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Susan Holt

I seek not only to shoot wild landscapes in all their raw and untouched beauty, but compose them in the midst of atmospheric lighting and awe-inspiring skies. I am driven by the challenge of chasing weather across the country and driving through the night to capture the first rays of sunlight, and the adventures that see me wading through icy rivers and teetering over cliff faces just to get a mesmerizing shot.

I am largely self-taught, apart from a commercial photography class in college. Thriving on a thirst for knowledge and improvement by studying the composition and techniques of others and adapting them to my own creative instincts. While I read constantly about photography techniques and skills, there is no substitute for practice, and getting out there to shoot and learn from my mistakes has been integral to my development as a photographer. But it’s not just about finding a spot and shooting - the planning that goes into executing captivating landscape images surprises most. I study topographical maps and Google Earth, I research the expected conditions and how they vary between seasons, and I religiously follow weather apps to time my shoots with atmospheric skies. Once in the field I scout for the perfect location and composition, and monitor the light as it transforms the scene in front of me with every changing second - perhaps the most crucial element to my images. It is about patience and resilience - two things I am slowly learning as I journey further into my career as a photographer.

I am inspired by the entrancing images of David Muench, cleverly leading the viewer’s eye from foreground elements into expansive backgrounds, and the intimate landscape portraits of Eliot Porter that went on to inspire so many photographers in his path. I am also influenced by the lavish, romantic-style paintings of artist, Albert Bierstadt, who created sweeping American West landscapes with glowing, atmospheric light. But I am indebted to the guidance of my mentor David Thompson, without whom I would not be the photographer I am today. ‘Never stop learning’ is a phrase that resonates with me daily as my artistry slowly evolves and transforms. I seek to share this with the outside world through my website and travel blog, allowing visitors to follow me on my adventures and understand the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of adventure landscape photography. Through my exhibited work and commercial prints I invite people to share in the grand landscapes and intimate scenes that emerge from my work, while my workshops allow emerging photographers an insight into the techniques I use, both in the field and in post-production.

Ansel Adams once said ‘You don’t take a photograph, you make it’ and through my work and website, I invite you to be a part of this experience and the adventures of image-making with me.

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  • West Coast, California, United States