This week on the blog, we interview the landscape and astro photographer Daniel Gomez from Portland, USA.
Either hiking in the mountains or waiting under a blanket of stars with a camera, Daniel's photographs are always beautiful as we can see in this series of 11 photos powered by Prodibi!
A few words about you, how did you start photography?
“The “madness” began 6 years ago when I made one of the best decisions in my life to move to the state of Oregon. After a single visit through the Columbia River Gorge and the nearby National Forests I was hooked. Originally I began hiking to explore my new home state but began taking a camera after my father-in-law gave me a Nikon D100. 6MP is a funny thing to think about now, but at the time it was fantastic and provided exactly what I needed, a tool to learn the trade. I soon began chasing the next greatest photo and hiking became a way to find the most stunning places.
Did you try other photography styles? Or landscape photography has always been your favorite one?
For years I solely shot landscapes but began branching out 3 years ago into portrait photography. I bought a flash and learned all about how to light people, practiced using myself as a model, and learned as much as I could about portrait photography. After years of trial and error, I gained the confidence to begin working with clients and haven’t looked back since. Now, I shoot weddings, engagements, and other portrait photography year-round as the primary part of my photography business in addition to print sales.
Landscape photography will continue to be the source of my inspiration for why I photograph. Within landscape photography itself I would have to say my favorite sub-genre is astrophotography. Nothing beats standing under a blanket of stars waiting for the milky way to line up over my composition, and the feeling of anticipation while waiting for the back of my camera’s LCD screen to light up.
What was your favorite trip? Is there a place in the world you dream to photograph?
I am sadly not a photographer that has taken many trips. However, I make do living in the middle of paradise with the Columbia River Gorge 20 minutes away, Oregon’s tallest mountain an hour drive away, the desert 2 hours east, and the coast 2 hours west.
The one trip I have taken thus far was to the Alvord Desert in 2018. A buddy and I drove down to shoot the milky way arching over the desert playa but of course, clouds obscured our vision all 3 nights and the wind howled every time the sun went down. We did get one dramatic sunrise with beautiful clouds over the Steens Mountain, which ended up winning a photo contest and remains one of my favorite photos I have taken to date. This shot was tough to photograph and edit as it had a large depth of field and called for a tricky focal blend.
Are you inspired by the work of other photographers or directors, artists?
I am always influenced by the works of photographers I greatly admire. Jimmy McIntyre was a heavy influence when I began photography and using Photoshop more seriously. His work with exposure and time blending really opened my eyes to the possibility of what elements you can capture in a photo.
Ultimately, his time exposure blending helped inspire me to create one of my favorite series to date which captured the myriad modes of transportation within the scenic cliffs of the Columbia River Gorge. I wanted to show the passing of time and highlight one of the more prominent features, the roaring trains of the Gorge. I used long exposures to capture car light trails, moving water and clouds reflected in the Columbia River, and a frozen train. All of these elements were captured at different times to combine them all later in photoshop without having ever moved the tripod.
About your photography gears, what are your favorite tools?
My favorite tool is the D850. I wish there was a mirrorless version of it but otherwise I love that camera and couldn’t be happier with the resolution, nifty features like auto focus stacking, and that massive tilt screen. Secondary to the camera itself, I love my prime lenses and my 70-200 F2.8 doesn’t go anywhere without me.
Do you have projects for the future like workshops, personal series or travels?
I intend to start offering workshops in the form of small group and 1-on-1 lessons in the following year as my business continues to grow. In terms of travel, I have set aside time from my portrait photography business next year to allow a buddy and I to venture to Glacier National Park for a week of milky way photography. One of the best things you can do is just spend all day photographing a beautiful place. Taking that slow approach allows you the time and freedom to explore and find the best composition for the best light.
Thanks again to Olivier and the Prodibi Blog for giving me the opportunity to share information about what I love. Happy Shooting and the best of light!
To see more from Daniel Gomez:
All photographs copyright Daniel Gomez and used with his permission.
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