Photography can be a challenge for anyone, investing your time and your money for photography gear. But, with the right amount of sheer will and determination to succeed and learn the arts of Photography, especially Landscape photography, anyone can do it. Here we have interviewed different photographers. Read on and you might find your inspiration and start your photography career! For your additional inspiration, we’ve interviewed other photographers as well, please refer to his link.

Alexandre Deschaumes

We spoke with landscape photographer Alexandre Deschaumes, to find out how he entered the industry, his advice for budding photographers, and what he has coming up next.

How did you first get into photography?

I started around the year 2000. In 2001, I had a poor quality film camera but I found myself at the summit of a small mountain with misty forest and these were the first pictures with the atmosphere. In 2005, I found these leaves with drops like gold and I published my pictures on some internet forums…

Later, in 2008 I started doing treks of several days by taking people for photoshoots and I made more technical images, as well as my material, becoming more professional.

Did you always feel more attracted to shooting landscapes?

I am not necessarily attracted to the landscape as such. I’m looking for emotion through just a detail sometimes, a texture, an indefinable sensation… I have also photographed portraits, and details, the atmosphere in the forest and then later the mountains.

Interview with Alexandre Deschaumes

Portraits – Alexandre Deschaumes

Your images often have an ethereal feel, with mist and clouds a common theme. Is that something you seek out deliberately?

I really like this mysterious and dreamy breach of the mist, because for me it is often too difficult to evoke something through a landscape that is too raw. In the sense that the sunny landscape can very quickly appear too normal and descriptive (like a postcard). I have to look for detail or a different mood. But it’s also annoying to be trapped in this research, so I’m also trying to find other themes.

Interview with Alexandre Deschaumes

At the Mountains of Madness

How often do you travel for your work?

Two or three big trips a year, and then some small ones too. Otherwise, I hike around my home in the French and Swiss Alps.

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Was it difficult to find paid photography work in the beginning?

Yes, it was difficult, and it’s always difficult now as well!

Who are the photographers or artists that inspire you?

Vincent Munier, William Turner, Avaizovsky, Caspar Friedrich, Guy Tal…

Tell us about the documentary you created with Matthieu Le Lay, “The Quest For Inspiration”.

It was a great adventure that was a springboard for both of us I think. There is something offbeat, intimate and personal that has touched a lot of people and I still get messages about it today sometimes. It’s a shame that our collaboration has not been able to continue.

And how about your own work, “Ethereal Journey”?

Ethereal Journey is a kind of retrospective from 2007 to 2015, with a good quality of impression. I tried to create a path that begins in nebulous darkness and then we can see bursts of light. The end also pleases me in its cottony and clear aspect. Next to that, there are some weak points too that I would like to correct by making a new book for 2020, I think. In that, I would like to talk about each image with my feelings and all the context around them.

You have had some exhibitions of your work as well, tell us about those.

Yes, I try to do some exhibitions sometimes, and it is important that people can come and see some of the pictures because I’m printing them large (2 meters wide for some).

How does it feel to see your work on display?

The choice of paper, matte, for me, is very important. I really like to see my pictures on this paper at a large size.

What have you been working on lately?

Recent images of the Dolomites, Iceland, Nepal. The new book. New travel ideas and new photo opportunities. I am also thinking of a new website. In fact, my life has changed a little this past year and my direction / my artistic and visual identity is evolving. I do not yet know exactly where it will lead me. It’s just that it’s a bit long with me.

Tell us about the workshops that you hold for aspiring photographers.

I really like sharing my vision and helping people with that. I do private courses at my home in Haute Savoie, otherwise, I travel to Iceland, Patagonia, and the Dolomites. It is necessary to follow my Facebook profile Alexandre Deschaumes, it is here that I will announce things.

Are there any tips that you would give to aspiring landscape photographers?

Do not stay focused on a closed idea of what a “beautiful, impressive image” should be like you see on social media. it is imperative to keep an open mind to listen to your deep call. Even if it goes elsewhere.

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Alexandre’s work can be found at

Dawn Richards

Dawn Richards is a landscape and nature photographer based in Arizona. Her portfolio includes photos from around the world, with a heavy dose of the American Southwest. I recently had the opportunity to interview Dawn about her background and her work.

Thanks to Dawn for taking the time to answer these questions for our readers.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started with photography.

I was raised in southwestern Pennsylvania and loved taking photos as a child. We would often drive into the scenic Laurel Highlands, part of the Allegheny Mountains, for the weekend where I found many occasions to practice photography. I’ve always had an interest in painting and other visual arts as well.

Many photos and cameras later, I had the opportunity to visit Denver during a business seminar. It was my first trip west, and I was captivated by the beauty and scale of the Rocky Mountains. I was thrilled with the images I had collected during that trip. That led me to visit many other national parks and forests over the years and, of course, I photographed every trip. Photography has been a lifelong passion for me.

Do you have any formal photography training?

I’m definitely a self-taught photographer. When I switched from a point and shoot 35 mm camera to my first SLR, it required some practice and it took a little time to master. With the purchase of my first DSLR, I welcomed the transition into digital photography. I have participated in some online classes and occasionally watch online tutorials. It is always great to pick up some useful tips and new ideas.

What draws you to landscapes rather than other types of photography or subjects?

I’ve always had a love of nature, wildlife and being outdoors. Spending time within our wilderness areas inspires me and makes me appreciate the beauty in the world around us. I feel a sense of calm and peace being surrounded by nature.

One of my favorite John Muir quotes is “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks”. I enjoy landscape photography as a way to capture that moment in time. I’d like to be able to inspire those that view my photography to have an appreciation of this scenic beauty and perhaps visit these places themselves.

How would you describe your photographic style?

My goal has always been to showcase the beauty of nature, wilderness, wildlife, and other landscapes just as I’ve witnessed it. I try to maintain the most realistic and natural qualities in the images with minimal corrections. I enjoy vast landscapes encompassing entire scenes as much as capturing smaller elements within nature.

As a master gardener, I find it difficult to pass up a single perfect flower as I hike. Being able to capture wildlife in their natural surrounding is also a large part of what I enjoy about photography.

Although some of my images require a bit of post-processing, I always try to keep things as real as possible. Some dramatic HDR landscape images are beautifully created. I have experimented with some of that software and have a great appreciation for the skill required to produce those enhanced images.

However, I prefer the natural style. Everyone has their preference and develops their style. You have to love what you do and hope your audience does also.

As someone who has traveled a lot and seen many different locations, what attracts you to the southwest US?

Before relocating here in 2011, we had traveled west frequently to visit. The southwest offers many national parks each with its distinct features and beauty. The wide variety of colors of the canyons, rock formations and mountains along with the expansive skies are a photographer’s dream.

Just within Arizona, we have a very diverse landscape with many climate zones and seasons. Within a few hours of Phoenix, I can drive to see snow in the Grand Canyon or drive through beautiful golden aspens, a petrified forest, and lava fields. Closer to home, I can often drive into the mountains and desert canyons and experience beautiful sunsets and wild horses.

There is so much history in the Southwest also with the old mining/ghost towns, the Wild West and Native American history. The proximity of the California coast and it’s many national parks has also been wonderful. As a photographer, there are endless possibilities here, and I feel very fortunate to be living in such a beautiful area.

What is one important lesson that you have learned through your photography?

I’ve had to work on being prepared for every possible situation. I have a lot of gear and when I’m hiking, I want to take only the necessities to lighten my load. This has been a mistake for me on a few occasions.

On one 120 degrees day last summer, I hiked with my camera to catch a few wild horses in the Salt River in Arizona. I arrived and found my horses, but my camera battery was dead. I had to hike back for the other battery. Luckily, the horses were still around by the time I hiked again and were finally prepared to take their photos.

On another occasion, I was hiking only with my wide-angle lens on a mountain trail. Of course, not having my zoom lens, I discovered an eagle’s nest above in the trees. These were important lessons that I learned in my effort to travel light. I now make it a habit to carry everything I can need.

What are some common mistakes that you see new photographers making?

I see many photographers arriving at iconic locations to capture their image and they don’t spend much time exploring the area. There may be a crowd at that one famous overlook and all the photographers will want to get that shot. There are many other perspectives and angles that they can achieve if they walk around for another view, frame the same subject differently, etc.

There are so many times that I will be waiting for sunset along with many photographers, and immediately when the sun disappears below the horizon everyone leaves. That is always disappointing to me because the best and most vivid colors happen when the sun is no longer there. Having patience and allowing the scene to develop usually has great benefits.

What’s in your camera bag?

I have been a loyal Canon customer for many years. My main camera currently is a Canon 70D with a backup Canon 60D. I have several Canon lenses, but my current “go-to” lenses in my bag are the Canon EF-S 15-85mm and Tamron SP 70-300mm Zoom Lens. I’ve also been using a Sigma 17-70mm Macro Lens a bit more for macro and everyday shooting. I also have a selection of Hoya and Tiffen filters such as neutral density, circular polarizer, and UV filters.

What software do you use for post-processing?

I’ve been a loyal user of Lightroom and Photoshop for years. I’ve found both packages to be reliable and very user friendly for my workflow needs.

Aside from photography, what hobbies do you have, or what do you like to do for fun?

We have always enjoyed hiking and kayaking. We love camping with our family and have done so in everything from tents, travel trailers and, most recently, a motor home. My favorite trips have been camping in our national parks. We recently backpacked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and camped overnight. We also enjoy playing golf and spending time with our dogs and family. I am an avid reader, gardener, love to cook, and love to travel.

Connect with Dawn

If you would like to get in touch with Dawn or learn more about her work, please use the links below.

All photos in this post are © Dawn Richards, used with permission.

Jennifer Renwick

Jennifer Renwick is a landscape photographer who travels throughout the American West. Along with David Kingham, Jennifer leads workshops at locations like Death Valley National Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the mountains of Colorado, the canyons of Utah and Arizona, and other locations throughout the west.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Jennifer. I’m sure you will appreciate the insight that she provides, and you’ll also enjoy the showcase of her beautiful photos.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started in photography?

I am originally from the midwest and grew up in Illinois. My major in college was Geology, and on a college course trip out to Wyoming, I was amazed at the snow-capped mountains and scenery. Shortly after, I received my first DSLR as a gift, and I fell in love with photography. My family moved out to Denver a few years after I graduated college, and I would frequently take trips out to visit and photograph Colorado every chance I could get.

I worked in Veterinary Medicine, which was a rewarding career, but I was traveling out west more frequently, and I was getting more serious about photography. I knew eventually I would make a move to live out west, and I made that move 1.5 years ago to pursue photography full time. I teamed up with David Kingham, and now we teach landscape photography workshops throughout the American West.

Photography started as a hobby to capture the beauty of nature and to share it with others. Still to this day, my goal is to capture the emotion and raw beauty of nature so that I can share with viewers how amazing the natural world that we live in is, and hopefully, show how important it is to preserve these special places.

Do you have any formal photography training or education?

I don’t have any formal education in photography. When I was just starting, I took some basic weekend courses in photography, and also attended a few workshops along with some photo processing courses through a local community college. I absorbed as much knowledge as I could from books, internet articles, and videos. I also studied the work of other photographers that I admired to learn as much as I could about the landscape photography world.

At the start of my photography hobby, I was still working a full-time job, so most of my learning occurred at night after work, and on the weekends. A lot of what I learned early on came from the kindness of other photographers in the early morning or sunset shoots. Some of the photographers would start small morning small talk, and by the end of sunrise or sunset, they had taught me something new about my camera or how to shoot a scene.

That’s one of the things I enjoy most about the photography world. Meeting other photographers out and about during a shoot has given me new friends, colleagues, and lessons that I hold on to still to this day. I remember meeting a fellow photographer at the Snake River Overlook in Grand Teton National Park.

He showed me his pictures from the previous night and the Milky Way. He gave me a few pointers on how to capture that, and I tried it the next night. I will be forever grateful for his kindness that morning, and for teaching me something new when I was just starting. Photography is an ever-evolving field, and there’s always something new to learn.

How would you describe your photographic style?

I feel that it takes a while to find your “style” as a photographer. I still struggle with this concept, but as the years have gone by, I see certain trends that have developed in my photography. I have found that my eye tends to lean more towards the softer colors, painterly light, and intimate scenes.

There was a point a year ago when I realized that most of the time when I was out photographing, I would start out shooting a larger scene, but then I would always get distracted by the smaller elements of that scene. I would stop myself, and try to focus on the larger view at hand. I realized that I was inhibiting my creative process by doing this, and finally stopped hindering my eyes and what they wanted to explore.

I finally allowed my eyes (and camera to follow) to explore what they wanted to see. Once I realized this, I found that this is my natural style, and I had to tell myself that it’s okay not always to focus on grand scenes. I still like to capture those vast scenes, but I enjoy the simple smaller scenes a bit more, and the stories that the more intimate views of those scenes have to tell.

Some of my favorite photos in your portfolio are the intimate scenes. Do you have any tips for finding or composing these types of shots?

Every grand landscape is made up of smaller scenes, and those smaller scenes have as much of a story to tell as the grand scenes. I always carry my zoom lens on me when I’m out shooting. The zoom ability between focal lengths is a wonderful tool to hone in on intimate details of a larger scene.

I will start with my wide-angle, and then focus in with a zoom lens to the smaller parts of a scene that my eyes find interesting. I always ask myself a few questions when I’m studying a scene; what smaller details make up this larger scene? What part of this scene is catching my eye? What is the story, and how can I convey it to the viewer through my lens?

I find that asking myself these questions helps my eyes hone in what I capture and share with viewers about a scene. There are many small overlooked details in Nature, and my eyes are attracted to those. I tend to look for how different lighting conditions enhance those small details.

For example, dunes make interesting photos when photographed with a telephoto lens during the “golden hour” or the blue light after the sunsets.

When you start thinking about natural abstracts and intimate scenes, you have to start visualizing how the light interacts with your subject, and the possibilities can be endless.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your work as a nomadic landscape photographer?

Just like anything else, living on the road full time as a photographer has it’s advantages and disadvantages. As a full-time photographer, you’re self-employed, and you’re your own boss. It sounds appealing to many people, and it is often a glamorized lifestyle.

But, it can be hard to set a schedule to follow, and to the surprise of most people, it’s not always about photographing whenever you want, and everything else will fall into place. There’s a lot of behind the scenes work like writing, blogging, learning new techniques and more importantly for us, getting ready to teach workshops. We are always looking for ways we can improve those workshops to meet the photographic needs of our clients.

I try to keep a work schedule, and I have a good balance between the two most of the time. It can be tempting to look out the window and see an amazing sunset to shoot, but like anything else, work comes first. It can be hard to work in a small space while traveling on the road, but libraries and coffee shops help along the way when I want to work somewhere else.

We live in a fully furnished travel trailer, with most of the comforts of a house. (We even travel with our pets, 2 cats!)

Another disadvantage is receiving orders and packages while on the road. We have become very familiar with post offices along the way, and some of our mail is scanned to us through email. Our “home base” is in Denver with family, and we are often back 4-5 times a year to visit and touch base.

Sometimes I miss certain things, but it’s all worth it to be able to wake up in National Parks and chase the weather conditions and light as they happen.

What is one important lesson that you have learned through your photography?

One lesson that I have learned on my journey in photography is that it’s okay to be your own person and follow your own style. I come from the school of thought that photography is an art form, and with that, comes the beauty of being creative. I used to compare my work to other photographers, and in doing that, I could get down on myself and my work.

I have come to realize that I photograph for no one but myself and that what I like to shoot makes me happy. Sure it’s great to always have jaw-dropping light while you’re photographing the more iconic scenes. I get more joy out of being creative and challenging myself to photograph what calls to me in Nature.

When you are passionate about the subject you are photographing, it comes through not only in your image but also to the viewer viewing your image. A lot of my photographs that I enjoyed capturing are images that connected with the viewer. When you photograph from your heart, it comes through in your photography, and that’s why I believe it’s important to shoot what you enjoy capturing.

What are some common mistakes that you see new photographers making?

One thing that I notice is that when new photographers are starting, they rush out to a location and plop their tripod down right away and start shooting. (I used to do this too!) Sometimes a scene can be very exciting with the light or scenery, but slowing down and taking in the scene to connect with it can calm down the brain and help you focus on the details in the scene, and help discern what your eyes lead you too.

Sometimes we worry so much about “getting the shot,” that we tend to work quickly and don’t let our eyes look around the scene, to see what parts your eyes lead you. Now granted, sometimes the scene doesn’t allow for time, but it’s always good to look around and take in the environment. I always tell my students to take a few minutes to look around first when approaching a scene.

There are details and interesting compositions to see when you take the time to connect and look around a scene first. Every scene tells a story, but it’s important to take a few minutes to learn the story first! Many of us get into landscape photography because we enjoy connecting with and being out in nature. Sometimes that is lost in the hurried rush to get the shot.

Do you have a dream location that you haven’t visited yet?

There are so many locations I would love to photograph and explore, and my list keeps growing every year. I would love to visit and have the opportunity to photograph Norway. It’s a very dynamic environment with many landscapes to photograph, along with some unique wildlife.

What’s in your camera bag?

I currently photograph with a Nikon D500 and D750. I have a few lenses, but the ones I use over and over again are my Nikkor 28-300mm and a Tokina 11-20 mm. I also use a Tamron 150-600 for super-telephoto shots, whether it’s landscape or wildlife. I also use a polarizer on occasion, and my 6 and 10-stop Lee filters for when I’m experimenting with long exposures for a creative effect.

Aside from photography, what do you like to do for fun?

When I’m not photographing, I enjoy hiking, reading, writing, snow skiing and spending time with my horse, whether it’s trail riding or competing in barrel racing.

Connect with Jennifer:

If you’d like to see more of Jennifer’s work or get in touch with her, please use the links below:

All photos used in this post are © Jennifer Renwick, used with permission.

Landscape and Travel Photographer Pratap J

Sathodi Falls in Karnataka

Here at Loaded Landscapes, most of the locations and photographers that we feature are based in the United States, Canada, or Europe, so it is exciting to have a chance to expand our reach. Pratap J is a landscape and travel photographer from India and he recently agreed to participate in an interview. In addition to his photography outings, Pratap also manages a photoblog and leads photography workshops and tours. You can learn more about Pratap at his site,

Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself, where you are from, and how you first got started with photography?

I am a photographer from the city of Bangalore in India. My interests lie in landscape and travel photography. I grew up in a big metro city and never had a chance to connect with nature.

I later moved to a small town for college where I had a lot of free time to experiment with my first film camera. A few years after that, in 2007, I purchased a DSLR with the money from my first job. During my formative years in photography, I used to shoot just about everything.

There were no social media to distract me back then. Whatever I photographed was for my joy. I simultaneously began exploring more of India and my DSLR was a constant companion. That is how I grew into a landscape and travel photographer.

Key Monastery in Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh

Do you have any formal training or education in photography?

I do not have a formal education in photography. India has very few schools that offer a formal degree in photography and anyway I always enjoyed learning things by myself. Digital photography has made learning from mistakes very inexpensive. 🙂

Chandratal Lake in Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh

How would you describe your photographic style?

My photography is a natural extension of my love for travel and nature. My senses are heightened when I am in a new place, and more so if I am far away from human development. I tend to be the most creative then.

It is important to understand that India is a very unique country in terms of climate, topology, and people. The quality of light is very different here. We do not enjoy long hours of twilight which is very important for a landscape photographer.

Road conditions are not the best, and trekking is the only way to get to places that don’t have a human settlement. The density of the population in most parts of the country is very high. It is difficult to keep people out of the frame when shooting.

My photographic style is an adaptation of these challenges.

Consequently, I have two distinct approaches to my photography. On one hand, I try and travel to remote locations in search of pristine landscapes. On the other, I make compositions that include people in the frame.

After the Temple Festival in Melkote, Karnataka

Do you have a favorite lens for photographing landscapes?

An ultra-wide-angle lens and a fast zoom lens are always in my bag. These are the two focal lengths that I love the most. I used a Canon 17-40L lens for a very long time but these days I shoot with an Irix 15mm f2.4 ultra-wide-angle lens. The Canon 70-200 f2.8L IS Mark II is my preferred zoom lens.

Contrary to popular belief, a zoom lens can be invaluable when it comes to landscape photography. It helps you make tight compositions and motivates you to tell a story with fewer elements in your frame.

Rainbow over the Aghastya Lake in Badami, Karnataka

What is one important lesson that you have learned through your photography?

Photography has instilled discipline in me. Sunrises and sunsets don’t wait for anyone so it is important to work backward and plan everything. I can’t afford to get distracted when I am on a landscape photography shoot.

At the same time, photography has also taught me to accept uncertainties. It does not take much for travel plans to go awry in India. The infrastructure here is not the very best.

The weather can easily cause delays. I have encountered many situations where meticulous planning has yielded nothing at all. Over the years, I have learned not to get frustrated and take things as they come.

Sunrise on the river Denwa in Madhya Pradesh

What software do you use for post-processing?

I am a heavy user of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. I think they are the finest software available for photographers. While Lightroom offers a very streamlined workflow, Photoshop is like a Swiss Army Knife. There are so many clever ways in which photographers use Photoshop to process their images. The possibilities are endless!

Coracles waiting for a ride in Hampi, Karnataka

Can you tell us about one of your favorite locations or regions in India for photographing?

I like photographing in the Himalayan region of India. Covering almost 5 States in the North of India, the Himalayas is where every landscape photographer wants to be. Getting to some of the beautiful National Parks in the Himalayas can take several days.

It may also involve trekking and camping too. But the people who live in the mountains are very friendly. It is easy to find a guide. They are also very hardy and resourceful and can help you transport equipment.

Down South, my home State of Karnataka has a lot of potentials. The mountain range known as the Western Ghats runs along the length of the State and offers a lot of opportunities for photography. Towns such as Hampi and Badami have a lot of historical significance and can be great for landscapes too.

Overlooking the Ruins of the Vijayanagar Empire in Hampi, Karnataka

I know you also do some archival printing. What advice would you give to photographers who are trying to decide if they should invest in learning to produce their prints?

I would advise aspiring photographers to indulge in archival printing only if they are truly passionate about it. Technology has changed how we photographers connect with our audience. Prints are no longer the most popular means of displaying our work.

That said, the joy of holding a print is unparalleled. Printing has helped me improve my skills because I tend to invest a lot more time in self-critique. You would only want to print your very best, so naturally, you look at your images with more attention when you start this journey.

My suggestion would be to invest in a printer only after you have found a way to make money from your prints. If you plan on selling your prints, then, by all means, invest in a printer because it gives you more control over the quality of the output. If you do not print often, it might be better to visit a lab when required.

An ancient temple in Hampi, Karnataka

What are the biggest challenges you face in your work as a landscape photographer?

The biggest challenge to me as a landscape photographer is to create images that are more than just a record of picturesque places that I visit. Social media has made people more aware of how beautiful this planet is. A lot more non-photographers are traveling to remote corners of the earth than ever before.

These people are clicking photographs with everything from mobile phones to action cameras and sharing them on the same platforms where more serious photographers try and promote their work. So, the challenge is to make images that stand out. A lot of landscape photographers these days use manipulation techniques to create images that border on photo-art. I have nothing against that, but the truth is that the future of pure landscape photography will certainly not be the same as before.

A Man on the Beach in Gokarna, Karnataka

What future plans do you have for your career?

I definitely want to start traveling abroad to shoot landscapes. Living in a developing country has its challenges when it comes to the economics of travel. Luckily, the tourism industry has opened up these days. The choices are more and one can tour the world on any kind of budget. I want to start by exploring more of Asia. Countries like Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan and maybe even rural China look very intriguing.

Monsoon Clouds in Gokarna, Karnataka

Connect with Pratap J

If you’d like to see more of his work or get in touch, please use the links below:

All photos in this post are © Pratap J, used with permission.

Robert Rodriguez, Jr.

I recently had the opportunity to interview landscape photographer, teacher, and author Robert Rodriguez, Jr. Robert lives in the Hudson Valley of New York, and as someone who teaches, speaks, and leads workshops, he has a great deal of insight to share.

Take a few minutes to read the interview below. You’ll get to know more about Robert, see some of his work, and I’m sure you’ll pick up something valuable as well.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started in photography.

I’ve been an artist all of my life, starting with music in my teenage years through college and up until about 13 years ago. Then I made a life-changing decision to become a landscape photographer because it would allow me to express what had become and still is most important to me, the awe and wonder of being alive.

Nature elicits that emotion in me more powerfully than anything else, and I’m grateful every day for the fact that I am still doing what I love to do – make images that convey that as best I can. Over time I also realized that I love teaching and inspiring others to push themselves beyond what they thought possible, especially when it comes to creativity (if I could do it, others could as well.)

So even though I’m still actively working on photography projects, I spend a lot of time writing books, articles, creating online courses, and working with students on workshops. Sharing ideas and insights that make a difference is what motivates me every day.

Do you have any formal training or education in photography?

No, I’m completely self-taught. Having said that, I graduated from the Berklee College of Music, and so I think my formal training in music helped me understand the process of learning new skills and the importance of dedication and perseverance. That was extremely helpful when I picked up the camera because as Ansel Adams said, “landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer, and often the supreme disappointment.“

That has certainly been my experience, and so having the self-confidence to make mistakes and understand it was part of the process was critically important for me. I also realized early on that great photography relies on a visual language that is shared by other mediums, namely painting. So I spent (and still spend) lots of time studying not only the greats of photography but also great painters.

In fact, all art forms have something to offer, whether it’s directly applicable or a different perspective of the world that can be incorporated into a photograph.

What draws you to landscapes and nature rather than other types of photography or subjects?

That stems directly from my childhood growing up in NYC in the late 70s, the ultimate urban jungle. When I went on my first camping trip, I knew then that somehow I had been transformed. Nature was different in every way from what I was used to be back home.

The sounds, the smell, the air, the beauty-it was a completely life-changing experience that planted a seed, and it’s that seed that took hold when I became disillusioned with the music industry.

For me, nature provides a powerful sense of gratitude, of wonder. I instantly feel better mentally and physically when I spend time in nature, and the strong emotional connection I have to nature is what I want to convey in my images. I want others to realize how fortunate we all are to exist on this beautiful planet.

That’s not denying all that is wrong, but rather a way to uplift and inspire others to appreciate what is right. Photography is the medium I use to express that, but the experience is what I long for. Because of that, I’m always exploring other ways to express myself, and I’m currently learning how to paint which is extremely challenging and difficult.

But not only does it inform my photography and improve my vision, but it also lets me understand more deeply what it is I want to explore creatively.

Can you tell us about a favorite location that you like to photograph in your local area?

I’m fortunate in that I live in the Hudson Valley, a beautiful area north of NYC that provides endless opportunities for landscape photography. There are a few spots just a few miles south of my home where the mountains are dramatic, and with the micro-climate that the Hudson valley often generates, it’s exciting to visit as often as I can.

Some days it’s clear without a cloud in the sky, other days completely fogged in. We also get great light because of the atmospherics, and so I try to take advantage of that whenever I can. It’s no coincidence that an entire painting movement, The Hudson River School, began in this area one hundred fifty years ago.

I also enjoy photographing the area because it continually challenges me to find new ways of seeing the familiar. You might think that after a few visits there’s nothing left to explore, but an open mind and an awareness of light have taught me many lessons. Gratitude can also manifest itself in an image you might not have imagined otherwise.

Between workshops and classes, mentoring, speaking, and running a studio, you have a lot going on. It seems like teaching and helping others in their photography is very important to you. Can you tell us what you enjoy most about using your experience to help others?

I simply get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from helping others—the idea of making a difference. Motivating and empowering others to realize their full potential is something that gives me joy, and it lets me share everything I’ve learned from others, past and present. Generosity is something I have learned to embrace for its intrinsic value, and while I do have to pay my bills and support my family, I try to share as much as I can.

You’ve also been active in advocating for conservation. How would you encourage other photographers to get more involved in this area?

You’ve done your research! Yes, I am actively involved in conservation, mostly with Scenic Hudson, the leading environmental group in the area. It’s proven to be one of my proudest accomplishments to photograph for them, often as a donation, because the images serve a much greater purpose than simply becoming part of my portfolio.

Hopefully, the images can play a role in convincing others why it’s important to protect our environment.

I think any non-profit work, whether environmentalism or humanitarian, is a great way to give your work a greater sense of purpose. I often tell students to find causes in their area that they support and get involved photographically. I can tell you from experience that the far-reaching benefits both creatively and socially far outweigh any immediate compensation.

Plus it helps you become more established as a photographer in your area.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your work as a landscape photographer?

Probably the single biggest challenge is not letting the demands of the “career” interfere with the mental space you need to make creative, meaningful images. When I’m in the landscape, I try very hard to simply be present and react to what I see and feel.

Questions about selling, conformity, likability, and self-doubt are always lurking in the background, waiting for an opportunity to gain attention. It’s all called fear and I’m all too familiar with fear, having had plenty of it in my lifetime. The key is to embrace it as a sign that you’re doing something bold and difficult, and that’s where we all have an opportunity to make a difference.

Can you name a few photographers who have influenced your career?

Galen Rowell, Elliot Porter, Charlie Waite, Art Wolfe, and David Muench. And one other fellow named Ansel Adams, especially when I learned he was a concert pianist before becoming a photographer.

Do you have a favorite photography-related book?

There are so many, it would be an injustice to single one out. An early book that had a huge impact on me was “The Creative Habit” by Twyla Tharp, which is not a photography book. But it made me realize that creativity isn’t a function of magical moments of creative insight, but rather a dedication to daily habits and rituals that cultivate creativity.

That single mind-shift has proven to be true over and over again in my work making images. Luck favors the prepared, and in nature, that is essential. So I figured if I didn’t have a natural talent, I could at least work harder than others to establish myself as a photographer.

What do you like to do for fun aside from photography?

Hiking, biking, reading, drawing and painting, and spending time with my family.

Thank you for the opportunity to answer these questions – I am grateful!

Connect with Robert

All photographs shown in the interview are © Robert Rodriguez, Jr., used with permission.

Karina and Amir from Vanexus Photography

Morning Calm

Karina and Amir are a couple based in Vancouver that specializes in landscape photography. Together they form Vanexus Photography. Their portfolio includes many beautiful landscapes, especially those around their area of British Columbia.

I reached out to Karina and Amir about the possibility of interviewing readers of Loaded Landscapes, and they graciously agreed. Below you can get to know more about them, their lives and work as a photographic team, and I’m sure you’ll pick up some inspiration from their photos that are showcased throughout the article.

Golden Moment from Reynisfjara

Please tell us a little bit about yourselves, how you met, and how you first got started with photography.

We are Karina and Amir, based out of Vancouver, Canada. We’ve been a couple for a lot longer than we’ve been photography partners. We both have 9-5 jobs and so photography is a passion/hobby, to move towards full-time photography work in the future.

Our interest in photography started with the first purchase of a point and shoot just over a decade ago. We decided to upgrade to a DSLR a few years later as we wanted to start shooting a bit more than just the occasional trip or event. We tried to learn and hone our skills as much as possible with our entry-level DSLR and made the jump into photography as a source of income about three years ago.

Karina & Amir

What draws you to landscapes rather than other types of photography or subjects?

We’ve both dabbled in other types of photography, like portraiture and real estate. However, landscapes allow us to get away from the hectic daily routines, to slow down, and to enjoy nature.

Nothing can replace the feeling and rush we get when we experience seeing the Northern Lights or an amazing sunrise over a calm lake.

Grotta Aurora

How would you describe your photographic style?

The most common description we’ve heard about our photos is that they are often peaceful and calm. We would attribute this to the fact that we enjoy the process of being outdoors and being surrounded by nature and while we don’t follow a specific aesthetic, we do try to convey a sense of serenity through our photos.

Moody Bow Lake

Can you tell us about what it’s like to work together as a couple?

We both have our unique styles, as well as our strengths and weaknesses. So it is a healthy collaborative process. Since it is the two of us, we tend to see it as an advantage as we can be more mobile and can capture different perspectives of the same area.

A lot of the time, it helps to discuss and plan the shots with one another and get feedback for what would work best. Usually, one of us will use a wide-angle lens to capture the whole scene and the other person will use our telephoto lens to focus on details.

For the photos that we post on social media, it’s possible for one of us to take the photo and edit it. However, for photos that we display on our website, we both have an input on the final image we present.

Lighthouse Sunset

What are some of your favorite locations in British Columbia?

For a road trip, Yoho National Park, and specifically Emerald Lake would have to be near the top of our list. The beautiful color of the lake, the reflections, the morning fog, and the wildlife that live around the area all make it such a unique and wonderful natural gem.

Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is another beautiful set of lakes that look amazing both in the Summer and Winter months. If you are trying to get away from the crowds, its best to visit during the fall and winter.

As for local spots near Vancouver, we would have to say it includes Golden Ears Provincial ParkLighthouse Park, and Porteau Cove Provincial Park. B.C. is an extremely large and diverse province, and we have barely scratched the surface. Hopefully, we will be able to explore some of the northern, and interior locations, as well as Vancouver Island over the next couple of years.

Golden Ears Gold Rays

Do you have a dream location that you have not been to yet?

Too many to list! But Faroe IslandsJapan, and New Zealand would have to be the top three.

Waterfowl Lake Sunset

What is your typical process for planning and scouting?

We are usually pretty meticulous in our planning and if we have access to the location, we try to scout in advance. We use apps like The Photographer’s Ephemeris or Photopills to be able to plan our sunset, sunrise, and potentially night photography shoots.

Having said that, we do plan specific, seasonal local shots and try to make the photo happen if the right conditions present themselves. An example of that would be our ‘Red Umbrella’ photo, which took around three years to fully come together as Vancouver is not known for its snowstorms!

The Red Umbrella

What’s in your camera bag?

We own a Nikon D810 and a Nikon D750 and we love both bodies. Our most used lenses would have to be the Nikon 16-35mm f/4, the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 and the Nikon 20mm f/1.8 for Astro and Aurora photography.

We also use a variety of NiSi ND filters, as well as multiple tripods. We also never leave the house without a rocket blower, some microfibre cloths, and our remote shutter releases.

We also own a DJI Phantom 3 Pro, but unfortunately, we haven’t been able to use it much thanks to the extremely strict laws in Canada.

Dyrholaey Aurora

What are you working on at the moment, or in the near future?

We just got back from a trip to the Canadian Rockies, so we have a lot of photos to process!

We are also looking to expand our photography portfolio and will try our hands in Architectural photography during the next few months. The weather in Vancouver will more than likely be grey and dull for most of the fall and winter, so it gives us plenty of opportunities to step away from landscapes and focus on a new project.

Moraine Magic

Connect with Karina and Amir

If you’d like to get in touch with Karina and Amir or see more of their work, please use the links below.

All photos in this post are © Vanexus Photography, used with permission.

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