Still Learning To See

About me and to follow this blog

I’ve been learning to see, with the help of various cameras, for more than fifty years. One of my intentions for this blog is for more people to see and enjoy my photographs and to understand what I am seeing when I click the shutter.

While I have travelled the world extensively and enjoyed seeing many “famous” places, much of my work has been done in my backyard, literally, or within 20 miles of home. Even at places like the Grand Canyon, I’m probably the guy doing a closeup detail of a rock or the ripples in a stream.

I also find it very educational—and inspirational—to see the same places over and over and over again in different light, with different weather and in different frames of mind. Walking the same path everyday can lead to boredom and not seeing, and it also presents the opportunity to see the richness beyond the first few looks.

So much of my enjoyment of photography comes simply from being outside! There are few things as exhilarating as standing in the middle of a stream (carefully!) looking through my viewfinder with the roar of the water filling my being. Even if I have no film or storage card in the camera, who cares?!

I don’t consider myself to be a great technical photographer and I’m OK with that. While I certainly admire the results that can come from technical expertise, I typically leave my camera on automatic and often do not use a tripod. Most of the time I can use the photographic tools I have to get close to where I want to be. For those who are interested, I now use just a few lenses and two Sony mirrorless digital cameras. I process images minimally in Adobe Lightroom. You can see more of my work on my other website.

You are welcome to download any of the photographs on either the blog or my website for your own personal use as a desktop image. If you want to use it in any other manner, please drop me an email (jrsnelljr “at” with your thoughts before doing so. Prints are easily available as well.

I want my work to inspire you to see life differently and create more art—whatever that means for you—in your own life. Over the years I’ve certainly been inspired by many, many others. It will please me to know that has happened, so do let me know via email or comments. Hearing from you makes the effort of writing and posting worthwhile.

If I might suggest one thing, it would be to go outside today, regardless of the weather or whatever else you have to do, and do it no matter where you are. This computer and this images, as much as I love them, all pale by comparison to the real things you will see there.


John Snell

Montpelier, Vermont

21 thoughts on “About me and to follow this blog

  1. great John. so glad you’re eager to share your talents and gifts with the world. i’m sure you will inspire many to look closer, see more and appreciate this beautiful world.
    you are a blessing for all of us.
    thanks for pushing ahead.

  2. Jean Beemsterboer on said:

    Hi John, Jean Beemsterboer here. So good to see some of your latest work. Soooo beautiful. Don’t get to see Alice much anymore, she is so busy. Not much changed with me. Hope you and the family are all well. Have a safe and Happy Holiday.

  3. Deborah Leu on said:

    love what you wrote john. so similar to how and why I’ve started taking photos. only yours are so much better than mine! doesn’t matter, though, I’m having fun. 🙂

  4. Thanks Deb. I’m thankful it really doesn’t matter! Love your work too.

  5. John, your photos are beautiful. So pleasing to the eyes!

  6. Lani (Miller) Cunningham on said:

    John, it was so good to see you a few weeks ago. I’ve enjoyed looking at your photos; you have a great eye. Thanks so much for sharing your talents with us. Lani

  7. John, Have been enjoying your work ever since we reconnected. You’ve come a long way since 1965; it was good seeing you. Keep growing learning to see. The journey is worth the effort.

  8. Helen Rabin on said:

    Hi John, Loved looking at your blog this morning. It’s been a while since I visited, and plan to make it a regular thing this new year!

  9. I love your take on the spontaneity of element of art, in your case photography. I am more of a writer than a photographer but am lucky enough to have a teenage daughter, Becca to take my pictures for me. She shares the passion for writing but loves to illustrate as well. In fact the way you describe your process reminds me of my Becca. I look forward to following you and perhaps Becca can find a mentor in you as well.

    My gratitude is your, Allie.

  10. It’s always exciting to meet another kindred soul in the blogosphere – I resonate strongly with much of what you have written here and the imagery… nothing short of a knock out!
    and interestingly, we’re “neighbors” (my home base is in NH) – keep up the excellent work!

    • I agree with dnikias. So nice to meet a kindred soul. I’ve yet to look at even one photo, but love what you have written here. Often travel is about macro. At home we can really go micro. Observe a tree bud out in spring. Give due the glory of each and every “weed” in our backyard. Find our place in nature. Perhaps somewhere between a Mayfly and a rock (though far, far more destructive – another, darker thought path we may all agree on). Thank you for sharing the light!

    • Chiming in here with another amen. I have written and said just about the same things over the years. Glad to “meet” you.

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  12. Hi John,

    Beautiful work. Please see the invite below.

    A Call for Artists: The Healing Power of Art
    BENNINGTON, VT—April 20, 2016—Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), in partnership with the Susan Sebastian Foundation, is seeking entries from Vermont artists for a juried exhibit of more than 100 pieces. The exhibit, called The Healing Power of Art, is scheduled for June 11 at Southern Vermont Arts Center. From it, more than 50 pieces of art will be selected to adorn patient rooms. The remaining art will be offered to the public for sale.
    SVHC invites Vermont artists to participate by completing an online submission of their work for consideration at Pieces that are soothing and optimistic and those that take the viewer into the outdoors will be most likely to be accepted for the exhibit. The submission deadline is Monday, May 23, 2016. Artists will be notified of their acceptance by May 30, 2016, at which point they will send or deliver work to the Southern Vermont Arts Center.
    The art selected for SVHC will be purchased through the generosity of the Susan Sebastian Foundation. The foundation was created in honor of a patient of Vermont hospitals, Susan Sebastian. She endured a long illness while looking at the bare walls of hospital rooms. It was her wish that every hospital room in Vermont be hung with gentle, inspiring art by Vermont artists. Since Susan’s death in 2009, her mother Elise Braun has worked to fulfill her daughter’s wish.
    For event information, artist guidelines, and to complete an online submission for consideration, visit

  13. Hi John,
    Is there any way of getting the digital copy of one of these photos. You took an amazing photo of my wife and son that I would love to frame. Please feel free to email me.

    • YES! Let me know which one. Rather than a digital copy, I’d prefer to provide a printed copy as I’m set up to deliver those at a very high quality. Give me a call (802-229-1751) and we can figure out what is next.

  14. David Armstrong on said:

    Hi John, Liz mentioned your green bug chart, and I was wondering if you could sent me a link. Thank you, David Armstrong

  15. Hi
    I’m wondering if you are the same John Snell who lived in Pentwater, Michigan in the mid 70s. If so, do you remember the Fosters and the Barron’s? I am married to Craig Foster and we are in Waterbury for the next two days. We plan to come into Montpelier on a couple of our days and just wondering if you want to meet for coffee.

    Ann and Craig Foster

    • Sorry to have missed this, Ann. We are the same! I don’t remember the Fosters but definitely the Barrons, though I’ve lost touch with Dave. I stay in touch with Alice and Rebecca Ringquist (Al passed away last year). We often get to Ludington for a family reunion but the past two years have not been possible due to COVID. Miss Lake Michigan ALL the time!

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