The John Wesley Powell Museum welcomes its June Artist of the Month, photographer Martin Micale. Micale is also known in Page as Pastor Micale. He’s the pastor for Lake Powell First Church of the Nazarene.
When Micale isn’t acting as pastor he carries his camera into Page’s backyard where he’s a photographer of the vivid Canyonland’s landscapes.
Micale remembers getting his first camera, a Kodak Brownie, 60 years ago.
“My dad was a photographer and for my ninth birthday he gave me my first camera. He would show me how to use it and what I can do different. It was a Kodak Brownie, the little square boxes. It was my mom’s first camera. Then I got it.”
Micale still has that camera, made in 1931, and he has fond memories of it.
He has since switched over to digital.When he was in college, Micale earned money as a wedding photographer. He jokes about the times he had to be both pastor and wedding photographer.
“I did that on the side,” he said. “I also performed some of the weddings I did the photos for.”
Throughout the years, Micale’s eye for landscape scenes became uniquely his own. His photos display a sense of depth that provokes a feeling of human significance compared to a grander scale of the earth’s beauty. It is easy to find a favorite and stare at it for hours. The photos in the exhibit reflect Micale’s personal interests in Lake Powell’s reflections of the landscapes. He points out several in his collection, specifically the “Reflections in Navajo Canyon”, because of the intense clarity and color of the scene. “If I had a favorite it’s the Navajo Canyon one. You could hang it [upside down] if you want.”
His photos also carry crisp, clear edges that are rarely seen in photos of the Canyonlands area, even for digital. Micale claims the clarity is more than skill and auto focus.
“Legally I am blind without my glasses so it helps me to concentrate more on focus. [Being blind] helps me to get a clear photograph.” he admits.
He has traveled to places like Silverton, Colorado, to capture the Durango Railroad; Mesa Verde pueblos; Cortez, New Mexico; Boston to see the lighthouses along the east coast; Gettysburg; graph tour of 400 waterfalls. He claims no favorite place but admits the Viennese cathedrals he visited on his 45th wedding anniversary was a memorable location.
Micale is also an avid hot air balloonist, which is his secret to his unique camera angles. Several of his photographs show different landscapes that could only be reached by balloon. His favorite time of the year is the fall and winter when the sky is a vibrant blue and the colors of the land are more distinct.
“Late fall and early spring are [the best times] and the clouds also start up on Bryce Canyon, it is so clear.”
Other interests include photo-capturing lightning, which can require immense patience waiting for the lightning to strike.
“I love photographing lightning.”
Micale gives credit to fellow photographer, Jackson Bridges, as one of the influential photographers in his career. Micale’s photos of the slot canyons reflect some of the signature techniques Bridges uses to highlight the lighting in small spaces.
“Yeah, I would have to say Jackson is my favorite photographer.”
His wife Mary is another influential person in his craft as a photographer.
“My wife points stuff out and shows me things she thinks would make nice photo,” he said. “She has a good eye but she prefers I take the photos.”
He bought Mary a camera of her own a few years ago but admits she rarely uses it.
For a look at Micale’s unique photos the Powell Museum will display his photographs until the end of June. His collection includes framed wall hangings, canvas prints, small framed pictures, Christmas cards and personalized license plates, all for sale.