How much planning do you put in before traveling to a new place?
Planning is one of the most important steps and can take years. Without properly preparing you can leave yourself open to missing opportunities to capture photos and it will eat up precious time on a trip. To begin, my studio and I use Google Maps to build out detailed maps of the locations we are planning to capture. You can add destinations, location images, and details about accommodations or food along the way.
Packing correctly also helps optimize your traveling space. Make sure the essentials are always available. My essentials are my camera kit, a headlamp, multi-tool, light jacket, beanie, and a light tripod. Having these readily available keeps you ready to take photographs at a moment’s notice. One last step in preparation is finding out where the sun will set, rise, and where the Milky Way will cross the sky.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your travels?
I would say the biggest lesson for me has been learning how to really take in the experiences I have on the road. For so long, I was totally focused on my assignments and didn’t have time to absorb what was happening around me. I got into this type of work to be a storyteller and I realised that while I was getting epic images, I had no stories because I had spent too much time behind the camera. I started to realise it was equally important for me to connect with my subjects and landscapes. This could be as simple as taking a dip in the river or spending time speaking to a local for a few minutes before I snapped his photo. I feel like the world needs more face-to-face time… not just Facetime.
Where’s next on your bucket list?
My bucket list seems to perpetually grow. I really want to get back to the Aleutian Islands and explore more of them, as well as the Kuril Islands off Russia. I feel drawn to explore more remote islands in the world, as well as parts of the Alaska Coast.
If you were to recommend five places everyone should visit, what would they be?
I would say first explore your own backyard. I don’t think the answer is always to hop on a plane and spend money and see the world. We often leave behind some great things in order to fulfill a fantasy that the road doesn’t provide. After you spend some quality time in your own area or a place near you, try Greenland, Alaska, Patagonia, India, and the Faroe Islands.