What is your favorite place to shoot? Choose one place? Oh my. I would be tempted to say Patagonia, but it is a long haul to get there and the conditions change so quickly. For the optimal combination of accessibility and beauty, I would have to say Zion, but with an *. The * is that you need to go during non-peak season. Peak-time at Zion -- or any of the National Parks -- is nutty for photography. But in the colder months, you can avoid the crowds and enjoy solitude and peace. Often times, that can be the best part of the shot.
What is the most challenging shot you have taken?
The first one. No seriously. I had so much self doubt, there were so many things going through my head, I was so nervous. But click. It snapped me back to reality and into the moment. You don’t have to get it perfect and most of the time you don’t have to get it right. Just get it.
How did you get started?
I got started in 2002 when my girlfriend at the time (now my wife) gave me a digital camera to take with me when I went climbing volcanoes in Mexico. That camera went many places with me. However, I got sidetracked as I focused on a career and stopped taking photos for a while. I was still traveling but it took a long time for the fire to come back and for me to grasp that all I needed was patience to learn and eventually become good at taking photos. It’s still a work in progress, but I enjoy learning and constantly improving.
Do you work?
Luckily, I don’t get this question from my wife or parents, but I do get asked all the time by friends and associates. My wife and I don’t have children, which gives us flexibility. More importantly, wife is a travel writer, which dovetails perfectly with my passion for photography. Couple this with past business success and now running my own non-photography business that allows me work from almost anywhere, and I am able to take photos while working and traveling. I just bring my camera and carve out time
What’s next for you?
Gulp. See the previous question and answer. One of the key components is planning. I know there are certain times of year that are better than others for various reasons, so I do plan out very far in advance. Years in fact. I also recognize that as I continue to build my portfolio, I will be able to choose where I want to go vs. going to where a client needs me to go. Iceland, Southern Utah, Norway, Nepal, Peru, and New Zealand are all on the list of upcoming destinations.
That photo isn’t really real, you processed it on your computer.
So this isn’t a question. But it is a statement I get or hear a lot. I shoot in what is called RAW format where the camera doesn’t add any color or do anything to the image. It is designed to capture as much of the shadows and the highlights as possible. This gives you the freedom to fine tune the image in a photo editing program to most accurately reflect what you saw. With an iPhone the software automatically does this for you using a technology called High Dynamic Range (HDR) that balances the shadows and highlights of a photo so that neither is favored or ignored. Sometimes HDR gets it right, but sometimes what it generates is not what you saw. I like to be able to fine tune to what I saw. I don’t have the skills to manipulate beyond what I saw and my photos are not altered in a program like Adobe Illustrator or Paint. So much of the shot is in the composition of the picture and properly exposing and capturing the moment. No photo program can change a bad shot.