Tag Archives: Sean Davey

Gratitude for the Outdoors

father and son duck hunting, Suisun Marsh, Suisun City, California, USA

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. In contrast to some other national holidays, Thanksgiving offers us the opportunity to focus on our selves and our place in the world as something more than just passive consumers. Amid the frenzy of food preparation, cooking, and table setting, I choose instead to take the opportunity to consider the place that the food has in my life, and my place in the food chain. Whether you eat animals or not, Thanksgiving, with its focus on sharing a central meal, offers an opportunity to reflect on the roles of hunting, agriculture, and human interdependence.

Our modern food supply chain bears more resemblance to the idealized “simpler times” than you’d think – even in the 17th century, there was specialization of roles. I reflect during this meal on the ways we rely on our local farmers, our own gardens, and for some of us, the hunters, fishermen, and foragers in our families. I like to give thanks for the people who care both for and about food year round, and who make sure we have access to healthy meals. It’s also worth reflecting that there are many people in our own communities that don’t always have the same access.

The fresh foods and garden veggies are not the only opportunity to increase and share healthy habits with our loved ones. Thanksgiving gets its name from the giving of thanks for our bounties, and recent studies have confirmed that just the act of giving thanks has myriad health benefits for our selves and our communities, increasing pro-social interaction, physical health, and sleep, while reducing the aggression that is in so many ways encouraged and fostered the very next day – the capitalistic feeding frenzy known as Black Friday.

The outdoors provides us with so much, it’s hard to pick just a few things to feel grateful for. The opportunity to connect with history by growing and stewarding lesser-known heirloom varieties of crops; places to explore, both large and small; an escape from constant electronic stimulations and distractions; (hopefully) safe interactions with, and observations of wildlife; and inspiration. Our photographers, and the outdoors, are the pillars of Aurora — without open, wild spaces, the quiet refuge of the woods, the mystery of the sea, or even a space for recreation in their backyard, they’d be unable to work or play. Here are some of the things our photographers are grateful to the outdoors for.
– Nate Adams and Larry Westler, Aurora Photos

Galen Carter riding in the foothills of the Wasatch Front outside of Salt Lake City, Utah

Wray Sinclair
“I’m thankful for the ability to enjoy the public lands that surround us. From paddling out to surf at 7am in the Pacific Ocean, to skiing endless powder in the backcountry of the Wasatch Mountains, to hiking around the Blue Ridge Mountains. I’m grateful for these places that have had immense impact on my life and business.”

Chris Bennett
“My job takes me around the globe to some of the world’s most beautiful and interesting places. I climb mountains and ride bikes and go for runs for a living! I’m always meeting new people and being challenged by friends I know in the industry. While hours in airports and security lines can be annoying, all I have to do is sit back and think about how I’m not in a cubicle 40 hours a week. For this I am thankful!”
(EDITORS NOTE: Chris is ALSO thankful for the staff at Aurora Photos who do have to spend some of their time in an office, albeit not a cubicle)

A Reflection In A Female Skier's Goggles As She Takes A Selfie Around Cerro Catedral

Ben Girardi
“I am thankful for the mountains that surround my home, and for the cold storms that bring in moisture off the Pacific and dump meters of snow. I love to explore the mountains in all conditions, but am extremely thankful to be able to explore them in the winter season, snowboarding powder with my camera, capturing everyone’s excitement. Snowboarding keeps you young at heart and it shows, when you see full-grown men with a child-like grin shining through snow-filled beards.”

Jen Magnuson
“When I was 26 years old, my body started attacking itself, and I was told by doctors that I needed to accept that, learn to manage it, and find a new normal.  I decided to fight back instead, for five excruciating years.  Every year, the anniversaries of the onset of the symptoms, the final treatments, the loss of my law enforcement career pass, and I am grateful.  I’m grateful for health restored completely, and grateful for an experience that made me focus on making life more of what I love and less of what I though it “should” be.  I’m grateful to be able to see and document places that I can only access under human power, when that human power was almost lost to me 14 years ago.  I guess I found a new normal. . . a life of adventure and beauty and gratitude. . . because even the roughest experiences can hold within them the greatest lessons and outcomes.”

Female surfer walking in water and carrying surfboard against large white cloud, Hawaii, USA

Sean Davey
“I’m thankful for the sea which has inspired and amazed me since I was a toddler. It is the sea that has allowed me to have such a long career as a photographer.   From living in Australia to living in Hawaii and traveling around to so many other places in the world, the ocean has always been the one constant that I could always rely on.  I add to my photographic archive from the sea on a usually every other day basis.  It’s my daily exercise routine as well as my spiritual place.  I am one with the sea.”

Logan Mock-Bunting
“I am thankful for the seasons in Hawaii. Folks who don’t know any better assume that because the weather is nice all year, we don’t have seasons. Incorrect. My two favorite seasons here are Mango Season and Big Wave Season. I often crave sweets after coming out of salt water, and it is really hard to top wrapping up a fun surf or free-dive session by picking and cutting into a fresh, sweet mango. The feeling of being in massive, powerful surf (or even being on shore witnessing it) is one of the most humbling, awesome (and at times unsettling) experiences I know. And the fact that these cycles only come around for a short time each year make them even more precious.”

Helicopter above the Great Blue Hole

Evgeny Vasenev
“I am currently on a one year trip around the globe, and it’s hard to express how amazing and diverse our world is, when limited to words. So far, I have explored mountains, oceans, forests, and savannas, and all of them have inspired me and made my heart beat faster. I am grateful for the ability to see this beauty, to feel the wind on my skin, and to smell the fresh air. Thanks, the world! You are fantastic!”

Chris Kimmel
“I am thankful for the extreme diversity of natural ecosystems that create a stunning mosaic-like landscape in the tiny corner of SW British Columbia that I call home.  I am well-travelled, yet every time I step off the plane at Vancouver International Airport I am thankful to be back; back to a culturally rich, melting pot of humanity, that has more outdoor adventure opportunities than your brain can handle.  Where else can you indulge in world-class skiing, mountain biking, fishing, scuba diving, climbing, camping, canoeing and kayaking in one day…if you could fit it all in? The landscapes that surround me inspire exploration, creation, adventure, and a passion for conservation. They instill in us a greater responsibility to care for the place we all call home.”

Side view waist up shot of senior farmer inspecting blueberry bush in autumn, Stratham, New Hampshire, USA

John Benford
“I am thankful for my local farmers, especially at Thanksgiving time. I appreciate those who toil to bring us sustenance, who turn the soil, pick the produce and milk the cows, so that we can nourish our bodies. The farmers I know – who don’t just work the land but work WITH the land, whose livelihoods depend on the cycle of the seasons, whose lives are intertwined with those of their plants and animals – have a different connection with the earth, with life and death, and with the sacred than the rest of us. There is a part of me that thinks we all should be farmers, at least for some part of our lives, and that might help us transform our relationship with the earth from one of dominion to one of stewardship.”

Joe Klementovich
“I’m thankful for the personal connections that grow through working as a photographer. It might be slogging into the backcountry with a crew, hanging out by the campfire with an art director or shivering in the cold while sharing a belay with an athlete; these are the moments that grow into long-lasting friendships. Exploring and appreciating the outdoors brings us all together. So I send out a huge thank you to all the amazing people that I get to work, play and hang around with. Have an extra slice of pie on me!”

A child looks out the window at a yellow larch tree in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Robert van Waarden
‘Today, looking out the window, my 1 year old son says to me, “I can see the larch.” The rest of the trees have lost their leaves and the yellowing larches stand out like a child’s sore, but beautiful, thumb. He reminds me of the importance of little things and the small details of changing seasons. Of details that I embrace and capture through my lens that remind us this planet, our only home, is worth fighting for.’ 

Instagram Tips

Instagram continues to grow as a marketing tool and a way to tell your brand’s story. It’s much easier to keep an up to date Instagram account than it is to update your website with new work, whether you’re a photographer or a brand. We asked some of our photographers who either have large followings or are being recognized as Instagrammers to watch for some tips:

Rachid Dahnoun, @rachidphoto

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Be Engaged. Most people who don’t do well on social networks forget that it isn’t all about you; you need to interact with other people on the network by liking, commenting and following other accounts.  Building relationships with other users will really help boost your own account’s engagement.

Be Consistent. Posting once a week isn’t going to cut it.  Nor is posting a beautiful landscape one day and a furry kitten the next.  Consistency across the board is key.  You want to be posting at least 5 days a week (7 is ideal).  That said, you don’t want to over-post either.  If you overload your followers with 4 posts in an hour they are likely to dump you.  For content, you want to stay true to yourself and your brand.  When someone looks at your feed the work should look and feel cohesive, just like a portfolio.

Jess McGlothin, @jess_mcglothlin_media 

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Look Outside Your Immediate Target Audience. I specialize in fly-fishing and outdoor adventure travel, but I’ve seen an increase in fitness and general travel followers when I tailor a post to less-technical viewers. A fun one-liner with a post about my favorite sandals for airplane rides? That’s guaranteed to land a few new followers outside my normal “dude with a beard and a fly rod” genre.

Tell Stories. An image is worth a thousand words, as they say. When someone is flipping through their feed, I want the image to make them stop and look deeper. It’s a tenet of strong photography, and it’s important here too. Instagram is a great tool of escapism… enable that a bit; let people into the story. They’ll respond.

Let People in to Your World. Adding a ten-second video into your feed once in a while allows viewers to feel like they’re behind the scenes. In the past few months I shot iPhone videos of helicopters landing on rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, people passing through the Lima airport at 1AM and a team bumping along a backcountry road in the Amazon jungle while dodging bamboo overgrowth. Video is a fantastic tool to relate to your audience… show that it’s not all fun and glory and good times! Sometimes the job is sleeping on airport floors, dealing with infected wounds and burning time on long car rides. Let’s not be afraid to talk about that!

Andrew Peacock, @footloosefotography

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Be True to Yourself. It’s important that I am excited about posting and it helps if I keep things fresh and post very recent work rather than spend time ‘mining’ my archive looking for something to post just because I feel pressure to do so! I think of my Instagram feed as a portfolio for my adventure travel photography, so I only post high quality images and I keep it ‘real’ in terms of any post processing, to ensure my feed is an accurate reflection of the style of work I deliver to clients.

Find Partners. I’m very lucky to be able to travel widely, so I make sure to post images across a range of subjects and locations to appeal to those looking for adventure travel inspiration on Instagram. Occasionally  I’ll also share my work on a feed with a larger audience. By establishing personal connections with relevant people at companies with huge Instagram followings – Lonely Planet, for instance – I’ve gained an avenue to share my work with a broader audience.

Paul Zizka, @paulzizkaphoto

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#Trending! Posting images relevant to current natural events seems to give my post an extra boost in interaction. Whether it’s season specific, ie. snowy scene during the Winter months, or an Aurora post during or after a solar storm, finding images that people can relate to as something they’re experiencing or thinking about is a strategy that pays off for me.

Sean Davey, @sean_davey

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Ask Questions. I post a a mix of images as they happen, along with classic surf images from my days as a magazine photographer, to keep the content interesting and different as much as I can. I try to engage my audience as much as possible. Ask them a question about the picture, or in my case, I ask them to name the photo and reward the winner with a few 8×10’s.  I see that as part of my advertising budget, so to speak.

David Hanson, @davidhanson3

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Share Personal Work. For over a dozen years I’ve collected portraits and interviews of people I meet, most complete strangers. With over 400, I turned to Instagram to post one per day for 2017. It’s a fun way to stay both consistent and unpredictable. I was a writer before I was a photographer so I like digging beyond the pic. And part of me hopes to learn some secret to life from the people.

Kay Vilchis Zapata, @kayuvilchis

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Join the Celebration. I like to upload photos on days that are celebrating something, like for example National Dolphin Day. I think that by celebrating something everyone talks about that topic and in the same way you can make your audience aware of conserving those important elements and taking more care of the planet.

Au Vol. 7: Connections

Our photographers are solitary in many ways, and their adventures are often only shared with one or two others. Despite the number of solitary subjects in Au Vol. 7, there are connections being made in every image, on every page. The moments captured reveal the triangular nature of outdoor photography: the connection between the subject, nature, and the photographer. When Rob Hammer captures a solo trail runner cutting across a lonely ridge, or Alasdair Turner photographs a young couple sharing a first canoe trip on an Alaskan lake on their wedding day, Aurora contributors connect us from our far away places to the beauty of man (and woman) exploring nature, and making connections of their own. It’s why Michael Wilson hiked the Appalachian Trail and took portraits of the people he met along the way, and why Craig Moore goes out to stand up paddle on Lake McDonald at sunrise. They take us where we’d like to go and introduce us to who we’d like to meet, and in that way, we are all connected.

Au Vol 7 Cover Large

Immerse yourself in some of our best imagery: https://issuu.com/auroraphotos/docs/au-vol-7