Created in the Carolinas and Waxhaw Entrepreneurs hosted Jeff Botz, Himalayan Mountain Photographer, and his “Vessles of Wonder” exhibit on Friday, February 22nd and Saturday, February 23rd, 2019. This exhibit featured works from Botz’s travels to the Himalayas, home of Mount Everest, and gave the public a chance to meet Botz in person. Karen Johnson, Team Leader for Waxhaw Entrepreneurs, explains, “The exhibit was brought to Waxhaw by Created in The Carolinas (CITC) artisan cooperative. I met him at a networking event and then talked with CITC, which is an incubation in our small business incubator, and they decided to bring a high quality exhibit to Waxhaw. Jeff usually only exhibits at places like Mint Museums, but offered a short exhibit for us.”
Botz explains how he found his passion in the Himalayans, “When I was in high school in the 1960s, Americans first summited Mt. Everest and there was an article in National Geographic that showed pictures that stimulated my interest. Later, in the early 1970s, I was in Hong Kong on a business trip for a business I had started with my best friend manufacturing tennis and squash shorts there, and took a side trip to India to see the Indian Open Tennis Tournament with VJ Amritrage, who wore our shorts on the circuit, Naturally, it was a short jump from India up to Nepal to get a first glimpse of the Himalayas I had seen in National Geographic. I was completely taken with the people, culture and dramatic landscape of Nepal and have gone there at every opportunity since that first trip.”
When Botz first started traveling to Kathmandu over 46 years ago, he was amazed at how primitive the city was and he was a novelty in the area with his blonde hair. Only the city had electricity and very few cars but now there are tens of thousands of cars and motorcycles traveling the streets. He has also changed how he travels with his equipment. Because unprocessed negatives are sensitive to xrays, due to the increased security on travel, he has started processing his negatives in Kathmandu at his hotel. This prevents the negatives from being ruined and allows a much easier time through security.
Botz shoots with an 8×10 Deardorff camera which produces a massive 8 inch by 10 inch negative; in contrast, a 35mm film negative is 1.4 inches by 0.94 inches. An 8 inch by 10 inch negative would be comparable to having a digital image over 600mb in size, compared to an iPhone 8 which takes 12mb photos. “My camera and its accessories weigh about 60lbs so this kind of photography is only for the severely obsessed person.” Botz has some suggestions for amateur photographers. “For most people, my suggestions are two:(1) read the user’s manual of the camera you buy and (2) for digital photography the most useful tool for the improvement of the pictures on the camera is the + and – control. I can barely ever remember using my digital camera and not using that little dial on the camera. In particular in situations where people are photographing like I do in brilliant sun and snow or possibly a sandy beach in brilliant sun, your results will be much improved if you use the – (minus) control to indicate to the camera to underexpose – or else the snow will have no texture and just be a totally blown-out blank mess. I have met so many people up at Mt Everest who have bought a $3000 camera kit and come to me and say why are the pictures so bad? And when I tell them that one little trick, it changes everything for them and they get much better results.”
Created in the Carolinas has several more public events coming up. On March 15th, “The Gospel Truth” as told by locals will feature Mark Linker as the featured speaker talking about the history of the area as the locals remember it. The Waxhaw Entrepreneur’s are hosting a series titled “21st Century Home to Marketplace” to help assist and promote all local entrepreneurial and small home based businesses from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the 1st, 3rd and 4th Saturdays. On the 2nd Saturday of the month, they feature a small business expo. Call Karen Johnson, Team Leader Waxhaw Entrepreneurs, at 704-219- 8765 for information about events.
Botz’s prints are available through The Ambleside Gallery in Greensboro. More information available at: jeffbotz.me