|NPN Staff Profile - Preston Birdwell|
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At the age of twelve, I made my first trip into the Sierra Nevada and was deeply impressed and intrigued by the grandeur of these mountains. I returned to Texas, knowing that someday I would return to the "Range of Light."
My family moved to Pasadena, California in 1962 and the mountains, which lived in my memory, were again within reach. In high school, I met new friends who were also mountaineers: They took me under their wing, taught me to climb and put me on a path toward the understanding of the ways of mountains.
After a tour of duty in the US Air Force, I returned to the hills. The year was 1971. I purchased a 35mm Canon camera, which became a constant companion. My goal: To commit to film the sense of enveloping light and the tremendous energy of the Sierra.
In the early nineteen-eighties I began my foray into large format photography using a 4x5 that was a gift from my father. I then volunteered as an instructional aide for the photography department at Columbia College. During this five year period I learned the Zone System; developing my black and white negatives, making traditional prints and preparing them for display.
During the course of years, the focus of my work continues to be the Sierra and its environs in their many moods. Today, I use 6x4.5cm and 4x5 inch cameras to record my impressions of this vast and varied mountain range for my personal enjoyment and that of others.
Underlying my desire to create photographs that celebrate this "Range of Light" is a deep and abiding love for the natural world and all its creatures. Through my photographs I gratefully share this love and appreciation.
I received awards for my work at the Tuolumne County Fair, the Columbia College-All Student-Juried Art Show, and more recently, four Editorís Picks in the Nature Photographers Network Online Magazine. My work has also been published in the Tuolumne County Magazine.
I have made my home in the Sierra foothills, in the town of Columbia, for over thirty-five years. I am an employee of the Yosemite Community College District at the Columbia College campus as an administrator with the Columbia College Fire Department.
Please visit my web site Sierra Nevada Photography-The Gilded Moon and my portfolio at PhotoPortfolios.net.
e-mail Preston Birdwell