Fabled nature photographer Ansel Adams once uttered that “a good photograph is knowing where to stand.”
For Idaho-based photographer Nick Price, like Adams, that place is always outdoors.
That place is capturing a mayfly emerge from the still waters of Silver Creek or star trails sweeping over mountain vistas.
Price, a Santa Barbara native, now spends his time exploring the outdoors as a fly-fishing guide in and around Sun Valley, Idaho. Noozhawk recently caught up with him during a week-long visit to the South Coast, where his parents, attorney Craig Price and Montecito Union School teaching aide Ann Hernandez, still make their home.
The easiest place to find him was down the stone steps of Montecito’s Miramar Point, where he was taking advantage of the blue dusk of early evening. Water swept in from the high tide around Price’s tripod as he worked to capture the water’s movement with long exposures.
Beaches like that one and Hammond’s Meadow are Price’s favorite places to shoot locally. Surf photography continues to be an inspiration, and Price traveled to shoot big wave surfers at Mavericks near Half Moon Bay in January. Water and wilderness have always played a role in his photography, and the rugged landscape of Idaho began working its way into his life early.
He recalled his first introduction to the Gem State as a 6-year-old when his family bought a summer home near the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, the largest roadless wilderness in the continental United States.
“It’s one my favorite places,” Price said.
The family could only access the property by plane, and Price vividly remembers soaring over that wild expanse as a child. On the way to the house, the family passed over a forest fire lookout tower where a female ranger lived, and the family would drop her mail to her as they flew over.
These days, Price keeps busy in his work as a fly-fishing guide for Ketchum on the Fly just outside the ski haven of Sun Valley. It’s work he’s been doing for two decades, and it allows him to show people the best places to fly fish in the area.
He’ll bring his camera on his expeditions and snap pictures along the way. If he sees something he’s interested in, he’ll ask those on the tour if they mind stopping for a few minutes while he shoots some frames.
When Noozhawk talked with Price, he was just about to photograph what he calls one of his “favorite assignments.”
Every year, around the first week in June, millions of mayflies emerge from Silver Creek in southern Idaho, molt and fly into the air.
“It’s pretty surreal seeing that many bugs in the air,” he said. “They’re just everywhere you look.”
Price captures the bugs as they leap from water to sky with his macro lens.
He’s brought his two boys, who are 9 and 7, to check out the action in years past, and Price said they were a bit overwhelmed by the sheer volume of bugs.
But “for fly fishermen, it’s like finding a treasure chest,” he said.