Ian Plant Joins the OPG Team as Managing Editor

We’re pleased to welcome world-renowned professional photographer Ian Plant to the Outdoor Photography Guide team as our new Managing Editor! Ian is a frequent contributor to many leading photo magazines, including Outdoor Photographer, Popular Photography, and Landscape Photography Magazine. He’s also a Tamron Image Master and the author of numerous books and instructional videos.

Ian crossed several miles on the frozen surface of Lake Superior to photograph this self-portrait taken from inside an “ice cave” in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, USA. Canon 5DIII, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 400, f/11, double exposure blend of 1/15 and 1/4 second

We caught up with Ian while on his latest photo adventure. He graciously offered to take some time from his busy schedule and answer a few questions for us.

Ian photographed this colorful sunrise in South America’s Patagonia region, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. Canon 5DIII, Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, polarizer filter, 3-stop neutral density filter, ISO 100, f/11, 30 seconds.

Q: Tell us how you got into photography, specifically how did you make the leap into doing it for a living?

A: I like to joke that I took the “scenic route” into nature photography. I actually started off as a lawyer, of all things. I bought my first camera while in law school, and was immediately hooked, realizing too late that I had just wasted $100,000 on an otherwise perfectly functional legal education. I was a slave to a big Washington, D.C. law firm for eight years before I was able to pay off my school debt. Then I quit, and jumped head first into my career as a pro photographer. I can’t imagine doing anything else; I love photography, and it is really the only thing I care about!

Ian carefully selected this composition to feature sunlight streaking through some fog, with a bit of the forest floor spot lit below. Redwoods National Park, USA. Canon 5DIII, Canon 16-35mm f/4 lens, polarizer filter, ISO 100, f/11, 1/25 second.

Q: Do you have any formal training in photography?

A: No, I am completely self-taught, both when it comes to photography specifically and art generally. In my opinion, anyone can learn to become a better photographer simply by studying on one’s own and practicing as much as possible.

While several dozen photographers stood around the bend, all tripping over each other trying to photograph an oft-photographed “classic” composition from this scenic canyon, Ian was content to have this gorgeous scene all to himself during peak light. Antelope Canyon, USA. Canon 5DIII, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens with Canon adapter, ISO 100, f/14, 3.2 seconds.

Q: You’ve traveled to some amazing places. Do you have a favorite location?

A: I get asked this question a lot, and I never feel like I have a satisfactory answer. I really don’t have “favorite” places to shoot, as every place has its own unique beauty. I simply enjoy shooting no matter where I am, engaging in the creative process and looking for a way to reveal the story of my subject. In the past few years, I’ve been to some incredible places and seen some amazing things: Scotland’s wild Outer Hebrides coast, polar bears brawling on the shore of the Arctic Ocean, Peru’s steaming Amazon rain forest, Namibia’s stark deserts, the soaring mountains of Patagonia in Chile and Argentina, the windswept landscapes of Iceland, and the mountain gorillas of Rwanda, just to name a few. As incredible as these places are, I enjoy shooting less dramatic locations just as much, even places close to home most people don’t think of photographing. You can find great photographs anywhere!

Ian captured this elusive mountain gorilla in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda. Canon 70D, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 200, f/2.8, 1/500 second.

Q: What’s in your camera bag?

A: My equipment roster is always changing, but right now the equipment I use the most consists of the following: Canon 5D Mark III camera, Canon 11-24mm f/4 lens, Canon 16-35mm f/4 lens, Canon 17mm TS-E f/4 lens, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, Canon 200-400mm f/4 lens with built-in 1.4x extender, and a bunch of other Canon and Tamron lenses. I use an assortment of Gitzo and Giottos tripods. But I have no particular brand loyalty – cameras and lenses are just tools, and I choose the tools which will best fit my creative needs and my budget.

Ian used a long exposure to create an artistic rendering of this scene in the main square of Marrakech, Morocco. Canon 70D, Tamron 16-300mm lens, ISO 800, f/6.3, 1/6 second.

Q: How important are digital darkroom techniques to your photography?

A: I try very hard to keep my art and technique firmly rooted in the photographic process, rather than the computer process. Many photographers these days heavily rely on extensive computer manipulation to create the “magic” of their work. While there’s nothing wrong with this, I prefer that the magic result from diligence, strong field technique, and from capturing real wonderful moments of the natural world as they unfold. So I tend to process my photos with a light touch.

Ian took this photo while backpacking through the highlands of Venezuela in Canaima National Park. Canon 70D, Tamron 16-300mm lens, ISO 100, f/10, 1/100 second.

Q: Where are you planning to go next?

A: Wherever the wind takes me! I’ve got a few new locations in mind for next year, including Indonesia, Ethiopia, and Baffin Island in northern Canada. My “bucket list” is always ambitious, and I seem to add locations faster than I can cross them off. Professional and personal obligations often get in the way, but I try to spend as much time as I can in the field, and I’m always open to new experiences. But this much I know at least: wherever I go next, the OPG community will get a chance to share in my adventures!

One of Ian’s favorite trips was to photograph polar bears in the North Slope area of Alaska. He took this portrait of a curious cub as it approached to investigate the boat he was in, moored just offshore. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, USA. Canon 5DIII, Canon 200-400mm f/4 lens with built-in 1.4x extender, ISO 500, f/4, 1/500 second.

You can learn more about Ian and see more of his photography here:


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11 Responses to “Ian Plant Joins the OPG Team as Managing Editor”

  1. Terry Liebel

    I moved to Lima Peru and have been here six months. Next week I'm taking a trip to Machu Picchu and the Amazon River Basin. I'm concerned how the climate in the Amazon may affect my equipment and what precautions I should take. I own a Canon 80 D and four lenses. Three are zoom and one is fixed. What do you recommend?

  2. Randall

    Thanks for sharing, Ian. Great pics. I'm especially intrigued by your Antelope Canyon shot. Just gotta wonder how many takes actually went into getting the one you liked enough to share, what sequence of settings you considered/ tried in the process and why? Basically, what mental games are behind that great pic? Thx.

  3. Ann Baldwin

    I purchased Ian's book on Focusing in the Landscape several weeks ago, but I have never received it. I also have no idea how to get in touch with him. This probably isn't the place, but I don't know what else,to do.

  4. Patrick Commons

    I really envy your photography skill as ive only just taken up photography at 67 yrs old and wish I'd taken it up earlier.i just can't get enough of it and im finding im trying to run before I can walk.your photos are awesome.

  5. Ivy

    Wonderful photographs. What a great talent. Thank you for sharing your tips.🤗

  6. Julie

    What a fab job you have!


    Spectacular shots! Thanks for the info. Will strive to be like you!!!!

  8. photo_one

    You have some really Fabulous Photos!

  9. W Holcomb

    You are a lucky man. Fabulous Photos!

  10. Bob Young

    Congratulations Ian on your appointment as Managing Editor of the OPG Team. Bob Young