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Spring/Summer 2007, Volume 23.3



Richard Caldwell

Capturing the Big PicturePhoto of Richard Caldwell.

Richard Caldwell grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His pull to mountains filled with light deep powder brought him to Utah as a student at the University of Utah. After a successful career in real estate, Richard returned to Utah to pursue his two great passions, skiing and photography. His work can be seen at his studio/gallery, Impact Images Richard Caldwell Photography, located at 260 Historic 25th Street, Ogden, Utah, or on his website


I came here because of the "big view"—the West. It seems that this is one of the few places you can get a kind of expanse that I find fascinating. You can shoot with a wide-angle lens, but that gives a kind of distortion to space. So I started stitching several pictures together to make a "panoramic"—big, like the view, but without the wide-angle distortion.

I choose my subjects carefully. There has to be something in the scene or the light that creates a passion for me in the particular place or thing that I am capturing. From dawn until early morning, and evening from four o’clock to dusk—these are the dramatic times. These are the times when passion for a place is most easily created.

I often go to places I want to photograph without my camera. Sometimes it might be mid-day, or whatever. I jot in my journal that I want to return at a certain time of day, season, year…. I plan photo trips around these, go to places just to photograph them. I’ll pack up the SUV and go—sleep in the back, eat out of the cooler, and wake up exactly where I want to be for the photograph. I call this "getting lost," and I like losing myself in big places, like the San Rafael Swell or even in our populated and popular national parks.

[Click on picture to enlarge.]

"Grinnell Glacier" by Richard Caldwell
Grinnell Glacier

"Sunset Reflection" by Richard Caldwell
Sunset Reflection

"Utah Storm Clouds" by Richard Caldwell
Utah Storm Clouds

"Winter Supplies" by Richard Caldwell
Winter Supplies

"Canyonlands Mineral Bottom" by Richard Caldwell
Canyonlands Mineral Bottom

"Yosemite Vernal Falls" by Richard Caldwell
Yosemite Vernal Falls

Since I started selling my works. I have grown to accept the "eye" of others. Sometimes clients see my work differently from me, but I have grown more confident in what I see and do. I no longer take the photographs only for myself. I like that others like what I do, and I like to know that my work is in their homes, or wherever—their living spaces. When you sell your work, you are more accepting of many things. The process of accepting expands and informs your work—even the acceptance of criticism.

I recognize two sides to the selling of my work: the artistic and the marketing. Keeping a distance between the two and turning them to complements of the same thing is not an easy thing to do. But, to me, they are complementary. What might someone like? What is it I want to capture? And then—What is it worth? Well, here is a real conundrum (my real estate training), but there is no comparison between the satisfaction of selling my photography and that of selling a client’s property. The work is part of me, and that is the difference.

I love selling out of my studio. Almost always the people coming in are extremely complimentary, and I enjoy answering their questions—in a real sense, getting to know my own work better. Pictures are a gateway into the passions of people, an excuse to talk and to explore what we have in common.

[Click on pictures to enlarge.]

"Soaking in the Light" by Richard Caldwell
Soaking in the Light
"Robin Hood’s Playground" by Richard Caldwell
Robin Hood’s Playground
"Fall Splendor" by Richard Caldwell
Fall Splendor
"Tahquamenon Falls" by Richard Caldwell
Tahquamenon Falls
"Canyonlands Dawn Reflection" by Richard Caldwell
Canyonlands Dawn Reflection
"Mystic Trails" by Richard Caldwell
Mystic Trails
"Glacier Trail of the Cedars" by Richard Caldwell
Glacier Trail of the Cedars

There are, of course, many differences between shooting with a 35 mm SLR and a digital SLR. I have turned almost entirely to digital. With digital you are the photo lab. You have the professional and creative control over its output. It is instantaneous. You download and crop or, in the case of panoramics, you stitch. You don’t wait for the lab to return the photographs; you control and feel the whole process without the chemicals. You find an incredible freedom with the composition while at the same time protecting an accurate account of your subject. Freedom is an important value to me—one that I treasure.


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