Artistic Intimacy


The formative years of my life were spent along Maine’s scenic coastline, just outside the state’s biggest city of Portland. Unlike most of the kids I knew, I didn’t watch TV. My days were spent outside. The greatness of summer wasn’t measured by how many times you visited the amusement park, but by how many hours outdoors you were able to cram into each day. By the time I reached second grade I was an aspiring naturalist. In the third grade my parents elected to begin educating me with a curriculum at home. This change allowed me to embrace my love of nature at a young age without the criticism I might have otherwise experienced from my peers. Such treatment could easily dissuaded me from my new found love. My parents decision was perhaps one of the greatest contributing factors influencing my young life, and helped form the person I am today. As a result of this change I had a lot more free time in my schedule. I capitalized on it by satiating my curiosity of the natural world. Some of my happiest memories involve the endless hours spent outside exploring during those years. I was keenly attuned to the native habitat and wildlife that made their home around me. I knew the identifiers that marked when the seasons would change and welcomed them with joy. This kind of knowledge is priceless. It cannot be read from a book or purchased, but must be acquired out of love for a particular region or subject. It’s the reward for a personal investment of time. I like to call this artistic intimacy.


Though my love of photography developed in high school while still living in the state, I was truly a novice and just learning the craft. The few images I have from my youth are contained in a small box of slides and a few dozen images scanned from 3.5 x 5 inch prints. For some time I’d been hoping to make a trip back to scout for a Maine photography workshop. Earlier this year I decided it was time to create the itinerary. As Fall approached I waited for the best Autumn colors to develop and soon was back in my beautiful home state of Maine.


 The next seven days I was in absolute bliss. Fueled by a strong dose of adrenalin, I was on the road before sunrise until long after sunset each day. All my childhood memories of the area came flooding back. In an instant I remembered the secrets that were held in the forests and meadows here and eagerly rushed to create images of those locations. Knowing where the best light could be found and what weather systems would create beautiful atmospheric conditions was key in helping me create powerful images.


The ocean called to me too. More than any other place I find solace by the seaside. The sounds of the surf crashing on the rocks, rich aroma of tidal pools and the taste of salt on the breeze is unforgettable. During my trip I photographed the coastline at all times of day and in various types of weather. Some of my favorite shots of the coast came after sunset. On those nights I would stay long after dark and enjoy the sounds of the Maine coastline alone, lost in my thoughts. Those are moments I will cherish forever.


I was filled with inspiration every moment of my stay in Maine. At the conclusion of my scouting I announced my 2019 Maine workshop, within twenty four hours it was nearly sold out. As a professional who makes a living teaching nature photography, the time I spend out shooting for myself is actually quite limited. This trip however was the exception. Everywhere I went I photographed exactly what I wanted. I spent as much or as little time with each subject as I desired. My vast knowledge of the region paid huge dividends for me during this process. Over the course of that week I created a Maine portfolio I was delighted with. An intimate knowledge of your subject matter keeps the creative juices flowing and is obvious to others in your photographic work. We all have a distinct advantage when it comes to photographing the places we know and love, so go out and capitalize on that. Your back yard is only as boring as you allow it to be.

Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.



18 thoughts on “Artistic Intimacy

  1. Oh Nate, This is so beautiful! I am reduced to tears. This article of Artistic Intimacy is so full of the culmination of not only your Life’s work, but mine as well, as a mother. I have so many images in my memory of that excited inspired boy who loved to roam the wood and fields, just for the chance of seeing a flash of a wing in flight, or a nest of fledglings in the crotch of a tree. Those times I will treasure forever as I watched my childhood love for birds, grow into something magnificent when it encountered the soul of our nature-loving son. Through the lens of your vision, it has grown into a channel for beauty that touches the lives and hearts of all who encounter your images, and poetic prose. Well done my dear! The images are stunning as always, you make me and our home state of Maine proud! No matter where you go, you’ll always be “One of the Maine Boys!”

    • Thank you very much Mom, it was a joy to return to Maine and once again experience all the places I wandered in my youth. I have been greatly blessed to share what I see with others through my work, it is truly an honor.

      ~ Nathaniel

  2. Your pictures are absolutely beautiful, Nate. You must have really enjoyed being able to come to Maine and do that. So few people ever get pictures that look like the real thing. When you look at yours it’s just like you’re standing there in real life.

  3. Just beautiful are the words and pictures. My husband was a true naturalist. His work took him all over the world but the place he loved the most was the farm in Bancroft, Maine.

    • Thank you for reading and for your comment Sandi. I can totally relate to your husbands love of the place closest to home despite his travels.

      ~ Nathaniel

  4. Nate,
    This is the best article I have ever read. Your work is profound. I am so happy you are able to do what you love. It is a blessed gift to the world.

    love, dad

    • Thank you very much Dad, that means so much to me. It is strange the way life works out… I never would have expected to have the opportunities that I’ve been given. I’m so grateful to be doing something that I love.

      ~ Nathaniel

  5. Breathtaking….the Point Perseverance reminds me of what Thomas Kinkade would of painted….all simply stunning Nathaniel.

  6. Thouroughly enjoyed your article. And as a photographer you will know what I mean by saying it is so hard to make another engaging image of fall colors or waterfall. But your images are captivating, makes one linger and savour. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and images. They are inspirational.

  7. Nathaniel, We all have a story. Your story of “choices” as a youth have brought you to an incredible blessing of artistry and vision. The story and the images are a gift to us. Thank you so much for sharing a piece of your heart.

    May the Lord continue to bless your choices and your steps.

  8. I love your intimate pictures, Nathaniel-I always do! And your very personal article reminded me of my own childhood experiences spent in a riparian area behind a friend’s house in New Jersey. Your whole offering: pictures, prose and intimate family and friend responses-very moving! Thank you, Nathaniel!

  9. Nate,

    Thank you for the wonderful words. Love your work and I try to learn by observing how you shoot a scene.

    Having relocated to Maine in the last year, I’m in the stage of trying to learn all the secrets of my locale. Since I’m not immediately close to any of the main attractions (ocean, lighthouses, Katahdin, etc.), if I’m not careful, I could find myself getting bored with my area. But then I think, “It’s Maine, for crying out loud! How can I ever get bored here.” So, thank you for your words. Having an 8-5 job and a family puts a damper on the photo time but reading your words will help me use that time better in looking for the amazing that hides in the seeming mundane.

    • Thank you so much for the compliments Jerry. Maine is such a beautiful place. I look forward to moving back when the time is right. I love that state!

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