In this inaugural episode of the Golden Hour Podcast, we speak with Instagrammer Chris Poplawski (AKA: chrisroams/ chrispoops.)
Chris is a businessman turned photographer who has amassed over 100,000 followers on Instagram! Learn how Chris started on the platform and how he chooses to create while traveling the world, working for some of the biggest brands in our industry. Check out the Golden Hour Podcast on iTunes/Apple Podcasts here:
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welcome to the golden hour podcast I'm your host Dave Mays or here in the polar Pro studio in this installment we speak with Chris Poplawski as a businessman turned photographer who's amassed over 100,000 followers on Instagram since the recording of this podcast Chris's Instagram handle went from crisp oops – now Chris roams of course I find his original Instagram handle very interesting we start our conversation off talking about the origin of the name Chris poops so we're here with Chris poops have you explained it your Instagram name for me yeah I'd love to I guess in high school we all had kind of clever ways of coming up with silly names for each other and it's just a bunch of kids being kids yeah and my last name being pawlowski it's you know started with pops everyone called me pops and then all of since people started like cleverly calling me poops yeah and I was like you know that's kind of funny because my grandpa you know we call my my grandma Nonie and my grandpa Papa and when I was when I was going through I Geo's like all right Chris pops you know that's obviously like my first choice and then wasn't available and it's like all right Chris poops and it was available and I was like all right let's just stick with that then whatever and you're building an entire like following poop yeah you know it's it started as a joke and a personal account where I was posting a lot of personal photos and just kind of live in life and yeah in just having jobs and just doing that and then all of a sudden start taking photos and was like wow like people don't forget this and it's very memorable yeah and do people think it's a real last name though ever yes and no I feel like I try to avoid that conversation and it's more of a just kind of laugh about it and I just tell people like hey you won't forget it and yeah just kind of roll with that so we have a little game that we play with all of our guests it's called one-word rapid-fire I'm just gonna ask you a couple of questions and it should be easy for you to just like quickly answer with just one word it's like it'll be this or this this or this which one do you prefer I'm a talker so it's easy to make it easy on me perfect I'm just gonna read through the list here so we got a 30-second timer we're gonna just try to get through as many of these as we can we've got rock wall in the back here with a timer are you ready yes sir cool so we got a 30-second timer we're gonna just try to get through as many of these as we can already you ready count down from five four three two go Canon Sony or Nikon Sony iOS or Android iOS Mac or PC Mac one-man band or working as a team used to be one-man band and now it's working on the team next II prefer production or post-production production spaghetti with meat sauce or Alfredo Alfredo ran through them really quick 21 second dude that was like that's record time man Wow can you elaborate a little bit on the one-man band yeah I think it all starts with a dream and I feel like that's a common thing on IG right now as a lot of people want to be traveling a lot of people want to be taking photos a lot of people even outside of Instagram want to just be doing what they love to do and finding a passion and when I was in this sole pursuit of life and trying to figure out what you know I wanted to do with my time graduated college got a business degree started working at a business like a business job in a marketing department selling marketing services and I was never doing anything creative ever and I struggled with that a lot just sitting in an office and I started seeing photos on Instagram just like we all kind of follow fun accounts that we just appreciate their content and I just made this decision one day I literally got home sat down with all my buddies who like every day this is what we did we just get off work and come hang out it's like guys I'm tired of this like I don't want to be working for the man anymore I want to kind of be doing my own thing and sure enough I just went for it I literally quit everything what year was this about three years ago so 2016 yeah just about and what's what's funny about that is I you know I'd love to get into that more and you know how that kind of all came together cuz it wasn't it wasn't just like quitting it wasn't just like letting up I actually saved money and I had a plan and I was very I guess smart with it yeah and I had all my all the equipment already purchased everything that I you know wanted to do but it originally started with camping trips and just kind of going camping with buddies and just like capturing moments and and being out there in Yosemite or Big Sur wherever with buddies and then sure enough it just I was just like you know what like I think I can do this I think I could just take photos for for clients for brands for weddings for I mean if it at that moment it's just like what can I get my hands on to kind of stay afloat right now and it started with like rims and like tire companies that started with yeah I shot a little pay yeah just anyone that'll pay me and I wasn't exactly passionate about it but I was passionate about getting out of an office yeah and you know I feel like when you're in that almost survival mode of a career you got to do what you can to survive and for a while it was just me and you know I still kind of held on really tight with my roots where friends would come out even family eventually a girlfriend you know and people will just kind of join the ride and it just was me taking photos is me asking for help and support from you know people around me just like everyday and still even to this day if I'm going on a trip and I got a job to get done I kind of lean on those people and it's in my head just a constant pursuit of getting work with what I'm passionate about done and it never feels like work even though you can I refer to it as work it's just the constant pursuit of what's inside I guess passionate and creativity Chris already seemed different than most creatives the way that he was saving his money planning his life out having goals in place are all things that I think we can learn from what do you have to say next about college and quitting his job or things that I found really interesting you graduated college what's cool did you go to USC USC what was your degree in business administration with a emphasis in marketing super technical and amazing right so you just jumped right into corporate world I assume what what were you doing with that it was for a company called ITC I think they kind of rebranded since not to throw them under the bus by any means cuz they they did work just like anyone else but I just wasn't going after my passion yeah it wasn't well it wasn't it wasn't photos it wasn't something that I had found it was more of something I could do and yeah pay my bills and I love that like I love that grind and I feel like it's so important to know what it's like to go through those moments because everything's applicable in life whether it's an art a communicative skill rather it's it's just everything's a learning experience to me and what what I kind of learned from all that is that you you got you got to put in that time you got to put in that time if you're stuck in a job and you want to get out it's it's times of the essence where you got to make the commitment eventually but if you don't have the camera you want or the gear you want or you don't feel like it's the right time of life to do it start thinking about that set a goal for yourself and for me I'm a little bit more of a planner than just kind of like just dropping everything and going so I made a commitment to myself that you know I want to have you know Sony a7r Mark 2 and I saved up for it I saved up for actually you know take that back I saved up for an a7 are the two wasn't out yet yeah saved up for it got all the equipment I wanted I don't even think I had all the lens that I lenses that I wanted sure I kind of have like yeah I kind of had like just the base of what I was hoping for Wow and it got to a point where it's like this passion this creativity that I was trying to pursue like money was kind of what I focused on to begin with yeah but it was never about that it was just about finding the time and the commitment to being outside yeah and I feel like I tell all my friends who were trying to take the same leap right now that are in a job and they're like dude I just want to leave I constantly tell them like we'll start thinking about it you don't have to leave tomorrow you don't have to leave next week you know people think they should just quit now right yes or some people have a hard time finding that time to quit because they just it's it's comfortable it's a routine like there's so many so many things that come into this that if you know you want to do it just try to be as logical as you can about it and if you feel like getting out and just doing it tomorrow is what you need to do do it and if you feel like it's saving up and getting the equipment you need and finding a job opportunity in the creative freelance world before you leave do it yeah but the point is you got to do it you got to commit to it you got to get heavily invested in that process and I think that really applies to life I don't think that's just like your freelance photographer life I think that's like what do you want to do you want to shoot videos commit you want to cook for a living commit you want to you know be a barista and open your own coffee shop you got to commit to that it doesn't just happen your photography is just phenomenal how much of this was learned how much of it was just kind of natural for you because I mean you can totally say that I'm gonna quit my job and buy camera and whatever but like you don't just automatically become a good photographer like how did you cut your teeth to get to this point to where your feet just look so good cut your teeth at some metaphoric saying when a baby gets its teeth for the first time the gums get cut by the baby's teeth that's where that saying comes from if you've ever wondered in this context I was asking Chris how did you cut your teeth to get to the point where your Instagram looks so pretty well thank you humbled honestly I feel like it's a bit unorthodox but I feel like anybody can kind of say that with photography because a lot of it's just getting out there I didn't study photography in school I had no idea how to use a camera when I picked it up I I don't even know like I think a lot of my first pictures I ever took were with an iPhone and it's bad like it's I look back and it's like that was fun but I would never share something like that and I kind of just taught myself like some of it was YouTube I'd say very little of it was YouTube some of it was with sources like Skillshare and a lot of those companies I kind of just put out articles I'm learning but when I look at that it was more of like a technical learning that's more of like what is I so what is f-stop you know what what is the technical side of photography so you literally were that based like you entry-level to the max so you really must have been drawn to photography for some reason like what was it was there a particular particular photographer that you followed that was like inspired you to even begin at that most basic level I think was just traveling I'm sure there were artists along the way there's always artists that inspired and keep me kind of motivated especially now more than ever but traveling like it I think I got a taste of Europe for a month after graduation was like a grandma's gift to me and I just got out there and I got to experience new culture new coffee new food like those things still to this day blow my mind all the different foods and coffees around the world but just the taste of something different the uncomfortable area of life that I've never explored you know I've always been in an office or at school or this and that that kind of just pulled me to take photos I think it was a GoPro my first camera ever and Wow yeah and you know I like I wanted to want to capture that moment yeah yeah and then you know what ended up happening was it wasn't even the technical side that I needed to learn I started realizing that like if I commit time time time time if I can get out there and get just get a sunrise get a sunset like those are my two favorite times of day kind of I feel like a lot of photographers can agree with that yeah just seeing a sunrise it's just like I got to find a way to capture this beautifully and I wasn't always good at it I wasn't always like you know coming up with phenomenal photos but now I just get so many places all the time for work and for pleasure that it's just it's kind of constantly putting me in a moment a moment that I really appreciate and just want to be there for and even when it's raining like my girlfriend always gets mad because she's like oh we don't need to wake up it's raining like we could sleep in today it's like sleep in I'm I sneak out the door you know I'm gonna I'm gonna go enjoy this because I just like to see like I just like to visualize what's happening Wow Chris didn't really answer the question and the way I was expecting I thought he'd be drawn to photography through the beautiful portrait really you could take of models and getting beautiful bokeh and different colors with post-production just all the things that come with professional photography but what he was more interested in was just sharing the world with others and the way that he chose to do that was through photography I find that really fascinating and it gave me a whole new perspective on what photography can actually mean basically the way that you're making money is for example movement they hired you to go to Canada take some pictures of watches you posted on their feed but then also on your own feed for your own personal growth or yes are they hiring you for your following or are they also hiring you just take pictures for the website it's really just connecting with companies who want to build out a lifestyle you know for me I wanted to travel and movement once wanted to see the world you know even even creating a general company here like not just movement but every company just wants to get their product cool places they want it they want to reach the world if you if you must they want to connect with everybody out there who might find some useful way of using their product I've definitely used Instagram as a tool to be able to connect with those brands by using what I want to achieve in life which is really just see the world you know like I think in the last year and a half Megan and I have been super lucky to see 20 25 countries I can't even I haven't even tried to count them recently but I'm essentially just taking photos for them I I love Instagram to death I love everything about it I think it I think it connects everybody and it's a very very good tool for this generation because everyone's connected to this grid but I'm even now trying to get away from the influencer route because I see a growth happening and a learning experience where you know I started promoting places like where we want to go where we want to experience where we want to try and then it turns into everybody that's else as that's doing that gets all these people to get into these you know new locations and it's it's it's not necessarily ready for that like I want everyone to see the world but we also need to be educated in the sense of how to go view these like don't leave your trash you know like don't don't fly a drone where you can't fly your drone just because you're creative and you want to do that you have to learn how to how to be responsible and respectable of those things so when it comes to working with companies you just have to be I guess willing to put your creativity on the line and I always try to form my my partnerships around creating content for them because I want them to grow their images and kind of connect with their audience in that unique way and I'm all for being a part of that and putting my face or my image or my travels behind that but when it comes to me as you might see on my feet is I don't really post watch photos anymore I don't really post the products and the companies I'm working with I believe in them I love them I'm a full hearted supporter of what they're trying to do in their missions but I don't post it because lately it's been more about helping I guess nature be respected and and kind of everyone's like okay there's this beautiful place in Utah and how do you get there it's difficult it's a it's a it's a tough journey it's a tough hike it's a tough Drive it's off-roading assists in that like more of educating people and what it's like to adventure and how to get out there and appreciate everything so in a way they are funding all this for you if you look at your feed as in a vacuum it's like this guy just spends all this money goes all over the world and detectors I get asked that a lot how do i afford it yeah but so there's you know hundreds of photos of products in these locations they have it it's on their websites on their channel it's on their whatever and then you take two or three for yourself yep yeah and I'll and I like that balance because yeah I love that in and of itself because it creates balance in my life no like it's it's like some of you yeah and it kind of puts the content exclusive in their hands to use and connect with their audience and it allows me to connect with my audience and now I still take on influencer projects I still influence to some degree because I I just choose to do that as an individual sometimes but it's not always about that for me like for me it's traveling I want companies to travels but so to speak you know and sometimes I get comments back from clients where it's like wow like I can't believe some of the things you did this trip like it was so fun it's like thank you like you know you made that possible I started with not a lot you know I didn't start with some like huge foundation financially that just allowed me to travel I started off with the commitment to getting brands places they wanted to be and I didn't care about profiting I think we all get kind of lost in that sometimes how do I Ford this this this and this and there's there's so but there's so many ways to live cheaply on the road like you can you can sleep in your car I have probably slept in the back of my Jeep more times than I've slept in a hotel in the last year and it's not always comfortable I'm freezing like funny story you don't want to leave your car but funny story Oh a week and a half ago I was in we're at New Mexico with Phil Zeek and my buddy Ryan and we're we we had been sleeping in hotels but we're where we were at that moment in time to shoot this location for sunrise the next morning there was no hotels especially cheap ones close by and we just liked you guys I'm gonna sleep in the car tonight and we all slept in a 90-degree position sitting up and all four seats in the car and it was miserable it wasn't you woke up with pains but you know it's gone now and we were all just laughing about it like now until this day it's just hilarious because yeah like well it's like being a little kid you know you just kind of get out there and have fun and enjoy that time with your friends and and and whoever you're with I think culture just for some reason maybe it's just American it probably is it's like you think things need be done a certain way I need a rental car I need a hotel I need all my food be paid for and I need to have at least you know $350 a day for food mm-hmm and like the truth is you really don't need that but I think on the high end of things like those those photographers they cost a ton of money yeah like they're gonna demand that cuz I can't write well it's achievable that's that's the thing is like I never will feel like I'm at the end road I feel like I'm always going to be working towards something and luckily til this day is like I mean I I do have the luxury of some of those things because of how hard I've worked to get there yeah but if you're willing to not start with that I mean I was I was twenty four twenty five when I started off you know making money doing this and it wasn't always easy it was it wasn't always like that like till this day I'm still sleeping in cars you know and I said I don't need to I don't I don't necessarily have to do that but it's kind of like my way of sticking with my roots a little bit and yeah and kind of continuously working towards a passion I'm a tech nerd like I love gear yeah you mentioned Sony are you a Sony guy I am yeah so what are you shooting on today like right now Sony a7r to everyone always asked my favorite lens I can't ever decide because I feel like every project has a unique need but because I shoot landscapes and a lot of like small people like tiny tiny people big landscape feel 16 to 35 G masters just been this Sbisa lens is a base – yeah – eight aperture is great it's actually really light it looks when you look at pictures it looks big and heavy but it's actually not that heavy yeah it's it's a unique camera setup and it took me a while to understand this because my girlfriend shoots a Canon and I love cannon like Canon makes incredible incredible stuff yeah it's especially and she's a wedding photographer and I shoot all those with her so we always talked about like Sony versus can after a wedding no there's another story I guess but you know like I was talking to Phil the other day about like why Sony and even I mean there's so many good cameras out there like there's you joke Nikon dad's like oh you know I would never shoot a Nikon this and that it doesn't matter yeah you know like Nikon they're all great cameras like Fuji Nikon Canon Sony everyone's coming out with these incredible pieces of technology but for me Sony the way the reason why it does it for me is because they're super connected there there community I didn't even realize that until recently when I went to their be alpha event in Los Angeles they kind of been hosting these in all the major cities around the world but the production value that went into a community event like there's no money to be made for Sony it's just like hey if you're in LA you have a camera or you're interested in photography or you might be made because of what you're doing right now exactly I guess so right I guess so I guess that all comes around full circle but yeah it's just unique to me you know like I've always been connected with them like that and I've always appreciated their tech just like anyone would with anybody they're working with but they're just the community aspect and that's awesome yeah and their and their sensors are good too yeah I mean I'm pretty sure they're making the sensors for like can everybody and everyone else now – so it's everybody has their own interpretation of color science and so that's where things differ and that's where arguments insane especially the Canon versus Sony argument is like it's never-ending our channel i have a channel called unity can we review camera gear yeah rocky was telling me oh yeah and like Sony and Fuji people are the worst in the comments they literally like they're so diehard like fanboys and uh and girls that like they just troll the comments so like if I say something bad about Sony I hear about it but even can in – but yeah I won't get into it honestly like doesn't matter yeah I try to not get so opinionated with with our anymore because I feel like there's so much room for that in the world already like everyone feels that way where I look more at like wow like colorful or not you were able to experience that you know like that that picture I'm looking at like I try to put myself in the shoes of that person regardless of their interpretation of it and I'm like that is a beautiful moment like that is something I would want to be standing there for an I think that's the whole concept of art – it's not you're supposed to get opinionated I feel like that's been programmed innocence since painters of early days or anything really but sure when I look at it it's just I try to be more in that moment and I think that's why I do what I do is I want people to know what it's like to be standing wherever I'm standing while they're sitting behind a desk or while they're doing this so they can kind of dream they can kind of pick up the pieces of what they might not have right now or where they want to be this weekend and then kind of feel inspired to get there and I think that's that's kind of my goal at least I try to stay away from the whole debate I guess for me and Sony and more of like I would want to be there I love it dude it's drama and they're like dude I love the way that you just said all that like being in the moment of an image or even in terms of video the same thing like imagining yourself in that circumstance and appreciating that I mean that's really what I think any photographer would once and you would you would want anybody to think about their images that way rather than just all the skin tones off a little bit yeah it's hard when you start working to because when you're taking photos for companies and you're trying to get your personal photos too sometimes I have to remind myself like it's almost like clap my hands before I know it the sunrise is over and I forgot all about it and that's happened that's happened a lot where I forget to be standing where I'm actually standing what do you mean like like you're working yeah I got a minute shooting I'm in a different like state or flow I guess some people are fritter I'm just I'm kind of like grinding nonetheless at yeah I get you know getting a project done and then all of a sudden like I have to look back at the material on it on HD screen and be like oh that sunrise is beautiful but like you don't write I didn't put my camera down to look at it and I'm better at it now it's like one of those learning experiences you kind of have to learn to take at least 5 to 10 15 20 seconds you know even if it's a minute whatever you get out of that morning try to stop and enjoy it because that's what's kept me going like if I forgot what that feeling was like I'd probably be turning this more into an 8 to 5 feeling then maintaining a passion towards it and I think I'm trying not to get lost in the whole content like get you know always need to get content content content yeah it's like I'm not here to enjoy this to that's what I started for that's what I wanted in life like I wanted to travel and experience not not just sit behind these fancy tech screens all the time did you just hear that Chris doesn't care about what tool is being used it's all about what's actually going on in that moment for him sure if you save up your money and buy expensive equipment those things can help you as a professional next time you look at an image try to feel what the photographer is experiencing we got some images that we pulled from your Instagram account and I just want to get a little backstory on on each one of these pictures yeah I'm interested to see what you guys you guys chose how far you dug I have no idea number one who is this beautiful woman it's my grandma I assumed Nonie tell me about her oh man she is everything to me like I feel like now more than ever let me let me even like start with a story I guess Meghan who's like my friend like at that time in life and now my girlfriend of a year-and-a-half 2060 yeah so like I used to sit that this lady has raised me for in stable and I've actually lived with her my entire life yeah I don't I'm not married yet so I don't feel the intention of like even needing my space for an apartment because I'm travelling when I'm home I want to spend time with this this lady and my mom really but she just imparts so much wisdom on me and inspires me because she doesn't slow down and that's exactly who I am like my friends know me as like borderline crazy because the things I wake up for in the amount of sleep I get sometimes all inspired by this lady right here she's got a gorgeous smile and she looks like just a wonderful person yeah she is and and she what she told me one day she's like one day a girl is gonna come along she's gonna flip your world upside down and all this traveling that you're doing you may or may not be able to do it anymore and then I was like grandma I don't know I mean like I want to travel we'll see we'll see what happens you know and then Megan comes along and it's like we're still traveling and we're still doing all together we're together but she flipped my world upside down because it like everything kind of clicked at that moment and you know it's kind of like one of those things where she imparts all this wisdom and you might not understand it in that moment but then years down the road you're like what like I'm blown you know how much let me ask you this the how much more enjoyable is traveling now that you have Megan yeah a lot you know you can get lonely out there it's really really you believe it or not when you travel like I traveled a lot in the freelance lifestyle mm-hmm it's just you're going to hotels by yourself yeah a rental car by yourself and that's why I've always tried to travel with friends at least like kind of having that like piece of home with you at all times how do you pull that off that just communicate really just always ask and I yeah I had the company to pay for them to UM not always I mean sometimes it's just it's again balancing like you know when you're going somewhere I don't want to be in work mode 24/7 I want to have like time with those friends or time like yeah Megan dude we have to remind each other all the time and thanks to this woman right here you have to slow down you know if you're not healthy if you're not eating right for not sleeping right if you're not focused in the right ways you can get lost in all that you're doing yeah and you can get sick and that's happened to me you know like I've gotten sick on the road yeah and you learn how to control those things luckily it wasn't like life-endangering or anything did your you're speaking directly to me right yeah yeah I got sick this week because we had the biggest week of our life last week like had two videos that went super viral and like I've just been you're slayin when you're on the grid and like I got sick yeah I had to like I took a whole day off and just slept it's it's crazy cuz I feel like I used to have like this this point in time where like I you know get overworked and I get sick but I've somehow like put that line way up here now so even though I'm working ten times harder I'm not getting sick which is which is a combination of exercise it's a combination of eating right which is a combination of just stay all sleep and staying connected with family like that's well you know like it sounds little now and you tend to forget about things when you're traveling sometimes and yeah I'm you know sometimes I'm still a victim of that but I miss this lady everywhere I go and because of Meghan it's it makes it easier on me and I love the fact that like Meghan has a relationship with her I was gonna ask how does Meghan with with your grandma they they're amazing yeah I just smile like I just watch them and I think Megan like really appreciates her character and her wisdom and everything that she brings to the table and she's she's like one of those people that are just kind of in the shadows a little time like no one really knows how much of her fat like of a profound effect she's had on me and I think like in a heartbeat if I'm traveling and something like you know she gets sick or she's struggling like I'm either facetiming her or I'm on a plane home it hasn't happened yet you don't knock on wood but like she is a life and I think any traveler anyone who has someone they love at home like don't forget that like to always have that reminder in the back of your head that like nothing's too big or nothing's too important to like have that connection with someone back home because I it'd be it'd be hard for me to have like get to that point of realization and be like oh man I got messed up if so much balance I'm so jealous it took a lot of work man all right I've seen a couple of pictures on your feet of horses laughing and it seems like kind of a like a signature shot of yours yeah I've seen I think maybe two or three or four yeah tell me about this one and where it was taken and how do you pull that picture off yeah Iceland it's my first trip to Iceland was saying was really before like work came in a lot it was just kind of one of those like we want to get inspired like everyone's like everyone's starting to go to Iceland let's try to get there before others 2016 so back when Iceland was new yeah yeah by the way guys Iceland's been around for a long time yeah it has but until like I think 10 years ago Chris Burkard has talked about he couldn't even get a plane ticket died so I'm like it was it almost impossible to find the route there and had a boat yeah I don't even know exactly but this was you know before you started seeing it every day on IG I guess like the people getting there still kind of what Justin Bieber did a video show yeah and yeah honestly like I think we connected with a farmer at at his local restaurant and he's like yeah if you want to go feed my my horses some carrots go ahead and I was just like do you even have care is he and we like how to care it in the back of our van we were sleeping in and we grabbed and we fed them and then next thing you know these horses are like like just making weird faces and I'm like dude get a camera like we gotta shoot that like I didn't even plan on shooting it and that's that's kind of the outcome of it why wide-angle 16 like we were I was probably like legit an inch or two away from his face and they just kept coming back for more and what you don't see is there's like four other horses next to him all doing the same thing oh wow yeah so it was fun this is like a good little moment I love it yeah the white so for any audio listeners right now just to describe we have picture of a horse and his teeth are just kind of coming out of the mouth looks like he's laughing yeah yeah it's because he's probably got carrots in his teeth so this kind of answered our question this is another image from Iceland it looks like can you explain this it was this your first trip in December of 2016 not four I'm a first trip to Iceland yeah we but we've been I think I was like maybe six to nine months into my photography journey but yeah honestly I loved looking back at these because they were so unbiased like I didn't have any pictures going into this trip that I have seen on Instagram yeah and and I think that's something that I've gotten better at now because there's probably like a six month time frame where you're planning for trips you want to see all these locations you you got to get all the names and and I guess addresses or you know pin points down of how to get there where they are and you plan almost a little bit too much right like you like you know the photo going into it and everyone tries to get that photo with this there was no photo there was no like we were literally just like yeah oh look at that glacier over there let's you know let's go drive over there type thing that's going to walk and everyone that's was walking by us had spikes on and helmets and they were all actually going to climb onto the glacier Wow I forget the exact did I write it I think I did my I don't I couldn't even say it if you ask me but yeah we just we just got to walk around the black sand Bay of it and there's like ice cores huge its massive massive Bay yeah interstellar yeah it's a good it's a good reminder for me that you know it's not it's not really always about seeing an image and to that exact place because I feel like that inspires a lot of us to go do that sometimes you just have to go and you know live the true spirit of adventure like just go adventure go experience go see what you find and it's not about a perfect composition it's not about you know what shot everyone else has taken it's just about standing there and kind of being humbled by what's in front of you so this image here I freaking love this picture it's taken in March of 2017 and there is a it looks like an abandoned airplane in the middle of a forest so tell me about this someone lives in that Wow you can actually go get a tour of it if you contact I didn't do it I think there's a website out there that you can do it on he's trying to make some money I don't know I don't even think he charges honestly I think you just have to find a time or a day that's like works with him man what's the can you remember where is this located I didn't see it's an Oregon okay I it's a little bit more populated now with with your owners and I'm not sure what the current laws are around it so definitely you know do do some fair research before you get there at that time I think it was still relatively unfound I found it via Google Maps I just kind of like kept zooming around this like city that I knew it was kind of around and sure enough was like wait is that a speck in some trees I think that's it zoom in all the way in and then boom there it is dude what an amazing like method to find yeah yeah and honestly it's really unique I think we were there on a rainy day cuz it rains a lot in Oregon and if there's anything I can tell you about my aerial photography till this day is I don't know how I still have my Mavic I have flown it in blizzards I have flown in the constant rain I've flown it in like like off the coast of England where it's probably 50 miles per hour and it wow it's moving at like point zero five like miles per hour back to the coastline and then I have to land it like a mile away and go pick it up because that's how much battery life was left like I don't I don't even know how I've gotten my drone back as many times they have but another image of an animal this is actually a bison that's coming into your car my favorite part is looking at the cards you got it so there's a bison literally stuck his head into your car yeah tell me about this our whole car was licked up and down by Bisons like there is a horde around us and like like I've never seen so much slobber all around I think my whole arm you can actually see it in the photos yeah it was completely drenched and spit yeah you you got to be careful with the cigs like they're they're aggressive like you know like every once in a while you'll you'll get two of them kind of fighting by your car and it's like well they could probably turn my car upside down right now if they really wanted to so what what made you think I'm gonna roll my window down I don't know I don't know I just you're totally fine yeah no no no damage nothing at all like even our side mirror that got nudge it got like bent back yeah but those things movie just come right back yeah did he look you or like anything your tongue out like full extension like three inches out just curious I guess yeah it's fun there's like four of us in the car two in the backseat every reckon up well everyone had their windows down and there's Bisons in every window so everyone kind of has these photos and yeah I'm just glad I had a 16-millimeter on because he I don't have any yeah yeah it was not far from his face and Wow yeah we just kind of drove off after all right so you've been talking about her a lot give us give us the summary of your beautiful for him in the captions does it follow her she's pretty yeah man Megan's just listen Megan yeah I get a lot of people call our Melbourne but it's just ML born Megan Lindsey born Oh gotcha yeah she just seen she'll be mrs. poops before yeah I keep telling her she's got to change her name to make poops when I laugh I don't think I'll ever win on that one but yeah man she is inspiring in my lifetime I don't know how I'd still be healthy right now if it wasn't for her we both kind of have each other's backs when we travel it's a big world and there's always a lot going on you know like you just what's this picture hanging out of a car in Joshua Tree well we just had a we had a vision going like Joshua Tree is only two hours away and yeah it's kind of my favorite place because I never go there with the intention of like work I go there with the intention of like peace and quiet and it's one of the most quietest places in the world so we went there and I was just like all right like let's get portraits you will never find a photo of me hanging out a car that did never happened but for her that was like my vision like hanging out of the car let's get your hair flowing but for Megan man like she she's just she balances that's that's literally the the best thing she's ever done for me from outside of love and outside of everything that we kind of form as a connection she just she looks after me and make make sure like I'm on top of my life and then I'm not letting more take advantage of me because I put so much time and effort into work where I have 20 projects going on at once and it's way more than I should be handling but she'll be there helping me edit she'll be helping me shoot she'll be helping me kind of find the creativity involved waking me up in the morning making sure I'm eating making sure I'm sleeping like you name it she's a true partner and she's a trooper like she it's hard to put up with me like I'm go go go go go and I don't think anybody guy or girl out there could do it yeah and somehow she's managed to do it and she's also managed to slow me down which is something I never thought anyone would do and when I did it yeah and when I say slow down I don't mean it like in a negative way I mean it in like a healthy like balancing ambition with real life you know and she makes me spend more time with my family which is something I like I was mentioning this like sometimes you get you get lost in that whole travel and you forget like what's at home and she just brings all this kind of into perspective for me well yeah we've been traveling for a while so it's optimator soon yeah all right so this image here is unreal I really really love this picture this is a top-down shot of a crocodile but water is beautiful it looks like it's reflecting the clouds the composition is just spot-on do you see do you see the second one I see something else at the bottom right of the crocodiles foot is have another crocodile that's another crocodile so where was this taken tell me about this picture I freaking love it yeah Costa Rica it's kind of like out there man like it's jungle and it's unexpected and it's unexplored and I only got to spend three days out there and I didn't really have a plan going into I booked a last-minute flight with a friend of mine that travelled and was the only only flight I've ever taken first class so I was a little bit spoiled going into this raw of a moment and when we got there we met up with a friend of one of my good friends here has had a cousin that lived in Costa Rica so she offered her place for us to stay and drove us around and we were I forget where we were driving with it was a national park on the coast like three hours away and about an hour and a half outside of the city she's like whoa I got a I got I got to show you this thing I totally forgot but like let's make a quick stop and we just pulled off on a bridge now looking I didn't even know the name of it but I think it's called like torque colas or something I I tried not to put the name out there that much because I don't want to you know people to go find this necessarily I want them to find it on their own time but we walked onto a bridge with cars speeding by and like a one-foot like space on the side of the bridge so it's kind of like dangerous where you're at and then you're looking down and there's just this little tiny area tiny area of shade right under the bridge and there's probably like 15 to 45 crocodiles just hanging out on the shore and in the water and yeah I just had my camera it's not a drone I think a lot of people think it's a drone but it's not where is this taking cuz like I saw this picture and really stood out to me because I want to go there this looks like so much fun dude honestly my favorite part of Tulum Mexico it's a little bit outside of Tulum which is where we were staying Yucatan Peninsula is like I think it's like an hour and half to two and a half hours inland if you've ever heard of Chichen Itza it's like the famous pyramids in Mexico it's kind of closer to that in the sense but dude so cenotes in Mexico are unlike anything I've ever experienced I don't even what's a cold it's a cenote I don't even know if I'm saying that right it might yea be pronounced totally different but from what I understand the I think it's limestone you can kind of see it in the back of the photo at one point collapses from the ground and falls into a freshwater pit nonetheless and some of these have two different currents for the top there's like 10 to 15 feet of fresh water and then 10 to 15 feet of ocean current that's flowing underneath like it's just a it's a super magical experience the one thing I could emphasize more than anything on this photo in particular is to also refer to Megan's profile because there's photos of her shooting this from the water with an over-under and the vines aren't the focus these are actually tree roots falling from the top with that with a swing that you can basically take and then just plummet into the water Meghan was shooting it you can't see her she's kind of hidden between the vines on the right I don't even think you would be able to see her if you even if you look closely but she she was shooting it from a underwater perspective and you can kind of see it if you look at the blue water closely there's white lines and that's really that those are light rays directly from the sunlight above so Meghan has these beautiful like kind of more fine art feel photos where these light rates light rays are shooting down into the water and then you get someone like diving right in between them and again like you you enter that moment everyone shooting it from a different angle and it amazes you the different things you see but this by far we probably did 12 cenotes with a group of 10 friends so like just being out there with all the friends was fun but looking back that was the funnest we had anything that's a word but funnest like the better yeah it was it was just incredible it's it's more of you in in this moment like getting to just jump as many times as you want of a platform not a lot of people think I think there was like five other people there that we were also taking photos of and having a good time with raw like that's how it I explained it just raw so to wrap up this conversation up like first off I don't want to wrap it up it's feel like we could talk forever probably um but there's a lot of people listening who want to be you they want to be doing what you're doing and you've already taught a lot through this in conversation a lot about maturity really like instead of just jumping straight into something with no plan get a plan in place and like work towards that save your money don't go into a ridiculous amount of debt just to buy a camera because well your iPhone can take pictures and you mention that like iPhones definitely not the best thing to use in the whole wide world but you can buy like a like a little sony a6000 for like under $500 that was my first camera and my first my first like five months of traveling was with that yeah so you don't even have to say up a ton of money in buying a 7r2 with a 16 or 35 that's something you worked up to mm-hmm so like I know you get this question all the time but what would you say to that kid that's on Instagram following you right now who wants to be doing what you're doing yeah I feel like everyone will say this but I hope I can say it in like a unique way is don't worry about the followers don't worry about the numbers don't worry about how many likes you get how much you're averaging a day honestly worried about connecting worried worried about connecting not just with the people that are on this platform but connecting with your art and your passion and your creativity because early on I can say this without a doubt that I was more so wrapped up in those things and I should have I'm not saying like a hundred percent wrapped up but I was definitely aware of them I definitely cared about how many people were like seeing this and how many people came in I look back and I kind of laugh at that a little bit because now it just kind of all happens naturally and I think that's honestly not because of the time I've put in or the person I am or the things I'm doing I think it's because I took time on my craft and I got myself to a place where I'm happy with that that when I post it's not just a post and to try to garner some value out of it it's more of just because I'm happy with it and because I feel for this photo I feel a moment I feel the connection with the the people that I was there with I'm living in that moment and translating it to present day you know and that's that's the thing as a lot of these things have happened over time I would hope that anyone who stepping foot into this area really appreciates that because instead of getting lost in a grid or in a social circle that you know it's also am I going to take all your time out of your day you're gonna be talking about Instagram Instagram Instagram I mean what about that sunrise you just witnessed what about the hike to get out there what about the people you were with what about the thing you learned about your camera or or just life in general like what what did you do that actually contributed to your life that day and I think every kid can probably relate with that they're they're thinking about everything they're thinking about all the things that come into play when you're trying to pursue this I would say don't worry about it just go get it go do it go have fun most importantly go have fun and just try to get better and your photos will always get better you know you're a year ago from the moment you started you will look back and be like wow I've learned so much and if you can't say that I'd say that you might not be in the right mindset for it and all it takes is a quick little perspective change and then all of a sudden you start realizing that like I'm learning things I'm growing I'm be able to pick brains of the creatives around me I'm laughing because there's a lot of funny moments on trips that you look back on and it's like wow I was you know kind of just being dumb that day like just have fun with it don't get worried about it because I mean truth be told Instagram might not be around forever I mean that's it's an it's an unfortunate fact and if your art can survive beyond Instagram you have yourself a feasible life so you're saying save those RAW files on a hard drive and not those two megabyte Instagram photos yeah family and there's one thing that I can just assume from meeting you and getting to know you and I think you would want people to hear this too is like respect nature respect the locals like treat them kindly leave I'm a matte I would imagine that you have these incredible experiences with people that don't even speak English are locals who maybe come from a poor background uh-huh and you're able to really maybe make a change in their life where honestly it probably changes you more than them yeah and and I can tell everyone listening that I wasn't always good at that like I wasn't always good at like I said there was a moment in time where I was like I want to go get the photo like I want the photo like that's what my life and drift like driven purpose was in that moment and then Megan came along and a little bit of wisdom from other people and I started realizing that why am I not asking questions like why why would I want to end with a photo where it has no depth to it or no value beyond just a photo it's just it's literally just an abstract creative moment but now I have a story to tell and I think that's what some people want to get involved with this creative storytelling and for me that the story isn't so much about like what I did that day it's also about like who I got to know yeah and that's megan is so good at that like I I have learned on learned from her so much that when we get into a car with a stranger that might be at or or you know a local or the owner of that piece of land like that cenote we make it a point to get to know them we we almost don't want to give them a chance to ask us ask a question because for it maybe it's a little bit selfish because of that maybe if they do ask we obviously answer but for the most part we just want to get to know them and we want to know like like what it why is this piece of land value to valuable to you like did you have time with your family here did you have any moments that stick out in your lifetime that really makes this place special because then it makes our moment special yeah and it makes like I bet a lot of shots you get are from asking questions oh yeah and you never would have thought to go in this one area to get this perfect angle you can get in a lot of trouble if you see a place that you want to go illegally see and you try to go see it without asking the right questions and you might end up spending more money you might end up not being able to see a place you might end up in a totally different place but if you do it the right way you're not only respecting what you're doing but you're also being the pro pria influencer you're bringing to life a moment that is meant for the world to see in a certain way yeah and I appreciate that I I could tell everyone that if you if you bring a photo out that is with all grips and and and purpose to it legal and right and you earn that and you you actually did the research for it I appreciate you as a person we decided that at the end of every podcast we would ask the same question we may forget it we may change it over time for now the question is if you could collaborate with one artist dead or alive would it be that's a good question any artist that inspires you somebody that you followed growing up could still be alive to be a filmmaker thug four musician even honestly Chris Picard really yes he's just been doing it for a while and I know a lot of what I have grown accustomed to like these questions and these experiences that I'm trying to go get and why they're valuable to me now he has done it like that for a while and it's not it maybe he learned in the same way maybe he you know came to doing it in a certain way because of his wife or his friends that he's traveling with I don't know exactly but I'd love to understand that side to him and not I wouldn't like to sit with him from a creative to creator like oh I appreciate your photos and the moments you're able to create because everyone knows that everyone knows Chris Burkard is creating these timeless pieces of art that really bring value to people's lives it really brings a moment in time to you but when you when you sit down with someone I want to know like his struggles I want to know how hard it is to be away from family like he has kids and a wife that you see on his feet all the time and I know he spends more time away from them than probably most creative but like why you know like what why do you do that how do you do it not just that but like how do you keep being passionate like how do you continue to thrive in an industry that isn't always easy it does have a lot of opinions or questions or time and he is so good at it like the way he balances his time and all that he does it's he moves from project to project just like in an instant and I have learned from that I've grown from it and even just to be able to shoot next to him for a sunrise what would be pretty cool I think it would just be a moment I look back on and be like wow I hope I can say we were friends after that moment man will call you when he's on the show yeah well if anybody wants to follow you and follow these images again if you didn't hear the beginning your Instagram handle is Chris poops as you'd expect so CHR is P oo PS so everybody go follow Chris poops incredible feed incredible human being it was a pleasure to meet you thank you thank you Chris humbled and I appreciate you guys a lot more than you know the biggest takeaway from me with my interview with Chris was his balance of maturity with everything in his career something that really stood out to me and I know it probably stood out to you too if there's anything specific in this interview that you really liked comment below and we'll have a dialogue about it this is the first of many episodes in fact we're gonna be doing one episode every single week here at the golden hour podcast so make sure to hit that subscribe button to be notified of all of the podcasts that we do on this channel once again I'm Dave Mays this is the golden hour podcast brought to you by polar Pro and I'll see you next week