Reflections on my nature photography Internship with LIGHT FINDS / ALIVE Photo

by Dasha Tammark by Dasha Tammak

Editing video requires many hours of watching, listening, and re-watching and re-listening. This was the bulk of my work. The Skype interviews between Paul and various ALIVE Pro photographers enabled me to walk in their shoes. I often walked away from the editing booth feeling like I’d known them for many years. Amazing, since we’d never met.

There was an underlying similarity in what they shared.

They all lived to do photography.


While editing, I learned from this cohort of photographers to look at why an image is beautiful. I began seeing the depth an image holds—how moments locked in time have light, shadow, color, line, shape, and texture.

It seems that for these Pros, photography is a vessel, an excuse, a drive to be up while the world still sleeps, to observe and appreciate this beauty we all share.

Ron Rosenstock expressed this deep feeling when he called nature photography ”walking meditation.” These thoughts they shared were like a deep secret that most people will never hear. I had a front row seat.

by Dasha Tammark by Dasha Tammak

One piece of advice changed how I saw everything.

I was editing Ron’s interview, and he began talking about how he sees light before subject matter.

Next time I pulled out my camera was at the ALIVE Photo launch. I discovered that I was not looking for pretty subjects anymore. I was focused on how light was touching and working within nature around me. I’ll never forget this.


For the successfully Kickstarted business, ALIVE Photo, Paul and his team create lots of videos.

For the successfully Kickstarted business, ALIVE Photo, Paul and his team create lots of videos. photo by Dasha Tammarck by Dasha Tammark

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I like editing, but these early mornings in pristine nature always win over a day in the office. Over the course of the summer, I joined them on three shoots in the field.

Speaking personally from my video production background, there are always unforeseen challenges and logistics to trouble-shoot when arriving on-location. These shoots were no exception.

We scouted for awhile seeking a pleasing background that worked with the skylight. photo by Dasha Tammark We scouted for awhile seeking a pleasing background that worked with the skylight. photo by Dasha Tammark

I helped leap hurdles—from audio issues, to teleprompter problems, to adjusting lights.

On this shoot with Paul and videographer Stuart Jones, we arrived in the dark hours of morning before the sun rose. We had a lot of equipment to setup.

photo by Dasha Tammark photo by Dasha Tammark

Stuart flew his drone with GoPro camera mounted to a gimbal head. That was a fun highlight for me to witness. Stuart flew close to the surface of the river while fog still lingered all around us.

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This moment made me think about how the Pros whose interviews I’ve been editing must feel every time they are outdoors waiting on the light.

It was magical.


Paul has a drive, passion and kindness that allows his vision to thrive. For example, the Kickstarters-only ALIVE Photo launch event in June was a wonderful way to connect and see the audience that believed in his big idea.

A couple dozen backers arrived at 5 a.m. to photograph an East Tennessee sunrise, enjoy hand-flipped pancakes (by yours truly), and sneak a peak at the videos filmed for the ALIVE Photo online classroom.

I helped to photograph the event.

photo by Dasha Tammark photo by Dasha Tammark

As usual, Paul was transparent with the business side of his new startup, and he shared some useful photography advice too.

Watching the time Paul spends crafting emails taught me how important it is to communicate thoughtfully with your audience—whether it be customers, peers, or employees.

Through his current email service provider Mailchimp, I was astonished to learn how much information he has access to about his client behavior. He crafts and tweaks every correspondence accordingly. I knew nothing about this before my internship began.

I gained a new perspective on the importance of having multiple streams of income—especially passive income and its importance in balancing quality of life. This was a valuable nugget I am taking away from my internship at Light Finds.


Paul has been an indispensable mentor to me.

This internship has proven valuable as I build and focus my ideas and passions. All of my experiences build on top of each other, creating a foundation for something great.

I have ideas, and I have faith. I don’t know exactly what the plan is, but I can feel it leading to something exciting.

by Light Finds / ALIVE Intern Dasha Tammark

Interested in being our next intern? See


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ALIVE Photo is on Kickstarter

Pledge to make it a reality here

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How to Tell a Wild Story Online

Finally, an online platform crafted specifically for telling powerful stories with images. I’ve had a blast sharing images fullscreen on big monitors. You might enjoy giving it a try. It’s called EXPOSURE.CO

Check out our Southwest Photo Tour story on HERE at

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Peace Like a River – Story behind the image

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I couldn’t help but think of the story from my late mentor Galen Rowell. He was near the Potala Palace in Tibet. A rainbow touched down on the far horizon. He looked at his tour clients with that wild look in his eye and said, “Anyone want to run down the road? I think we could position that rainbow just above the Palace.” No one joined him for that run. The ensuing image would be an icon in his portfolio the rest of his life.

I made a similar offer to my tour clients to peak around the corner from where we were. I only convinced one of them to join me. My wife had noticed 5 minutes earlier the way light was beginning to strike the West-facing sandstone and glow red on the East-facing wall. I hadn’t seen it myself. But a man knows to listen to his wife.

My client and I jaunted over some dry red rock and around the corner. Flat on my belly, I gently wiggled out over the edge of the cliff, and I knew. I knew right then that this scene was going to go from good, to amazing. And it did. My Feisol tripod scraped on rock beneath my prostrate body. I locked the ball head down solid as camera dangled over 1,000-foot ledge like bate on a fishing rod. Steady gusts of wind filled ears with static and lifted hair skyward. Eyes batted and blinked trying not to dry out and render vision worthless at this crux moment.

From the first image to the last just three minutes later, I refined my focus, my composition, and nudged the whole rig to the right one millimeter at a time, until the setting sun peeked around the glowing stone just enough to spread a star across the glass of my f/22 lens but not enough to flare rainbows all over the scene.

All the elements of light, water, and rock aligned. Eternity paused for a moment, and got stuck in my camera. I rose from that cliff edge smiling ear-to-ear, still blinking out wind from dry eyes. Something had happened. Golden sunshine had burned down into my soul. Peace wrapped around me like the blue waters of the Colorado. I knew. This was not just another photograph.

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