Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Image Doctors: Interview with Rick Walker

 We wanted to share one of our favorite podcasts and places for photographic inspiration, "The Image Doctors."  Rick Walker and Jason Odell host the bi-weekly podcast which has been running since 2005. The podcast is hosted by

Get the podcast on iTunes or visit them online at:
Follow The Image Doctor's blog at:

Check out the interview we did with one of the co-hosts, Rick Walker!

Tell a little about yourself. How you got started?

I've been actively engaged in photography, both as an amateur and professionally, since I was eight years old. I started off with a Kodak Instamatic 44 and had fun taking photos with it around the world. I got a bit impatient with it's capabilities (it was bad for available light photography), so I upgraded to an SLR when I was ten. I got my first Nikon, a Nikkormat FT2, for Christmas when I was fourteen and have been into photography in a big way since then. My first serious photography was in the photojournalism and event photography realm, but I've always had a love of nature and travel. I've been teaching photography since I was in college, and that's something I thoroughly enjoy doing, whether in a class or as part of an outdoor workshop.

How did you get affiliated with Nikonians?

I first found them via a web search, and then got actively involved, including running a workshop and helping as a volunteer on several fronts.

What subjects do you most enjoy shooting?
Almost anything to be honest, but my personal favorites are landscape, travel and wildlife.

What camera lens combo do you most enjoy using to shoot that subject?
Whatever I have at hand. Seriously. :) It could be a D3x or a point and shoot, digital or film. It really doesn't matter a whole lot. What I'm using forces me to shift my photographic gears, think differently (and potentially more creatively), and that makes for a great photographic experience. The equipment I use the most includes Nikon FX bodies, the 16-35mm 4.0, 24-70mm 2.8, and the 70-200mm 2.8 VRII. Sometimes I'll add specialty lenses like a 24mm PC-E, 200mm macro or a longer telephoto such as a 200-400mm or 600mm. I also enjoy using primes for certain types of shooting and am having a lot of fun with the 24mm 1.4 G and 85mm 1.4 G lately.

Why Nikon over some of the other competitors?

I liked the Nikkormat FT2 a bit better than the Canon FTbn back in 1976. :) I really haven't had a need or desire to change since then, but I do use Canon equipment on occasion. It's Nikon's equal from a quality standpoint, just slightly different. Those differences are more minor than they used to be.

What does Nikon do well over the other companies?
It varies over time, but Nikon has historically had great ergonomics (at least for me), robust flash capabilities, and a wide variety of accessories that enable you to handle most any situation. Those are all positive things.

What is your favorite location to shoot?
The place I haven't photographed before. My next big shoot is in India, and I can't wait to get there. Favorite areas on an on-going basis include the southwestern US, the Australian outback and the northwestern coastal areas of the US. I have a lot of fun photographing European cities as well. The more I think about it, the more I think my first answer was correct.

How do you find your subjects, wildlife or landscape?
Some of it is research done through books, but the majority is done via internet, as well as personal knowledge. Often the most important thing is understanding what the light will be like (direction, quality, weather effects, etc.), and animal behavior is also key.

Do you have any up coming plans or projects?
Shoots in Big Sur in early December this year, along with India and Turkey early in 2011. Jason and I will have several Image Doctors 2011 workshops that we'll announce within the next month, and those will also include some great locations.

The Image Doctor podcast has been going strong since 2005, what are the future plans for the image doctor podcast? Can we expect to continue seeing podcasts for the foreseeable future?
Until we get tired of it. We're not there yet. :) We'll likely broaden the types of content we provide.

What do you get most from the podcast?
We've met a lot of great people and the interaction we've had with them has been super. It's also enabled us to expand our teaching horizons beyond what we could have done locally.

We recently did a blog post about the D7000. What do you think about the D7000 as a wildlife camera for stills and video?

I haven't used one, but it looks like a great upgrade to the D90 class of cameras.

What do you think we can expect from Nikon over the next year or so?
More lenses, more cameras and more accessories. :)

We follow many photographers and their blog/websites. Are there photographers that you follow that our audience should be aware of?

I tend to be more book-oriented than blog-oriented, although I do try to keep up with Bob Krist, Joe McNally and Moose Peterson. Favorite photographers if you add books include the late Galen Rowell, William Neill, Art Wolfe, Eliot Porter, Nevada Wier, and John Shaw.

Any additional thoughts or comments?

Thanks for inviting me to join your blog!

Photographs provided by Rick Walker

The Photographer's Guide to Capture NX2 (eBook for NX 2) by Jason Odell