Commercial Photographer Andrew Hancock
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Embracing the Elements & Looking for Reasons to Make a Picture

I am always looking for opportunities to make a photo. There is no true downtime for me. I see photos everywhere I look and can find an interesting picture in most anything I see.

If you are like me, you probably know photographers (or just people in general) that are unhappy with where they are at, what they are doing, etc. You probably also know that most of those people spend a lot of their time complaining and not being proactive in making choices and decisions that will put themselves in a place to improve. Those same people are the ones that will spend their time at a bar while letting one of the best times to make a photo – the golden hour – pass away with yet another opportunity missed.

For me, I can’t stand complacency – especially with myself. The second I feel myself getting lazy or settling for where I am at in my career, I might as well start looking for something else to do…and I cant imagine ever doing anything else. Photography is not just what I do, it truly is who I am. That is all part of the motivation that keeps me always looking for pictures. I am incredibly passionate about the craft and find the creativity I put into making a picture to be powerful.

I am also a runner. I like to be in shape and I need those times when I can take to the road and log some miles. It is a much needed method to allow me uninterrupted time to think and also push myself physically. Through trying to break personal records, the suffering that I put my body through is cleansing. The rush that comes with the completion of a long run for me approaches the thrill of making a great photograph. However, some of my favorite ideas come during my runs when I am alone all to myself.

In thinking about the notion of suffering and persevering through the elements (my favorite time to run is the cold of winter) I wanted to start a project on what those elements mean to others. It is also a challenge to me to be out shooting in drastic environments and elements. Those are often the situations, if you embrace them, that can create something very epic.

This past week while enjoying some much needed time at home with the family, most of America was tuned in to the Super Bowl. I however decided to head out into winter storm Linus as it unleashed record snowfall through parts of the Midwest. I was able to reach out to a runner with an idea and make this portrait during the storm. I am sure the football game was great. I am sure the commercials were fantastic.

This photo is the result of missing the Super Bowl. Truth be told, I got home, put my daughter to bed and then got to editing. When I was all finished, I joined my wife in the living room for what was left of the game. I saw the last two and a half minutes. Win-win!

As for how the image was made, I have been using the Nikon CLS (creative lighting system) a lot more these days to travel super light and fast to make a portrait when I can. No pocket wizards and SB-910 strobes. For this shot I had two SB-910 strobes mounted in a Profoto 3ft Octabox to the left of the frame, one SB-910 on a stand to the right to light the tree and triggered them all via the pop up flash on the D810. I was lensed with the trusty 24-70mm f2.8 lens. It took all of 15 minutes from setup to completion!

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