Q. What started it all for you? How did you get into the arts?
A. I used my first camera when I was 11… My parents bought a film camera in the 90s. My parents always encouraged me to pursue new creative outlets, from drumming to photography. It was really when I joined 4-H that my interest in photography took off. I entered one of my photographs in the county fair and it won a blue ribbon - you could say those were some of my earliest photography endeavors and experiences.
I grew up in Iowa and now live in Maui, Hawaii. My wife and I came here for our 5-year anniversary and fell in love with the cultural diversity, white sand beaches, and epic scenery. When my wife had an unexpected loss of career in Minnesota , she jokingly said “let’s just do something different and move to Maui!” Though it seemed crazy at the time, it did plant a seed which made us consider how to make it work. When everything lined up, we made the move in January of 2018. Because of that leap of faith I have made some amazing connections…even with some National Geographic photographers that I now call friends.
Q. Tell me about your creative process / How do you approach new projects?
A. Two main ways: planned and unplanned. Sometimes I start off with a goal of capturing exactly what I have in mind for a specific angle at a beach… but mostly it’s total spontaneity. Whether going on a hike or to a specific location, I go with no preconceived notions. Sometimes I don’t research beforehand either., I just show up and then look for angles, lighting, and compositions. I’m always drawn to scenes on a grand scale, particularly landscape panoramas. Landscape photography has abundant awe and wonder, which is what I love. My next project will be focusing on long-exposure sunset waterscapes.
Q. Who and/or what are your biggest inspirations and how do they influence your work?
A. First and foremost in my life is God, the reason for anything to exist at all. While I am self-taught, I have also been inspired by some phenomenal local photographers like Michael Sweet and Stu Soley, as well as YouTube photographers like Tony & Chelsea Northrup, Serge Remelli, Nathan Cool, FStoppers, Sean Tucker, and Peter McKinnon.
Q. What is your favorite subject matter to focus on and why?
A. I will always love grand scale panoramas. Lately, I’ve been exploring drone photography to get new perspectives. I am hoping to get into a helicopter to experiment with aerial photography soon. With aerial photography, you have this additional perspective while other photographers are limited to ground level - it really changes the game for me.
Q. What are you working on now?
A. My wife and I just went to the Kalalau Trail Hike on Kauai where I took over 2,000 photos in the three days’ journey. This trail is one of the deadliest in America; we’re extremely grateful to have checked it off the bucket list. I took my camera and drone and we hiked 11 miles both ways, with abundant 1,0000-foot drops into the ocean on one side. The hike ends at a super secluded beach, where I captured photographs of a waterfall on the beach with a double rainbow. Next, I want to capture the Milky Way from Makena Cove on the south side of Maui.
Q. If you had a motto, for your art and life, what would it be?
A. Live the moment; we all go up together. It’s so important to get off the beaten path and adventure into the unknown. We moved 4,000 miles away from home and while it was a risk, we have been immensely blessed.