For as long as NBA all-star Kevin Love can remember, basketball, photography, and mental health challenges have been constants in his life. Love, whose personal struggles with anxiety and depression inspired him to promote mental health awareness among athletes, says that taking photos, particularly in natural settings, is a creative, therapeutic outlet that helps him stay focused on the present.
“My dad [former NBA player Stan Love] had that curiosity, which was passed down onto me,” says Love, recalling that his father always carried a camera or camcorder to capture memories of his travels, which included touring with his younger brother Mike, a founding member of The Beach Boys. Over the past few years, Love has followed his father’s lead by photographing landscapes while traveling around the world to play basketball. “I feel like I'm the late-great Anthony Bourdain of basketball in a way because I just love to document everything,” he says. I think it's a good way to look back and say, ‘There was a life well-lived there.’”
To perfect his craft, Love regularly seeks out advice from professionals, such as National Geographic photographer Kris Graves. The two recently met up in Love’s home state of Oregon to experience nature through a creative lens in Forest Park, a leafy, 5,200-acre urban oasis of firs, ferns, water, and wildlife located on the northeast slope of Portland’s West Hills. As they walked beneath the forest canopy, the two took photos, which they were able to transfer immediately to Graves’ new Dell XPS 13 with the Intel® Evo™ platform. Carrying the light, ultrathin, and fast (thanks to Intel's faster i7-1165G7 processor) laptop in his backpack makes it easy for Graves to review and edit photos in real time, helping ensure he’ll have a wealth of quality images to choose from before moving onto the next location.
Unlike Love, who spent his childhood surrounded by trees and water eight miles south of downtown Portland in Lake Oswego, Graves says he “grew up without nature” in Queens, New York. Only when Graves started traveling as an adult, he adds, did he encounter the beauty of national parks and other wild places. That discovery ignited Graves’ love of landscape photography. “My mom and dad would never go to a national park,” recalls Graves, who is based in New York and California. “When I said I was going to Glacier National Park, they were like, ‘There's bears there. Why would you do that?’ I told them, ‘Well, there's bears there. That's why I'm going to do that.’"
Exploring outdoors has taken Graves to places he’s never been before (including, as it turned out, closer to a grizzly bear than he would’ve liked) and afforded him the freedom to photograph the ordinary in extraordinary ways. His abstract nature photographs go beyond the obvious, visualizing nature from new and unexpected perspectives.
“I want to capture something I’ve never seen before,” says Graves of his approach, while showing Love how to reimagine the typical straight-on, wide-lens waterfall shot by freeze-framing the tumbling water and blurring out the background. His technique allows Graves to be more mindful when creating art. Similar to Love, he sees photography as a way to stay in the present moment, something Graves says he achieves by “zoning out and getting lost in the work.” He explains, “Today, I’m just walking and not actually thinking about anything else besides making the photographs… It’s why I do it. Photography is complete mediation to me.”
Kris Graves demonstrates to Kris Love how to adjust the camera settings to create an abstract shot of a waterfall.
As they walk, Love uses the tips Graves shares to put his own unique spin on the environment around him. Capturing more abstract images of the familiar trees and water features in Forest Park is especially appealing to Love, who says, while he finds comfort in all nature, he’s particularly drawn to the cool, damp woods of his native Pacific Northwest.
Graves encourages Love to be prepared to capture the beauty that surrounds him every day, no matter where he happens to be. “My process is to have your camera on you at all times and, when you see something that you’ve never seen before, make that photograph,” says Graves. “Then, make it again from a different angle and do it over and over and over again until you can't even think about making another photograph of that scene.”
In the first hour of their walk, Graves estimates he made 300 photographs in hopes of getting one or two shots he likes. “If I can make one photograph in a day, I’d be the happiest person ever,” he says, adding that he’s not usually that lucky.
To find his ‘perfect shot’ in such a massive collection, Graves counts on the photo- and video-editing capabilities of the new Evo-certified Dell XPS 13. In addition to making it possible for professional photographers like Graves and amateur photographers like Love to instantly review and edit images in the field, the XPS 13 is Graves’ go-to tool for tightly editing in post-production.
“The Dell helps me be creative...,” says Graves, opening his laptop to show Love the extraordinary moments they’ve captured. “Having a computer that runs fast, works all the time, and has a beautiful, colorful screen, gives me the opportunity to do whatever I want, whether editing photos or making a 4K video. I can make anything with the Dell.”
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