Reynolds’ poker talent leads to photo talent

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Being in poker, one of my favorite things about the game are the fascinating characters I get to meet on a day to day basis. One of these characters, William Reynolds, became a good friend several years ago, and in addition to being a seriously successful pro poker player (close to $2 million in live winnings and heaps in online cash games), he has become a nationally showcased time lapse photographer. For a poker player to venture outside the game to pursue a creative venture professionally is pretty rare. I recently went on a hike and experienced his photography first hand, as seen in the attached photo. I took the opportunity for this column to sit down with Will and speak with him about his pursuits of passion both on and off the felt.

How long have you lived in Vegas and what has living it taught you?

I moved to Las Vegas in 2008 from Iowa. I moved in with Tom Marchese and some other online poker friends. We were immediately exposed to the variance of the real world. 2008 was the beginning of the housing bubble unwind. Before moving in we helped the family we were renting the house from move out. The majority of brand new 6,000-square-foot houses on our street were sitting empty in foreclosure. We had the neighborhood to ourselves and we were ready to gamble from home. Moving to Las Vegas right after finishing high school was basically my version of college. We had daily gambling study groups and every discussion centered around gaining an edge. We were only playing a game but when your income revolves around how well you can beat that game it becomes your life.

How long have you been playing poker professionally? What has poker taught you about creativity?

At this point I’ve been playing professionally for eight years. It all started with a home game in Iowa. Creativity plays a big role in poker. I always prided myself in not being another ABC by the books grinder. Some of my standard betting lines were enough for other regular winners in the game to label me the mark. I was an action player. A standard session for me would be a crazy session for a normal grinder. I started off almost every poker session stuck five buy-ins. I know some of you are thinking I’m confusing creativity with being a degenerate but I completely understand I am a creative degenerate. I could get a stack all in like no one else, which allowed me to value bet more thin than anyone else. I put money in the middle and more came back to me than I lost.

What initially led to your fascination with time lapse photography?

Poker is a consuming game. Even when I don’t have cards in front of me I still see them. A good poker player can’t just leave everything at the table. It’s important to give yourself an honest review after every session. There is less emotion involved when reviewing your past actions at the card table so a less biased conclusion is often made.

However, after a post session review it’s extremely important to be able to stop looping hand histories through your brain. I’d often struggle with this because at times I played poker from waking up till falling asleep while playing.

To help balance poker with life I started caring more about mountain ranges than hand ranges. After seeing many sights I wish I had captured with better quality than an iPhone I realized time-lapse was for me.

How did you learn your techniques? Did you study the game like you did in poker? Were there coaches?

I bought a lapse-capable camera the first WSOP after Black Friday and moved to a beach front house in Costa Rica to continue playing online poker. I had no technique first starting out. I would just set my camera up on full automatic and shoot till the battery died.

Needless to say, even though the locations of many of my first lapse work is amazing, the quality of the work was not. After realizing I needed a little more than standard Internet tutorials I turned to one of the best time-lapse guys in the industry, Dustin Farrell. I took a workshop with him and some other aspiring lapse artists at Lake Powell. I fine tuned a few techniques and learned some night sky tricks that really jump started my love for time-lapse again.

What parallels do you see in your time lapse photography to poker?

Just like poker, time-lapse requires an incredible amount of patience. The time-lapse version of being card dead all day is driving and hiking for hours then have nothing relevant to shoot once you get to the location because there isn’t a cloud in the sky.

It’s hard to say if there is more variance in lapse or poker but either way there are many uncontrollable variables in both that require a solid reactive skill set. If there isn’t a cloud to provide relevant movement then its important to work with the potential shadow and lighting changes. There is always a reasonable shot if you look hard enough.

What inspires you the most in nature?

The majority of my best time-lapse scenes are actually Las Vegas storms. If you live on the 37th floor of a high-rise long enough some pretty cool stuff passes through.

The most intense weather moment I’ve lapsed was the storm that halted play during this year’s WSOP day 1-b. People left the Rio on dinner break and couldn’t drive back because roads turned into rivers. There was an insane wall of water starting around Red Rock and it came straight at me, bringing visibility down from the normal 50-plus miles to one mile.

What are you currently focused and working on?

This month I’m trying to keep it real with a Halloween theme. I’ve developed my own genre of lapse called spooky lapse. I like to shoot Halloween props around town and up in the mountains under the stars.

Shooting the spooky lapse is usually creepier than the finished product. There’s just something unsettling about pulling a severed head from a bag at 10,000 feet to hang from a tree that will never get old. It creeps me out but I like it just like I occasionally enjoy punt bluffing off 100 big blinds in a limped pot.

There was a social media frenzy surrounding one of your time lapses and it wound up blowing up on Twitter. Tell us about that and where is the sickest place we have seen your work?

I’ve released a handful of 2-4 minute long YouTube poker time-lapse videos of me playing online with a satellite Internet card all over Costa Rica. I was struggling with keeping poker fun and shooting enough time-lapse so it called for a classic range merge and I did both AT THE SAME TIME.

The last year I haven’t shot enough of the same things to make a relevant compilation video so I’ve been stockpiling content and releasing the occasional fun 15-second instagram video.

I had two lapse videos take off for 1-2k re-tweets on Twitter. My phone didn’t stop blowing up with Las Vegas high school girls re-tweeting my lapse for a few days. Most of the local Vegas news stations have shown some of my best weather shots. “Good Morning America” even picked up two different lapse videos of mine in under two weeks earlier this year.

What are your plans for the future?

I’ve never known where poker will take me and I never know what my next lapse shot will show. All I know is I will never know the future but I can enjoy the moment. Time lapse helps keeps me in the present and bring a magical perspective to some of my adventures. I plan on flipping many more coins for stacks while capturing time in a lapse along the way.

You can see Will’s time lapse photography on at Twitter or instagram 

Christina Lindley is a local poker pro, who has been featured on World Poker Tour as “One to Watch.” She made the final table at the WPT Grand Prix Paris taking 5th place and over $114,000. She has been an actress and fitness model but found her true love in poker. Follow Christina on Twitter: @lindleyloo. Contact her at [email protected].

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