I was thinking about what experience means today … probably because Nikon just launched a really cool online multimedia campaign called Nikon Experience (#NikonExperience) that features the work of Taylor Glenn, Troy House and myself. So this idea of experience was on my mind, and in my research to understand what it’s all about, I came across this quotation from Eleanor Roosevelt. She said:
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
Aside from the motivational carpe-diem overtones contained within this quote, I found the first lady’s aphorism powerful because, well, it’s true. And to go one step further, I really think that the purpose of life is to live it passionately.
For me, that passion has always been photography and adventure; but today I am going to focus on photography. It’s easy to forget that the point of photography isn’t just about capturing amazing pictures, or landing major clients, or seeing your work on the cover of major magazines. Of course, all of that stuff is really nice. But photography’s most vital purpose—the one Roosevelt, I believe, is referring to—is to have the experience of making photographs. To live life through the experiences had and discovered in doing what you love.
Because of photography, I’ve motivated myself out of bed before sunrise hundreds of times. As a result, I’ve been fortunate enough to have experienced some of the most amazing sunrises and sunsets, and lived some of the fullest, most rewarding days in between. But sometimes those days come without even capturing a single portfolio-worthy image. Does that diminish the experience? No! Because that’s not what it’s about in the grand scheme. It’s probably a lot like fishing. True fisherman don’t measure their successes by the number of fish they caught, or how big those fish were. If you like to fish, you go fishing.
For me and photography, it’s the same. Any day that I find myself in an amazing location, with the people I love and my camera in tow—that’s a good day. And if I can get a decent photograph, all the better.
To me, this is the message being conveyed by the Nikon Experience landing page. Check it out and plan on spending some time playing with all of the interactive, clickable features. There are stories behind each image, behind-the-scenes shots, quotes, videos and audio. I shot my personal Nikon Experience, here around my home of Lake Tahoe, using the Nikon D800 & COOLPIX A.
Like any project there were challenges involved in putting this together. We were delayed from shooting for a month due to wild fires around Yosemite National Park, so big thanks to entire Lake Tahoe crew for being adaptable with their schedules and coming together to pull this off.
Special thanks to Mike Corrado for the excellent behind-the-scenes photography. It was fantastic being in the field with you, Mike, and you made some amazing pictures of a difficult to capture subject: my ugly mug.
Huge thank you to Beth Rodden and Katherine Elliott for staring in the photos and weathering some cold temps with only smiles on your faces.
Also, hats off to the fellow Nikon shooters Taylor Glenn and Troy House for their excellent storytelling photography. Last but not least, huge thanks to the teams at Nikon, MRM and MWW for putting together such an engaging online feature. I know this will inspire people to pick up their cameras, get up before sunrise and get out there and have their own unique experiences, always taking advantage of every second of light each day. That is what it’s all about.