Brett Fernau

I have been taking pictures for a long time and have owned a number of different cameras, but the digital format has really set me free as an artist. The ability to capture an image, crop it, enhance it (if necessary) so that it looks like what I saw, and share it all in the same day is very liberating. The instant gratification is wonderful. Add to that the ability to communicate with people from all over the world right from my desktop, and you have a publishing ability that has never before existed. I like how uncomplicated and straightforward that is.

I have enjoyed walking around exploring since I was a child in Illinois. I would take off in the morning and walk through the woods all day looking at everything. When I was a Boy Scout, our group would take fourteen to eighteen mile hikes about once a month in the spring, summer and fall through many different areas. Later when I moved to Colorado, I would spend whole days just walking in the mountains around Idaho Springs. And one of the first things that my wife and I did together before we were married was to hike up into the mountains above Steamboat Springs, Colorado for a picnic near a little waterfall. Some years later, she and I walked up Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Sadly, there was a long hiatus where I decided I needed a "real" job and so I got very sedentary. I did learn a lot about computers and how to make them do what I want them to do, but I also got fat and lazy. I moved to Los Angeles, California. I didn't do much walking. I didn't do much looking. I did a lot of working and commuting. I would still get out and take photographs and I continued to upgrade my digital photo equipment, but only as a dedicated amature. A dilettante really.

Then, last December, I was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. At that point, given a choice between a slow, painful, lingering death, and handling my problem with healthy eating and lots of exercise, the decision seemed obvious. Other choices became obvious as well. It was time to get seriously interested in life. That has led me here. I started walking again. I started looking again. As I was walking near the canals in Venice, California, I saw a snowy egret and wished I had my camera with me. That was the last time I took a walk without my camera. So now I combine two of the necessities of my life, walking and photography. It is extraordinarily therapeutic to walk through a forest, or up through the chapparal, or even around the block and see all the plants and animals and birds with whom we share this planet. I use my camera to try to capture a bit of what I see and then to share that sense of life and living with whomever is able and willing to appreciate it. I approach my art with a spirit of adventure and an intense interest in what is going on around me. The best part of it all, though, is that it's a lot of fun, too.

featured image

Yellow-rumped Warbler