|Earl Carpenter “likes to be outdoors,” says Milly, his wife of 55 years. “Photography gets him outdoors.” VVN/Bill Helm|
|Lake Montezuma resident Earl Carpenter, an accomplished painter, has found that he likes photographing Beaver Creek. “Water is a big subject for me,” Carpenter says. “How do you get depth in water? How do you get the surface of water?” Photo courtesy of Earl Carpenter|
LAKE MONTEZUMA - For decades, his paintings have appeared in magazines such as Arizona Highways, Art of the West and Southwest Art.
On occasion, his paintings have fetched thousands of dollars.
And he has not picked up a paintbrush in two years.
Lake Montezuma resident Earl Carpenter has not given up painting. Far from it. His artistic eye is currently focused on photography.
Carpenter does not use a camera with the same sense of purpose that he paints. Carpenter says his photography is more "idea stimulation" than anything else.
"I'm keeping my hand at composing," says Carpenter, 82. "Basically, it's for reference. If I ever get an award-winning picture, so be it."
Carpenter has found that he likes photographing Beaver Creek. Which is convenient, since the family's home borders the body of water.
"Water is a big subject for me," he says. "How do you get depth in water? How do you get the surface of water? I'm pretty good at painting water. I've studied water."
Says Milly, his wife of 55 years, "He likes to be outdoors. Photography gets him outdoors. And painting keeps him indoors."
Though his paintbrushes are currently put away, Carpenter says he paints all the time... in his mind.
"I see a lot of paintings when I'm out there," he says. "Taking a picture of it is a way of strengthening what I see in my mind. It helps me leave out the non-essentials to a composition. In painting, you're supposed to simplify. With photography, it's the same way."
Carpenter explains his simple technique to photography, a method he uses to strip down some of the art's complexities.
"What I do is I look at something that is in my center of focus," Carpenter says. "I zoom in. Then, I zoom out. When you feel like you've eliminated enough, you can photograph it.
"That's why the Grand Canyon is so difficult. You move around too much, you fall off."
With an open mind - and an open viewfinder, Carpenter takes his art seriously.
"If something happens to get my attention, it must be worth being photographed," he says. "When I put all these photographs out one day, something will need to be painted."
-- Follow the reporter at Twitter @BillHelm42