Dead Tree Photography
Grand Teton sunrise and silhouette photos
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The nature picture galleries of Dead Tree Photography are dedicated to the beauty of the outdoors.

Photographic philosophy of: the family | Craig | Sara | Scott

Nature photography is a family affair with us. The poem below sums up our feelings toward nature and wildlife. Our individual artist statements are accessible from the above links.

Here in the woods where silence reigns
More eloquent than sound;

The place I stand 'neath the trees
seems somehow holy ground.

The birds withhold their carolling
the breeze abandons play:

And Heaven in this atmosphere
seems not so far away!

-Martha Martin

Craig (the father):

"The place I stand ‘neath the trees seems somehow holy ground"

My father is largely responsible for both my love of nature and photography. My first pictures were taken with a Kodak Brownie camera in the Allegheny National Forest. Those first photos were forgettable, but the impact of fall foliage and wildlife profound. That trip was soon followed by years of trips to Canada, usually where we were the only people for miles around and could enjoy the Northern Lights, wildlife, and the majesty of nature.

My photography seeks to capture both the beauty and memories of those times. It seeks to preserve the special visual moments that moved me emotionally. When I look at the Onaping Moose, I relive that special morning with my son when the poor fishing was more than offset by sharing his first look at a bull moose. Going-to-the Sun Rainbow reminds me of a wet and windy morning shared only with my wife, when a dark and stormy sunrise produced a spectacular rainbow at Glacier National Park's Sun Point.

Most of my photos were taken beyond roadside scenic overlooks with a variety of Nikon 35mm cameras. More recent images include some taken with a Nikon D100 digital camera. Many were taken with a polarizer to enhance blue skies, and only traditional "dodge and burn" techniques have been applied to my photographs. My goal is to share those special moments I was able to enjoy with family. The splendor of nature is the foundation and inspiration of my work, and I hope you appreciate my vision of nature's beauty and emotional power.

Sara (the mother):

Fortunately for us, there is no dissension when it comes to family vacations – we all want to be surrounded by the beauty of nature and love exploring the great outdoors! I was fortunate to travel to a number of the national parks as a child with my parents. Yosemite National Park made a big impression on me, and I talked for years of returning there until we finally did so in 2002. 

I enjoy doing the research on our destinations so that I can plan our trip to include all of the most spectacular scenery and wildlife. Initially, I had been content to enjoy the scenery while Craig took the photos, but gradually as Craig, and then Scott, became more and more involved with photography on our trips, I too, decided it was something I was interested in pursuing as well. Their encouragement and support has been invaluable in my getting started in photography.

I have found that being a photographer has helped me to appreciate nature more. Whether I have my camera with me or not, I find that my eye is more attuned to nature than it was before I got involved in photography. Though the three of us are all interested in the same general subject matter, naturally there are some differences in our styles. I love vibrant color and beautiful landscapes, but am also drawn to details and textures, as well. My goal is to capture the beauty of nature for the enjoyment of myself and others.  Looking at the images of the special places we’ve visited always brings back wonderful memories for me.  I hope that my photos can bring pleasure to others by helping them to relive happy memories as well, or possibly to encourage them to travel. 

Scott (the son):

It is my desire to connect the viewer with the beauty, awe, and emotional power of nature.

My father and his father are responsible for my love of photography. They gave me my first camera and brought me on their fishing trips to Canada where I would see moose, bears, and wolves. On a family vacation to Rocky Mountain National Park, I began to look over my father's shoulder and ask about shutter speed and aperture. By our next family vacation I was carrying my first Nikon 35mm and was engrossed with photographing the beauty surrounding me.

Since my first photographs, my work has evolved in a number of directions. I began with color film, moved to black & white film, and now work with digital cameras. While I was in college majoring in Art, I spent a year shooting exclusively black and white in a photography class to improve my technical knowledge as well as my eye for photography. During that time I was exposed to the work of Jerry Uelsmann, which inspired me to create photomontages. Ultimately everything in my photography comes back to my fundamental love of nature.

I hope you will enjoy the beauty and awe that inspires me to photograph.