Nash Hagen | Travel Photographer in Hawaii
Nash is an adventure and travel photographer and filmmaker by trade, but a story teller at heart. His work is characterized by drastic landscapes and incredible composition that tells a story that ultimately leaves the viewer with an unquenchable feeling of wanderlust.
How did you start photography?
I've always been interested in visual arts. Ever since the age of 8 I've had a camera in my hand. Growing up I made quite a few (very bad) short films with my siblings and friends. They were troopers for helping me out because I usually wasn't the best or nicest director. Once I got to high school, I took a video production class which further clarified my desire to enter into the entertainment industry. After high school, I went to film school where I got a lot of on-set experience, including working on a feature film. Directly following college, I moved to Hawaii and worked on a few big productions out here as a production assistant. Up until that point I barely dabbled in photography, but the travel photography space really intrigued me. I started reaching out to other local photographers in the area, collaborated and posted to Instagram every single day for 2 years. Over time I started to get the interest of various travel brands and have since traveled all over the world to shoot for tourism boards, travel companies, and hotels. It's been a slow growth but I'm super happy and blessed to be able to do travel photography for a living now.
What is your favorite subject to photograph?
Tropical settings without a doubt. Hawaii is a dream location because you have the incredible mountains, but also the tropical beaches. But if I were to pick just 1, it would be the tropics. Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed of going to white sand palm-lined beaches, and in my opinion, you can't beat it!
What type of cameras do you shoot with?
I've shot all kinds of different cameras, but my current setup is the sony a7iii and about 90% of the time I have my Sigma 14-24 2.8 on it. I also love shooting with the Tamaron 28-75 2.8 and sony 70-200 to get the awesome compression in landscapes. In terms of drone, I currently have the mavic air 2. I had the Mavic pro 2 for a while but after crashing it, thought I'd give the Air 2 a try and I love it! The 48 MP stills are a game changer!
Covid-19 has affected us all. Have you found any silver linings during the pandemic?
Like pretty much everyone, my job was severely affected by the pandemic. No one was traveling so companies didn't have the budget to pay for marketing. All that to say, there were a lot of hidden blessings. First and foremost, I got to spend a lot of time with my girlfriend (now fiance) and we will be getting married in the summer. From a creative perspective, staying grounded forced me to be more creative and find angles and shots that I've never found before. Sometimes being forced to be creative can yield the most amazing results. My platform also gave me an opportunity to speak encouragement to a lot of people that were feeling the effects of lockdown and that's always the goal. If I can encourage and inspire people to be the best versions of themselves through my work and captions, that's a win for me. Overall, although there were plenty of negatives, I think this period of time has forced all of us to rethink how we are doing things, and I think the solutions have been for the better.
Has there been any challenges trying to stay physically active during quarantine?
I won't lie and say that I'm always motivated, but I think I had a bit of an advantage going into lockdown. For the past 3 years, my workouts have been mostly calisthenics which means I didn't need a gym. All my workouts are done either at my house or at a park, so while the gyms were shut down, I was still able to stay in shape and pretty much do my same routines as I always had. In addition, I lead a very active lifestyle anyway so I'm always able to find ways to move.
What is it like in the daily life of you?
One of the things I love about my life is that it's usually something different every day. That being said, if I'm not on a job or gig, I usually wake up around 6 to do my daily Instagram post and Bible study. After that, I usually go for a 2-3 mile run and hit my calisthenics workout. I usually try to get the majority of my work done before 2 so whether that's emails, calls, editing, shooting or whatever else it may be, I usually try to finish it before late afternoon so that I have that freedom to hit a hike or a sunset beach cruise. Then after that, I'll have dinner, maybe knock out a few edits and hang with my fiance.
Where is the most beautiful/favorite/unforgettable place you have traveled and shot?
Ah there are so many good ones, but if I were to choose, I would say Vietnam. Not only is it incredibly beautiful, but also for the stories of people that live there. I was there shooting a documentary about a Buddhist monastery that builds homes for the poor in the community. It was heartbreaking to see the poverty that these people lived in. Many of them lived in makeshift shacks with no electricity and dirt floors. At the end of the doc, we gifted a family a new home that only cost about $2,000 US to build, but would have taken the family over 20 years to save the money to buy themselves. It was incredible to see their reaction and gratefulness, and although I didn't understand a word they said, I knew they knew their life had changed forever.