As an assignment photographer, I find myself documenting cultures and human eco-systems on the regular. This is always satisfying but deep down, I love watching light change and I live to chase sunrises, sunsets, and all the moments in between. I satisfy my creative soul by sleeping less while on assignments to photograph the wild places I find myself in, only to return to my dream job of observing people. Below are a few tricks to try next time you find yourself wondering... "What can I shoot next?"
Mt. Robson is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. From my bivy on a far away mountain, I was amazed to see the summit in the distance. I switched lenses and zoomed in to 200mm. As I assessed the image on the back of my camera, I was impressed by the fading stars and I zoomed in to check my focus. I noticed head lamps on the Kain Face and a headlamp on the summit. This clear weather window which lured me out for Perseids Meteor Shower had also provided a clear summit bid. I spoke with the park ranger the following day and emailed him the image, coaxing him to release the emails of the climbers. They were stunned to receive an email with the subject line reading "Congratulations on Robson- I Was Watching You."
Sunrises and sunsets are simple beauty and we all know this. The challenge is translating that beauty to an audience in a way that justifies not only what we saw, but also what we felt. I always look for a reflection or frame to put the main thrust of light into, and work to fill the remaining frame with a key element of the story. In this case, the sunrise is what we all want to see, the lighthouse is the natural attraction, and the reflection ties the two together.
Not to dabble too much into the mind of Galen Rowell, but the best light comes in the moments leading up to and following a storm. A great place to start is in the fading moments of rain on hot summer days. The air fills with mist and when the sun returns, be ready with a long lens and fill your frame with the magic.
Full moons are evil and exceptional all at the same time for night photography. They are evil because they blow away stars and provide a big hot spot in your frame, but they are exceptional because they provide foreground light for composition. If you can time a moon just as it's hitting the horizon, its glow will be masked by a haze (either winter or summer) and it will drop the moons exposure almost like a graduated ND filter. This means you can have amazing stars, foreground exposure, and a moon which resembles a rising sun. In short, it's a magic hour.
Take the train! Traveling by plane or bus is easy, but traveling by train is an amazing opportunity to hone your fast moving photography skills. This is also an exceptional chance to get angles of trains fading into the distance from observatory cars. So crank up your shutter speed, clean the window, and prepare to look like a dog as you attempt to photograph places whizzing by.
David Jackson is a 21 year old assignment photographer from small town Canada. His work takes him to far corners of the world documenting human eco-systems and the passion engrained in people's lives. To view Davids work please go to www.exploredavidjackson.com, @davidjackson__, or email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.