Adam Wells

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Hey! I’m Adam Wells, a Seattle-based photographer, and filmmaker interested in humanity’s relationship to the natural world. I love working with travel, design, and lifestyle clients who share a mutual set of values that are rooted in environmental stewardship and community.

When I studied architecture at the University of Michigan, photography was still just a hobby. Like a lot of kids in the digital age, I learned how to shoot by forcing myself to work with the old Nikon FM I found in my dad’s closet. It came on every trip through college and into my first job at Topo Designs, an outdoor backpack and apparel brand based in Denver, Colorado.

That’s where my photography began to find focus and purpose.

In 2015, I officially began working as an independent photographer full-time and as a young twenty-something, photography was my vehicle for traveling and experiencing the world. I worked with brands like CLIF Bar and REI in new and far away places, from Africa to Europe and Nicaragua to Japan.

Although I continue to work with adventure/travel clients I’ve also expanded into more non-profit, food and design clientele at the regional level. From watersheds to wineries, this transition into more local work stems from a recognition that if we’re going to confront the on-going challenges of climate change, much of our efforts must come from a thoughtful look at community-based solutions.

When shooting, I seek out unscripted moments where symmetry and energy line up to create nostalgic beauty. Although I shoot most of my commercial work on Canon’s EF and RF systems (5D Mark IV, R5, C70) it is heavily influenced by my personal work shooting on 35mm film.

Today I’m sharing my lightweight, analog travel kit – all of which fits neatly into a Peak Design 6L Sling.

Cameras

Contax G2 – me and my gorgeous electronic rangefinder are both children of the ’90s. I love it for its compact size and wickedly fast autofocus. This makes it extremely versatile and ideal for candid moments on the move.

Kyocera T Proof 35mm f/3.5 – this weather-sealed point and shoot adds a unique focal length to my kit and easily fits in my pocket. Its on-camera flash packs a punch, which I love using as a fill-in with harsh daylight.

Lenses

In order of loose preference I keep the following lenses in Contax’s G system in my kit:

Zeiss Biogon 28mm f/2.8
Zeiss Biogon 45mm f/2
Zeiss Biogon 90mm f/2.8

Lights/Triggers

Contax TLA 200 Flash with an extension cord – I enjoy using this flash both on and off-body.

Bags/Straps 

Peak Design 6L Everyday Sling – tiny but mighty I find this bag to have a great form factor, useful pockets, and padded dividers to keep my gear safe and easily accessible.

Peak Design Cuff Wrist Strap – I often ditch this and just stuff the T-Proof in my pocket but on occasions where some scrambling or dicey maneuvers are involved I love Peak Design’s snap system that allows me to pop this on and off with ease if I need extra gear security.

Gordy’s Leather Neck Strap – as much as I’m a Peak Design fanboy the simplicity of these straps is undeniably sexy and actually takes up less space than any other strap I’ve used, making a real difference in a lightweight kit.

Hardware & Software

Photo Mechanic – I use this for culling large numbers of digital files, essentially deciding what I import into Lightroom using the tag feature and some initial star ratings. This helps keep my Lightroom Catalogs from getting bogged down with excess files.

Lightroom Classic – beyond correcting the horizon line and some basic cropping I don’t edit my film photos very much at all. I find it very handy for organizing my archives and seeing everything in one place. I also love doing side-by-side comparisons of digital with analog images and toying with the color adjustments to find accurate film emulation for my digital work.

Exposure 7 – I use this to push my digital work even closer to film emulation using some of their custom light leaks, lens flares, and washes.

Misc.

Kodak Portra 400 – although there are occasions when I use other film stocks, Kodak’s Portra 400 is my go-to. It provides warm, low contrast colors and great skin tone in a variety of lighting conditions.

Heliopan 8 star Filter – every once in a while I like manipulating sun flares with this guy.

To keep things fresh I usually have Orbit Cool Mints and some Tea Tree Toothpicks tucked in my bag plus a GoMacro bar to beat back any hunger while out and about.

Final Words

Photography has become a lifelong practice of thoughtfully noticing and taking the opportunity to slow down and appreciate the ever-unfolding beauty that is all around. I imagine anyone reading this has shared similar experiences?

What a blessing and joy it is and continues to be in my life.

If you’re ever in Seattle don’t hesitate to drop me a line, I’m always up for coffee and cameras!

www.adamjosephwells.com | @ajwells

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