Water and Light
Creek Impressions
Cape Crk 1
Wearying of conventional representational photography, I've gravitated
toward the abstract as a sort of antidote to the relentless pursuit of
resolution and the repetitiveness of subjects - I'm particularly influenced
by the Abstract Expressionists of the post-World War II period.  I have a
hard time these days getting excited about waterfalls or sunsets or
pretty (or melodramatic) mountain scenes, tho' they remain always
click-worthy.  The fluidity of water in a remote stream, with its
evanescent swirls and eddies, offers endless possibilities, especially with
the shimmering reflections of the natural surroundings and the vagaries
of flow, breeze and light.  The Oregon Coast Range is incised by
innumerable creeks and rivulets fringed by beautiful riparian woods -
initially while I'm wading around in some isolated canyon or standing on
a single-lane Forest Service bridge, it takes a bit of time to visually
"warm up" before I begin to see compositions in the water and am able
to isolate them and figure out how to get them into the camera in a way
that I have in mind.  Sadly, in the digital age, the resultant images are
often dismissed by suspicious viewers as mere digital manipulations.  
The images are actually single exposures and very minimally edited; I
enjoy the challenge of accomplishing most of the creative work in the
field with the camera.  That said, I intend no disrespect to the talented
photoshop virtuosos I know - we are nearly all dependent to one degree
or another on software to help create our imagery.  In reality the images
are abstractions only in the sense of pulling out, extracting, a small
portion of the larger scene - they are actually as representational as any
conventional photograph.  That's what was there in front of the lens.  
Over time I've established favorite locations along many small creeks and
have developed techniques to suit conditions and devoted much time and
effort to this body of work - it has become a sort of specialty for me, and
one that I find very satisfying.  My time in the wild is regenerative and
nourishing.  At the outset of this journey, some years back, I began with
an ongoing series called "Summer Impressions" followed by the name of
the particular stream - I tended to fill the frame with reflections.  Of late
I've enjoyed finding situations in which I can show some of the stony
stream bed through the reflections of the forest or the organic,
forms of overhanging branches.  On occasion I'll include a bit of
the stream bank or a protruding rock or floating leaf as "reality checks".  
The variations are many; a slowish shutter speed softens the
water to give a more painterly feel, while a faster speed coupled with a
precisely-placed focal plane reveals intriguing pillowy convection cells at
the surface of the water.  As  always, composition is all.  The work
strongly enhances the feeling of working directly with light.

A selected work will be at its impactful best printed large and hung
(especially) in a contemporary setting, or at least an uncluttered
semi-minimalist environment.  (And, as I've discovered, they're effective
in psychotherapists' waiting rooms.)  I aim for immediate visual appeal
with these, but they also have enough going on that they can continue to
please and engage over time as fresh elements are discovered.  They are
a sort of distilled essence of the natural world.  As the viewer, you are
the other half of the aesthetic equation and can relate in your personal
way.  The images are available in a variety of presentations and sizes,  
including metal, canvas, facemounts and more.  I offer a small sampling
on this page.
Sweet Creek 1
Cape Creek 2
Sweet Creek 2
North Fork Smith 1
Big Creek 1
Copyright ©Bob Keller
Reproduction in any form prohibited without permission
All rights reserved
Cape Creek 3
Cape Creek 4
Sweet Creek 3
Upper Cape Creek No 45
Upper Cape Creek No 49