• Photo Diary: Winter Landscapes

    Traveling photography duo Alexandra Taylor and Rob Strok are always on the move. Fortunately, we caught them long enough to talk about the wanderlust-inducing winter wonderlands they’re shooting this season.

    Can you both share a brief bio — who you are, where you're from, what you do?
    AT: I'm a 20-year-old adventure enthusiast sharing my life through the lens of my camera. I grew up in the small surf town of San Clemente and now currently live in LA in the Arts District. Photography only makes up a small portion of my life, which most are unaware of when they see my travels on Instagram. Most of my time is actually consumed by school. I'm currently a student at USC, where I'm working toward my major in Design. My goal is to use this to degree in hopes of becoming a creative director. I've always been pretty independent and tend to "march to the beat of my own drum" as they say, so ideally I want to own a creative agency with Robert so I can follow my own schedule and still have the freedom to travel. 

    RS: I was born in the United States but moved to Belarus when I was 6 months old, where I was raised until I turned 4, and then my parents and I made the big move to Washington state. I have lived in Washington since then, and enjoy the diversity in nature and in landscapes around the state. I am a photographer just as much as I am a student, and am currently studying Business. My goal is to graduate UW with my MBA, and pursue my passion, which is to be by own boss and run a creative agency. The goal is to incorporate what I love in life and do that for a living, and photography has given me the opportunity to pursue my goals and travels. I have lots of ideas and dreams that I want to accomplish I just wish there were more hours in a day. For now I focus on giving my all daily, and making the most of everyday. 

    On both of your Instagrams, your work is pretty epic: can you tell us more about your approach to photography? 
    AT: I think the best way to describe my approach to photography is letting the things around me inspire me. Since I live in LA, I don't have the privilege of having nature out my back door, which I think has made me more appreciative of the time I spend in it and makes me more attentive to the details of nature and its beauty. Lately when I've felt uninspired, I'll sporadically leave right after school on a Thursday by myself, throw a backpack with my gear into the car, and drive all night for almost six hours just so I can make it somewhere for sunrise. I love doing things in the moment unplanned, and I think the rush I get from these trips is what has inspired me to continue doing what I do. 

    RS: I never really enjoyed hiking or getting too much in general. I used to do a lot of video work indoors and nature didn't interest me at all. My friends invited me on a day trip to some epic places, and once I saw the outcome I knew nature meant something special to me. I am blessed to live in such a beautiful state with amazing views all around me. I love Washington because within a few hours drive you can reach the coast, a rainforest, a mountain range, and a gorgeous and lively city. The rainy weather and the cool tones inspire me to work hard and be ready for any scenario. The weather here is not the best, but there is nothing I love more than a sky full of clouds allowing me to shoot and explore all day. 

    Can you share more about where the photos you shot for this series?
    AT: The images shot with the drone are from Lake Serene in Washington. I woke up early and left my house to start the steep, 8.2 mile hike up Mount Index. The strong gusts of wind and rain had me worried as the mountain is high up and mainly is covered by clouds. I had a lot of hope and started the long hike with the rain still pouring down. As I got up to the top the weather seemed to clear up and as I arrived the beauty of the mountain filed my sight. I quickly pulled out the drone I had hiked with on my back and flew it up to get some aerial shots. The view from up top was stunning and the angles were unique. I flew around for a little bit and was very happy with the results. As I started to land the drone it began snowing and the bare ground started to become white with fresh snowflakes. My timing could not have been better and the adventure was worth the hike. 

    RT: Some photos were also taken in the Eastern Sierras on a recent trip right after it had snowed. It was a cold morning, with temperatures below freezing that made it difficult to feel our fingers as we waited for the sun to rise. I've taken many photos at Convict Lake before so I wanted to shoot something different than just a simple photo of a lake. I ended up finding these locations as the perfect spots to highlight the incredible snowy backdrop that reflected across the lake. It couldn't have been a more perfect morning than this.

    What's a dream place to visit + photograph?
    AT: I would love to visit Norway. I think it has such incredible and diverse landscapes that I've been captivated by ever since I saw a picture of the Lofoten Islands. There's so many unique little homes that people live in and there's something so magical about how they all dot the hillsides. The mountains of Italy and New Zealand are definitely close seconds as well. 

    RS: Patagonia has always been a dream place to visit. Not only is it expansive and beautiful, but it is fairly unexplored, with stunning lakes that reflect uniquely shaped rock formations and waterfalls that flow near glaciers.

    As a couple who are both photographers, how do your styles differ?
    AT: It's easy to think that our styles may be the same, but I think there are definitely distinct differences. Since Robert and I live nearly 21 hours apart from each other most of our trips are not with each other. Sad I know. I think my photos have more of a warmer feel to them where as Roberts are colder. I believe this reflects where we live and how our environments add to the mood of our photos.

    Follow Allie and Rob's work