Splitting his time between Maui and central Oregon, Mark McInnis grew up developing his photographic eye among the natural beauty of our home state with a deep appreciation for the unique surf lifestyle that can only be found in the coastal Pacific Northwest. We caught up with him to see if he could share any tips he's picked up in the decades of shooting in the upper-left USA.
1. Buy a rain cover. This may seem obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times my rain cover has saved me. I’ve been on hikes so many times in the PNW where it’s nice and sunny or partly cloudy, and then a storm comes in and just pours on me. But I still want to shoot, since it can be super dramatic. So, buy a rain cover. Mine is made by Aquatech and has lasted a decade. I never leave home without it (Also buy a dry bag, I use Patagonia’s).
2. Shoot wide. We are so lucky to be surrounded by huge nature in the PNW. A wider lens allows you to capture more of the natural beauty that surrounds us. So use a wide-angle lens and pull back.
3. Experiment. I know, that seems obvious, but it’s true. Some of my favorite photos have been random things that I’m trying for the first time. Slow the shutter way down while hand holding, or shoot a photo at f/1.8 or f/16 when you think you should do the opposite. It’s important to keep things fresh and experimentation does just that. And for anybody that’s new to digital photography, for crying out loud, learn your camera. Act like the auto mode doesn’t exist. Figure out shutter speed, aperture and composition. Experimenting with your manual settings will serve you well years down the road.
4. Go alone. This might be a bit more personal, but so many of my favorite shots in the PNW have been taken while I’m all by myself. I feel like when I’m on a solo mission, I can really hone into nature more than when there’s people around. And if you want to stay in one spot until the light is just right, or go a little farther, or hike off into the bush, you can do that without the fear that you’re holding anybody up, or annoying your hiking partner. No people, no worries!
MARK MCINNIS is a photographer working chiefly in America’s Pacific Northwest. He’s known for bringing the natural beauty of the country’s upper left-hand corner to a wide range of clients and projects; with decades invested in the region Mark delivers the moods, emotions and landscapes of the Pacific frontier in a way few others can.