Once he began snapping photos, Braun realized he had a knack for it, even before he knew much about it.
“Some aspects [of photography] came natural to me, even before I had the technical skills that I do today,” he said. “Like I could frame an image in my head before capturing it with my camera.”
And then he went fishing with a friend at Pyramid Lake. There Braun discovered just how photogenic flyreelers and their quarry can be.
Since then, he’s had several opportunities to shoot fly anglers in action — including one of our favorites, Chelsea Baum (@cherokeeflygirl)— and the trout they chase.
A resident of the Tahoe area, Braun enjoys shooting rivers and lakes in the Sierras, which provide dramatic landscapes against which he can frame his subjects. Whether it’s the mountains themselves, a sunset, or an alpine lake, capturing his subjects interacting with the landscape is an important part of Braun’s art.
His non-photography gig involves environmental, so Braun naturally gravitated toward landscape photography. And when it comes to shooting people, adding elements of the landscape felt, well… natural.
“I’ve done a lot of landscape photography, so when I shoot people — whether it’s an angler or a snowboarder — it’s second nature for me to incorporate the landscape into the shot,” he says. “Unless it’s a tight portrait, which definitely has its purpose, but if I can work in the environment, I will.”
In few places is Braun’s rendering of the interplay between subject and landscape more evident than in his stunning photos of fly reelers, like Chelsea Baum, hooking a rainbow or a steelhead in settings like the Truckee River or Pyramid Lake.
One of the things that Braun enjoys most about taking these kind of shots is the element of surprise.
“When you’re shooting — whether it’s fishing or snowboarding — anything can happen,” Braun said. “You may have an idea of the shot you want, but until you’ve got it, you don’t know.”
Braun thrives on this unpredictability.
“Every day is different… You never know what image you’ll get . And that creates excitement when you’re shooting.”
When Braun is taking photos that incorporate both a human subject and a natural landscape, framing is key to him.
“You need to incorporate the environment into the image in a way that shows the subject’s interaction with it.”
Even more important, though, is having a good relationship with your subjects. Braun likes to get to know a subject before shooting so that they feel comfortable with him and the camera, and only think about being photographed when asked to — like moving to a place where the light is better.
“The best shots happen organically, without the subject being affected by the presence of the camera.”
Check out Braun’s work: www.davidnbraun.com