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Erwin Buske

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
― Henry David Thoreau

As a photographer I am both a witness and interpreter of nature. My goal is to capture the essence of the landscape through the lens of my inner vision. I started my photographic journey at an early age with a simple goal to share my vision of the incredible landscapes I was witnessing on my many backpacking and hiking trips. Although I have evolved as a photographer over the years and am now making use of this great social media tool, my goal remains the same--to share my vision with as wide of audience as possible. My hope is that in doing this I will inspire others to visit wilderness areas and national parks, increasing awareness of the need to protect our wild areas. My motto as a photographer is the same as the Sierra Club-to leave no trace, respect the landscape I am photographing, and keep it pristine for future generations.

Julia and I and our 12-year-old daughter, Caroline, live in Fairwood, Washington where the foothills of the cascades are literally right out our front door. I retired early from Boeing with pension to free up more time for my pursuits. Currently I fill up my days with more time for family, photography, hiking/backpacking and work part time at my business Erwin Buske Photography, and as a consultant in the field of procurement cost analysis. I often lead hikes for children (now tweens!) into the cascades helping cultivate the appreciation of the outdoors in our next generation. I also lead through the Seattle Mountaineers photography hikes and backpacking trips deep into the wilderness areas of Washington State. My work has been recognized by Nature's Best/Smithsonian (finalist and top 100 in the Wilderness Forever Contest), National Geographic (published), and Outdoor Photographer (finalist in Nature's Colors Contest two years in a row). My best recognition, however, comes from individuals like yourself who take the time to comment on my work.

I am constantly amazed about how photography has the ability to connect people and even provide them with a greater sense of purpose. I met my wife through photography on National Trails day when I was photographing the event for the Seattle Mountaineers and I have also met so many awesome photographers and lovers of photography right here on Facebook!

Washington Photographers who are currently active who especially inspire me include Art Wolfe Photography, Candace Dyar Photography, Trevor Anderson, and Kevin McNeil Photography. Without exception these are people who not only create inspiring images, but their work is made personal through their stories that come with most of their images. Across our shores I admire greatly the work of two Japanese photographers, Takashi LegendFuji who is the master of Mt. Fuji and Shihya Kowatari for macro work. Reaching back into the past I am a lifelong fan of the work of Art Wolfe, Ansel Adams, David Muench, and Galen Rowell. All of these people were masters of both artistic composition and emphasizing the unique abilities of the photographic medium to capture a moment in time with such beauty it also seems eternal. In the world of painting, Artists who inspire me include the impressionists especially Monet and Renoir, and more modern artists who were especially creative in their use of color including Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. I do not try to emulate any of these photographic and painting artists, but rather my appreciation for their work has also opened new doors to finding my own way to view and experience world.

Although I plan each and every one of my photographic excursions and take steps to previsualize the scene, my best work is created when plans go awry and I am moving and dancing with the whims of Mother Nature who is a master of surprises. The process of photographic composition can never be reduced to just geometry and meticulously planning a scene. Creating memorable images has more to do with interacting with the scene at an emotional level and through compositional and post processing techniques giving photographic form to one’s experience of the scene at both conscious and unconscious levels. My best images do not just use compositional techniques but also achieve a delicate balance between perfection of nature’s patterns and the forces in nature that are often seem chaotic.

Each one of my images involves to some degree post-processing in Photoshop, but my goal is always to convey to others the moment as I experienced it. Often this involves the blending of multiple exposures using various techniques, focus stacking and local adjustments using layer masks. My workflow, however, does not involve techniques that would be a distraction from capturing the moment, such as combining elements from different and unrelated scenes and introducing sources of light that were not in the original scene. I have no quarrels with those who do this and greatly admire the work of some who do, it just does not fit my personal style and objectives for creating images. My equipment revolves around two systems, a full frame Nikon DSLR system and a lighter weight Sony mirrorless sytem for backpacking. My favorite lenses are the Nikon 14-24 2.8, 105 Macro 2.8, 70-200 4.0 and the Sony/Zeiss 16-35 4.0, 90 Macro, and 55 2.8-all of which are about as close to photographic Nirvana as one can get. I firmly believe that excellent images can be taken with pretty much any of the modern digital cameras, and the main advantages of a full frame camera have more to do with being able to print large and having more dynamic range in a single raw file.

The road ahead for me includes near term trips to the Eagle Cap, the Enchantments, the Eastern Sierra, and my favorite destination of all time Mt. Rainier. During my teens, I spent three months at Mt. Rainier restoring meadows, an experience that left a strong impression upon me that just gets stronger with each passing year. I have set goals for myself to work more with Macro Photography and also get my work out into Galleries where prints can be better appreciated. To this end I currently have my work on display in large metal prints at the Blackwater Trading Co. Northwest Gallery & Gift Shop, Gig Harbor WA. I am totally stoked that my daughter Caroline has also taken an interest in photography, and she will be accompanying me on many of my trips this year to further develop her rapidly growing skills. As the curator for the Face Book Page Destination Washington, I am also looking forward to working with all of our contributing photographers to provide our viewers a page that features high quality images of the beautiful state of Washington. I hope this page also continues to provide a platform for new, upcoming, and already established photographers to reach out to a growing base of viewers and provide these photographers the kind of visibility their excellent work deserves. Thanks everyone for viewing my images here on 500PX!

“This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere the dew is never all dried at once a shower is forever falling vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and glowing, on sea and continues and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.”
(John Muir)

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  • Renton, Washington, USA