The Best Photo Is Still The Most Elusive

Linda Barnfather, that’s me.  I’m a photographer who loves to tell a story with photos, I love to invite the viewer to linger and hang out in the image for awhile. For the nuts and bolts side of my life, I live in the incredibly scenic and beautiful Olympic Peninsula of WA state, on a farm with my husband Jim and sheltie dog, Lexie.  I live within a few miles of a major US National Park, a mountain range, a rugged coastline, gorgeous farmland, and a Rain Forest or two.  I’m just a few miles from Vancouver Island in British Columbia, and I can reach some major cities within a few hours. I work for the WA state Legislature as a Legislative Aid.  I also run an Adventure Tour business, focusing on this lovely section of the world I live in. Besides my family, all of this is secondary to the work and art I do as a photographer. I’m as lucky as lucky can be!   

There is an abundance of photographic subject matter so close at hand. However, I follow several photographers who do a lot of urban work, because it’s something that I don’t get to do everyday.  I follow other photographers from around the world, so I can keep up on the beat. I like it all. It’s not what am I going to do today that gets me out of bed, it’s where am I going to take pictures today that gets me out of bed.

I know my passion is photography. I dream about it, I think about when and what I am going to do next. I carry my camera everywhere. I truly miss taking pictures, when I have to miss a day or two. It’s far past an obsession. Photography is a way of life for me now.  It’s about always looking for a better shot with constant editing and framing. 

Street photography of the Evil Eye and a passerby, in Istanbul, Turkey

Street photography of the Evil Eye and a passerby, in Istanbul, Turkey

Being a 50-something woman with a camera brings, about a new set of circumstances in a photographer’s journey.  No one questions me anymore, no one is getting in my way trying to chat me up, (Well...I like to think I still ‘got it’ a little).  There is something about middle-age that makes a woman kind of disappear into the crowd.  It’s a strange phenomenon at this time in one’s life.  But, if you add an authoritative look and and an air of knowing what you are doing, no one questions you. Meanwhile you can move freely about the wings a stage production, on the streets of NYC or London, or near the bucking chutes at a Rodeo.  There’s a certain boldness that takes over and no one really argues with you.  This boldness, coupled with a desire to do more....well, it’s beyond a desire, it’s a down-right need to do more. That is what keeps me going.  

Hanging out near the Chutes at a summer country rodeo, Columbia Fall, MT

Hanging out near the Chutes at a summer country rodeo, Columbia Fall, MT

Chasing the light, chasing the shot, finding how the puzzle fits together in terms of humanity and human values.  How do we spend our time, how do we spend our money, how do we treat others? These are the kind of questions I truly enjoy exploring through photographs.

I remember being in Varanasi, India among the masses of people, and wondering how this all works:  the markets, the society, the invisible rules, and glue that hold all this together.  What values are in play that makes these laws of society tick along? Through the course of my brief time in India, it became apparent that this segment of the Indian/Hindi culture has a strong sense of family, and even stronger sense of religious beliefs that dictates societal roles and rules. 

Boy selling candles at the Arti celebration on the banks of the Ganges, Varanasi, India

Boy selling candles at the Arti celebration on the banks of the Ganges, Varanasi, India

A good photo presents as many of the elements of light, composition, and a window into something unknown, with hopes that a viewer that can linger in the photo and prompt some sort of reaction.  Then if things are truly lining up, add the artful, painterly component and it’s a winning photo. Some of the best photos I’ve taken, have been a juxtaposition of art, action, and a small editorial comment of some sort.   A carefully crafted photo will set the photographer apart from the crowd and give an important moment to teach about an experience.  

Anti-Syrian Refugee Protestors on the steps of the Capitol building openly carrying their pistols, Olympia, WA

Anti-Syrian Refugee Protestors on the steps of the Capitol building openly carrying their pistols, Olympia, WA

Of course, this is very difficult to do and takes years of practice. You cannot get it with out practice and personal growth.  You want to give up, but you can’t. Practice pushes you forward. The best photo is still the most elusive.

The once prevalent and iconic British K2 phone booth sits deserted on a back street of Dover UK 

The once prevalent and iconic British K2 phone booth sits deserted on a back street of Dover UK 

However I don’t want to make it all about me.  When I am alone with a camera in a situation, it’s just me and the subjects in a blissful state of creativity.  That’s what I get. What I can give is my own small view of the world and the how I capture the world around me. The reaction is the moment the presentation of art and information works.

The First Big Freeze

Greetings from our new blog!  With the change of season and first big freeze of the year, we finally are tackling some of our inside work. We didn't have any tours in the Van this week, due to the weather.  However, we thought you would enjoy an armchair look the natural beauty of the Olympic Peninsula and the Hood Canal, near Brinnon, WA.  I say this in the most unbiased opinion ever--our area is lovely at just about every time of the year.  With the first snow, the images and scenery are even more spectacular. It's a quiet and subtle beauty that takes over and causes one to slow down and notice the details. Enjoy the tour and watch for news about our exciting new Tours we're planning!