A life ex­posed

Clarke’s Beach na­ture pho­tog­ra­pher pub­lishes on­line book

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION - BY BUR­TON K. JANES

On July 12, 1835, Charles Dar­win wrote to his men­tor, J.S. Henslow, that he looked “ for­ward with joy and in­ter­est” to sail­ing for the Gala­pa­gos Is­lands.

One hun­dred and seventy-five years later, in 2010, New­found­lan­der Den­nis Minty made his own trip to the Gala­pa­gos Is­lands, an ar­chi­pel­ago of vol­canic is­lands dis­trib­uted around the equa­tor in the Pa­cific Ocean. Dar­win was never far from Minty’s mind.

“ I thought about Dar­win al­most ev­ery day,” Minty said re­cently. “ I was look­ing at scenes very sim­i­lar to what he saw. This made me con­scious of fol­low­ing in his foot­steps, so to speak.”

Dar­win wrote up his re­search in a book, The Voy­age of the Bea­gle. Minty cap­tured what he saw in a book of stun­ning pho­to­graphic im­ages, En­chanted Light: The Gala­pa­gos Is­lands and Ecuador.

Pho­tog­ra­phy has been Minty’s pas­sion ever since he was given a Brownie cam­era at age 12. His forte is na­ture pho­tog­ra­phy.

How­ever, he was 50 be­fore he turned his ado­les­cent hobby into a liv­ing. “ I was al­ways hav­ing to do other things to put bread and but­ter on the ta­ble,” he said. “I didn’t want to turn 80 and never have pushed the pho­tog­ra­phy en­ve­lope harder.”

His first pic­ture book was Wild­land Vi­sions: New­found­land and Labrador, pub­lished by Break­wa­ter in 1993.

His most re­cent book, En­chanted Light, came about as a re­sult of a part­ner­ship Minty has with Ad­ven­ture Canada, a travel com­pany that does small ex­pe­di­tion ship tours world­wide.

Minty is a tour leader, pho­tog­ra­pher and nat­u­ral­ist with Ad­ven­ture Canada. Early last year, he was in­vited on a voy­age to the Gala­pa­gos Is­lands and Ecuador. In Novem­ber, he and his wife, An­tje, took the 10-day tour.

At the time, Minty had no in­ten­tion of do­ing a book. How­ever, he “ended up with this body of work that I was quite pleased with,” he said. “ It was some of the most suc­cess­ful shoot­ing I’d done in such a short pe­riod of time.”

Mean­while, Minty heard about Blurb.com, an In­ter­net pub­lish­ing com­pany which pro­vides a print-on­de­mand ser­vice for the gen­eral pub­lic. The process ap­pealed to him.

He al­ready had sev­eral books pub­lished with a tra­di­tional pub­lisher. “ The great thing about Blurb. com is no­body has to spend thou­sands of dol­lars in or­der to have a book pro­duced,” Minty ex­plained. “ You can have as few as one or sev­eral hun­dred.”

Back home in Clarke’s Beach, Minty de­cided to ex­per­i­ment with the on­line pub­lish­ing process. He did the lay­out him­self, us­ing soft­ware pro­vided by the pub­lisher. An­tje served as both writer and edi­tor of her hus­band’s book. The book was avail­able on the web­site not long af­ter Minty e-mailed the pub­lisher his elec­tronic doc­u­ment. He re­ceives a tiny roy­alty from each sale.

“ No­body does books to make money,” Minty con­tended. “It’s got to do with ex­po­sure.”

He’s pleased with the on­line pub­lish­ing process, stat­ing, “ It put a lot of the con­trol in my hands. I be­came to­tally au­ton­o­mous.”

En­chanted Light re­volves around the Gala­pa­gos Is­lands; Quito, the his­toric cap­i­tal of Ecuador; and Otavalo, which is fa­mous for tex­tile weav­ing. The 80page book has 115-120 pic­tures, all of which pro­vide a vis­ual treat for the ar­tis­ti­cally weary.

As a non-tra­di­tional book, it will not be avail­able in re­tail out­lets. “ The base price is rel­a­tively high, so you can’t go crazy with the profit mar­gin,” he ex­plained.

Minty’s pho­tog­ra­phy has been rec­og­nized through the years. Last year, for ex­am­ple, some of his work was se­lected to rep­re­sent Canada at the 2010 World Expo in Shang­hai, China.

“ What it does for me per­son­ally is recog­ni­tion and val­i­da­tion that my work has merit at a fairly high level.”

Minty de­scribes his pas­sion for pho­tog­ra­phy as an “ im­mer­sion kind of process, which takes me away.” It in­spires creativ­ity in him. “I get so caught up in what I’m see­ing that I’m in my own world,” he added.

What does he hope to im­part to his view­ers? To “el­e­vate peo­ple’s con­scious­ness; to in­spire other peo­ple to ap­pre­ci­ate the nat­u­ral world in some way like I do; and to cre­ate aware­ness, and gain greater un­der­stand­ing of and ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the fan­tas­tic nat­u­ral world we live in,” he said.

Minty plans to “ con­tinue this un­til I can’t move around any­more. I don’t see my­self ever re­tir­ing from it.”

He and An­tje are al­ready work­ing on an­other p i c t u re b o o k de­voted to New­found­land and Labrador.

Den­nis Minty pub­lished En­chanted Light: The Gala­pa­gos Is­lands and Ecuador as an on­line, print-on-de­mand book.

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