Don Schimmel is an award winning Professional Photographer. He has photographed all over the United States of America, including Hawaii and Alaska; abroad; including Canada, Mexico, England, Greece, Austria, Italy, Holland, France, Switzerland, Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. He now makes his home in the Hill Country of Texas!
Don Schimmel - Fine Art Photo-Waterfront Hilton, Huntington Beach, CA
I have been deeply entrenched in my photographic endeavors for the past forty years; not only as a way of supporting myself, but also as the fuel that drives my inner engine.
Graduating from Cal State Fullerton in 1978 with a Degree in Photocommunications, and a Minor in Liberal Arts. I took many Commercial Photo Assignments ranging from Fashion, Travel, Advertising (Coors and Miller), Food, Portraits, and Weddings—you name it—whatever it took to pay the bills, and expand my photographic vision.
Twenty-nine years ago I started selling my artwork in Fine Art Festivals, Rodeos, and other outlets with astounding success. Along the way I’ve been featured in many galleries and publications including not only Western magazines, but also Wildlife and Art publications.
My image, “The Last Roundup” was named The Los Angeles Times Photo of the Year and appeared on the cover of the Times, twice at the insistence of the owner who loved the print. I received hundreds of calls from private individuals requesting prints, galleries who wanted to showcase my imagery, and ranch owners who wanted me to come and document what their individual ranches had to offer. This not only enabled me to get fabulous images to sell at the shows, but also broadened my photographic vision and continued to develop (no pun intended) my way of seeing the world around me, in my own unique way. As Ansel Adams, the renowned photographer once said when asked what camera equipment he used he replied, “My Eyes!”
Photos of Cowboys and Cowgirls and the lifestyle they share are only a small portion of what I display in my booth. We share a world of incredible beauty and diversity; especially here in California where we can enjoy breathtaking ocean vistas, rolling hills carpeted with unlimited flowers and Majestic Mountain peaks. My goal is to document my unique way of “seeing” things, and sharing with the world what incredible things lie right at our feet, if we just take a moment or two to experience them.
I present my work at different show venues; ranging from Mountain and Desert locations, to Oceans and Ranching lifestyles. As I travel to different venues, my art showcase changes as well.
Where I might sell cowboy and rodeo scenes, as well as scenics and still-life’s at one show; I’ll bring imagery of vast mountain vistas and ocean panoramas to another.
I have always been a traditional photographer, one who spends countless hours lost in my numerous darkrooms. I shoot 35mm on horseback, to large format cameras (including panorama cameras) in the field. Film has a unique look, and even as I’m switching to digital slowly, I can see the advantages of both!
I sell Hand Printed, Signed and Numbered, Limited Edition Photos that are Double Matted and Framed in Authentic Hand Made Barn Wood frames, as well as imagery double matted in suede and fitted in traditional framing; all with a rich look. I’m after whatever brings out the best in the final image. If one of my images look best printed on canvas, then that’s what I’ll do. Recently I’ve been printing some images on Glossy, free-floating Aluminum for a more contemporary look.
We all know that modern cameras can produce some stunning images, especially in the hands of a professional. The challenge today for the Fine Art Photographer is capturing unique imagery done to perfection, and offered at a reasonable price.
If you go to any National Park or Famous vista you’ll encounter a dozen “photographers” all getting the same pretty picture. With the expensive cameras available to anyone who’s got money to spend (or a credit card,) they can walk away from the scene with some nice “snapshots”. Herein lies the challenge for my professional counterparts and me.
You have to have that unique scene, especially if you’re shooting landscapes; AND it has to be breathtaking when it is printed and presented in the public forum.
I’ve talked to customers who own expensive gear that think they can create the top caliber imagery that we present at shows, just by the mere fact of owning that gear, but you and I (the artist) know that simply isn’t the case.
It is more important than ever to not only do it good, BUT to do it Great!
Great images sell, and unique images sells; and at a good price-they sell BETTER.
So that’s what I’m after.
This year, I’m not only printing my Western Lifestyle images that I’m known for; along with stunning scenics and country/Americana themed imagery; but I’m returning to my roots in the Black and White field. Countless photographers seem to have the same imagery as you go from one photographer’s booth to another. They always seem to possess Super-Saturated colors to make up for good composition and lighting. There simply cannot be any tradeoff when it comes to composition and lighting, because in reality, that’s all we have.
Making a good black and white print is an art in itself. Making a Great black and white print is exhilarating— that’s what I’m working on in 2020. Instead of trying to follow the masses at those scenic vistas, I’m looking for the ordinary, and making it anything but.
I printed some new images this week that look like they were shot and printed fifty years ago. They are unique and interesting. Isn’t that why the customers come to the Art Festivals? The simple answer is Yes!
I’m also incorporating some alternative printing techniques that take me back to my days in the old college dark room. Sometimes the old ways are the good ways.