Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs


Essay #007

"The Thrill of the Chase
The Adventure of the Hunt"

The Mittens At Sunrise

by Steve Kossack "F-8 And Be There Photographic Tours" <2001>


I'm a landscape photographer. It hasn't always been that way. Before I became a landscape photographer, I wasn't a photographer at all! It was simply the landscape that led me to become a photographer. This is a very different way to come to what we do. Most photographers I've met have been photographers first. They bring their skill and knowledge to the subject. I did it the other way around.

It's a different perspective. I have always loved to be in motion. I was an athlete from the first moment I can remember. The day that I became eligible for a drivers license I was sitting at the door when they opened! But I was a city boy. I raced cars, played baseball and worked very physical jobs. It wasn't until 1982 that I first saw Yosemite!

Things for me began to change rapidly from that moment on. I wanted to walk trails, I needed to go up every road and down still another. I found I liked knowing an area and it's features names. I never went the same way twice if there was another route. I found that there was usually a way to get up on a mountain top and be down in the valley on the same day. I started to think about where I could be in four hours, eight hours, maybe tomorrow morning.

Magical names began to appear as real places. Zion, Bryce, The Grand Canyon. Soon I had visited Crater Lake and MT. Rainier. Badlands National Park, Capitol Reef and Arches followed. I realized that anything with "National Park" in the name was also calling my name! I visited as many as possible, but without a camera.

I held a passing interest in photography. I purchased an SLR when my son was born many years before. I liked using it and as an after thought, I'd started shooting landscape casually with it. The camera, it's film and just about everything associated with it was simply "Magic" to me. I had zero understanding of photography. I went on a photo walk with a national park ranger in Sequoia one morning. He told me that people take pictures to share with others. I wanted that too!


Reflection Cathedral Rocks Sedona

It was with this lack of knowledge that I enrolled in college to "take better pictures". I found myself in the art department. I wanted to quit. The concentration was manipulating images. I was told that it was up to me to find what I wanted to say, and possibly, they could help me find a way to say it. I was the only person there shooting landscape. The only one!

I spent a wonderful couple of years learning and seeing. I saw the creative process. I watched artists. They made beauty with their art. They had a gift to give. They had a product. I went in thinking that photography was magic and left there knowing that it was! What I learned clearly was that if my photography was to improve, it would take dedication and discipline. I realized that if I was going to do it well, I would have to do it all the time. That's what I've done.

As I started to show my work to others I saw that the ability I had learned, talking about my work was beneficial. I also became aware of the fact that I could share the experience with others. I began photographing with other photographers. I found that I could teach. More and more people would ask me where a particular image was made and in response I started what now has become F-8 And Be There .... Tours & workshops.


Tumbleweed Upper Antelope Canyon

I wanted to fill a gap that I thought existed between a formal workshop and the freedom to just "chase the light". I started to figure out why some may not want a formal workshop. I started a business directly aimed at personalized photography.

The wonderful truth of F-8 And Be There Photographic Tours is, it can be anything you want it to be. From a day to a week. In one specific location or places that cover hundreds of miles. People of all skill levels have found that months of hunting and exploring can be accomplished in a few days. I try and maximize the possibilities. I guide mostly. I teach where wanted and like to talk about what I'm seeing while I shoot. What I find most people have learned on an F-8 outing is the discipline and dedication it takes to capture successful images. It's a new way to see and a new way to be. It's "The Thrill of the Chase ........

The Adventure of the Hunt. It's F-8 And Be There.


Agatha Peak Kayenta AZ
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