MIOPS interview series continues with Robert Hoovis, a talented landscape and nature photographer from Florida, USA. Photography isn't only a passion for Robert. He takes amazing photos of breathtaking natural beauties of Utah as well as Florida. He captures them by combining his creative point of view and high technical skills. As a result of this combination, great shots come out. Let’s get to know him closely and learn about his journey, future plans and more...
How did you become a well-known landscape photographer?
Well, I've been a professional photographer since 2010. Doing the typical weddings and marketing photos. But I got immersed with landscapes when my passion in life was (and still is to a degree) skateboarding came to a sudden stop. I broke my leg in 2016 and suddenly had to have an outlet for my energy. I was already taking some long exposures of streets/cars at night and had a huge interest in the night sky.
However, I thought it was just too light polluted where I was. A friend of mine said he knew of a dark location here. We went to it, I spent the night on the beach not having a clue what I was doing - and fell in love. I've been shooting all sorts of photos of Florida (and others when I can get away) landscapes since! It's become more than a passion… It's an obsession & it's part of me.
What does photography mean to you and what was the reason that you became a photographer?
The final images are fantastic. I love shooting & creating them! But, what it really means to me is time to be closer to the universe, have one of a kind experiences, & boldly go where no man has gone before! Seriously - the adventures & sometimes the much needed solitude are everything to me!
To be surrounded by the wonders of the world is what it does for me. I became a photographer after growing up in a home with a dark room in the basement and getting into video production. I shot on film occasionally but once the Canons came out that did amazing video… I began to shoot more photos than video. It just grew from there...
How did the Coronavirus outbreak affect your career?
Coronavirus (Covid-19) for the first year of it gave me one of my best years in business. I kind of hate to admit that but people wanted to do a lot of video related projects where they would've had a live event before. As of late though, that has slow down some. I actually got sick during coronavirus too…
Not with it but I had multiple issues with multiple joints being inflamed and swollen for no apparent reason. Exhausted all the time. That slowed me down quite a bit to where I was just barely able to do my jobs. Got tested and didn't have antibodies or a positive test so I don't know what it was, Now, I'm on the mend and starting to get out more and more. It seems the world is a little brighter as of late which is a damn good thing!
Can you briefly talk us through what a shooting day is like for you?
Well a lot of my shooting days are actually nights. Many times I'll get prepped, take the lenses I think I'll use and travel light, try to shoot a sunset and then wait for the Milky Way. Here in Florida, we are in the lightning capital of America so I've taken in the last four years to really enjoying shooting lightning.
A day of shooting lightning would involve a storm coming and my heading out to go get it! I will always spend a lot of time in advance cleaning my lenses and charging batteries and being sure that I have everything I could possibly need!
What is the most difficult part of being a photographer for you?
That's an interesting question. There could be quite a few difficulties. Everybody's doing it so how do you separate yourself is one thing I find thinking of often. If you're dealing with clients, a lot of them believe that it's easy to take a picture and it's easy to photoshop whatever they want in or out lol. I also don't necessarily love how competitive and fast-paced it is now.
Going out to shoot with someone someone may become a race to shoot the picture and post it first or whatever. I guess a lot of what I do is based on the conditions so there's nothing I can do to control how it's going to be, so shooting when I want to might not always be easy although typically I'll just figure something out that wasn't what I wanted but may work out even better!
What kind of tools do you use for post processing time-lapse videos?
For timelapse videos I typically use LR timelapse & Lightroom. Once I have processed them I'll either assemble them (finished photos) through LR timelapse or QuickTime if there’a ll about the same exposure, then edit the video in final cut or Premiere.
What camera settings do you need to create your long exposure photographs out in nature?
Well that's an ever-changing variable based on light, lens, & what I'm shooting. for night sky shots, I want them to be as short as possible to keep the noise level down. For the Milky Way with a landscape I will typically use a 15 mm lens at F2, ISO 2500-6400 at about 15 seconds.
Or I also use a 20mm, f1.4, ISO 2500-4000 at 10 seconds. Lightning really depends on how close the storm is how bright things are how much light is around etc.… But now that I have my Miops trigger, page settings easier.
What MIOPS products do you own, and what challenges do they allow you to overcome?
I own a couple of Capsule360s, smart trigger, mobile remote, and L bracket. They help me to overcome so much as far as photos and videos both are concerned. The lightning trigger element is of course incredible, the L bracket is amazing… it would legitimately be kind of hard to list all the ways it helps. I tend to use the capsule 360 quite a bit on night sky time lapse. It's the only way I found that guarantees me no motion blur in the foreground. I've still not explored everything that can do!
What’s been your proudest moment as a photographer so far?
I mean, I've had a bit of success with an Instagram. I've had art shows, sold some prints and generally gained a reputation as a decent photographer. But, my proudest moment has come from seeking out a place never before a shot at night, planning for weeks, getting there and having the conditions be perfect, and getting the shot of a lifetime was my proudest accomplishment. Wait a minute... Strike that, my proudest moment was taking my daughter to see the Milky Way for the first time and having her get into photography immediately after!
What makes the good picture stand out from the average?
Wow, that's a really hard thing to verbalize or communicate in writing. I mean, you could shoot a really amazing place with great composition and great lens and an excellent body and do a beautiful process and still not move me. Great photos move me in some capacity.
Something I look at and just say damn that took a certain ability that doesn't exist within a camera. Things I've never been done, things that are creative, things that are real but don’t look like they could be…. A photo that you see and can't help but stare at for whatever reason, that's what makes a great photo to me...
You can take a look at another pro landscape photographer, Jason Mihalick interview and get to know Jason as well as seeing some cool pics taken by him!