By Liesl Greathouse
MONTROSE-Vince Farnsworth is a local photographer who has been providing a different point of view for about six and a half years now.
Vince specializes in landscape and nature photography, with his primary focus being capturing the landscape in panorama. He is probably most recognized for his panoramas of the Black Canyon, with the Montrose Airport, Gold’s Gym and the Montrose Visitors Center displaying his panoramas as floor-to-ceiling murals. “Recently, I have been doing panoramas at night, which allows me to photograph the incredible night sky above the beautiful local landscape,” he said. “One of these photographs, showing star trails above Painted Wall, was chosen as the cover for Colorado Life magazine and another, showing the motion of the stars above the entire landscape, will be published in Sky and Telescope magazine.”
Vince and his wife Maggie moved to Montrose from southern California after vacationing here. “It is the perfect place for doing nature photography,” Vince said. “And there is a national park less than a half hour away!”
Vince has two businesses that are closely related, Farnsworth Scenics, founded in 2008, and PanoPal Photo Products, started in 2011. “The Scenics business was started so I could market my fine art photography,” he said. “My customers are other businesses that sell art and photography. The Black Canyon National Park Visitors Center and the Montrose Visitors Center are two examples.”
In addition to being a photographer, Vince is also an inventor, with PanoPal being started so he could sell his invention for doing panoramic photography.
“It is called the BluPano because it is constructed of blue-anodized aluminum,” he explained. “It allows photographers to position their cameras in exactly the right spot for eliminating parallax error while capturing a multi-image panoramic photograph. I had been using something similar that I cobbled together for years and then decided others may benefit from the device. It is made right here in Montrose. I also give classes in panoramic photography and I have written a book entitled Getting Up Early, describing how to successfully photograph the Black Canyon.”
With so many photographers in the area, Vince has had to work on ways of standing out.
“I try to make photographs that are unique in some important respect,” he said. “We live in an especially photogenic part of the world but it is still relatively difficult to create a truly compelling image that captures the essence of the place. This is why I think that being in the right place at exactly the right time is very important, even if that means staying up all night to get the perfect star trail image or rising at two a.m. and hiking up a mountain in the dark to capture the sunrise. Some people think this is crazy, but to me it is simply part of my job.”
In addition to contributing some of his photos to charity auctions to help support local organizations, Vince also tries to keep the physical material part of his business local. “As a photographer I am always purchasing the raw materials to assemble my products,” he explained. “I used to buy things over the Internet but now almost all of my purchases are local. I buy all of my mats locally. Almost all of my larger photos are printed and framed locally, also. I am always amazed, and very thankful, that there are such talented people operating the relevant businesses locally. Even the BluPano is made in Montrose.”
While landscape and nature photography can lead to unique adventures in the great outdoors, Vince has one specific adventure that comes to mind. “Probably the most interesting experience for me as a photographer was the discovery in April, 2012 of The Dragon’s Tongue in Black Canyon National Park,” he said. “I was finished with my morning shoot at the canyon and decided to explore the area for new places. As I was walking down the trail to Devils Overlook I spotted a glowing tower of light off to my right. I photographed it for about an hour before it faded away and then sent the pictures to Paul Zaenger, the supervisory ranger. He had never seen nor heard of this phenomenon, which is at its best in spring and summer early in the morning. After discussions with Paul and other park personnel I named it The Dragon’s Tongue. It has been a very popular sight for visitors to the canyon ever since.”
Even though there is so much involved with photography, Vince has two specific parts he enjoys the most. “One is just being outside in the beautiful countryside, hearing the rushing water in a river, the solitude,” he said. “The other is meticulously processing the photos so that they convey the essence of the scene at a particular moment in time.”
Photography is not just a one-man-show, and Vince has had a great team of supporters behind him along the way. “I would like to thank Ken Holyfield and all the wonderful people at Megapixel Digital Imaging for the help I’ve received in making my prints,” Vince said. “I would also like to thank Wil and Amy Harmsen of the Canyon Gallery for their encouragement and enthusiasm. Rob Joseph and Jennifer Lowshaw at the Montrose Visitors Center have been very supportive of my work and continue to promote art and photography in Montrose. Thanks to Mike Simpson of the Simpson Gallery for giving me my first gallery experience. Thanks to the folks at Black Canyon National Park for their continuing support. And to Robert and Steven at High Country Manufacturing for machining the BluPano and actively supporting my endeavors.”
So what does the future hold for Vince and his photography? “My future plans are simple,” he said. “I will keep doing what I love and hope to be able to share images of this beautiful world for many years.”
For more information about Vince and to see his photos, call 970-252-1641 or visit farnsworthscenics.com or his blog farnsworthscenics.blogspot.com