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If you have a degree in what field is it? I have a degree in graphic design from the Istituto Europeo di Design, Milan, and a degree in photography from Brooks Institute, Santa Barbara.

What was your strangest assignment? An underwater shoot of giant Humboldt squid in Mexico for Outside magazine. Very little is known about them but they don't have the greatest reputation (they've been called “killer squid” and “red devils”); I wasn't sure if I was going to come back in one piece.

Which photographer would you like to meet? Ansel Adams. Not because of his photography—to be honest I’m tired of seeing posters of his photographs in plastic frames everywhere I turn—but because of his life and love for nature, especially the Sierras. With today’s equipment it would be much easier to do what he did, but it’s astonishing what he accomplished, when he did. I’ve backpacked to some of the places he photographed and I am always amazed.

What famous person (living or dead) would you most like to photograph? Leonardo Da Vinci.

Aside from your camera and lighting, what item could you not work without? My computer.

Is there anything you would not digitally retouch? I don’t digitally retouch much but I digitally enhance everything.

From where do your best ideas originate? Not to sound cliché, but nature is truly my inspiration for everything.

How do you overcome a creative block? Lots of playing. A creative block in a photographer’s life is no fun. If that happens, I put the camera down and play. I play until I’m tired and ready to work again. Usually it’s not long but sometimes I go for months without taking a picture—I never feel bad about it.

Do you have creative pursuits other than photography? I used to have many creative pursuits like ceramics, printmaking and painting, but lately I’ve been so consumed with photography that during my “time off” I don’t want to be creative. Now, during my down time, I try to be more physical—fly-fishing, hiking, surfing.

What music are you listening to right now? As crazy as it may sound, I don’t listen to music. Music to me is just an unnecessary distraction. Our lives are so overrun by distractions; we are over-stimulated. I try to keep things as simple and basic as possible.

What’s your approach to balancing work and life? Life is my number one priority. My quality of life is what dictates my happiness and without happiness creativity shuts down (at least in my case). Everyone thought that my moving to Montana was a crazy move professionally. It turned out to be one of the greatest things I’ve ever done, both personally and professionally. Before moving to Montana I’d only lived in big cities and never realized how much I needed to be close to nature; I now have chickens in my yard, a dog, and rivers and mountains within walking distance of my house.

What’s your favorite quote? I don’t like quotes, probably because I have an awful memory and can’t remember any. Same with jokes.

Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession? Only photograph what touches your heart.

What's one thing you wish you knew when you started your career? Plenty of amazing photographers are not making a living with their photography. It proves that talent is not all it takes to be successful. It takes time, perseverance, extreme confidence and no fear of rejection. I had people tell me my work sucked, then years later, when my name was established, ask me for the same pictures that years earlier they’d told me sucked. Unfortunately many people can’t recognize good photography but they have the ability to recognize names. Get your name out there as much as you can.

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