Photographer and filmmaker Taylor Gray is a busy man. In between studies, the full time student at Oregon State finds his balance by finding remote and beautiful wilderness in the Pacific Northwest, always with camera in hand. He has told us about how he finds himself lucky to have found his inspiration at such a young age and shown us how to find a unique angle to witness the famed Yosemite Firefalls.
But the 19 year old is just getting started, as evident by his latest time-lapse film, ‘Denali’, which was filmed on his recent trip to explore the United State’s third largest National Park encompassing over 4.7 million acres. Gray filmed both in an out of the park (the drone footage is from the Old Denali Highway) over the course of three days, which is impressive when you see the amount of scenes included in the final film. ‘Denali’ is a beautiful look at one of the most remote and unspoiled wilderness areas in North America.
We sat with Gray to talk about the film, what makes Denali so special and what’s next for the already accomplished artist.
“It’s no secret you have an deep love of nature. Being that this was your first trip to Denali, how does the scenery and feeling of being truly remote compare to the places you have visited in the lower 48?”
The area is completely unlike anywhere I’ve ever been too. When you’re constantly surrounded by these enormous mountains, it puts things into perspective and can make a person feel small. There aren’t really any words that can adequately describe the feeling the place gives me, so the best thing you can do is visit Denali and experience it’s beauty for yourself.
“This film is all about dancing light. It’s pretty amazing how the perfect light shined through the clouds and moves across the landscape. What was going through your head when you were making this? Did you know the clips were going to be this good?”
When I set up these different shots, I had a picture in my mind of what I wanted, but unfortunately it’s not possible to see exactly where the light is going and what it will do. There would be times where the light would be perfect, but after a few short minutes of time lapsing, the conditions would sort of fall apart and I would have to move on. It was very hit and miss, especially in an area like Denali where the weather can change in an instant, but that’s what makes it interesting.
You are a full time student, but still find time to fuel your creative side. So what’s next on the adventure bucket list?
Last year, I spent most of my free time creating an aerial film centered around Oregon’s rugged coastline and I got to become pretty familiar with the area. This time around I am planning to create more content around Central and Eastern Oregon, where there are more mountains and desert area. I am excited to gain the same familiarity in these regions as I had on the coast last year. Besides that, who knows. Maybe something unexpected will fall into my lap!