Creators are more than just skilled visual artists – they experiment, take risks, and look for different ways of expressing themselves. But in order to keep growing as an artist, it’s vital to keep learning new skills and challenging yourself. We chat with photographers Varina & Jay Patel about all things creative photography as well as their educational landscape & nature website, Visual Wilderness.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

We’re landscape and nature photographers based in Ohio. We raised six kids together (the youngest is 16, and the oldest is 23) while building our photography business from the ground up. We started out teaching workshops in National Parks in the US and around the world, and are now filming video courses on location for release on our Visual Wilderness website. Along with our amazing partners, we currently offer more than 30 courses for photographers – from beginners to professionals. We also have a gorgeous 1-year-old whippet puppy named Peregrine 🙂

Tell us a little more about Visual Wilderness?

Visual Wilderness is home to a wealth of educational resources for nature photographers of all levels – from beginners to professionals. Our master photography instructors write and produce educational content for photographers who visit our website from more than 80 countries. Visual Wilderness is home to more than 700 educational blog posts, and two or three new posts from our world-class instructors go out each week. In addition to our free resources, we have more than 40 curated, high-quality video courses and eBooks for nature photographers. The best way to make the most of the resources available at Visual Wilderness is to join the fifty-thousand photographers who have subscribed to our free newsletter.

What subject matter do you enjoy shooting?

Both of us love to photograph nature, but we have distinct styles. Jay seeks out broad landscapes with dramatic light and dynamic weather conditions. Varina looks for the essence of the scene – preferring minimalist compositions and more subtle shadows and highlights. We complement each other in the field – finding inspiration in each other’s compositions, and pushing each other to explore new ideas.

What does creativity mean to you?

This is something we’ve discussed many times. We believe that creativity is the outward expression of ideas, imagination, and perceptions. It is unique to the moment, and to the artist.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

Although it’s fun to see a finished work, both of us love the challenge of fieldwork. The more difficult the conditions, the more we enjoy working out solutions to produce unique photos. We want to be challenged – it’s exciting.

What about the process of shooting with Lensbaby lenses do you enjoy?

Lensbaby lenses let us take our craving for creativity and combine it with the challenge that we love in the field. They offer a new perspective, and the opportunity to explore the capabilities of our cameras in new ways – playing with depth of field, light, and shadow, and focus and blur.

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