Doug McFarland Studio


An Appalachian Mountains boy; born in the central Pennsylvania railroad town of Altoona during the 1950’s as the only son of a WWII fly boy and a devoted wife. I grew up in a loving, caring family.

When I was eight, we moved into a one bedroom house at the edge of a wonderful forest in Johnstown Pa. Not having a room of my own, I made the forest cliffs, gullies and creeks my permanent playroom. Rain or shine, hot or cold, I lived my free time in nature. The fox, chipmunk and wood thrush became my roommates. Early Saturday mornings you could always find me hiking and exploring to the lonely call of the peewee, and by evening I was on my way home to the last call of a wood thrush.

By age eleven I was forest hiking with my used Kodak Brownie, and sometimes with my dad’s Argus 35mm camera, although not with his permission. I was also an avid sketcher, so with some formal art lessons in my early teens, I was able to sell a few oil paintings and drawings. Naturally most of my work was about the forest that had befriended me.

bio-framedIn my early twenties, as a U.S. Army specialist serving in Europe, I continued to hike and explore, especially in the Bavarian mountains. Also, because of the photo lab on base, I was able to process my own B&W film, which led to a lifelong passion of monochrome prints. B&W printing was similar to my interest in pen and ink and charcoal drawings, so it seemed natural to explore B&W photography in a way that was so familiar to my artwork.

When I was in my 30’s, I explored wilderness tracks by canoe as far north as the permafrost in Canada. The Albany River and the Kopka River wilderness area were two 200 plus mile journeys into country only seen by God and a handful of brave mortals. Two men in one canoe for two weeks at a time. The beauty was breathtaking and the adventures filled with many life defining moments. These trips influenced me to take up serious B&W photography in an attempt to capture the essence, perhaps the very soul, of the beauty of the wilderness.

The next 15 years would lead me through 35mm, to medium format 120, into 4×5 and 5×7 sheet film cameras. I had also grown to master traditional darkroom techniques, and created B&W prints of wonderful natural areas in New York. I have sold many prints from these early portfolios.

Always hiking and exploring new places, I discovered the wonderful gullies and forest trails of the Finger Lakes region and Adirondacks to be just like my youthful forest playroom. I find it easy to pack my lunch, grab my equipment, and hike and shoot for hours in solitude in dense forest underbrush with few if any trail markers. After all, these places have always been my home away from home, rain or shine, cold or hot.

So combining my love of the forest, and my love of photography, I shoot in the hopes that others can experience the beauty of the forest as I do. The quiet calm of the cool forest with a peewee as my trusted old friend. The sparking chatter of a gully stream. The quiet light of evening as a wood thrush calls out to the approaching forest night.