Sam Javanrouh: Storms and Rainbows in the City
This is a guest interview prepared exclusively for PhotoInterview by Vadim Costyrin from the 500px team.
Sam Javanrouh is the man behind the Daily Dose of Imagery, which is one of the most popular photoblogs in the world. Sam’s been running a blog for about eight years now and during this period his photography attracted thousands of fans and naturally inspired a commercial interest. However, in spite of that, Sam still approached photography as a hobby. This is what impresses me a great deal, because I’m tired of seeing many people for whom having an upscale digital camera and a couple of tens of «wow» comments is enough to reckon themselves among professional photographers.
Javanrouh shoots in various styles and his photoblog is never boring because of that. His photographs of stormy weather and cityscapes of Toronto capture probably the biggest interest on social networks and in this interview Sam describes his experience as a landscape photographer and reveals some secrets of success in this genre.
Please, tell us about yourself: where you work, which hobbies you have, what education you have?
I lived in Tehran, Iran for the first part of my life and moved to Toronto, Canada when I was 26. I have a degree in French Literature, but my main passion has always been visual arts. I’m currently a Creative Director at Optix Digital Pictures, a Visual Effects and Animation company and photography is my serious hobby. I love Photography, Cinema and all new media branches of those including animation and games.
Your photos of Toronto are great. As I understood, you’re resident of it (by the way, 500px office is also in Toronto). It seems that next to such metropolis as Toronto is there can’t be any pastoral landscape. How do you manage to find such places as the field with pumpkins or badlands?
I’m glad you like my photos. I carry a camera on me at all times, and scenes like the pumpkin field have been possible because of that fact since they were all completely unplanned. I do however try to go on photography trips, close or far, once in a while. Badlands photo was the result of one of those. But since I don’t own a car and I’m mostly a city dweller most of my photos are taken in the city.
Where have your works been published? As I see, they are licensed by Getty. Do you participate in any exhibitions and other events connected with photography?
A few of my photos are licensed by Getty and some are licensed directly by various clients. I don’t market myself as a professional photographer but I do get requests through my site or flickr. Many of my phtos have been published in vasious magazines and publications (you can find a list of those in my about page here) and they were all requests through my online presence. I have done a few exhibitions in the past but nothing in the last year as I’ve been busier with both my job and photography.
How do you make photos with lightning?
Taking lightning photos require a lot of patience. I set my camera on the tripod and use an intervelometer to trigger the camera with continuous long exposures back to back throughout a lightning storm. I end up with hundreds of photos and in those I hopefully find something useful.
What equipment do you use (camera, tripod, light, camera lens)? Do you use any specific equipment?
I shoot with Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Panasonic GF1 и Panasonic Lumix LX3. As for the lenses, I use a line of Canon lenses,as well as Sigma 12-24 and Panasonic 20 f1.7 Pancake. You can find a list of my equipment here.
Have you had any interesting funny stories or hazardous moments while landscapes shooting?
Well shooting landscapes requires a lot of patience and trial and error. To find that perfect light or the perfect cloud formation in the sky can be an adventure in itself. But I find it very relaxing especially for someone like me who’s mostly in the madness of big city downtown life.
I’ve been completely soaked wet on a summer day when found myself trapped on an Island in the middle of a rainstorm but it resulted in one my most liked shots (lightning on Island). I’ve also experienced freezing cold when we found ourselves in the wrong part of the countryside and found all our 4 car tires deflated by a farmer which meant waiting for 6 hours in the notorious Canadian winter. But again, I came out with some good shots.
These days though, shooting in the city is more adventurous since post 9/11 the attitude towards street photography has changed dramatically. I’ve had my share of experiences with that and continue to have them.
Can you give your suggestions to those who want to make such spectacular landscapes?
My advice is to take as many photos as you can and look at other people’s photos you like and try to understand why is it that you like them. By taking photos constantly you’ll find your strengths which helps you focus on what you’re good at. A wide lens always helps too!
Don’t miss a chance to get to know more about the art of Sam Javanrouh:
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