About Dennis Frates Photography
I pored over photograph after photograph in National Geographic, Sierra Club, Audubon, and others, almost forgetting to breathe. I thought this kind of photography was unattainable for the average photographer.
At age 14, after saving for a long time, I purchased my first camera for $100.00 with money earned from a paper route. Full of youthful exuberance, I took pictures of nature and scenic subjects that occurred in my small world. I was so disappointed with these early photographs. If I couldn't dazzle people with my pictures like National Geographic, then it wasn't worth the effort, I thought. I gave up, put my camera in the closet and literally went fishing.
In college, my passion raged on for the natural world. I studied landscapes and ecology, and received a master's degree in these areas.
Later, over twenty-five years ago, I felt compelled to revisit my love of photography. I remember it so clearly. I was fly fishing in Montana, and, in between catching 20" brown trout on the Madison River, the thought came to me, almost as if by divine communication, "when I get home from this fishing trip, I'm going to start shooting pictures professionally." I know this sounds like the old, "It came to me in a vision at stream side" story, but I'm not making this up.
I've always yearned to bring emotion to my life, and to that of others. Photography allows me to do this. Now, with a staggering amount of work, my photographs have made the pages of National Geographic, Sierra Club, and Audubon. They have brought emotion to art directors and their publication audiences all over the world. I take great pride that I have been able to help my clients look good. I can't say, "I've arrived", but I can tell you I feel an immense satisfaction that my work touches the lives of others.
A fine art photograph should be visually stunning not only technically, but capable of calling up a deep emotional connection with the viewer. Recall that feeling you have when an inspiring piece of music is played, and you have a visceral reaction to it. Well, that is what I strive for in every fine art photograph I create. I want my images to sing to the viewer in the same way a beautiful musical composition does.
I believe my photography achieves this level of excellence because I have a great eye for composition and color, and I work extremely hard. I travel extensively each year to photograph and have done so for over 25 years. During these travels, I discipline myself to capture one of a kind, unique landscape images by photographing during the first and last light of the day, and during unusual weather events. Also, I often visit the same location many times until I get the image I am after. I usually know when I come upon this kind of emotionally powerful scene because, while creating the image, I literally begin to shake, and I start babbling about how great the scene is, even if no one is listening. I am so absorbed in this process that I have on occasion accidently cut or bruised myself on a rock or a piece of equipment and not even been aware of it. I photograph the drama of nature, and my goal is for you to experience a little of this when viewing my photographs, minus the cuts and bruises of course.
But this is only the beginning of creating a fine art photograph. The full impact of my images appears only after post processing the original raw file capture. I first correct the tonality and colors. Then I make sure the image is as simple in composition as I can make it. To do this, I clone out distracting elements, and at times I will stretch the image to hide unwanted parts or strengthen the composition. I then use a variety of image editing programs to enhance contrast, make colors pop, and generally alter the picture so that the image emerges into an affirmation of the emotions I felt when I photographed it. Only then does the image become a fine art photograph. I am very careful to maintain believability, and when you view my images they look totally plausible, even though they are different from what you would have seen through my viewfinder when the initial capture was made. My images go beyond the literal interpretation of a scene, replacing it with the personal vision and emotion I bring to my photography. In other words, my images are created by me, not just my camera.
Even though I have photographed for many years, I honestly feel my work gets better every year. The inspiration I feel when photographing has never abated — I simply love what I do, and it has been, and continues to be, my life’s passion. I shoot almost exclusively with a medium format digital camera, and my goal is to capture as many landscape and nature images as possible in the coming years with this extraordinary camera. I feel my greatest work is before me.
I have just spent all day reviewing photos, twenty five submissions all rejects. Then I came upon yours. It was like a breath of fresh air absolutely beautiful.
— Barb Grano, Photo Editor, Northwest Travel Magazines
He’s a brilliant photographer (ask the folks at National Geographic, who obviously admire his work) and knows how to freeze time & beauty, landscape and emotion within the frame of his lens.
— Oregon Statesman Journal book review
He has become known for achieving intense color saturation in his landscapes and sharp close-ups of flora and fauna.
— Portfolio review in Photomedia Magazine
Dennis Frates' remarkable nature photography is very popular with Second Nature's customers. We feature 22 of Frates' nature photographs in a screen saver collection. His photographs have excellent clarity and truly reflect the beauty and diversity of nature at its finest.
— Dorothy Hitt, Vice President of Licensing, Second Nature
As a stock agent, I see thousands of images a day. Yet the quality of Dennis Frates' images never ceases to amaze me. He captures the essence of the moment and brings the viewer into his world every time. From dramatically-lit landscapes to bold and graphic intimate nature shots, Dennis' photographs are sheer perfection!
— Pat Bruno, Positive Images
The person behind the camera is more important than what is in front of it.
ArtVisions has been representing Dennis for about a year and his photography is some of the best we've seen. It is technically supurb -- color, and composition are spot-on — but key for us, is that Dennis creates an emotional impact that just knocks you over!.
When we first saw his portfolio we thought, "WOW! We have to get this guy." We usually just skim through portfolios to get a feel for an artist's work. Dennis' work is so compelling that we looked at image after image and eagerly went to the next.
Just as important, Dennis is a delight to work with. He is responsive to client's requirements and keeps his promises.
Dennis perfectly exemplifies ArtVisions motto: "Exceed expectations."
— Neil Miller President, ArtVisions(tm) Fine Art Licensing
As an magazine photo editor I have been very fortunate to work with Dennis Frates. Our publication has chosen to showcase his work consistently over the past decade. He has captured so many surprising details from the Oregon coast to Hawaii. I love the color, composition and clarity of his photography. He has a wonderful view of nature and it's awesome beauty.
Over a long term relationship with some photographers, I feel as if I have seen many of the same images repeated, however Dennis' work has remained fresh. I always look forward to working with him, he is extremely professional and easy to work with. His images appeal continually to our audience and we look forward to publishing many more of his images in the future.
— Marcy Shultz "Discipleship Journal"
Wow! That's what I say when I look at Dennis's film. Working on a stock photography site I get to see hundreds of images per week. But Dennis' always manage to stand out. His images are majestic and the quality is flawless. I always look forward to seeing Dennis Frates' work just so I can feel "Wow."
— Randal Cumming - CTO CGI Backgrounds
Your long association with Ideals Publications speaks to our opinion of the excellence of your photographs and our cordial business dealings. Thank you for providing "just the right photos" so quickly and efficiently.
The last Ideals Publications picture book illustrated solely by your photographs was absolutely gorgeous and was, I am happy to report, very well received.
We look forward to many more years of mutually successful association with you in producing IDEALS magazine and many more beautiful books.
— Patsy Jay, Ideals Publications
|I have had thousands of my photographs published over the last 25+ years. My images have appeared in numerous publications including books, magazines, calendars, posters, greeting cards, CD covers, catalogs, brochures and advertisements. Here are a few samples:
Images on this website were created with both film and digital cameras. Below is an explanation of file names given to each image. All of the images on this site can be enlarged to very large proportions except those few recorded on 35mm film. I generally would not recommend enlarging a 35mm file beyond 24 x 36. Of course, this depends upon the particular file.
Additional technical information
All of the photographs on this site have been created with techniques that allow for sharp reproduction when enlarged. 99.9% of the images here have been taken from a tripod. Only the finest, highest quality lenses were employed. Images were created with the optimum f-stop for maximum sharpness. Finest grain films and highest resolution digital cameras were used. In other words, all efforts have been executed to provide the sharpest, most color saturated images possible.
Leica M9 (18 megapixels)
Leica M (240) (24 megapixels)
Sony A7r & A7rII(36 & 42 megapixels)
Pentax 645D & 645Z(40 & 51 megapixels)
Canon 1ds Mark III (21 megapixels)
Canon 1ds Mark II (16.7 megapixels)
Canon 1ds (11 megapixels)
Toyo 4 x 5 field camera
Imacon Flextight scanner
Hell’s Canyon Nat. Recreation Area
Glacier National Park
Great Basin National Park
White Sands National Monument
My coverage includes all geographical areas in Oregon, including detailed coverage of its mountains, valleys, ocean, deserts, farmland, rivers and lakes too detailed to mention here. Oregon is my home and, therefore, my coverage of the state is extensive.
Bellevue Botanical Garden
Grand Teton National Park