My Story thus far...
My name is Paul Minassian. I’m a landscape photographer. I’m also currently a teacher and Marketing Director at an amazing school on California’s beautiful Central Coast.
When I’m not out chasing the horizon, you might find me playing piano, backpacking, watching football, drinking cream soda, napping (I mean, hey, if it’s good enough for Winston Churchill…), or playing pickle ball. When I first heard of pickle ball, I thought it was a cheesy game you played when you got old. Now I realize it’s a terribly addictive and competitive sport.
Or wait, maybe I’m just old.
My passion for photography
I have my parents to thank, really. My dad grew up in New York (Manhattan, Bronx and Queens), and they never really went camping as a family. So he promised himself that when he had a family, he’d take them camping. And so he did, and did it well. Each summer he’d take the bulk of his vacation time and he’d take us all over the west. The Tetons, the Cascades, the Rockies, the Grand Canyon, the high deserts of the four corners, the Sierra Nevada, Montana’s endless sky, and so much more. It was magnificent!
And so a deep, abiding love for beautiful landscapes and high, lonely places was born within me. I’m hooked for life. Out there is my sanctuary, where I feel closest to God, where His presence feels the most vivid to me. His creation humbles me and literally takes my breath away. I could sit and stare at it all for days on end—camera or no camera.
So really you could say my true passion is for amazing places, which led me to photography…
The more I visited such amazing places, the more I wanted to be able to capture the mood, the feeling, the incredible beauty and share it with family, friends, and whoever wanted to enjoy it. Thus, I picked up a camera.
At first it was those odd-shaped, plastic Kodak cameras that had 24 shots (sometimes 25 or 26 if you were lucky). Back then you really had to take a good shot—one only had so much film, and development cost $. The outcome wasn’t too pretty, so I gave up for a while. Then, when I was in my 20’s, I bought a Canon Rebel (film version, before digital). Then onto a Canon 20D for several years, then a Canon 60D for a while (LOVED the articulated screen), then a very brief stint with a Canon 5Dm2, quickly onto a Canon 6D, and finally my current camera: a Canon 6D mark II.
(For a full list of camera gear and backpacking gear, visit my Gear List page.)
The truth is, I’m not a technical wizard with all of the “stuff.” So I embrace the “location is everything” approach. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time and feeling the surroundings, the mood, the emotion of the moment—and then trying to capture it all on
film an SD card…
I am profoundly blessed with a wonderful wife, Jessie, and two precious daughters. They are, in a way, just as invested in my photography as I am. Jessie listens patiently as I plan and re-plan each photography adventure. Then, when it comes time to go, she sends me out the door with a kiss and a prayer and her full blessing. She’s amazing—definitely my better 90%! My two teenage daughters simply say, “If you love doing it, we support you. Have fun!”
Some of my loneliest moments in life have occurred sitting atop nameless ridges high up the side of this mountain or the other in the biting wind, days from any trailhead, waiting for the light to set, missing my three treasures.
The bottom line is they are an intrinsic part of the experience. I love them dearly, and would not hesitate to trade all my gear, my cameras, and any future photography adventures for them. Between my three wonderful ladies and my photography? No contest. Not even close. They are the better adventure by far!
Some would say this amazing earth spontaneously “created” itself without any intelligence involved. I absolutely disagree. Something can’t come from nothing, and the fingerprints of a Master Designer are all over every inch of this planet. I am convinced it was all created by the very intelligent, wise, kind, loving, patient, and merciful God of the universe, Jesus Christ.
His creation inspires the way I process my photos. I often bracket my photos and combine them in HDR software. Some say it’s cheating, but I see it another way. The eyes God gave many of us are the most incredible image processors. When I see God’s creation, I want to share what I’ve seen with you. The only way my photos can come anywhere close to the real thing is through the post processing. Even then, it’s a far cry from what the eye can see. Hopefully you won’t mind so much. 🙂
And when I’m out there in the vast, indescribable places, I get to worship my amazing Creator in the most beautifully-designed sanctuaries on earth.