I found myself trolling through the amazing work on 500px again last week and came across Jeremy’s work. Since I have recently been playing around with landscapes I knew I had to find out Jeremy’s story and I’m glad I did. Enjoy 🙂
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Jeremy Cram. I’m a 39 year old self-taught nature photographer. I live in Vancouver, Washington with my awesome wife and two crazy boys. We own two doggy daycares in the Portland Oregon area, which have created the liberty for me to pursue my passions in the outdoors.
What made you get into photography?
Well, it’s kind of a funny story. Owning the doggy daycares was a great opportunity to expand our revenue by photographing our clients’ dogs and selling them the prints. So in 2005 I bought a Canon 20D and a 24-70 lens and figured I’d learn how to take pictures. I soon realized though, that taking $2500 worth of camera gear into a group of 40-60 dogs wasn’t the greatest idea. They are extremely crazy in a group and were all very curious about my camera equipment, making it almost impossible to shoot individual dogs playing. I began to think of other things I could do with my camera to produce an income.
How did you get started?
I have always been an avid adventure seeker and could not imagine living in a more beautiful place than Washington. The ocean, mountains, desert and the Columbia River Gorge are all just a short drive from my house and I would regularly be out hiking, biking, climbing, canoeing, or whatever I felt would get my blood pumping. Taking my new camera with me just became a natural progression of my passion to experience and explore the outdoors, and now I could share these experiences with everyone.
I dove into the internet and started learning everything I could about photography, from basic camera operation to processing my images in Photoshop and output printing. I began posting my images on Naturescapes.net to get critiques of my work from much better photographers. This was huge for me. Photographers like Marc Adamus, Guy Tal, Lon Overacker, Ian Plant, Tony Kuyper, Zack Schnepf, Michael Anderson and many others, were instrumental in the development of my work. Later I realized that when you know nothing you are open to everything. I wanted to learn it all, but I wanted to have my own style. I wanted my images to be able to stand on their own, to have their own punch and pop.
Soon after feeling like I was starting to achieve what I wanted I started selling prints, which created a whole new mess of stuff I knew nothing about…… matting and framing. After becoming proficient with that I designed a card stock where I would print a simple and clean looking border a little bigger than a 4×6 prints and glue the print into the center to the border. People began to buy my cards and frame them. They required no matte and fit perfectly into a 5×7 frame. The cards were a great income to fund photo trips and buy better gear.
After a while, I entered some contests and won. I had some editorial accolades on Naturphotographers.net. I started selling my stuff at the farmer’s market in Vancouver when they had their year round market and did well. Got my stuff into some galleries in the area, and consigned my work at local coffee houses.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
While I have done pet portraiture, architectural, product and wildlife photography, my love is landscape. Being able to backpack to amazing locations with my gear is the most rewarding type of photography for me so far.
What gear are you using?
I use a Canon 5d Mark II, 16-35 2.8, 24-105 f4, 70-200 f4, and a Sigma 150mm 2.8 macro. I think if you have a vision of what you want to portray or create, almost any camera would work. My 8 year old son amazes me all the time with just a point and shoot. It really depends on what your end goal is. Buy the best equipment you can afford.
What’s your favorite lens and why?
Technically it would be the Sigma 150 2.8 macro, it is sooo sharp. For landscape work I love the Canon 16-35 2.8L, it is a great lens and the sun star it creates is insane.
How are you marketing yourself?
I have always struggled a bit in this category. When I am not out shooting, I’m home with my family or processing images. I have a website, use Facebook, and post images to 500px.com. I have recently been accepted as a contributor with Arcangel-images. I enter the occasional contest and have my work up at a couple coffee shops around town in Vancouver. Early next year I will be offering one on one personal photo tours and workshops.
What’s your favorite photo you have taken?
I am sorry, but one favorite was just too hard for me to figure out. 🙂
Alpine Dream – This image is definitely one of my top favorites. This photography has everything a landscape photographer could want, great evening side light, awesome flowers, a lake, incredible sky and probably the most photogenic mountain in the Cascades. Was one of the great nights of my life.
Delicacies of Dawn – I shot this around 6 years ago out at Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge in Washington. I was waiting for the light to get better so I could shoot the Sandhill Cranes that were migrating through the area. As sunrise was getting beautiful and the fog rose I found about the only thing I could shoot with a 400mm lens. I have always loved this shot. Shooting this simple web in wheat grass opened my eyes up a bit to the world of nature and landscape photography. I was primarily interested in only wildlife photography until this…sounds silly, but this was one of those moments for me.
Elemental Mimics – It took quite a few shots to get the waves to kind of mirror the sky, this was the closest I got. I definitely love shooting the action of waves, feels like fishing. I use a pair of ultra-lightweight waders that are way easy to hike in anywhere with my gear, so I’m able to stand out in the waves indefinitely and hopefully get different perspectives.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
Be approachable and friendly, you never know who will be interested in your work. Don’t be afraid to get out there on you own and discover. Find your own pace. If it is your passion, you will find a way to make it work, but realize you have to work hard to make it. If you don’t know something….ask someone! Probably the biggest advances for me in my personal style have come from initially trying to duplicate those photographers I admire the most. Keep your work you own somehow, but learn from the things you like from those you look up to.