Photographer Patricia Davidson is dedicated to capturing the vibrancy of Mother Nature. That’s why she’s now traveling the United States in an RV with her husband, pursuing her passion full-time. Along the way, Davidson has photographed landscapes that are as energetic as they are diverse. There are picturesque mountains, blossoming plants, and colorful skylines along with serene bodies of water that beautifully reflect their surroundings. The photographer’s body of work instantly induces a strong case of wanderlust.
Patricia was kind enough to answer a few questions, allowing us to learn more about her creative process. Scroll down to read our exclusive interview (which includes plenty of information and firsthand experiences on her adventures).
Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What made you want to pursue photography?
I have loved photography since I was in high school and had signed up for a photography class. I didn't have a chance to get back into photography until years later when my children were grown. When I won a state photo contest about ten years ago with a point-and-shoot camera, my husband surprised me with my first DSLR. This rekindled my passion for photography.
Can you tell us more about your nomadic travels in an RV?
For about 6.5 years, my husband and I owned a small, teardrop travel trailer. We took off as often as we could around our work schedules. We loved exploring the Pacific Northwest and beyond. While out on one of our camping trips, we made a decision to sell this small RV and look for something bigger to eventually live in and travel full-time. It took us another three years to find the right RV and to make plans, save money, and sell our belongings. I worked as a web developer for a small, rural community college and I gave my notice and left my job at the end of June 2015.
One of my main goals, of course, in deciding to travel full-time was to have more time to pursue my photography. The idea of living a minimal lifestyle was very appealing to us. By living more simply, we can afford to travel as we aren't tied down to a sticks and bricks home any longer.
Since we took off on July 1st, 2015, we haven't looked back. We love this lifestyle of getting outdoors more, enjoying nature, and meeting new people who are doing the same thing we are. There is something healing about letting go of things you've accumulated and releasing the stress of a full-time job setting that kept me cooped up in an office all day. This lifestyle is very fulfilling.
What are your favorite landscapes to photograph?
My favorite landscapes are of waterfalls and ocean scenes. I love shooting flowing water and anything really to do with water.
Do have a favorite time of day when it comes to your work?
My favorite time to photograph is sunrise. Though it is sometimes hard to get up early and venture out in the chilly morning air, it's the most beautiful time to photograph. Of course, I get to plenty of sunsets as well, and I do love them.
Out of all the locations you’ve traveled to, which is your favorite?
My favorite place to photograph is Bandon on the Oregon Coast. I just love the beach there dotted with sea stacks. It's a beautiful area, one I am quite familiar with since I lived about 30 minutes away before traveling full-time in my RV.
I also miss the Columbia River Gorge outside of Portland, Oregon. I really enjoy hiking and photographing there. There are a ton of gorgeous waterfalls with green mossy rocks and it’s so appealing.
Now that I'm traveling more, I hope to see and experience many new areas I've never been to before. Last fall was the first time I visited Utah and Colorado. I was blown away by those two states. Utah with the red rock is incredible. We spent about 6 weeks exploring the state, not nearly enough. Hopefully, I can get back there this spring.
We only got a chance to visit the Southwest corner of Colorado on the tail-end of the fall color season. The fall colors were so stunning. I hope to spend more time in the state in the near future.
I'm excited to see more that's out there!
In terms of your creative process, do you go out into nature with an idea or do you let concepts evolve in the moment?
Sometimes I do go out in nature with an idea in mind. There may be a certain composition I want to try and get. More often than not, conditions can change while out in the field that can create new possibilities, so I have to adapt. Weather of course being the number one reason. Just this week, we are staying near White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. I had no idea that it was spring break, so the park is full of people. People make lots of footprints. So I wasn't getting the kind of shots I wanted for a couple of my trips out there. A big windstorm is coming tomorrow so I decided to stay in the area longer so I can get another shot at taking photos with hopefully less footprints. It pays to be flexible when things don't quite work out the way you've hoped for.
What equipment and tools do you use to capture and/or edit your stunning images?
Thanks so much for the compliment. I try and not get all caught up in the latest gear, because I feel like it's not the gear that makes the shot, but a good, creative eye and a lot of practice. Having good gear does help you feel more confident and comfortable taking pictures. You don't want to be frustrated with your camera gear. I currently have a Canon 6D full-frame DSLR camera that I use for most of my landscapes. I have several, quality Canon L lenses that I love. They include the following: Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L. I also have a Mirrorless Fuji XT-1 with 3 lenses. This camera is small and not bulky like my DSLR, so I find myself using it more and more. I really like this little camera for hiking excursions, scouting, and sightseeing. I use a sturdy tripod, which is an important tool for my landscape photography.
I use Adobe Lightroom to organize my images. It's evolved over the years to include many great editing tools that keep improving with updates. After importing my images to Lightroom, I do some basic editing and if I need to do more, I will bring it into Photoshop to work on it a little more.
What do you hope viewers take away from your work?
For those that view my work and enjoy it, I hope it causes them to want to get outside more. To go explore the beauty that is all around us in nature. Maybe for a few moments they'll forget about things weighing them down and get a sense of peace or serenity when viewing my work.
If you could go back to the time when you just started out as a photographer, what would you tell yourself?
That's an interesting question. I think I'd tell myself to slow down and enjoy the moment. Sometimes, in the rush to get the shot, you can easily forget that you are standing in a beautiful place and just be concentrating on the technical aspects of the photo you are taking. Because I was working full-time and doing my photography on the side, I found myself rushing around on the weekends to locations just to get the shot. Now that I'm concentrating on my photography and traveling, I find more enjoyment with the locations we travel to.
If you could sum up your thoughts on the work that you do in one sentence, what would you say?
I set out to produce images that express my artistic vision and passion for photography – as well as my love of nature and the outdoors.
My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Patricia Davidson.