A stunning photographer whose passion and immersion in photography is more than inspirational. Meet David Schultz of Utah, who overcame many obstacles in his life and emerged as one of the greatest photographers of our generation.
His exploration of different parts of the world is painted as beautiful signatures through these images, and his love and passion for the pole is very impressive and takes photography close to its art days. Let’s listen to his answers while taking a look at his amazing work.
A few words about David C. Schultz?
I’ve been shooting professionally since 1980 and currently live in the Wasatch Mountains, Utah. Raised in Michigan, she moved to Dallas, Texas in 1980 where she began photographing fashion and lifestyle photography. An assignment took me to Utah and a month later I closed my studio, packed my bags, and moved into the mountains. I owned a nature photography gallery in Park City, West Light Images, where I sold limited editions of my work. I’m currently looking for a new location but continue to sell my work for editing, advertising and framed art.
What made you choose photography?
Soon after I graduated from high school, I began traveling to the US and Canada, usually driving and hiking for a few months every spring and summer. Before my first road trip out of West, Oregon, Washington, Montana, etc. I bought my first 35mm camera and the rest is history. One day near sunset I started talking to a professional travel photographer at a place called Ruby Beach. When I found out that this was what he did for a living, I was stunned! During my long trip back home to Michigan, I made a decision that this was what I was going to do as a career. I had no idea how to do this but it all seemed to work. I taught myself, photography is all part of things besides business.
In 1980, I ended up moving to Dallas, Texas where I started shooting professionally, but I was into fashion, not travel and nature.
How would you describe your style of photography?
I think my work and my style are very straightforward. I try to capture the light, the subject, the situation right there, right in front of me, and especially the most important element of a good photograph in my opinion, the light. One of my weaknesses as a “studio/fashion” photographer was that I had a hard time creating light. Put me on site and I can see it, work with it, and know when something is wrong or interesting.
Your passion behind this travel and constant exploration is phenomenal. A few words about it?
This stems from a very real and constant fear I have of losing my sight. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 13 and learned that blindness is one of many complications that could become a reality. This is what made me travel the world, wanting to see as much as possible in my case. Right now, as I write, I’m doing it without using a single eye, something that just happened and I’m going to have surgery for in a few days. The same thing could happen to my other eye at any moment, without warning. Scary stuff for anyone but when you’ve made it what you can see and catch…fingers cross.
My current body emerged from polar photographs after seeing the work of Frank Hurley, photographed on the 1914 Endurance Expeditions to Antarctica. Once I saw the pictures and read the story I was hooked and had to see the place for myself. I’ve been there 9 times now and have 2 more trips scheduled for the end of this year. I am now taking clients on photo tours to both the North Pole and Antarctica.
You have such a wonderful eye for the beauty of nature, how did you acquire it?
I would say I gained an eye on this after years of mistakes and learning from watching. Being outside and seeing a beautiful site is another thing to take an interesting photo. We have a lot of opportunities near where I live here in Utah, and it can be a little confusing. This was the case when I started photographing nature and travel again after seven years with the fashion world. The big difference, something I’ve come to realize as the years go by, is a great light. A trip to Bryce National Park, shortly after I moved to Utah, made this very clear to me. I came back a few days after shooting there only to see from the movie that I had “documented” a very dramatic scene but failed to capture a single frame that stood out. So, I started looking at the nature and travel photos being posted and analyzed and it was pretty obvious what I missed, at least for me. It was light. Interesting, dramatic, and the right lighting.
Now I spend a lot of time going back to a place, over and over, year after year sometimes, until it all comes together. It’s very easy to take a picture of a beautiful place but to take it when all the elements come together is what I will say any ingenious photographer will make all the difference.
Of course an interesting subject goes without saying, and learning good compositional skills is vital. So important things to watch are the ways lines are used in nature to draw the viewer into the scene, the textures and oddities that might stand out, and the elements that perhaps frame the subject can elevate a good shot into something more original and interesting.
I have always used Nikon gear. This includes the Nikon D800, D600, D3x, and several Nikkor lenses. My current favorite is the new Nikkor 80-400mm and 28-300mm for my travel work. I’ve been shooting a lot in Antarctica and the Arctic lately, sometimes under harsh conditions, and the large focal range of both allows me to capture shots I might have otherwise missed. I like the small size 28-300mm. I’m also using a Nikkor 16-35mm and 105mm to great lengths.
For landscape photography, a tripod and a good, easy-to-adjust ball head are essential. I have two sets of carbon fiber Gitzo legs, a Really Right Stuff BH-55 ballhead and an Acratech GP ballhead.
Also included in my kit are a set of Singh-Ray Split Grad ND filters, ND filters and a polarizing filter along with other essentials packaged in the Lowe Pro Photo Trekker AW II bundle.
No photographer has been a real inspiration. Photographs from a wide variety of individuals, especially when it comes to landscape photography, have had an even greater impact. Nature itself was the biggest inspiration. When I first started shooting and had an interest in fashion, the work I saw in Italian Vogue really grabbed my attention. More interesting lighting in this post than I’ve seen in the US versions. Robert Farber’s book also contains pictures of fashion and lifestyle with great illumination.
Thank you Any last words of advice for aspirants in this field?
For landscape photographer. Keep it simple, learn from nature watching and get to know your subject before you head out.
You can find David C. Schultz on the web:
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