This fall we're collaborating with several photographers in our hunting, fishing and outdoor community to bring you their insights for taking better images in the field. Taking photos that capture the spirit of our public lands and waters - and the experiences we have on them - is essential in communicating the value of our wild landscapes and the richness of our outdoor pursuits to the greater public. Whether you choose to publish your images in your own channels or support BHA's mission by submitting them to the 2020 Public Land Owner Photo Contest, we hope you enjoy this series. In this installment we hear from Adam Foss, the co-founder of Foss Media, a photographer, filmmaker, writer and brand ambassador for some of the top hunting and outdoor brands. His recently released collaborative project, Wild Sheep, was released by Yeti this November.
Text and Photos by Adam Foss
My love for making images began in a high school black and white photography lab. I processed film in the darkroom from weekend bowhunting forays into the backcountry of the Canadian Rockies. Since then, I’ve been remarkably fortunate to make a career of storytelling through photography and film, mostly set in the wild places that continue to shape me.
What follows are two simple tips to taking better photographs in the field. The first is technical and the second is more philosophical. Both are simple, but neither are easy. I hope they help bring your moments in the wild back home with you.
Shoot, edit, repeat
This is the continuous feedback loop of taking images, looking at them (either on the playback screen or at home on a computer), learning what you like and don’t like and applying those learnings to the next trip afield. I’m convinced that creative pursuits require a creative “muscle”. Of course, muscles can be built and trained, but usually do not grow spontaneously. Over time, through exercising this loop you’ll develop an aesthetic — a look — to bring about thought-provoking images. Furthermore, you’ll probably find yourself shooting lessmediocre shots and coming back with more standouts than ever before. Every time I’m shooting afield, I review photos each night, think about what is working and what isn’t and hone-in on the look and feel of the place, person and story for the next day.
Find the story
It’s for good reason that the notion of storytelling is often mentioned when it comes to shooting better photos. Finding the story can and should occur even before you enter the field. Begin by asking yourself a few important questions. Who are the characters? How should they be represented? How are they changing over the length of the trip or over decades? A unique part of outdoor photography ,and specifically hunting, is an almost unlimited supply of characters and I’m not just talking about people! Beautiful sunlight dancing on a stand of pines, brutally-steep landscapes, an overly eager four-legged hunting companion, driving ice crystals that sting your cheeks, or the seemingly near-mythical animals we pursue. All are elements of your great story beyond just the human characters. Always search for and strive to bring these to life. You won’t be disappointed with the results.
Learn more about Adam Foss and follow along on his adventures on Instagram at @fossman8