I learned the techniques that I use on the side of a mountain and out on the highways across America and that’s the reality. I am Stephen Tam and I am an outdoors enthusiast and photographer. You know, I left home right after high school and I grew up in East Texas, I left home, joined the Marine Corps and went to a lot of neat and interesting places, so you go out, you’re traveling, you’re doing things in these different places and you’re seeing a lot of stuff that you just didn’t know existed out there and then you’re trying to explain that kind of stuff to your friends back home and you’re saying, hey, you should have seen this, this beach or this mountain, that we were at, you know, and people say, “Wow, I’m sure that was great,” and you go, no, no, you had to see it.
[Narrator] His portfolio has diversified, since starting out on his photography adventure.
There’s a few that stand out and I have a few that to me, I think is the most significant, it’s a photograph of a little Northern pygmy owl whom we named Elron and you know, we were sitting there later that morning and just kind of leaning against the Jeep and hanging out and this owl flies down and lands on a branch about 20 feet away from us and I had the camera gear packed up and I thought man, that’d be a neat photo, but I got everything put up and one of my buddies, he pats me on the shoulder and he says, “You gotta get a photo of that on that new lens,” and I said I think you’re right, yeah, I do, I’m gonna try this and we’ve gotta be real calm about this, so we don’t spook him, so I went over there you know, kind of as quiet as I could and put the camera together, got the big lens on the camera and kind of crept up a little bit and I’m thinking, I’m not gonna get this, he’s gonna be gone by the time I get over there, but he had a nice little vantage point and at that point, I was about 15 feet away and got the lens on there, so I’m at 500 millimeters on the lens and zoomed right in on this owl and a little light rain had started, so we had some raindrops beading on his head and he just sat there, just like for a photo shoot and just posed for us.
[Narrator] Not every picture is perfect, Stephen could attest to that, but you’ve gotta have fun and most importantly, to have an adventure, you’ve gotta get out and start shooting.
At the point when you start to take it too serious and you’re not having fun with it anymore, because you have an objective and you have too much to shoot, I think that’s where I would lose interest in it and would have to put it in check, you know, you have to find inspiration, the key to that though is finding inspiration, but maintaining your own creative aspect, I think that that’s huge, not to try to mimic anybody, but to take away from as many people as you can what inspires you. I would say if you really enjoy taking photos, take a lot of photos and have fun taking a lot of photos, that would be the most you know, simple advice that I could really say and as you do that, you know, there’s a lot more to learn along the way.