January artist of the month: Ryan Smith

This month’s featured artist at the County-City Library is Ryan Smith. Using a Nikon D7000 and various lenses — Tokina 11-16mm, Nikon 18-105mm, Nikon 55-200mm and Nikon 80-400mm — Smith is able to capture astonishing nature photos. “It’s hard to pinpoint exactly, but my interest in photography really stemmed from a general admiration of nature and the outdoors in all facets: weather, wildlife, scenery, insects, etc.,” says Smith. “As a child, I was fascinated with National Geographic and all of their nature photographs.” Born in San Angelo and raised in Sweetwater, Smith recalls the outdoor family trips he took as a child. “I absolutely loved them!” he said. When asked how he got into photography, Smith said “First and foremost, I’ve always had a general interest, respect and admiration for nature. I suppose a considerable amount of the drive to photograph nature in West Texas came from  my reaction to the consensus among many that this area was “dry” “ugly” “boring”. That always bothered me. Even as a kid, I can remember holding to the idea that everyplace has its own beauty. Everyplace has something to bring to the table. Whereas places like Colorado and Hawaii are very straightforward in their own beauty, West Texas requires a lot more patience and diligence in discovering its beauty. What our area may be seemingly lacking in beautiful landscapes, it certainly more than makes up for in the sky. Whether it is an incredible display of lightning, an array of beautiful colors at sunset, or a brilliant view of the Milky Way, this area is continually a force that is to be reckoned with very seriously, photographically speaking.”