Copyright 2020 © Dinah Satterwhite, All Rights Reserved
Dinah Satterwhite
fine art photography


A picture is worth a thousand words. Here are some of the stories behind a few of Dinah’s photos, purely for your enjoyment. She hopes it enriches your experience viewing her photos…
1 SHOT While on vacation with my family at Kalaloch Beach, on the western shore of Washington State, I was waiting for a photo opp as the family was enjoying the sun, sand, and shore. With my bare feet in the shallows, and gentle waters lapping my toes, I happened to glance down. Just as the ocean water receded there was the most perfect curve in the sand and a flat rock right under my feet. I stared for a brief moment, then took a photo. I realized it was kind of a fun shot, so I started to adjust my camera settings for the light and focus when I noticed the water come in and swoosh the rock and imprint away. I lost the shot! I was so sure that I didn’t get the picture, that I didn’t even look in my viewfinder to check. Weeks later, I finally sat at my computer to edit my photos, and much to my delight I came across this one shot and found it in perfect focus, with perfect lighting, and framed just right. Every tiny grain of sand was “just so.” There are more details than you can imagine in this simple image. I call it “1Rock” without the space in the name to signify that one moment in time when the universe told me to look down and notice this beautiful, calm, wonder of nature. But also, for me it shows how connected we all are to each other. From the earth, to nature, to each other. No space in between …
TANGO ANYONE? Disclaimer: no poppies were harmed in the making of this photo. These beautiful red poppies were spotted on numerous trips to my son’s daycare through the years, on a tiny little parcel of land where many people could enjoy them. This little cement triangle was in the middle of an odd section of a street, and finally one day I decided to try and capture their beauty before the season was over. I took some white cardboard with me and delicately sat down on the edge of the concrete, setting up the cardboard behind each flower that I liked. I had to bear in mind the sun’s position -- later I was going to edit the flowers together so I had to keep the sun’s angle as a common denominator, so to speak. After a few dozen bug bites and some scarry yoga poses, I headed home for the editing. These two flowers in particular seemed to really belong together. I call this image Poppy Tango because the WOMAN dancing on the right has her big beautiful layered skirt flaring up around her, and the MAN dancing on the left has his back to the woman as he dances the tango with her, but if you notice he’s peeking over his shoulder at this beauty. Check out the gallery for other fun combinations of my red poppies!
2000 or One You guessed it. 2000 photos later, I finally got the shot! So I don’t possess the gift of talking to animals, and they know it. The koi in this pond, located in Oahu, Hawaii, were convinced that I was going to feed them. For about ten seconds that is. Then they left me without even saying goodbye. I moved around the large pond for many hours, reaching my camera over the water and shooting “blind” (where I don’t see what I’m shooting). I adjusted my camera settings constantly, and was disappointed, a, lot. The glare from the sun. The murky water. The fish. Where are the fish? After the first hour I thought I was getting the hang of it. I could almost get a few fish in the same frame, just with a head cut off. Not bad. OK, that’s pretty bad. But it’s progress. So I just gave in to the moment, the sun, the beauty of Hawaii, the ambiance, (and my hunger), and shot non stop (with breaks for my arm muscle spasms) until I could take no more. Then I left. Six months later I had the guts to look at the photos. 500 photos in, I was pretty sure there would be nothing worthwhile. It was depressing! But then a small streak of nice photos came into view, and this one jumped off the page. Wow. All lined up and ready to go to school. That’s what it felt like when I first saw it. With just a little editing for dust and contrast, this was “the one.” I don’t know how there is no water. What? You can barely see the ripples in places. Even I am amazed. You should see this in a large format. Customers who order this in a large metal print - are happy campers! The fish glow . . .
Out Damned Spot! One of Seattle’s famous mountains of course is Mount Rainier. It’s quite beautiful, and well photographed for good reason. You can’t live here long without knowing a few things about it, seeing it from various angles, and hopefully visiting it in person. There are many wonderful hikes and visitor centers. One spring I was camping with my husband and son near “Sunrise,” with the hopes of taking some photos of the mountain and local scenery. One morning we took some easy hiking paths together. After a few hours of taking photos, I found a nice setting among the arctic tundra lupine - the lovely purple flowers you see in the photo. While my boys wandered a bit, I sat and tried to get the mountain in the right “frame” behind the flowers. I moved around the field a bit, and found the perfect place. I was in the midst of taking the most beautiful photos, but I was so annoyed at that huge dust spot on my camera. Even with my wonderful polarizer filter to help accentuate the blue sky, that darn dust spot is still there. Right there on my little screen! Yes, finally I looked up and saw that it was the moon. Imagine that. The moon. Right there, just for me. I smiled and looked around. There was no one there to tell. I realized I needed to take a moment and smell the roses. Or rather, enjoy the moon.
Got Sand? The beaches of Maui are full of sand. Yes, that goes without saying. Add some wind and the sand moves. That also goes without saying. Get down on your stomach and photograph a large, glass ball for an hour while trying to focus without a tripod on Maui on the beach in the sun in the wind… yup. All over the camera, in the eyes, in the ears, up the nose, in the hair, down the shirt, and elsewhere. All in the name of art. So worth it!
Roadside Sunshine Still on Maui (same trip as the one where Coral Under Glass was created above), and I find myself driving by a large field of sunflowers for the umteenth time. So beautiful. There’s no fence, and I’m sure I could walk out to the field and take a few photos of them in this massive tourist destination. Other people must do it too! I’ll get them next time. Next time came along the afternoon before my flight out. I was out of time, and excuses. We pulled the car over into a small turnout off the Highway right by the sunflower field. It seemed like it was meant for this purpose, and could hold 2 or three cars. We traipsed over to the flowers, and after a half hour or so in this highly visible spot, I realized that I had started a trend. Tourists were pulling over and getting out to snap photos of the sunflowers (although they only stayed for a few minutes and took mostly selfies). The sun was not optimal, nor was the lighting on the flowers. Still, I made the best of the situation and tried to hedge my bets by taking a lot of different angles. The shot at the right turned out to be one of my favorites because it’s not the same “full front” sunflower view that you find everywhere. And the rich green contrasts with the bright yellow perfectly, with just a hint of the Maui mountain range in the background. Plus, if you look closely, a lucky little ladybug joined the scene.
Optical Illusion Anyone who has watched a sunset knows the beauty and timelessness that such a scene can inspire. A photographer has to work quickly, as the image is fleeting, and seconds count. What is there one minute, is completely changed the next. This coastal image in Washington State is often mistaken for water in the foreground. I can’t say that I blame you if you thought so at first, too. The wave effect is really sand all the way up to the few layers of blue at the horizon where the ocean appears briefly. The dark “divet” is a large shadow in the sand at low tide. And the whole effect is made through my camera while shooting, not post editing, using manual camera settings and a longer exposure than normal. This takes a lot of trial and error. If the settings are not just right, the photos are a disaster: completely out of focus, over or under-exposed, etc. But you will see from the many selections I have in my abstract series, and in this “Neutral Ground” series, that I’ve worked hard to master my technique. The result is a nice collection of related images from each photo shoot that I hope you enjoy. They make an especially good grouping on a wall or room, or in a themed setting, as they share common colors and the vision of a single artist.
Earth 2 Spinning my magic for this series resulted in some photos that really captured light in a stunning and dimensional way. You should see the incredible detail when this image lights up a large scale metal print. When I opened up this image full-screen on my computer I thought it was fun to think of myself in another world… In a parallel dimension, time on this earth is seen quite differently. Space has a new value, where every move affects something else. Light is a precious resource, revered and held in admiration. And energy, from all living things, respected above all.
No it’s not That My abstract photos are often compared to acrylic paintings, and sometimes you can tell what the original subject was. I’m pretty sure you don’t know what this one was. And I’m not telling. At least not until you buy it. You wouldn’t really believe me anyway. When you look at other images in this series (by clicking on “Aqua Fiber” on the Gallery Page), you will see common colors and themes. Sometimes you may notice that I have changed the orientation by turning the image vertically so the main lines seem to go up and down rather than across the image. So I had some serious fun with this one, and really had some success with the images from the photo shoot. There are so many layers of detail too! You can’t always tell from the small images on the website, but they’re quite lovely. The colors are dynamic and beautiful on the walls where I have installed them for customers. And yes, I’ve told them what the subject was. Keep guessing …