Dana “Bodhi” Smith is a nature and weather aficionado who goes out every day to explore, experience, and capture the marvels he gets to witness before him through the lens of his camera. Bodhi is an award winning professional photographer, but he also teaches digital photography at a public high school close to where he makes his home in Southwest Riverside County in Southern California. He is a native Californian born next to the Pacific Ocean in Oceanside, CA...so, he spends much of his time seaside up and down the California and Oregon coasts. But he also frequently visits beautiful places in the Eastern Sierra, Southern Utah, Northern Arizona, and Western Colorado...
Planned chanced is the term Bodhi has labeled for the way he goes about his photography. He uses the weather, the tides, the sun and moon schedules, and his past knowledge/research of an area for which he is going to shoot. He plans out exactly where he is going to be in order to put himself in the right spots at the right times for magical events to happen...and if things work out, he is able to capture inspiring things with his camera. Of course, that is where the chance comes in, as things often do not always turn out as great as he had hoped, especially when dealing with things as indefinite as the weather itself. Still, there are those rare occasions were all the variables harmonize together and make everything turn out better than Bodhi could have dreamed...like when a Pacific storm rolls up onto the coast with beautiful clouds that have breaks in them right at sunset during a -2.0 low tide...
Bodhi has always admired the famous impressionist and surreal painters like Monet, Van Gogh, Dali, Kahlo, and Gaugin and how they captured light onto their canvases...but unfortunately, he has never been able to paint very well. But by using his camera as “his paintbrush”, his long exposures as “his canvas”, and the masterful way Bodhi captures light as “his paint”, he has been blessed and fortunate to take dozens of photographic compositions that people find to be dazzling and beautiful.
Bodhi Smith calls himself an "impressionist photographer"... but although he is exclusively a photographer, he frequently hears the comments that his photos often look like paintings--comments which he truly loves to hear. Bodhi uses specific focal points, long exposures, and follows paths of light to capture an image with his camera…he further embraces motion, blur, and reflections to create a composition that has the emotions of an impressionist painting.
Artistic Purpose and Mission:
Bodhi is amazed with the emotional connection that people have to the impressions he has captured with his camera. He is humbled and honored that people wish to place a piece of his life, one of his fond memories, and display it in their home or office to forever share a part of who Bodhi is with others in their life...that single thought absolutely fills his heart with humble gratitude...it is truly his honor that strangers and friends have included Bodhi’s artwork into their worlds...it is this that keeps him walking down the path of discovery searching for that next breathless original impression to share with others.
Bodhi Smith truly loves to follow the light in a landscape scene. He also really only goes where he can take his dog (who is aptly named "The Dude") along with him. He is Bodhi’s muse, and if he cannot go along, Bodhi usually does not have his camera with him. The light tells him where look...and honestly, the photos find Bodhi. He never goes looking for a specific image. He simply goes out hiking, camping, skiing, or 4x4-ing with his pup...it is the light, the timing, and the nature which grabs at him and tells Bodhi what he needs to capture with his lens. And during this whole time, his dog silently watches at his side giving Bodhi his stamp of approval.
Bodhi is inspired by a fluid desire to experience the scenery around him with all his senses to his fullest potential—his impressions are emotional to him and have meaning--they are expressions of Bodhi’s fond memories and experiences...He further balances this drive with the lack of desire and need to simply go out into nature for the sole purpose of taking money-making photos--that ideal is totally senseless to Bodhi. He is in no way about "Hey come see me and buy my stuff"...this is just not Bodhi on so many different levels…He is honored when a person stands in front of one of his images and takes a visually mental trip into the composition, wondering what it is like to be there--they let time slow down, and maybe even decide that they want to go to that spot and feel the emotions that Bodhi felt when he captured the image…they do not have to buy the image, they have already taken a journey into the image...
Bodhi would much rather see a person journey into one of his images than someone who just walks in and buys something without giving it much thought or wonder…or worse yet, just purchase one of his images as an investment so they can resell it for more money to someone else...He wants people who actually do decide to purchase one of his images to share in the experience and emotions of each in some way as they see it on their wall on a daily basis…Bodhi is honored that they are taking one of his fond memories and hanging it in their homes and offices—in their world…He truly hopes that they never resell the image no matter what it might be worth in the future...
Thus, Bodhi Smith is not by any means a “normal” professional photographer...in fact, when people first meet him, within moments, he usually make the point that he does not take a photo just to make money from it--he does not go out and shoot "money shots"..that is not Bodhi...he just bounces around from here to there using his idea of "planned chance" with his loyal dog, and occasionally, Bodhi is lucky enough to where an image finds him, and it tells him to capture it and pass its beauty and essense on to others...
(Quote from Bodhi)
“I am sure that this sounds truly odd, but I am not really in photography to make money...yes, I do sell my work, but I take all of my proceeds and funnel it back into my equipment, software, website, travels, framing, printing (all of which is quite expensive) so that I can show more of my work to more and more people...much of my work is of San Diego, Oceanside, Orange County, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Big Sur, San Francisco, Temecula, Lone Pine, Bishop, Bodie, Death Valley...we have so many things so beautiful right under our noses (or relatively close by), and photography is something everyone can do to capture those memories...I really want to get that message out to people who are inspired by my work. As almost everyone pretty much has access to some sort of camera these days (especially with the smart phone explosion)...folks need to realize that time slows down with every moment that is frozen in a photograph, and this process helps a person's life become more meaningful as they slow down, stop rushing from point a to point b, and start noticing their world around them more vividly.” – D. Bodhi Smith
Through his photographic images, Bodhi Smith really wants to get a message out to the people of Southern California proclaiming the existence of all the beauty that surrounds us, right here, with even more just a few hours away...photography is an emotional thing, a way of expression--but at the same time, a means of preserving memories of the paths we walk on this earth...it is a great hobby that anyone can pick up without the need to become a professional like Bodhi--just go out and capture anything that catches their eyes...He is always a teacher, and he wants to show others of a great way to cut loose, relax, and enjoy the lovely world right before their eyes that they never really ever noticed…
Someday if someone spoke of Bodhi this way he would be honored:
"Bodhi Smith is a free spirit and enthusiast of the outdoors....he and his dog, The Dude, are often off on an adventure in the snow atop a peak or in the narrow walls of a slot canyon looking for that peaceful easy feeling, and trying to capture it in a moment. Bodhi has amazing scenery beckon and invite him to journey to it...he is drawn to experience its essence and share its beauty with an "impression in time" thru the lens of his camera....other people who might not be able to make an adventure to the same place, but who would still love to experience its marvels at the same time, can still do so thru Bodhi's photographic images...the guy and his artwork is "simpliquely different" than everyone else..."
Bodhi specializes in prints on metal, a process that makes his photos snap out with color and jump to life. However, he also dabbles in other mediums such as placing extra acrylic on large archival photographic prints to create an impression of paint-brush strokes on a photo that already has impressionistic characteristics. He also uses “thematic” framing with some of his iconic images to create more of a holistic impression of the image and more of the impression of “being there.”
Currently Bodhi’s photographic artwork can be found at numerous galleries in Temecula, Menifee, Fallbrook, Oceanside, Laguna Beach, and San Diego. He is the main featured artist at three prominent California Vineyards: Lorimar Winery in the Temecula Wine Country; Oreana Winery in Santa Barbara; and Mutt Lynch/Deux Amis Winery in the Sonoma Valley. His artwork is permanently on display at Temecula City Hall, as well as at local Southern California hospitals, businesses, libraries, hotels, and animal clinics. Also, Bodhi’s artwork is periodically on display at the Gallery at the Merc (Temecula), The San Diego Natural History Museum, the Fallbrook Art Center, the Del Mar Fair (San Diego County), and the Orange County Fair.
Bodhi Smith has won awards for his photography at The San Diego Museum of Natural History (second place), the San Diego Del Mar Fair (second place, several fourth place and honorable mention), and the Fallbrook Artist Guild show (People’s Choice Best in Show).
Bodhi Smith’s Current Photographic Equipment:
Camera: Nikon D800
Lenses: Nikon Nikkor 24mm f/1.4, Nikon Nikkor 16-35mm f/4.0, Nikon Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8, and Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/1.4
Filters: Lee Pro Glass Series ND Filters (3.0, .9, .6, .3) and Lee Resin ND Hard and Soft Graduated Filters (.9, .75, .6, .45, .3)
Tripod: Dolica Tripods (Sponsored)
“I want to thank you for taking the time to listen to what I have to say, and be a witness to the memories I have captured in my photography.” – D. “Bodhi” Smith
Dolica attended the gallery opening of Bodhi Smith at Lorimar Vineyards in the Temecula California. Dolica sponsors Bodhi Smith and is glad to be part of his gallery opening.