They say there’s nothing greater in life than to follow your dreams and do what you love. I have found something I am more passionate about than ever and I am actively chasing that dream. I live by the motto “collect memories not stuff;” experiences and feelings are so important. For me, photography started out as an attempt to hold on to those memories of the trips we took, to really capture at least a part of what I was seeing and feeling in that very moment so I could one day look back on it and relive it. To be able to hone that and use it to help others better market their business / product / service is something I cherish. Work becomes joy when you are able to help bring to life images customers have in their head and see their reaction when you deliver just what they needed. If you too have memories you would like to hold on to, favorite landscapes you’d love to hang, or need images for promoting your business I would be glad to help.
Behind the Lens: Steve Yocom
Featured in advguides.com
How did you get your start as a photographer? I think a lot of it had to do with moving somewhere so beautiful (Maggie Valley) and not being able to share what my eye’s were seeing with friends and family back home. That and traveling, you see and experience so many wonderful thing’s and places so it’s nice to be able to capture and bring some of those memories back with you!
A lot of your work has been targeted in outdoor adventure sports over the years. Did you have an early interest in outdoor sports and how has that informed your photographic pursuits? Moving from a big city, coming here and picking up backpacking, fly fishing and mountain biking has been life changing, they say we shoot what we love the most so that certainly has a lot to do with why I went in that direction. It’s also why you may find one of my dogs in just about every other picture!
What are some of the things you look for when heading out on a shoot? I love big long range views, cliff’s or a good waterfall. All these have times of the day that are terrible to shoot and times that are perfect! Studying maps, direction of the light at that specific time of day, what is blooming, and even what time the moon will rise and set has all become very important for me to taking things farther and achieving a vision I may have!
How big of a role does pre-production and planning play in your process? Studying maps, direction of the light at that specific time of day, what is blooming, and even what time the moon will rise and set has all become very important for me to taking things farther and achieving a vision I may have! and that takes quite some time to plan all that out.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in outdoor adventure sports photography?
I think the number one challenge is keeping your motivation high and not getting discouraged. There are some places I have spent all weekend backpacking to, just to get a shot from a certain location and it seems like every time it’s socked in the clouds or the light is terrible. 4 a.m. wake up calls for sunrise only to be skunked leave you sometimes questioning if maybe I should just stay in bed. But there are then those times that blow you away and drive that hunger back again.
Where do you see the outdoor sports photography scene heading? I read recently that advertising media sky rocketed last year. I feel good about it. Yes there are countless amount’s of good photographers out there but the need for shoots to display products and places is growing and growing. I just hope I can land some more big names to work with out of it!
You must have some good stories from your adventure photography. Care to share some of your favorites? Once, we got charged by wild boars on the A.T. near Franklin NC…one of my friends accidentally sprayed me with bear spray trying to defend himself. It wasn’t funny at the time but makes for a hell of a campfire story now! There was another time we backpacked the Black Mountain Crest in the snow, we all got snow in our boots and they were wet and turning to ice that night. So we decided to try and dry them out over a fire. A few minutes later I look over and my boots are up in flames…it dried them out but they weren’t as comfortable hiking out the next morning!
What type of gear do you shoot with and how much lighting are you doing? I use Sony’s Full Frame Mirrorless system (A7R). The quality and the weight on these camera’s are unmatched. I also am a firm believer in Primes. Most people are surprised but I do not incorporate any lighting in my work. All natural light. Which can be tough!
What do you for fun? Does the camera always come along on adventures? I try and leave it behind and partake in some other activities to get a breather. Mountain biking is a favorite and also fly fishing. Although I pack the cam and a lens in my bag just in case we hook into a monster, pics or it didn’t happen right? Live music and going for afterwork hikes with the pups is also a big favorite of mine.
Are there some photographers whose work you admire? There are plenty!! Many local photographers push me to grow, and on mornings when I don’t get out there is almost always someone getting a killer shot that makes me wish I hadn’t chosen sleep. As far as locals go, I enjoy Serge Skiba and Tommy White’s landscape work. Globally, I really dig Paul Ziska’s adventure work and I am a huge fan of Lizzy Gadd’s portrait work in the wild.
If you could shoot any event anywhere in the world, what would it be? I think it would have to be folks making the trek to Everest base camp and to shoot mountaineer’s going for the summit!
What’s next? Any big plans? I am saving up for a camper, big enough for me the dog’s and my wonderful girlfriend to travel around in and take on freelance work. Sort of my goal by 2017! Short term, I vowed to try and see the northern lights before I turn 28!
Steve Yocom Photography
Outdoor Adventure, Lifestyle and Travel Photographer based in Western North Carolina who consistently delivers some of the region’s most inspiring outdoor and travel photos.