Embracing Adventure with Outdoor & Travel Photographer Russ Bishop

Embracing Adventure with Outdoor & Travel Photographer Russ Bishop

For many travelers, going to breathtaking places around the world provides a great opportunity to get inspired and learn about yourself in the process. For people like Russ Bishop, it’s all about embracing the adventure, then sharing the experience with others – moving people through photography and connecting people with nature.

Russ Bishop is an outdoor and travel photographer who specializes in strong compositions of the natural world, from grand panoramas to intimate details. Russ’ work can be seen in advertisements, books, calendars, and international publications from a diverse clientele including National Geographic, Sunset, and Sierra.

We caught up with Russ to share his story and a handful of his incredible outdoor images. Read on to learn how his passion for photography was influenced by years of hiking and climbing with family, why he prefers Nikon out in the field, and how PhotoShelter has become an integral part of his photography business.

P.S. Russ is taking over our Instagram this week! Follow along as we share more of his stunning photos and the stories behind them.

Cover image by Russ Bishop

How did you get your start in photography?

My parents were avid mountaineers and our family made regular hiking and climbing trips to the Sierra Nevada, Tetons, and Canadian Rockies. I grew up in that environment on the trail amid the high peaks, and the mountains really became a second home. My first camera was a used Leica that my father bought me when I was fourteen to learn the basics of photography and to document our adventures.

I noticed on your Instagram that you visit a lot of national parks. Can you tell us a little bit about your travels, what draws you to these locations in particular, and why photographing these landscapes is so special to you?

Photography became a natural extension of my upbringing – a way for me to express my love of the natural world, and to share with others a glimpse of these special places that I’d been fortunate to witness. Later, as I began to see the environmental threat to many of the places I loved, that evolved into a desire to document their beauty and show the world that they deserved protection.

My roots are grounded in the natural landscape, but my photography crosses over into many other interests. I’m fascinated by historic and cultural subjects, and travel has definitely broadened my visual horizons. Being involved in outdoor activities such as climbing, skiing, and backpacking makes for dynamic photographs, and is really an extension of who I am as an individual.

Last light on Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite National Park, California USA

Tell us about your gear. What cameras, lenses, tools and programs do you typically use on your travels?

I’ve been using Nikon equipment for the past 30+ years from the early days of the manual FM2 film body to my current D850. The ergonomics of their cameras has always felt natural to me, and their glass is legendary. My favorite landscape lens is the 24mm to take in the big picture or the 70-200mm when isolating natural elements. And for travel the 24-70mm is an ideal combination of focal length and portability.

I rarely edit in the field, but 90% of my post production work is now done in Lightroom with the remainder in Photoshop. It’s amazing how these programs have developed over the last 20 years.

Have you ever had a scare or mishap when taking your gear into a treacherous location?

Well, let’s just say my insurance company and I are even at this point! A few years back I went down a waterfall with $8,000 worth of gear. I’ve also had uneventful spills on the trail that did almost as much damage. Ironically shooting lightning, rock climbing, and backcountry skiing have been relatively easy on my gear.

Lava flow entering the ocean at dawn, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, The Big Island, Hawaii USA

How long have you been using PhotoShelter? How does it help with your creative workflow and/or your photo business?

I’ve been with PhotoShelter for over 10 years now. I had designed my own website going back to the early days of digital in 1998, and while I liked the presentation, it was a huge effort to make any changes or update images. PhotoShelter has not only streamlined my online presence with a dynamic website, but the SEO and sales tools are an integral part of my business.

Russ Bishop’s PhotoShelter Website

What’s your favorite PhotoShelter tool or feature that you use most often?

Aside from a gorgeous dynamic website, the client delivery tools are an essential feature that I use almost daily. And the unlimited cloud storage is a critical part of my image archive backup.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Personal style is something that you develop after years of practice and applying your craft, which ultimately results in a unique creative vision. I definitely gravitate towards the strong graphics and bold colors that appear frequently in nature. Leading lines that pull you into the frame, strong compositional elements, and figures on the landscape are all common threads in my photography.

“My hope is always to create an emotional response with my viewers and instill a sense of wonder toward this amazing planet we all share.”

Sunset over the Channel Islands and Ventura Pier from San Buenaventura State Beach, Ventura, California USA

Don’t miss our Instagram takeover with Russ Bishop! Follow along for a week of incredible images and to hear the stories behind them.

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