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    Meet Hayden Lynch: The Travel Photographer Who Captures The World’s Emotions

    Meet Hayden Lynch: The Travel Photographer Who Captures The World’s Emotions

    Hayden Lynch is a landscape travel photographer who has dedicated his life to capturing the most beautiful parts of the earth.

    Ascending from the roots of a small town in New Hampshire, Hayden yearned to explore the world. Now he travels for a living, telling the stories of many through his photographs.

    After attending college, Hayden worked as a Data Analyst in Boston. However, he quickly grew weary of the sameness of his life. In 2018, in pursuit of his happiness, Hayden quit his job, packed his bag, and traveled for 15 months around the world, visiting 30 countries. When he returned, he immediately picked up a camera and began telling stories with his lens. Finding immense joy in photography, Hayden decided to pursue it with everything he had.

    We interview Hayden regarding his background, photography style, tips, and much more!

    What got you into travel photography?

    When I returned from my year-long travel around the world in 2019, I knew I wanted to find a way to travel for the rest of my life. I had learned so much about myself and humanity during my travels that I knew it was something I had to pursue with all my heart. I began writing down my stories and reaching out to magazine editors to see if they’d buy them and publish my articles. After publishing a few, an editor reached out to me and asked if I had any high-resolution images to go with my article – I didn’t. She recommended I pick up a camera and learn photography as it would make me more valuable if I could write and produce photographs.

    The first time I picked up a DSLR was in August 2020. I took a photo of my dog and was filled with such an intense emotion of joy and love when I looked at the shot. I could see the emotion in my dog’s eyes. At that moment I realized I could tell stories and evoke emotions in others with the click of a button. I fell in love with photography and began shooting every day. I spent the first 6 months I had with a camera going out to photograph every sunrise and sunset. I saw myself improving every day, spending my time in nature, and seeing the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets I’d ever witnessed. Once I learned how to monetize my photography I knew this was the career for me.

    What’s the best part about being a travel photographer?

    For me, it is the people I get to meet. I stopped writing because it was lonely – I’d sit at my desk for eight hours a day, pounding my thoughts onto my keyboard, with no one to bounce ideas off of, no one to learn from. I did not enjoy that process. As a photographer, I am always with people. I am learning from others, exploring new landscapes with friends that have that same lust for life; and when I am alone, I am with nature. It is beautiful and freeing. I never feel lost when I have a camera in my hand.

    Another aspect I love so much about being a travel photographer is the ability to tell people’s stories through a single image. I can relay emotion from one moment to thousands of people around the world. I can evoke emotion in viewers; with one click of my shutter, I can show the pain of a climb, the joy of a summit, the raw and unforgiving nature of an animal, and the peace of a sunrise. I love telling stories, I always have. Now I have found the ability and medium to share my own, as well as others’ stories. It is such a gift to do this for a living.

    How do you determine where you travel and do you research the places you visit before you immerse yourself in that place?

    My travel is mostly spontaneous because work is so volatile. Projects come up randomly and when they do I am taken away to wherever the shoot is happening. When work is slow, I am constantly traveling to new locations to build my portfolio. It has been difficult to travel internationally over the past two years because of covid so I have mostly been doing road trips throughout the USA with fellow travel photographers.

    I like to find off-the-grid locations – places most people haven’t been to or heard about. Locations that require overnight backpacking, scrambling and climbing along rocks, and repelling into canyons. So much of this world has been explored and photographed, I feel I want to find those hidden locations few people have seen.

    I do extensive research on the locations beforehand – from reading blogs to spending hours on google earth, I want to make sure I am prepared for whatever danger the location may present. Weather is also a huge part of my research – I am constantly looking at weather radars as well as certain photography apps that show where the sun will rise and set, where the moon will be, and at what time. This information is crucial to capturing photos.

    All in all, a lot of time I like to enter my travels with few expectations. Some of the best photographs I’ve taken have come from moments when I’ve entered an experience without any idea of what I’d capture. This way allows my creativity to truly flourish in a way that can’t when something is planned out to perfection.

    Where do you consider your artistic home? Is there a city, country, or neighborhood that inspired you to get into photography?

    In the summer of 2020, I was living in Denver, CO, and decided to take a road trip up to Jackson, Wyoming, and see Grand Teton National Park for the first time. I had planned to spend 2 days in Jackson; I ended up finding a room to rent and moved there within a one-week span. I fell in love with those mountains; with the ability to see the stars at night and breath the crisp mountain air. I picked up my first DSLR the same month I moved to Jackson. This is where I learned photography. It is where I found my love for climbing and skiing. I met so many incredible photographers that taught me so much. Jackson will forever be a home to me because it is the place that inspired me to do what I do today.

    How would you describe your photography style?

    I think my photographic style changes drastically as I learn and progress in photography. I like to see my style as adventurous and story-driven. I definitely love color, so a lot of my photography occurs during sunrise and sunset, but for me, it is really about evoking the sense of freedom and emotion that comes with being adventurous.

    What are you trying to translate in your work to those who see your photographs?

    A couple of things: 1) how beautiful this world is – I want to share that with people who might not be able to travel and explore the beautiful landscapes of this world. 2) Most importantly – that desire to be adventurous – to feel those emotions through my photos that I felt in the moment. I want to inspire people to get out of their comfort zone, whatever that is; maybe to hike a mountain, maybe to go on a solo adventure, it doesn’t matter; to me, I want people to see my work and think, “wow, I’d love to see that with my own eyes” or “I’d love to have an experience like that.” And then hopefully they do.

    When do know you have the right shot? Is it only exclusive to your eyes?

    Sometimes I know when I see a scene unfold, but I think those moments are special and don’t happen as often. Most of the time, I go through my photos a few weeks after capturing them and when I see a photo that brings all the emotion of that moment back into my body, I know that is the shot. It is never as simple as a logical process; so many experiences rarely go the way you expect, and when you have those moments of failure or success you want to capture them. The right shot typically captures the emotion of an experience whether positive or negative. There has to be an authenticity to the photo for me, a genuine representation of the experience.

    If you had to choose one lens to use forever, which one would it be and why?

    Probably the 24-70mm f/2.8 – It is tough for me to say because I love wide-angle lenses so much to capture an entire scene but if I had to choose just one it would be the 24-70 because it is versatile and allows me to capture wide-angle landscapes, to portraits, to compression shots.

    What subject or person have you yet to photograph that you have always wanted to photograph?

    I’d love to focus on photographing people more. My favorite part of traveling is meeting people and listening to their stories – I find it fascinating. There is so much to learn from other people, especially those who come from different backgrounds. I would like to photograph the people I meet along my travels more and focus on sharing their stories as a way of driving empathy and education into the minds of those who view my work.

    What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you?

    I almost died climbing in Hawaii – I fell when suspended over a 200ft waterfall and a friend I was with grabbed my wrist the moment I slipped and pulled me up to safety. I remember hearing my own voice in my head saying “Hayden, prepare your body to die.” Time moved in slow motion; I could see the strands of grass in my hand slowly rip and feel my body slipping more and moreover the edge. It was the most terrifying and traumatic experience of my life but was equally essential to who I am today and understanding how fragile life can be!

    What are some photography secrets and travel tips that you can share with our readers?

    The only advice I can really give to readers here is to do what makes you most uncomfortable when traveling and in photography. If you are someone who gets embarrassed easily, go photograph strangers. It will be so uncomfortable and some people will yell at you, tell you they don’t want their photos taken, and that is ok. The point is to spend as much time in that uncomfortable experience as possible because soon you will become more confident. The same goes for traveling – do stuff that scares you – travel solo, go bungee jumping if you’re scared of heights, try new food that you think you won’t like – it is the little moments that teach you so much about who you are and who you can be. The moments in life that impacted me the most during my travels or in my photography career are when I was scared or thought there was no way I’d succeed – because when you do, it opens up a whole new world of what is possible in your life.

    o   Shoot as often as you can

    o   Speak to strangers / befriend locals

    o   Try new things – get out of your comfort zone

    o   Always be challenging yourself; that is where the excitement for life and your passion comes from

    What’s your best advice for aspiring photographers?

    Shoot every day. I spent the first 6 months of my career shooting every single day. I got up early every morning for sunrise and went back out for every sunset. You can take courses and watch YouTube videos, but until you actually use your camera every day you won’t truly learn.

    Another piece of advice I’d say is to reach out to those who inspire you – you’d be surprised how many people out there want to help – most people in this field remember what it was like to start out and feel overwhelmed. People want to help, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask. My DMs are always open and I respond to every message I get!

    The Fox Magazine is all about inspiration, what/who inspires you the most?

    Explorers and Athletes inspire me – Chris Burkard is probably the person I look up to the most in the photography world. He pushes the limits of what’s possible and he is so good at capturing a moment with authenticity. He also is someone who always responds to messages which I have so much respect for. There are many people in this industry who believe a certain number of followers validates their fame; Chris is someone who has attained success but still seems to keep his feet on the ground and remain humble. Those are the people I strive to be like.

    What photography, travel or art-related motto, quote, or words to live by helps keep you inspired?

    “Happiness is only real when shared” – Christopher McCandless

    There is so much to learn from achieving something on your own, it is an incredible confidence builder; however, I will always remember and enjoy the moments I’ve spent with loved ones, because what is a story if you have no one to share it with.

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    Meet Hayden Lynch: T…

    by Carrie Smith Time to read this article: 30 min