As a fine art nature and landscape photographer, I am blessed to live in the natural beauty of the Ozark Mountains. With over 47,000 square miles to explore, I would need 10 lifetimes to fully explore the region.
The Ozark's are home to world-class lakes, streams, and rivers that draw outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers from around the USA and world. The Ozark's are a nature lovers paradise that has just about every type of activity that anyone could want (camping, fishing, hiking, birding, photography, hunting, boating, biking, swimming, and more).
I built a cabin and darkroom in the heart of the Ozark's during 2016 and 2017 where I am surrounded by the Mark Twain National Forest. The project took nearly 18 months of work to plan and build from scratch. I now have a retreat where I can focus on creating my artwork without distractions. After I completed this project, I purchased my permanent home near the Branson area which allows me to conduct business as well as serve as my family home. My cabin and darkroom are about two hours from my home near Branson, and both locations serve as a launching point for my nature and landscape photography projects.
As a large format film photographer, I develop all of my own films in my custom darkroom and I handmake my collectible fine art prints ranging from iconic platinum prints to classic silver gelatin darkroom prints. For my contemporary color artwork, I scan my large format sheet film with my high-resolution scanner which allows me to create artwork on a variety of mediums (acrylic, metal, paper, canvas, and more).
THE OZARK MOUNTAINS
The Ozark Mountain region is located in the central United States, primarily in Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma covering nearly 47,000 square miles. The Ozark's are by far the most extensive mountainous region between the Appalachians and Rockies.
The Ozarks cover a significant portion of southern Missouri, extending as far northeast as the southwestern suburbs of St. Louis. In Arkansas, a large portion is contained within the northwestern and northcentral region. Much smaller pieces of the Ozarks extend westward into northeastern Oklahoma and extreme southeastern Kansas. The most popular destination for visitors is Branson, Missouri.
Branson, Missouri hosts over seven million people each year including over 100 shows, 200 lodging facilities, and 400 restaurants. Branson is located in the heart of the Ozark's, just 30 minutes south of Springfield. Branson's 76 Country Boulevard is famously lined with theaters, which once hosted mostly country music performers but today present diverse entertainment. Also along the strip are the Marvel Cave, the Wild West-style Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction, and Silver Dollar City, a 1800's themed amusement park with live music. Visitors dump over 1.5 billion dollars into the local economy every year. The vast majority of visitors arrive by vehicles, RVs, and tour buses. However, there is an increasing number of visitors flying into the area each year.
Branson is surrounded by three prize-winning fishing lakes. This city has become the focus of international attention as both a major development area and an entertainment and tourism Mecca. The reasons are numerous and range from the scenic natural beauty of the area to the star-studded theaters along Highway 76 with their line-up of major recording artists as well as other family-oriented entertainment offerings.
ST. FRANCOIS MOUNTAIN RANGE
The St. Francois Mountains located in the Ozarks in Southeastern Missouri are home to a historically and geologically significant landscape. This range is one of the oldest exposures of volcanic rock in North America.
The extraordinary saga of St. Francois Mountains started nearly 1.485 billion years ago when they were formed by volcanic and intrusive activity. By comparison, the Appalachians started forming about 460 million years ago, and the Rockies a mere 140 million years ago. When the Appalachians started forming, the St. Francois range was already twice as old as the Appalachians are today. These ancient mountains may be the only area in the American Midwest never to have been submerged, (as evidenced by the lack of marine fossils) existing as an island archipelago in the Paleozoic seas.
All landscapes have a history. There are distinct voices and languages that belong to particular areas. There are voices inside the rocks, shifting skies, and trees.