A Modern Nomad

tumblr_mr8mzuJGGn1r1paodo1_250Kevin Russ is a modern nomad.

Nomads, who can be found in many countries, are people who do not have a permanent home, who move from one place to another. Some move so they can find food for themselves or their livestock (animals raised for food or to sell). Others travel from one job to another. In California, for example, itinerant (people who travel from place to place) farm workers move from one area to another to work in vineyards (where grapes are grown), orchards (where fruit and nuts are grown), and vegetable farms whenever they are needed.

Kevin Russ is a different kind of nomad. He is a nature photographer. Actually (truly; in fact), he is a nature iPhoneographer – all of his photography is done with the camera in his iPhone.

Russ picked up (learned and began to do) photography during his first year in college. He had never studied photography, but he quickly became a popular portrait (photos of people) photographer. The demand (the number of people wanted him to take their photos) for his work grew so much that photography became his full-time job.

After four years, Russ took a break (to stop doing something for a time) from portrait photography. A few months later, he made a decision that has changed his life. He decided to spend his time traveling from place to place across the western United States, photographing the landscapes (scenery) and wildlife (wild animals) that he encounters (sees or experiences without planning). And he decided to do it all with the camera in his iPhone.

“My daily schedule couldn’t be any simpler,” says Russ. “I look on a map for places I want to see and then drive there and take pictures.” He usually begins early in the morning, when the sunlight is soft and warm and when more animals are out (able to be seen). As he moves from one place to another, Russ often lives in his car.

So far (to this time) he has visited all the western states and the national parks in each of them. He plans to travel across the rest of the United States and, hopefully, to move on to Central and South America.

So how does this modern nomad earn a living? By selling his photos on the Internet. You can buy them in many forms – as prints to hang on a wall, on iPhone and iPad covers, and on t-shirts, sweat shirts, and pillows. Russ sells enough of his photographs to pay his expenses and to continue what he loves most – enjoying nature and capturing its beauty with his iPhone.

How good is Kevin Russ? Those of us who have followed his work marvel (are amazed) at his ability to capture (record or express) the beauty of nature with his iPhone. The 65,000 people who follow him on Instagram (a social web site for photos) agree. Some have even called him the “Ansel Adams of the iPhone” (If you’re not familiar with Adams, look at The Mountains’ Spell, one of my early blog posts, and English Cafe #338).

You can decide for yourself how good Russ is by going to his Instagram page and looking at his photos. And you can hear him tell his own story in this short interview. I hope you do both.

~ Warren Ediger – English coach/tutor and creator of the Successful English web site.

Photo by K. Russ.


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18 Responses to A Modern Nomad

  1. emiliano says:

    Thanks so much Warren, I have account in Instagran and I am seing the
    photos of him.
    Just difficult to believe they are taken with the iPhone.
    Really very good, I like them very much.


  2. Dan says:

    Hello there Warren,

    I looked at the video and several photo of Kevin.

    Looking at his eyes, which by the way are nice, he seems to be satisfied with what he’s doing.
    That makes me happy. Nothing better than seeing someone who enjoys his/her work.

    With his work he remembers us -we often forget that- how beautiful is planet Earth.
    Remember, so far they have not find one similar, but let’s wait, who knows.

    I especially like the pics with animals in it. I love every animal, small and large. They are different and so beautiful..

    I sometimes like taking photo with my smartphone. Having tree cats, I mostly shoot at them.
    Have you noticed that cats and animals in general comes out well in all the photos?
    I wonder what is their secret.

    It has been a while now that smartphone are around, but I am still amazed at what you can do with it.
    These devices have made the world smaller.That is great.

    Other the other hand though,you find the folks that text while driving and kill people.
    I was reading about a case the other day of this teen that killed a woman on her bicycle.

    Many teens should look at this guy as an example. I am thinking at those guys that shot dead that guy from Australia.
    What a sad piece of news was that.


  3. emiliano says:

    He Dan, I think there is not a secret about photos to animals, they are not aware of
    they are going to be in a picture.
    Like smal children that are not alert when they are so Little, once the know you are
    taken a photo of them it is difficult and their faces make odd gestures.
    We also do the same but not all, models or professionals knows what face like to
    put in the pictures.
    Some times there is somethin innate to the person like the voice.

    Thanks Warren, as ever you point a nice subject.
    I love good photos, also flickr it is good site to see them. emiliano

  4. Lassana says:

    Hi Everybody,

    Thanks Warren for this amazing story.

    The story of Kevin Russ is realy tremendous. I just discovered his photography’s work.
    Views are extremely beautiful, I appreciate his very good work.

    I have an account in Instagram, but I do not often connect (extremely rarely). We can find people who have a talent in photography, but Kevin Russ is part of the best.

    I have traveled as I looked at these pictures ! and if you don’t know that he has took these pictures with his iPhone, you think he has used a camera to do this great job.

    For all U.S citizens that allows them to know better their country and especially the wealth of nature, wildlife and so forth of their country.
    I congratulate him for his way of life and for the beautiful things that we discover.

    Thanks again to Warren for this beautiful topic.

    See you soon 😉


  5. Dan says:

    Hi everyone,

    My working week is finished. Just had dinner, and I back here looking at the blog and latest photo of Kevin. He’s in Montana.

    Hey, that looks like the Alps over here between Italy and France, Switzerland, Austria and other countries. I am just naming the first I can think off.

    Well, Kevin’s photo can help attracting tourists over there. I would not go there.

    but that just because is too far away. I would rather visit over here in beautiful Switzerland, since I am here at the foot of the alps already.

    I was wondering whether it is right saying he’s taking the photo with the iPhone. Why not just telling he’s using a smartphone.
    That would make him a “Smartphographer” How does that sound? I find it better than iPhoneographer.

    I personally did not buy an Apple because they are too pricey. I mean, the latest model is 600,00 € give or take.
    Think that there are some of my colleagues that bought it and at times you can hear them complaining they have no money. that’s crazy.

    I did buy an ACER at 150,00 € and it does the same things.
    But I understand that, smartphones are beautiful objects and there probably be some pressure at getting the latest models.
    There is nothing wrong in wanting the best and smartest fastest phone on the market, but you need to have the money.

    Ok, sorry I am going too far with my nonsense.

    Thank you guys and have a nice weekend.

  6. Betty says:

    Dear Warren

    Thank you so much for this special article about Kevin Russ who uses iphone to take unusually beautiful pictures.

    I have an iphone myself. That’s why this article connects with me in a very special way.

    Although I have an iphone, I don’t use it to take good and amazing pictures like Kevin Russ, I am not a nomad neither.

    I learned today from a very nice girl that her mum chose a name with 3 “i” in her name because she believed that the letter “i” will bring good luck to her.

    She said that “i” was the 9th letter in the alphabets; 9 was considered to be a lucky number, so “i” was a lucky letter.

    I couldn’t agree with her more. Kevin Russ has become so lucky because of his good use of his iphone.

    Many thanks again, Warren, I am very happy to have learned so much from your article. I have also enjoyed watching some of the most beautiful pictures in Kevin Russ’s website.

    Best Regards

    Betty 🙂

  7. Jesus P says:

    It has always amazed me how we one person can do what he loves
    and is able to earn money at the same time. What a wonderful article.
    Warren, you always writes interesting thing for us to read and learn,
    not only English but culture, art, people´s lives, etc.

    I wonder what kind of family Kevin Russ has, I think that when you
    say “yes” to something you have to say “no” to some other things that
    are important too. In this case for example, the opportunity of having a
    family, a group of close friends. Maybe that´s the sacrifice Kevin has to
    do in order to live his passion.

  8. Tania says:

    Hi! Listening to the English Cafe 338 and reading The Mountains’Spell again I have remembered of Ansel Adams’ Yosemite, the Ansel Adams Gallery and
    Ansel Adams and John Muir Wilderness.
    I had to listened to Kevin Russ’ short interview “A Travelling Photographer” for four times to understand him better.
    He likes taking photos during the sun-rise and sun-set, preferring the Rocky Mountain National Park.
    Taking photos “I found myself” he said.
    He needs space, space…more space, only mountains, trees, glacier lakes and sky.
    Flowers are not his focus.

  9. Tania says:

    Hi! It’s summer time…time for hiking for those who can afford.

  10. Dan says:

    Hi Tania,

    It had some problem understanding Kevin as well. I guess he’s not much of a talker. He sounds lazy while talking he kind of eats his own words.


    It has been a while now that we kind of read about one and the other on the blog.
    I gather you are from Romania. I have a guy working with me coming from Busau.

    Which town are you from? how old are you?

    Come on Tania tell me someting about yourself. You seems to be shy, am I right?

    For instance, do you have a Smartphone? do you take photos with it or what?

    Thank you

  11. Dan says:

    Hey Jesus,

    I understand what you are saying, but i can tell you not having a family and close friends it is not a sacrifice, at least for myself.
    I do not have both of those things, and I go ahead as well.

    What about you, do you have a family? and many friends?

    Thank you

  12. emiliano says:

    Dear Dan, how funny you are.

    Of course, to be alone has a lot of possibilities and one of the best you do what you want
    without asking agreement for.

    There is a saying in Spanish that said: Mejor solo que mal acompañado. Better alone that with not a good company.

    Having a family?

    So nice and good at the begining, when children are “children”, not so good when children are adolescents and even
    worst when they are gronwn persons and didn´t come to see you in years.

    The best?, you have good memories that could be nice things to remember when you are going to be an old father or

    Not being alone does it is the best, but not being married and with family does it either. It depends of people and
    circumstances in life.
    Some people long for which ever thing they don´t have, it could be a child, a girl, a boy, to be married, to be alone, and
    so on.

    To be in agreement with oneself and with our one life it is the best.
    It seems to me you are in agreement with your life what is really good for you and for people that surround you.

    Never the pleasure is absolute, I tell you that having in mind I have been a happy married man, with three
    daughters and now a cat and my dear life Cuca, without her I am nothing my friend.


  13. Jesus P says:

    Dear Dan,
    I think that Kevin is really saying “no” to many things in order
    to follow his dreams, but as long it is his dream, and he loves it,
    I do believe that he does not consider anything as a sacrifice,
    I just watched his video and it looks like he enjoys very much
    his life style.
    I have a big family, eight brothers, my mom and dad thanks God
    they are still alive, I´m still young to be married, but hopefully my
    girlfriend will be my wife. But you are right, for everyone is
    different, all of us have a different opinion, and the most important
    is that we enjoy what we do.


  14. Wang says:

    Hi all!

    Yes Warren, Kevin himself has shot great pics…I wonder whether or not he uses any special apps on his phone for those animate pics. The lights, the scenery and the angle are just right, how long did it take for

    shooting a pic like that? is it that easy that we just raise up our tiny devices and press the button, isn’t it? Those years he had been as doing portraiture get him a payoff, I guess. He has an eye of an artist which

    an ordinary person like me don’t have, even though I’m using a much better shooting machine (I assume) but a lot of time I can’t just feel satisfied with what I took…:( you have to be an artist before becoming an

    artist 😀

    And Dan, thanks for speaking up…I don’t know why but lots of people out there, they keep crying that don’t have enough money for a day but look what, they are using a latest version of Iphones or an S4…sorry, I’m

    not a sour grape but it sounds ridiculous! You know what, nowadays, a number of people will look down on you merely because you are not using a smartphone out there, and even more laughable, they are using

    their smartphones, which are supposed to make it more convenient to keep on track with their job, for surfing on Facebook or other social sites. Come on people, I’m using a mom and pop phone and I’m feeling fine

    with it…you know that it provides all I need…calling, typing messages, setting an alarm, reminder…! so it just depends on your demands! Why are we so easy for letting our fault tendency consuming ourselves

    on prejudging others…Sorry all for my drifting away!

    Best regard


  15. Dan says:

    Thank you Jesus and Wang

    At times it is nice having somebody to communicate with.


  16. emiliano says:

    Wang, I like to read you just a lot.

    Yes, I do think this man Kevin is an artista, he has an artista eye to see things we don´t see when
    we see Natura.
    That´s the point dear, our eyes use to be different as each person perceives in different ways.
    Kevin sees with a high artistic look, and could use his iPhone that way.
    It is real, he didn´t use zoon to take his pictures and that is the proof of his incredible work as
    a photographer of Nature.

    More or less I think the same way than Dan.
    For years I didn´t use or like pones, but after having a fight position against them, at the end
    having posibilities enough I liked to know how to use them.
    I didn´t need a pone, less a Smartphone, but I like to know how it Works and how to use them.

    Now I have some smartphones that I don´t use, but I know how they Works.
    Frequently I have given some of them to my daughter, a friend or so forth, and after that
    I buy a new one to see how it Works again.

    No problems about money as I am retired, don´t go out home, and have few charges in general.
    Don´t drink, don´t smoke, don´t spend money in dressing, don´t go on holidays less this year
    and so forth.

    All devices are like toys for me. Smartphones are like an incredible toy for and old man like
    The same like, 3D TV., tablets, pc. or all kind of gadgets. The mind it is ocupied and this way
    my mind doesn´t think on sad subjects.

    When we were iiving in Torrevieja, Alicante, close near to the Mediterraneo sea side, I don´t
    need anything of all these gadgets. Going to the sea, looking the waged, and watchin the
    sky on the sea, the changes of light, was more than enough. Yes I was happin living on
    without spending nearly nothing. Only the sea, the sky, the open air, the Sun, and of course
    the baths inside the sea.

    Nothing is better than Natura to me, but now being in Madrid everything it is NOT-Natura.
    Streets, buidings, cars, noise, polution, why going out home for?.

    I don´t like bars, I don´t drink anythig different from wáter, didn´t ever somoke, don´t
    play, so Cities have few options to a person like me. Even I don´t like futball, not bullfights
    also. So life if inside my mind.
    If I was living in a site as Dan sure I could be like him, three cats, two dogs, not car
    (I fact I don´t have a car since 1985 when I sold it), so it is funny a bicyc., to go up and

    My best dear, it is so good that you write here.
    Just a pleasure to read you Wang.


  17. emiliano says:

    Sorry, such a lot of mistakes, I use to write now very fast without seeing what I have written just the same as talking. Beside this horrible Windows 8 changes
    the words from English into Spanish. Really I don´t know what to do to avoid this very bad custome of the machine.

    Sorry Wang, and friends, about this bad English but the truth it is I don´t revise again what I have said.
    It goes directly out as bad as it was written.

    Sorry, sorry, sorry.
    By the other side it is more espontaneous.


  18. Wang says:

    Dear Emiliano!

    No worry…we all make mistakes at some point in life 😀

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