In the last 6 months, I’ve been extremely lucky to shoot around the world, and I hope to share a few things that I’ve learned in each location.

1. Yosemite

Follow your inspiration.

I have been in love with a place so much, that I have revolved my life around living there. For the past three years, I have been able to call Yosemite home more than anywhere else. I work seasonally for Yosemite Search and Rescue team, and feel super lucky to live in such a beautiful and inspiring place. I know this isn’t alway possible to move to your dream location, but it is important to make a strong effort to visit those places that are visually inspiring to refresh your soul.

Two men backpack through Yosemite National Park, California

Half Dome under the night sky, Yosemite National Park, California

2. Verdone Gorge, France

Get up early!

This one is obvious, and you’ve heard it over and over again. It’s very painful for me to catch the first light of the day, but I personally think that sunrise is the most visually powerful part of the day.

Young man rock climbs in Verdone Gorge, France

Clouds roll through Verdone Gorge, France

 

3. Hampi, India

Lens compression

Think about how different scenes will look with different lenses. Wide vs. long lenses have a very different look and feel in images. I never fully understood this, even when I had owned both types of lenses!

Bouldering in front of Hampi, India Landscape
Shot with 200mm lens shot 400 feet away (notice how large the temple is in the
background compared to the next image)
Bouldering in Hampi, India
Shot with 16mm lens ~60 feet away (notice how small the temple is in the background).
If I were to switch to a long lens and step back a ways, the climber would be the same
size in the photo, except the background would appear much larger.

 

4. Jaipur, India

Just ask.

I’m 100% introverted, scared of strangers, and quite shy. While traveling around India and Nepal, I’d see something beautiful, usually an interesting person, and often I’d miss the shot just because I was too afraid to walk up to that person ask to take their photo. For me, it’s a slow and grueling process to get better at this. Only about 10% of the time someone would say no. Be respectful, ask when it’s appropriate, smile big, and don’t be afraid to get turned down.

Portrait of a woman in Jaipur, India

 

5. Phortse Village, Khumbu Valley, Nepal

Be there.

Just before I went out to take some photos, it was super foggy, cold, and I was feeling tired and unmotivated. There wasn’t anything particular I wanted to shoot, and thought I might be wasting my time. I went out anyway, and ended up getting some of the best images and timelapses of the entire trip. Sometimes being there waiting for to find something interesting to shoot is extremely important.

Man and mountain goat hikinh in Phortse Village, Khumbu Valley, Nepal

 

6. Kathmandu, Nepal

Patience.

Instead of going out and finding something to shoot, sometimes it’s important for the shot to come to you. I hadn’t taken any photos I was happy with until this one just unfolded in front of me.

Man puts out small fire in Kathmandu, Nepal

 

7. Kalymnos, Greece

Separation

A shallow depth of field, silhouette, difference in color are all things that can help your subject stand out. To make stronger images, simplify the composition, and separate your subject from the background.

Person rock climbs and hangs from cliff in Kalymnos, Greece

 

Gear Recommendations

These are the bags that have helped me focus less on gear and organization, and more on the creative process of shooting while traveling:

Mountainsmith Kit Cube Camera Case

Kit Cube

This is by far my favorite camera bag for traveling around the world with a DSLR and
three lenses. I slide it into a 35L backpack, making my entire kit discrete. Traveling
around  India and Nepal, I would usually walk around with the camera around my neck,
with other essentials in my backpack.

 

Mountainsmith DescentDescent

The best bag for running around with a DSLR body and three lenses on a photo/video shoot.

  • When shooting climbing while hanging off of the wall, the bag greatly decreases the chance of dropping something while switching lenses.
  • Your DSLR can fit in the bag with 70-200 attached.
  • Your DSLR can fit in the bag without having to take off external microphone.

 

Mountainsmith Zoom Camera Bag

Zoom (Medium)
  • Shoulder strap neck pad prevents chafing during all day use and while climbing. – – – Waist strap helps keep the camera at your hip when climbing, while most over the shoulderstrap bags will let the bag swing to the front of your body
  • It fits lens full frame body and 70-200 (will not fit with lens hood on).
  • DSLR+standard zoom lens+ small prime lens (such as 50mm) can all fit in the bag.

 

Mountainsmith Kit Cube Traveler

 

Kit Cube Traveler
  • Very versatile because it can be used with different backpacks or luggage.
  • Slide into luggage or a large backpack.

 

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