As soon as Ralph Arvesen clocks out of his full-time job at night he picks up his camera and gets going. The man behind Lost Oak Photography notes that while photography is his hobby, it’s “a serious hobby” that he takes to heart and works harder than most do that call it their main gig. Ralph Arvesen just doesn’t shoot one type of thing. No, this camera dynamo’s portfolio has everything from nature to sports to what we discovered was his favorite; music. Now let’s get to know more about our favorite Texan armed with a camera.
Kendra: While some photographers stick to one or two styles/subject matters you do music, sports and nature. If you had to rank them from easiest to hardest in terms of capturing that perfect shot – what’d come in first, second, and third?
Ralph Arvesen: The nature photos I take are the easiest out of the three. It requires research upfront for a location; getting up early to hike to a spot; and waiting for the best lighting. It usually works out; but it can be challenging since the weather and lighting might not be ideal and you might not get another chance. I live in a rural area and taking photos of the night sky is easy since I don’t have to travel anywhere and I can always try again the next night if it’s cloudy or does not work out that night. Other types of nature would be more difficult, like getting the perfect shot of an eagle snatching a fish from a river or the perfect shot of a whale breach. So I think nature scenery would be the easiest, and nature action would be the hardest.
Sports photos are next. It can be challenging to get the perfect shot. For example, a football game might not have a lot of exciting plays and the play might be on the other side the field. Volleyball can be challenging, especially at the college level, since the action is so fast. Beach volleyball is easier since there are only two players on each team so you have a good idea of what player will be involved in a lot of the plays. The challenge for motor-sports is panning and getting a nice blurry background that shows speed, but you usually get a lot of chances. I find basketball the easiest since there are a lot of opportunities, the biggest challenge is missing some shots since you can’t move and the ref might end up between you and the action.
I find concerts the hardest since you usually have less time (first three songs). It’s not always easy to move around in the pit area, and the lighting can be challenging and constantly changing.
Kendra: In terms of nature photography, are there any rules you like to follow in regards to respecting the space and Mother Nature as a whole?
Ralph Arvesen: I don’t have any rules besides to be a good and caring person. Whether taking photos or just hiking around and enjoying nature. I would rather miss a shot than harm nature. We are lucky enough to experience it in our short time here. It’s important to let future generations have the same experience. All of nature deserves our respect and kindness. Whether it’s a moose in Wyoming, a banana slug in California, or a Bluebonnet wildflower in Texas.
Kendra: When it comes to sports and live music, would you rather travel back in time and shoot the first Woodstock or Jordan’s last game?
Ralph Arvesen: Definitely Woodstock. I am more interested in music than sports. I never thought about it until you asked. That would be an awesome experience though. Seeing and photographing people like Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. As well as the crowd, individuals and the entire experience. What a good question. I am pretty sure I grew up in the wrong time, I think I would have really enjoyed the ‘60s.
Kendra: For someone like me who has never been to Texas but has plans to visit Austin at least once in her lifetime (BBQ baby!), where would you suggest taking the ultimate selfie that is off the beaten path away from all the other tourists?
Ralph Arvesen: I would have answered Graffiti Park, which was open to all artist and visitors, but it recently closed since they are going to develop the land. It will live on at a new location near the airport, so that still might be a good spot. Other ideas are the various wall murals throughout the city; “Willie For President” or “Hi, How Are You”, or the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue on the shore of Town Lake.
Kendra: Digging around I read that you’re also a software engineer at Disney? How does that play into your photography?
Ralph Arvesen: They are totally isolated. I live outside of Austin so I need to drive to all of the events I take photos of. I tend to keep thinking about work, and some the hard problems I’m currently working on while driving to the event. One of the good things about photography is it frees your mind. Even if for a little while. So I am completely focused on the band in front of me or sporting event while I’m taking photos.
Kendra: As we head deeper into 2019, do you have anything exciting coming up? Anything you’re excited about shooting in the near future?
Ralph Arvesen: The larger music festivals, like Austin City Limits Music Festival, are always fun. I also started taking photos of roller derby; which is the nicest group of people I have met in a while.
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