ABOUT MARIA:

I am a nomadic full-time traveling photographer who combines her love for photography with her love for travel. In fact, the excitement I feel arriving at new photography destinations reminds me of the excitement I felt as a child on Christmas mornings.

Photographic Subjects:

My photographic interests are primarily nature, landscapes, travel, and architecture. If asked to choose between these subjects, I could not pick a favorite as is evident by the wide range of subjects contained in my Portfolio and Stock Library.

Education

I am mostly a self-taught photographer and have spent hours upon hours studying photography techniques. However, there is no amount of study that can substitute for hands-on experience. Realizing this, I left the comfort of corporate America to commit all my energy to being in the field.

On days where I am in the field, it is not uncommon for me to be on a location at least an hour before sunrise and work that location until way past sunset. During the midday hours when photographic conditions are not ideal, I will practice, practice and practice some more.

Enduring very long days are only one part of my image creation journey. Spending time in freezing weather, scorching heat, navigating wildfires and more are also part of being in the right place at the right time to capture “The Shot”. I should also mention how many meals I have replaced with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches just to capture that perfect moment.

Late Summer Day in Yellowstone

Snow began to melt at the campground leaving a wet slushy mess in it's wake. I had scraped about 5 inches of snow all the top and sides of the trailer only to have new snow arrive and cover it again about an hour after this image was taken

My photography has won numerous awards and has been displayed in art shows and galleries throughout the Southeast. For years, I taught a variety of photography classes and workshops although in-field workshops are currently on hold due to a covid and a knee injury. Hopefully, new classes and workshops will be listed on this site in the very near future.

Goals for this Site

As a photographer I absolutely love sharing photographs from the places I have been. However, I believe there is so much more to photography than just showing up and taking a photograph.

Travel and Nature photography also require significant time commitments for pre-shoot planning; hours of image processing after the shoot, and major lifestyle adjustments.

By sharing my actual experiences, my aim is to help other photographers have realistic expectations of this lifestyle. It is not the glamorous lifestyle portrayed on social media. However, it is the most satisfying life I have ever known.

A Little History

I spent 25+ years as a “left brain” financial executive in the healthcare industry. All the while my right brain was screaming ” this is wrong”. But constrained by the expectations of society, I ignored the screams until the day I turned 50. On that day, I gave myself the ultimate birthday present. I quit an unsatisfying career, sold my house, moved into an RV I already owned, and hit the road to pursue photography.

There is no better gift than to live life on your terms and not someone else’s version of life.

Looking back it is hard to imagine that my former self, living in a big house with tons of stuff, would have been happy living this nomadic lifestyle but I am. I took a chance and explored a different path and encourage all my readers to not let fear stop you from pursuing your dreams.

My RV’s

My initial RV travels began in 2004 in a 40ft Phaeton Motorhome. Although it was a great motorhome, it was the wrong RV for my purpose. I was traveling not to RV but to photograph the country and this motorhome required too much upkeep for remote locations. So in 2017, I purchased a 27 ft travel trailer and again set off, this time in pursuit of my “Mountain to Sea Photo Journey” to photograph every state in the USA.

Picture of back of a Phaeton Motorhome
My first RV
My Second RV

Both RV’s have now been sold and I am in the process of trying to buy a Ford Transit van to convert. Due to chip shortages I have not been able to locate my ideal van. In the meantime I use my Nissan NV passenger van which is far from ideal.

My Photo Assistant

As I was planning my departure from sticks and bricks the second time around, a skinny black cat “Boo” began showing up at the house. Not knowing if he was a stray or not, I began to leave food outside for him. Boo was very skittish and would not let me touch him until the day he suddenly grabbed onto my neck as I was putting food in his bowl. He has never let go and now travels with me everywhere.

I did not want to travel with a cat since I had already done that in 2004 and was fully aware of the challenges. However, Boo was determined to be adopted so I negotiated a deal where I would take him with me if he agreed to process my images and carry my tripod. Needless to say, he reneged on his part of the deal and instead demanded a Clam Shell outdoor shelter where he enjoys the outdoors while I sit and process images.

Boo enjoying the sun in his outdoor chair
Boo’s first reaction to car travel.
Boo resting while I work!

I hope you can join me as I discover amazing photographic locations in every state by subscribing to my blog. Thanks for visiting Maria Struss Photography.