Rebecca Wilks

Rebecca Wilks; Photographer, Teacher, Yarnellian, Do-Gooder

Wednesday, October 16, 2019


Brittlebush bloom past prime, Grand Canyon
My friend was giving me notes on an article I wrote yesterday for the Yarnell Regional Community Center about the environmental benefits of resale shopping.  I’ll post a link on Facebook as soon as its up for those who are interested.

Yucca shadow at last light, Mojave Preserve, CA

She had several suggestions, all of which worked, but one of them didn’t feel right.  After a bit of thought I realized that the sentence just wasn’t in my voice.  Its not something I’d say or write.  Though this sounds like a small thing, I felt a need to go with my original wording. I’m grateful, though, because I had a chance to think about the concept of our voices, literally and figuratively.

Begonia Detail, Southern Oregon

I write with a distinct voice.  Here its rather casual but there’s a thread that runs through all of my writing.  At least I hope there’s more consistency than just my rampant parenthetical phrases. 

Terrain at last light, Grand Canyon

Really, though, the concept is most relevant to me in my photographic images.  There’s a voice there, too.  I do my best work alone and even in a group of photographers I tend to wander away to find what’s calling me.  After a group shoot, we’re all typically amazed at what the others have “seen,” in the artistic sense, thinking “I never saw that.”  Photographers’ processing (“Photoshop”) styles tend to set them apart as well.  We each have a distinct voice.

San Clemente (CA) Pier

The integrity of our voices in the world are important, and the struggle to be heard relevant and emphatically worthwhile.  Women, and especially younger women, can be prone to giving this effort up.

Warm light, Grand Canyon

The first of Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements is “Be Impeccable with your word.” Words are powerful, and a fitting metaphor for communication with images.  I appreciate the opportunity to reach people with my work.  Each fall I make calendars as gifts for loved ones.  I treasure the dialog that they start about beauty, nature, and travel.  This is one way I hope to leave the world a little better than I found it.  I am unabashedly, as my Instagram heading says, a wanna-be do-gooder.  I want to use my voice for that.

Backlight on primroses, Mojave Desert

Two notes on this post; 

I’ve been digging through thesauruses and have not found a satisfactory synonym for  this use of the word “voice." Do you have one? Anyway, I’m sorry to have over-repeated it. 

I’ve chosen some favorite but unusual images to illustrate this post.  I offer them as examples of… well, you know.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Rocky Mountain High

Glorious Yellow Reflections
Yeah, if I’m honest I’ll admit that I made merciless fun of John Denver in my teens.  He seemed overly sappy.  I had a point, but as I get older sentimental music doesn’t seem like such a bad thing.

My two traveling companions last week in Central Colorado are big fans.  That and a visit to The John Denver Sanctuary in Aspen made Rocky Mountain High a pernicious earworm all week.  Oh well, there are worse things.

Lightroom Map; we covered some territory
From our lovely VRBO house in Hotchkiss, we drove incessantly and joyfully.  I’m so grateful to Sara Goodnick for the planning and driving during this exploration.  I had a grand adventure with Sara and Jack Jordan.

I’d chased around the Ouray area a few years ago, but this territory was all quite new.  What an adventure.
Colorado up-view

Until our last day we had rather blank, blue skies, the bain of photographers’ existence.  I remembered my friend Jerry Dodrill’s quip for such days, “shut your sky hole,” which means that, on such days, it’s generally best to compose images without big blank blue blotches.  In this fisheye image I de-emphasized it instead.
Long-Lens abstract
Despite the dry summer the state had endured (which seems to make some stands of aspens dull-colored) , there were some nice bright pockets of yellow trees.  Like the North Kaibab, which regular readers will know is my usual spot this time of year, there are lovely intimate scenes, but the mountains around Crested Butte and Aspen also offer grand vistas along with the color. Even with the proximity of the Grand Canyon, we really don’t get that here in Arizona.
Up Castle Creek Canyon
Photographer Grant Ordelheide (a Colorado Native) was generous with location advice.  From him we learned about Castle Creek Road, which included A visit to Ashcroft Ghost Town, lunch at the lovely Pine Creek Cookhouse, and this view of Greg Mace Peak through the trees.
Painterly Light along Kebler Pass Road
On our last full, day, we awoke to clouds.  My favorite images came from that morning; this dappled light on the Beckwith Peaks and the reflection shot in the heading of this post.  We stumbled on this little tank and waited a couple of hours for the (literally) 3 seconds of light which transformed the scene.  I did a little happy dance, I’ll admit.

But I don’t think I’ll go as far as saying it was a Rocky Mountain High.

More images from the trip are in the Autumn 2019 Gallery on the website.