Shawn Reeder is a destination visual artist specializing in photography, timelapse cinematography, and filmmaking. He loves to travel, especially in the mountains. Shawn has always loved the outdoors and changed his life forever by winning a trip to Yosemite when he was 18. Instantly, he knew he’d found his new home, the Sierra Nevada, majestically represented by one of its grandest valleys. What an excellent introduction to “The Range of Light,” a place that has captured his heart and provides a lifetime’s worth of places to explore, photograph, and just be. Having hiked, climbed, and basked in the glory of these mountains, Shawn has developed a deep love for the High Sierra and all its subtleties of light, mood, texture, and feeling. Not only has he fallen in love with being in the mountains, but it’s brought him a profound appreciation for beauty and a deep revere for traveling. It was an honor for us to interview Shawn Reeder, and we wish you a pleasant reading and viewing of Shawn Reeder’s photography.
AP: Shawn, thank you for agreeing to give us an interview. It’s a great honor for us. I hope you will enjoy the interview questions we prepared today. Could you please tell me what got you started?
Shawn: Sometimes life-changing events happen that you could never quite prepare yourself for or even have imagined were coming your way. That’s what happened to me when I won a trip to Yosemite National Park at the age of 18. Once I saw Yosemite for the first time, I was in love and knew I had found my home. I also had my first experience with cameras on this trip, another serendipitous occurrence that catapulted my life in an entirely new direction. I always loved the outdoors, but Yosemite introduced me to the mountains that would capture my heart, the Sierra Nevada. I ended up living in and out of Yosemite for over a decade, hiking, climbing, backpacking, exploring, and falling increasingly in love with photography. I moved to the Eastern Sierra, making my home in Bishop the stomping grounds for two of my biggest inspirations, Ansel Adams and Galen Rowell. Living in the Sierra lends itself beautifully to my diverse passions of adventure and creating and sharing beautiful art. Naturally, my favorite subjects to shoot are beautiful landscapes and mountain adventures.
AP: What a fantastic experience. I can only imagine how beautiful those places are. Do you have any formal education in photography, or were you self-taught?
Shawn: I don’t have any formal training in photography other than learning from lots of different friends I’ve had the pleasure to shoot with through the years. Seems like every time I go out and shoot with a friend, we inspire each other and always learn a little something. Such great synergy. I have also spent quite a bit of time in self-directed learning via the Internet, books, and conferences.
AP: That’s true: good friends can teach you invaluable practical skills. By the way, what genre are your photos?
Shawn: I love shooting landscapes, outdoor adventure and lifestyle, and people in love. The time I’ve spent learning each of those three genres has really helped me with all the others.
AP: And how would you describe your works?
Shawn: If there’s anything that I hope comes through in my work, I hope it’s a sense of beauty, passion, and intensity.
AP: We are very impressed with one of your latest works, “Yosemite Range of Light.” How much time did you spend on it?
Shawn: Yosemite Range of Light was a labor of love that was almost two years in the making. The entire piece was shot using motion-controlled time-lapse photography. Timelapse is a fascinating creative process. I sometimes like to think of it more like large-format film photography. I love how you focus all your energy and effort into getting one shot. It might take hours to set up a shot and program its motion-controlled move, and then you hit go, and you only get one shot. That’s something that is so rare in this modern age of digital cameras, where you can shoot as much as you want. It really makes you think about your shot; you can’t just spray and pray 🙂
As far as gear, I used the following:
- Canon 5D Mark II;
- Canon 5D Mark III;
- Canon 14L II & 16-35L II (rented from LensProToGo);
- Canon 17-40L, 24-105L, 50L, 70-200L IS;
- KesslerCrane 5-foot Cineslider, Revolution Head, Oracle’s & Basic Controller, Elektra Motors, AT Outrigger Feet.
I processed the time-lapse clips in Adobe Lightroom and LR Timelapse and created the movie files in Adobe After Effects.
AP: That is amazing. You spent almost two years making the time-lapse movie. You must be very devoted to your profession! Is there any formula for success in your activity?
Shawn: I can’t say that I have a formula for success. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to mastering your craft and then learning how to run a business so that you have a life support system in place (money 🙂 to be able to continue bettering your craft and developing your vision.
AP: Is there someone who supports you in your creativity?
Shawn: I’ve had tremendous support from so many friends and family who have constantly encouraged me to follow my dreams. I also have to give a huge thanks to the Internet for connecting me to so many other artists and giving a place for communities to develop between like-minded people with similar interests. I’ve met some of my best friends and most valuable comrades in this journey of living an artful life online.
AP: Tell us three lessons you believe are really important for every photographer.
- Practice your craft, go out and shoot as much as you can;
- If you want to make a business out of your photography, study business;
- Look to others for inspiration, but make sure you develop your own vision that is true to you.
Shawn, thank you very much for such an exciting story about photography. I am sure your readers will find it helpful and informative. We wish you continued inspiration and brilliant success in all your endeavors.
Walking to your dreams and dedicating your time to something you love can lead you to success. And a great example of it is Shawn Reeder, a person who’s devoted to his work with all his passion and heart. Always believe in your dreams; you will get as far as you wish. To learn more about Shawn Reeder’s photography, please visit his webpage.
Watch the timelapse movie “Yosemite Range of Light”:
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