What are the highlights from your career so far?
There are a number of things that stand out very clearly in my mind as career highlights. The first is that 2013 was the first year of my career that I earned every single penny of my income from photography. From 2008 through 2012, even though I was earning income as a photographer, I had other side jobs, random contracts, and even some government assistance. But from 2013 onward I was 100% on my own and while that was pretty scary in the beginning it also lit a fire under my butt and I’ve cranking hard ever since.
The second thing that I consider an amazing part of my life as a photographer is teaching workshops. This is something I sorta fell into by accident when I started getting lots of good feedback on my seascape images in 2009 and 2010. People wanted to know how I created the images I did, and I had a thought: maybe they would pay me to teach them??? That’s how it started, but it’s turned into something really amazing. Now I have a small business which I run with another photographer, Jim Patterson, where we teach small group workshops all over the place.
That might sound like a small thing but when you actually stop to reflect on what it means it’s pretty incredible: I get paid to travel to beautiful locations and spend time with other people who are passionate about the same thing I’m passionate about. And since I always take time for my own photography before and after these workshops, it means I get to travel to some of the most beautiful spots in the US and abroad, do photography, and get paid to be there. Believe me, I have no small amount of gratitude for how fortunate I am to be able to do this.
Another big point in my career was when I decided to start a YouTube channel devoted to teaching landscape photography. It started out as a small project but has grown over the years into a channel with 250,000+ subscribers and over 10 million views. It’s also led to invitations and projects that have helped my career continue to grow.
But probably the biggest highlight in my career so far was in 2014 when I was hired by Nikon to shoot sample photos for the launch of the D750. This was a global ad campaign and my introduction to shooting commercially. It opened the door to some incredible business and personal relationships and I consider it a turning point of my career. Since then I’ve shot a few more campaigns for Nikon and been invited to speak on their stage at tradeshows around the US.