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Check Out Ian Adrian’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ian Adrian.

Hi Ian, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Hi there! Nature has been an important part of my life as far back as I can remember. I spent most of my childhood strolling through the woods, flipping logs and rocks in search of what most folks call “creepy crawlies.” When not outside, I often sat on the living room floor, idly paging through Audobon field guides, attempting to translate wildlife descriptions far above my reading level.

This interest continued through adulthood, eventually inspiring me to try my hand at reptile breeding. While working with such interesting animals and spurred on by a few out-of-state camping trips, I became increasingly interested in photographing the creatures, plants, and stunning vistas I encountered! After several years of doing this, I eventually began to feel guilty about playing God, longing simply to see these beautiful creatures in their natural environments.

Photography began documenting wildlife that I came across (exclusively as a hobby) but eventually evolved into an art. As I traveled to more places and saw more of the beautiful planet we call Earth, this art quickly became an obsession. I have now made it my mission not only to educate others on the value and beauty of all Mother Nature’s inhabitants. But to provide one of the most varied nature-photography portfolios you will encounter, striving every day to take sharper, more exciting pictures of the natural world.

We all face challenges, but would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
That’s a pretty subjective question. An enormous amount of learning is necessary to become a competent photographer. Wildlife being my specialty, I’ve been in some rather dicey situations, including but not limited to scaling cliffs with a heavy camera bag, dehydration, the threat of hypothermia, proximity to wild animals, etc. All of these experiences have, however, invited intense presence and have taught me a very important rule that translates to all wildlife encounters: Be calm, don’t damage the habitat, and respect the personal space of other creatures, and you will not only remain safe but be afforded a far richer nature experience than you could imagine! Being self-taught, I’ve learned that everything is trial and error. This translates to lots of dreadful images which constantly offer an invitation to adjust and grow.

I have never (and still don’t) have the budget for a “high-end” camera. Find joy in the experience and pay close attention to what’s unfolding around you; even an entry-level camera or cell phone can conjure up some spectacular images. Much like a carpenter knowing the tools in his toolbox, I am learning that the camera does not make the photographer.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Glad you asked! I’m a nature photographer. I derive great joy from photographing any beautiful scene, from thunderstorms to insects, plants, and bears. My wildlife images, in particular, would likely be considered the “specialty.”

That which sets me apart is the entire reason I love doing this! Many photographers flock to known sites, sometimes crowded with other photographers; a picturesque owl nest, a crowded safari, an iconic vista, etc. Those experiences can be joyful, but they have increasingly struck me as focused (pun intended) primarily on the outcome and the social experience. The audience makes small talk (sometimes rather loudly), snaps their pictures, then leaves without really connecting to the experience.

Although this was not always the case, I favor remote nature adventures, quiet and intentional. It is important to minimize stress on subjects as much as possible and the louder / more intrusive we are, the more we violate this principle. We are simply visitors in their homes. The richest part of wildlife photography is to truly immerse oneself in a subject’s life, to spend hours observing and connecting to the creature(s) in question. Relinquish the tunnel vision of a specific outcome, and not only is the experience entirely authentic, but it will yield unique pictures and truly beautiful memories!

We all have different ways of looking at and defining success. How do you define success?
Success is about living a life that makes one feel joyful. It’s about meaning what we say and being intentional in everything we do. It’s about inspiring others and speaking out for what we deem important. It’s about living for beautiful experiences, not hoarding possession. It’s learning to transcend fear and always seek the good in others.

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