Interview with NiSi USA Ambassador Talor Stone

Andrew Code

The team at NiSi are very excited to chat with NiSi USA Ambassador Talor Stone. Her wonderful images focus on the beauty of climate-threatened environments and the love of Arctic landscapes. Learn more about Talor and her photography journey below as she answers a series of questions, and allows us to showcase some of her personal favourite images.

Talor Stone Bio

Talor Stone is a PhD researcher and photographer based in Pensacola, FL. Her work focuses heavily on Arctic landscapes and other climate change-inspired projects that allow her to visually explore the real-life aspects of her academic subjects. Talor’s images raise awareness that climate-threatened landscapes are more than data points – they’re living places that deserve to be protected in their own right.
I’m a self-confessed photography nerd, I just love it and I am super passionate.

8 sec exposure taken with NiSi Landscape CPL and 6-stop ND.

Normally you want to avoid direct sunlight when photographing waterfalls, but moments of transition can also offer unique opportunities. This image was captured at one of the many incredible waterfalls in the Blue Ridge Mountains using my zoom lens to focus in on the delicate interplay of light and shadow across the water.  In the Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment, waterfall spray zones like the one pictured here are home to unique animal and plant species some of which are found nowhere else on Earth. Today, the Blue Ridge Mountains and their beautiful waterfalls are under threat from continued logging and water pollution which endanger these fragile and unique ecosystems.

Talor Stone

Q&A with Talor Stone

Question 1. What excites you about photography?

Answer  In daily life I tend to be extremely practical and logic driven. Between working on my PhD and running a photography business, it can often feel overwhelming, but the act of “doing” photography allows me to step out of this rigid mindset and focus on the process of creating. Any time I’m out in the field shooting, I feel completely transformed. For those moments or hours all the stress of my endless “to-do” lists just disappears and I’m able to exist in a creative space where I can explore my curiosity of nature wherever it takes me. Not every photography outing will end in a portfolio quality shot, but the practice of photography itself is enough to always keep me coming back excited for more. 

Question 2. What NiSi products do you use and how has it enhanced your photography?

Answer I use the NiSi 100mm square filter system with the V6 holder. I began using filters quite early in my photography journey, but I struggled to fall in love with them until I invested in the NiSi system. Using high quality NiSi filters caused me to realize something important: If you spend thousands on a nice camera and lens, it just doesn’t make sense to compromise on the one thing that stands between your camera and the perfect shot. Finally having a high-quality set of filters to work with completely transformed my approach to photography. I became enamored with the way filters and long exposures help tell the story of an image by allowing the viewer to time travel through a photo. In terms of ND filters, I have found the 6-stop ND to be the most versatile and it can be applied in so many situations from capturing traffic trails to seascapes to waterfalls. Because I pride myself in producing images using a single shot, I also love the NiSi Medium GND8 to help control the dynamic range of the scene.  

Question 3. If you could take only one NiSi filter with you on a shoot what would it be?

Answer The NiSi filter that I use more than any other is the Landscape CPL. As a landscape photographer, a polarizer is an absolutely critical piece of equipment and its effects are difficult or impossible to simulate with post-processing. A polarizer is so versatile and can be applied to a huge range of subjects with effects that range from the subtle saturation of leaves to the total transformation of being able to see through water. My camera never goes anywhere without it.

Question 4. What is the one thing that you have learned about photography that you would love to share with others?

Answer One thing I wish I had known earlier in my photography journey is that it’s okay to ask for help! I learned photography on my own, self-taught, with no mentor. I would never wish that path on anyone. Of course there’s something to be said for doing it on your own, but there’s no glory in doing it the hardest way possible just because you can. The photography community is a welcoming place, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek out a mentor. This realization is one of the reasons that I’ve dedicated my photography career to educating others and making photography an inclusive space. You don’t have to go on this photography journey alone!

¼ sec exposure, stitched pano (4 images), using my NiSi 3-stop ND

This image is of the iconic Seljalandsfoss waterfall in Iceland, and although it is easily accessible, it still took me 8 trips to Iceland to get this photo! The inside of the cave lights up at sunset only during certain times of the year, and the conditions have to be just right for the last rays of light to paint the interior red and turn the water a cotton candy pink. In a country that’s notoriously cloudy and rainy, it was like chasing a unicorn to get all the elements to line up perfectly. I needed heavy cloud cover, but no rain or wind, and a tiny gap right on the horizon at the very moment of sunset. Seeing all the elements come together was truly magical.Hydroelectricity provides nearly 80% of Iceland’s power and overall the island is powered by nearly 100% renewable energy.

Talor Stone 2

1/3 sec vertical pano (2 images) using my NiSi Landscape CPL.

Norway’s Lofoten Islands are well known for their stormy seascapes, especially during the winter months. Around every corner are beautiful coastlines and rugged beaches framed by stunning mountains that rise directly out of the sea. You would be hard-pressed to find a better place in the world to practice long exposure seascapes. This image was taken at sunset during low tide to use the beautiful exposed rock as my foreground. The raw beauty of Lofoten’s coastline hides a secret reserve of an estimated 3 billion barrels of oil. Since its discovery, there has been intense pressure to open Lofoten’s Arctic waters to offshore drilling. The debate was finally put to rest in 2019 when the Norwegian parliament voted against drilling to preserve this incredible ecosystem so seascapes like this can continue to remain pristine for future generations. 

Talor Stone 3

0.8 sec exposure taken using my NiSi Landscape CPL and a 6-stop ND

This is another image from Norway’s Lofoten Islands. When I approach a coastal scene, I always take the time to pause and watch the water carefully looking for unique patterns that can be revealed using a long exposure. In this case, I noticed that the waves retreated through the rock in an interesting way, so I positioned myself to use this motion as my main compositional element. Since no wave is ever the same, it took me over 100 frames to finally capture an image that completed my vision. Creative pursuits require dedication, and I came away very pleased with the time I invested in creating this image. The cold Arctic waters off the coast of the Lofoten Islands are home to one of the world’s richest cod fisheries. This industry has shaped the archipelago and its inhabitants for over 200 years creating a unique culture and traditions.

20 sec exposure using my NiSi Landscape CPL and a 6-stop ND

Lake Tahoe is a place of breathtaking beauty. Famous for the unbelievable color of its water, a photographer could spend a lifetime here and never run out of things to photograph. On this day, dark storm clouds were racing overhead providing the scene with awesome moody drama. I found a composition that I liked with the teal water framed by rounded stones, and then I set myself up for a long exposure to smooth the water and show the movement of the clouds.Lake Tahoe is fed primarily by alpine snowmelt causing its pristine water to be famous for its color and clarity. However, the waters of Lake Tahoe are increasing due to warming winters, and since 2012, the lake has warmed an average of .3 °F/year. This warming has led to increases in algae and other microscopic blooms that have decreased clarity significantly in the past 20 years.

To learn more about Talor and to follow her on social media please check out the links below –

FacebookTalor Stone on Facebook

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