How did you get your start in photography and what inspired you to begin taking landscape photos?
While I do not label myself a “photographer,” I think there's a photographer aspect in all of us, a part that wants to capture moments in time through a small window and share our perspective. I have always had a love for photo taking. I believe my earliest recollection of using a camera was way back in the early 80s; my sister had one of those instant Polaroid cameras. I remember taking pictures and waving the photo as it developed.
In 2015, I started the 1000 Paper Cranes Origami project; there is an old Japanese legend that anyone who folds 1000 origami cranes will be granted a wish by the Gods. I was making up to 3 or 4 a day. While making the paper cranes in my window view of my apartment, I realized I was capturing these consistent, beautiful visuals of the sun. I began taking photos every day of the sunrise. Before I knew it, I had this mass collection of sunrises on my iPhone. So I started to share them via social media as a way to bring positive daily starts by showcasing the beauty and diversity of sky patterns and life.
Through this process and series, I've become “Skywatcher” if anything. I've become very intimate with the sky, Oakland, and the Bay area in particular. Beyond that, I dove into astrology, and now track stars, galaxies, and horoscope signs. It's pretty cool stuff and often enlightening.
How would you describe your photography style?
For the most part, I'm pretty casual with photography, but lately, I've been exploring an intersection of morning sky watching and holistic living.
What is your personal process to capture a great photo?
I have incorporated taking photos into my morning ritual. There is an order in alignment with the rising of the Sun as I get up and get ready for work. I take photos from first light until I leave my apartment. I take a lot of pictures of an idea so that I can find the best later.
What particular technology/software do you use to help with your photographic process?
I currently shoot all my photos with my iPhone. I use mobile applications such as Spark for video collages, Lapse it and PicFlow for time-lapse videos. Since I cater to mobile platforms, phone applications are preferred as I am usually processing my work on the move.
What are some of the challenges you have faced in developing your craft?
Consistency can be challenging. There are times when it is not easy to get up super early every morning to begin my day and take photos. Do I get up at 5 am every day? No. However, I have found opportunity in waking up early. Those morning hours are so precious, and personally, I've experienced huge positive impacts in life when my mornings are finely tuned. Waking up 3-4 hours before work can have a huge impact on your day, psyche and goals.
On current projects:
I’m currently working on a Sunrise book, comprised of 1,000 sunrise photos. I have committed to this being a three-year project. I also want to use my architecture background to develop digital lightscapes that will simulate the alpenglow of sunrise to help people experience the sunrise and sunset naturally in their living spaces.
What is your dream photography project?
I would like to do a Sunrise series in various countries. Maybe not 1000 photos in length as my current project but a few months out of the year. I can see myself not wanting to leave a country so it could get tricky. (Lol)
What is one motto/phrase/mantra you live your life by?
I don’t have a specific quote or phrase, but I live with a mission to “keep positive mental images in your thoughts.”
For more on Steven, please follow at @catalog_of_light on Instagram