Since I was old enough to hold a crayon or paintbrush I have loved to draw and paint, mixing colors to my heart's content. Art was my favorite subject in school and I couldn't wait to put on a smock and splash tempura paint all over a large piece of fresh newsprint.
I took art classes throughout high school and college, painting from magazine photos. In one class the professor announced that we had to use our own photos so I went up into the nearby mountains and shot a roll of film. While struggling to paint bare aspens in a snow scene, I realized it was easier to take photos than paint, not to mention faster.
Instead of painting with pigments, I now used photons. In order to use them, I had to learn how different types of film captured light. Unlike our eyes, which are sensitive to a broad spectrum and can detect subtle changes, film is limited. I would take shots of vibrant blue skies and ruby red flowers only to be disappointed when I looked at the developed results. Although I could never duplicate what I saw, I could use different types of film and filters to represent what I felt at a particular moment.
With the switch to digital cameras I can record near perfect colors and tones. Software enables me to manipulate them in ways that are only limited to my imagination. A single photograph can easily render dozens of perspectives and moods (as in the photo on my opening page).
Sometimes the number of choices are overwhelming and I miss the simplicity and the fun of getting my hands covered in paint. That's when I get out my box of paints and play.
Photograph: Madronas - the best of both worlds, watercolor tinted black and white print.