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Ralph Lee Hopkins will present the lecture titled Wild Moments, Wild Places on Monday, April 23 at 7:00 p.m. He will be showing a series of photographs from his travels to the far corners of the planet, from Antarctica to the Arctic. There will also be a framed exhibit of his work in the Jacob Foyer from April 14 through May 6, 2007. This lecture and exhibit at the Gualala Arts Center is offered in conjunction with his workshop, Creative Digital Photography - The Next Step, a class with daily field trips from Tuesday, April 24th through Saturday, April 28th.
Asked to describe his own work, Hopkins replies, "I struggle with the question of style. My eye is drawn to simple compositions with clean backgrounds and a strong sense of design. My images may be recognizable for their simplicity and impact."
He adds, "For me, a great photo captures a unique moment. But it also has to have strong compositional elements coming together to make it interesting. Then add interesting light to the equation. If you can get all three of these qualities in a single image - uniqueness, composition, and light - then you have a special image."
"Look closely at the image Old Soul, California Gray Whale, San Ignacio lagoon, Mexico, and you'll see a mirrored silhouette of Ralph Lee Hopkins," writes Santa Fe art reviewer Paul Weideman. "The portrait beads in on a 6-week-old calf whose eye seems to contain the wisdom of the universe while reflecting the observer's earthly delight."
"What's so special about Hopkins' photographs is that they make you feel like you were right there with him when he took the shot," writes Candy Cuenco, editor of Pro Digital Imaging magazine.
Ralph Lee Hopkins did not set out to be a photographer. Photography found him - it was an outgrowth of his love of landscapes and background in geology. After college Ralph moved to Utah and acquired a 4 X 5 view camera, a well-used Graflex with a 120mm Schneider lens. Having only one lens taught him about composition. And learning with a cumbersome large-format camera taught him how to be selective. He then photographed his way through graduate school at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, where he studied geology in the Grand Canyon. Ralph also progressed through medium-format and 35mm film cameras. This fundamental self-taught experience continues to influence his work.
Today, Ralph shoots almost exclusively with digital cameras, while still keeping his images true to the moment. He spends about six months each year teaching and photographing in the world's wildest and, he believes, most beautiful places. His favorite location is Baja California, with the juxtaposition of desert landscapes and rich marine life in the Sea of Cortez. He also travels year-after-year to the Arctic to photograph polar bears, and to Antarctica to be in the ice with penguins. But he still finds peace in the magical landscapes of the American Southwest. His two recent books, Hiking Colorado's Geology and Hiking the Southwest's Geology, have brought him full circle and back to his roots, a profound experience. For Ralph, photography is not just an art - it is a way of being and connecting with the natural world.
Santa Fe-based photographer, Ralph Lee Hopkins, is Director of Photography Expeditions for Lindblad Expeditions, an adventure travel company that operates 6 ships worldwide, including the National Geographic Endeavour. His travels with Lindblad span the last 18 years leading nature and photographic expeditions to the world's wild places. He also teaches photography workshops with Arizona Highways, National Geographic Expeditions, and the Santa Fe Workshops, and is co-lecturer on tour with the National Geographic Traveler magazine series, "Travel Photography in the Digital World." The National Geographic Image Collection and Lonely Planet Images represent his work worldwide. His fine art prints are represented by Verve Fine Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
For more information please go to Ralph's website at wilderlandimages.com.
Located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, the Gualala Arts Center is open weekdays 9 am to 4 pm, and weekends from noon to 4 pm. Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information.