Sometimes all you have to do to find your way is to take a look back at where you came from. For photographer Nevin Johnson, nature is what keeps him true to his path. He has always loved the outdoors and the photos he takes are a love letter to the vast and magnificent world we live in. Read on to find out why he's so enamored by the view from behind his camera.
How did your photographic journey start?
I can pinpoint the exact moment I picked up a camera. My family and I went on vacation to Banff National Park in 2018. It was the serene beauty of this place that inspired me to pick up a camera and start capturing the world around me. My goal is to make it back there again and photograph it with all I've learned since picking up photography.
What makes you stay with film photography?
There are many things about film photography that keep me coming back. Delayed gratification, sharpening my photography skills, film stock variations... there are so many reasons to pick film photography up as a hobby. For me personally, the act of being present in the moment is what keeps me coming back. I'm not worried about the shot and looking at the back of my digital camera to see if I got it. I simply know what my settings were and move on. Hoping I got the shot, and if not, at least I enjoyed the moment. This is a lesson I feel more people should really be taking in. It is so easy to be distracted in today's world. Film offers a chance to be present at the moment.
Your nature shots are a thing of beauty. What made you decide to take that direction in your photo work?
For the most part, I grew up outdoors. Camping, hiking, traveling, etc... I spent a good amount of time outdoors. It is what I know... so it was only natural for me to photograph what I know. Photographing nature, landscapes, sunrises/sunsets just feel what is the most right for me. It is my passion and I pursue it tirelessly.
Where has your photography taken you? Is there any particular place worth going back to again and again?
I bring my cameras with me almost everywhere I go. I've been to British Columbia, Switzerland, Yosemite, and up and down the east coast (USA). My personal goal is to show the world that the east coast of the US is just as beautiful as the PWN or Cali coast – just in a different way. As I mentioned previously, Banff sparked my interest in photography – I'd like to make it back there someday and photograph it with all I've learned.
We love the way you compose your shots and the colors are just magnificent. Is there a formula that you follow when you take photos?
Thank you for the kind words! As for a general formula for my shooting, I just look for whatever is pleasing to the eye. Obviously using general rules of thumb (rule of thirds, etc.) is a good idea when shooting, but I try not to limit myself either. Being present at the moment, taking in the beauty around me helps me find "that shot" and from there it's just a matter of exposing it properly.
As for the colors I shoot, this one is easy to explain and hard to nail down. Sunrise and sunset happen every day. There are about 10-15 minute windows of color on either side of these. Being at the right place and right time makes capturing these colors possible... but the hard part about this is nature can be unpredictable. Not every sunrise will be vibrant and not every sunset will have pink clouds. For me, it's a matter of learning how to interpret weather data and making an educated guess on if it will be a colorful sunrise/sunset. I will say, regardless of the outcome of a sunrise/sunset, it is enjoyable to get out and enjoy nature.
What inspires you to take photographs?
The unending and unrelenting beauty of the world around us. There is so much beauty in this world and I just want to be able to share it with people.
How are you doing during these crazy times? Any creative projects you've worked on during the pandemic?
My family and I are well. I appreciate you asking! I've been using this time to really focus on what inspires me and capture what I can around me. Sometimes you don't need to travel far at all to find something beautiful.
What does a perfect day look like for Nevin Johnson?
Anyday, where I am out exploring, is a good day. If I had to describe a perfect day, it'd look something like this – sunrise mission capturing wild skies. Hiking and exploring the day away. Relaxing with friends and family reminiscing of our adventures. Then finally enjoying a sublime sunset. What is special about this for me is that the perfect day could take place in any number of places. I just enjoy being out in nature with my friends and family.
Any tips for photographers out there who would like to follow your route?
Get out and shoot. Shoot and shoot some more. The only way you will find your artistic voice is to practice and refine it. You'll learn what you like and don't like to shoot. You'll find what does and doesn't work for you. Practice truly does make perfect and none of us are perfect, so keep practicing!