Spotlight on Photographer Tom Parker
What was the first photo you ever took?
I actually couldn't tell you what the first photo I ever took was, it was most likely taken on an extremely old point-and-shoot that has since been lost. Photography was not a big part of my life up until a few years ago. One of the first photos I took that sparked some inspiration was a photo (below) of a half-reflection in a car window making it look like I was still holding my snowboard when it was inside the car. It wasn't till another four years later while I was going to university that I got into photography.
What photo are you most proud of taking?
I have a few favorite photos but my most recent favorite would have to be from our canoe trip in the Rockies. After spending the day paddling and most of the night shooting stars I forced myself to get up for sunrise, waking up to this beautiful moody morning in the mountains. (The photo is Tom- Spirit Island Morning)
What was the first camera you owned?
The first camera I owned was an iPhone 4, having a camera with me most of the time really helped push my photography since I was always taking pictures wherever I went. It was compact, light, and easy to work with getting different angles. in my opinion, the iPhone is one of the best tools for photographers and they just keep getting better.
What photographer(s) most influenced you (maybe mention specific works of theirs, as well as what you learned from studying their photographs)?
I may have never discovered my passion for photography without the help of one of my friends from high school, Cody Briggs, @Codeu on Instagram. We were out for a hike on Mt. Arrowsmith when I noticed him taking quite a few pictures with his phone. I asked him if he did anything with the photos, then he explained Instagram to me and the art of editing on your iPhone. Bringing some more life into the photo and putting your own feel into the image.
If you could have any photograph on your wall, what would it be?
Photographs to me should invoke a memory, thought, and/or feeling. This is why I enjoy having my own photographs on my walls because they bring back all the great memories I have of those trips. But I wouldn't mind having Ansel Adams's photo of the Tetons hanging in my home.
Do you have any advice you would like to pass on to other photographers? (technical advice for the amateur photographers out there would be great. You do such amazing outdoor photography; how can someone improve their ability to take photos of the outdoors?)
The most important advice I have would be to always be out shooting, trying new things, and exploring new places. If your doing a lot of landscape photography it may be beneficial to have a graduated filter, neutral density filter, and/or polarizer. The graduated filter will help balance bright skies and dark landscapes and the neutral density filter will reduce the amount of light reaching the sensor allowing you to shoot long exposures and the polarizer will reduce the glare that you can get from water or shiny surfaces. The neutral density is great for when you want to show the movement of the clouds or create cloudy-looking water.
What camera do you use on an everyday basis?
My iPhone 6s and Canon 5Ds are my tools of choice at the moment. As I mentioned above the iPhone is a great camera because it is easy to always have with you, and when I'm looking for higher quality I use my DSLR.
Is there any piece of equipment/lens that is essential for your work?
Any decent camera is all I need for my work unless it's specialty work such as extremely large prints or macro shots but in general, any camera will work.
Is there any non-photographic practice/activity that you rely upon to stimulate your creativity? (alternatively, what do you find is the best way to stimulate your creativity?)
A lot of my time is spent hiking and camping which helps me relax and lets my creativity flow easier. I like to pack up enough gear for a few days and head out into the bush capturing the sights and memories along the way, letting the creativity come naturally.