“Self-Portrait: Artist at a Crossroads” by Ed Vatza
(iPhone; Hipstamatic; Salvador 86 “lens”; Dream Canvas “film”)
“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
We all have choices to make. Have fun. Let the creative juices flow. Believe in yourself. Stay true to your vision. And the sky is the limit!
Hi there! My name is Ed Vatza and I live in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania in the small town in which I grew up. Yep, I went to grade school and high school right here. I even went to college, both undergraduate (Moravian College) and graduate (Lehigh University), within about five miles of where I am sitting right now. Aside from a brief stint teaching psychology at a small liberal arts college (Berry College) in northwest Georgia, I’ve lived here in the Lehigh Valley my whole life. I am married (over 40 years and counting) and have two children – my daughter, who lives in the big city (Philadelphia) with her computer whiz husband and my son, who lives up in the Pocono Mountains with his fiance.
After a short stint in academia, I have spent the past 25+ years in marketing, working both in advertising agencies and the private sector. While I still enjoy what I do, I have to admit that I am looking forward to retirement. I not sure exactly when that will be but I do know it is getting closer and closer every day… the crossroads that I speak off in my self-portrait above.
I have been an avid lover of nature and the outdoors for quite some time enjoying walking, hiking, birding, fly fishing and observing wildflowers. This interest in the natural world eventually turned my attention to photography. I want to capture the beauty that surrounds us every day and be able to share my vision of the world around us with others.
From the outset, my focus has been on photographing those aspects of nature that are available to every person every day. While I do enjoy traveling, there is no need to go anywhere special when there is so much beauty available right in our own backyard. Probably 90% of my work is done within and hour or so of home. I look to capture the landscapes, trees, flowers, wildlife that the ordinary person can see almost anywhere regardless of where they live. They have only to open their eyes and look around.
In a sense, I view myself as a street photographer of the natural world. But my goal is to be able to capture the ordinary, every day features of the natural world in extraordinary ways. I want to leave the observer wondering how I did that?
If I may toot my own horn for just a minute, it has been a relatively short time (maybe five years) since I first ventured into the world of serious nature photography. But my growth as a photographer belies that shortness of time. Today, my images receive praise from photographers and fans of photography worldwide. In 2009, my blog was selected as one of “50 Amazing Nature Photography Bloggers” by photography-colleges.org. And in 2010, my site and blog is featured on the Guide to Art Schools’ list of the “Top 50 Nature Photography Blogs”.
In 2011, I will begin offering photography tours and workshops (Creativity, Composition, the Camera and YOU) in locations like The Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area (PA), Sandy Hook/Gateway National Recreational Area (NJ), Longwood Gardens (PA) and Acadia National Park (ME). Full details on the multi-day workshops will appear here on my website. You can see images from all these locations in the galleries here on my website.
And if your photography club is interested in either a full-day seminar or an hour presentation at a meeting, drop me a line and I can provide you with details. Here are some comments received after my “Making the Ordinary Extraordinary: Great Images from Your Own Backyard” presentations.
“Ed – Thanks for a great presentation tonight! I thoroughly enjoyed you, your humor and MOST OF ALL your photography! Absolutely Beautiful!!!! Thanks!
“Great presentation tonight Ed. Good points and tips. Amazing images. Thanks so much for coming.”
“Ed, That was an awesome presentation. Reached photographers of all levels. Thank you. Now I need to go find out how far I can push my camera.”
“Wonderful presentation! Thank you for coming to give your presentation on Making the Ordinary Extraordinary… I thought you presented excellent examples of how to approach the ordinary and make it special. You are a terrific speaker–saying just enough and with passion.”
“Ed, your presentation is exactly what I look for from the CLUB, and that is inspiration to try new things, or old things once again. Thanks.”
“I attended the CCCC meeting on Tuesday as a guest and wanted to let you know I really enjoyed your presentation. I am a 34 year old beginner (got my first dslr last Christmas) and was very inspired by your work. If this is the type of guests one can expect I will definitely be becoming a member!”
So my goals are clear and simple. At the same time that I look forward to winding down my career in marketing, I am also looking forward to ratcheting up my photography business. To that end, I am adding the aforementioned presentations, seminars and workshops to my 2011 calendar. And I am now offering prints of my work for sale. There will be a separate page outlining that aspect of my business going up on this website in the next few weeks. Also in 2011, look for me at selected art shows around the Northeast. A complete calendar of events will be posted as soon as details are finalized.
Hope you enjoy my website, my blogs and, above all, hope you enjoy nature. Come back often. I will continue to update the site weekly.
My Philosophy of Life Applied to My Photography
1) I take my photography very seriously.
2) I don’t take anything so seriously that I can’t laugh, joke and have fun.
3) Learning is a lifetime process. When we stop learning, we stop living.
My Camera Bag(s)
Bodies - Canon 5D Mark II; Canon 50D; Canon 30D; Canon Rebel XT converted for Infrared by LifePixel.
Canon Lenses - 24-70mm f/2.8L; 70-200mm f/2.8L IS; 50mm f/1.8; 300mm f/2.8L IS
Sigma Lenses - 10-20mm f/4-5.6; 70mm f/2.8 Macro; 150mm f/2.8 Macro
Lensbaby Composer – Macro kit; Double Glass Optic; Fisheye optic; Soft Focus Optic; Plastic Optic
Filters – B+W Kasemann Circular Polarizing Filter; Lee 3-stop soft Graduated Neutral Density Filter; Singh-Ray Vari-ND Filter; Canon 500D Close-up Filter/Lens
Flashes - Canon 580 EX II; Canon 430 EX
Accessories - Kenko 1.4x teleconverter (TC), Sigma 1.4x TC and Canon 2.0x TC; Kenko tubes and stuff too numerous to mention
Processing - iMac; Lightroom 2.0; Photoshop CS4; Nik Complete (Dfine 2.0; Viveza 2.0; Color Efex Pro 3.0 Complete; Silver Efex Pro and Sharpener Pro 3.0); Topaz Suite and Photomatix 4.0