On Meaningful Photography

While hiking yesterday I had a realization.
It was always easy for me to make photographs of the landscape around Idaho Falls and Rexburg and in Island Park. I loved, and still love, those places, so meaningful photographs just came easy.
When I first moved here to Logan, it was hard for me to make meaningful photographs. The landscape seemed so foreign to me, even though I was no stranger to Cache Valley. I was no stranger to the kind of landscape in which Logan is situated, and I was no stranger to mountains. But the reason for my moving here was to pursue a Masters Degree in photography, and, being thrust into needing to produce work regularly, I found myself facing creative roadblocks at almost every turn. Nearly every square foot of land in Cache Valley has been developed in one form or another, from farm use to residential and commercial use. That said, I can deal with urbanization and Man's impact on land easily enough. My whole B.F.A. project was centered around man's alteration and recreation of Nature. But the Upper Snake River Plain has very little radical variation in elevation. Cache Valley is locked in by mountains, and they induced a sense of visual claustrophobia in me to the point of near creative break-down. I've always been drawn to photographing bodies of water, whether they be lakes, rivers, streams, etc., so I would drive up Logan Canyon to photograph the Logan River, but that induced the claustrophobia as well as being faced with entangling vegetation, and I rarely came away with a photograph I was pleased with.
So, on to the realization: maybe I've needed four years in Logan. Four years of hiking trails, fishing the rivers, and driving up and down the highways to call this place Home and finally start to make photographs of a place I have come to truly care about.