It seems that photographing Vermont has become my calling, and it has worked out well for me.
Switching to digital was a key step for me. Digital cameras are a great tool in learning how to compose shots and are ideal for perfectionists and photographers with attention to detail. They give instant feedback and allow you to keep shooting and closing in on the best view of the subject, looking for the ideal light and angle. The majority of those pictures nobody will ever see, but they let me learn by being able to test without fear of mistake. With film, I was literally throwing expensive silver into the garbage with each mistake.
There is a downside to the digital, too. Almost everyone has a camera at all times and has become a photographer to some degree. Images are becoming disposable.
For example, there’s a whole generation addicted to selfies. They remind me of this meme that shows Neil Armstrong in one frame and a picture of a girl with a cell phone at a bathroom mirror in the other. The caption on Armstrong’s side reads: “Went to moon took 5 photos.” Her frame reads: “Went to toilet took 37 photos.”
Silly as selfies are, they are learning too. By pure accident, vanity is turning people into pretty good portrait photographers. Landscapes are coming along too. They’re mostly now documents of our travels, but practice makes perfect. The internet teaches the craft of photography and is an endless source of quality examples that photographers imitate and learn from. There has been a huge explosion in the number and quality of photographers in the last decade and the art will continue to move forward.
People always ask how I manage to be at the right place at the right time to get dramatic skies behind my scenes. It’s not really accident though. I travel the state constantly and have spots that I shoot at over and over. I’ve explored them from all sorts of angles many times. So when I am out and see some dramatic clouds or sunsets happening in the sky, I just search my brain for one of my spots that might be nearby. I head there hoping to get the right combination of location and light.
A great sky over an ugly mall parking lot is never going to make a great picture. Neither will a great landscape with an empty white sky. So first I am looking for good light or good clouds in the sky, then I know there is always some interesting part of Vermont that is not far away to put in front of that sky. I’m just driving around the back roads and matching them up.
Keith Edmunds, originally from Wallingford, started his career in photography in the 1980s. His work has been featured in “The Kingdom Guide,” “Vermont Life Magazine” and “Vermont Magazine.”