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Matinee: 'Behind The Shot with Oscar Nilsson' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

9 June 2018

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 153rd in our series of Saturday matinees today: Behind The Shot with Sony Alpha Ambassador Oscar Nilsson.

Oscar Nilsson heard something behind him in the bushes. Just a squirrel, you'd think. Close. Two guys in squirrel suits, the kind you wear when you to sail through the air. "Oh, they're going to jump," Nilsson realizes.

And that's the shot this story is about. But the context itself is what charmed us.

A native of Sweden, Nilsson has been a San Franciscan for five years, becoming a Sony and 500px ambassador. He's also co-founder and creative director for the non-profit Art Rangers which allows artists to give back to the U.S. national parks by donating their work so 100 percent of the proceeds go to the park system.

Nilsson says there's a fine line between enjoying something as a hobby and doing it for a living. The line of a signature on a check, in short.

But either way, one is a "creative," he observes.

And one New Year's resolution he and a friend made as creatives was the crazy idea to take 100 sunrise photos in the next year. We see a few of them as he explains the project.

That project happen to lead to a few small jobs (for free) with smaller brands.

But that's also when, one sunrise, he heard the noise in the bushes at Glacier Point in Yosemite with some friends from Norway.

Chimping at the shot he got in his LCD, he noticed his hands were shaking. He realized that the same rush those guys got sailing through the valley in their squirrel suits was what he felt shooting photographs.

"And luckily for me I don't have to risk my life to get that," he adds.

He admits there's a risk and some self doubt involved in taking the commercial leap into photography. The trick, he says, is to leap off your existing passion for travel or food or whatever you love.

Before you know it, it can turn into a full-time thing. And you'll be sailing through life like a man in a squirrel suit.

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