Year in the life: Photographer presents debut at MOTE


By Rob Montana

Tompkins Weekly


Local photographer Harrison Rumsey will highlight his varied subject interests – ranging from local to tropical views, day and night, and everything in between – when his debut show opens at the Museum of the Earth this week.

The exhibition, on display in the Museum of the Earth gift shop through January 2018, will officially open with a reception from 1-3:30 p.m. Sunday, December 10. Refreshments will be served and Rumsey will be on hand to talk about his work.


This is his first photography exhibition, which is “exciting as well as stressful, and a little scary.”

“The notion of having my first show slowly evolved as I received more and more attention to the photos I’ve been posting online, with people also asking for prints more and more,” Rumsey said. “I want to get my work out there in the hope that people will be drawn to it in some way and want it in their lives enough to want to look at it every day!” The exhibition is centered around images from the past year of Rumsey’s life, and the focus of the photos are subjects that caught his eye.

“I picked up my first semi pro DSLR last summer, not knowing so much of the technical aspects of the camera – or even photography – and started trying to capture images special to me, mostly nature and sky shots, and barns in Tompkins and Seneca counties,” he said.

“The more I took, the better I learned the camera and what I could and couldn’t do.”

An upgrade to his equipment and practice led Rumsey to expand his range.

“I continued to take nature pics, but expanded to industrial, dark and tropical pics,” he said, “and added my new favorite – night photography – all of which will be represented at the show.”


Asked what drives his interest, Rumsey said the challenge and a desire to share what he sees with others.

“I continue to enjoy taking pictures for a couple of reasons: To get really good pics, it is always challenging and, as I strive to improve my work, that challenge is ever there,” he said. “Also, I’ve always wanted to be able to capture the real beauty that I see in front of me so others can see what I have and be able to enjoy it as well.


“These motives are equally compelling,” Rumsey added.

When he sees something that catches his eye, he often feels compelled to put his camera to work.

“When I’m taking a picture, I often have spotted something I think would make a great pic, perhaps something new I see driving down the road, or great lighting in a subject I’ve already shot,” he said, “or, when I have time, actively seeking special shots on a trip or a hike in the local gorges and parks.

“What I look for through my viewfinder is a way to make that happen through balance, often using natural framing and different angles, or one special or stark object as the focus of the picture, surrounded by its supporting cast,” Rumsey added. “Sometimes it works, and often it does not. That is why I keep trying and save the special ones.”

He is hoping to use momentum from his debut show to propel him into other showcase opportunities and bring his work to a larger audience.

“I’m in the process of creating a website, or sites, to promote and organize my work to further this venture,” Rumsey said.

Museum of the Earth is located at 1259 Trumansburg Road (Route 96) in Ithaca. For more information about Rumsey, visit


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