The best of both worlds can be found on 24-year-old Samuel Nute’s feed (@samnute). The Bedford, N.H., native works in a digital agency in Portsmouth during the week, but splits his shooting time between exploring nature’s bounty and chasing shadows and sky in the city.
Q. Are you strictly a phone shooter?
A. I keep going back and forth if I should buy a [digital single lens reflex camera], but a phone is so convenient. It’s always in your pocket and the quality you can get is just incredible.
I use a combination of the stock camera app and the VSCO app. Ninety-nine percent of my editing comes from VSCO. I’ve been using it since its inception so I’m a really big advocate. Their tones are not as harsh as the built-in ones on Instagram or the other third-party apps that I’ve found. They have dozens, but I stick to the same three or four, and tweak the temperature, tint, contrast, things like that. I also use TouchReTouch. It basically allows you to remove things from your photos. Let’s say I took a picture and there’s a telephone pole in the picture, you canpaint over it. It works beautifully. Not sure how, but whoever designed it is amazing.
Q. Who do you tend to follow on Instagram?
A. I have two different themes that I shoot and enjoy looking at. I love the wilderness, but I also really like architecture. I think that came out of the place I live. My grandfather lives up north in New Hampshire so I grew up being exposed to the mountains. But then a lot of my friends live in the city, so I spend a lot of time exploring Boston as well.
Q. What’s the most beautiful place you’ve photographed?
A. Yosemite. I was out there this summer with my dad for a weeklong trip. I can’t put into words what it’s like out there. It looks like a painting. It’s really the most beautiful place I’ve ever been, and I don’t think anyone can argue that it’s not beautiful. Around here, there’s Franconia Notch that’s really beautiful in northern New Hampshire. And there’s Acadia National Park in Maine, and Plum Island in Newburyport.
Q. What makes a great wilderness photo?
A. The most important thing is lighting. If your lighting is really dark or really, really bright, it’s hard to correct that. I try to focus in on shadows bouncing off buildings or trees. My own style is that I like simple photos. I like going to Boston to take photos but there are always crowds. For lighting, don’t shoot in the middle of the day. Go for the first few hours during sunrise or an hour or two before sunset. I also really like, personally, making things symmetrical. And then just simply following the rule of thirds. It’s basic but a big thing for me.
I also take and edit non-square photos, then crop before posting. When you’re using the square photo lens [in the camera app], it can limit what you’re [looking at] and harm the feel or emotion you’re going for. And of course, you should take the same picture 10 or 20 times to play around with the exposure. It’s always good to have more than enough pictures. You can just delete the extras afterward.
Interview was condensed and edited. Rachel Raczka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.