Hi Reddit,

In January of 2017 I took the plunge and quit my comfy, corporate front-end web-dev job to attempt to live out my dream of shooting landscape / astro-landscape photos and making & selling prints full time. I had saved up enough money to get me through the first few months, and I already had the large format printer and a (very small and slowly growing) "following" for my photography, but I knew I wouldn't be able to survive long with the rent I was paying, so I decided I would live out of my van as long as necessary in order to make the dream (and the finances) work.

Proof: https://i.imgur.com/PCpusQ9.jpg

I share a shop space (glorified garage) with two other artists, without which this would not have been feasible. It has not been easy, but after almost two years I am still going strong, my business is growing, and I've had some amazing successes such as hanging one of my hexagon shaped pieces in the entry way to the James Webb Space Telescope Mission Operations Center in Baltimore, Maryland. It still amazes me every single day that I get to do this for a living, and although I have a long way to go to be as financially secure as I was with the corporate job, I have never once, not even on the hardest of days, regretted the decision to pursue this path.

In addition to the normal photography and print making, you might also recognize my name from my "Glowing Night" collection of prints which are pretty popular on Reddit. These are astro-landscape photos printed on canvas and then meticulously "glow painted" to create pieces of art that are beautiful even after dark.

As an ex web-developer / designer, I also coded every bit of my website from scratch, including special features like my Auction page which took me several weeks worth of programming, but which has turned into a large part of my income and has allowed me to grow my following and ship my art all around the world!

Using all of my skills to build a business based on something I love to do is incredibly satisfying. Knowing that people from around the world are using software I wrote to purchase art that I made by hand ... it's a special feeling and an incredible honor to be able to share my art with others and make a living doing so.

Ask me anything about astro-landscape photography, the trip to NASA, quitting the day job, plans for the future, chasing dreams, living in a van, printing & selling art, or whatever's on your mind. I'll be here until about Noon Pacific time. Thanks Reddit, I wouldn't be here without you!

EDIT: Hey guys and gals, this has been a boat load of fun but I've got to get back to work for a bit. Please feel free to keep firing the questions and I'll answer as many as I can later this evening. Thanks again Reddit, I love you.

PS: No, not related to Bill Cosby. No, you can't run in my lobby. And yes, this is classic Schmosby right here.

Edit 2 - 9/6/2018: Just one more edit. I want to say thank you so much for the Reddit Gold to the two of you who sent it my way! I was up late last night trying to reply to as many comments as possible, and I'll get through even more of them today, and thank you to all the commentors as well. If I don't reply to your specific question by the end of the day today it probably means that it was answered multiple times elsewhere in the thread, so poke around a bit, or feel free to shoot me a pm once my inbox cools off.

Regarding photo gear: A LOT of people have been asking about gear, and I've mostly avoided getting too deep into specific camera / lens / tracker / tripod models, and that is deliberate. ANY modern, full-frame DSLR can take decent astro landscape photos, and while purchasing a more expensive camera body can allow you to take cleaner photos at higher ISO, the best astro-landscape photos are going to rely more on technique than just a good sensor. I personally use an equatorial tracking mount (iOptron's line is fantastic and pretty affordable, but there are others out there as well) to enable very long exposures at low ISO and thus low noise (remember that noise is also caused by long exposure, not just ISO, so this must be kept to a limit also and your sensor quality does play a part), but there's another popular technique that involves taking several almost identical images and then using software to "stack" them and greatly reduce noise and increase detail. Check out http://deepskystacker.free.fr/ for more info on that process.

That being said, when you're first starting out who cares about a little noise, the magic is just pointing your camera at a dark sky and then seeing the amazing color and light that is actually hidden up there in plain site! Google the "Rule of 500" for a very basic primer of how to shoot the night sky with your existing gear. You will likely have very noisy images, but again, in the beginning, who cares they'll still be cool and it's great practice!

If you're just getting into astro landscape photography, it's much easier to start with a wide lens (with near infinite DOF), and I'll recommend the budget friendly Samyang 14mm as a great starter lens. They make it for both Canon and Nikon (I believe it also comes under the Rokinon brand but it is the exact same lens.)

A solid tripod is important, and if you get into using a star tracker you'll want to make sure you purchase a tripod that can hold upwards of 15 - 20 lbs comfortably.

That's all I have to say about that. Thanks again for reading, everyone. Have a great day, and get out there and shoot tonight while the moon is dark!!

Comments: 704 • Responses: 66  • Date: 

LordNoddy3114 karma

Ngl, I read the title as 'I'm Mr Moseby'. In light of this, what are your thoughts on running in the lobby?

jawanda2053 karma

Not in my lobby.

Gerbs2806 karma

How's your brother Ted?

jawanda941 karma

Classic Schmosby. It's funny how many HIMYM comments I get on Reddit.

Edit: Of all the comments to gild. Thanks ya honorary Schmosby.

robotix_dev186 karma

You know, Mosbius Photography has a nice ring to it.

In all seriousness though, great job on the astro photography and congrats on living out the dream!

jawanda59 karma


KingDamager86 karma

How many times do you get 'Classic Schmosby' because that's what I was coming to comment...

jawanda80 karma

Almost every time I post on Reddit :)

epicflyingpie390 karma

Hello Mr. Mosby, what is your policy on running in your lobby?

jawanda334 karma

Had to google that one. Turns out I'm against it.

yesimmadbros297 karma

Have you ever shit in a bag? I'm quite familiar with van life. It's not glamorous, as much as Instagram models would like you to believe.

jawanda263 karma

haha no I have not. But I own some of these throwaway "portable toilet bags" that you can buy ... just never had to use them (knock on wood).

Agreed, it's definitely not all glamorous, but the freedom is awesome.

WackTheHorld41 karma

I've done it a few times, they're not that bad. Carrying it around with you afterward though...

jawanda21 karma

Haha I bet

cicadaenthusiat284 karma

Is it an astrovan? If not, do you call it that anyways?

jawanda243 karma

Hahaha .. no it's not, and I can't believe i've never thought of that. I call it the "Time Machine" because ... when out travelling, I never have the excuse of "Not enough time to stop". With a van, you can sleep pretty much anywhere, and it takes away a lot of the normal travel pressure that would otherwise be an impetus for passing by potential adventures or photo ops.

She's a Chevrolet Express 1500, btw.

ansible4791 karma

Describe how the van smells, please.

jawanda124 karma

Not bad. I keep it pretty clean most of the time, and I don't let dirty laundry pile up.It's such a small space it can get messy reallllly fast so you gotta stay on top of it.

NeuxSaed187 karma

Dude I know you! We used to work for a company in Reno together for a little bit, right?

jawanda170 karma

Hah yes indeed ... does your name start with a J? Did you move to San Diego? I think I know who this be!

NeuxSaed169 karma

Yep, you got it.

I just moved to Phoenix for a new job. Started 3 weeks ago.

I've actually lived out of my car at 2 different times in my life, and it actually wasn't bad at all!

I'm at work right now, but when I get home, I'll read your whole post and stuff.

jawanda140 karma

Hope the new job / move works out for ya man. Good to hear from you, now I know your reddit username so I'll be keeping my eye out for you!

yahyahyahhhh80 karma

How long did you plan this while working your dev job?

jawanda102 karma

I thought about it for a few years, and I was actively shooting that whole time on the side. But I really started to plan it for about the last year I was there. Maybe 9 months. And in the last 6 months I put things into overdrive, saving every penny I could, getting the van ready, cancelling my lease, etc.

yahyahyahhhh72 karma

I highly respect your dedication to doing what you love doing in life. Carry on and I hope you succeed beyond what you’re expecting.

jawanda31 karma

Thank you.

DominicCom9065 karma

Are you just bill Cosby living off the grid now?

jawanda41 karma


DrtyBlnd63 karma

What is your advice for people stuck in shitty jobs that want to change their life like you did?

jawanda126 karma

Make an escape plan, and then do it. It really helps that I already knew what direction I wanted to go in. The "What" was never a question for me, I just had to figure out the "How" (and I still am!)

Edit: To add something besides just motivational platitudes: Before doing this I really considered what the WORST thing that could happen was, and I weighed that against the thought of dying an old man without ever trying to fulfill my dreams. There was no question which was "worse".

This is the hardest path I've ever walked, but like I said I've not regretted it for a single second, and I can't imagine any amount of money luring me back to the desk.

sassy-andy61 karma

I think the biggest obstacle for anyone in this situation is finance. I know it's quite a personal question but how much did you save before pushing the big red button and quitting?

jawanda50 karma

Less than $10k.

Kryten10730 karma

After buying the van and having equipment and such, I presume.

jawanda42 karma

Right. That was pure "living" money.

axearm36 karma

I think even more important than that is how much money is there for you to rely on in your future.

I had friends who did this sort of thing and all of them had serious insurance in the form of well off parents.

I'm not saying this is that situation but it sure is nice knowing if everything falls apart you can move into the mother in law unit and regroup.

jawanda37 karma

My family is not at all "well off", but they are supportive and they won't let me go homeless or starve should it come down to it. I am blessed for sure.

Bruhlemmenut56 karma

Do you think alien life forms exist beyond earth? If so, do you think we can make contact with them before both you and I die?

jawanda125 karma

Yes. Yes I do believe they most likely, in all probability, in some form, exist.

No, I don't think we'll make the kind of contact where all of humanity now knows "there are aliens!" before you or I die.

THAT BEING SAID - there was a 24 hour period about a year ago where I thought I had captured something ALIEN in nature, and I was actually creeped out about sleeping in the woods for a minute there.

Let me see if I can dig it up ...

Ok so last year while camping, I captured what I deemed a "double pulse meteor" and posted about it on /r/astronomy: https://www.reddit.com/r/Astronomy/comments/6pci8q/interesting_double_pulse_meteor_ive_captured_many/

Most people told me it was an iridium satellite, but I also noticed that it had gotten cross posted to a ufo subreddit, and people over there were saying "ohhh see this kind of thing is really ufo's sometimes..."

I literally didn't think anything of it, just shrugged it off because ... ya know ... Internet. But then, the next day I was looking through photos that I took at almost the same spot but the morning after the double pulse ... and I came across this ... https://i.imgur.com/WQOd0jk.jpg

Just ... zoom in on the top left corner of that photo and tell me that's not a flying saucer.

Spoiler: In subsequent photos, it is clearly an airplane, but for about a day there I questioned everything I thought I knew about the world. It was sweet.

jaymeekae21 karma

Is that last photo the right link? I don't see anything there...

jawanda52 karma

Yeah it's the right link. Gotta zoom WAAAAY in.

Ah fine I'll do it for ya: https://i.imgur.com/3uKMVcA.jpg

AdminApathy4 karma

Holy shit, insane catch

jawanda3 karma

When I first saw that, I was almost done editing the photo and thought it was just a spec of dust that needed to be removed with the healing brush tool. But RIGHT as I was about to get rid of it ... I zoomed in. Felt a legit chill down my spine.

bigsmokecluckinbell43 karma

Do you have any regrets?

jawanda136 karma

I wish I would have used the super sweet dental insurance that I had at the corporate job more wisely. I believe I got $2k / year and that last year I didn't even go in for a cleaning. Smh.

bigsmokecluckinbell42 karma

Also, how do you brush your teeth since your in a van?

jawanda55 karma

I have two five gallon water containers that are usually full. I brush. I rinse. I spit. :)

292ll18 karma

Are you generally taking Navy showers? Tell us more about the logistics of the van.

jawanda49 karma

I live in Lake Tahoe, so there are days when I'll rinse off in the lake and forego a "real" shower, but most days I use those at a local campground early in the morning. I drop my dollar and no one seems to mind or notice.

292ll23 karma

Man that is fantastic. I grew up going to a lake and for my money a rinse in the lake was as good as gold. Shower 2-3 times a week.

jawanda10 karma

Heck yeah.

That_one_Pizza28 karma

Opinion on pineapple on pizza?

jawanda68 karma

I know this will be a very unpopular opinion, but: I can take it or leave it. I won't turn down pizza because of some fruit, but I don't order it that way myself.

enor_musprick28 karma

What did you like/dislike the most about being a developer? Was there any specific event you can remember that made you start focusing on changing careers?

jawanda45 karma

I did freelance for most of my adult life, and it was fine although the lulls between jobs occasionally got me down, and I never really got good at bidding / estimating jobs, so I finally decided to go the "corporate" route. I liked it a lot for the first few years, but eventually the forced hours at the desk reallllllly started to bring me down. I was already shooting photos constantly and building my business on the side, and that last year of web dev all I could think about when I was at my desk was making my escape and doing photography full time.

Days when there was interesting light or weather going on outside and I was stuck inside were like murder at the end. I know many, many people can relate. I planned for my "new life" for about 6 -9 months before pulling the trigger and quitting.

The thing I like most about web design / dev is the problem solving and the creativity, and now when I do some web development for my own business I truly enjoy it.

wastedtimer7 karma


jawanda15 karma

It's nice to know I have it as a backup option, but I hope to never have to do so.

TryHardzGaming3 karma

I am a software engineer intern and I feel like software engineers burn out around 35 or so (I have 25 coworkers and none are older than 35) then pursue other opportunities. So good on you, I have always enjoyed creating things so I think I have found my initial calling. I really enjoy your hexagon artwork and truly plan on purchasing one once I have more financial freedom.

Anyway, your whole situation is very interesting and reassuring. I hope I don't burn out but I hope that if I do I can follow in your footsteps and pursue a passion aftwords.

Best of luck.

jawanda5 karma

Thanks for the good words. Honestly though, although I was a bit burned out on web dev, it was more passion for photography that drove me to quit the job and pursue this path. I could have more or less happily stayed in that position for a long time if I wasn't obsessed with something else.

teatops19 karma

WOW you are living the dream! I'm a web developer and I'm just starting to get into astrophotography. How amazing that it's now your profession, so happy for you!

I'm pretty sure you saved up before you quit your job. How long did you calculate the money should last you?

jawanda23 karma

I realllllllly didn't know how long it would last, and I was overly optimistic about how quickly I'd be making "good money" haha. I did what anyone would do though, added up my monthly bills (which even without rent are close to $1k) and went from there. Awesome that you are getting into astro photography, feel free to drop me a pm sometime once my inbox cools down if you have any questions or just want to talk shop.

1978FordPrefect13 karma

What were some ways you found to boost your art following before you had enough of a one to take the plunge?

jawanda68 karma

Step one: You need a way to capture those "leads" and let people start following you. Social media is important, and I mainly use Facebook and Instagram , however you're at the mercy of those platforms, and neither one will give you "full access" to your own followers. The most important thing for me has been building an email list. At first I was requesting emails when someone would try to download one of the photos from my website, but now the bulk of my emails are collected via my Auction website. With email, you control your list, and as long as you keep sending people good content that they want to see, they will open your emails which can lead to sale (or at least views).

Once you have a website up that is focused on capturing leads, then you can focus more on sharing your photos on sites like Reddit, Flickr, etc ... and every view (as long as you have a small watermark) has the potential to turn into a new visitor. If your work is good, then at least once in a while your content should go semi-viral, and when it does you want to be ready to help some of those new people follow your work.

techknee11 karma

could we see what the inside of ur van looks like? would be great to add to r/vandwellers as well! Congrats brother!

jawanda23 karma

This was from my very first solo trip, and I've gotten rid of some of that gear, but this will give you an idea:



The back is the "kitchen", solar panels on the roof for the refrigerator / charging stuff, and the bed pulls out to a Full size for when my girlfriend comes camping with me.

Thanks for the good words!

m-arx3 karma

Please tell me the "if you're happy and you know it clap your..." bag has the t-rex on the back. :)

jawanda6 karma

IT DOES and actually that bag was a Reddit Secret Santa gift that I received!

m-arx3 karma

awesome. love your photography work. Greetings from Germany.

jawanda3 karma

Thank you!

292ll2 karma

Do you ever consider upgrading to a larger RV?

jawanda3 karma

I think my next rig will be a Ford Transit Hightop. Similar to a sprinter. More headroom, but still small enough to fit in tightish spaces.

invictus8111 karma

What are some of your short term (within 2 years) goals? What do you hope to achieve in the long run?

jawanda41 karma

I want to open my own, physical gallery in Lake Tahoe. It will be like no other gallery, with an entire room dedicated to the Glow-painted astro photos, where you walk in, here a chime, and the lights dim from bright, to black light, to dark, and back again. Another whole room dedicated to the odd shaped canvases I like to make like the hexagon clusters. And a whole metal wall of my awesome canvas / wood magnets, so there's something people can take home for less than $20. That is my main goal right now.

invictus8111 karma

That’s amazing, I’d most certainly stop by if I was in the area. I sure hope you achieve your dream, you’re certainly on the right path. Best of luck!

jawanda9 karma

Thank you very much.

Bigs15109 karma

Do you have any advice for an amateur photographer wanting to learn how to shoot like you? I have a simple set up with Canon 70D, Canon 18-155mm lens, and a tripod.

jawanda22 karma

If you're talking about shooting night sky photos, start by googling the "Rule of 500". It's the basis of astro photography (although I use special tools to be able to "break" that rule)

Leavesyouwantingmore9 karma

Having followed you for quite some time , I only ask this, Why did you ?

jawanda14 karma

Username checks out.


Thanks for following me I'm glad you like my work!

Hannydarris7 karma

Love the hexagonal piece you made and the "glow paint" series you did. I'm definitely going to have to check out the rest of your work!

I'm currently in school for computer science but I've always felt called to astronomy and art, even though I've been feeling they're both a bit out of reach. I am trying to get into astrophotography but I am really just starting out.

Aside from checking out lonelyspeck.com, do you have any recommendations for how I can pursue my passion for astronomy and art and/or how I can zero-in on some sense of direction with that?

I'm not particularly passionate about computer science but I figure it could erase my college debt the fastest and most easily support me financially so that I can later pursue my passion. That being said, I would be ecstatic to find something that incorporates astronomy and programming.

I would love to talk more with you about how you have gotten to where you are now, the steps (deliberate or unintended) that led you here, and where you're going next. Feel free to PM me if you ever have the time, and thank you for doing this AMA.

jawanda7 karma

Hi there my friend. How about you PM me in the next couple of days once my inbox cools off? I'm getting so much action from the AMA that I fear it will slip through the cracks if I am left to do the pm'n, but I'd be happy to talk with you more about all of this. Thanks for the comment.

Jamborenners6 karma

How did you wash?

jawanda10 karma

I used the showers at a local campground. I'm up daily by 5:30am so they're not busy when I'm there and no one seems to mind. :)

pupomin5 karma

What kind of people/organizations make up most of your buyers?

I'm curious because I'm surprised that you can find enough paying customers to make the financials work. I mean, it's awesome that they are out there and you can connect with them to do what you love, I'm just not in a place where I can see anything about that market, so I'm curious what it's like.

I see that some photographers do the YouTube/Patreon thing to share their adventure and (I presume) increase their marketing reach. Any interest in doing something like that? I hear it only triples the workload :D

I like that approach because I'm at least as interested in the process of how people go about doing their thing and their experience doing it as I am about the output. It's particularly neat for artists because it can give me a stronger connection to the artifact.

jawanda5 karma

I sell almost entirely to private individuals, so far. I couldn't do it if I was limited to local sales. Although at first most of my sales went to people I know, now most of them are to strangers from the Internet! There may not be a ton of buyers for this type of art, but if you can reach them they're out there. No, I don't use Patreon (although I've considered it) nor do I do anything to promote my "van life", it's all about the photography.

Phoenix_Account3 karma

Very cool story. A lot of us full-time office folks secretly dream of this wandering lifestyle (or at least I do). A few questions:

  • How much money did you have saved up before you took the plunge and quit your job? (meaning, easily accessible money. Not money in 401ks, etc, that you couldn't access without penalty.)
  • How long did it take you to reach the above financial amount?
  • Did you have any passive income when you decided to quit your job? If yes, how much of your anticipated expenses did this cover?
  • Any unexpected hardships of living in a van? Was it an issue finding a place to sleep?
  • How did family/friends react to the drastic lifestyle change?

I know people are squeamish when it comes to talking about money, and most of my questions provoke those squeamish reactions. If you could even just talk in terms of percentages ("I saved 50% of my money for 5 years"), I would appreciate it. Of course, specifics are better :)

Thanks so much for this AMA. It really got me thinking.

jawanda4 karma

Hey there, sure I don't mind answering a few questions about the finances.

1) I had much less saved than most would be comfortable with, less than $10k.

2) Eh, I don't know. I was saving off and on for different things and making ok money as a web dev so it didn't take THAT long. Now it would take me much longer haha.

3) I did a tiny bit of freelance work that first year for the old company that I had previously been full time employed at. That made up probably 10-20% of my income the first year, but I haven't done any side gigs at all this year.

4) In Tahoe it's pretty easy, and I often just park at the print shop. Without the shop, van life would be a lot harder. Also without my amazing girlfriend who lives about an hour away, and my mom who also lives about an hour away. Their support (and occasional place to crash and do laundry) has been invaluable and I know how lucky I am to have them.

5) Most people are just envious and / or supportive. I was lucky to have the freedom to be able to do this. Everyone has a dream, but I know not everyone is in a position to pursue their dreams, at least not to this extent. I don't think a single friend or family member gave me grief over it, although my girlfriend was concerned at first. Now she's just proud and supportive. Thanks for the questions.

Don_Forgo3 karma

As someone who wants to do what you are doing, any recommend reading on photography?

Would you recommend with starting with a low end DSLR, or jump full in with something like the K70, a more advanced, but still entry DSLR.

jawanda10 karma

I started on a Nikon D5100. It's full featured, but has a cropped sensor which is not great for full light. Any full featured DSLR will be great to learn on, you only need to upgrade when you've maxed out the resolution (because printing) or some other aspect of the camera that is affecting the quality of your shots (like the noise you'll get in low light on a cropped sensor). As for reading, the internet is so full of amazing info these days. Start by making sure you know the relationship between f-stop, iso, and shutter speed. This is the basis of all photography, and once you understand how each one affects the photo you will be able to branch out into more specific topics like night photography. If you've already got the basics down and are looking to get into astro stuff, start by googling the "Rule of 500".

Feel free to drop me a pm sometime (after this ama is over) if you ever have a specific photography question and I might be able to help!

HorseNamedVincent3 karma

What was the driving force or faith that made you believe in your heart that it was time to move on. Easy to stay comfortable, especially when you are making money.

How did you take that leap of faith and know tomorrow will be better than today?

Thank you

jawanda14 karma

I was desperate like a thirsty man, but it was my soul that was dehydrated, and I knew only one thing would quench it.

SydneyHollow2 karma

Heyyyy! Congratulations on taking that leap! My wife and I have a similar plan. We'll be quitting our jobs to pursue full time travel out of our 4Runner starting next April. Any words of encouragement or advice?

jawanda4 karma

Just good luck my friend, and don't let the world or anyone's expectations stop you from pursuing your dreams.

DiManes2 karma

At any point, did you doubt that you were good enough to make a living off of this? Did you have a "reverse escape plan"?

jawanda11 karma

Yes, of course I had my doubts. But I also have a lot of confidence in myself to learn anything (I'm one of those people who is lucky that way) and I knew my work was only going to get better. But let me tell you, I had imposter syndrome terribly as a web developer and I still have it sometimes as a photographer. Until I talk to other photographers, and realize that I know my shit for the most part. I also know what a high standard I hold myself to, and that no one else looking at my photos (ok very few people) will ever look at them as closely as I do, so if it meets my standard to be "released" it will almost certainly appeal to someone else. Are there better guys out there, with better gear, real mountaineering skills that let's them shoot from the top of peaks I can only gawk at, etc? Of course. But I know I am shooting good photos, and I know I am getting better by the month, and so I try not to dwell on the doubts.

Edit: No, no reverse escape plan, but I know I can always do web design / dev on at least a freelance basis if I have to, which gives me some comfort.

Nofanta2 karma

Any idea when you'll be doing well enough that you don't have to live in a van? Getting out of the van would be my top priority personally. That must suck. I tried to take a nap in my car a couple weeks ago and it was way too uncomfortable.

jawanda2 karma

Haha well .. I'm hoping to move up to multi-room opulence sometime in the next year, but it's really not bad. I sleep great in the van and it's not like I'm "hanging out" in there.

Plus my girlfriend lives an hour away so I'm in a house / "real bed" occasionally.

AznSparks2 karma

Do you like to use specialized equipment like Star Trackers? I want to get more into Astro but I always feel unprepared

jawanda3 karma

The only specialized equipment I use is, indeed, a star tracker. You can take brilliant photos without one, but it allows you to capture more detail with less noise, which is essential to me. Start with the "Rule of 500" and when you're getting awesome shots that are just too noisy, upgrade to a star tracker (or start taking many shots and stacking them, another way you can reduce noise but not my preferred method).

mattn222 karma

This is my dream! I currently work as a software developer but ultimately want to be a wildlife photographer. My question is when did you start learning/practicing photography? And how long did it take for you to be comfortable publishing your photos and thinking it could pan out into an actual full time job?

jawanda5 karma

I started shooting about 20 years ago in high school (am 37 now) and it was an off and on hobby for most of my life. In about 2011 I started to take it more seriously again (because I finally got a new DSLR after years without one) and that's also when I got into shooting the astro landscape stuff. Posting the occasional photo to /r/earthporn and getting good feedback started to build my confidence, and about a year and a half before quitting my job I invested in a large format printer because I new I wanted to be able to print my own stuff and I was getting occasional requests for prints from friends and people on the internet. Eventually I knew I was never going to reach the level I wanted to being stuck at a desk for 8+ hours a day so I chose to go for it.

jaymeekae1 karma

Do you make all of your income from print sales or do you have other incomes, like stock photography or clients?

jawanda1 karma

99% print sales.

JiveTurkey10001 karma

Did you move around a lot? How did you find places to park?

jawanda2 karma

In a small mountain town like Tahoe it's easy, just head down a dirt road, don't bother anyone, don't even THINK about having a campfire, and you'll be fine. But this last summer I've been parking right here at my print shop most nights for convenience.

sanescience1 karma

One place you want to go to but haven't yet?

jawanda3 karma

So many. But right now I've got my eye on the Southwest US for this upcoming winter (after heading back to Death Valley for my now annual sojourn) and Western Canada / Alaska for next summer if I can pull it off.

RichardBachman1 karma

Where is the best location in the United States to see the Milky Way? Not only by the brightness/lack of light pollution, but the probability of having clear skies.

I've always wanted to go camping for a few days under the Milky Way but I'm afraid I'll choose a location that will be cloudy and/or overrated.

jawanda2 karma

Head out to the desert if you're worried about rain. I'm a huge fan of Death Valley (although Milky Way season is pretty unbearably hot down there) or the deserts of Nevada (like the Black Rock Desert where burning man is held) because they're a short drive for me. Tahoe, where I'm based, is great we get more clear days than a lot of places in the world and the light pollution isn't bad. Don't worry about a particular outcome, just get out there!

MrDenly1 karma

How you suggest someone(like me) to pick up the courage and say fuck i am doing it?

jawanda2 karma

Make a list of the WORST things that can happen. Do you have backup in the form of a couch you can sleep on if things got bad? Do you have skills to fall back on should your plan fail? Yeah? Then you're not gonna die. But if you do die without really trying for something you want, will you not be filled with regret? What's more important to you, satisfaction and knowing you tried your hardest to milk the rock of life for some soul food, or comfort?

immrmeseek1 karma

Do you have any tips for beginners that wants to get into landscape Astro but can’t afford expensive equipment?

jawanda1 karma

If you already have a DSLR and basic photography knowledge, start by goolging the "Rule of 500".

elementboarder1 karma

Outside of personal projects, are you still interested in working as a web developer in the future, or did you burn out?

jawanda1 karma

I will always be doing some form of web dev for my personal projects, but no, I have no interest in doing it for anyone else ever again :)

I started designing websites when i was 16 (in the 90's) so I've put in enough time.

Icandigsushi1 karma

What kind of chairs are those guys sitting in in the command center? The red ones.

jawanda2 karma

Good question, I don't know. They were very comfortable though.

Goremagon0 karma

Are you going to sell anymore of the glowing. Ight type paintings? I would absolutely love to have one >.>

jawanda2 karma

Thanks, I have several of these for sale on my website right now actually: www.phil.camera/glow/