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Artist Profile

Behind the Scenes: Creating Album Art

By | Artist Profile, delightful design, Gorillapod | No Comments

Ashlan Nathens, or ‘scribblegraph’ as he is now known, is an independent artist from Perth, Western Australia. He shared this great video of the behind the scenes process of him creating the album art for singer-songwriter Heather Fay. Not only did he use his GorillaPod SLR-Zoom to film the behind the scenes video, he also used it to photograph the artwork for the album. Super cool!

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To see more of Ash’s great illustrations check out his website!

How to GorillaTorch Flare for Photo & Video Lighting at Night

By | Artist Profile, Gorillatorch, How To, Photography | 4 Comments

Oakland-based photographer/videographer/rock climber Austin Zimmerman used our GorillaTorch Flare 125 to light an awesome video of his recent trip to Yosemite. The great part about using a GorillaTorch on a camping trip? It also doubles as a photo and video light in case you decide to film your friends climbing at night!  

High Adventure Weekend from Austin Z on Vimeo.

We caught up with Austin after his trip to hear what he thought of GorillaTorch Flare and also get some tips for how to use GorillaTorch Flare to light your nighttime photos and videos. 

Tell us about your project. 

This short film was shot with a Canon DSLR and a Joby GorillaTorch Flare 125 during a weekend trip to Yosemite. A few days before our trip, a member of the Joby crew brought a box of Joby torch lights to the climbing gym where I work. We hooked up a few lucky members at our gym with a Joby light, but a co-worker and I decided we had to take one with us to Yosemite for some “field testing”.

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Tell us about your experience using the Joby GorillaTorch Flare 125.

I was blown away by the quality of light the Joby put out. The Flare 125 provided a crisp, clean beacon of light which really illuminated every detail of the boulder. Everything from the curvature of the rock all the way down to the obsidian crystals inside the granite. I have used external lighting to capture rock climbing footage at night before, but on this trip I decided to leave the bulky L.E.D. panel at home, with no regrets.

 

Tips for using the Joby as external lighting?

Much like uplighting or downlighting in home landscaping, having a powerful concentrated beam of light allows you to pick out the natural features you would like to highlight. The Joby is perfect for filming boulders at night because of the way it accentuates the beautifully sculpted prows and ledges. Those are the types of features that really lend themselves to the camera. The trick is not to point the light straight at the rock, but to pick an angle which highlights those features.

 

Favorite attribute of the Flare 125?

This light is efficient to the max. After three long nights of climbing and gathering footage, the batteries hardly seemed fazed. Even the batteries in our headlamps, which produce less light, had to be swapped at least once each.

 

Best part about filming rock climbing?

A boulder problem is like an intricate and delicate puzzle. I really enjoy that moment of discovery when you unlock the sequence of movement that allows you to ascend a line edges in a rock face. I gain a lot of inspiration from that moment when you see someone transcend mental barriers. For me it is really motivating to watch a film that captures those moments.

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Tips for people new to filming climbers?

Shoot at every chance you get! Even when your friends burn you for it!

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Going camping this summer and need some versatile flashlights? Check out our GorillaTorch line, especially our GorillaTorch Switchback – a handy two in one flashlight that converts from lantern to headlamp! 

Photographing Africa alongside Andre Haramboure

By | Artist Profile, Gorillapod, Photography | No Comments

We sent our GorillaPod Focus with Ballhead X to photographer Ander Haramboure just before he embarked on a photo expedition to Africa. Below he shares his experience and his tips for how get great photographs with zoom lenses in even the most extreme environments! 

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First, can you tell us a little bit about how you got into photography?

Most of the time, I go into photography during my travels. I’m lucky enough to go out several times a year… Photography is part of the travel itself as taking the good pic needs you to sharpen your eyes. Then you discover so many details you would have never seen without your camera. I’ve also met so beautiful people I wanted to shoot! I couldn’t travel without my camera!

 

What projects you currently working on? Can you tell us about the project these photos are from?

This year, I going on the extremities… I just came back for Zimbabwe and am heading to Spitzberg Island… 60°c gap!

I was in Africa to support a local NGO. It was the dry season and animals needed to be counted at the waterholes. Many of them were dying of thirst and it was urgent to have a good “picture” of the situation. I was on the “fire line” and could be very close to the animals! Great views!

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How has the GorillaPod changed the way you shoot?

The GorillaPod is light and discreet. You can bring it with you all the time even in a small bag! It can solve many of the problems that get in your way of shooting anywhere and everywhere, like low light and need for stability stability with zoom lenses.

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What is your best tip for using the GorillaPod?

Without the Gorillapod, you will be limited to “common altitudes”. With it, you can let your imagination express itself! Find the craziest viewpoint of the scene you want to shoot, prepare your camera and only then use the GorrilaPod! Twist it’s 3 legs in many different ways so to find the best stability you can. Mount your camera on the GorillaPod, point, and shoot!

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Can you share a story of a time that your GorillaPod really came in handy from your past trip?

In Zimbabwe, sometimes shooting conditions were really extreme! My zoom lens was heavy and I needed stability to get a clear pics! As you could see on one of the pictures, I was able to block my camera on the bull bar thanks to my gorillaPod ! It helped me to shoot a beautiful group of elephants that were showering the babies at the waterhole.

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What is your best advice for aspiring photographers?

Even if you need it, photography is no question of technique… Photography is question of imagination and sensibility!

Go out and shoot with your feelings, you get great shots!

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Thanks Ander for sharing your amazing photographs and your trip! See more of Ander’s work from all over the world on his website.

Hike Through Te Araroa with Olivier Moly and his GorillaPod

By | Artist Profile, Friends of Joby, Gorillapod, Photography | One Comment

Hankering for a getaway, but stuck at the office? Us too! Thankfully, our friend Olivier Moly is on a grand adventure hiking a 3000 km long trail called Te Araroa in New Zealand and you can follow along! Check out his site Hike Through Te Araroa where he posts updates and beautiful photography for a daily dose of inspiration. 

Here is a little from Olivier about his trip and his favorite tripod the GorillaPod SLR-Zoom.

I’m Olivier. The main idea of my adventure is to cross New Zealand hiking via a long trail called Te Araroa. This path was inaugurated in 2011, so it is the newest long trail in the world. This is a 3000 km trail stretching across New Zealand from the Top North (Cap Reinga) to the bottom South (Bluff). I think it will take me about 4 or 5 months and I started on the 3rd of December.

I started my blog Hike Through Te Araroa to allow people following my trip on the Internet.  I studied photography for three years in France and so this blog will be more a photography documentary than a writing documentary. I brought my GorillaPod SLR-Zoom with Ballhead for the trip because I needed the best tripod and the lightest one. 3000 km is a long way to go!

Here are some snippets from Olivier’s trip so far … 

Good luck Olivier! We cannot wait to see more!

How to Share Photography with Kids

By | Artist Profile, Gorillapod, How To | No Comments

Summer days are getting longer and after a few weeks out of school, your kids are starting to get on your nerves. Need something to keep them occupied? How about photography?



Photographers Varina and Jay Patel share how a few point and shoot cameras paired with GorillaPod Original provided hours of summer fun for their family.  After a few hours of playing around with cameras and GorillaPods in the woods, their kids learned quite a bit about photography. From self-timer to macro shots, they were able to express themselves and share their parents’ passion. Happy kids enjoying your favorite hobby—now that’s a win-win!

Read the entire article and learn how you can recreate the experience at home with your family here. And for some quick tips on how to explain photography basics to your kids, check out this DIY guide, also by Jay and Varina.

 

HDR Photography with Eric B. Wood

By | Artist Profile, Gorillapod, How To, Philosophy, Photography | 2 Comments

A few weeks ago, we asked New York-based photographer Eric Wood to share some of his tips and tricks for HDR photography. We were curious about HDR and he was stoked to share with us. Instead of a simple list of tips and tricks, he came back to us with this awesome discussion about his HDR philosophy, his gear, how he post-processes and how he prints. Get ready to delve into the controversial world of HDR photography with Eric!  

As I’m sitting here trying to decide how to begin this post I am thinking of all the wonderful tutorials, amazing websites and awesome photographers devoted to HDR. There are lots of them…and most of them are very, very good. In fact, I learned (and still learn) about HDR from these very same resources. I’d like to think I came from the school of hard-knocks when it came to HDR but the truth is a simple Google search landed me a wealth of information from which my own passion for it grew. The base of learning this technique is already out there so rather than simply regurgitating information that already exists, I’d like to take a new approach and address a few things that aren’t out there yet. My hope is that I can shine some new light and make your life a little easier as you comb through this awesome, yet controversial technique.

Location: Cambridge, New York
Gear: Nikon D90 | Sigma 10-20
Shot: 3 Exposures (-2, 0, +2)
Tripod: GorillaPod SLR Zoom with Ballhead

Awesome HDR Tutorials
Stuck in Customs HDR Tutorial
Cambridge in Color High Dynamic Range Tutorial
Farbspiel Photography

Develop your Philosophy
So, here’s the issue with HDR. Some people love it and some people hate it. Some people think it is the future while some people think it should die where is stands. Some people think it is photography while others argue it is no such thing. Everyone has an opinion. Understanding these issues and knowing what your answers are goes a long way toward developing your HDR belief system. Notice I said “knowing what your answers are” and not “what the accepted answers are”. To use the old cliche, there is no right answer.

Since we are talking about philosophy,  I suppose this is a great segway to introduce you to my HDR beliefs. When I hear people talking smack on HDR or I read a heated blog post where HDR is referred to as a virus, I can’t help but chuckle to myself. But I also understand their point of view. For hundreds of years people have been capturing scenes with cameras and portraying it as reality, then along comes HDR. When someone views an HDR image with their photography goggles on, that person is compelled to conclude that the image is not a photograph. It doesn’t capture a scene or a moment in time and so it doesn’t have a place in the photography community. And you know what? I agree!

What? Did I actually say that? Yes, I believe that HDR and it’s process is not photography, and should not be passed off as photography. To me, HDR is imagery. The fact that the same tool—a camera—is used to create the foundation of the process isn’t the most relevant point.

When I go out shooting, I don’t strive to create a photograph, I strive to create an image—a scene that represents the way I choose to remember it, not necessarily the way I saw it. I want to feel free and not constrained by the shackles of traditional photography dictate as correct or proper technique. Basically, I want my imagination to be free to create what it was intended to create—an image.

Camera Setup
I’ve always been a stubborn guy when it comes to camera setup. I prefer to run a minimal operation when I’m out shooting; I don’t want to lug 50 pounds of gear around all day. So here’s what I do. First, I develop a concept of what I want to shoot. For example, a couple months ago I had the idea to shoot a retro railroad passenger car from the inside. I wanted to create a dramatic, almost ghostly image. Having a clear vision in my head allowed me to develop the right setup before I left. Railroad cars are fairly narrow and I knew I wanted to capture the interior seating in a very bold and symmetrical way. The only lens that was going to give me the results I envisioned was my 10-20mm. I bolted it on my body (a Nikon D90) and considered it done. I also knew I wanted to shoot brackets (-2, 0, +2) to cover the dynamic range of the image. No problem. Most all cameras have the option to turn on exposure bracketing. I always want the option of having all the luscious details in both the highlights and shadows (even if I don’t use them).  To make your life easier when bracketing, don’t forget your tripod and remote shutter release. Finally, I slip a lens cloth and an extra memory card in my pocket and I am ready to go. I usually shoot with a battery grip and have 2 batteries in camera. If you are gripless, toss an extra battery in your pocket or bag.

Location: Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway, Alna, Maine
Gear: Nikon D90 | Sigma 10-20
Shot: 3 Exposures (-2, 0, +2)
Tripod: GorillaPod SLR Zoom with Ballhead

That’s it. A setup that has everything I need and nothing I don’t.  I would prefer to have a refined, reliable setup than lug around gear that inevitably will not be used. If I had instead envisioned shooting the water flowing through a nearby stream, I may have opted for my 50mm lens with a neutral density filter. But again, that’s it. No extra lenses, no bags of cords, flashes, batteries, or other apparatus. Just an idea and the essential tools to execute it. I know what you are thinking. What if you came across a situation that required a lens you left in your bag at home? I don’t let it stop me. It is the perfect opportunity to hone your creativity and execute a unique image that others would might pass because they didn’t have the “correct” tools.

Wait, this is the JOBY blog, right? Yep, I love my Gorillapod and I truly feel it is an invaluable part of HDR imagery and photography. I know there are HDR professionals out there that can get reliable results handholding the camera through the brackets, but that’s not me. I really prefer to have a tripod for stabilization. Here is the problem though: tripods are not allowed in so many areas. Rather than fight with a security guard, I just get creative with my Gorillapod. I do one of two things:

1. Attach the GorillaPod to my camera and wrap the legs up the side of the camera so it resembles a flash handle. You are no longer carrying a tripod but a trendy handle accessory for your great camera. This is even easier if you run a smaller, compact setup.

2. Sling the camera around you neck like any other tourist and slip the GorillaPod in your back pocket with your shirt untucked. That’ll cover it nicely. Careful though! In this day and age, the odds of you passing through a metal detector in an area that forbids tripods is actually pretty high, and that super-durable Ballhead or Ballhead X is made of metal. That is going to bring attention to this mystery item that resembles a tripod. Just try to get through security at the Empire State Building and you’ll know what I mean.

Both of these approaches have worked well for me in the past, so choose one and get some camera stabilization going for those killer photos! It definitely makes a difference.

A Quick Example

Location: Cinderella’s Castle, Disney World
Gear: Nikon D90 | Sigma 10-20
Shot: 3 Exposures (-2, 0, +2)
Tripod: GorillaPod SLR Zoom with Ballhead

Here’s the deal with this example. I was wandering around Cinderella’s Castle all the while knowing I wanted to capture an image that was different than what I’d seen in the past. Images of the castle are commonly taken from the front of the castle or the side over the small pond. But I wanted something different. I wanted to capture the imagination of the castle; the hustle, the environment, but most of all, the legacy. Yes, the legacy. Seriously, this place is iconic. How could I be there, with all my gear (again, lens, camera, Gorillapod)  and shoot the place the same way millions of others have? I couldn’t. I dropped my GorillaPod on a bench, composed the shot and fired off 3 photos in 2 stop increments. A side note though, I didn’t have a problem in Disney World with my full-size tripod; they just suck to carry around all day.

Post-Processing
Now the fun begins! The first thing I did was pull the photos into Lightroom 3 and organize the 3 exposures. Next I export the 3 exposures to Photomatix 4.1 to generate the HDR image. Once some minor adjustments are made in Photomatix, the image is imported back to lightroom and developed. There is no standard set of processes for the development; it is whatever the specific image calls for. Typically, I adjust the Luminosity, Gamma and White & Black Points. Strength is almost always set to 100 and the Lighting Adjustment is usually on Natural+. Again, there are lots of amazing tutorials out there on Photomatix and HDR so don’t hesitate to check them out.

Next I sent the image to Photoshop CS5 for the final adjustments. Typically some curves, saturation and levels adjustments are in order, but by making use of layers and masks I localized the adjustments to specific areas of the photos. Masking is really an invaluable part of HDR processing as it allows you to focus your adjustments on specific areas of the image. Next, I added some detail to the photo by using Topaz Adjust plugin and finally I blended an awesome vintage texture over the final image. There you have it. A unique HDR image of that captures the imagination and spirit of the scene.


Post-Processing Resources
Farbspiel Photography HDR Cookbook
Before the Coffee PhotoMatix Tutorial

Textures
I love blending textures with HDR images. Again, this goes back to my willingness to understand that HDR is not photography but rather imagery. An awesome texture is exactly the touch that takes an image from ordinary to extraordinary.

Location: Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, Maine
Gear: Nikon D90 | Sigma 10-20
Shot: 3 Exposures (-2, 0, +2)
Tripod: Tripod with Joby SLR-Zoom Ballhead

When I first arrived at this spot I had a pretty good idea what I wanted to capture. I knew the coastline here was treacherous. There are crazy rock-faces leading to the water, the waves are constantly crashing with amazing force and the area is covered with signs warning people to enjoy at their own risk. The scene was great. The sun had just come up and there was a great glow bouncing off the lighthouse itself. All I could think was how amazing it is that the lighthouse has withstood nearly 200 years of coastal rains, wind, rain and snow.  When I saw the final HDR image, I knew something was missing. The image was remarkably peaceful, but I really wanted to capture an image that was reminiscent of the tattered and torn coastline itself.

I jumped on Creative Commons and did a quick search for “grunge textures” and was excited to find one that would really make the image pop. I pulled the texture into Photoshop and simply dragged and dropped it over my original HDR. This process puts the texture on its own layer just above the HDR image. Pretty simple, right?

Now here is where the blending happens. All you have to do is make sure your texture layer is active and change the blend mode from “normal” to whichever mode gives you the effect you are looking for. In this example, “overlay” was perfect because this mode preserves the highlights and shadows the original image. You may find the texture too strong. In which case, reduce the opacity of the texture layer. One important consideration is that you don’t want the texture to detract from a significant focal point of the image. Here in this example you can see there are a few very distracting texture nuggets on the fence and lighthouse which I could have easily removed by healing the texture. Keep that in mind and you won’t make the same mistake I did. But on the flip-side, I was able to capture the scene in all its glory—rough & rugged, yet amazingly beautiful.

Texture Resources
Flickr Textures4Layers
Flicker Creative Commons Textures

Printing
It is amazing to me how the output of photography and imagery has changed over the last couple of decades. At one time, the only real output was photographic prints. You’d shoot a great shot, have it printed and enjoy it for years as it hung on your wall framed in all its glory. Over the past decade or so, the shift to a purely digital output has begun. No longer do we envision a final product to be one that hangs boldly on the wall but instead it is one that is displayed proudly across your website and social media outlets.

But don’t fret, printing is not dead. In fact, the ability to hold something tangible after a long day of shooting and a long night of post-processing is an amazing reward. Luckily, HDR images are remarkably print-worthy. In similar fashion to the rest of this post, I’ll save you the basic “get it printed professionally” speech and just jump right to a couple of print products that represent HDR very well.

1. Metallic prints. These are simply amazing! Metallic papers are typically available at any professional print shop and give your prints a “super-gloss” look. Technically, this paper has a pearlescent finish that renders amazing depth and bold color. And the best part, the cost is only slightly higher that standard prints

2. Metal prints. Whereas metallic prints are printed on a paper, metal prints are printed directly on a sheet of aluminum. In very much the same manner a car or a motorcycle is painted, a base-coat of white is applied to the aluminum sheet prior to your image being fused onto the metal. The result is a stunningly vivid piece with rich colors and bold detail that will beat even your LCD display.

The Future of HDR
I am a firm believer that HDR imagery is here to stay. After all, combining multiple exposures to create a scene has been around almost as long as camera technology itself.  Photography has evolved in the digital age, and HDR is just an expression of those expanded capabilities. When the open-mindedness of creative people combines with an increase in hardware and software options, more people experiment and change the way we see the world.

Have a  specific question for Eric?  Want to share your thoughts on HDR? Let us know in the comments! 

 

A 180° Shift from iPhoneography: Ian Ruhter’s Silver and Light

By | Artist Profile, Photography | One Comment

We’re going to take a break from all the phone photography love happening on the JOBY blog to introduce you to Ian Ruhter. Ian Ruhter is an Los Angeles-based photographer who specializes in wet plate photography—a process that came into vogue during the Civil War Era and creates unique images on metal plates. Each plate is hand-coated, exposed and then  hand-developed. The plate becomes both the positive and the negative so each image can be produced only once, each is a one of a kind photograph. The process is about as analog as it gets and totally awesome. While wet plate photography largely went out of fashion in the 1890s, there are still a few artists practicing today. I’ve been learning the technique myself for the past year and was absolutely blown away by Ian’s work and his dedication to the craft.

Ian takes this process far beyond it’s Civil War roots and has scaled it up in a major way. Instead of creating the standard 4 x 5 print in a large format camera, Ian creates massive prints using a camera that is essentially a truck. This short documentary explains his vision and his process. Check it out and be inspired!

SILVER & LIGHT from Ian Ruhter on Vimeo

 

And here is another behind the scenes look at Ian’s process while he shot a series of skateboarders in Los Angeles.

Ian Ruhter: Capturing Motion on Wetplate from What the Fleet on Vimeo.

For more of Ian’s work, visit his website, his Tumblr or Facebook Page.

Thanks to the awesome folks at ISO50 for tipping me off to Ian’s work!

Everyday, Up Close with Amanda Jasnowski

By | Artist Profile, Friends of Joby, Philosophy, Photography | One Comment

Ohio-based photographer Amanda Jasnowski shoots an inspiring mixture of film and digital photography. Her work has recently been featured by the Impossible Project and she is a contributor to Fixation Magazine. Also very active on Instagram, we caught up with Amanda to talk about her approach to iPhoneography, her inspirations and her tips for improving how we capture our everyday lives. Thanks Amanda for sharing your thoughts and photographs with us! 

First, tell us a little bit about your photographic journey. Where did you start? Where you are now?

My photographic journey began in high school (freshman year? somewhere around there!) and it began as something curious and tame. I liked the idea of being able to take a pretty photo and share it with others to see. It began as a form of expression, a way to deal with my angsty teenage heart. Although I still use it to express myself on a personal level, it’s grown and evolved into something much bigger now—something that has shaped my life. Now in my journey I feel like for the first time I have a level of work that I am confident in sending to places, showing proudly. I feel like it’s only uphill from here! The most exciting part is that I will continue growing as an artist, that growth is endless. Photography has consumed my life and not long ago I made the decision to stop denying the fact that this is something I want to do with my life. I still have so much to do and learn.

How do you approach your iPhone photography? What are you looking for when you’re composing a shot?  

My iPhone has grown to be my favorite point and shoot camera. It’s funny because I work in a camera shop and had been keeping my eye out for a good point and shoot camera, and although there are some good ones on the market, I realized that at the rate I use my iPhone I get more use out of it than any point and shoot camera I’d purchase. It’s always there, always ready. Not to mention, it fits in my pocket!

When I’m composing a shot, it’s either something already present and fleeting and so I quickly snag my phone to take a photo, or I pause and take a minute to look at what’s around me. I notice the placement of objects, people, the negative space. I notice the colors and the light and the shadows. I tend to see this way all of the time, as if I’m looking through a viewfinder composing an image, which can be frustrating and distracting at times. I’m always looking for interesting details, and how they look altogether as a whole.

What app do you shoot in? How do you edit your iPhone photography?

I shoot with the native camera app most of the time, and I normally edit in Instagram using their filters. Sometimes I use the Photoshop App to fix the brightness or straighten the image. I try to avoid over-editing; I feel it takes away from the pocket-camera-day-to-day aspect of my photography.

Your photographs beautifully capture the small moments that make up our everyday lives. What inspires you?

Everything in every day inspires me! I can’t remember the last time I went a whole day without seeing something or someone that struck me, inspired me. It’s never-ending! I think the honesty in documenting the personal, small moments in your day is one of my biggest inspirations. I enjoy interesting compositions, whether it’s balanced or not, minimalistic or full of negative space. I could go on forever with the things that draw my eye. I have always enjoyed the #fromwhereistand and #drivebyshooting hashtags on Instagram—both provide such interesting perspectives! I think most people overlook the views that are right in front of them so hastags like #fromwhereistand reinforce that there are interesting things all around us, all the time.

What photographers to do look for when you need inspiration or as references for improving your own technique?

It’s so hard to answer this question since there are so many artists out there and we have access to almost unlimited amounts of work. I created a blog to house things that inspire me  that I can share with folks when they ask me what artists inspire me. I draw inspiration from artists creating in all different mediums, not just photography. There is such a range in artists, all with unique perspectives, the inspiration never ends. Plus, there are so many insightful platforms that share the work of so many talented individuals; Booooooom, The Impossible Project’s blog, Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr are just a few. However, I can confidently name off Duane Michals, Sally Mann, Vivian Maier and Tim Walker as never ending inspirations and masters. I really admire photographers who shoot large format and practice the collodion process.

If you could give one piece of advice to photographers looking to improve their photography, what would it be?

I think the most valuable advice I’ve found is to shoot often, and to take a minute to stop and notice the details around you. I think everyone can train their eyes to become more observant and then they’ll begin to see things differently—both of my suggestions reflect that belief. I read somewhere that communities like Instagram have helped people shoot more often, and they’ve found themselves observing details like light and shadows like they never had before! That to me is so exciting, knowing that people’s eyes and senses are being awoken, evolving.

To view more of Amanda’s photography visit her website or follow her on Instagram @hokaytokay. And for more frequent updates, outtakes and random tidbits, check out her blog.