Don Raridon solves problems. With a keen analytic and intuitive nature, he notices small openings that lead into larger clearings. Once through the opening and into the clearing he assesses and appreciates what is there. It is in the noticing that his particular gift for analysis, structure and composition produces elegant results.
As is characteristic of many Idyllwild artists, Raridon is multifaceted. Trained in computer science, he is a skilled nature photographer who uses time in nature for inspiration and centering.
From an early age, Raridon was fascinated by how devices were constructed and how they functioned. “Before computers, my father used to bring home broken things for me to fix — stereos, clocks, watches,” he said. “He did it to please me. I loved taking something apart, trying to figure out why it was broken and then how to fix it.” With that focus, it was a natural progression for Raridon to move into computers as the field was expanding.
Born in Van Nuys and raised in the Reseda and Northridge area, Raridon described his growing up and coming of age as a normal “valley guy” kind of thing enriched by an early discovery of nature. “From the age of 10, I had this certain drive for nature,” he remembered. “I hiked with friends and by myself enjoying the solitude and freedom.” He noticed the systems and structures in natural balance in the canyons north of his home. “At home, I used to build these huge and elaborate ant farms, watching how ants worked together, solving problems and creating.”
His patient observation of nature’s processes, methods, balances and structures proved valuable in his later career in computers and photography. By noticing the mosaic of compositional details in his surroundings, he developed a wide-angled holistic approach to computers and art. Raridon stayed in the moment, moved carefully and unhurriedly. And he noticed.
With computer issues and problems, Raridon finds his way in patiently. He is effective in finding solutions other tech support personnel often miss. As in nature, each path is different. Noticing how they are different creates understanding. Understanding leads to creative problem solving and artistic composition. Raridon has built a successful local career in web design, computer analysis and systems repair, mostly by word of mouth. But it is in his 15 years of outdoor exploration and photography that he finds his joy.
“Outdoor photography is my passion,” said Raridon. “A big part of my intention is to share what I see with others so that their souls may be enchanted by nature itself and the importance of connecting to it.”
His photographs evoke feelings. He captures in a frame what seems to be a perfectly arranged composition, with magical overtones. About his process, he said, “It’s a combination of waiting and being in the right place. Spending time and being present is so important. A lot of doing this work is becoming aware. I know I need to be present and allow the universe to do its job taking care of the direction I need to go in order to grow.
“The course or pathway in life is just to grow as a being and be open to what comes your way.”
Of hiking with his camera, Raridon said, “Sometimes I get these cues when I’m out on a hike, to stop. Sometimes there’s a clue there. The stopping is just to wait to see what’s coming.”
And by stopping, he seems to arrive at otherworldly places, just in time to capture extraordinary moments. “I don’t Photoshop,” he said. “I’m just there.”
On one hike, being there and being present produced particularly magical results. Hiking with a woman friend in the high country, Raridon saw a spotted owl above him in a tree. He stopped. He watched. And then, as he sometimes does, he began talking to it. His friend pulled out her phone and began videoing the encounter. At one point (and the encounter is recorded) Raridon can be heard saying, “Oh my god, it’s coming.” The owl flew toward him and lightly perched on his finger, for a moment. But it was there, with Raridon, on his finger. Then it flew back to its perch in the tree. As Raridon and his friend began hiking down the mountain, the owl flew from tree to tree following them.
Raridon has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Redding University. He is owner and proprietor of Omni Web, website design and hosting and computer fixes of all sorts. His catalogue of photographs can be viewed at www.viewbug.com/member/OmniWeb#/OmniWeb/photos.