2011 has been a year of admiring-inspiring. Through many permutations of my personal expressiveness, I have been greatly influenced by admiring the work and vision of various other creative souls. Sharing their work with you is like taking a vacation, of sorts. A vacation into new lands…new ways of seeing…new senses of valuing.

I’d like to thank my friend Don Boyd (DonBoyd.net) for productive and helpful criticism about my website. Don, largely thanks to his input compounded with the input from others, led me to explore new ways of sharing my work with my fellow travelers on the way of SeeingTao

There are many souls to introduce…and I will share their visioning with you, largely in no particular order, but beginning with someone who has a far-reaching influence on many photographers these days, Quan Tran Luong (TerraGalleria.com). QT initiated the Large Format Forum (LargeFormatPhotography.info), which abounds in wide-ranging stimuli of all dimensions. QT himself is a stunning creative soul, and through his website and email exchanges, has been a mentor to me this past year.

Where to go next? In this country there is the super-luminary Charles Cramer (www.CharlesCramer.com) who sits astride the glorious 20th Century traditions of Adams, Porter, Weston (Ed, son Brett, and granddaughter Cara…who has become a personal friend over several years CaraWestonPhotography.com and whose visioning is uniquely her own….in spite of her luminous heritage!).

In the same voice as Cramer, there is John Sexton (JohnSexton.com), trafficking in the mid-California zones so familiar to Adams and Weston. He partners with Cramer for a totally mind-blowing combination of extra-terrestrial experiencing. Stephen Wilkes (StephenWilkes.com), Danny Burk (DannyBurk.com), the uniquely incomparable Bill Atkinson (BillAtkinson.com), and of course, Mark Dubovoy (Dubovoyphoto.com) are an amazing continuing source of admiring-inspiring for me. Visit their websites. Expose yourself to their imagining…SeeingTao in their own spectacular individual ways.

In the Pacific Northwest we are all blessed with the creativity of Art Wolfe (ArtWolfe.com) Steve Terrill (TerrillPhoto.com), and many others, too numerous to mention.

Across The Pond, there is a fast-paced movement in action, spearheaded by the likes of wildly imaginative Tim Parkin (TimParkin.co.uk) and the stalwart likes of Joe Cornish (JoeCornishGallery.co.uk), Dav Thomas (PeakLandscapes.com), and Simon Miles (SimonMilesPhotography.co.uk who has become a personal friend of mine). These chaps are rocketing into hyperspace, no-holds-barred! And I’m dragging along with them the best I can. At Tim’s energetic guidance, that formidable island rag, Great British Landscapes (now just recently renamed, “On Landscape” (www.OnLandscape.co.uk) is re-establishing itself as a formidable force in the overall creative equation.

Now some of you may ask me…Why such a focus on landscapes, when most of my work is elsewhere? Great question! The answer is simple really…creativity! Some of these guys also work closely along my own lines (QT, Cara Weston, Atkinson, Miles, Wilkes, Cramer to a certain extent), but ALL of them manifest different forms of creating that appeal to my own sensibilities. I have learned from them all.

And so I’d like to turn close to home, yet still in the American West…the amazing lands that have lured so many into intense inspiration and creativity. There are two names with whom some of you may be familiar here in America, but they were new to me. We have shared some email exchanges that have been admiring and inspiring. Mutually. They are Michael Fatali (Fatali.com), and Alain Briot (BeautifulLandscape.com). Now be forewarned! These guys are truly impressive, handsome hombres. But, do NOT be distracted! It is their CREATIVITY that attracts…NOT their CHARISMA! They are GOOD. And not JUST good. But REALLY good!

Michael is an innate artist. Blessed with some inner sensibilities, he has evoked imaging that truly inspires. Alain, is both natively talented, and also formally trained (he has a Ph.D. in Fine Art from the Academie des Beaux Arts in Paris). Visit their sites. Immerse yourself in their unique visioning and imaging. They will become hallmarks of the creativity we call photography.

As a final, slightly different note, I’d like to introduce you to the work of Michael Wood (Miksang.org). This group of inspired souls has a vision…and they are pursuing it…and succeeding! Their work is remarkable, and admiring-inspiring all at the same time. My work has a lot in common with their creating, and I anticipate we’ll do more sharing this year.

So, you see…2011 has indeed been an admiring-inspiring year for me. I have expanded my own repertoire. I have expanded my own horizons. As the digital world swirls around us, we need all the anchoring we can find, to avoid losing our bearings in this creative endeavor. Each will find their bearings in differing sources. Here, I have tried to summarize some of my own anchorings…