Gm folks! Today we’ll chat with the remarkable landscape and astro photographer Steve Walasavage, directly from upstate New York. Always seeking new locations and scenarios for his incredible shots, Steve brings us visual poems about nature and life. Through Steve’s eyes, we can travel and witness a world where beauty and magic will never fade.
Steve, your work is breathtaking, period. Would you tell us how the passion for Landscape photography grew inside you?
Thank you so much! My journey began back in college, about twenty years ago. I signed up for a few months abroad in Costa Rica, and I absolutely fell in love with that country! The only camera I had with me at the time was a small point-and-shoot, and I brought it everywhere (thinking back, this was good practice for owning a smartphone a decade later). The point was mostly to capture my memories for looking back at later, but it grew into much more. I took absolutely atrocious amateur photos of beautiful landscapes, epic waterfalls, volcanoes, and wild beasts. At the end of the trip I was hooked.
How’s your creation process? Do you plan the locations and the shots beforehand or you go where your heart tells you to?
I’d say about 90% the latter. My timeframes for shooting landscapes at most locations are limited (due to the fact that I’ll often be there on a short vacation or weekend excursion), so I watch the weather and adapt my compositions to the conditions at hand.
Surprisingly, I’d say this is my method for night photos, too. I know a lot of photographers use astro planning apps on their phones to get the perfect line-up, but I just generally know where the Milky Way and Polaris are at any given time, and roll with it. I do like to hike most astro locations in the daytime first, so I’m not setting myself up for silly failures like walking off a cliff in the dark.
When do you know you’ve got THE shot you were looking for? How much of the magic happens in post production?
I think the answer is related to the last question. I try not to plan too much or have too many expectations for any particular shoot, and I’ll credit my own creative spirit with knowing when I’ve got “The Shot” (or at least when things are winding down and conditions won’t get any better). In a more philosophical sense, I now totally get it when ancients and modern creators refer to their Muse; it’s hard to describe, but sometimes you get into a creative flow state that has a very clear beginning, middle, and end.
What’s the most dangerous site you visited? Why?
I haven’t really visited any *dangerous* places, at least not for the point of being there to take photographs. Most of my risks have been inherent risks rather than acute risks; by this I mean the general ones that can affect you at any time. I’ve traveled alone in unfamiliar cities, hiked sketchy ridge trails, and driven long hours at times. Volcanoes and grizzly bears aren’t the only dangerous things in the world; all it takes is a slip or a rolled ankle at the wrong time to really ruin your day.
When you’re depleted of inspiration, what drives you to keep going?
For me, it’s definitely taking a mental (and visual) journey back through my previous travels! Half the reason I take so many photos is so that I’ll remember the fun things I’ve done and the amazing sights I’ve seen. That usually is enough to kick-start me out of any inspirational funk.
When and how did you learn about NFTs?
It was late in 2020, and I was browsing Digg or Reddit one evening. I read a really interesting article about how there were pieces of art being tracked by tokens on Ethereum, and I promptly forgot about it for many months. HUGE mistake, not jumping on it then! Of course, photography NFTs took off in summer of 2021, and the rest is history.
Do you think NFTs are changing the way we experience art?
Yes and no. I think they have the potential to, but we’re not anywhere close to that potential. I’m envisioning a future where everyone’s got a heads-up AR or VR device, and their views are absolutely covered with fun and unique art, provenance ensured, animations and interactivity everywhere we turn. Right now, we’ve got jpegs on our phones; it’s cool, but it’s not the killer art use case yet.
What’s your ultimate goal as an artist?
I’ll resort to my trusty tag line: “I’m here to deliver dazzling images of the most beautiful places on our planet directly to your eyeballs!” In all seriousness though, I really enjoy offering my unique take on the places I visit, and I don’t see that stopping any time soon.
Additionally, I’m working hard to continue adopting and using new technology as it arrives; I feel like this flexibility should be core to any artist’s toolbox!
Steve thank you immensely for your time and we’re counting the seconds to see what you’re bringing to the ArtPacks Genesis Drop!