Fine Art Landscape Imagery by James Lorentson

Hi, I'm James, a fine art landscape photographer. My landscape photographs are more of an interpretation of a place than a description. I try to capture the mood or state of mind that I feel in response to my experiences with nature.

Landscape Photography and Photography Instruction by James Lorentson


About Me

Snowshoe adventure in Mt. Rainier N.P.

First, Some History

Hi, I'm James, a fine art landscape photographer. My landscape photographs are more of an interpretation of a place than a description. I try to capture the mood or state of mind that I feel in response to my experiences with nature.

I have always felt reverence and awe for the power and beauty of nature.  As a young child, my first word was "tree" - said as I stared up in wonder at my family's apple tree.  Since then, my love of the wild has only grown, and landscape photography has provided me with a means to connect more deeply with this primal force.  

I picked up my first DSLR camera somewhere in 2011 to photograph medicinal plants I was gardening.  Being able to document the progress and beauty was amazing, and I've never looked back.  But cameras do not and will probably never capture nature the way we experience it with our senses.

Therefore, rather than merely documenting the scene at hand, the challenge I give myself is to craft and imbue my imagery with a richness that speaks of my experiences as best I can within the limits of this two-dimensional medium.  I don't want my viewers to see the scene; I want them to feel it.  My art has become a way for me to communicate to others the thoughts and emotions that move me, with the greatest hope of conveying why I made the shot.   I try to breathe life into every finished image.  

Standing on Giants' Shoulders: My Inspiration

I'm lucky to live in the Pacific Northwest - surrounded by water, giant trees and beautiful mountains, where inspiration is literally staring at me from my office window.  My influences are many, including some truly amazing photographers, past and present.  Some are masters of brilliantly nuanced composition, others with a unique talent for predicting and capturing those elusive and fleeting moments of changing light, and some are pushing the technical envelope regarding what's possible in the digital darkroom.  What they have in common is that they are excellent story-tellers, taking their viewers on journeys, where we can feel a sense of mood, energy, emotion, mystery, drama, and adventure.  I hope to combine a hint of these aspects in my own work, though I'm continually humbled and motivated by how far I have yet to go.   

I also draw great inspiration from sources outside of the photographic medium.  I’ve been significantly moved by fantasy films such as The Lord of the Rings, with its dark, dramatic and dreamy scenery.  Similarly, I’ve been inspired by the Luminism painters of the 19th century, like Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran, whose work is characterized by it’s high-contrast, atmospheric and glowing landscapes.  

What I Love About Landscapes


There is so much to love about landscape photography.  The grandeur, the epic light, the massive scale of it all.  It gets you out in nature, to see new places, and to see old places in new ways.  I'm more introverted, and unlike most other genres of photography, I can choose to shoot all by myself or with good company.  Getting up before sunrise or staying out after sunset ensures that you'll have places when they're least crowded.  The slower pace of this craft is meditative and healing because it encourages a different state of mind that allows me to observe the scene intimately and under many different conditions.  Because of changing weather, light, and seasonality, the landscape is different every time I visit, which tests my ability to plan, pre-visualize, anticipate and improvise. 

In the digital age of smartphones and social media, where it can feel like every inch of the planet has been instagrammed and hash-tagged, it is still possible to get ‘lost’ and find unique locations to produce original photographs.

My driving force is not the end image, but rather the inner experience of personal expression.  Exploring new places or finding new ways to see familiar ones is creatively and emotionally fulfilling.  I have found no more natural way to enter the elusive flow state – that feeling of completely losing yourself to the moment and being totally immersed in the current of life.  In this flow, I'm able to tune in to the primal forces of wilderness and adventure, allowing my mind to become calm and clear and allowing worries to melt away.  This art form provides immeasurable joy and balance to my life.  I cherish my times in the wild, removed physically and emotionally from the mass of humanity.  And in the height of such experiences, my camera is the best tool I know to express the significance of such meaningful and fleeting encounters.  

Join me on the journey!

-- James Lorentson



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