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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wilderness Warrior

Joseph Rossbach breaks from the crowded overlooks and usual vantage points to capture original and compelling landscapes

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Rossbach is often in the field from before dawn until after dusk. Here, he waited for the perfect ambience to capture a striking sunset at Mushroom Rocks on Trail Ridge, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

The Business Side
In a span of just five years, Rossbach has developed a devoted following and a reputation for photography that speaks from the heart. And he has learned that being a professional and making a living is about more than taking photographs. There’s the business aspect to manage, and Rossbach came to rely on the expertise of his wife Amber for much of that financial side.

“My wife has been the biggest influence on me and my career as a photographer,” says Rossbach. “She convinced me years ago that my work was good enough to share with others. Everything I know about business management and marketing, I learned from her. Without her, I doubt very much that I would have a career as a professional nature photographer.”

Many photographers are content to shoot from above, but Rossbach took the long way down Shay’s Run in Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia, to shoot deep in the well-known gorge.
Rossbach strives to be in the field at least 10 days each month, more during the spring and summer months.

“When in the field, I tend to shoot from before dawn until after sunset,” he says. “I scout locations well in advance, often spending time just sitting and observing the landscape. This really helps me get into the rhythm of the place. I try to take advantage of every moment of sweet light that I can.”

The early risings and late evenings don’t always result in favorable outcomes, of course. Says Rossbach, “Many times I go with an idea of the image I want, but only a fraction of the time—due to the conditions of the light, environment or weather—do I return with what I had anticipated.”

The most important lesson from this, he adds, “Keep an open mind while out shooting and continue following the light. You may not get what you had originally planned, but it can often lead to more interesting and dramatic images.”

When shooting, Rossbach is unwavering about not capturing images that others have photographed time and time again. “There’s no challenge in that for me,” he says. “I want to create original images, something that incorporates a new creative design or even an abstraction of the scene before me. When photographing, I’m thinking in the literal, but I’m also trying to arrange shape, pattern, line repetition and color inside the viewfinder in a way that results in a visually stunning image and not just a record of what I saw.”


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