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Currents: Bryan Hansel, professional landscape photographer

November 29, 2018

Today: Bryan Hansel, a professional landscape photographer in Grand Marais. Hansel leads photography workshops on the North Shore and at U.S. national parks. His work has appeared in a variety of publications, including National Geographic, Backpacker and Lake Superior Magazine.

Reading

I read widely and often outside my career focus. Im working through the latest issues of Frogpond, the journal of the Haiku Society of America, and LensWork, my favorite photography-related magazine. For books, I just started The Old Ways by Robert MacFarlane about the connection humanity has to pathways worn by our feet across the landscapes we travel. So far, its a rich, philosophical study of what we have lost by removing ourselves from walking the landscape. In my 20s, I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, so I understand the feeling of being connected to a simple footpath through the woods. Its a feeling we should all experience and, if we did, I think the world would be a better place.

Following

Computational photography is on my mind. Its using multiple sensors, lenses and algorithms to compute a photo. Where we see this is mainly in cellphones that have multiple lenses, each tasked with a different function. After the initial photo or multiple photos are taken, the phones processor combines them, and the phone kicks out an image that is higher quality than one that would have been taken with traditional methods.

I just replaced my cellphone with a new Google Pixel 3, which has arguably the most advanced algorithms. The results blow me away. Even at night, the most challenging time for all cameras, the images the Pixel makes are so good that it makes me wonder why most people would ever pick up a traditional camera. As this trend continues, it will be interesting to see if computational cameras replace interchangeable-lens cameras or if the technology makes its way into those cameras.

Watching

Im addicted to YouTube. I mainly watch biking and photography creators, but I also watch some of the more popular YouTubers, such as Casey Neistat. My favorites are Ben Horne, e6 Vlogs, Kai W, Nigel Danson, Path Less Pedaled, Ryan Van Duzer, Seths Bike Hacks, and The Art of Photography. Sometimes I watch because I want to learn, but more often its about entertainment or inspiration.

Listening

Im most interested in listening to my 3-year old. He has a great imagination, and I can listen to him for hours playing with his toys and telling stories about what is going on.

Doing

Its the end of the year, so Im spending a lot of time looking back through the photographs that I made this year to see what worked, where I excelled and where I failed. Im looking for stylistic changes that I made throughout the year, for what separates this years images from previous years, and for how I can push that trend in my work. I find this helps me grow as an artist.

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