he Hill Country Edge, an exciting new arts & culture magazine for the "edge of the Hill Country" region (north of San Antonio), recently took an interest in Bill's panoramic photography. The founder and editor of the publication, Ben Schooley, interviewed Bill for a feature article in the November edition.
Titling the article, "Finding the Big Picture," Ben explores why and how Bill produces his unique images, and what passions drive him in this unusual pursuit.
Hill Country Edge
November 2005 edition of The Edge — © 2005, Yellow Rose Graphics
The Hill Country EDGE, NOV 2005
Finding the Big Picture
Bill Brockmeier of Bulverde is an engineer-- he even looks like an engineer. With a pair of clever glasses perched on his nose and a quiet demeanor, he is exactly what you'd expect in an engineer.
However, in his briefcase aren't sketches, renderings, or blueprints of some sort. No, in his briefcase is his art. A panoramic photographer, Bill Brockmeier takes photographs that are simply engineered to be breath-taking.
"My dad was into photography. He'd laugh if you called him a photographer, but he definitely has always been interested in it. My interest in it grew from him, and obviously, I do it to this day." As he opens his portfolio case, you are immediately amazed at the scope of what he captures. These are not the "fish eye" pictures you've seen where the landscape bends so as to capture more of it-- instead, these are actual panoramic images of an entire horizon, among other subjects, and the eye simply feasts on the image the way it would as if looking out across the horizon.
"I used to take 15 to 20 photos and then physically cut the images and piece them together. I would develop them myself, and spent hours cutting them into one enormous panorama. I would display them in a 180 degree arc, and I could stand in the middle of it and be transported to exactly what I had just seen. I could see the image exactly as I remembered it. This is what is so powerful with these photos. Your eye sees in panoramas...it's natural. It's the most realistic display that can be accomplished with photography in terms of a person's vision."
"However, when I had children and responsibilities, I spent a lot of time away from photography entirely. Digital photography is what brought me back. You get immediate feedback on what you're capturing, and that, along with software that enables me to create a cleaner image, was enough to get me going again." With a grown daughter, who coincidentally, has taken to mural paintings, Bill has found the time again to stretch his creative legs.
"It's the fact that I can take a picture that enables you, the viewer, to see it exactly as I did. The view is identical. You are seeing the world through my eyes, and seeing the beauty in areas that you may have overlooked." This is best illustrated in a piece that includes a beautifully secluded patch of trees, which it turns out was approximately 10 feet off of busy Interstate 35.
As with so many artists, Bill realized that he had little control over his passion. As with other artists it seems that it simply exists within you, and it's best to not ignore one's talents. "The time that I took away from the photography has left me feeling quite guilty," Brockmeier says. "God creates you for a purpose and that purpose should give you joy. It gives Him joy. I spent a lot of time really depressed that I was not utilizing the talents that God had given me. So I definitely hope to not repeat that mistake. You have a talent-- I have a talent-- my neighbor has a talent...all God-given purposes that make the world shine just that much brighter."
Bill's work is currently on display at the Cellar on Main in Boerne. Trust me that you won't see a more beautiful display of images. Get out there and support his "purpose."
Other News about Bill Brockmeier and his Panoramic Photography.
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This document was updated on 5/31/04.