Would you mind introducing yourself? My name is Mason Douglas (@masongdouglas) and I’m an 18 year old photographer. I focus on adventure and lifestyle photography using primarily analog mediums.
Where are you from, and where do you currently live? I grew up in a city called Vancouver in Washington state. It’s a twenty minute drive from Portland and about a thirty minute drive to the Columbia River Gorge. I’m currently attending UW in Seattle, Washington.
You are certainly quite talented at shooting both landscapes and portraits! Is there one style that you prefer or have more fun with over the other? Thank you! I really can’t pick one over the other! The photos I always end up cherishing are the ones that incorporate a person into a beautiful landscape scene. I view them as going hand in hand!
When did you first fall in love with taking photos? I fell in love with photography about two years ago. I started out with my phone, taking photos of my adventures and hikes. I got my first digital camera about six months later and continued to photograph, focusing on portraits. I picked up an 80’s film camera along the way and fell in love with the analog process.
Do you have a favourite photography related memory, whether it be in front or behind the camera? I’m very picky with what I take photos of! Shooting on film really conditions you to limit your shots. One day I hiked a bucket list spot in Washington with my dad. We slept in hammocks in a fire lookout hut and experienced an amazing pink sunrise overlooking a mountain range. That’s probably my favorite photography related memory.
What inspires you to take these wonderful photographs? Living in the Pacific Northwest, I’m always surrounded by amazing landscapes. I’m deeply inspired by the lifestyle of exploration/travel. There’s nothing I love more than driving several hours on no sleep to see a new spot with friends! I like to document the whole process!
What kind of camera do you use? I’ve played around with several cameras, but I’ve settled down with a Nikon F5 for the vast majority of my work. It’s rugged, it withstands the extremities of all four seasons, and it’s the perfect level of automation for me in a 35mm film camera. It’s also cheap! I also own a Nikon D3 if I need to shoot digitally. I’m most familiar with Nikon’s selection of glass so I’ve stuck with their gear over the years.
What is your editing process like? What apps/programs do you use most often? Or are most of your photos 'au naturel?' I’m fairly hands-off when it comes to image processing. The films I use give a really unique look to the image, so there’s really not much for me to add! I absolutely love vibrant colors, so I prefer to shoot during sunrise or sunset to maximize the saturation the film can pick up. When I need to make slight adjustments on a photo or retouches on a portrait, I use an app called Polarr Photo Editor. It’s an extremely underrated app with all the features a beginner or intermediate photographer needs.
Is there any tips you would like to give for anyone out there who would love to create similar style photos to yours? My advice would be to develop your own creative and interpretive eye instead of worrying about having the best gear! We have this silly habit of attributing all the success of a photo to the camera. Whenever people see my images, they always ask me about my camera instead of my creative process. Creativity and understanding of photographic principles produce great images, cameras are simply tools. I always tell people that if you have a $500 budget for a camera, you should buy a $200 camera and use the rest to fuel your adventure.
What are some of your passions/hobbies other than photography? I love the arts in general. I play a few different musical instruments and have even written and produced my own music before.
Do you have any photography related plans for this summer that you would like to share? This summer I plan to go on a photographic journey at least once per week! There are so many hidden spots that I’d like to visit in Washington, Oregon, California, and Montana. Yosemite National Park is my main goal. I’m really hoping to focus on collaborating more this summer. There are so many talented photographers in the area that I have yet to meet!
Who are some of your favourite photographers? That’s a tough question. The well known Instagram adventure photographers like Andrew Kearns (@andrewtkearns), Alex Strohl (@alexstrohl), and Michael Flugstad (@michaelflugstad) have always been inspirations. Outside of Instagram, I love the street photography of Andre D. Wagner (www.andredwagner.com) and the nostalgic images created by Paolo Raeli (www.paoloraeli.com). Anyone that can make me feel intense emotions is a photographer whose work I love.
Are there any photographers here on instagram that you love and wish more people knew about? There’s too many to name! I originally made my instagram account to connect with the people I knew from high school, but I’ve met so many amazing photographers on here as well. Social media can be an extremely beneficial addition to your life if you’re a creator. Scroll through my following and you’ll see what I mean!
What would be your number one dream destination for a photography adventure? Iceland has got to be my ideal destination! I think it’s a pretty common theme among landscape photographers. The country is so vast yet so saturated with geological activity. It’s impossible to take the whole thing in. As mentioned earlier, Yosemite National Park is a close second, and I hope to visit this summer!
Which time of year is your favourite for taking photographs? Each season presents new beauty so it’s so hard to pick just one. As an adventure photographer, I love the way my subject matter changes with the seasons. I’m still a student so summer provides me with the most freedom and opportunity. I love shooting portraits in the springtime when flowers are blooming though! I have a few of those up on my instagram gallery.
Do you have any upcoming photography trips/sessions planned that you would like to share? In late March, I’m visiting Leavenworth for a few days. My extended family has a picture perfect cabin up there that I’m staying in and the whole town is surrounded by beautiful alpine lakes! I’m super excited to get back to doing what I love after being trapped in school since fall.
Anything extra you would like to share? I just wanted to say thank you for hosting me. The curation is beautiful and you’ve created a really great community! I always look forward to checking out the artists you feature.