Brevardian of the Week: Rob Travis!


Place of employment (what do you do & where?):
I’m self-employed.

How/where did you first develop your interest in photography?
I’ve always been visually stimulated. I draw, I do a little painting, etc. Back in 2007, I had this little point and shoot camera (Kodak EasyShare) and was frustrated that I couldn’t produce in my pictures exactly what I was seeing in front of me with my eyes, so I did a little research decided to upgrade my camera to a DSLR (Canon 30D 8.6MP) and a 28-135mm zoom lens.

How did you learn the craft of photography?
A lot of self study and a few one-on-one sessions with some really talented photographers. I also joined the Land of Waterfalls Camera Club in December of 2007, and Carolina Nature Photographer’s Association a year later. The information, comradery and learning from the membership of both clubs really pushed me along. With lots of practice, you gain skill, knowledge and experience.

What advice do you have for people who want to pick up a camera and learn?
Try not to be intimidated by all the buttons and switches. There’s a reason for all those controls. Auto mode will allow you to take some great photos in some instances, but if you can shoot in manual mode or one of the other direct control modes (i.e., Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority), this will help you take your pictures to the next level. Read the manual, go online and perhaps watch a video tutorial on your camera, or ask a photographer friend.

Where are all the places we can see (or purchase) your work?
I have hundreds of images on my website, I’m a regular contributor to WNC Magazine and Blue Ridge Country Magazine. Around town, at the French Broad Place building on Broad Street, I have several large pieces on display in the lobby. I have a brand new exhibit of some of my latest work directly upstairs on the second floor, in the part of the building with Brevard Yoga, Duckworth Insurance, and Highlands Dermatology. In downtown Brevard, I have a new booth next door at Hunters and Gatherers at 40 West Main Street. In Asheville, I exhibit my work at the Woolworth Walk at 25 Haywood Street, and at the Kress Emporium at 19 Patton Avenue.

What do you prefer shooting… wide landscapes? or, close-ups of nature, minute details, people etc)?
I don’t really have a preference, but if I had to say, it would be landscape and intimate landscape photography.

"Mountain Majesty" by Rob Travis

“Mountain Majesty” by Rob Travis

Is there one photograph that you are most proud of?
There’s actually four. Mountain Majesty, a photograph I created as a result of feeling stuck in the office and getting out with my gear;

"Beginning Anew"

“Beginning Anew”

Beginning Anew, a mating pair of Great Egrets. Loved the light on these birds; Oconee Bells, one of my very favorite wildflowers here in Transylvania County; Creation at the Potter’s Wheel – photographing Mud Dabber’s John Dodson as he skillfully performed a ’lift’ while creating a large clay vessel.

"Oconee Bells"

“Oconee Bells”

"Creation at the Potter’s Wheel"

“Creation at the Potter’s Wheel”

Any advice for those of us who take photos with our phones all the time?
Yes! Aside from learning basic rules on good composition, try to get into the habit of paying particular attention to anything in your viewfinder that may distract the viewer’s attention from the subject. Generally, when we look at a photograph, our eyes can be drawn away from the subject to bright spots and contrast-y areas. So if you’re taking a picture of your honey and there’s a bright spot of reflection say in the far upper corner, the eye will tend to drift to that spot. While composing your image, you may have to change positions, move the camera, zoom with your feet! Better to have all the brightness, sharpness and contrast on the subject, where it belongs!

Click below to read Rob’s complete profile…

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten regarding photography?
Les Saucier once advised me back in 2008 to pay particular attention to what catches my eye when I’m out and about, whether it is in nature, the city, close-up photography, portrait photography, whatever. I started doing that, and to this day, I’m still doing it, even when I’m not behind a camera. You’d be amazed at what you see if you just discipline yourself to really SEE…

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I’m a really good cook, and get great satisfaction from perfecting recipes of my own invention.


What’s your favorite music to listen to today?
Contemporary examples: The Decemberists (Make You Better), Bob Dylan (A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall), The Talking Heads (Wild Wild Life)

Bluegrass examples: The Stanley Brothers (Angel Band), Flatt and Scruggs (Old Salty Dog Blues), Flatt and Scruggs (Hot Corn, Cold Corn)

World examples: Los Lobos Marina Christina or Dream in Blue, Michael Doucet and Beausoleil (Vieux Crowley)

Do you have any New Years resolutions for 2015?
I’ve been working really hard on weight loss. I’ve lost over 40 lbs since September of last year. My main New Years resolution for 2015 is to keep it off!

What inspires you? The creative process, in myself and others. Interacting with talented, driven artists who focus their talents and attention on their craft. It’s a beautiful thing!

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