For as long as he can remember my good buddy, LA-based photographer Trevor King, has been a cloud hunter, chasing the transient formations across the globe with his lens pointed towards the heavens.
Inspired by the sense of nostalgia nimbus clouds can inspire, he tries to reignite in us that childhood experience of lying on the grass, gazing up at the clouds, dreaming of the stories and characters that live inside their ever-changing silhouettes.
Each image in his NIMBUS series captures a moment in time – an epic formation, a dramatic play of light, a volume never to be repeated – that within five minutes will metamorphosize or disappear into nothingness. His abstract dreamscapes stir our emotions, make our imaginations run wild, and ultimately evoke a profound sense of respect for the intense power of nature.
Here, I talk to Trev about all things white and fluffy, about his love of travel, and about how to detect those moments when it’s time to put the camera away.
Hi Trev! Ok no mucking around: what initially drew you to start shooting clouds?
I love them. I love the mood they put you in. Sometimes they’re happy clouds, sometimes moody and scary, always changing and inspiring. If you love the earth and nature, chances are you love to look at great clouds, and it’s this common feeling of how impressive and wonderful mother nature is that these images will resonate with.
What have been your top three cloud travel moments?
The tropics are always good for thunder clouds – big billowy growers that move and rumble across the sky. In Indonesia, the moist air hits the towering volcano ranges and creates dramatic clouds by mid-afternoon.
Australia’s East coast has been great for shots as well. Where the ocean meets the land, clouds form. Summer brings more fluffy clouds, and in winter you get these as well as a mix of the wispier high altitude cirrus clouds made up of micro ice particles. But the most dramatic clouds are the cold front thunder storms that freight train over the east coast bringing black clouds, lightning and heavy rain.
There’s nothing like taking shots from up in a plane or up on a high mountain, where your perspective is up with the clouds. Getting this different perspective where your sense of scale disappears can make you feel like you could be on an alien planet floating through the gas formations. I end up daydreaming that I’m flying through them like superman. That would definitely be my superhero power wish, to be able to fly, just so I could go cruise up and down and through the clouds.
When did you start travelling?
I’ve been travelling all my life. My parents had me in Calgary, Canada and almost immediately we moved to Vancouver. They bought a sailboat and when I was eight months old we all set sail for Australia, stopping at Hawaii, Tonga, Fiji and more on the 18-month voyage. After that between Canada, Central America and the Caribbean on a boat, being home schooled by my mum. My brother and I also spent a few summer vacations in Croatia to live a farm life with my father’s family.
I went back to Vancouver for high school but once I graduated I moved to a resort town five hours from Vancouver, then later that year to Big White Ski Resort. Then a couple years after that, to Australia to do a year of travelling. I didn’t leave for 15 years, and that’s where I turned my passion for photography into a career. My wife and I just moved to LA for work, so we’ll see how long that lasts.
What have been your favourite destinations over the past couple of years?
Bali has been one of my favourite places to visit for most of my adult life; I go at least three times a year. I go to surf and for work sometimes; just last year my wife and I got married there. Bali’s a special place – the people are so welcoming, the food is of such good quality and variety, and I’ve been there so much it feels like a second home.
I went to Greece to visit my parents last year – the history there is unbelievable, history that shaped modern humanity. Not to mention the diverse range of beautiful mountains, coastlines, people, beaches, ruins, olive and orange orchards.
Does focusing on shooting clouds when you travel bring you more into the present moment? Or maybe allow you to connect with destinations more?
I become obsessed with finding things to shoot, like clouds. Sometimes when I think I’ll see some good ones, they don’t happen and other times they just pop up out of thin air, so I always try to have a camera close to me.
Lately, though, I’ve been trying to not take as many photos when I travel. When I take photos I find myself documenting the journey rather than fully experiencing it – I’m thinking about light and angles and I leave really not having so much of an emotional connection. Sometimes it’s just nice to sit there and take it all in with your own senses, let it soak in.
YOU CAN PURCHASE TREVOR’S WORKS BY EMAILING TREVOR@TREVORKING.COM, AND FOLLOW HIM ON INSTAGRAM @TREVORKING.