Why do you have a section just for the Pacific Northwest?
I live in Southeast Portland, and am literally no more than two hours away from waterfalls, high desert, snow covered mountains, and an ocean. Its amazing living here. So, of course, its very easy to take day trips to these locations, and take a camera with me. It is only natural that a large portion of my portfolio would evolve into photos taken in the Pacific Northwest. It is such a esthetically unique part of this country, I feel it deserves its own gallery.
Why do your images have the year beneath them?
This website is every bit as much about me wanting to share my work as it is about being for me to self reflect. I find it very amusing to see how my work has evolved over the years.
What camera gear do you shoot with?
Right now, I am shooting with a Nikon D800e with a mix of Nikon and Sigma art series lenses. And I have a Pentax 645z. A lot of my early work was photographed with a Hasselblad 501 or a Mamiya 7. When I switched to digital, I used Canon in the early days. And now, I am just in love with Nikon and Pentax. Their image quality, sharpness, dynamic range, and high ISO abilities are just unmatched and continue to impress me.
Where is your favorite place to photograph?
I can't say it enough - I love living in the Portland area. Its almost too easy to see and photograph beautiful things. That being said, I found New Zealand to be one of the most visually inspiring places I have ever been. I was there for two weeks in 2014, rented a car, and just drove around both islands. It was incredible. Looking back through my images though, I walked away with just a handful of portfolio images. I don't think I was fully prepared for what New Zealand has to offer photographically, and I am in the works of trying to go back.
Where do you want to photograph next?
Iceland. Iceland. Iceland. Get me to Iceland, yesterday.
Describe your work in the America's gallery.
Most of that work comes from three cross country road trips I took. Two of those trips were with Travis Patterson, of Travis Patterson Studios, where we drove for six weeks and 14,000 miles from DC to San Diego to Seattle, and every national park in between that we could think of. One of the trips was for my move from Florida to Oregon, which was not specifically a photo mission, but still yielded some really great photographs. As with all my work, I wander, I see something that inspires me, and I try to photograph it in a way that showcases what I'm seeing.
Describe your work in the Mist gallery.
I never noticed it until moving to Portland, but there has been a pattern in my work over the years. That pattern has been foggy scenes. Since moving here, I have unconsciously been building on that pattern. There is a simplicity and a beauty about fog, and how it adds a new element to a landscape. Trees and rocks are brought to their most basic visual shape, and an element of mystery is added. When I noticed this pattern, I began to focus more on foggy scenes. This focus led to the gallery.
How have you been able to take so many pictures internationally?
In high school, I was fortunate enough to take advantage of a trip to Spain in the spring. The weather was moody and cool, and that trip made for some great photos. A year later, I took advantage of another trip to Italy in the spring. With that, came more eclectic weather, and I walked away with some more great photos. Needless to say, I was hooked on international travel as a teenager. Then in college, I went on a cruise around the Mediterranean in July, and it was terrible. It was hot, there were no clouds in the sky, we only had 3-5 hours in each port, and there was just nothing enticing about the trip at all. From that point on, I knew I never wanted my travel to be that scripted or stale again. So now, instead of taking vacations at the beach, I always try to take vacations to some awesome new location, and I choose a time when the weather is going to be the least predictable. Additionally, I try to only make plans for my first night in that new location. In doing so, it forces me to rent a car or figure out public transportation, and truly experience a place.
Do you use photoshop?
Yes. I primarily use it as a tool to enhance an image so that it mimics how I remember a scene. A camera is only so capable of capturing something. It is up to the photographer to fine tune, and ultimately present that image in the way that allows the viewer to experience what the photographer envisioned. While I try to avoid using heavy filters, and visually obvious extremes in my editing, I am most guilty of photoshopping out certain parts of a scene that I feel distracts from the final image. For example, if I am photographing something that does not have a human presence as the main subject, I do what I can to remove all indications that a person had ever been there, such as power lines or footprints.