Park City photographer ‘honored’ to be part of Kimball Arts Festival

Photographer Patrick Brooks Brandenburg is attracted to outdoor scenery such as the vivid colors of "iron Canyon Fall."
Photo by Patrick Brandenburg

The Park City Professional Artists Association is an alliance for the promotion of local art within the Park City community. Each year a jury selects a handful of PCPAA members to showcase their works at the Park City Kimball Arts Festival.

Here is a list of this year’s participants:

Patrick Brooks Brandenburg, photography

Ron Butkovich, jewelry

Naomi Doyle, fiber

Meghan Dutt, jewelry

Nan Gray, painting

Willie Holdman, photography

Thomas Horton, photography

Robert Johnson, painting

Karen Kendall, painting

Michael McRae, jewelry

Fred Montague, drawing and printmaking

Felix Saez, mixed media

Jim Simister, ceramics

Photographer Patrick Brooks Brandenburg enjoys capturing dramatic landscapes, from oceans, to, mountains, to the deserts of the American Southwest.

The Park City Professional Artists Association member, who is set to be be part of the artist lineup at the annual Park City Kimball Arts Festival this weekend, also loves the danger that comes with taking photographs in remote areas.

“There are things that can be problematic when you’re out there by yourself, especially if you head into bear territory to get a landscape photo,” Brandenburg said. “I’ve had some pretty close calls with bears, mountain lions and the weather.”

His latest close call was with the latter, he said.

“I wanted to get some photos of Mount Timpanogos with lightning, so I set up (the camera) about 10,000 feet up in American Fork Canyon,” said Brandenburg. “It looked like everything was going to line up perfectly.”

The photographer was taken aback when a thunderstorm rolled in and covered the massive peak with sheets of rain.

“I wasn’t able to get a dramatic shot with the sunset and lighting,” Brandenburg said. “Then the lightning bolts (started), but it got too dangerous because I was exposed, and I had to pack up and head down.”

Brandenburg, who has been a professional fine art photographer for the past 15 years, mainly sold his works online until six years ago, when he started selling photos at the weekly Park Silly Sunday Market.

“Doing that showed me how much I enjoyed meeting my clients face to face and interacting with them,” he said.

Try, try again

Some of his Park Silly customers suggested he try exhibiting at the Park City Kimball Arts Festival. So he applied, and started planning out his summer schedule. However, it took a few tries before he could make it in to the event, the largest of its kind in Utah. The first time, his application was rejected.

“I was devastated,” Brandenburg said. “But it opened my eyes to just how much competition there is to get in.”

Undeterred, Brandenburg applied the next year, getting a little further to his goal but still falling short.

“I was put on a wait list, but still didn’t get in,” he said.

Still determined to get in, Brandenburg applied the year after that and, finally, was accepted.

“I was so happy, and it was the best show that I had ever done,” Brandenburg said. “It was the right market for me because a lot of my imagery is local.”

This year marks Brandenburg’s third Park City Kimball Arts Festival, and getting accepted into the event is something he doesn’t take for granted.

“I’m so honored to be able to get in (again), because the festival is a juried show, so there are no guarantees,” he said. “Just because you got in last year will not mean you will get in this year.”

Brandenburg shoots both film and digital photographs, and his love of photography reaches back to his youth, when he discovered an unexpected connection to the profession.

“I would go to my grandparents’ house and see this cool photo of a wolf peering out from behind a tree,” he said. “One day I read the credit and saw that it was Jim Brandenburg, who, of course, had the same last name as mine.”

That was when Brandenburg found out the photographer responsible for the image was his third cousin once removed.

“I was always blown away by this photo, and it made me want to be out in nature,” he said.

Education in transition

Brandenburg began studying photography his junior year of high school in Spokane, Washington.

“Back then, the classes were all for film (photography),” he said. “They taught me how to develop my own 35mm film in the darkroom and all of that stuff.”

Brandenburg went on to attend the Brooks Institute, a nationally accredited for profit arts school in California, for college. While a student at the now-defunct college, Brandenburg witnesses photography’s sea change from the darkrooms and chemicals of film to the simplicity of digital.

“By the time I graduated, all the classes offered were only for digital photography,” he said. “I’m glad to have grown up in this cool time of photography transition. I was able to get a technical background in film and digital.”

Brandenburg exclusively shot digital photographs for a while because it was a convenient process, especially when he went on hikes, as he didn’t need to lug around extra film and equipment. Since then, though, the photographer has returned to film by shooting with a large format view camera, the massive piece of equipment made famous by 20th-century landscape photographers like Ansel Adams.

“I only recently started shooting film and have been using an camera that looks like an old field camera,” he said. “The photos I take with this camera are larger and extends the view of the scene, so I have to be more critical of my compositions to make them all look good.”

‘What’s all around me’

Brandenburg was drawn to landscapes because both his father and grandfather were cattle ranchers in the Pacific Northwest.

“I’m rooted in the Western landscape and have always been drawn to the awesome scenery,” he said. “I love getting outdoors and seeing this beauty all around me.”

Brandenburg was reminded why he relishes taking panoramas while driving to his current home in Kamas.

“I was coming over the ridge and the sun was just erupting through the clouds,” he said. “The hay bales were scattered all over the super green fields in the valley. So I had to get out of my car to compose a shot.”

The serenity of moments like those helps Brandenburg put things into perspective, he said.

“It’s been pretty busy lately with all the preparation for the arts festivals and client requests,” he said. “So when I see scenery like this, I have to slow down and enjoy what’s all around me.”

Brandenburg said sharing these images add to the joy of shooting them.

“There is such a diversity of landscape here in Utah,” he said. “And I like showing people what we have.”

Patrick Brandenburg will be one of the artists who will participate in the 49th annual Park City Kimball Arts Festival, which will run from Friday, Aug. 3, to Sunday, Aug. 5, on Main Street. For information and tickets, visit www.


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