Photos or Fauxtos?

When I moved from Ithaca to the Freeville zip code in NY I had no idea of the impact that the open skies and fields would have on my sensibilities. The view from my back windows flooded me with memories of my childhood spent in the isolated woods of Connecticut, solitary hours spent outdoors in summer, spring, fall and winter: ice skating, canoeing, walking, climbing rocks, catching frogs, clearing red and yellow leaves from the little streams.

Nearly 40 years later I was living again in the country, surrounded by farms. My neighbor’s houses were far enough away that I could see people but not their faces. To the east behind my house were acres of undeveloped land affording an unobstructed view of open fields, hedgerows and the mostly wooded, sloping hills of Yellow Barn State Forest and Mount Pleasant in the distance. To the west across my quiet country road, just a few houses, hedgerows, and fenced pastures dotted the low, even horizon. There was so much sky and so much in it: huge rafts of clouds and storms, tidal ground fog, Carl Sagan’s billions and billions of stars, flocks of geese and migrating birds, and stunning, silent sunrises and sunsets. I began photographing them with my digital Nikon D5. All I had to do was walk out my back door and click the shutter. Or, walk out my front door and stand at the end of my driveway. And click.

My photography skills were so rudimentary, acquired in the 1970s. But I learned how to employ the digital SLR camera’s auto features by daily practice. I caught images of amazing, brief moments. I started to call myself a “fauxtographer,” mainly as a gesture of humor and humility. I didn’t feel I had paid my dues and earned the title of photographer.

Four years later I’m re-thinking that. Now I have a portfolio of hundreds. And the sunrises and sunsets just keep coming. Here is a small sample from 2012–14.

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