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Daily Inspiration: Meet Nicholas Chesley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicholas Chesley.  

Hi Nicholas, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’ve always had an interest in cameras. Since I was little, I’d always just wanted to use a big fancy camera like what the pro photographers used or what you’d see on movie sets. Anytime I was at any sort of event or saw someone with a big DSLR I’d always just stop and look at their camera for a few seconds. And I finally got the chance to use one in my high school filmmaking class. My teacher, Mrs. Torrey had a room full of camera equipment. She had everything from Canon rebel T7is, to a brand-new Sony A7III, with any kind of mic, tripod, or light you could want. It was an incredible room of supplies that really helped me just be able to try out about anything I could ever want to do. And after the filmmaking class, I decided to take the photo classes she taught. The photo classes helped me learn more about cameras and fueled my love for photography. 

I ended buying my first camera in the summer between me taking my filmmaking class and then taking my photography classes. I got lucky one night and found a Sony A7II on sale, and I bought it immediately. It’s one of the best things I have ever bought. I took it with me to all my photography classes, and I used that camera for every single assignment. It really helped me learn the ins and outs of the camera so that once I finished the classes, I didn’t have to worry about learning a new style of camera. And since my classes have ended, I haven’t put my camera down. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Ya know the road’s as smooth as it can be, but there are always challenges. There’s the challenge of finding time to go out and plan a little outing to get photos and giving yourself the time to edit a photo until it’s exactly the way you want it to look. Of course, the editing part gets easier over time as you learn what to do edit in a photo to get the look and feel you want, to accurately convey the feeling you get when you’re there in person taking the shot. But the planning part of going out for a shoot changes each time. It depends on how much time you’re planning on spending, the weather, the terrain, if there are trails to the spot you’re going, and if you need to bring all your gear or not. And the problems change depending on whether you’re shooting something like a landscape or a portrait. 

Getting your photos out there and getting clients is an issue of its own. It can be tough to try and grow a following on social media, especially with an ever-changing algorithm or a focus on different types of media being shared. And how social media prioritizes consistent posting; it’s a treadmill that wants you to post once every couple days (if not more) to push whatever you make to as many people as possible. But art takes time, so that’s not really reasonable. And finding clients is tough too. Advertising yourself and trying to show someone that what you do and how you do it could be the best for whatever they need is a hard job, especially with hundreds if not thousands of other people trying to do the same thing. And there’s not one trick that’ll work for either of these problems; it’s up to each person to find the way it works for them. 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I mostly do landscape/nature photography, but I take photos of anything I like because I don’t think you should limit yourself to only one type of photography. Try out everything and find out what’s your favorite. And that applies to any type of art. I really like shooting landscape/nature photography because I live right by the mountains. I’ve got quick access to some beautiful views and having grown up around them, I know them pretty well. And absolutely everyone can appreciate nature and its beauty, so I like to go out and try and show people what I see when I go places and show them what it’s like outside my window. I’ve also tried my hand at some portrait photography, which is fun its own way. I just don’t get to do it as much as finding people to photograph can be kinda challenging. I feel like I’m mostly known for my landscapes, but if I were to ask some of my friends, it would be the adventures that I plan while trying to get photos. They usually take most of the day, are up in the mountains, and usually, something weird happens, or we run into a little problem that ends up making a good story. 

I’m really proud of how far I’ve come in my photography. It started out like many others and just wasn’t that good. There’s nothing wrong with that because when you start at something, you’re just not gonna be that good. You’ll get some great photos occasionally, but most just won’t be that good. But over time, you’ll notice that you get more and more good photos, and you know when a photo will be good and how to take a good photo to a great one with a tiny bit of editing. And I feel like I’ve improved a lot in that regard. I’m also proud of the little outings I do. There’s usually quite a bit of planning that goes into them, and they always go fantastic. 

I feel like one big that sets me apart from others when it comes to landscape/nature photos is I love going out in the extremes and taking the risk with my camera, and some of the spots I go to so I can get the shot I know I’ll love. I’ve gone out in snowstorms where I’ve had to drive 20 mph on a mountain road full of twists and turns to get to a spot that I know will get me some fantastic shots. I’ve been out till 1 am walking around a town covered in fresh snow getting shots of the Christmas lights; I’ve been out in pouring rain, bushwacked up parts of mountains, and done some more stuff for shots. And those are some of my favorite times. I feel like it just makes the shots look better, and it gives each photo more meaning to it, knowing that there’s this good story that goes along with it that I can tell people. 

Alright, so before we go, can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
If anyone wants to work or collaborate with me feel free to email me or dm me on Instagram (insta is probably the quicker one.) I’m always looking for new opportunities to work with any type of photographer because collaboration can help the both of us learn from one another and improve. 

If you’re looking to support me, a follow-on Instagram is more than enough, but if you’re looking to buy a print or schedule a photo shoot the best way to do that is via email or an Instagram message. Currently, talking directly to me about either of these things is the easiest and quickest way to order a print or schedule something, so please don’t hesitate. Prices are determined upon what you need, so talking to me is the best way to figure that out. 

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