Feature Photographer: Ryan Wunsch

Q&A with Ryan Wunsch:

1. What is your process when composing a landscape shot?

As I walk up to the scene, I usually get a pretty good idea of what I want to include in the photograph.  I walk to the area that looks right, set my camera and tripod down and do a rough composition through the eyepiece.  If I need to re-position I will.

Once the rough composition is set I turn on live view mode and fine tune.  I will use my grid lines to insure the horizon is straight, and sometimes use the lines to implement the rule of thirds (which to me is only guideline, not a rule).  I take live view mode off and recheck my horizon with the internal level on my 6D.  Back to live view, focus in manual, 2 second delay, take the shot.  I generally will try to find a few more interesting compositions of the scene, but most of the time it is the first one that makes the cut.

2. Did you have any professional training or assist any photographers?

I bought my first DSLR camera in 2012 and took a 2 day intro to DSLR photography workshop with Greg Johnson. I don't often get to shoot with other photographers but in 2013 went on a few storm chases with Craig Hilts and he gave me some good pointers for lightning and northern lights.

In 2015 I had the pleasure of photographing old homesteads with Scott Dimond from Calgary for a few days.  He is one of my favorite photographers so it was a real treat to watch him work his magic.  It was interesting to both of us to see the methods we had each developed were actually very much the same.

3. Do you use artificial lighting? Most photos look like available light.

For portraits and some light painting at night I do (Einstein 640, a variety of hand held lights).  Landscapes, abandoned buildings/vehicles and storms are all done with natural light only.

4. Have there been any recent technological changes that have opened new creative possibilities for you?

I recently started using the “sun surveyor” app.  It lets me know exactly when and where the sun and moon will rise and set, as well as their position at certain times at my exact location.  I use it to find a time and spot where the sun will be in the position I want, and then plan to be at that spot at that time.

This summer I bought a drone.  I am really enjoying the new perspective it has given me and it challenges me to think of composition in new ways.  It is really taking my photography to new heights.  The sky is the limit. 

5. Do you have any ambitions to become a full-time photographer?

I think that is a bit of a dream for anyone who loves a hobby - to be able to do it as a living.  I once did so with another hobby, and making a living from it took a lot of the fun out of it for me.  If faced with a big change with my day-job I would give photography my best shot and try to make it work.  The list of photographers I personally know who are making a living with photography alone is very small.

6. Are there any distant locations you'd love to photograph one day?

I've always been fascinated with Australia.  I'm sure I'd have a lot of fun in Africa, Antarctica, Iceland and Asia.  I still have a lot of Saskatchewan and Alberta to explore as well of the rest of Canada and of course more of Tornado Alley south of the border.   My motto is “shoot what you love to shoot” and I don’t have to travel very far to do that.

About the Artist:

Ryan Wunsch is a photographer and storm chaser based in Saskatchewan Canada who captures the beauty and spirit of the prairies. He was born in 1977 in Saskatoon, and raised in Leader Saskatchewan. He became attached to the landscape, and after completing Instrumentation Engineering Technology in Moose Jaw in 1998, moved back to Leader where he resides today.

Ryan discovered his passion for photography in high school, where he used the dark room to develop from film. He bought his first digital camera in 1999, and was hooked on the concept.

He enjoys the beauty of the Saskatchewan prairies and doesn’t have to drive very far to find something that interests him to photograph. His favorite subjects are summer storms, abandoned relics and prairie landscapes. Ryan waits for unique opportunities, interesting clouds and just the right light to capture the spirit and beauty of the prairies. When the days light has ended he enjoys capturing starry skies, the aurora and moonlit scenes.

Ryan’s photography has recently been featured with interviews by Viewbug, CBC News and the Huffington Post. In July one of his storm photos was awarded Top Shot by National Geographic. In November the same photo was awarded Photo of the day by the Smithsonian

His photos and articles have been published in a variety of magazines including Canadian Geographic, Outdoor Photography Canada, PhotoNews and Prairies North.

You can check out more of his work by clicking the following links:

Ryan's Website

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