The Gold Concept

Friday, May 5, 2017
6:00 pm to Wednesday, May 31, 2017 6:00 pm

“Oot and aboot”: landscape and nature photography 

by Rich Graziano  

I first heard the phrase ‘oot and aboot’ while backpacking through the highlands of Scotland. And it immediately grabbed me, for it simply captures the spirit of the life I seek to live. See, I have what they call wanderlust. I have a deep and insatiable desire to experience and explore the world. I especially love to explore the wild places. Nature is my sanctuary; it’s the space where I feel most at home. And I do photography to capture and share the beauty of what I see.

One of my longtime passions is alpinism, a style of climbing that emphasizes fast and light ascents of mountain peaks: you only carry a backpack of what you need and a minimal amount at that. And because of this fast and light style, I only carried a small point-and-shoot camera with me to capture my backcountry explorations and share them with my friends. But I always noticed something was missing: my photos never quite captured the beauty of the places I was seeing. Why? Was it my camera? No, I knew something more was possible with what I was carrying. If anything, the camera I carried and used was more advanced than those used by Ansel Adams. So, I knew it was time to learn something about photography.

I decided to work on the basics: ISO, composition, white balance, the best times of the day to shoot, etc. (Because I only had a point and shoot, I had no control over other settings such as shutter speed.) I learned a ton. And my photos noticeably improved. People were commenting on “my eye.” Before long, my hunger and fascination with light and how to capture it was solidified. I shot and shot and shot. But eventually I hit a hardware wall: I knew I could not progress further with my point and shoot. So, I decided to get my first digital single-lens reflex (dSLR). At first it felt like I had switched from driving a VW Bug to flying the space shuttle. I felt overwhelmed, and I wanted to quit. I doubted myself and my ability to truly learn the craft. But I stuck with it, and I started to feel more comfortable. Slowly, I explored lots of styles of photography. Objects, macro, portraits. All these styles helped me think of how to take a subject, and present it in a way that evokes thought, emotion, and inspiration. But it was natural landscapes that most captured and inspired me. So, it is that genre that I decided to focus on: landscape photography.

Today, I see my photography as a form of nature advocacy. I not only hope my photos will inspire and evoke emotion and thoughts, but that it will also inspire and motivate folks to get out there and experience our wild spaces, to get “oot and aboot.” Even more, I hope to inspire folks to find ways to help protect our natural places and preserve them both for future generations as well the flora and fauna that make those places their home. Toward that end, 10% of proceeds from any sales of my photos I’m showing for my Art After Dark exhibit this month will be donated to Surfrider SLO. I hope that you’ll come by to say ‘hi.’


You can also find my photography on instagram (@ootnaboot):