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About Stephen Lee and Dark Glass Photography

My Photographic Journey

I began my photography journey in college when I was given a 35mm Minolta SLR film camera with a 50mm kit lens as a gift. For a long time, that is all I had. I spent a lot of time simply learning how the camera worked and the craft of photography itself, as I had never engaged in it before. Over time, I slowly added cheap lenses (all I could afford at the time) and focused largely on the landscapes of New Mexico. I enjoyed shooting black and white film back then, because it was inexpensive and easy to develop myself. I also found it to be a wonderful creative outlet, a bit more so than color due to creative post-processing control. I became sufficiently proficient to have had color and black and white photographs in the local newspaper as well as in juried competitions of the day in southern New Mexico. When I went on to graduate school in Kansas, I continued to shoot film as much as possible. But graduate school consumed much of my time. After graduate school, I started my career at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico. I spent over 30 years at Los Alamos as a computational physicist, project leader, line manager, and program leader. I retired from Los Alamos in 2018.

Sometime between the transition from graduate school to the workforce in Los Alamos, I stopped shooting. I was just far too busy building a career and a family. When my daughter was born, I bought a small point and shoot digital camera so that I could take pictures of her (no cell phones back then). Digital cameras were still fairly new, but that little camera (might have been 2 megapixels?) reminded me how much I enjoyed photography in the past. Although I had not been shooting for years, I did some research and discovered that there was such a thing as a digital SLR. My first digital SLR was a Canon D60. That, then, was the re-start of my photographic journey. Thanks to my daughter and a little digital point and shoot camera.

Today, my journey continues. I still shoot using Canon gear but have moved well past that old D60 (although I did convert that to an IR camera). My focus is nature - landscapes, wildlife, birding, and weather phenomena. But I will pretty much shoot anything that interests me. I still love black and white photography and feature many such images in social media and on this website. My photographs have been published in magazines and calendars in New Mexico, and I have shown and sold them in numerous juried competitions around the United States. I like to write as well as photograph, and as a result I enjoy coming up with titles for my images. So much so, that at times I shoot a scene with the title in mind (or because of the title I have in mind).

When I retired, I moved from New Mexico to Colorado. As a result, my Colorado photographic portfolio will continue to expand significantly.

What’s in a Name?

The name “Dark Glass Photography” is a reference to the following verse from the bible (1 Corinthians 13:12):

“For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know, even as also I am known.”

This verse appears in Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth, and is a wonderfully classic example of the writings of Paul: circularly referenced with overloaded and indirect terms. In some translations of this verse, we are looking into a mirror instead of through a glass. However, the meaning is similar. We do not see ourselves as we actually are, nor do we see others as they actually are. Our view of ourselves (in a mirror) is blurry. Our view of reality (through a glass) is dim. Imperfect. As if the glass we are looking through is dark. I can only see and understand part of the picture. Eventually, I will understand reality, and myself, completely. Just as I am understood completely now, by God. Regardless of your belief system or philosophy, this short verse does not just speak to me spiritually, but also struck me as a good description of what photographers, and all artists (regardless of medium), try to do – illustrate something that is hidden or only dimly perceived. Providing new insights into the world around us...and perhaps even into ourselves.