Hello! I am Jim Bailey, a native of Evergreen, Colorado, and welcome to my website. I have been shooting photos since I was 4 years old with my parent’s Kodak box camera. As I grew up, I moved up to 110 Instamatics, Polaroids (shell-shocking my parent’s bank account) and eventually to 35mm and Twin Lens Reflex Medium Format film cameras. I also learned Ansel Adam’s B&W zone system from my Evergreen High School math teacher Hal Jones, a disciple of Adams.
After graduating from Metropolitan State College of Denver in 1985 with majors in history and journalism, I embarked on a photojournalism career in Denver, CO, and Southern California. Shot for assorted weekly and daily newspapers as staff photographer and press associations as a stringer, and did freelance fashion and runway on the side. A fun career, but I needed more.
In the 1990s I pretty much set photography aside, and went back to graduate school taking a MA in History (1991) from the University Of Northern Colorado, and 8 years later and a Ph.D. in American History form Arizona State University. While I did this with the goal of teaching history at the university level, I also took classes in historic preservation–and I am glad I did.
Shortly after graduation, and due to the lack of entry-level staff teaching positions, I accepted a temporary architectural history position with the United States Forest Service in Ogden, UT mostly doing documentary historic preservation photography of forest administrative sites like ranger stations, wilderness cabins, latrines, and fire lookouts on Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton and Idaho’s Boise national forests. This is also where I first started to use digital cameras– a 2.3MP Olympus point-and-shoot.
A couple years later, I accepted a career historian position with the US Bureau of Reclamation in Denver, where I remain to this day. The photo connections here are my documentary contributions to National Register-listed agency properties like the Pathfinder Dam Historic District in Wyoming, and the Salt River Project Historic District in Arizona, as well as countless other agency properties for documentary and historic preservation purposes: dams, powerplants, canals, historic gun emplacements, etc.
During my free time I continued to shoot mostly portraiture and fashion from my home studio in Littleton, Colorado. However, these fields provided no challenges to me as they did in the past. So about a year ago I did a 180 and switched my emphases to nature and landscapes, because there are always challenges presented in these fields. While birds are my nature specialty, especially shore and water birds, I will shoot just about anything nature or landscape related, and always try to combine the two whenever possible–birds and other nature captured in their landscape context.
Gear-wise, I mostly shoot with FF and crop Nikon equipment: D5, D750, D500, etc. But I also have a few smaller Fuji, Leica, and Hasselblad cameras for just walking about, because the Nikon gear can get pretty hefty! I also have a collection of old film equipment, including Olympus, Nikon, Canon and Rolleiflex, but rarely shoot film anymore.
My photographic philosophy is one of realism. Most everything I post, with a few digital-era exceptions like sharpening and vibrancy, revolve around what I mastered in nearly 20 years of film lab experience, for example, cropping, dodging, burning, etc. And unless something is severely backlit–like the gull snagging the fish–I hardly use High Dynamic Range (HDR) processing, and if I do, it’s very minimal. In my opinion, HDR processing is abused by many photographers to the point of gaudiness and fantasy; to me, some things are better left in the shadows.
So please take a look around the website, and enjoy! Bear with me as it is under construction, and not quite complete with its features. In the interim, you can contact me at email@example.com until the mail account firstname.lastname@example.org is up and ready.
Have pixels, will capture! Thank you !