Veronica Lam taking photos atop the Horseshoe Canyon
In seeking a grounding in photography, Veronica Lam has sought inspiration from the earth’s great wilderness areas; her journeys have uncovered more about herself than she might have imagined.
I've always been fascinated by nature and Utah is blessed with some of the world’s best landscapes. In April 2014 I decided to join the Adventure Film School to learn how to film time-lapse videos of Utah’s beautiful scenery. I figured that going with a crew would be safer, as they knew the logistics and trails. We went to Moab, The Needles in the Canyonlands and various canyons within the Arches National Park. Not only was it my first time going to Utah, it was also my first time camping. The beauty I experienced on that first trip fuelled my desire to return over Chinese New Year this year. This time, I made a solo trip where I visited Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Canyon, Bryce National Park and Zion National Park.
There have been quite a few memorable moments during my trips. During the first trip shooting time lapse, it was raining cats and dogs on day one, which no one expected. I was soaked from head to toe and had no dry clothes. I ended up wearing six layers towards the end of the night and borrowed another guy’s fleece to keep myself warm. The next day we thought we would have better luck, but after a moment of sunshine, we were met with hail. It was dense. The ice was dropping on us and we had to pack up our gear in fear that it might be destroyed. On the final day of the shoot, the weather cleared and we managed to do one time-lapse without clouds. It made me appreciate the hard work that goes into taking one good timelapse video.
Before Utah, my photography focused on landscapes and any spontaneous moments that captured my feelings while travelling and I would mostly shoot during the daytime. Over time, I became bored and wanted to experiment with something different, hence the time-lapse course. Now I take a lot more night-time photography, something I previously avoided due to the lack of time. I learned so much from my trips to Utah, from lighting techniques to various angles I can take pictures from. I’ve also picked up some good life skills, such as keeping myself warm while wearing less and how to rock climb. I was especially afraid of heights previously because I never really had to climb anything else before then. The trips have forced me to scale rocks because that was the only way I was going to capture a great photo.
The trip to Utah has made me want to embrace nature around the world. I want to see more rock formations, climb more mountains and do more rock climbing. It has also broadened my horizons as an artist.
I have realised there are so many friendly people who simply enjoy being free within nature, something you don’t get to see as often in the urban jungle that is Hong Kong. At the end of November I went to Tasmania and hiked to the summit of Cradle Mountain to take more photos with Crater Lake as a backdrop. But that’s another story.