Jim Nilsen

Like for many photographers, my fascination with photography began at an early age.

For me it was at 16 when I took my first photography class in high school. I was always adventurous and with my first camera, a Pentax Spotmatic, I began exploring the local mountains of Washington State. At around this time, I also began spending my summers working with my father on his fishing boat in Alaska . . . more big adventure. I went on to spend 20 seasons in Alaska fishing for salmon and herring.

After receiving a degree in Commercial and Portrait Photography in the early 80s, I made my first overseas journey, a 3.5 month trip from the top of Norway to the bottom of Greece. I was hooked. Photography and travel are so interrelated to me now that I can’t imagine doing one without the other. My wife Magrit and I now spend 2 to 3 months each year on the road, photographing and leading photography travel tours/workshops.

With the advent of digital capture and digital post-processing techniques, I am more excited than ever about the craft of photography. We are able to capture incredible detail and tonal range with the new cameras and software. It is truly amazing.

The novelist Isabel Allende writes beautifully about the photographic process in her book Portrait in Sepia.

“If you observe an ordinary object or body very closely, it is transformed into something sacred. The camera can reveal secrets that the naked eye or mind cannot capture; everything disappears except the thing that is the focus of the picture. The photograph is an exercise in observation, and the result is always a stroke of luck. The camera is a simple apparatus, even the most inept person can use it. The challenge lies in creating with it that combination of truth and beauty called art. The quest is above all, spiritual.”

Magrit and I live in Edmonds, a delightful little town on the Puget Sound, just north of  Seattle.

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