John Timme has been capturing beautiful images throughout the United States for the past 40 years. Landscape photography is his passion. This blog discusses travel, professional photography tips, exploring nature's beauty and much more.
“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” ~Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright was a famous American architect, known for changing the way we live and build. The American Institute of Architects refers to Wright as the “greatest American architect of all time.”
So what was it about Wright’s style that made him so famous?
Wright was around at a time when American architecture was still taken primarily from European style. America didn’t really have a style of its own. Wright had a vision for America in which its citizens were connected to each other and to the land. And this vision played into his work. His homes focused on a space for family and friends to gather – the dining room, hearth, porches and terraces, etc.
A sentence taken from his website best describes his contribution to nature. “Furthermore, his approach to creating an architecture that appeared naturally linked to its surroundings, both in form and material, presaged many of today’s sustainability concerns.”
While huddled in my tent during a fierce Colorado snowstorm, I was hoping that there would be a break by the next morning. All of a sudden the storm broke and the sky began to clear. I rushed to the edge of Maroon Lake just as the clouds began to pick up color from the setting sun.
The Maroon Bells are one of the most highly photographed locations in Colorado and you can see why! If you’d like to learn more about visiting this beautiful location visit the “visit Colorado” website. You can see more of the lake here and the landscape around the Maroon Bells, called Snowmass, here.
This photo was taken near the Colorado mountain village of Marble located in the San Juan mountains. Just outside of the town I found this aspen grove with Summer green surrounding Autumn foliage in the center.
I was struck by the way Summer so seamlessly blends into Fall. We fight change but nature embraces it and does so in such a graceful manner. Change is painful for us but God reminds us that He has something better in mind for us.
This image is available for purchase from my gallery.
Previously I discussed ways to connect with nature outdoors. It’s wonderful to get outside and spend time with nature. Nature allows me to escape the stresses of every day life. I feel more at peace when I am outside. So I wanted to find a way to bring the tranquility of the outdoors into my home. By using nature to inspire my home decor, I was able to transform my home into a private retreat.
First, I listed all the things about the outdoors that make it so appealing. Nature is: calm, uncluttered, fresh air, the sounds, the smells, etc. Then I tried to find ways to replicate these items in my home. It turned out to be easier than I thought. Read on to transform your home into your own private retreat!!
This is extremely important and the most difficult thing to do. We tend to collect things and our homes become cluttered. We were downsizing so we had to get rid of a lot of our things. I didn’t realize how much my stuff was weighing me down until I started getting rid of it.
We sold the furniture and items that were in good enough condition to be sold. We used Craigslist for that. We also donated quite a lot of items to Goodwill. Anything that couldn’t be sold or donated was either recycled or thrown away. Through all of this we were able to move from a larger home (2400 sq ft.) to a much smaller home (1000 sq ft.). We felt so free once we had less stuff!
It also became much easier to keep the house clean, even before moving to the smaller home. All of our remaining items had a place, which made the house feel much less cluttered as well.
De-cluttering took a long time – several weeks actually. But I was amazed at how much better I felt in the house once we didn’t have as much stuff.
For more tips on de-cluttering your home, check out this guide.
2. Find your design inspiration
I LOVE Pinterest. I created a board called Private Retreat where I saved all of the home interiors that I liked to get ideas for the rooms in my home. Follow John on Pinterest @timmephotos for design inspiration using John’s photos.
You can also browse John’s gallery to get design ideas. We sell all images as either prints (which John prints himself) or digital downloads. The benefit of purchasing a digital download is that you can then use that image to create a wide array of wall art, including canvas wall art. One of the sites that I love for creating my own canvas wall art is Shutterfly. If you would like detailed instructions on creating your own wall art, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to help you!
For the master bedroom, I wanted to bring nature into the room with a landscape photo. I browsed the internet and found a beautiful 5 piece canvas print. This is before John’s work was available or I would have used one of his photos! This photo became the centerpiece of the room’s design.
Make sure you find your design inspiration before updating any of your home decor to ensure that you only purchase items that go with your final design.
3. Update your home decor
Once you have found your design inspiration, it’s time to update your home decor. There are very inexpensive ways to do this.
Buy or make pillow cases rather than buying new pillows. Use different shades of your color scheme (for me I used green, brown and white), different textures and different patterns to update the room.
Buy or make a duvet cover for your comforter. This is much less expensive than buying new bedding. I purchased a white duvet cover from Amazon for $35. A new white comforter was around $200.
For accessories, first see what you have around your home that matches the decor you want in your room. I had a few smaller pictures and brown wicker baskets around the house that fit perfectly with the decor I wanted in the master bedroom. Then if you still need additional items, shop at discount stores like Home Goods, TJ Maxx, and Tuesday Morning. These stores typically have a very inexpensive home goods and you can find great deals.
Master Bedroom – BEFORE
Master Bedroom – AFTER
Work with what you have – the master bathroom had gold trim for the shower, faucets and doors. It was going to be very expensive to change out all of the hardware so we decided to embrace the gold. The green, brown and white colors I was using in the master bedroom worked great with the gold so I continued that color scheme in the bathroom. The one more expensive item we did buy was a very nice gold shower head and that only cost $75!
Master bathroom (image 2) – BEFORE
Master bathroom (image 1) – BEFORE
Master Bathroom – AFTER
4. Add houseplants
For the final touch, I bought houseplants. This is the most obvious way to bring nature into your home! And houseplants are naturally beautiful and bring the calm and peace of nature in. You can also add pops of color to a room with fresh flowers.
I would love to know what you do to bring nature into your home!! Please share in the comments.
As I think about John Muir and try to decide what to write, I am looking out into the forest that is my backyard. At one point we actually considered clearing the trees to make a larger, more usable yard. But now I realize that would have been a mistake and I love the wildness of the forest. So how is this connected to Muir?
Preservation of the wild
Muir was a writer, naturalist and conservationist. He is considered to be the Father of the National Parks because his writings were instrumental to the creation of Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park. He understood the need to preserve the wild. And as I look out into my forest, I know that it brings me much more peace than a cleared back yard ever would. The photo below shows my forest. While the photo doesn’t do it justice, it gives you an idea of what I’m seeing right now. As a side note, the squirrels were not happy that I was out there and they were throwing acorns at me!
So back to Muir – He was born in Scotland and immigrated to US when he was 11 years old. He was employed in a factory until he was nearly blinded in an accident. This accident created a drive in Muir to learn about the world unaltered by man. After spending a bit of time at the University of Wisconsin, he left to pursue what he called the “University of Wilderness”. His first visit to Yosemite was in 1968. During this trip he wrote these words in a letter to a friend:
“Fate and flowers have carried me to California, and I have reveled and luxuriated amid its plants and mountains nearly four months. I am well again, I came to life in the cool winds and crystal waters of the mountains, and, were it not for a thought now and then of loneliness and isolation, the pleasure of my existence would be complete.”
I love the sentiment here. John Muir recognized the positive impact that nature had on him. To learn more about our need for nature, check out my previous blog post. Muir also understood the desperate need to protect our wilderness. Next time you visit a national park or other wild space, keep Muir in mind, as we owe much of our preserved lands to him!
I’ll close with another one of Muir’s quotes that I love –
“Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness.”
Here at Timme Landscape Photography, we love Colorado and we love our Denver Broncos! To show our support, we designed a Broncos logo that truly reflects Broncos Country! Each element of the logo has been created using one of John’s amazing Colorado landscape photographs. The colors of the photographs have not been altered. Colorado is truly this beautiful! If you are interested in learning a bit more about each photograph, keep reading!
Aspen Red was used for the Bronco’s mane. This is a photo of Aspen Ridge near Buena Vista, Colorado in the late fall when the aspen leaves in this particular grove had turned to beautiful shades of red and orange.
Perhaps one of the most highly photographed locations in Colorado is the Maroon Bells. The mountains are reflected in Maroon Lake to create a stunning landscape at any time of year. But fall is one of my favorite times in this area. The blue outline of the Bronco is made from this image of the fall colors in the Maroon Bells.
The snowy foreground of Sunrise over the Lone Pinyon makes up the Broncos head. John came across this landscape at just the right time to capture the sunrise painting the snowy sky in soft pastel colors. This lone pinyon stood out from the group, creating a beautiful, serene landscape.
The logo is offset against a black and white photo of aspen trunks from an aspen grove along Aspen Ridge.
Feel free to share this with any Broncos fans out there!
When I was working on my degree in commercial photography, in the days before digital cameras and smart phones, a lot of planning went into each and every shot, as the resources such as film and darkroom supplies were limited and costly. Back then, no one could have imagined the ease and remarkable quality that virtually everyone has at their fingertips today to capture people, places and events spontaneously and share them not only instantly but also globally.
The beauty of digital photography is that anyone and everyone, from the professional wedding photographer to the mom at the park with her kids, can take a photograph without much planning or preparation. Another advantage to digital over film is that you can take several pictures, adjusting the placement of your subject in each one, and delete those that aren’t exactly what you were wanting.
Taking into consideration that nearly everyone who takes a picture will share it, I would like to share a few tips on composition that I hope will help you capture and share what you are feeling as you click the shutter.
To begin with, pick a subject for your photograph that is interesting to you or that makes you happy. For me, this is pretty much anything in nature. For you this could be your loyal canine companion playing with his favorite toy; paddleboats making their way across the lake where you stopped for a picnic lunch; or a spectacular sunset. Each day presents opportunities to photograph events that most likely won’t or can’t be duplicated and having a camera available on a smart phone allows us to preserve these moments.
While not technically a rule, a guide that professionals use to create an interesting image is to position your camera so that your subject is not in the center of the picture. This technique is referred to as the “rule of thirds”. Nearly all contemporary cameras have the ability to help you with this. Simply go to the settings feature of your camera or smartphone, and find the feature that enables a grid that divides your screen into 9 equal sections.
The idea is to place your subject where any of the lines intersect, making it slightly to the right or left. Aligning a subject along these lines is thought to create more interest in the photograph than simply centering it. Below is a screenshot from my iPhone. You can see the gridlines and how they divide the screen into 9 equal sections. The purple dots indicate the areas in which you could place your subject matter. I have also included one of my photographs to help illustrate this technique. The top of the waterfall is not the center of the photo. Rather, it starts in the upper right.
Take a look at some of your favorite photographs, whether they are snapshots you have taken yourself, or the work of a professional. Chances are, they have a balance of contrast, whether it is in tone (light vs. dark), or color (the bright gold leaves of aspens against the white bark of the trees). An awareness of contrast when composing your photographs is well worth your effort in creating an eye-catching image for you and for those that you share it with.
Taking photographs, regardless of you subject matter or level of expertise should be something you do for the enjoyment you get from taking them, sharing them and viewing them yourself. To quote Burk Uzzle, “Photography is a love affair with life”.