I was born in a suburb outside of Detroit, Michigan, to working class parents. The raised me to be honest, hard-working, and to respect others. They both have passed on, and I honor them for all they gave to me and all they tried to do for me.
I was considered sort of an odd genius from childhood on. I was always reading science books that were years ahead of where I was at in elementary school. In high school I was the nerd, the kid walking around with a pile of philosophy, art, and theology books under my arm.
As a teenager I loved all kinds of art. The paintings of Salvador Dali, through whom I learned of the Dutch master Jan Vermeer, the whole range of French surrealistic and Dadaist painters were my visual heroes. My study of art in high school and college shaped and sharpened my perception of my world which has never left me.
But I wasn’t talented as a draftsman or sculptor. I majored in Art for a semester. My sculpture professor told me I had a great deal of visual sensitivity, but that I was very challenged in working physically with my hands in manifesting that vision.
And this is why I love photography. It truly has awakened fully the artist within me. I’m not fettered by any lack of manual dexterity. I can create images with my camera and enhance them in the digital darkroom in ways that truly allow me to express myself.
This probably explains why I was so attracted to HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography. It’s combining multiple exposures of the same subject to capture all of the details in the highlights and shadows. It can look very surrealistic, though it doesn’t have to. But the surrealism is what probably caught my eye to start with.
But I found that doing landscapes in South Florida to be quite limiting. Sure, there’s the ocean, and I could go out to the Everglades and find some scenery. Other than that, and my South Beach in Miami, the landscapes are utterly mundane and not really inspiring.
And I found myself doing photography less and less. I don’t have time or resources to travel all over the place looking for things to shoot. Then, I had a breakthrough a few months ago. I bought a Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens.
This opened up a whole new world for me. With a macro lens, I can peer into the tiny realm that most of us overlook. Insects, flowers, and other small living things become wonderful subjects for my photography.
And I don’t have to go far to shoot. There’s a wealth of subjects right here in my neighborhood. I live ten minutes away from Butterfly World and even closer to a 240 acre wetland park known as the Fern Forest. This is where most of the images you see on this site were taken.
Enjoy the photography that you find on this site. It’s Creative Commons licensed, so you can feel free to download it and use it for non commercial purposes. If you use it on the web, please put a caption under the photo with my name and web address (www.modernzenphotos.com). Please do not use it for a book cover, album cover, commercial website, etc, without my express permission. May these images open your mind, heart, and spirit to the beauty that surrounds us in our world.