10 Questions

with Aaron Smith

“For me, it’s all about finding a scene or context that evokes some kind of emotional response from me”

Aaron Smith is the April Winner of the PIXEO Photo Challenge. We asked Aaron to sit down with us and answer a few questions about his life, work and photography.

Estero de Playa Grand - Photo by Aaron Smith
Estero de Playa Grand - Photo by Aaron Smith

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where you were born, where you're based out of?

I was born in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia and moved back to the area with my family about 12 years ago.  We live close to my favourite maritime beach – Melmerby Beach.

Playa Flamingo - Photo by Aaron Smith
Playa Flamingo - Photo by Aaron Smith

2. Do you shoot full time or part-time?

I shoot part-time when I can.  I have a busy professional life as a family doctor, but photography has become a great avenue for balancing some of my work life demands and expressing creativity.

Parque Nacional Rincón De La Vieja - Photo by Aaron Smith
Parque Nacional Rincón De La Vieja - Photo by Aaron Smith

3. How did you get into photography?

It has always been an interest of mine, but one I have more seriously come into in the past few years.  With the busy demands of my work life and family life, it has become a way to ground myself in a moment and appreciate the beauty around me, instead of rushing off with my eyes just on the next destination.

Parque Nacional Rincón De La Vieja Waterfall - Photo by Aaron Smith
Parque Nacional Rincón De La Vieja Waterfall - Photo by Aaron Smith

4. Who would you say are your major photographic influences?

One of my favourite photographers is Brett Weston.  I am blown away by his composition; not only in how he brings it to bear on his wide angle landscape work, but also how he captured the beauty in some of the smaller, often overlooked details in our natural surroundings.

Playa Brasilito - Photo by Aaron Smith
Playa Brasilito - Photo by Aaron Smith

5. Is there a particular photo or shot that you’re most proud of?

Because I feel that I am still on the steep section of the learning curve, my favourite photo is usually my most recent shot.  I feel like every time I go on a shoot, I am learning. My icebergs on the beach shot that was part of this contest is actually one that I am extremely proud of, but not necessarily due to the technical aspects of the photo itself.  When I first posted it on social media, I had a person reach out to me that had had a tragic experience at that same beach and as a result for years was unable to see it as a beautiful place. He stated that the photo made him realize there it was still a beautiful place. Getting that kind of emotional response through my work made me extremely proud.

6. Could you describe your shooting process ?

For me, it’s all about finding a scene or context that evokes some kind of emotional response from me.  When I find this, I like to take a lot of time just quietly observing before I even get my camera out, and try to be purposeful in laying out the composition.  When light conditions permit, I try to avoid my tripod as I like the freedom of handheld and it encourages me to change things up in terms of framing if I’m not capturing what I want.  I tend to take relatively few shots at each shoot, probably due to the pre-shoot time I take at each location.

Flamingo Beach - Photo by Aaron Smith
Flamingo Beach - Photo by Aaron Smith

7. What is your favorite photographic destination that you've been to and why?

My recent trip to Costa Rica was amazing for landscape photography, with stunning beaches and lush jungle scenes.  But honestly, my favourite place to shoot is good old Nova Scotia.  I love capturing and sharing the beauty of this province.

Mangrove Estuary - Photo by Aaron Smith
Mangrove Estuary - Photo by Aaron Smith

8. What photo places are next on your photographic bucket list?

Northern Scotland and Iceland. The rugged landscapes blow me away.

Nictaux Falls - Photo by Aaron Smith
Nictaux Falls - Photo by Aaron Smith

9. Can you describe some of the gear you can't shoot without?

I tend to be pretty minimalist as most of my shoots involve hiking with my gear.  Honestly, I don’t know what i’d do without my 50mm prime lender, which i know is a weird choice for a landscape person, but I find it great for capturing small/medium scale scenes I bump into on hikes.

Thermal Hot Springs - Photo by Aaron Smith
Thermal Hot Springs - Photo by Aaron Smith

10. Where can folks find/see/buy more of your work?

Please check out my Instagram feed @tides.and.trails to see more of my work.

A huge thanks again to Aaron for taking the time to answer our questions. Without a doubt, this photographer is well worth keeping an eye on. Be sure to follow him on his Instagram, and get your entries into this months PIXEO Photo Challenge. You too could be the recipient of a $50 Amazon Gift Card and next months feature.


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