Mike Chilcoat

Mike Chilcoat spent his early twenties in the USARocky Mountain West, where he raced bicycles and went fly-fishing. This was when he first fell in love with the Big Country and its big skies. From this point on he knew he had found his true home, and camera was the way to bring those memories home.’ His idea was never to become a professional, but as Mike says you have a nice camera, people tend to ask you to shoot various things, and I ended up shooting for websites and doing marketing photography for some ranches in Wyoming and Montana.’This led on to commissions for bicycle industry catalogue shoots, at which point he really started to think that photography could lead to a career. Mike ChilcoatAfter a short stint working as a mountain bike designer, Mike got fed up with the rat race. He bought all the computer and camera gear he thought heneed and went back to a job hehad in Montana on a luxury guest ranch guiding fly-fishing and shooting photography. One of his best purchases was a giant Epson printer that allowed him to sell his images: paid for itself in a couple months.’Mike says having access to a constant stream of ranch guests in the stunning wilderness of Montana also helped his career. For the past five to seven years, Ibeen working towards going fulltime as a photographer. But Ialways loved taking pictures of the amazing places Ifound myself in while living in the western US. After owning many point and shoots —all with disappointing results —I got a Canon A2E with a couple of used lenses from a camera store in Colorado. Itbeen Canon ever since. Ihad lens fever’for years. Itall been trial and error and learning online, or from the few other photographers Ibeen fortunate to know. I can stay up until the wee hours of the morning reading about photography or looking at other photographers’work online. I especially like researching and learning about post-processing technique. Itimportant to find your niche. But to evolve as a photographer, shoot everything you can. I shoot landscapes and wildlife, mainly because of where I live. I love the outdoor industry catalogue shoots Idone, mainly for bicycle companies. I like starting with a vision of an end result, or a particular look of an image in mind, and then getting out in the field to execute it. Marketing. Inot great at putting myself out there. As Iprogressed and become more confident in my work, itgotten easier. Itnot a regular nine-to-five job where you just show up and get paid. You have to hustle, get out and sell yourself. Film or digital? Why?

Mike ChilcoatI used to think digital was cheating... it wasnart. But, Irealised there is still an art in everything, from composing the shot, to the post-processing on a computer.

I still have tons to learn and thatthe beauty of this. One great thing I learned was from the camera store employee I bought my first SLR from. He said: the things that move you the most.’Shoot what you are passionate about and results will follow. I believe in this one hundred percent.

Itabout sharing the beauty of the natural world. So many people go through life oblivious to whataround them. Nowadays, when everything has become so visual, photography is a primary tool of conveying an idea. Great landscape images have amazing, rare, or dramatic light. They capture a moment that doesncome along very often. I think a great photograph has to elicit a strong mood, feeling or reaction from the viewer.

Comments are closed.