MEMBER PROFILE: Gary Hart

© Don Smith

Gary Hart is a professional nature photographer, writer and educator who has been exploring, photographing and sharing nature’s beauty for nearly 40 years. Gary is a Sony Artisan of Imagery and a frequent contributor to Outdoor Photographer magazine. His book of images, The Undiscovered Country, was featured exclusively at Barnes & Noble stores across the United States. Gary’s blog is followed by thousands of readers, and his always sold-out photo workshops often fill a year in advance. Visit Gary’s website at www.EloquentImages.com; his blog at www.EloquentNature.com; his prints at www.GaryHartPrints.com. Gary’s Yosemite workshops can be found at www.PhotographYosemite.com

Do you work full-time as a professional photographer or do have a “day” job?

I’m a full-time professional. Most of my time is spent leading photo workshops in Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Hawaii’s Big Island and Maui, the Eastern Sierra, and Columbia River Gorge. When I’m not leading a workshop or out taking pictures somewhere, I’m blogging and writing articles on photography for Outdoor Photographer magazine and other publications.

Do you have a specialty in your nature photography? If yes, what is the specialty and why are you drawn to it?

My photography is one-click, natural light only (no artificial light, blending, stitching or stacking). I try to portray the world untouched by the hand of man. I photograph landscapes and macro/close-focus only–no wildlife. With an interest in astronomy since childhood, I’m particularly, but far from exclusively, drawn to night photography. The low-light capabilities of today’s digital sensors absolutely thrills me.

Regardless of my subject, my goal is always to find a unique image that doesn’t duplicate what’s been done before (easier said than done). Rather than attempt the impossible task of reproducing the human perspective of the world, I try to leverage my camera’s unique relationship with motion, depth and light to reveal the world in ways it’s not normally seen.

What is a typical day like for you as a nature photographer?

The best times for photography are the worst, most uncomfortable times to be outdoors: sunrise (when I’d rather be in bed), sunset (dinner time), rain, snow, fog and after dark. I do a lot of research, planning and scouting during the tourist hours, so I can make the most of the photographer hours.

How have you been involved in NANPA?

My schedule doesn’t allow me to be as active in NANPA as I once was, but I’ve spoken at NANPA Summits and written for the publications. I have also had many images honored in Expressions. I recommend NANPA membership at every opportunity.

How have you benefited from your membership in NANPA?

I’ve made great contacts and friends over the years. I also love the equipment insurance. As someone with a business that requires lots of insurance for many things, I can’t think of any insurance that gives me better service for my premium dollar than NANPA’s equipment insurance.

Do you attend NANPA Summits? What do you gain from them?

I’ve attended a few Summits, but it’s very difficult to fit them into my busy travel schedule. When I have attended, I’ve enjoyed creating and reviving relationships, expanding and sharing my knowledge, and the overall sense of community that’s fostered.

How long have you been a NANPA member?

At least 10 years—probably closer to 15.

What have been the greatest accomplishments in your career?

I’m very proud of my book of images,The Undiscovered Country, which was sold exclusively through U.S. Barnes & Noble stores. Rather than taking the more conventional self-publishing approach, I was contacted by a publisher who pitched the idea to me and handled the entire process from start to finish.

Also, when I started leading workshops, I knew I’d enjoy sharing my favorite locations with other photographers, but I had no idea how much pleasure I’d get from the people I meet and forming friendships with them.

What goals do you have as a nature photographer?

I plan to do this work as long as my body permits.I love my life. I get to visit and photograph incredible beauty throughout the world, and I spend time with fantastic people I’d never have met if it weren’t for my workshops. I certainly look forward to visiting more new places, but I’ve never been a hit-and-run photographer. I am much more interested in gaining the intimate knowledge of my locations that can only come with time and many visits.

Does NANPA help you to fulfill your goals?

I appreciate NANPA’s advocacy on behalf of the things that are important to me as a photographer and lover of nature. I learn of changes that will affect me and my business through NANPA. NANPA also provides valuable information and guidance on the business side of photography.