Why I Shoot Nature Photography
January 24, 2018
We all have our reasons for getting into artistic outlets. Be it photography, music, or art; these crafts truly stimulate the mind, body, and soul like nothing else on this planet has the ability to do. The creativity, joy, passion, and inspiration that the arts bring cannot always be put into words.
I started my artistic endeavors back in my early 20's when I got bored and started painting my childhood idol: Batman (just for the record, he is my adulthood idol as well). Painting in acrylics can be daunting due to the quick drying and tough blending of colors but the results can be uncanny and extremely satisfying. The last decade of constantly pushing and improving my painting and drawing skills ultimately led me to find a passion in another artistic realm: photography.
I did not truly start hiking until I moved to Colorado at 18 years old. My late uncle Mike and my dad took my siblings and I on hikes all around Colorado and I fell in love instantly. Those early days of hiking instilled a love and passion for the outdoors that I have never been able to shake, nor have I wanted to.
I spent the last 14 years moving between California and Colorado (7 times to be exact) and as such, I have been able to hike all around the southwest United States. I have seen so many beautiful places and met so many amazing people along the way. What started out as hiking and posting pictures to social sites quickly became a lot of my friends reaching out asking about hikes and telling me that my pictures were halfway decent.
About a year and a half ago I moved back to Colorado and had the opportunity to do a lot of travel and so two of my best friends gave me the best advice I had ever received. I was contemplating whether to buy a DSLR or just stick with my camera phone and continue taking photos on that. I cannot tell you the exact words but they said something like "We're not telling you to buy a camera, but you need to buy a camera". I cannot even fathom how different my life would be had they not talked me into biting the bullet and making the switch to a DSLR.
The greatest aspect of nature photography to me is that it encompasses all of the most important aspects of my life: nature, wildlife, photography, spirituality, artistic freedom, and white space to disconnect from the stresses of everyday life. The way in which I view the world because of nature photography has changed everything- I see shadows, lights, and colors in a way that I never did before (which the acrylic painting has also helped). I can size up an image in my head and visualize the finished product before I even take the picture, let alone upload it on my computer for editing. Nature photography has fed my love for nature and my love for photography- they are so intersected in my life now that I cannot take one without the other.
The community that I have been able to be a part of as a result of nature photography has been tremendous. I have a couple of great friends that have helped me more than I could ever express in photography- ideas, concepts, technical knowledge, and ways to continually push photography have always been a part of the conversations we have had and continue to have. I have been fortunate enough to be able to contribute to Shutterstock.com, Adobe, Fotolia, and Pond5 stock photography in the last few months and have been able to sell photos in 10 different countries and all over the United States. I am a part of multiple other photography communities in which the artists are constantly producing amazing nature photos that only inspire and push me to constantly hone my craft. I have also had the opportunity to help photographers along the way that I have met in nature and have had some amazing conversations sharing ideas.
Whatever type of photography you decide to do make sure you do it with one thing in mind: passion. I remember when I first started nature photography I had a lot of people say not to do it because there are too many nature photographers. I never listened to that advice and neither should you. Do whatever photography you are passionate about and success will come. Passion pushes you through the tough times and gives you motivation when you are struggling. People love to see the end result of photography but they do not see the waking up at 3AM to catch a sunrise hike, driving 4 hours to go to the perfect location, hiking 15 grueling miles to get a beautiful shot, or all of the time, energy, and frustration that comes with trying to edit the perfect photos for hours at a time. The main driving force that pushes you through all those trials and tribulations is passion.
Keep pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and new opportunities will arise. I hope you give nature photography a try and see if it takes you on a ride like it did me. And if you hate it, then don't do it! But find something you are passionate about and develop it, the world around you will only become a better place! What type of photography or art do you enjoy doing? Feel free to leave a comment below and share your passions, who knows, one day you may find yourself writing a blog you never thought you would...