I’m excited to share this month’s photographer of the month interview with American photographer Nick Page. For those who aren’t familiar with him make sure you read through to the end and take a look at his educational YouTube channel and Podcast as well.
First of all, thank you for taking the time to do this. Can you start by telling us a little about yourself and how you got started with photography?
I got my start with Photography in a fairly uncommon way. I hurt my back at my job and was bedridden for a month-and-a-half while waiting for surgery. While I laid on the couch I thought to myself: man I need to do something with my mind other than watch American Chopper reruns LOL… so I took that time to learn something new. At the time I thought I was interested in videography and I started watching YouTube tutorials on photography and videography. After surgery, I got my first camera and within a year of picking up my first DSLR I got so busy with photography that had to quit my day job.
What do you wish to convey through your photography?
For the longest time, I felt that the main thing lacking from my photography was emotion, mood and feeling. As a technically minded person, I was always able to create technically proficient images just not ones that conveyed a Feeling. Trading images that evoke a feeling are my main goal in life photography now
Besides landscape photography, you also shoot portraits, weddings, sport and more – are there many differences between the genres or are you able to implement the same techniques/ideas in all?
All the different types of photography I do are so vastly different that they serve as a nice palate cleanser and refresher for when I start to feel burnt out. As a full-time photographer, I take hundreds of thousands of images every year and if I only did one type of photography it would be very easy for me to get burned out. Also doing different types of photography makes me better at the other genres. For example, shooting sports and weddings has taught me to be present and to look for the decisive moment. Which in turn makes my landscape photography much better because I’m always looking for that peak moment of light or action.
Your images are often “moody” and “dreamy”, what do you look for in a scene before capturing it?
I am always drawn to landscapes with motion or something special happening with the light. Sometimes it’s something as simple as the way the waves are receding towards the horizon in a Seascape or maybe it is waiting for that peak moment of light when the sun peeks over the horizon during sunrise and hits the tips of the foliage in the foreground for the first moment of the day. These things give a sense of action and moment. It’s not just an average ordinary moment that I’m trying to capture. Ideally, it is THE moment.
How important is post processing in your workflow?
Post processing is a big part of my workflow. I feel that in this modern age of photography, its half of the creative process. The camera captures the information, but it’s in post processing that we decide what to do with that information, what mood and feeling you want to convey, and a million other creative choices. Composition is king, but it’s in post production that you can milk out the most of what you captured. Having said that, I don’t like to composite skies or other features of the scene, not because I feel it is “wrong” or “cheating”, but rather because I feel like it would take the fun out of chasing the good light and trying to get conditions to line up. To me, that’s more than half of the fun.
When I look at your pictures I can instantly recognize that this is a “Nick Page image” – can you tell us a little about finding your own style and why it’s important to stay true to your vision?
To be honest, I am not sure I could point out what that “Nick Page” look is. I love dramatic light, dramatic scenes and images that convey a mood. I try to evoke a feeling through a darker image, where I purposefully start with a dark frame, then selectively add highlights back into the shot where I want to the eye to go, in that way I can really direct the eye, and draw the viewer through the scene as I intended.
You’ve also become a well-known podcaster – can you tell us a little about this platform and your experiences with it?
Both podcasting and YouTube have been huge for me. It’s an interesting thing when people know you more for your stories, videos and the sound of your voice rather than your photography but that’s pretty much the case with me. I have been on remote trails in the PNW west, and ran into people that were like, hey Nick! And after talking to them for a few minutes I notice they have my tripod, my camera bag, and many other pieces of gear I have suggested on my youtube channel. Or alternatively I have been in a large group of people, then once I start to talk, a person lights up because they recognize my voice but not my face. It’s an odd thing but has been a huge opportunity for me. Photography in general has been a huge door to getting to do and see things I would have never got the chance to do, without photography
If you could photograph anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
Northern Norway. I am not sure why, perhaps it’s the 1/16th of Scandinavian blood in my veins but I am very drawn to the dramatic, cold places of the world, like Greenland, Iceland, and Norway. I very much want to explore the fjords and towering mountains of Norway and hopefully do so under the Aurora show or two.
What and/or who inspires you?
Most of the photographers I follow have a mastery of both finding dramatic scenes and a solid mastery of post processing. People like Enrico Fossati, Ted Gore, Ryan Dyar, David Thompson and Michael Shainblum just seem to have a never ending stream of amazing photos in their portfolios, and are so consistent with their quality. But outside of photography, I find a lot of inspiration from movies. Color grading in movies and film is a great example of portraying feeling and emotion through the use of color and I find a lot of inspiration from a well-produced movie.
What are your top 3 tips for someone who’s just getting started with photography?
- Latch onto the photographers that are better than you. Figure out what it is that you like about their photography more than your own, and that will give you a direction in which to improve with your own work.
- Pick on your weaknesses. To improve at anything, it’s all about figuring out what your weaknesses are, then working at improving in that area. Sometimes it’s a concept such as composition, for others, it’s just getting out and actually making the time when the conditions are right. Either way, working on your weaknesses will make you a more well rounded photographer in the end.
- Shoot with the future in mind. Landscape photographers are one of the rare breeds that tend to under shoot. They will travel across the country, or even the world and take 10 photos of a location sometimes. In the beginning, we make lots of mistakes, and later on, when we look at those photos, we often find ourselves saying… well I will have to go back. When I shoot a hard-to-get-to location, I try to shoot it in every way I can think of, lots of different compositions, focal lengths, etc. That way when future Nick is looking at the photo with his superior eye, hopefully somewhere in there I have something that was above the eye of current Nick. Make sure to not let your tripod grow roots, and keep moving and shooting.
What’s next for Nick Page?
2017 and 2018 will see lots of new video tutorials coming out on my website. I get asked constantly for workflow tutorials and in the past, my hands were kind of tied because of my affiliation with my previous podcasts but now that those ties are no more, I will be launching quite a few tutorials geared toward the intermediate and advanced landscape photographers among us.