Kyle Jones is an award-winning landscape photographer based in Northern California. In addition to locations close to home, he uses photography as the motivation to travel to beautiful places and attempt to see them in great light. His work has been featured in magazines and galleries in Northern California as well as by the websites for Outdoor Photographer and Landscape Photography magazines.
He is a member of PhotoShelter, the leader in portfolio websites, photo sales, marketing and archiving tools for photographers.
Why photography? What does the medium mean to you? When did you get started?
I started carrying a camera on backpacking trips as a child and always enjoyed seeing what came back from the photo labs when I got home. Other activities took more of my time until I began hiking again around 2000. I decided I really enjoyed capturing the scenes I found and began working on my photographic skills. I got serious about landscape photography with the purchase of my first digital camera in 2006. This made it much easier to experiment and see the results immediately. I am also somewhat of a technology junkie, so photography became a great way to combine several of my passions: travel, art, technology and software. I still use photography as a motivation to go out and see the world and to sacrifice sleep for sunrises, sunsets and stars.
In your opinion, what goes into making great landscape and nature photography?
Most importantly it needs to connect, both with the viewer and the photographer. That connection can come from the subject matter, the light, the composition or just the overall mood, but there has to be something to convince the eye to linger. The first thing that usually strikes me in a great image is the light and atmosphere. Iconic scenes are everywhere on the internet these days, so dramatic light and color get my attention. For a truly great image, though, that subject and light need to be combined with a composition that holds together and leads the eye through the scene.
Tell us about your most memorable shoot
That would have to be my sunrise at the Diamond Beach in Southern Iceland. I made my photographic pilgrimage to Iceland last year and photographing the ice washing up on this black sand beach was high on my bucket list. I arrived in the middle of the night for a 3:00 am sunrise, but the sky was never truly dark. Unfortunately, clouds had rolled into the area and it looked like sunrise would be a bust. I started walking along the beach, a little disappointed with the weather and relative lack of ice on the beach. Resigned to make the best of it, I started working on intimate scenes with the water swirling around small pieces of ice.
After a little while, I saw a small patch of color in the sky and I got the idea that I could use a longer lens and zoom in on a piece of ice with the color behind it, hoping some of that color would reflect in the ice. I found a couple of good candidates and became engrossed in lining things up perfectly. I eventually looked up to realize that the sky had exploded in color and ice was now all over the beach. I was almost giddy running around the beach looking for compositions and just enjoying the scene. This was easily my favorite day of photography.
Do you have a photographic philosophy?
Not really. I do believe that there is always a compelling shot that can be produced in any location under any conditions, so sometimes I focus on finding it. Beyond that, I focus on shooting scenes that interest me and finding the balance in processing between keeping things natural while also highlighting the beauty of the landscape.