Every month I talk to a new photographer on Instagram. They share their favorite locations, camera gear, and the best practices to have on Instagram. This week is Meghan Young, a freelance content producer who is located in Seattle, Washington.
What inspired you to start photography? Are there any specific photographers on Instagram that inspire you?
My dad was the original inspiration for my love of photography. He was always snapping pictures on our family trips and was the first person to teach me about the rule of thirds and centering. I’m inspired by the raw beauty of the natural environments that I spend so much of my time traveling to; the way the light plays along distant ridges, perfect reflections in still alpine lakes, and the fiery effect of the setting and rising sun. I enjoy the challenge of snapping photos that capture the physical and emotional beauty of these moments so that they will live on, even after my body prevent me from getting after it in the same way. A few photographers who always inspire me are @pnw_wanderer_, @nickrlake, @mitchpittman, @bryanadamc, and @the_power_of_failing. They all have vastly different styles and capture magic in their own way, check them out!
One of the things I love about your photography work is how you show all the different seasons in nature. What is your favorite season to photograph?
Each season has it’s own unique beauty, it’s impossible to pick just one. The summer brings vivid blues and bright pops of color from fields of wildflowers. The fall is a riot of crimson and gold as leaves shed their trees and the larches turn in the high country. Winter has a more stark beauty, with ice and snow taking over once-familiar landscapes, turning them into something out of a dream. Spring is full of fresh pops of green and the brightest turquoise shade you’ll ever see as alpine lakes slowly melt. I love them all. One of my favorite things to photograph, no matter the season, is alpenglow—that moment during sunrise or sunset when the sun casts a rosy, warm light on distant mountain peaks. It feels special every time I see it!
What is your most favorite picture you have captured?
I feel so fortunate to have experienced so many amazing things in my life and to have photos that correspond to those memories! One of my favorite recent photos is this one of Rita, one of my dear friends. It was taken on a thru-hike of the Enchantments, a magical spot in the Central Cascades of Washington. Rita had never been before and watching her scamper around, taking in the stunning views that the trail had to offer, filled me with joy! It’s always fun to experience familiar places through new eyes.
What's the longest hike you have ever been on?
I recently climbed Mount Olympus in the Olympic Range of Washington State. We logged around 47 miles in our successful 3-day summit bid with rather heavy packs and it may not have been my longest hike by the miles but it certainly felt like it was on the way down!
What's your thought process when composing a picture?
It depends! Sometimes we are on the trail and moving through the backcountry so quickly that there isn’t any time to think about what I’m shooting—I just keep my camera out and snap a shot of anything that draws my attention. Other times I have the option of going slower and that’s when I get to sit back and think about it a bit more. I love shooting tiny people in these vast landscapes; it gives a sense of perspective. I also love capturing candid portraits and small details though I tend to post less of those. I love shooting in the morning when the light is still soft and golden or in the afternoon/evening. In true PNW fashion, I also always enjoy it when the moody clouds come out to play.
What camera gear do you shoot with?
I lug my Nikon d7100, tripod, and a few different lenses with me on virtually every trip. Camera gear isn’t light but I always think of it as training weight and have yet to regret bringing it along! I have a small point and shoot that I’ll also take along from time to time and of course, I always have the good ol’ iPhone for those moments when I can’t be bothered to grab my camera!
What advice would you give to the starting photographer?
Find subject matter that you love and take a million pictures of it. Play around with the different settings and features on your camera and see what works for you. The beauty of shooting digital is that you don’t have to worry if the shots turn out or not, just learn from the bad ones and carry on. Don’t worry about having the nicest gear or the newest model of camera, just get out there and figure out what you like. If you can find your photographic “voice” you will be able to create and share beauty.
Lastly what advice would you give to the beginning photographer on Instagram trying to expose their work on Instagram?
Similar to the above advice, find what you love and spend your time photographing and posting about that. I don’t mean that you should avoid trying new things—simply that you shouldn’t spend your time and talent documenting things that don’t truly interest you in the interest of getting a few extra likes. Don’t be afraid to talk to people whose style you admire and ask them questions about their work; so many people are happy to share their knowledge and experience. Stay safe in the pursuit of your art and make ethical decisions. I have seen a lot of people, especially in the outdoor and adventure photography world, take risks and ignore sound outdoor ethics to “get the shot” for the ‘gram and I don’t think that’s a legacy any of us should strive to leave behind. Perhaps most importantly, have fun with it!
To see more of Meghan's work go here!