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    my instagram

    No fear of experimenting

    Patrick Gray might be a Boston photographer, but his images certainly aren’t limited to inside Interstate 495. That much is clear after just a quick scroll through his account @patrickgray, which features striking shots taken from locations like the craggy volcanoes of Iceland and the sharp canyons of Zion National Park. When he’s not out shooting in some far-flung destination, the 42-year-old Melrose resident is working his day job as executive creative director at State Street Corp., and his design eye shines through in every picture he posts.

    Q. How did you first get into photography?

    A. I’ve been into photography pretty much my whole life. From the time I was a kid, I’ve always had a camera with me and been taking pictures of things. I didn’t really get serious about it until after college, though. The point when I got most serious was when my father-in-law, who is a wedding photographer, actually gave me my first official DSLR. That kicked me off. He taught me about the physics of photography — the shutter speed, the ISO, that type of thing.

    Q. Based on your account, you appear to be a serious traveler. Where have your favorite places to shoot been?

    A. The most memorable things, I would say, were anywhere where you could kind of blend in and take in the scenery and ambience of a particular environment. My wife and I have been to Italy a couple of times, and in certain places in the country, where there are mobs of people around, you can lurk in the background and grab something if it catches your eye. I also went to Iceland over [last] summer, which was inspired in part by other Instagram accounts I had seen. You can go from a glacier to a volcanic mountain to lava fields. That struck me as just an endless well of interesting things to shoot.

    Q. Are there any challenges that pop up shooting in such wildly different places?


    A. I think the biggest challenge is probably lighting conditions. If I’m going out to shoot, I don’t usually have a plan in mind. I tend to observe environments and situations, and then inspiration just comes when it comes. So sometimes I can have a difficult time finding a unique angle to capture. I do try to work on shooting for some variety, because I don’t enjoy getting the same kind of shot over and over and over again.

    Q. If you had to give a few words of advice to someone just getting into photography, what would they be?

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    A. I would say, number one, don’t be afraid of the finer points of your gear. The physics of photography can be fascinating, and it can certainly help you communicate the emotion that you’re seeing in a scene. Beyond that, just keep experimenting. I’m completely self-taught. Photography is one of those things where if you have a passion for it, you can definitely teach yourself and guide your own path.

    Interview was edited and condensed. Alex Frandsen can be reached at