Most people who move to Silicon Valley from out of state come to gain a foothold in the area's fast-growing technology industry. Bruce Hodge, who writes software tools for a living, is one of the exceptions.
"Part of the reason I moved to the Bay Area was that I was attracted to the landscape and photographic possibilities that it has," says the Palo Alto resident.
Hodge, 42, focuses on the possibilities of the outdoors in his photography and counts nature photographers Ansel Adams and Edward and Brett Weston as major influences. His interest in the outdoors led to his shot, "Reeds and Sky: Acadia Maine," which won third place in the Views Beyond the Peninsula category. The photograph, in which water and sky meld into a seamless line, was the result of Hodge's patience and powers of observation, rather than careful planning.
"I don't really plan my shots," he says. "I just go out into the field and keep my eyes open."
Hodge took the shot on a family vacation, using a Bronica medium-format camera, which produces larger negatives and greater detail than a standard 35 mm camera.
Hodge's interest in photography began at age 6, when he was given his first camera. By the time he was 12, he had set up a darkroom at home and started developing his own prints. He later served as a school yearbook photographer.
He switched gears in college at the University of Georgia, where he majored in math. That led to his career in software, which brought him to Silicon Valley to work for companies like Adobe Systems. However, he never lost touch with his artistic side.
Hodge's images recently appeared at the Photographers' Gallery on Ramona Street in downtown Palo Alto, and his work will be featured in an upcoming exhibit at the Keeble and Shuchat Photography gallery on California Avenue. Hoping to devote even more time to photography, Hodge recently left corporate life to begin a career as an independent consultant. So far, he's found the move has improved his photography.
"Working on my own has really enabled me to have more flexibility in my schedule ... and enabled me to spend more time with my photography," he says.