Sunday, March 11, 2012

Montana Outdoors: Photography

Way back when, desperate to break into the better paying hook and bullet markets Jack Samson, then editor of Field and Stream graciously took the time to pen a personal rejection (as opposed to the stock one liner: "With deepest sympathies we regret to inform your piece, How to (fill in the blank) does not fit our editorial needs at this time."

In essence Samson's letter read: You write pretty good but... Your idea, however, to somehow change Field and Stream's editorial slant does not and will not work...Study the style of the many writers we publish regularly and resurrect your pieces to mimic same. Above all, get a decent camera and LEARN  HOW-TO USE THE DAMN THING; Erwin Bauer's Outdoor Photography is a good place to start. Enclosed is a copy of my book Successful Outdoor Writing: if interested feel free to read and study it. Good luck.

And so as I was wont to do in those days, instead of heeding his expert and spot-on advice, in a fit of rage (like who do YOU think YOU are...) I tore the letter to shreds, vowed to never again submit to F&S...Like so there, your loss not mine. And of course the rejections just kept pouring in...Oh maybe one in ten got published but except for the random home run every now and then most paychecks sure didn't put a lot of bread on the table.

But while it took awhile eventually I got it...sort of. I bought a decent camera, learned how to use it at least good enough to know a properly composed, decently exposed image that also told a story. I came to study the style of the magazines and get a go on a query letter before even so much as turning on the typewriter (no word processors back then). While I still sometimes submit a finished piece to, say, a magazine I've not written before, the odds of acceptance go way up when you submit an idea (query) meshes with ED and he says's "let's see it."

So while I never made it big time and never will, I did eventually come to terms with rejections as nothing personal, just the way the outdoor writing/photog gig works.

Which brings us to the two photos above and the two below: None of which have much, if anything to do, with the included rant: Just two photos I shot on our recent birthday tour (Gale's) of the upper
Big Hole--where unlike our valley where seems spring has indeed sprung (winter never happened actually) up there still very much locked in winter.


The top two are pretty much as shot, as came out the camera. So there Jack, you no doubt would have no time for the subject but c'mon man admit it not all that shabby, eh? The last two are course well-doctored in Lightroom. No neither one has much (if any) editorial value or any value for that matter but damn ain't the pair sure purty...

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