The colors and diversity of The Ranch landscape are as inspiring as they are large. These greens and yellows and splashes of color from flowers along our paths are really inviting. It feels like your heart and mind have space to wander and find themselves in a “coming home to yourself” way. Guest say they have vivid dreams and are inspired toward creative solutions to their lives. Whether a teacher, a banker, or a candlestick maker there’s room to let your creativity soar.
Osvaldo Nieto has worked at The Ranch for six years in various roles; Special Projects Coordinator, Liaison for Fundación La Puerta, and supervisor for The Ranch’s local social responsibility outreach. He also has an amazing eye as a photographer. We met over lunch so I could discover a little of his creative approach to landscapes.
Are there particular vistas or views you like to photograph at Rancho La Puerta?
There’s a vista overlooking a valley with a southwest view along Pilgrim’s Trail that is really beautiful. It’s always different every time I go there.
When I look at your landscape photos, I realize you have a unique perspective in relation to the composition and color that I don’t have. What do you think it is?
I have more of an intuitive response to what I see, more than, say a calculated one. I took a portrait class in college, and one day my teacher looked through my work, saying, oh, this is good, that’s nice, and there was a landscape photo of mine in the mix. I tried to take it out, and hide it, and he said wait, this is great composition and color.
I was like, are you kidding me? I’m colorblind. It’s how I see the world.
How do you think it affects your work?
People say they really like my work and that it has a lot of blue tones and is on the cooler side of the color spectrum. When we go hiking, someone will say, do you see that bluebird, and I’m like, you mean the pink one there?
Have you had to wrestle with that?
For 25 to 30 years, it was something that I was really ashamed of. Now I accept it and understand it. I started to really study color and understand how it works. And the thing is, you and I see colors differently. But also, you and your son and your brother see colors differently too. We all see differently. There is no specific standard. There is a range on the wavelength of light that we perceive as red, but it is not the same. So, mine is a little way off.
Do you feel like you can use your color blindness to your advantage? Use it as a tool?
It’s just how I see the world, and it’s neither here nor there. I haven’t found any advantage to it. I never wanted to be unique. But this is how I see things. And I’m honestly super touched and amazed people tell me they love the colors in my photos.
Have you ever thought about or talked about how that color blindness specifically plays into your landscape photography?
I’m not able to see it. I’m not able to be aware of it, but I know that when I edit my photos, how I want them to look. I don’t want to compensate. I have never tried to compensate. But I know I like vibrant colors. Everyone tells me that my colors are blueish and cold.
You also teach workshops in astrophotography and landscape. Is that satisfying?
It’s like letting someone get into my space and something I have built for myself. I’ve learned what I have learned just for my passion to learn more. It’s mainly for my pleasure. It’s my art, and someone telling me they like it and want to learn from me is hugely rewarding. If my work touches you, that’s awesome.