Photographer of the Month: Toby Harriman
From Colorado, via New Hampshire, to California, Toby Harriman has covered quite a bit of ground. Currently attending school in San Francisco, he’s also working a couple jobs, and eeking out time to go and capture truly wonderfilled images. Adding to his schedule he found the time to answer our questions about what first piqued his interest in photography and what he’s learned thus far. I’m stoked to get to share with you the art and answers of October 2012’s Photographer of the Month: Toby Harriman.
Hazy San Francisco Hills
How did you get interested in photography?
Ever since I starting browsing the internet, I’ve loved the wallpapers it comes with, especially the long exposure seascape ones. At the time, I didn’t know too much about photography, but it was always very interesting to me and really drew me in. In high school, I took my first photo class. We were required to use film at the beginning as we developed it in the dark room. Well, lets just say that was not exciting to me at all. I sometimes would even scan the film in and then work from the computer, hehe. I like working on the computer, what can I say?! Not too long after, I ended up getting my first DSLR, a Nikon D60. I can’t say I did much photography though, just the class, and on breaks, family ski days and what I though back then were scenic shots. At that time, I was only using whatever iPhoto had to offer as my editing. You have to start somewhere.
When I got to San Francisco, we were required to have some sort of photography incorporated with our design projects. Well, at least I did, because I feel a strong photograph can draw someone into something more than just words. I never wanted to use other people’s pictures, especially because I liked taking photos myself, so I would challenge myself to go out and take all original photography. It started becoming a habit.
I then took an intro to photography for design class. It taught us how to set up studio lighting with pretty much nothing. I took one photo class in high school which taught me pretty similar stuff, so I already had some background, but you can never learn enough. I am also a slower learner, so a refresh is always good. Once that class ended, that’s when I really started kicking it into gear.
One of my first big experiments was heading out to Marin Headlands, standing on the cliffs of Rodeo Cove. I just got a set of the P-Series Cokin Neutral Density filters and a clicker. I started off trying 30 to 45-minute exposures. I didn’t really have much of an idea what I was doing, but I am not much of a reader so I liked trying things rather than pre-research. I stood on these cliffs in 20 to 30-mile an hour winds. I was holding my tripod down and would do that for up to 45 minutes on some shots. Lets just say they were not that great. Here is one of those first images:
Marin Headlands Cliffs
Here is another shot from my first test with filters:
How long have you been a photographer?
I moved to San Francisco in September 2009 so I like to consider myself a “photographer” starting in fall 2010. I haven’t been shooting for long, but plan on shooting the rest of my life!
What is your favorite place to photograph? Or subject?
Right now, it is San Francisco and the surrounding area. I am a full time student, working with two different startups and some freelance work, to top it all off. So my time is very limited for traveling too far outside of the Bay Area. I occasionally get down towards Santa Cruz for some epic sunsets and seascape shooting. I love shooting anything from Architecture to doing long exposures standing knee deep in the ocean.
Foggy Shark Fin Cove
Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary
San Francisco, California
The Towers Jewelry
The Upper Half - San Francisco
How can photographers help change/impact the world, while they are traveling?
Without cameras we would not even be able to see other parts of the world, unless you physically travel there. In today’s world, with all this social networking, photo sharing, news, blogs, etc. We see some incredible and powerful images every day right in front of us. Sometimes you see so many images from certain areas that you feel like you've been there. It’s up to the person holding the camera to capture these moments, issues, events, wherever they are, and share them with the world. These images can create a story which can impact and change the way you feel in many ways.
Always On The Go
Looking Beyond The Silk - San Francisco, CA
Wish It Was This Soft - Gloucester, MA
500 Boylston Street II, Boston
Are there rules in other countries people need to be aware of about who or what you can or cannot shoot?
Know your rights. There are lots of situations where you might get told something that really is a lie. You as a photographer have many rights. I carry documents in my backpack that are from the government. But at the same time, think to yourself: is it worth it? Sometimes it’s just easier to say ok and leave.
Smooth Sunset - Pebble Beach in Pescadero, California
Lighthouse Point Beach in Santa Cruz
Boston Harbor Skyline from Fan Pier in South Boston
Any photography tips you want to share?
Keep pushing yourself and take lots of pictures. Not every picture is going to be a winner. You are not going to post every picture you take. Criticize your own work and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you have them. There are so many outlets online to help and teach you. Sometimes all it takes is asking and putting yourself out there a little. Join some communities (photowalks) in your area. You will meet amazing, like minded people. Everything goes up from there!
Epic Sunset Over Boston
Steel Wool Spinning - Standing in the Line of Fire
Denver Skyline Sunset
Zakim Bridge, Boston
Find Toby online at:
SmugMug/Photography Prints: tobyharriman.smugmug.com/
Jordan Oram is the Photography Editor for Wandering Educators
All photos courtesy and copyright Toby Harriman
Feature photo: Water on Mars?
Ok maybe I am going crazy, but I had a blast going crazy on this one. This is 2 shots masked together, so yes it is very photoshopped. Maybe this is what Mars would look like if it had water, who knows!