The only two constants in my life which have brought any solace are art and nature, around the year 2008 I found a way to combine them. Strolling down the aisles of an outdoor local artist display I came across a small wood carving that I decided I must have. The creator was also a nature photographer and a brief showing of his work had me convinced that wildlife photography was my next adventure, and for those who know me, when I begin something; I am all in. Not much for gray areas.
The next two years were spent frantically reading about photography and digital imaging to catch up to those already ahead of me, I also switched my college major from Web Design over to Graphic Design which seemed to aid in this new obsession quite well so it must be the next logical step. I spent every available hour tackling indoor and outdoor photo projects, both man-made and god given in an effort to understand the artistic side of photography as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the digital camera itself.
In the time since then, I have continued to hone my skills to the best of my ability through new genres of photography and ventures into lighting, HDR, and night images. However, I linger on wildlife photography and the sunrise landscapes full of birds as the times I feel most at peace - camera in my tow and coffee in hand.
Fast forward to early 2016, as I write this, after a long 2 year writers block of creativity, or about 730 days of internal struggles over losing my passion for photography and any other form of artistic expression (-I think some call this burning out– ) I have returned to the wilderness to capture what nature lets me. With this came a new website and a new angle in the form of a photography blog and journal, which I felt better suited my photo process. Countless hours are spent for each image presented here, and I am often asked about the boredom endured when you lay from sunrise to sunset waiting (im)patiently for the subjects to arrive. While my mind does sometimes go astray, I have never felt boredom overcome me out in the field. There is always something to see if you are watching close enough – As the saying goes “Take a look at what you’re looking at”
In the end, I have found this hobby to be my most sensible form of meditation. My desire to freeze the most unlikely 4000th of a second forces me to focus on the present, the natural elements around lead me away from the technology and the speed of modern life, and the changing light and shadows let me study the time I get to spend wherever it is I call home that day.
Bill Van der Hagen