Our in-house photographer, Danny, has the amazing opportunity to travel to Vietnam and Cambodia on our Fascinating Vietnam, Cambodia & the Mekong River itinerary to take pictures of our brand new Suite Ship®, Avalon Siem Reap. Along the way, he’ll be posting about his adventure on the blog, as well as showing off his pictures on Facebook and Instagram. Make sure you follow along to get his updates (hint: there will be some beautiful images coming your way). For now, meet the man behind the camera:
Q) Tell us about how you got started in photography.
A) It definitely wasn’t the typical route, that’s for sure. I moved to Colorado a year out of college and before you know it, I had three really close friends who happened to be photographers (none of whom knew each other). I took it as a sign and bought my 1st 35mm film camera and started shooting everything I possibly could. It took a while (and a lot of developing costs) for me to develop my own style, and then took years to make it presentable enough to share with others. All three of my photographer friends shot completely different styles: one shot edgy, band photography, one shot weddings, portraits & landscapes, and the other shot snowboard, sports, and active lifestyles. The wide range of styles allowed me to learn a wide range of techniques, and explore and develop what would eventually become my own style. I was lucky to have friends that were patient with me, teaching me about my camera, equipment, and their own personal styles.
Q) What type of photography do you enjoy most?
A) I’ve been lucky enough to shoot all types of photography: concerts, weddings, portraits, snowboarding, and travel. It’s hard to pick just one, but if I had to choose, it would be band photography. It’s incredible to see people let go on stage. To some people they can become who they wish they could be in everyday life, and to others it’s who they are all the time, but extremely exaggerated. But in every case they love to entertain. And there’s something very raw about people’s attitudes on stage. And when you shoot bands in dark venues and with the craziness of a show, you can have all the tools, but you still have to be in the right place at the exact right moment to get the perfect image. Luck is sometimes a big part. Every time you shoot is different, it’s so uncontrolled and random and you can never get the same shot. Every photographer tries to control their environment as much as possible and it’s so hard to do in this atmosphere, and in that, this kind of photography gets its beauty. And when you get that perfect shot, there’s nothing cooler or more “rock ‘n roll.”
Q) Describe your photographic style. How did you develop it?
A) That’s hard to say. I think you’d probably have to ask my contemporaries to get an honest answer. I just shoot what I see. It’s my perspective, and that’s what makes it unique. No one will look at something or see it the exact same way as me. When you first start to shoot, you look at other photographers or images and say, “I want my pictures to look like that.” But the longer you shoot, the more you develop your own style and stop trying to look like someone else.
Q) Who is your biggest influence?
A) As a photographer, one of my biggest inspirations is Mike Blabac. He’s a skateboard and action sports photographer that helped shape an industry. When he started photographing skateboarding back in the early 90’s there wasn’t much of an industry in “action sports” and there wasn’t much money in being a skateboarding photographer. But, because he had such a passion for both skateboarding and photography, while he refined and developed his craft, the industry grew as well, in no small part with his help. He followed his heart and passion, and worked hard and helped make skateboard (and in turn) action sports photography a legitimate industry. Good photography is a combination of knowledge, practice, preparation and a little bit of luck sometimes. But it’s never one of these things without the others and sports photography is a tricky and fun industry, that Mike has perfected. He definitely pushes me to look at things differently and never stop making my passion a reality.
Q) What are you most looking forward to while on the Mekong?
A) Seeing the ancient temples and interacting with the people. Living in the United States we don’t get to experience something so primitive and ancient. Everything in America has been here for the past two hundred years or so, whereas the temples and places of worship there have been there for thousands of years. And the culture is something with which I’m not familiar, so I can’t wait to get to know a new culture and experience new people and interact with people who may be nothing like me, but who may be dealing with the same kinds of things with which I deal all the time…in a completely different way!
Q) If you could give one tip to travelers, what is your best photography tip?
A) Shoot what you see and how you see it, don’t try to shoot the same thing that everyone else is shooting, and exactly how they are shooting it. Always try to get new perspectives, be unique. And as a bonus, I’ll give you a second tip, learn your camera. If it allows, shoot in manual. You have much more control over what the final product will look like.
Q) How can travelers follow along on your journey?
A) Funny you should ask…follow along here on the blog, Facebook and Instagram from March 2-14, when I’ll be taking over and telling you about my time in Southeast Asia, as well as sharing as many photos as possible. And please share your stories and photos as well! We want to see them!