Artist Biography

I fell in love with the natural world on a farm in northern Ohio. I collected fossils, butterfly chrysalides, cicada husks, animal skulls and other curiosities of my environment. Some of those chrysalides hatched out, and the adults laid eggs. I fed them and had next generation caterpillars spinning cocoons in my bedroom! I also had a tiny telescope, hardly better than the naked eye, that I still used to observe the moon and stars. I have fond memories watching the Perseid meteors with my family on a blanket in our yard every summer.

During college I fell more deeply in love with the wild world, and my concern over its destruction led me to join environmental and anti-war movements in Athens Ohio in the late 80s. I studied poetry and film in school, and started filming the woods and fields around me. One year I spent a summer break working in Sequoia National Park and still have photos of the meadows, bears and giant trees. That all but sealed it for me. After college I moved to Colorado to live in and around the mountain wilderness. I started taking spring and fall trips to Canyonlands in Utah and fell in love with the desert too.

In the late 90s I got my first digital camera and immediately fell in love with the ability to make macro and panoramic photographs. I became very interested in time lapse videos, and in 1999 found a way to start producing my own. A few years later I saw a time lapse of stars in the night sky and was awestruck by it. It would be almost a decade before the technology to do that became affordable to me. In 2012 I purchased a pair of Sony mirrorless cameras and started making regular night sky timelapses.

In the years since I’ve been fortunate to witness and capture the motion of fireflies and northern lights in Maine, meteors and comets in New Mexico, and rockets and sprite lightning in Colorado (with many side trips along the way). Today I live in Crestone, Colorado because it is a certified dark sky community.

In 2009 I created the website to host my photography and time lapse videos. The name is inspired by the artist and poet Everett Ruess who disappeared in the Utah wilderness in 1934. Everett was a “vagabond for beauty” who is still somewhere out in the desert wilderness. These are a few of his quotes that move me:

Say that I starved, that I was lost and weary; that I was burned and blinded by the desert sun; footsore, thirsty, sick with strange diseases; lonely and wet and cold, but that I kept my dream!
— Everett Ruess

I thought that there were two rules in life – never count the cost, and never do anything unless you can do it wholeheartedly. Now is the time to live.
— Everett Ruess

I have not tired of the wilderness; rather I enjoy its beauty and the vagrant life I lead, more keenly all the time. I prefer the saddle to the street car and the star sprinkled sky to a roof, the obscure and difficult trail, leading into the unknown, to any paved highway, and the deep peace of the wild to the discontent bred by cities.
— Everett Ruess

My cameras are not just tools for making art, but also instruments for observing things too small, too faint or or too far away for my eyes to see. They help me learn and love the wild world more deeply every day. Photography brings me into the Now like very few other activities can.

Although I’ve had my work published in a variety of mediums, I have not made a career of photography, and am proud to call myself an amateur. The root of that word is the Latin “amo/amas/amat” meaning “I love, you love, he/she loves”. I hope my photography inspires your love of the wild world too.

Mike Lewinski

Crestone Colorado USA

June 2024