Capturing the extraordinary among the ordinary.
If you’ve ventured into Twain Harte’s Bean Around the Block lately, you may have noticed the amazing photographs adorning their walls. Ken Mayer is a landscape photographer in Sonora whose been honing the craft of capturing phenomenal images since age ten. His work at a glance features snapshots of nature, cityscapes, historical sites and moments from many travels.
Pursuing photography is a grand adventure which Ken has wholeheartedly embarked upon. He was inclined to capture photos of his children and grandchildren as they grew, and the practice encouraged him to make photography a regular habit. One defining moment for him was at the beach in Capitola with family when a friend joked, “I didn’t know that was you until I saw the camera around your neck!” Those around Ken began to see him as a photographer before he realized it himself. His business developed from the excitement in sharing photos with friends and family which allowed him the feedback he needed to spark the beginning of his career in photography. Now, his portfolio includes sensational images from all over California, New York, Alaska, Texas, and Bermuda.
With a focus on the Sierra Nevadas, Ken’s favorite spots to shoot are all within a two-hour range of Tuolumne County. “It’s always fun to see the look on someone’s face as they view one of my images and say, ‘Oh I’ve been there.’” He adds that people often comment on how they hadn’t noticed certain aspects of the landscape when they’d seen it in real life. Ken takes the time to be attentive to details others often miss in nature or don’t have the time to genuinely observe. Scrutinizing the scene, checking lighting throughout the day and being wary of the weather forecast are necessary habits in his routine. “I don’t just shoot and move on. I mostly walk around and shoot different angles.” Often, he will try the shot and circle back to the same location throughout the day to be sure it was the best one possible for the position of the sun and other affecting elements.
Ken begins searching for a shot with a specific objective in mind, but confesses he is never bound to an idea because the adventure may always lead to something more marvelous that cannot be planned. “That sudden huge wave, the animal that comes into view, fantastic colors in a sunset, and being in the right place at the right time,” can all lead him to the prime image that makes the entire experience better than he could have hoped for. Flexibility and wonderment create the perfect recipe for an unpredictable outcome, in the best possible way. The only thing he needs to fully commit to in his search for the uncaptured, is being physically present and taking a chance.
In his online portfolio, fans can see the wonderful images he has captured. “Locations I have favored to shoot include; the Big Sur Coast, the Mendocino Coastline, the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Yosemite National Park.” Ken’s portfolio even contains an absolutely stunning photo of the Golden Gate Bridge at night. As the bridge travels into the distance leading to the focal point of the image, the soft glow of lights along the edges reflect in the water below. Every element within this photo is truly captivating, leaving viewers with a longing to be there themselves. It is one of many worth attaining and keeping forever.
“We all see things in a different perspective according to how we grew up and what we have learned in life… I shoot what I like with the hope others will enjoy the image too.” – Ken Mayer
Ken uses a Nikon D160 and a Nikon D850 to carry out his work. For processing images, he sticks to Lightroom and Photoshop. His work is printed on a variety of surfaces including metal and canvas, to enhance to colors and details of every image. To view his online portfolio and order images, visit his website.
To keep up with where his work can be found locally, follow Ken on Instagram, Don't forget to venture into Bean Around the Block where you can purchase a framed copy of one of his local shots!