Portfolio Naples February 2017 - Page 88

BAC K [ GALLERY carolinas i georgia i tennessee i virginia i kentucky featuring Scott Hotaling I www.lightofthewild.com ] i’ve always felt most comfortable in the mountains. as they tower above and around me, i feel the life flowing through their rivers and streams. ese aspects combine into a sense of rever- ence, a spirituality. growing up in the southern appalachians, i was formed within the range, and my artistic pursuits, as well as other facets of my being, reflect this genesis. as a young man, i learned that if i had any innate aptitude, you could argue that it was for suffering. not the kind of suffering that such negativity implies – more the kind that comes with being per- sistent, hard-headed and enduring. for better or worse, i’m able to keep my head down and continue on. considering my favorite view is a cold winter sunrise from a mountaintop, this talent has served me well, evolving from solo excursions to see an icy vista for myself into a dedication to share these wintry views with the world through my camera. while i am commercially motivated – i have bills to pay – i don’t consider my photography to be my profession; rather it’s something that i can’t imagine not doing. i’ve never minded getting up at odd hours, driving through the night, hiking in the dark – it’s all worthwhile to see the world in a way that few people ever do. i even seek out bad conditions, relishing an overcast or stormy forecast because the most beautiful scenes can unfold on those most inopportune days. a blue sky is already a nice sight, but it has little potential for any higher aesthetic scale. a blustery, snowy day? at has endless potential – a bit of sunlight breaking through, the wind calming down for a few moments, a fox leaving tracks in the fresh snow. on those bitter days when most people want to be curled up by a fire, i like being up high, soaking in the experience. feeling the snow crunch under my feet, the sharp bite of the wind nipping any exposed skin, and hearing, as Simon and garfunkel famously sang, the sounds of silence. a silence that only a winter landscape can offer. Professionally, i’m a biologist studying how the natural world works, focusing on complex interactions that span from genes to ecosystems. most of my research is conducted above treeline in the alpine regions of north america where glaciers are disappear- ing rapidly as the planet warms. my photographic pursuits align well with these scientific adventures – mixing beautiful imagery with ice-laden landscapes under real threat of dramatic, near-term change. imagination with evidence. hopefully, you enjoy the im- ages of the planet contained in these pages, and for many of you, your backyard – whether right now, or at some point in the past. if you want to know more about a specific photograph, please don’t hesitate to drop me a message, you can find my contact in- formation on my website. ey say a picture is worth a thousand words, and for each of mine, i’d have no trouble mustering at least that many. 86 PORTFOLIO MAGAZINE