Photographer Patrick Brooks Brandenburg enjoys being part of the artist lineup for the 53rd Park City Kimball Arts Festival that will run from Aug 5-7 on Main Street.
“I’m honored to be in it again,” said the photographer whose studio is in Kamas. “As you know, there are so many photographers and the festival, like any big art show, is a very competitive event. I’m sure a ton of photographers apply and only a few get in, so it is really an honor.”
This year will mark the fifth year Brandenburg has been part of the arts festival lineup, and it’s something that he doesn’t take for granted.
“I applied for three or four years, but didn’t get in,” he said. “That was devastating, because photography is the only thing I wanted to do.”
Over the years, Brandenburg, who started his photography training as a junior while attending high school in Spokane, Washington, has developed his own style through the love of animals and nature.
“I’m motivated by open spaces and wild places,” he said. “I’m focused on reminding people there is still natural beauty on this planet. And I want to inspire and uplift with what I do.”
To do so, Brandenburg’s style has evolved over the years.
“I’m getting more minimal and simplistic in my compositions,” he said. “I’ve always been inspired by outrageously beautiful sunsets and dramatic landscapes, but now I’m finding beauty in more simple things.”
By simple, Brandenburg means toned down.
“I think that appeals to more people, because I think some people have been inundated over the years by super bright colors,” he said. “Also with digital photography, there’s always a question whether or not it’s real, and I’ve always wanted to make sure the photography I do looks real, accessible and natural. “
One of the new works Brandenburg plans to show this year is titled “Swans Along the Flats,” which is in black and white.
“We stopped for a night at the Salt Flats, and I woke up early, something I do, because the
predawn and sunrise light is always what I try to get,” he said.
Brandenburg noticed a line of swans standing in a reflective pool of water on the salt, so he took the photograph.
“It was epic,” he said. “The colors were amazing, but the problem was trying to fit it in my style.”
Since he had been doing a lot of black and white work, Brandenburg decided to drop the color.
“That’s where my style is going now,” he said.
While capturing the image of the swans was serendipitous, Brandenburg also plans out how he will photograph an animal or a landscape.
“I’m always on the hunt — with my camera — and know some good spots to go,” he said. “For example, I love moose, and you can find them in the fall around town in the Tetons and at Yellowstone.”
Brandenburg recently took a trip to Alaska to find some Alaskan Coastal grizzly bears.
“I love bears, and you can see bears in parks here with the roll-up cars in Yellowstone, but I don’t really like being around big groups of photographers,” he said. “When I was in Alaska, I was pretty much on my own and got some cool images.”
Sometimes Brandenburg just takes time and plans to hang out with farm animals.
“I love getting up close and taking harnesses off and standing in their shadows,” he said. “I don’t know, but I just love being around animals.”
Brandenburg uses the same spur-of-the-moment or planned approaches to shooting landscapes.
“I’m always trying to find more natural spots to get my own thing,” he said. “Sometimes I’ll be somewhere and think how cool the scene would be if some fog rolled in or how it would look in the fall. So I will plan to come back during those times.”
Still, Brandenburg relies on his instincts when he decides to compose a photo.
“There’s a feeling that clicks and tells me that I have to capture a scene,” he said. “Something has to click to get me excited. If it gets me excited, hopefully it will inspire and uplift others.”
Sometimes, however, things don’t work out.
“You have to have a lot of patience to get the right image, and that means you can’t give up,” he said. “I don’t know how many times I set out to shoot, but come back without anything I’m interested in.”
That said, Brandenburg knows there is nothing he’d rather do for a living.
“There is a fierce devotion to being a photographer and wanting to be a photographer all my life keeps pushing me to keep getting out there,” he said. “There’s also a freedom of being my own boss. I’m a one-man show. It’s high risk, though. If I don’t do good at shows or if I don’t sell something, I don’t have a back-up plan. Still, there is nothing I would rather do but go out and capture amazing photographs in the wild. All it takes for me is some patience and perseverance.”