Title: Badlands 2 | South Dakota | © Z.P. Stephens
This is a view of the Badlands in Badlands National Park in South Dakota. I was really taken with the shape of the landscape in this spot. I like the way it seems to curve around you.
I tried to emphasize the feeling by shooting with an ultra wide angle lens and getting really low. Having a bit of the rock out of focus in the foreground and that slight curve of the horizon exacerbates the feeling that I was going for.
There is something special about the badlands. I feel really good when I am there exploring.
Title: Sugar Shack | Dummerston, Vt. | © Z.P. Stephens
As far as I could tell there was no actual path or road to this old sugar house. It seemed to be abandoned in the woods of Dummerston, Vt. Whenever I see a building like this that has been clearly left to nature I feel somewhat drawn to it. I love the idea of these things that humanity has made and mother nature slowly taking them back.
At the time of making this I didn’t have the time or opportunity to explore further. Though I REALLY wanted to see inside. Places like this leave me with so many more questions than answers. I suppose it’s that kind of curiosity that makes me want to make an image in the first place.
Prints for sale:
I started an online store for you to purchase select prints from the blog. I’m not going to make a print of every image and sometimes there will be only one print available. So you will have to check in often to see what there is.
This image of the Sugar Shack is one the images up for grabs right now. Click here to make it yours: http://zpstephens.storenvy.com/
Title: Where the Buffalo Roam | South Dakota | © Z.P. Stephens
Where I come from, it is not commonplace to see buffalo. It’s not even commonplace to see such a wide open landscape without any trees or mountains. So when I was driving down the aptly named Buffalo Gap Road in Custer State Park in South Dakota, it was shocking and amazing to suddenly come upon a herd of buffalo meandering in and around the gravelly dirt road.
Title: Simon Pearce | Queechee, Vt. | © Z.P. Stephens
That little deck with the glass windows overhanging the waterfall is part of the Simon Pearce Restaurant. It is in an old mill building in Queechee, Vt., right on the Ottauquechee River. I have never been inside Simon Pearce and in fact knew nothing about it until yesterday. I just saw it as I was passing over a quintessential Vermont covered bridge in Queechee. I was so taken with it that I immediately found a place to park so I could get a photo.
Title: Lone Tree | Marlboro, Vt. | © Z.P. Stephens
When I was in college one of my first assignments was to photograph a tree in a field. At the time I didn’t really understand the significance of this, and looking back I guess I am still unsure. But now, I like to look for them and photograph them. For me each tree has a different story to tell about life.
This image is a variation of that idea. A lone tree, silhouetted against a moody sky, with the sun just barely peaking out from the trunk. For me, the interesting thing about an image like this is the mood it conveys. A dead or dying tree that despite it’s condition is still standing tall and proud. The sky says that there could be a storm coming or perhaps has come and gone, symbolizing challenges or tough times, but the sun breaking through the clouds conveys hope. It’s almost as if the tree has made it through the hard part and is now on the other side of it, looking back upon the challenges it has faced.
Title: Trees on Harney Range | Custer State Park, SD | © Z.P. Stephens
It takes about 2 hours to hike from Sylvan Lake to Harney Peak in Custer State Park in South Dakota. That is moving at a pretty steady pace and stopping very little. If you are like me though it will take much longer because everywhere you look there is something amazing to photograph. This image is just one of many photos from my hike that I love. Don’t worry, I will share more as I go through them. This is about at the point when the trees start to thin dramatically. The beginning of the trail is pretty thickly wooded and it becomes less and less as you make your way to the top, where the elevation is 7,244′ (2,208 m), and it is for the most part completely bald.
Title: Abstract Landscape 8997651 | Brattleboro, VT | © Z.P. Stephens 2014
Sometimes the most interesting picture isn’t the incredible, awe inspiring vista in front of you. Instead, it is sometimes the one that is below you, in front of your feet.
So really, what I’m getting at, is that this is an image of melting snow, dirt and concrete. But to me, it looks like an incredible, abstract landscape.
Prints for sale!
Ok, I have officially taken to plunge and have opened up an online store to start selling some prints. Right now I am dedicated to creating handcrafted photographic prints and offering them to you for an affordable price.
Every image is printed and signed by me. These are not printed by some big lab with fancy machines. I follow the process from beginning to end making sure that each image is exactly they way I want it to look. Images are also signed and title by hand.
Prints will change often and will typically only be available as a single image. That means when someone purchase the print, it will no longer be available in the store until I decide to make another one. The only exception is when I offer limited editions.
You can get to the store via the “Purchase Prints” link in the left sidebar, the “Visit my store” image in the right sidebar or by directly clicking the following link: http://zpstephens.storenvy.com/
TItle: The Scaffolding | Brattleboro, VT | © Z.P. Stephens 2014
This scaffolding was up for a long time in Brattleboro, Vt. It was there as construction workers were rebuilding the Brooks House after a fire gutted the building a few years ago. The scaffolding is gone now and the building is back in business, but while it was up, it felt like you were walking through this really interesting tunnel and I wanted to capture that feeling. I guess a lot of the work I do is because the space I am in, or the thing that I see, evokes some kind of feeling from me. I am drawn to it and feel the need to photograph it.
I’m almost at a loss for words to describe the awe and beauty of watching the sunrise in Badlands National Park in South Dakota. There is nothing quite as exhilarating as camping in the Badlands and rising at 4am to hike out to see this place. The only downfall during this trip was the INTENSE amount of mosquitoes. They would swarm us like crazy. It was worth it though to be able to be in this space.
I worked as a photojournalist for about 10 years before switching jobs to an educator and administrator for a youth photography program. For me, photojournalism was a job, a way to pay the bills. I know for others it is their art, their passion, and their life. I have decided to leave it to those who are passionate about it to follow my own path.
I am more interested in exploring life and the world around us. In fact, I don’t think I can label what type of photography I do, or what kind of photographer I am. I’m not a photojournalist, I’m not a portrait photographer, I’m not a landscape photographer, I’m not a wedding photographer. I’m just a photographer. Isn’t that enough?
Daily Photo: The motorcycle shop
I pass by this little motorcycle shop nearly everyday. It is built into a hillside in Brattleboro, Vt. It’s like a little hobbit hole.
(The idea of hobbits on motorcycles cracks me up)
The shop is so small that there is always a flurry of activity outside. You could photograph it everyday and always get a different image.