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Meet Taylor

Lesson 1 from: The Landscape Photography Workshop

Taylor Burk

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Lesson Info

1. Meet Taylor

Next Lesson: What To Expect

Lesson Info

Meet Taylor

(footsteps crunching) Hello. Welcome. My name is Taylor Burke. This is my first ever online photography workshop and we're gonna be diving into landscape photography in particular. (soft lofi music) Okay, one more time. (Taylor laughs) So I wanna start off by sharing a little bit about how I got into photography personally. It's a bit of a weird way. I never grew up really interested in cameras or particularly in photography itself. I wasn't really even into the outdoors at all. Growing up, my parents, they raised me in Edmonton, Alberta. It's a very big city. Not a ton of you know, mountains or things like that around. It's in the prairies flat land. There's a river valley. Things like that. The only time I was in the river valley was bush parties in high school growing up. On the weekends we go partying, we go to the clubs, we go, you know, do that sort of thing. It was never to go hiking or to get out and camp. That was very rare. And it was done with my dad. We would go boating a...

nd things like that. But I was never really raised in the true kind of outdoors setting. So it wasn't until I turned and I knew I wanted to get right outta Edmonton, get outta the city and go travel and see the world. I just had this push. I wasn't really happy where I was and I thought, "You know what, why not escape "and go somewhere new?" So, I went to Australia. I was there for a year. New Zealand. And those are two very outdoor adventure kind of driven places. And it wasn't until I made some new friends... One guy in particular, Jeff who... He is such a passionate outdoorsman. He's been doing it his whole life with his family. And he really showed me the outdoors and backpacking and multi-day trips and hiking and all that kind of good stuff. The first time I ever did a multi-day trail, he basically just gave me his mom's jacket, a tarp, a sleeping bag. And I just got some brand new hiking boots. And he is like, "Yeah if you just hitchhike to this spot, "you can get there "and then you'll hitchhike to another spot, "take a bus, you'll be at the trail head. "It's like a four day trail. "It's like, you know, just under 80K. "You'll be all good. "Like here's some nuts and a little bit of food." And I was so unprepared but I was... And I wasn't even prepared. I didn't know what to expect. I just got thrown in the thick of it. Two days pouring down rain. I had a little point and shoot kind of digital camera, just your basic average one. Just something to at least kind of capture things along the way. Just two days pouring rain and then the following two days, blistering sun and I'm just a pasty white guy and I got roasted. So it was a lot of emotions. Met some people along the trail who really helped me out with food and kind of logistics and getting around. We did have some spots where you can kind of get supplies and... Yeah, I just, I've kind of always gone into things into the unknown, maybe not fully prepared. And sometimes that's just how things go so. Once I got back from that trail, I was drained and exhausted, but I went through so many emotions and had so much time to kind of have that inner talks with myself and just think and evaluate life. And I knew that I wanted to spend more time outdoors. So for the rest of my time in New Zealand I was just on trailhead to trailhead, you know seven days at a time, five days at a time. Just really soaking in nature and this new thing that I was so excited about and I just wanted to capture it and share that feeling of what I was seeing and experiencing. And I really wanted to share that with my friends back home just to kind of get out and said, "You know, partying is fun, it's all good. "But it's just that feeling "of being outside with your friends alone, whatever." And just being in nature was... I just wanted that all the time. And I wanted other people to experience it as well. When I was on my travels, I had a cracked iPod Touch. One of the early gen ones. Photos weren't great, but you know, I was snapping things along the way and having fun and just kind of documenting my ventures. I got into an unfortunate quatting accident. Basically ripped off the bottom of my foot. It's a long story but it put me into a cast and I wasn't able to do much hiking or anything for that matter for at least a month. So I was in New Zealand, I had all this downtime and I was looking for things to do. I was talking to some friends back home. It was right around the time when Instagram was starting to pick up in popularity. It was still a new app, fresh and young. A lot different than what it is today. And I was like, okay. I was against social media. Like I didn't really use Facebook or anything. I just didn't wanna be on my phone at all or on the computer. So I was like, "Well, I got nothing but time I'll check it out." And my goal intention with downloading Instagram was to share my travels and inspire people to get outside. Mainly my friends but anyone who was willing to follow along just hopefully they would come to my page and see, you know, the fun and excitement and joy being outdoors and the beautiful landscapes and want to go do it themselves. So that was my goal with it. And it wasn't until I had a place to share my photos, that being Instagram, that I realized how much I enjoyed taking photos. It kind of dug out this passion and love for photography in an inadvertently way. So now my goal was to get a camera. I got a Rebel T3i, a Canon beginner camera. And just try to capture that as best as I could because you know I was like, "I have this nice camera. "I'm gonna be able to do this "and take these beautiful photos." That wasn't the case. I hardly used it. It just collected dust. I had an iPod. I don't know what it would've been back then, like a four or something like that. And I just loved shooting on my phone. I loved shooting on my phone and at the time it would be like a sin to post a DSLR photo on Instagram. It was purely iPhone and that's kind of all I was shooting. So I really started off just with my iPhone. We can talk a bit more down the road about, you know, stories of going to a shoot. It was for sport check in the early days of my photography career and I brought my phone to shoot and I think they were a little off put and kind of confused. I did have my camera but most of the photos I shared were from my phone. And so, it was a kind of slow dig into realizing if I want to take this anymore seriously, I should probably get more acquainted with my camera and start to take better photos. So, I'm gonna talk a little bit about gear and like kind of getting started and what should be best for you. As well a bit more about how I kind of dove into doing it more professionally. So, my early days, a lot of it was shot on my phone. I had a beginner T3i Canon Rebel. Once I kind of transitioned to like, "okay, I need to start using my DSLR "and learn how to use that "so I can kind of take it to the next level," I kind of quickly realized that maybe going that entry level camera wasn't the best route because it wasn't long after I started getting to know that, that I realized I want to upgrade again to a more mid-level kind of professional camera. So when you are looking to kind of dig deeper into photography and you wanna take it to the next level, maybe you're shooting on your phone or low point and shoot and you want to get a DSLR or mirrorless, I would think about what your intentions are. Is this something that you think you're gonna be shooting a lot and using a lot and really wanna dig deeper into it? Or is it something that's just like a hobby and you're kind of shooting from time to time. Because if it is a hobby, maybe beginner camera, a cheap entry level camera is what you want. But if you know that you're gonna be spending a lot of time using it and it's gonna be a big investment, I would say go for a more pro model. There's a lot of research that you can do online. I don't know all the different cameras and what you want but just know the difference between a beginner camera and a pro camera. Full-frame versus crop sensor. If you're gonna be shooting a lot of tight subjects like portraits or birds and stuff like that, maybe you want a crop sensor where you can get a little bit more zoom. But ideally for landscape photography, you want a full-frame camera. I currently shoot with the Canon 5D Mark IV. That's my go to. Keep in mind what you wanna be shooting and how you know, how much time you want to dive into photographing these things because I personally wouldn't recommend just going straight into beginner camera. I would go into, you know, more of pro series camera just because you're gonna want to upgrade soon anyways once you start like digging more into it. And don't be intimidated by costs. Don't feel like you have to get all the latest and greatest new gear. You can get a lot of really really good used gear, say on eBay or your local camera shop. Things like that. Look for people who are selling things on Craigslist. You don't need the latest and greatest. People get so hung up on that, especially with the new phones and iPhones and things like that. You can take some really incredible photos so don't get hung up on seeing, you know, this brand new fancy camera. Like, "That's the one I need!" My camera's already like years and years old and it does exactly what I need. And you can probably get a used one for a pretty good deal. When it comes to buying lenses, ideally you want something new. That way you don't have to worry about scratches or you know, getting shaken around and having to deal with that. Once again, you still can buy good used glass. I typically would go with more of a older body and try and invest in glass. Yeah, don't get hung up on gear. That's gonna be your biggest limitation. Most cameras can do exactly what you're gonna need to do. I personally feel like I was shooting with a... I did a job with Olympus in the past and it was a beginner entry level camera and I was able to get photos I was really, really happy with. Once again, invest more in lenses than bodies if that's what your biggest concern is is cost and how much money you wanna spend. I would say go with good glass. So it's funny being here teaching a workshop on Wildist because a lot of the photographers on here that are doing workshops, two in particular, Chris Burkard and Alex Strohl, played a huge role in my career, in my photography early on in the day. I remember it was probably 2014, somewhere around there. I was working in the trades. I was doing plumbing and refrigeration HVAC. I was in my second year, I was in school at Nate. It was when I was just starting to kind of transition, getting a little bit better at photography. I was really harnessing Instagram and using it to its full potential, digging deep into the community and networking and meeting people and learning so much and surrounding myself with people that were like-minded and had that same kind of drive to get out and hike and shoot as I did. So it was that pivotal moment. And I remember I was in class and I'm like nodding off and sleeping and just... I wasn't passionate about the trades and doing that kind of work but it paid well. And I knew there was always gonna be work and it'd be good to have something like that to fall back on at the very least. But I remember one day, looking at Instagram and seeing there was Jared Chambers, Finn Beales, Alex Strohl, Rashad. All these guys were doing this campaign for the tourism board. It was an Alberta one by one campaign and it was really monumental and pivotal at that time when Instagram was starting to do you know, these sponsored posts and ads and working with different brands and things like that. And I was just so jealous being in class and seeing that these guys were getting paid to go travel in the Rockies, you know, my backyard. And I was just hung up always seeing, "Where were they going next? " What are they shooting?" And "Man, they're getting these incredible photos "and I'm stuck here in school." Like, wouldn't that be amazing to one day be able to get paid to go travel and do this full time. And I think I was just so hung up of just wanting to... Just so driven and like inspired that I was like, "I'm gonna do that. "I'm not letting anything stop me. "I'm gonna do whatever it takes "and put in the work and time and effort." And you know, I reached out to them as well. I wasn't shy and that's a big thing for anyone that's new, chances are if you reach out to somebody and you know, if you do it in a polite manner and you do it in a respectful way and you're not asking too much or have too high of expectations, people are happy to chat. You know, I have people... I'm surprised they don't have as many people kind of reaching out just to ask questions and you know, like getting started and things like that. People are happy to help for the most part. But things like this, this workshop, this is gonna be a great resource for you to be able to learn a lot of these things and I'm happy to share because I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for people like Alex and Chris who are always so willing to help and share. So it's just funny to see now on the same platform as them, it's kind of inspirational I guess, in a way that, you know, you can make these things happen and it's opportunity, it's luck, but it's being able to harness and understand when the opportunities are coming your way when to latch onto it and how to read it and to know and just to network, to meet people, to get out and do anything you can to advance and push yourself forward. So they, yeah, have been there from the start and they've always been helpful. And it's just kind of reaching out and just don't be afraid of rejection. You're gonna get it, it's gonna happen. But it's a numbers game with anything. You just have to constantly be shooting, talking to people, networking, all those kind of things. So don't be afraid to ask questions, to reach out, and to... Just remember to do it in a playful way, in a respectful way and don't expect answers all the time. But never try, you never know. (air whooshes) Okay, so when it comes to landscape photography, my personal kind of ethics and goals, I'm really just trying to do things in a respectful way. So when it comes to hiking and being on the trails and stuff like that, being mindful of leaving no trace, you know, not leaving any garbage behind, not leaving any impact, trying to tread lightly, picking up garbage if you see it, not having fires when you're not supposed to, just being really respectful of those things, as well as trying to showcase things in a good light and not doing things illegally and sharing those kind of things 'cause that just ruins it for everybody. So when you're out shooting, just do everything you can to you know, respect the rules, leave no trace, you know, don't have fires when you're not supposed to, all those kind of things. Don't do things for the photo, for the gram. Just do it with a good intention. You can tell when people are you know, in the right mindset about it and doing it because they love it and things like that. So personally, I like to go out there and you know, just try and capture what I'm seeing and the good time that we're having and making the most of that real true, authentic kind of experience.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Astrophotography Checklist
Gear List

Ratings and Reviews

Selby Wilkinson

Incredible course! I learned so much watching this. I loved Taylor's teaching style and found it really helpful to get to see how he works out in the field. Everything about it was so well thought out - I appreciated the little details he included in the course like the PDFs and photo book recommendations. I would definitely recommend!

Jason Webb

This course is awesome! Great insights into landscape photography. Highly recommend.


This course was great--Taylor's approach and delivery of the topics is straightforward and extremely helpful. I am somewhat comfortable with my camera/settings and know some of the basic rules of photography, but his explanations help translate in how to use those tools to create YOUR own images no matter what you are trying to achieve. Can’t recommend this course enough to any aspiring landscape photographer.

Student Work