Quick knee surgery update for anyone curious: today marks the half way point of the non-weight-bearing portion of recovery! Only 3 more weeks until I can slowly begin walking again and start the fun parts of physical therapy. These first 3 weeks have flown by and the recovery has been quite a bit smoother than I had imagined. That’s not to say it’s been all roses—there were a couple times in the beginning where I felt totally overwhelmed and close to tears—but overall it’s been a fairly painless and uneventful recovery so far. Incredibly grateful for my amazing family and friends who’ve helped me out with basic human tasks and making sure I don’t go insane from cabin fever :)
Tomorrow’s a big day for me and I’m about as happy as this beaver in a snowstorm. See, every photo you’ve seen of mine on here has been taken from within a mile or so of a road. For the last ten years or so, I’ve experienced severe pain on the outside of my left knee every time I hiked, ran, or biked more than a couple miles. I haven’t been able to go backpacking since 2010 and have been able to only just barely scratch the surface of what the Colorado mountains have to offer.
Started off the camping season a bit early by jumping one state west and pressing fast forward on the weather button a few months. It’ll still be a while until we’re able to camp in the mountains, but the desert is perfect this time of year.
A few months ago, Canadian Geographic reached out to me to ask if they could use one of my photos in their upcoming Ultimate Canadian Instagram Photos publication. I’d completely forgotten about it until I received a copy in the mail today. Unless I’m forgetting something, this is the first time I’ve been published in a print magazine, so that’s pretty cool!
I decided last minute to send in a handful of images to the Outdoor Photographer of the Year competition. Most photo contests are pretty worthless, but several photographers I really respect have participated in this one in previous years, so I decided to give it a shot. Just heard today that 5 of my photos (see below) made it onto the contest short list, which was definitely unexpected. Lots of images made it this far and I'm sure I won't make it any further in the process, but I'm pretty happy with the result in any case!
In general, having switched to full-frame camera gear recently, I'd say that the biggest differences I've found are that:
I'm much less likely to "miss" a shot for purely technical reasons (e.g. missed focus, blurry shot, blown highlights/blocked shadows, too noisy)
The images are marginally sharper, larger, and usually require very little processing to get to where I want them
The camera gear does a much better job at just getting out of the way and letting me focus on the image I'm trying to capture
Since three or four people have recently asked me about it, I figured I'd make a quick post about the gear I'm currently using for nature and travel photography. This isn’t every piece of kit I own, but represents most of what I might take with me out shooting these days and covers a wide variety of settings and conditions. I'll do my best to keep the list updated, but if you have any specific questions, definitely reach out and I'll see if I can answer them.
Over the course of a few days earlier this year, I explored around a small part of downtown Denver to see what I could find and what kinds of photographs I might be able to make. Heavily inspired by a handful of street photographers like Craig Whitehead and Joshua Jackson, I was drawn to the lights and shadows of the city after dark.
This is a pretty new style of photography for me and I found it quite challenging, but also refreshingly fun to be able to approach it with a beginner's mind again. In addition to pushing my comfort zone by branching into other genres of photography a bit, I'm also working to focus on larger bodies of work––series of images that work together––rather than just single images. Those might take the form of a book or zine or short photo essay or something else in between.
With that in mind, here's a series of 12 images from those wanderings titled "Denver After Dark." Hope you enjoy.
If we were to rethink how we consume media (social media, news, podcasts, magazines, etc.) and customize the platforms and content to fit our needs, what might that look like?
What do you like/dislike about the media platforms you currently use?
Who would you regularly want to hear from?
What kind of stuff do you want to see/read/hear?
Do you want someone else to curate it for you or do you want to pick the individual creators you follow yourself? Some of both?
Would there be ads? If not, how much would you be willing to pay for the content?
Online? In print? Some of both?
Is there any way to move closer to that?
Earlier this year I dropped and broke my full-frame Sony a7rii camera. Ouch...
While it was in the shop being fixed, I had to go back to using my older, more basic camera setup. And you know? It did a pretty damn good job. Now, that's not to say that I'll be selling all of my prized full-frame gear, but I do think the Sony a6000 is possibly the best value for your money when starting out in landscape and travel photography.
With that in mind, I decided it might be helpful to put together my specific recommendations for a complete gear list for getting started with landscape and travel photography that won't totally break the bank, but can still result in really high-quality images. If you buy some of this used, you can get it all for about the price of a new smartphone. I buy used equipment all the time and have never had any issues. At the end, I'll make some recommendations for upgrades and optional accessories to consider as well if you have room in the budget, but they're definitely not necessary.
So a couple years back I got a little over-confident in the off-roading capabilities of my aging Honda minivan.
See, I’d just moved to Colorado from New York and, needing a car again, borrowed the old family Odyssey for a bit. Excited to be back out west, I’d ventured off into the mountains by myself for a roughly-planned road trip and photo excursion. Seeing what looked like an interesting detour on my map, and not being in any hurry, I decided to give it a shot. Now, I knew from the turnoff that this was an unpaved road, but even a minivan should be able to handle a little gravel...
I think these are worth reading. Maybe not for everyone, but for a lot of people. You can probably tell whether or not they’ll be your cup of tea:
I want to be more intentional when it comes to composing photographs.
Many of my favorite images have less to do with the subject of the photograph and more to do with the light and composition (arrangement of shapes) in the frame. I think this is where photography can become more artistic, beyond simply recording a moment experienced or a scene seen.
Recently, I can't get enough of Sean Tucker's street photography. The way he makes geometry and tonal contrasts the main subject of an image regularly astounds me—it's so different from how I typically approach photography. I often find myself looking at his images with a bit of jealousy, wishing I had the creative "eye" to see how he sees. Perhaps a little bit of it can be learned though?