident and you realize
that about four thousand people, or so it seems,
are standing beside you reacting to the same
Words like magical, beautiful and majestic fall
short of expressing what you are seeing. If you are
like me, you feel as if you are seeing the intentional
handiwork of an artist much greater than yourself.
You marvel at the power it took to create such a
natural revelation and you suddenly feel very small,
like The Incredible Shrinking Man, in comparison
to the enormous scale of what lies before you.
If you are a photographic artist such as I, you set up
your tripod…a difficult task indeed without crowd
control...and begin composing your image. As you
peer through the viewfinder, you have to keep
reminding yourself that what you're seeing is real and
not some illusion in an artist's dream. Another person
(or twenty) walks in front of you and your camera.
They say excuse me, or not, and you ignore them for
the most part because you are do damn captivated
by the moment you are in and by the scene in front
As I released my camera's shutter that day, I felt that
I had captured something that was much more than I
could ever fully understand. It was as if I was a visitor
to a foreign world and permitted, if only for a moment,
a glimpse into something truly wonderful and