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What it takes to be a Pro with Adventure Photographer and Filmmaker Lucas Gilman [EP 260]

Lucas Gilman is one of the leading adventure photographers and filmmakers in the industry for the last 20 years. His powerful and incisive images run in top publications & advertisements worldwide and his love of adventure and addiction to color creates his distinct style of photography and filmmaking. I’ve had the good fortune to work and learn from him on a couple of different occasions.

Show Notes

Lucas Gilman

Nikon

Rich Clarkson

Nomad Charcoal Grill

Advice

I would say you only have one chance to make a first impression. I would say if you're wanting to work figure out who your client is first. If that's National Geographic figure out what kind of portfolio you'd need to build, to impress National Geographic. And I'd say that you need to crawl before you walk and walk before you run. And until you're ready to show them your portfolio. Don't do it. You only have that first chance once.

Show Banner

chance favors the prepared mind”  the old Louis Pasteur quote

Favorite Books

Tim Flach Dog Books

Chris Rainier: Ancient Marks: The Sacred Origins of Tattoos and Body Marking

Ansel Adam's In The National Parks

Annie Liebowitz

Tom Mangelson

Favorite Gear under $100

Leatherman Skeleton

10 stop ND filter

Follow up with Lucas

LucasGilman.com

Instagram lucasgilman

Snippets

03:02 – 04:20 Intro to Outdoors
41:33 – 42:21 Favorite Books
43:00 – 43:26 Favorite Gear

Transcript

Welcome to the show Lucas. Hey, thanks for having me. Yeah, it's good to catch up. It's weirdest. I'm talking before we hit the mic button. How long it's been spent like 2014 or 15, something like that too long. Yeah, it's funny.

[00:01:20] Hate to date myself, but I was talking to some the other day and I said let me, when we developed film and I think they said, what you developed film? I said, yeah, then we scanned it and they go, wow, you must be really old. That's right. That's right. Yeah. Yeah. I remember those days, the little Rolling up in that little canister.

[00:01:39] That was pretty fun. The wing Lynch. And you're like, okay, what, how long do we have to go up any depression and stuff yeah. So you're living in a real grand a now, near that near the the ocean. That's pretty cool. I think you guys were in Petaluma last time we talked. Were you, did you live in Petaluma?

[00:01:55] So I lived in Jackson hole and Denver before California. So I was just passing through Petaluma. And I was, grew up in Colorado, but a mountain kid that wanted to see the ocean side of it too. So currently me and the fam are in central California, which I like to say is California.

[00:02:13] Without the California problems. No Tropic. It's don't tell anybody.  It's pretty glorious up here. Nice weather year round. And that's awesome. Yeah, that's the way Bishop is. Bishop is really quiet as do you get over here, much you side? I do. It's been we actually did a trip this summer and we're going to stay a little longer, but it was with the pandemic.

[00:02:33] It was just crazy. I was thinking of. Yeah. I was thinking of Bishop being quiet and everybody else had the same idea, so we just kept trucking heading East and, went out to Colorado where I'm originally from. Yeah. This summer was crazy. Yeah. It's a, it's quieted down.

[00:02:47] And once everybody went back to school or back to, unless you're back to school and back to work as a thing anymore, but back to whatever they're doing it's quiet now. Plus we have winter, so that keeps people away, but no snow, we have winter, but no snow. Yeah, pretty nuts. The mountain, this is hurting.

[00:03:01] So how were you introduced to the outdoors and adventure was that as a kid mountain kid. Yeah. So I grew up in Western Colorado. My dad was applied fishing guide when I was growing up and haven't had a love of travel and, I grew up skiing and everything else and actually went to college to be a writer.

[00:03:19]I went to university of Colorado, Boulder and I really wanted to be a writer until I figured out pretty quickly that it was way too much work. So I took a, intro to photo journalism class, and I was always the kid that. Really enjoyed taking the family photos, but I never thought of it as possibly being a career path.

[00:03:37]My first camera was a Nikon FM two with a 1550 millimeter lens. That was my mom's camera. And in that first theater journalism class my professor Kevin Maloney was a New York times stringer. So he was  working for the New York times and his photography was just. Absolutely inspirational.

[00:04:00] And he had a Nikon F five at that point. And I remember picking up that camera and being like, wow, this is the coolest thing I've ever seen. Like the glowing green kind of LCD inside. You can see the f-stop and everything. And so it was like, I was like, I'm hooked.  Just.

[00:04:20] Kept, working on the craft. And one of our assignments in that first photo journalism class was to spot news and, spot news was anything that was accidents, fires, anything that doesn't have a, a press conference type thing.  After a long night of studying I was heading home and I happened upon this tragic.

[00:04:39] Tragic accident walking home after in the library and it was a double fatality and it was just like,  and this is back in the day as a film, you had to, so  took these photos. It was a horrible for lack scent and went in and processed them in the CU film room there and scan them.

[00:04:57] And my professor was like, wow, these are actually pretty good. You should submit them to the Denver post, which is the largest newspaper in Colorado at that time. They ended up ended up running it. Cause it was a big story at the time because it was a drunk driving accident. There was a big push for  to have some new laws in place.

[00:05:14] Remember getting a check for $150 and it was. It was the first time I was like, wow, this could be that sealed the deal right there. Yeah. So then I got, I got it internship and I actually started working part-time for the Denver post throughout college which was great.

[00:05:30]It was trial by fire. As far as I got all the assignments that nobody else wanted, it'd be like high school football out on the Plains where it was so dark, literally they'd bring the cars around with the headlights. Good on you for taking those though.

[00:05:41]That's brilliant. It was amazing because I got paid mileage. Yeah. Whatever 40 cents a mile or whatever it was. And I've got to drive all over the state. And get the photograph. What I thought was the coolest thing ever. It's just something new everyday. The staffers didn't want to go to a rodeo and like Southeastern Colorado hours away.

[00:06:02]So I learned a lot, but it was like I said, it was trial by fire and I from there, it was like,  it, I decided that it some point, I wanted to produce. Quality over quantity. If I was going to shoot a portrait, I didn't want to do it at noon, which was when they always seem to schedule these things.

[00:06:18] Yeah. So I decided that I was gonna kinda branch off on my own and rich Clarkson who used to be the director of photography at national geographic was a mentor there in Denver, Colorado. And he said, look, we should take a great guy. He said, you should take a job up in Jackson hole.

[00:06:35] At the Jackson hole news and guide. Yeah. And Jackson magazine. And I said, what, you're crazy. I'm with the Denver post and I'm going to keep doing my freelance photography. And he said, I think you should really do it. So he said, at least go up and give it a chance. So I went up there and fell in love with Jackson hole and the newspaper and the magazine that was the director of photography.

[00:06:53] And they said you can do. What you want, as long as you're producing great photography. So that's where it was like a perfect storm. I was, an outdoor kid grew up skiing. And my, my, the reason I got into it tography cause I never wanted to be behind a desk. So went out and just continued to work on my portfolio.

[00:07:13]Throughout that whole time, make it up as you as you want it though. That's pretty cool. They just turned it off. It was like, Oh,  want to do a story on people's skiing, Teton pass, and back country skiing and building a snow cave and, or like horse backing into the wind river range.

[00:07:29] And it was I got to be like, Let me think of the coolest thing I can do this week or this month  and, get paid for it. It was, not, it wasn't something you're going to buy a house on, but it was a salary enough to continue to build the craft and to buck out the portfolio so that I could eventually, I was only at the magazine and the newspaper for a couple of years, but, build it out to the point where I felt like I could go out.

[00:07:53] And fully be freelance and do, build my business and the kind of the outdoor adventure world, which is what I'm known for. Yeah. That's amazing. Yeah. So how long were you in Jackson then? So I was in Jackson for a little over six years. Oh, wow. Huh. So you had a great quite the portfolio of adventure and all kinds of outdoor things.

[00:08:15]Jackson's so cool to it because you get the the horse activity, the horse and as a whole different animal. So that's pretty cool too. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And there was, there were actually, there was, there were polo teams in Jackson. I made friends with the manager of the polo club.

[00:08:31] And I'd go photograph polo. And I met all these people from Argentina that would be the pro players that came in and then, there's kayaking and there was mountain biking and there's back country skiing. And, it's just, it's a veritable, playground for an outdoor adventure photographer.

[00:08:47] Obviously it was a lot quieter back in 2006 than it is now, but it was. It was a beautiful thing. But as my kind of client list grew and my I was doing a lot of work for a lot of sports type magazines and also commercial companies. And Jackson in the winter is a very difficult place to leave because airport gets shut down for three or four days because of storms and yeah.

[00:09:13] And so I moved down to Denver because basically, I knew Colorado love Colorado, but the airport was great because I really wanted to take it to the next level and be able to travel more consistently and such. So when, what was your first outdoor adventure commercial shoot, other than them for the magazine?

[00:09:33] It's one of those things where I was working for a lot of companies. I can't tell you that there's one in particular commercial shoot. It was, I started working with Patagonia started working with K2 skis. I started working with atomic. I started working, with all of the kind of outdoor.

[00:09:48] Apparel and hard goods manufacturers. And it was one of those things where and then plowed bale, who was an outdoor company based in Jackson. So I wouldn't say there was one outdoor specific that really springboard me. It was one of those things where all of a sudden they'd be sending me, gear and I'd be shooting collateral.

[00:10:06] And yeah, that was the way it worked back then was, you go out and just produce content all year. And then at the end of the year you get, like I had a couple of covers of the Patagonia catalog and then funny side notes. There's a shot. I took him this guy. In granite Canyon in Jackson hole, which is right off the, of, out of bounds, the resort.

[00:10:26] And it's a shot of this guy, launching off a cliff and he's in a shadow and the whole Valley is lit up, at sunset it's this is a nice silhouette skiers. So wetter than the beautiful light. And I got a call. From Patagonia and they said, Hey you launched an art, like a print of your, the shot.

[00:10:43] There was a catalog. And I was like, Oh my gosh, you've heard my photo. I'm like, I must, I'm like on cloud nine. So I'm like, yeah, they're like how much? And I'm like, Oh, I'll just do it. Like I'll just, just. How big? So I sent it off and I followed up and I said, Hey, did you get the print?

[00:11:00] They're like, Oh yeah, he loves it. And whatever. And I said, Oh, can I ask what you liked about it? Because  he's seen the best. Some of the buses arguably the best photography from around the world. And They're like, Oh yeah. Yeah. He likes it because you can see his cabin in the Valley right there in the shot.

[00:11:16] And he felt that this time Oh, wow. That's I went from being like the coolest guy ever to being like, Oh, he just likes it. Cause he can see his cannabis cabinet. Yeah. Still he liked the artistic. Epic or their artistic, creative creativity of the shot with his capital. Yeah. Yeah. That's amazing.

[00:11:39] Yeah. So do you have a shoot in your past? That was particularly Epic, crazy weather, rough travel, cranky subjects, any I'm sure we've all got crazy weather stories. I'm sure. Yeah. I was going to think I was going through that list. I was thinking he's probably got another I think if you want to start with the most.

[00:11:59] Difficult. I wouldn't say difficult, but I would say that one of the craziest thing that's ever happened to me was I was doing a job for Nikon.  Basically launched this little point and shoot a waterproof shockproof camera and I shoot a lot of kayaking. And one of my buddies, Robert Ortiz, I do a lot of surfing.

[00:12:21] And so I called my buddy Ralph RT is he was a red bull athlete and said, Hey, I've got this little project, you got anything going on? And he goes, Oh, we're going to. Chapas to the Iguazu and I'm like, Chapas what does that ring a bell? And I'm like, Oh, that's right. Zapatistas. Chapas and I'm like, he's Oh, we'll be fine.

[00:12:37]Like it's mellow and whatever. So we go down there and we it's this beautiful as like Aqua Marine water. Like it's it's straight. It looks like it's like Photoshop. Like the whole thing is just so beautiful. And there's these travertine waterfalls. And it's We hiked miles into the jungle to these things.

[00:12:55] And they're,  they're dropping these off these waterfalls in their kayaks. And with my my guide who is a part of our career and who's a local guy and all of a sudden we get surrounded by these like Zapatistas, like 20 TCIs and they've got these He's four foot long machetes that are like just razor sharp.

[00:13:13] And they all wear the cobbles, and all I can see is their eyes. And they're like, they start screaming at me and they're like, you started sneakers of status and heaters. And I'm like no. In the middle of the story to Canada, I'm not from Canada, but I'm like Canada are American because they hate Americans because in the eighties, The CIA tried to help the Mexican government basically eradicate them because they're gonna lose rebels and such.

[00:13:35] And they're like, they kept saying the Sadducees. I'm like no, I'm from Canada and I didn't bring a passport or any ID or anything. Cause I needed it. Anybody smart, it would be problematic. So they're like we're like $10,000. We need $10,000 and they kept like drawing their finger under their throat.

[00:13:52] Like showing me we're going to cut you, cut your throat. My guide is like totally white as a ghost, local guy. He's his eyes are just. Folding out and, and so I had $500 in one pocket, $300 in another pocket and 200 in another pocket. So I gave him like $500.

[00:14:06] I'm like,  and so then . And so I gave him a next, the 300 and then whatever, on a thousand dollars, I gave him a thousand bucks and I'm like, sorry, pull, showed him, my pockets are empty. This is all I got. And they like. Thought about it. And they tried to get a hold of the boss, but he wasn't like on the road radio and whatever.

[00:14:24] And finally they're like, okay, go. And we literally printed whatever, like three or four miles up the river to get away. And The finally scary. The irony of the thing is I gave him American dollars. So I don't know if they're not up on their currency, but like they weren't Canadian dollars. Oh, they probably didn't put two and two together.

[00:14:44] Yeah. But yeah, so that was that was pretty harrowing. Another, that would be really scary. Another crazy shoot, rock warranties. Again, the red bull guy was little. Laura, one of the largest waterfalls ever run 198 feet. Police falls. And I remember that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So that was crazy. I literally thought my buddy was maybe not going to come back from this.

[00:15:07] Yeah. That's a great shot though. Yeah. Yeah. And it was one of those things where the alpha disappeared right before it happened. And we're like we're in Rocco, if you're there like, Oh, he's taking a nap on that. The the shore over there waiting for the Cineplex helicopter to show up because it was a red bull shoot.

[00:15:23] So we had a helicopter and all that kind of stuff and it but it worked out and it's. I can regale you with war stories, but those things I'll do eventually work out. You get the shot and it's there. Do you, so you said you originally went to school for, or were studying writing.

[00:15:39] Do you write up any of those stories? Have you written any of those stories up to just for shits and giggles? Honestly I never actually tried to make sure that the magazines don't know that I'm a writer because I always hate to, I want to focus on one thing as opposed to being pulled into the directions.

[00:15:55] But I think the writing has helped me. And I think what if anybody's aspiring to be a photographer, I feel like the biggest. Thing obviously is to have your craft and, be able to produce stunning images, but also to be able to write a creative and concise pitch. And I think that's where that, that journalism background being able to write because honestly, 80% of what I do is.

[00:16:21] Is on the backend on the office and, coming up with concepts, coming up with creative ideas, coming up with angles and things that have generally been done before trying to, try to, not necessarily reinvent the wheel, trying to go out and continually have enough for lack of a better term irons in the fire.

[00:16:41] Yeah, so that then you have different. Yeah, exactly. So that you then have enough things going on that then you can now have a, kind of a sustainable income. So tell us how you go about developing that, that story or anatomy of a shoot. You have a recipe or an idea in mind, you must do a ton of research to figure out what you can do.

[00:16:59] That's a different, and be like you say, going to it's been, it is changed over time and there's not one necessarily recipe, but working with athletes and developing relationships is paramount. And the photography as well as we also do. And I've transitioned into directing and we, I run a the other half of my business, I would say, or actually more than the still photography as we do motion as well.

[00:17:26] So we shoot video and that kind of thing, which has been because, There's always a video aspect to this these days, but yeah. And these, for the last, what would you say 10 years you've had to do both, right? You can't just in order to be a well-rounded photographer it's maybe not had to do both, but it's smart of you to do both video and still, and I think that really was because he came apparent with I used to do quite a bit of work for a land Rover and we had this new prototype car and we were.

[00:17:54] Up near Telluride, Colorado. And, we were there to shoot the stills and there was a video crew there to do the video and we just literally were battling for this car. Like it was like, we both needed the same thing, but  what looks good is it still doesn't necessarily translate to video and vice versa.

[00:18:12] So we were literally battling. So one thing that we've tried to do at least in the last 10 years or so is Essentially show up with, one crew. And I think that kind of comes about with it. It was also more. Productive for the, on the client side to have, one crew that could do both the video and the stills which was great for their bottom line, because all of a sudden, two separate crews, one video crew, when there's that crossover there to save money, but also the quality of the output the cohesiveness of the project stylistically looks a lot similar.

[00:18:46]That was something that I started running with to continue to grow the business, because in a, in these times there's always going to be a video aspect, all of these shoots. So why not embrace it instead of, go, swim upstream against it.

[00:19:02] Yeah. Do both, yeah. Deliver it all in one stop shop. Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. Where do you get your inspiration? Pretty much everywhere. You gotta be on the lookout for all kinds of opportunities. Come on through the outdoor adventure world, that's was the bread and butter, but I really try to find inspiration in, everywhere.

[00:19:25]And I think it goes back to when I was in college and was really into photography. I would go to the library and I would just pull out. Photo books. And that would be, any, anything from Ansul Adams to Avedon, to, Peter Lindbergh, to, anything from fashion to food to like fine art and just, going out and trying to find a visual.

[00:19:48] That visual stimulation and to just use that as a springboard to go out and produce things to do use techniques to make, new and interesting pictures. Trying to set yourself apart in today's world with the cameras are so good.  The technology is so good.

[00:20:04]What, whatever you're using is your capture medium. That new iPhone, that's what a 12, 12 X pro. Yeah. It's crazy how the technology is. So it's one of those things where I remember when I transitioned from film to digital and there's a lot of Curmudgeons for lack of a better term that were like, I'll never go to digital.

[00:20:23] It'll never be as good as Spellman. I think just trying to embrace all those things. But, and using them to find that creativity because there's, with the technology, there are certain things that you can do that you wouldn't. Be able to do. I remember, once the, for instance, now we've got these smaller mirrorless cameras, like the Nikon  or whatever, like all of a sudden they're smaller routes them lighten up to where mounting them on a long boom arm.

[00:20:51]That's, Small and lightweight, you can, all of a sudden produce angles that you never could before. That looks like it's an, a drone, which, that's a whole nother world and a whole nother license and things like that. But, using the technology, figuring out, all right these things all have a place and a purpose, so how do we use this technology to our advantage instead of looking at it as though it's Oh, all these people are just, cutting into my bread and butter and my bottom line, let's embrace this technology and go out and produce content, which we wouldn't have been able to do before.

[00:21:23] And pairing that with the creative side, which is,  starting with an idea flushing out that idea. And then figuring out how you're going to accomplish that idea and what the tools are that you need to accomplish that whether that's on the motion side, whether that's that you need a camera that can shoot 120 frames a second at 4k.

[00:21:43] So you've got super slow motion or even 220 frames per second to get super, so emotion. What is it that we're trying to accomplish? And looking at it from a holistic , in the sky view. And not getting, not getting too bogged down in the details or the minutiae being like, this is what I want to produce.

[00:22:01] This is the idea, is it, an Epic surf film or is it a guy dropping a hundred foot waterfall? What is, what's the end result that we want out of this? What are the assets that we want to produce and what are the tools we need to do that? So by, by thinking and who are the people, because I'm only one person.

[00:22:20]I like to say that I work in a collective, I collect friends and associates, which are really good at what they do. And by doing that, I feel like it makes me stronger. Photographers have a very me attitude, where it's I produce the photo, I do this, I'm looking at this as in a bigger picture sense.

[00:22:38] Like how can my call it a tribe? Make me stronger. And then so yeah. Bring those creatives together who oftentimes, and many times have much better ideas than I do. So all of a sudden,  it's all of a sudden, you've got your you've almost got your mini agency, for your project.

[00:22:55] You've got your other creatives and you put out if you have the, a thick enough skin to do that and not be too prideful. And I remember somebody young in my career that said, Do you want to be a photographer? You can't wear your heart on your shirt sleeve. Because you're, I think it was Christopher near.

[00:23:13] I did a workshop with him and Christian era, famous guy had done a lot of books. Then a workshop with him and Aspen when I was very young. And he said, if you get two out of 10 proposals, Greenland, you have done an amazing job. Yeah. And I said, if you're only batting 20%, you're doing great.

[00:23:30]Be okay with no, but also that no can also be instead of instead of it being soul crushing can also be. Inspiring because maybe you just need to go back and revamp that because maybe you were almost there, but that idea just wasn't quite there yet. Having that sense of what works and what doesn't, there's no way to really teach that.

[00:23:51] It's just, you learn over years of knowing it. There's certain stories. For instance there's a picture I took and there I'm red bull thing. And it was just this picture asked the sky Steve Fisher in upper Washington on this thing called the black river. And this picture never went anywhere.

[00:24:12] And it was one of those things where it was, it hadn't gotten much fanfare and it, in all of a sudden, one day it just started selling like everywhere, international publications, all of the world. It's like one of those things, like they say good going viral.

[00:24:27]It's  you take these pictures in your life. Where you're like, this is, this picture is good. This picture is solid. Like why doesn't it go anywhere? Another one of those is the first descent of the real also Saker there's this 132 foot waterfall, which we didn't end up running, but it got run later on, but we had to repel around this thing, this huge repel.

[00:24:46] So it's a kayak repelling down along next to this huge like Gorge and this beautiful waterfall. And there. So it's a picture of a guy rappelling with a kayak next to this waterfall. And it's just yeah. And this thing never went anywhere. Like it did.  Did the story for men's journal. It didn't run in men's journal.

[00:25:03]And it just sat there and then I got a call from national geographic and they were doing their a hundred years of photography edition basically. And they're looking for these like kind of earth scapes and it ended up being like the, one of the leading opening shots for the magazine.

[00:25:18] So it was like, it was ironic, that, I guess the moral of the story is that you've got to have kind of faith in what as good photography. Because, yeah, it may not be seen right away and people may not agree with you or they may just not see it yet, to keep, pounding the pavement and having faith that what you're doing is good photography.

[00:25:38]And you keep, you keep honing your craft and I loved the agency concept that you mentioned because by putting together a different agency or a unique agency, depending on what the shoot needs, you can customize it specifically for that. And that allows you to be more creative on site.

[00:25:53] Oh, totally. Do we need it, do we need a drone operator? Do we need a underwater or a water specialist? Do we need somebody that's really good at mounting cameras in certain positions? Do we need, all these different things or do we need somebody who's a lighting guru.

[00:26:08]And I've done a lot of lighting over, over my career. And that's one of the things that I think set me out, but set me apart and, way back in the day was, lighting, arenas and lighting things that you wouldn't normally think that were lit, but, finding somebody that's all they do and that's, what they want to do well, that's, you can't put a value on that because.

[00:26:26] No. Yeah. When they bring their ideas and their experience to the table too, which is you double your fun, or triple your funding. Exactly. And, we all walk away hopefully fulfilled as far as like producing something that we wanted to produce, but,  and.

[00:26:39]I hate to say it, but the bottom line is this is a business. I still need to put food on the table. If it's not a a charity I wish it could be. Yeah, I hear you. I can relate to that. Yeah. For lifetime status, just to go do on projects.  Yeah, we've got to figure out where that application is.

[00:26:59] We're gonna take a little break and give some love to our sponsor. Hey, do you love to read, but don't always have the time to sit down with a good book on the same. And sometimes I just feel like having someone else tell the story. If you use audible, then you know, if not you're missing out, it's like having a library in your phone.

[00:27:13] And I use it a lot. Audible helps the miles slot by when I'm on the road. As I'm enjoying great books I discover or recommended by friends. Get your free audio book, download and a 30 day free trial@audibletrial.com slash the outdoor biz podcast. There are over 180,000 titles to choose from. Go to audible trial.com/the outdoor biz podcast and start your free 30 day trial with audible today.

[00:27:35] And now back to the show, are you shooting with any of the new phones? The new I have a buddy of mine. Who's does Gaga over the phone and says, it's going to kill DSLRs. And I said that's not going to kill him, it's a pretty remarkable tool. I think the phone, like anything has its place.

[00:27:50]The, the new I've got the new iPhone pro. 12, I think it's 12 programs. Yeah. And it's the pictures are spectacular. Like it's, it does a great thing. It's one of those things where I think there's a tool for every job. If I'm out and I'm just snapping photos of my wife and my son were, on vacation or whatever, absolutely amazing job, if I want to go do something and completely.

[00:28:15] Kind of control every aspect of it. I think that is where I would pick up, like a Nikon D seven, because I'm also, you're talking about 47 megapixels versus 12 basically. And it's just, it gives you more. Why there's the technology is not there to be able to capture enough light on that small of a sensor on a phone to be able to see, it's comparable, but it's also, I'm also a control freak.

[00:28:41] So you're able to get exactly what you envisioned where, Not like I said, the phone is absolutely amazing and for everyday stuff, absolutely spectacular. And there's some people making some amazing stuff, which they do with it, whatever tool they have. It's not the tool, it's the person, what's a combination.

[00:29:00] What's the best camera. And I say,  yeah, It starts for me with ergonomics, but honestly, it's a camera you carry with you because it's the one that you will have with you. When you want to take that photo. It's not the one that you leave in the car in the trunk. It's the one that you actually have with you.

[00:29:14] So you know, that, that is one of those things where. That's a personal choice. I'm obviously an icon ambassador and love, I love the glass and the system and what I've used for years, but I'm not going to tell somebody that they shouldn't go use something else because honestly that comes down to what, what you're comfortable with and what you'll actually go out and use.

[00:29:34] And I think that's important that people take stock in the and what they're gonna use. I liken it to the. The $3,000 tripod, right? It's like the guy goes and gets his first camera and he buys this like bulky, heavy tripod that they never use. So then they go back and they buy another one, and it's a little bit smaller, but still bulky.

[00:29:54] And they always leave it in the truck. And then all of a sudden, by like the third or fourth one, they finally buy the one they should have initially, which is a little, actually quite a bit more expensive. But if you did add an, edit it up, Those other two that they would be, right there. So it's exactly the same thing.

[00:30:08] You just need to sure that you're going to take stock. And I know there's a lot of gearheads out there. Photography has a. Has the ability to inspire people to to watch? That's a new technology. It's fly fishing too. It's all, the new rods. And then it's just a lot of these little, a lot of these professions that you guys are in as professionals that also have a hobby side, it's just, it's about the gear for the hobbyist.

[00:30:33]And they want the latest and greatest and most technically advanced whether they can use it or not. That's what they want. They think it makes them better. And in some cases it does. But it's like you say, it's the one the item you have with you and the one that you know, how to use and are going to use, most comfortable your comment about being most comfortable with it.

[00:30:49] That's what you're going to use. Yeah. Yeah.  The technology you can take full advantage of in a sense, to be able to know how to really make that work for you. So how has COVID impacted your business? Obviously, you're probably not traveling as much, so yeah, I haven't been on an airplane.

[00:31:04]I typically the last I'd say 15 years, I'd be. At least a hundred plus thousand miles a year, air travel. I think I traveled in 2020 1900 miles. It was like a dribble at all.  Jobs in like you're, January early February, and then, it was I just, wasn't willing to take the risk and to, it was one of those things and it's also, there's all, and it's also about reputation.

[00:31:39]You built, I've worked my whole career to go out and represent companies produce projects. And, you're honestly, you're only as good as the last project you produce for any client and, to go out and either. Not be able to, be able to complete something B because of even if it's out of my control, I never want to be the person that they remember is Oh yeah, they, they just never delivered on that.

[00:32:04] So it just wasn't really worth the risk from a health standpoint. But also from a, if there's also the perception of, Oh, we're all locked down, but there's, these photographers are out there gallivanting around the world, like that's not right either. So yeah. I started basically pivoted basically, I still wanted to do photography and still.

[00:32:24] Be creative and, produce video projects. And my, my kind of second love outside of photography is cooking. Like we have we have a wood outdoor wood pizza oven and yeah.  Really enjoy part of the reason we moved to California is to be, lit big stairs, close by.

[00:32:41]Obviously you're up in Bishop Eastern Sierra, man. That's beautiful. Yeah. So camping and like cooking live fire, basically. It's something that I just absolutely love. So I took stock again. Simon is a sky like. We can't really travel. What can I do? I can travel regionally safely.

[00:32:59] We've got a camper van. What can we do? What are we allowed to do? And so I started reaching out to companies like for instance, there's a new company out of Texas that has this really amazing aluminum, barbecue grill charcoal grill called it's a nomad. And it's it looks like James Bond had a grill.

[00:33:17] This will be the one that he would have, like CNC aluminum, absolutely beautiful. It's a smoker, it's a grill. So I said, Hey, it looks like you guys could use some help with social media. If you guys need some content, started reaching out to companies like that and basically developing relationships.

[00:33:34] And again, it all goes back to those relationships, where, and I've done food photography just for fun in the past. Cause so you, so again, I needed a little bit of a portfolio to show them what I could do, but. Start developing those relationships and,  find X cast, iron pans Japanese knife makers, just here and there.

[00:33:51] Just finding the product security, the list of people that I'd want to work with. Smart. Yeah. And started producing content, whether it was home or just, a few miles from home. And yeah, that's how we've I guess you could say weathered the storm. I'd be lying if I said 2020 was a good year.

[00:34:08] Was it catastrophic? No, it definitely wasn't, I wouldn't say a banger year. It sounds, but I think everybody took that, but, w we did gain was a new skillset, continuing  to cook and buck out the food photography stuff, but. Also diversifying the port yeah.

[00:34:25] A new body of work. Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. That's super smart. And you got to eat your your where's when you're done. How bad is that? Do you have a favorite thing you like to cook? It's, it really depends, I've done everything from.  Kind of high-end sushi preparations to Japanese Wagyu, hot stone too.

[00:34:45]Like we really if I could pick a one style of cooking, it would be cooking over, wood or Oak out in nature. So I'd say. Whether that's in a Dutch oven or overcast Dyer in a Rover grill just going back to, to wait. So the way we used to cook, low tech and just, enjoying this, the sights, the smells and the sounds of, producing regionally sustainable, produce and meats and things and just doing it that way.

[00:35:17] Yeah, that's super cool. That's good. Good on you for that pivot too. That was pretty smart. Yeah. Do you have any suggestions or advice for folks wanting to get into photography? I would say you only have a one chance to make a first impression. I would say if they're you're wanting to work for figuring out who your client is first.

[00:35:36]Whether that's, if that's national geographic figure out what kind of portfolio you'd need to build, to impress national geographic. And I'd say that you need to, crawl before you walk and walk before you run that, don't, It until you're ready to show them your portfolio.

[00:35:53]Don't do it. You only have that first chance. So until you're producing the caliber and work, that is represented in the pages of that that magazine or publication, or even if it's an advertising client figure out the things that you can do that you are comfortable with because, for instance, If you ate your whole life, you want them to shoot the super bowl, right?

[00:36:14] And then you get a call. From, sports illustrated or ESPN or whatever, maybe to go shoot the super bowl. Are you ready to do it? So be careful what you ask for yeah. The phone might ring and be ready to do that. Yeah. I'd say just take your time and develop the craft,  think as a photographer, you're like a handyman.

[00:36:36]The more things you can do the better photographer you are,  can you shoot him back in miserable conditions? Can you, when the light isn't great. Can you still produce? And I think that's the difference and there's a lot of amazing photographers out there. Millions out there, but the difference between a true professional and somebody who's an amateur is the true professional can produce something in any condition.

[00:36:59] Yeah, they deliver all that. Exactly. And the amateur yeah. Be able to, because they're just not used to that. And people say and I say there they go. How do you get there? And I say I've made more mistakes and they go well, and then through those mistakes, I notice things earlier, they're going to become a problem, or know things that are potential problems and on any shoot.

[00:37:21] It's not if there's a problem, it's how big is that problem and how do you fix it?

[00:37:28]Like how are we going to get this thing done? Yeah. So I think that the, I think that to take that into account and to hopefully, continue to, like I said, just enjoy it because if I am initially find something you love, whether you love. Macro flower photography or food photography, or shooting portraits, whatever it is, find something that you're just passionate about because at the end of the day, if you become successful, It is a job it's, it's right.

[00:37:57] Exactly. Yeah, it's called the job and then, eventually still working be long hours and it's going to be, there will be sacrifices. So make sure that you're passionate about what you're doing because yes, it's totally rewarding. And would I do anything else? No, you need to be ready for that.

[00:38:13]That's good advice. Yeah. Let's shift gears a little bit. If you were able to hang a huge banner at the front of one of the trade shows, be it an outdoor show or a photo show, what would it say? I would say chance favors the prepared mind, the old Louie passer quote. And I, I think that just,  think just to where the way I approach every.

[00:38:36] Not only everyday life, but,  guess my job, my work I do a lot of research and, I feel like the more you put into something the better results you're going to get. Yeah. What ties back into what we were talking earlier about, Advice. If you go out there and have used your camera in whatever tool it is, your camera, your surfboard, your podcast, mic.

[00:38:55]Whatever it is, if you've used it in enough situations that you're going to be prepared, and then you add research on top of that and it's all the better. Yeah, I like it. That's cool. Do you have any daily routines you use to keep your sanity? Living in California, we, it seems like we've been in more back down for a long time, but yeah,  try to, we do date, we do day trips.

[00:39:17] We've walked the dog. We do. All the things that we can safely do where we can go. We'd like to take the camper van and go up near San Simeon, which is near Hearst castle. And  take a picnic, bar, grill there, hang out and just spend the day on the beach, just, social distancing, let the dog run just, but just be out in nature.

[00:39:36]Yeah. Once things, open up a little bit, hope to do another, kind of road trip throughout California to and this,  the camper van is just a great way to do that because you can be self-sufficient, you don't need, you can pack enough groceries for a week and all that kind of stuff.

[00:39:52] And, figuring out that thing for us, it's been, trying to just do these day trips and, look,  and just appreciate what you have, so far and healthy and continuing  to do mostly what we want to do as far as Being creative.

[00:40:06] And my wife has been great because she helps with the food styling and then doing that kind of thing. So it's been, it's been, there's a silver lining, I guess you could say. And I think that if the one thing I could, I know every we've all, I read this thing that said, we're not all in the same boat, we're in the same storm, and not all of us are we are all affected differently.

[00:40:26] So I can't assume. Or say how anybody else has been affected, but I would just say, try to figure out whatever the silver linings are or. What are the things that possibly could be positive out of it, because if we dwell on the negatives, it's hard to move forward because there has to be something it's human nature right there.

[00:40:43] We have to have something to work towards. And what is that? Yeah. We've always gone through things. You look back in history of, the fact that humans are still on the planet and have evolved as we've evolved, we've gone through so many different things that you just have to put your head down and.

[00:40:56] Persevere and grind it out. It would come out the other side. We will, even if it's small victories being able to do a day trip or a little mini shirt, or, even just, go to a movie, whatever it may be that happens, in the next, month, six months a year, we have to just continue to focus on those things that you know, and do the best.

[00:41:15] I think we can for our Eric fellow. Human to, to, hopefully get through this time as quickly as possible. And remember that we have more, that is similar than the differences that we seem to have these dates. Yeah. That's definitely true. Do you have any favorite books or books gives gifts?

[00:41:36] So know one of my favorite books. I love dogs. We have she's only a nine months old. She's a warm render. Low-key  Tim flock, his book dogs. He's a British photographer and he does these super high speed sync, pictures of dogs and all of all kinds of animals. He's a, an amazing guy.

[00:41:55] I met him in London, I think maybe eight years ago or something, but yeah, always loved his books like that. Just absolutely spectacular, like medium format photography. He actually uses two cameras that are sinked. In with multiple heads and all it's crazy, but like the detail of every water droplet every year on these dogs like doing Tim flock, amazing stuff.

[00:42:20]Cool. Chris you're near his books are always he did a tattoo book, which is, spectacular. And so Adam's national parks. One of my favorites. It's, and then, also Annie Liebowitz her kind of,  her books Mark in your busy origami is a great book where he does all that kind of  portraits of like kind of the stars and celebrities and such.

[00:42:44] So I'd say that my. My photo book thirst is,  is definitely thirsty. Tom Mandelson books are always great. I know Tom Magnuson for a lot of years, he's a Jackson hole and some of the best wildlife photography out there. Yeah, that's right. Yeah. How about a favorite a favorite piece of outdoor gear under $100?

[00:43:04] I would say a multi-tool would be the one thing I would recommend everybody have. It comes up, I'd say,  the there's a couple of different Leatherman is the skeleton it's called a skeleton, I think is the one that I typically go with because it has basically bits that you can add to it.

[00:43:26] The bits are, like Allen heads and such so that you can have one of those. Yep. So that would be the number one thing I think that would be if I could spend a hundred dollars between that and a headlamp. Those two things would be the things that always should be in every photographer's bag.

[00:43:43] Exactly. And if you're going, if you were to ask me photos specific here, I'd say a 10 stop ND filter would be the thing that I recommend everybody has as far as a camera accessory. Yeah, it just allows you to do super long exposures in the middle of the day and make the, the ocean go Milky and have that kind of appeal, waterfalls and that kind of thing.

[00:44:06]That's a good one. So those would be, I think a couple of things. That's good. We'll link to those in the show notes. Yeah. As we wrap up, is there anything else you'd like to say or ask of our listeners? I it's been great chatting with you and it's awesome to have caught up after all these years.

[00:44:20] And I, I just say, I hope everybody. We try to keep everything in perspective and remember that we're we only have one planet. Let's all kind of work together to hopefully keep it as best we can get out the other side. I love it. Yep. Yep. Where can people find you?

[00:44:35] What's it's Lucas gilman.com bill.com. Or if you want to find me on Instagram, it's just at Lucas Gillen. That's L U C a S G I L M a N. Cool. Willing to in the show notes too. Yeah, it's been great to catch up after all this time. It's Maybe we'll see each other one of these days on the East side, or I'll get over to the coast.

[00:44:52] It'd be fun to catch up and shoot together. Have a meal or go for a walk, something, anything. Yeah. Cool. Thanks Lucas. I appreciate it. Thanks for having me

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