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I’ve been gone a while, but the light has returned. Literally.

Greenhouse, Tryon

Greenhouse, Tryon

Yep, I have been gone a while. Such is the life of a nearly-done PhD student who is working overtime and has a family. But the darkness is gone, and though I feel very withered from a tough, tough semester, I can now return to photographing—after all, that’s what I do.

So I began looking for images to warm my skills again after a 4-month hiatus, and to rekindle my visual emotions. And behind a school in a far-flung county in the Nebraska Sandhills, I found a greenhouse that reminded me how much I love the light.

Reblogged: Five Essential Lessons (and One Great Tip) I learned about Photography at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops

One of my participants at the Santa Fe Workshops was journalist and traveler Susan Portnoy, who was a lot of fun to work with during our week together. She’s done a wonderful job distilling some key points of my approach to a photographic life on her blog, The Insatiable Traveler, as well as a similar post on Leanne Cole’s blog in Australia. I’m overjoyed Susan came away from the course with a sense of growth and newfound sight (as well as some sweet images!).

Santa Fe Photographic Workshops-Santa Maria bldg The Santa Maria building where I stayed and where breakfast and lunch was serve

The article below originally appeared this week on Leanne Cole Photography  but I wanted to share it here as well. I had a very meaningful experience as a guest of the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops and the lessons I learned, while still a work in progress, I think will have a major impact on my photography. It wasn’t an easy journey, in fact it was very frustrating at times but immensely satisfying in the end.  ~ Susan

When you first arrive at the Workshops, Reid Callanan, the company’s founder, will tell you that no matter what course you take the week is not about creating masterpieces, it’s about learning new approaches to photography, opening your mind and eye to fresh ideas and challenging your skills. It was all that and more.

My instructor was fine…

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Canyon Grove and Aspen, Chaffee County

Canyon Grove and Aspen, Chaffee County

Canyon Grove and Aspen, Chaffee County

I continued to experiment with expressionist techniques during my entire time in Colorado this year, working to find ways of incorporating the light, textures, lines and shadows that make secluded forest groves so mystical for me, while simultaneously paying homage to the brush strokes so critical to that artistic period.

The PlainSky, Nebraskans Show: The Complete Works No. 7

Cemetery Angel: The PlainSky, Nebraskans No. 7

Cemetery Angel: PlainSky, Nebraskans No. 7

This eerie scene of a child’s grave in the Whitman cemetery in Hooker county has haunted me for some time in my photographic efforts. The young girl died in the first years of the twentieth century as her family struggled to establish a life in the rugged Sandhills, a life tied to the growing town of Whitman. Now, Whitman is nearly extinct, and the monument to the child has only the trio of nearby cedars for companionship on the High Plains.

The PlainSky, Nebraskans Show: The Complete Works

American Serengeti

American Serengeti: PlainSky, Nebraskans No. 1

Well, it’s time. For four years, I’ve been working in western Nebraska, photographing, meeting, talking, listening, and … looking. Watching. Composing. It is a path that I could not have predicted, and one that has delivered me to ends I could never have predicted.

This has been a windfall of creativity, and this blog shared in the credit. As do its readers and followers.

It is a strange place, that destination one reaches when voice arrives, and I’m grateful to all of you for sharing the journey.

Above, image one from the full PlainSky, Nebraskans series as the group will debut in one month’s time.

Brett L. Erickson (.com) is moving!

New Year’s resolutions on my end have involved a change to archival gicleé printing on my new Epson 3880 (but prints larger than 16″ high are still done on Fuji Super Gloss), new paper types (all matte, semigloss, and cotton rag), a possible move to blog self-hosting, and a major website change. In fact, Brett L. Erickson (.com) will be down for a few days (until about January 10) until the new site’s hosting change is completed.

Until then, I can be contacted via comment on this post, on Facebook, or on Twitter.