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Scenic Photography And Living A Richer Life Without Any Money

© By Daryl L. Hunter – 1990

A visitor takes in the view of  Mt. Sinopah reflection on Two Medicine Lake in Glacier National Park. (© Daryl Hunter's "The Hole Picture"/Daryl L. Hunter)

Me taking in the view of Mt. Sinopah reflection on Two Medicine Lake in Glacier National Park. Click on photo to buy print of license photo

A surfer at sunset hurries out to catch a few waves before dark

A surfer at sunset hurries out to catch a few waves before dark

Since purchasing my first camera, I have been living a visual feast that has cost me a real estate career in a lucrative Southern California market. My scenery seemed to me just over the next hill somewhere. Cityscapes just were not my kind of inspiration, and I soon tired of the local beach sunsets. So it wasn’t long before I was traveling farther afield: weekend trips to Morro Bay, Lake Arrowhead, Yosemite, and yes, a three day driving marathon to the Grand Canyon and Zion National park. I decided that my weekends just were not long enough. I would just have to take more time off work, then I could make it to Tahoe, the coastal redwoods, and the Oregon coast. All that driving wore out my car. It must be time to move to a prettier place.

Then the moving began. First to the local mountains, Big Bear Lake. That was pretty nice for a while. Then Lake Tahoe sounded like a good idea. While living there I read about a photographer in Jackson Hole, Wyoming who was making a real good living from a photo gallery he had there. So I decided to go see it. The gallery was excellent, but Jackson Hole was awesome! Not only does it have outstanding mountains and lakes, it has wildlife everywhere. and I’m not talking about The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. Jackson Hole has 8,000 elk on the Elk Refuge outside town, big horn sheep on the mountain tops, moose up the side canyons, deer on the buttes, antelope on the flats, bears hiding in the trees, buffalo wandering from here to there, and more nature photographers than you could shake a stick at. But I moved there anyway.

Being a wander-lusting vagabond photographer wasn’t conducive to a real estate career, so out of hunger I turned to the service industry of the tourist resorts I frequented. During the tourist season it worked out ok; in the off-season it didn’t. Any time of year it was considered poverty with a view.

Aspen tree, Thunter Storm, Grand Teton National Park
Aspen tree, Thunder Storm, Grand Teton National Park

Photography has delivered me through a metamorphosis of a life based on financial achievement to a life of esthetic fulfillment. Whenever I drive anywhere I am always on the lookout for beauty and the ever-changing light, nuances I never noticed before my photo education pointed them out to me. It doesn’t have to be a beautiful day, it can be an ugly day as long as there is a beautiful rectangle that you can isolate in it. Photographers can find that window on an ugly day because we have been trained to see. I find myself up before daylight and gone during dinner hoping for the perfect light or a moose having dinner in a pond with the Tetons in the background.

Before I learned to see photographically , I believed that the desert was a barren wasteland, and I was right? But, I learned to see the beauty in it. A rainy day was a good time to curl up at home with a good book. Now I drive around in the rain and hope for a hole in the clouds so light beams can shoot through and illuminate something to photograph; or in the evening for the sun to sneak in under the cloud cover and light up everything.

The purchase of my first camera was the beginning of an inadvertent money abatement program. But, I believe that I am ahead of the game in the tradeoff. When I visit the city and my old associates, their incessant drive for upward mobility, the mental strain of living and competing with seven million people makes me realize that wealth isn’t necessarily measured in dollars.

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved By Daryl L. Hunter ~ written for and originally published in The Greater Yellowstone Resource Guide



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4 thoughts on “Scenic Photography And Living A Richer Life Without Any Money

  1. Edward Mazurek says:

    Great! That one word says it all!

    edward

  2. John Daly says:

    Hi Daryl,

    I recognize the side of Morro rock with your surfer. I have some great shots with horse riders there.
    I, too, am in Real Estate, but with a family of three girls I have to continue to make that money. But I live in Nevada City with a lot of Artists and plenty of places close to shoot.
    I just did a two week trip to Monument Valley, Capitol Reef, Bryce and The Valley of Fire.
    You do have some wonderful work here.

    John

    • Thanks John, Nevada City is a dang nice spot also as your site attests. Not far from the beach yet in the Sierra foothills. I would have been smarter if I had kept a foot in RE also, especially after moving to Jackson Hole at the start of the boom.

      Happy shooting 😀

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