What inspires you?
Photography is my third biggest passion in life, after watching funny cat videos on the internet and collecting interesting grains of rice. To answer your question, I’m inspired by the smile of every child and the wag of every puppy’s tail. By the glint of mischief in a sea otter’s eye, and the majestic sound of a herd of elephant seals.
Naw, but for realz tho…. the number one thing that keeps me excited about photography and constantly out shooting is, well, constantly being out shooting. For me (as it is for most nature photographers), photography is an extension of the experiences I have in life. It’s my way of trying to capture and explain the moments, places, and feelings that are most important to me.
And within that sentiment I find there are two separate, but related, paths that are rewarding. The first is gaining a deeper, more intimate knowledge of an area I already know well. Take Yosemite Valley for example. It’s a place I’ve visited and shot over a hundred times. And yet each time I visit I find hidden little nooks and crannies that give me a different glimpse of the Valley, and show me new sides to all the icons I know so well. It’s like peeling back the onion skin of your significant other, getting to know them more intimately, and building a deeper and more satisfying relationship.
The second path is really an extension of the first: it’s still driven by the search for novelty, but rather than seeking novelty in a place I already know, it’s discovering completely new places (to me). There is really a profound joy to be had by seeking out new places, having new experiences, and photographing scenes I didn’t know existed the day before. I think that the best photos are emotionally driven and that delight that comes from the process of exploration does seep into one’s photos. When I’m happy, excited, and smiling in some new beautiful place, there’s nothing that makes me want to bust out the camera and start shooting more.