Thomas Teich

My photographic work in the Catskill Mountains now spans almost four decades. I began in the mid 1970’s using a 4×5 inch view camera given to me by my grandfather which years before had been given to him by my great uncle uncle. Though no longer in use, that early Korona view camera combined with modern Kodak Ektachrome color transparency film produced some of the best color images I have ever made, many of them still being reproduced in books and magazines today.

Although photography has changed considerably since the advent of digital imaging, I continue to work traditionally using large and ultra large format film combined with very sophisticated (and very large) optical enlargers to print my images. My work is now done entirely in black and white.

What hasn’t changed over the years is my attraction to the wild and unpeopled regions of the Catskills. Thanks to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and The New York/New Jersey Trail Conference we enjoy an extensive network of well maintained trails throughout the Catskills. I make good use of these wilderness paths in my endless journeys in search of evocative mountain images. For landscape photographers familiarity with a location is an important factor in making successful pictures. Knowing the lay of the land, the seasons and the effects of weather are crucial to achieving the single most important element of landscape photography; timing. Being in the right place at the right time. Without that, the best equipment and the keenest sense of composition actually mean very little. We photographers, unlike our luckier counterparts the landscape painters, rely entirely on truth. The truth of the scene unfolding before us as we set up our cameras. Granted one can manipulate in the darkroom or photoshop, but only so far. Beyond a certain point the image becomes obviously unreal and doesn’t work.

Thus, familiarity with and access to a particular region can be critical in making dramatic, believable photographs.  A good example is the work of Ansel Adams during the 1930’s when he and his family lived full time in Yosemite National Park. Many of his greatest images like Clearing winter storm, Yosemite Valley were only possible because he was there and could run out the door when he saw something amazing about to happen. Luckily, the Catskill Park is a sort of live-in wilderness with quick road and trail access to glorious places when nature summons us. All one has to do is plan, watch and wait. ©Thomas Teich

Photographers in the NYNJTC region

Over the next few months I will be highlighting photographers whose images describe with great beauty the NYNJTC region. Each artist brings their own vision and style that showcases our beautiful environment. Enjoy their work, learn from their experience and visit their sites to learn more about them. Have fun. Larry

Photographers to check out- Thomas Teich

Spruce forest, ferns, fog, Catskill Mountains.  Eerily silent is a good way to describe this place during the making of this picture. I visit this little known section of the Catskill Forest Preserve fairly often and have made good photographs here. On this particular early October afternoon, thick fog formed by morning rain literally enveloped the entire mountainside and cast a hush of silence over the land. That kind of prolonged silence has an amazing effect on me. It stops time. Or at least my perception of time. After I made this exposure, I checked my watch and was stunned to find that it was nearly 5 pm. I had arrived, what seemed like moments ago, shortly after lunch! Such is the calming power of the forest on the human mind. The winding course of autumn ferns had brought me to this cathedral-like stand of spruce. With my 8×10 camera positioned with a wide-angle lens, the exposure using an aperture of f/90 to render the entire image sharply was nearly 10 minutes! Luckily there was absolutely no wind to move the ferns or tree branches. This same lack of wind was responsible for the incredible silence as well. To me, this gentle image gives peace but it also evokes a sense of mystery as my eye is lead on and on into the silence and the fog. ©Thomas Teich