“I want my photographs to illicit reactions of awe and wonder."
Whether an image is striking, simply beautiful or a unique abstract, I want my images to transport the viewer to places they didn’t know existed, or that they can’t get to very easily,” says landscape photographer Darron Franta. “Sharing our world’s natural beauty and inspiring individuals to bring these kinds of images into their indoor spaces is why I love doing this.”
For Darron, photography has been a lifelong pursuit which was kick-started at a young age. “I had an aunt who traveled the world and would share her old National Geographic magazines with me. Those magazines and her stories inspired my desire to see the world and to be a photographer.” While Darron has indeed been taking images his whole life, it wasn’t until 2013 that he pulled out his camera to capture the natural world. “Throughout my formative years, I shot school and corporate events, weddings and developed a strong journalistic style working for several newspapers. However, I have found, because you can only control so much when shooting in nature, that landscape photography is by far the most challenging. A ‘science’ as much as it is an ‘art’ it definitely teaches you to plan, have patience and to use your whole mind.”
Darron has captured beautiful landscape scenes in more than a dozen states but he has been particularly drawn to the American Southwest, evident in some of his windswept, and desolate vistas. Before going on location, he will research specific scenes with regard to the optimal positioning and timing of the sun – a lot of preparation occurs before the shutter is ever clicked open. “In truth, landscape photography is all about using the natural elements to create a mood… and the most critical element is light,” he says. “Hopefully mother nature cooperates as you are often just limited to just a couple of moments, either at the beginning or end of the day, to capture the image you have in your mind’s eye.”
“It’s an investment of time (and money too!), but to me, it’s so rewarding to immerse yourself into nature and to exist in the elements that you are dealt,” says Darron. “It’s a challenge that really charges my batteries.” While 2020 inhibited photography trips, Darron has already planned his next adventures for later this year… Hawaii and the Caddo Lake river bottoms along the Texas/Louisiana border. For Darron, “it’s all about the journey, camaraderie, and capturing these remote places.”
When talking with Darron, it’s clear there is an interesting story behind each shot. Like in his piece Owens Valley Vista, taken near Bishop, Calif., near the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains. “It’s a very fertile region, with a meandering river that snakes its way through the valley,” he says. “My friends and I were exploring BLM land and had been looking for unique compositions with the river as an element,” he says. “Awaiting the sun to create interesting light, we were focused on the river, but I noticed these groupings of cottonwoods isolated against the mountains with the wonderfully textured rabbit and sage brush in the foreground. In the distance, the wind was creating interest by randomly kicking up dust. Sometimes the photo finds you… if you are paying attention.”