More photography from the New Jersey Pine Barrens

Fire in a Winter Sky New Jersey Pine Barrens

Fire in a Winter Sky by Richard Lewis 2015

I enjoy taking inspiration from landscape painters because they do not suffer from the limitations of photography. When art starts with a blank canvas and a creative mind, reality can be completely bent to an the artist’s vision, style and skill. Landscape photographers, on the other hand, have to start with the reality that we place in front of our cameras. Sure, we can manipulate it to an extent with our choice of lighting, exposure and lens. We can even further manipulate an image in post processing. But no matter what we do, landscape photographers build art around reality and cannot completely build the reality itself like our painter friends can do.

Most of the painters that continue to influence me are no longer living, but one named Peter Fiore is very much alive. Peter is a master landscape artist living in the Delaware Water Gap. What I love about his work is the way he delicately shows how light can create quiet moments of stillness on the landscape.

Winter Afterglow by Peter Fiore

Winter Afterglow by Peter Fiore

Peter’s latest show at the Travis Gallery in New Hope, Pennsylvania was called “Last 15.” It was a series of paintings showing the last 15 minutes of the day. This powerful series has influenced some of my recent work.

I do not desire to create something that looks like a painting with post processing. Software, like Topaz Labs’ Impression, tempts one with some very sophisticated tools to do this. While I love using Impression, I feel that being a photographer means my work should ultimately look photographic.

I created the image Fire in a Winter Sky because I wanted to show that feeling of eerie calm in the last moments of a winter day before night descends on the frozen world. The painting of Peter Fiore’s Winter Afterglow was on my mind as I stood with my camera capturing the light fading over a cedar swamp. My desire was not to imitate the look of the painting, but to convey the feeling in the same way the painting by does using color and light.