Landscape Photographer Braden Timm
What part of photographing landscapes do you enjoy the most? Is there something in particular about capturing a beautiful natural scene that you enjoy more than photographing a portrait or city scene?
Landscapes have a thrill about them that I’m addicted to – I think in large part because nature can’t be curated. There’s always an element of surprise that comes with photographing landscapes that you can’t prepare for in the way that you can with cityscapes or portraits. Often times, timing is key. And by timing, I really mean lighting. Lighting can tell a thousand different stories with the same scene, it all matters how much patience you have to capture that perfect angle and frankly a little bit of luck too. My expectations when I set out on an adventure are almost always dead wrong, which I think is what makes landscape photography so fun and exciting for me.
Do you find yourself seeking out National Parks and specific camping/hiking trips so that you can take photos while exploring? Or is it more that you have the desire to explore these places and taking photos while there is just part of the journey?
I think I was a traveler first before I was ever a photographer. My parents (both geologists and by virtue, nature lovers) took me to a new National Park almost every summer growing up. At first I think I took the trips for granted, but I later found myself wishing I had something to remember them by that was uniquely mine. Ultimately my photography grew out of the desire to remember those places I’d been without relying on a tacky souvenir or another gaudy trinket that collects dust on the shelf. I’ve found that photography has been a great tool for my memory. I’m able to look back at a particular photo I’ve taken years down the road and still remember even the smallest of details – where I was, what the weather was like that day, and what I’d done during the days shortly prior and after.
You have a lot of photos in the mountains in the Pacific Northwest. What about capturing these giants intrigues you so much? Since you shoot both in summer and winter months, what do you find to be the pros and cons of each season?
I’m a Seattle native through and through. I did a lot of traveling when I was young and I think it wasn’t until college when I spent an extended amount of time abroad that I learned to appreciate what was in my own backyard. I realized how rare a region like the Northwest is – to have mountains, the ocean, sun, snow, and everything in between all near a major city is incredible.
Shooting during the summer in the Pacific Northwest is unrivaled largely because of how late the days can get – when the sun begins to set at 10 or 11 at night you start to get brilliant golden sunsets that last for an hour or more. As a photographer the more low light you can get the better. Some of my favorite summer memories have been atop a mountain, amid the blowing wildflowers with a slow golden sunset in front of me. It’s magical.
Pacific Northwest winters are equally as beautiful, it just requires a bit more homework. There’s a lot of variety in the elevation around the region so we’re not as restricted by snow as I think other regions are. Shooting snow is great, but still being able to access brilliant waterfalls that almost never freeze and walking among gloomy evergreen forests all year round takes the cake.
When experiencing something so beautiful in person, it's often hard to capture that same essence in a photograph. Would you agree? Your photos seem to capture this intangible magic very well, do you have any pointers or advice to other aspiring landscape photographers on how to capture this?
I definitely agree – I think as a photographer you’ll never quite feel like a photo does some of the places you visit justice. I think a big tip is that although landscape photography is much about the unexpected, it helps to decide before you go on an adventure what you’re really looking for to shoot that day. If you set out to a destination with a rough idea of what you’re looking for in terms of lighting, composition ,and color, it’s often easier to get a set of shots you’re happy with. You can tell when a photographer has done his homework.
And finally, what are some of your favorite Instagram accounts to follow, and why?
I’m sure just about every aspiring landscape photographer follows him, but @CalSnape is by far one of my favorites. I think his ability to use color and light to create that wow factor without overdoing it is what I admire and try to emulate in my own photos.
@Taylormichaelburk is another great photographer I follow. I love his use of humans to add depth and perspective in a shot. Perspective is one of the most powerful elements to a truly great landscape photo.
Braden is a Seattle native with a day job in tech and a passion for landscape photography. Armed with a Nikon D750, you can usually find him hiking in the Pacific Northwest on weekends or trekking in a National Park near you.