Nathaniel Wise is a landscape and travel photographer currently living on the road out of his Toyota 4Runner SUV. He became interested in photography three years ago, after moving to Washington State. Inspired by the natural beauty around him, Nathaniel dedicated himself to capturing the extraordinary spirit of America’s great wilderness. Teaching himself the basic mechanics of operating a camera, Nathaniel quickly developed his style and now is a full-time professional.
Nathaniel is taking over our Instagram feed for a week (March 31 to April 6), sharing a collection of his idyllic landscape imagery. We caught up with to find out more about his photography.
Your pictures are fueled by your love for traveling. What is it about living and photographing on the road that appeals?
The freedom is incredible. Everything I own is in my truck so being able to drive my house wherever I want is a very liberating feeling. Existing in these beautiful places makes me happy and life on the road allows me to achieve that. I love how minimal and simple life is as well: wake up, watch the sunrise, make breakfast with a view. It’s amazing. I fill my nights with writing, playing guitar and reading. There aren’t any distractions out here. Just you, nature and what matters to you the most. From my standpoint as a photographer, simply being present in these spaces inspires me immensely. When you live on the road the opportunity for the perfect conditions for taking pictures comes frequently which is always a plus.
How has Instagram benefited your photography?
Instagram has been an invaluable tool for me. Initially, it kept me disciplined. I wanted to have a photo to post every day that I was proud of. That’s a tall order, coming into photography and I’m very critical of my work but having that goal really pushed me to get out there and practice as much as possible. Instagram has helped from a business standpoint as well. It’s great for networking. A big part of why I’m photographing full-time is a product of some incredible help I’ve had along the way. I’ve met countless friends and mentors through the app, and it is what I’m most thankful for. It’s also just a great tool to get your name out there – brands notice if you’ve got a good feed.
Is there a particular person who has had a major influence on your photography?
That's honestly a difficult question for me. I've been inspired by so many talented people since picking up a camera. One of the first I ever followed was Alex Strohl. From the natural scenes he captures to the perfect colors he brings about in his work, he's been a big inspiration. Looking through his photos really motivated me at the beginning. He was the first full-time travel photographer that I paid attention to.
In more recent times Christian Schaffer has had a huge impact on my work. She inspired me to buy a telephoto lens, which I now use 90% of the time. I was first turned onto the idea after seeing her photographs of the Cascade Mountains. So many beautiful layers. She has a knack for bringing out the simplicity and emotion in a landscape, which I admire greatly. She’s a great writer too, her words always pair perfectly with her photos – which is something I'm trying to do more of these days.
A lot of your work is focused on America's great wilderness. Are there any other landscape that inspire you?
I’m currently criminally under traveled – in my eyes, at least. I have only left America once and that was only a few months ago. I got my first passport this past year and used it one time, to go to Canada. I didn’t even go to California until this past November. So, for now, yes…it’s mostly the landscapes of the American West. I have some work from the Canadian Rockies, but that’s it. Over this next year I’ll be branching out and traveling to more international destinations. I have plans to go to the fjords and mountains of Northern Norway and the Alps this summer. Needless to say, I’m excited for that, I’ve been dreaming of those far-away lands for quite some time now.
What do you think is the most exciting trend right now in the photography world?
I think the most exciting thing about photography right now is its increasing accessibility. Camera technology has come a long way since the dawn of digital. It’s easier than ever for somebody to decide if they want to start shooting. You can find old cameras with great quality for dirt cheap or you can use your phone. You can learn how to use your camera, learn how to edit, research locations and gather inspiration…all on the internet. It’s crazy, and awesome.
You picked up photography three years ago and have enjoyed a variety of successes - including having 64.8K+ followers on Instagram. What's next?
I’m not really sure, to be honest. This has been a wild ride so far and an awesome one. I’m certainly very interested in going international and creating work abroad. It’s been a dream of mine for quite some time. I have a long goal list for the year, which includes some clients I want to work for and some personal projects I’d like to work on. One of which is a series of photo books, based around traveling slowly and intentionally. Something else I’d love to get into is aerial photography. I’ve never flown in a helicopter and I’ve never owned a drone. But, apart from that, who knows. I just know I’m excited for it.