Prerogative Fall 2020 - Page 39

done a lot of weather video for The Weather Channel and I’m part of a storm-chasing group based in Missouri, but I try to get out in really severe weather in this area.” Billy Bowling said that in addition to working most weekends, the Bowlings conduct about eight portrait sessions per week. “Weddings and portrait work pays the bills, a lot of it is just word of mouth, where we live and if you are familiar with Bluefield and that area, word of mouth goes a long way,” he said. Bowling does a lot of contract work for multiple states’ divisions of tourism. He said his success came through connections with other photographers and people in the field. “If I am just shooting for me, I very rarely do sunsets anymore, I am just old and tired but it is nothing really. The other morning I got up at 1:45 a.m. and I drove to Boone, N.C. and met up with a couple buddies of mine and we were there for sunrise at 4:30 a.m. It was a quick drive so I was back home by noon, take a quick nap and then go cut the grass and that is a pretty solid day for me,” Bowling said. “That’s the thing about passions that turn into something. I am really lucky that I have made some really good connections over the years. My Instagram is able to target the right people, certain tourism departments, a lot with North Carolina, Tennessee and here lately with West Virginia. It is kind of just like a good perfect storm of what I shoot for passion turns out to make a little bit of money here and there.” While Bowling laughed, saying that his wife tells him he is crazy for getting up at 1 a.m., one look at his photography makes it worth it. The rolling clouds pull you into the photograph from a mile away, each detail pulling you a bit closer in and suddenly, you, too are on the top of a mountain as the sun warms the earth. When asked what his favorite thing he has ever shot was, Bowling relies on his experiences. He recalls his work in Florida, when he was just developing his passion for photography. “Well, it has nothing to do with landscape photography, but I shot the Republican National Convention, in Tampa, Fla. when I worked for ABC. I had press clearance to shoot that and I was on the floor all four days there. That is just super cool for me because not many people get that opportunity,” Bowling recalled. “Also, shooting a lot of spring training stuff, I am a diehard baseball fan, so when the place is paying you money and give you field passes to shoot the Boston Red Socks on the field for a day, I am a kid in a candy store. Those are probably some of my favorite things.” While Bowling makes a living from his photography, he is too humble to call himself a master-class photographer. “I would not say that I have mastered anything,” he said. “I really like shooting but I am constantly hoping and waiting for the next thing.” View more of Billy Bowling’s work on Instagram by searching, “@iambab_xiii.” Prerogative Magazine 37