I'm a community college counselor and I love it.  I spend my days off exploring the coast and chasing that magic light that gives things that other-worldly feel.  

I've been dedicated to photography since 2011, but in hindsight, there are some interesting dots that can be connected dating back to when I was a kid.  

One of my earliest memories is of the massive National Geographic collection that my father had.  He had bought hundreds of issues at a garage sale, and we had shelves upon shelves of them in our family room.  I wouldn't go so far as to say that I was obsessed with them, but I did spend a good amount of time looking through them.

I also remember rummaging through my dad's camera bag while he as work (I would so hate me if I were my kid).  He had a really nice camera, but never used it.  He was more into gardening and playing his various musical instruments.

In junior high and high school (late 80's and early 90's), I learned black and white photography in a traditional dark room.  It was fun, but I didn't get along with my teacher.  I used to torture that guy.  Part of me really wants to find him so that I can apologize, but I'm probably the last person he'd want to hear from!

After I graduated from college, oddly, I landed a job as a camera buyer for a large electronics retail chain.  I quit after a year so that I could pursue a career in Djing and producing electronic dance music.  I retired from music in 2007 because I essentially blew my ears out.  

A couple of years later, I took a trip to Oahu and was absolutely stunned by the beauty. It really gave me a glimpse of the mind-bending world I was missing out on by not actively exploring it.  

I came home, bought a camera, and I haven’t stopped taking pictures since.  Photography has really filled the creative void that was left after I had to stop doing music.  

It's kinda fun.

-Tony Van Le

 


 

Scapes


It's morning, I'm up before sunrise, hiking in the dark to the location that I scouted the night before.  It's dusk, and I can see the horizon turning orange as the sun peaks around the curvature of the earth.  It's so quiet.  Nobody's around.  Am I the only one awake?  I love sleep as much as anyone, but a serious show is about to take place here. 

Yeah, it would still happen if I weren't here to witness it.  But being here, seeing it with my own eyes, and making time slow down and absorbing every millisecond; that for me, is as good as it gets.  

There's a crazy world out there and I want to experience more of it.

 


 

Tiny Worlds


Taking extreme close ups of nature and insects was one of my earliest interests when I took up photography.  Macro photography really opened up my eyes to the infinite wonders that were right under my nose that I took for granted.  

From the abstract textures of leaves to the alien-like features of insects that used to give me the heebie-jeebies; macro photography, more than any other type of photography made me feel like a kid again.  All of the sudden even the mundane seemed new again.

 


 

Yogi a Islandi 

(Yogi in Iceland)

This set was created in Iceland in June 2015, and was a collaboration with mystical creature, Nadia Nasiri.  

During our shoots, the temperature often ranged from 35°-45° and while she was totally freezing her toes off, I was all cozy in winter clothing.  She was way braver than I would ever be; getting to just the right position for the shot, and then bending and twisting her way into precarious positions.  

Just so hardcore.

You can check out Nadia's yoga-inspired photography at GetOffTheMat.com.

 


 

Want More?


I also do urban & street photography.  

For that stuff, visit Urban Imagery.