Wow, I didn't see that!

May 06, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

The day I met my wife it was a rainy afternoon at a coffee shop in Bozeman where we had agreed to have a business meeting.  As Type A Drivers neither of us are chit chatty when it comes to business meetings.  We have agendas and talking points, an in the case of my wife, Powerpoint Decks and Excel Spreadsheets.  But on this day, things were different.  Somewhere in our first few minutes we lost track of the agendas and got lost in learning how much we have in common.  There are kids, country dancing, Montanans at heart... and then there is photography.  We both love to take pictures - but that's where our parallel lines crash into each other.  At that time, she was a Nikon girl and I was a Canon guy (We're now a Nikon couple). She is a Macro girl and I'm a Telephoto guy, and that's where we begin to diverge.  Steph notices the hidden gems and "little" things that highlight the beauty of our world around us.  Not only do I not notice her subjects, often times, it takes me a while to understand them.  She is detail oriented and it is reflected in the images she captures.

WaitingWaitingPhoto by Steph Hartsog

Personally, I am a big picture kind of guy.  My focus is on the landscape and the wildlife.  Mountains, rivers, cloud structure and animals capture my attention.  I'm a big picture type, my eye always gravitating to the scenery.

Spring Time on the YellowstoneSpring Time on the YellowstonePhoto by Michael Hartsog

That's what I love about photography.  Composition, light, depth of field and color saturation all meet the photographer's eye wherever they are focused - capturing an image that touches their spirit in a way only they can truly understand.  There have been so many times, at the end of a day, looking at the images we captured on our adventure, that we said, "Wow!  I didn't see that."  Whether it's a budding flower secretly popping out of the ground that I didn't see, or the reflection of a mountain in a glassy hot springs that she didn't see, our individual styles and "photographer's eye," in a sense, complete the picture of our experience together.  Our photography gives us a deeper understanding of who we are as individuals and affords us the opportunity to expand ourselves as we learn to see the world through each other's eyes.  

It may have been on our second date, a hike up a local trail, cameras in hand, that Steph came up with the idea to list 20 "subjects" and each capture an image that represents what we see.  It's Spring in Montana and we can't wait to get outside and discover ourselves, each other and the beautiful world around us.  We'll be sure to share with you what we find...


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I have never considered myself a creative person.  I am a numbers guy - analytical, and somewhat of a linear thinker.  My grandfather was an accomplished amateur photographer, and a self taught (and licensed) engineer who could speak four languages.  My mom, also an accomplished amateur photographer, was a CPA and County Auditor in the local government.  Photography has always come naturally.  I have been told I have a good eye - I'll leave that up to you to decide.  I love photography, but there is another form of expression that I have also learned to love over my lifetime, and that is writing.  

I just completed Ansel Adams Autobiography and I was struck by his amazing ability to write - how his writing complemented his photography.  His writing was not a description of his images, nor were his images a description of his prose.  He wrote what was in his heart, influenced by the beauty of the natural world around him.

My hope is that this blog in some way imitates that form of expression, working in unison to illuminate the world that I see around me and love so much.  I hope you enjoy.

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