About Raymond J Mueller
From an early age, I began to develop a sincere appreciation for the inherent beauty and significance of nature. Pursuing a path to fulfill my desire for self expression of my feelings for our natural surroundings was put on hold for over 33 years while I served in the United States Air Force. Shortly after settling in Dayton, Ohio, in 1991, and before retiring, I attended an adult education photography class. My passions rekindled, I had finally found a way to express my inner self. It has become a passion and labor of love.
I learned the “old fashioned” way starting with manual cameras, lenses, and a light meter. I had my own darkroom and the process of taking a photo, developing the negative, and printing, allowed me to practice and fine tune my photographic skills and understand the importance of light in producing quality images. Flower and landscape photography consumed most of my time in the early years using color slide, black and white, and negative film. It is my opinion that the best photos are still achieved using this medium. I have a freezer full of film and photographic paper and intend to use it someday soon.
The transition to wildlife photography, particularly birds, was a natural progression for me since I had flown a variety of aircraft for over 26 years. It required a different approach and forced me to start using digital equipment. I needed instant feedback to see what I had taken, and the speed of digital lenses and cameras was a must. And I will admit that under the proper circumstances, those being light, weather, and subject matter, digital photography has a place in my photographic pursuit. After years of effort I am finally seeing some good results. But like everything else I have done and will do, photography is a work in progress, and there is always room for improvement.
My work is focused on the premise that all art is self-portraiture; hence the quietness, solitude, and uncluttered look of my photography. This includes perhaps a remembrance of a nostalgic occasion from another time and place or a contemporary moment. To walk in a forest of early morning fog or frost, to witness a sunrise or sunset colored with a rich palette, to smell the nectar of a myriad of flowers, to see, hear, and listen, is to embrace life itself.
If I can bring to the viewer an awareness of the awesome beauty and spirituality inherent in the natural world that we all take for granted than I have done my job. Each photograph should stand on its own merit and tell a story. A really good photograph should create “visual music” through interpretation and emotional attachment.