William Neil is a California-based landscape photographer. His photographs have won awards, and have been displayed in galleries and museums across the United States. They also have been published in many books, magazines, calendars, posters and in limited-edition prints.
What are your favorite places to photograph, and why?
I have to put Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada at the top of my “favs” list. I have lived in this area since 1977 and am fascinated by the light, the changing seasons and the dramatic topography. I am also very attached to Death Valley, and keep returning there because of the sand dunes and other amazing landforms. Number three on my list is Big Sur with its rugged beaches and steep cliffs rising out of the Pacific.
How have you remained dedicated to being an artist for so long, given all the challenges?
The answer is in your question: dedication. Although we all have our creative ups and downs, I’ve stayed dedicated to pushing myself to find new ways of seeing, stayed intent on improving my craft, maintained a curiosity about the world, and nurtured a signature style without falling into a rut.
What drives your art?
My main artistic interest is in the natural world. I have had, and continue to have, a deep sense of wonder for the natural landscape, its patterns, forms, weather and light. I enjoy the chance to share my visual discoveries with others through my web site, gallery exhibits, my ebooks, etc.
In your photography workshops, what do you see students struggling with the most?
The most common struggle for students is with capturing what they felt. They find a subject that inspires them, but can’t translate the emotions. They include too much info in the frame, so I remind them that simple is better. Another blocking point for students is finding the best light for a scene. I encourage them to return to favorite places often to learn the light, and improve their chances of finding that magic light. Don’t settle for average light!
Next: More on photography and nature with William Neil