Andy Horstmanshoff Photography
As a landscape photographer, I consider myself so fortunate to live in Reno – on the edge of the Great Basin, a place of unique unparalleled beauty and visual depth. My interest in photography began in childhood as I watched my dad take umpteen photos of all his kids and develop them carefully in a darkroom he built in our little bathroom. But I discovered the real joy of taking photos for myself in 1997, when I borrowed my dad’s 1958 Exacta camera and on a clear night photographed Comet Hale Bopp from the shores of Washoe Lake. Though those photos were rudimentary (see photo below), I was hooked. From then on I started to see and experience the world around me through the lens of a camera. What started as a fun pastime became a serious hobby and, eventually, an avocation.
Photography has opened my eyes and heart and taught me to appreciate the profoundness of the world around me. However, I believe that the best place to photograph is the place where you live, for if you cannot see the beauty in your own backyard you will not see it in some exotic faraway place. Informed by that philosophy, I have focused my lens primarily on the landscapes – mountains, valleys, rivers, cities – of Nevada, my home.
More recently, I have turned my lens to one of Nevada’s natural wonders of which many Nevadans are unaware. And that maybe because this wonder is overhead. I speak of Nevada’s pristine dark night skies – perhaps unmatched in darkness in all lower 48 states. Drive just 20 to 30 miles outside any town or city in central or northern Nevada and you will see an unbounded vast black sky filled with what seems like millions of stars and, arching through it all from horizon to horizon, a misty river of stars that has the appearance of white misty smoke – the Milky Way – the galaxy that contains our solar system.
Every time I’m out there photographing the rising sun pour over a landscape, the Milky Way rise in the pitch-black night sky, or a dramatic sunset at the end of the day I connect with my true inner self and am reminded that we all are one. My hope is to share that joy with others through my photography.