Brendan Wiltse is a nature photographer, champion of wild places and the spaces between sunrise and moonrise. This is how he began taking photos in the Adirondacks and why he never grows tired of his favorite subject matter. Because there is magic in the wilderness, and his lens is ready to capture those moments in time, and keep chasing that ephemeral slice of transcendence.
This is part of his Adirondack Story.
I attended Paul Smiths College from 2005 to 2007 and lived in Lake Placid for another year before moving across the Canadian border to pursue my Ph.D. Finally, in the fall of 2011, I moved back to Saranac Lake to pursue what I love – photography of and for the wilderness.
What I love most about the Adirondacks is having an almost limitless amount of recreational activities right at my doorstep. I am one of those guys who loves being out in the wilderness – and there is just so much to do and see in the Adirondack Park. It's also nice that I live in an area where people are so passionate about protecting wild areas, and yet strive to balance conservation and local economic well-being.
My love affair with photography began...
When I started exploring photography my junior year of high school. I took two years of photography classes, as well as an independent study course. After high school, I built a darkroom and shot black and white film. I didn't switch to digital until 2008.
My favorite thing to photograph is...
The evening. I'm always thinking about photography and lighting. This means my adventures often start before sunrise or end after sundown. The light during these times of the days provides better contrast on the landscape and warmer colors. I really enjoy working with long exposure shots. This could mean a shot of the night sky, star trails, softening water, waterfalls, or capturing the movement of clouds. Usually I use a Nikon D7000 with a 10-24mm lens on it, but I also use my iPhone a lot – it's handy in a pinch and I keep it in a LifeProof case so I can take it anywhere.
My top 5 photos of the Adirondacks:
Tips from a Pro:
Get out there to get good...For those who want to improve their craft – my number one piece of advice is: practice and look at other peoples work.
And then – get outside! Even a half hour walk in a nearby park will give you exercise, rejuvenate your spirit, and let you see some wild critters.
My Favorite Places to Go – By Land and By Sea...well, water
I like to hike, paddle, and ski the Adirondacks because it allows me to connect with the natural world and reminds me that humans are a part of the ecosystem. Of course I also enjoy the physical exercise, fresh air and sunshine. My favorite thing about canoeing in the Adirondacks is the freedom to explore so many places and the different perspective it gives me on the park. Paddling a remote pond or lake is a lot different from hiking to the summit of a high peak, but equally rewarding and often less crowded.
My Top 5 Treks: