Featured Artist - Tyler Godes
For those who are tantalized by tones, keen for chroma or roused by the radiant, our guest today should come as no surprise – a familiar fellow to follow and a well known, Minnesotan delight. To those who have not yet had the pleasure, we happily introduce you to Mr. Tyler Godes, a genuinely great guy from humble beginnings who just happens to consistently crank out some of the most colorful compositions you could ever conceive.
So let’s start with the basics... can you tell us a little about yourself and how it is you managed to get into photography?
I’m 23 years old originally from Eagan, Minnesota. Recently graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a Bachelors in Criminology & minor in Sociology. I got into photography by chasing the Northern lights actually. One day I went out with my buddy and saw him capture the lights and I was absolutely blown away. The next day I drove to target and bought my first camera a canon rebel t6.
What’s your typical everyday gear bag include?
I shoot on a Sony a7r II for my body. No matter what I’m shooting I always carry my Laowa 15 mm f/2 and my baby 70-200mm f/2.8 Sony G master. Hopefully sometime in the near future I’ll be adding a drone to my every day bag!
As a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth, what does the future hold for Tyler Godes armed with a newly acquired degree in criminology?
That a very good question & honestly I’m not exactly sure at the moment. I know for the next few years I’d love to travel as much as possible and grow my following in photography. The dream of course is to be a full time freelance photographer, but that’s a ways away still. I’ve always entertained the idea of being a cop since my degree is in Criminology, but for now I’m helping my Dad run the family business.
Someone started a vicious yet delicious rumor that you may be just a little obsessed with starting your own business someday… if you don’t mind us asking what kind of business might you be interested in starting? And what’s standing in your way?
Hahahha I can confirm this rumor is true. My Dad owns a grocery store in North Minneapolis called SoLow Grocery and I’ve been learning the family business over the years. In Duluth, specifically West Duluth, there is a bad food desert where many low income families don’t have groceries easily accessible to them. I’d really love to open up my own store up there and provide affordable healthy food options to the local community. Basically the only thing holding me back is money. As a recent graduate I have tens of thousands of dollars in debt and need to chip away at that a little before I can even think of a financial risk like that.
Of all the incredible photographers shooting along the North Shore you consistently stand out for having a distinctive aesthetic to your work. Specifically you seem to possess an uncanny ability to amp up super juicy tones yet keep them within the range of believability. It’s not over saturated, but certainly vivid. Is this something you set out to do or something you happened upon and what is your editing process like?
I definitely strive for those vibrant tones every time I shoot. Color is my absolute favorite thing to capture so anytime I have the chance I go for it. Capturing tones perfectly on my camera before I get to the editing process is my key to keeping them in the range of believability while also keeping them distinctly vibrant. My editing process is constantly changing depending on what I’m shooting and my mood. A lot of times my edits will be a direct reflection of my mood at the time of the editing process. I try to always push myself out of my comfort zone and edit in a way I normally wouldn’t. This frequently leads to me discovering new tricks that help bring my work to the next level.
What in photography would you say challenges you? What do you see as your strengths? And what resources do you use for improving your skills?
The thing that challenges me the most in photography is what I want to get out of it. I ask myself this question a lot and still struggle with it everyday. I think my biggest strength in photography is consistency. Whether its going out 3-5 times a week trying to capture that perfect sunrise or keeping a consistent editing style for me is super important. My biggest resources for growing are definitely youtube and my fellow photography friends. Anytime I have a stupid question they’re always there with an answer.
This one is obviously a test and I’m sure your peers will judge you mercilessly based on your answer but... Lightroom Classic or CC and why? 😂
I personally use Lightroom Classic. I was using Lightroom CC for the longest time without even knowing it and then switched back to classic. The programs are basically the same but I prefer the overall layout of Classic more.
Now for another polarizing quandary... sunrise or sunset?
Ah this is a tough one, I really think it depends where you live. Like in Duluth sunset spots are a little harder to find so I always did sunrise. But if I lived in somewhere like California I’d definitely do sunsets. I will say though there is something about getting up early and chasing a sunrise that is thrilling. By the time you get back home you feel like you’ve accomplished a lot and most people aren’t even awake yet.
You do a fair amount of astrophotography between shooting the Milky Way and hunting down the Northern Lights... what goes into capturing those types of shots, how did you get into it and what lessons have you learned along the way?
I did a lot of northern lights hunting before I even took pictures so it was an easy transition into photographing them. The most important thing in astro and especially northern lights is CONSISTENCY. You’re gonna get skunked a lot of times chasing the lights, but if you keep trying the end result is so worth it. For astro I think its more about having a wide angle lens and being willing to sit out all night under the stars. Don’t let being skunked discourage you, its gonna happen just gotta keep your head up.
In the past we’ve noticed that you routinely go out shooting with a number of other individuals from the MN photo community. What benefits do you think shooting with friends has had on your work?
If it weren’t for my friends in the photography community I wouldn’t know a thing. My buddies Derek Warner & Tony Eaton have taught me pretty much everything I know. It makes shooting so much easier when you have people with the same mindset as you. That "drive 5 hours in the middle of the night and then do a 12 mile hike in the dark all for a picture" mindset is hard to find and it really separates you from a lot of people.
When you go out shooting would you say you generally have an idea of the shot you want to get in your head or do you go out shooting without any preconceived notions?
Most of the time I have no idea what shot I want to get. I kinda go with the wind and shoot whatever captures my eye that day. This has helped me to stay creative and find new angles especially at popular locations. Every once in awhile if I know what the weather is gonna be like I may plan out a certain shot or two in advance that I want.
What would you say is your favorite season? Favorite thing about shooting in Minnesota? And favorite location to shoot?
Ah so hard to pick a favorite season in Minnesota, but I’d have to say fall. The colors up the shore during this time are just too good. My favorite thing about shooting in Minnesota is easily having 4 seasons. The change in landscape allows for some of the most beautiful and drastic changes to the landscape that you just can’t find anywhere else. Tettegouche has to be my go to favorite spot to shoot. It has so many unique spots along the way that always have me coming back for more.
Are there any specific places, restaurants, coffee shops, campgrounds, etc. that you absolutely love or have to stop by when shooting in Northern Minnesota?
Can’t go up the shore without stopping at Betty’s pies. Recently stopped in during the filming of a Man v Food episode and got my 15 min of fame on tv. Just recently discovered the Vanilla Bean in Two Harbors and 10/10 would recommend.
We heard that over the past summer you took a road trip across the country. Can you tell us a little bit about that? Where did you go and what were the highlights?
Oof bringing back some good memories. We basically did the entire West Coast starting in Minneapolis stopping in Montana, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and Nebraska. Ended up doing a little over 5500 miles and luckily without any problems. One of the biggest highlights of the trip was hiking the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park. Ended up crossing paths with a grizzly that back tracked us across a glacier for a couple hundred yards. Definitely one of the scarier moments in my life!
What do you do when you’re not out shooting? (Any hobbies, favorite shows, play any musical instruments, etc.)
Outside of photography I love doing anything that keeps me active. I love playing any and every sport. In college I did plenty of intramurals to keep me busy throughout the year. I also have a semi secret passion for cooking and have always kind of dreamt of having my own restaurant one day. Only the real ones know this but I dabble in the Kalimba from time to time.
Do you happen have a favorite photo you’ve ever taken?
Hmmmm I think if I had to pick my favorite it would be my photo of Split Rock that got featured on Art of Visuals. That was really big moment for me so that picture will always be a little special.
Who are your heroes? (Photography or otherwise)
My Dad is definitely one of my biggest heroes. He’s always done whatever it takes to make sure my sister and I have had a good life growing up and I couldn’t ask for anything more. He’s been really supportive in my dream to one day be a full time freelance photographer & has played a big role in any success I’ve had so far. I also have to give a big shout out to Tony Eaton & Derek Warner for guiding me through my photography journey so far. These guys have taught me a lot over the last year and have really helped me develop as a photographer.
Any bucket shots on your list?
I need need need to get some northern light shots in Iceland. So if you know anyone who can hook it up please point me in their direction!
What’s one piece of advice you would offer someone who is just starting out as a photographer?
One piece of advice I would give to someone starting out is trust the process. It’s easy get frustrated when you first are starting out because there are so many things you have to learn and it can be overwhelming. Try to start small and learn one thing at a time and figure out what you like photographing the most. Make friends with local photographers and ask them to go out and shoot. Also to start saving up now because the amount of camera gear you can buy is endless and very expensive haha.
This one comes from our previous featured artist Parker Hoen who would like to know ... What is your favorite camping meal? (I need ideas I’m sick of eating the same stuff on every road trip.)
Spaghetti squash with potatoes, spinach, peppers, onions, olive oil and some secret seasonings.Throw it all in some tinfoil and in the fire and 25-35 min later you have delicious meal.
What one question would you ask our next featured person? (Anything you like)
Who would win in a fight? Grizzly Bear or Gorilla?
Time to pay it forward... who else would you like to see featured on this blog?
I would love to see Tony Eaton on here. Man has been through hell & back over the last year and really deserves to have the world know more about him. He’s an amazing guy and even better friend & an ok photographer. 😉
Thank you so much for your time.
For more Tyler Godes goodness check him out in the following places: