Interview No. 045: Brian Rueb
About: Brian Rueb
I live in Northern California with my wife, 2 boys, and 3 dogs. I have a degree in Photography from CSU-Sacramento and have been into photography since 1992. It’s only been in the last couple of years that I have really began to take this endeavor seriosuly, and try to make myself relevant in the field. I’m a big believer that as a landscape photographer, I’m simply taking what God has created and presenting it as best as I can for the world to appreicate.
1. What makes a good photo for you?
For me…good photography is about light, and effort to get that light. Being in the right place at the right time is so vital. I really enjoy seeing photos that I know took a great deal of effort to create. If long hikes in really bad weather were necessary to create an image…I totally appreciate that, and to me those are the images that create the greatest amount of emotion and applause. I like to see unique perspective of places that I am familiar with.
2. What do you not like in photography at all?
1) I really don’t like horrible HDR work. It takes away from the image, and requires no work on the artists part. Anybody can take 3 exposures and run them through a program. I like REAL post processing…done by folks who treat the computer like a dark room….and add to a piece to make a style or an original image.
2) I don’t like photographs that required no effort to make. A photo shot at noon under a bright blue sky 100m from the parking lot took no effort, creativity, or planning. I can’t stand that kind of image. With the push to digital, it becomes SO easy for everyone to fire off a millions shots and post them for the world to see. ugh.
3. Which book helped you most in the development of your photography?
I’ve never read a book on photography that really helped me…and that doesn’t mean that books like Ansel Adams Autobigoraphy weren’t good, and I didn’t appreciate reading his take on thing…but you can’t learn unless you DO…and books don’t do it for you…
4. Which internetlink would you advice other photographers?
There’s a lot of great sites out there. I use Flickr a lot….it’s a great way to see what has been done, both good and bad, and network with folks from a lot of great areas who can help you by telling you of their expereinces photographing certain areas.
I also like a lot of photographers sites… http://www.stephenoachs.com Stephen is a great friend, and resource for me.
5. How would you describe your photographic style? What is characteristic about your photos?
If I had to describe my photos…I think color and light are the biggest qualities. People tell me that my images have a certain emotion to them, or quality that makes them of stands out. I try to use what I learned as an art major in college and apply it to photography…color theory, aesthetics, balance, etc…
I also force myself to get new perspectives…which means I’m usually IN water or out on a ledge, in snow, up a tree…somewhere different. I research a lot before I go out and photograph. if I notice that a particular spot hasn’t been photographed well in the snow…then I make it a personal goal to go get that image and do it as best as I can. While I don’t always acheive my goal, my goal when I go somewhere is to to it better than it has ever been done. It’s hard given that most places I’m only at for a day or two…and getting an iconic type image in that time span is hard….but I try.
6. What was your most intense photographic experience?
Photographing Horseshoe Bend in Page Arizona was the most ‚intense‘ Not that conditions were amazing, but the location is atop a very VERY high vertical cliff (with no guard rails), looking down on a curve in the Colorado River. The day I was there 40mph winds were going crazy as well. I have a pretty big fear of heights, and the lack of guard rail, and those winds made shooting VERY VERY scary. Everytime I got close to the edge to try and shoot, I would hear the wind pick up, and within moments I was being balsted by sand. It would freak me out and I ‚d run away from the edge and curl up in the fetal position with my camera until the wind stopped. It didn’t help that other people were there photographing as well and some of them were way too close to me for my comfort that high above certain death. The whole expereince was totally nervewracking, and I’m not sure I could do it again.
7. What is your favourite tool/equipment when you are taking photos?
I love using filters…Singh Ray filters are a total key for me to get the kind of color and intense images I strive for.
I’m also a fan of the Canon L lenses…the clarity they provide is very good.
8. Who is your favourite photographer/ your photographic idol?
I have a lot of favorites. Historically, I think Ansel Adams and Galen Rowell did a lot to influence the way landscape photography is done today. I like folks like Stephen Oachs, Kevin McNeal, Ryan Dyar, Jesse Estes, Zeb Andrews, Leon Turnbull, Adam Attoun, Mike Jones to name but a few…they all have similar photographic philosophies as I do.
9. What is in your fridge at the moment?
Uhm not a lot currently, Pay day isn’t until Friday…so just some milk, beer, and I think some yoghurt for the kids..
10. What is your favourite music/ your favourite musician?
Mono, Explosions in the Sky, Sigur Ros, and bands in that sort of genre. I like music that priovides a soundtrack I feel goes along with my images.
11. What advice would you give to an ambitious photographer?
Shoot as often as you can. Force yourself to step outside your comfort zone….learn from people you respect and admire. Taking a workshop in a location you’d like to shoot, from photographers you respect and admire will teach you what you want to learn better than a book or reading it on a website can. There is no substitute from being out in the field, learning, and putting to practice exactly what it is you’re trying to acheive. Think about how you can personalize your style…and practice processing at home when you’re not able to be out shooting.