Frequently Asked Questions
Hey everyone! I get a lot of e-mails and have trouble keeping up with all of them so here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
What type of gear do you use?
First, I don't believe that gear is the most important thing. In my mind, an alarm clock is almost more important than the camera. For me, which camera I use mostly comes down to how large I need to print. Photography is all about light and composition. You can take great photos with almost any camera that has some form of manual control if you understand these two things. With that said, I currently use the following equipment:
Camera: Canon 5D Mark ii
Lenses: 24-105mm F4
Tripod: Feisol: CT-3471
Filter: Singh-Ray Graduated Neutral Density 0.9 soft
How did you get started in photography?
This is not your normal story and so it is not necessarily the recommended route for entering the world of photography. I spent many years living in the Balkans and, upon moving back to the USA in January of 2004, I realized that I had the opportunity to do whatever I wanted. I thought about what I enjoy most in the world: hiking in the mountains enjoying beauty and solitude. I then spent some time thinking about how I could make a job out of it. After a bit of research I decided that I would become a professional nature photographer even though I knew very little about photography and was told very clearly that it was almost impossible to make a living this way. My stubbornness combined with my entrepreneurial blood to send me off in this direction. I began by spending hours studying the work of other photographers. I wasn't focused on the equipment they used but on which photos excited me and understanding why they did. I tried to understand how the lighting and composition contributed to creating emotions. At the same time I began to practice with a small point-and-shoot. I would solicit honest feedback from professional and advanced amateur photographers and then go back out to apply their advice. I worked very hard to incorporate all that I was learning and tried to be very critical of my work. Within 18 months of my decision to become a photographer I began selling my work at art shows. I then moved into selling in various galleries and within three years of that decision I opened my own gallery. During this time I used whatever equipment I could afford and, as I've seen a valid need, I've slowly upgraded. I still have a long way to go, but I'm continuing to learn. The biggest obstacle I see in other beginning photographers is that they don't like criticism whereas I welcome it as a window allowing me to see where I need to improve.
Do you give courses or teach workshops?
At present I do not do any teaching. The main reason for this is that most people want instruction during the busy summer and autumn months which is also when I do all of my photography and sales in the gallery. Life gets too busy during those four months and so I've had to cut back to stay healthy and have not renewed my guiding insurance or park guiding permits. I do however have two friends in the area that I highly recommend for photography instruction: Jared Gricoskie and James Frank. Both of these guys can help you take your photography to the next level and both know Rocky Mountain National Park very well. Book early because their services are very popular.
Can I go hiking with you?
The short answer is "no". The primary reason that I took up photography was to find a way to carve out more time in my life for solitude. I spend most of my week engaged with people and because of my personality I need time to be alone in order to be whole. In the solitude I am restored. It is the place where I can finally connect with what is happening deep inside of me. Times of silence can move us from living superficial lives to deeper and more meaningful lives. In solitude I can finally be quiet enough to begin to hear God's still quiet voice pulling me beyond myself. In solitude I am also at my most creative and can see things that I would otherwise have missed.