Picashot May VP Spotlight: Meet Josh (@defalt368)

Picashot May VP Spotlight: Meet Josh (@defalt368)

If you ask us what the best part of chatting with gamers and virtual photographers in the Picashot community is, we would answer that it is learning the different experiences that shape each individual into becoming the best gamer and VP artist they can be.

This is the exact vibe we got from chatting with Josh of @defalt368

Josh’s journey as a gamer, with years of gameplay spanning a decade and more makes it all more surreal. Spotlighting him shows us that gaming and virtual photography are truly timeless.

We also particularly enjoyed learning about his love and support for indie games. He also shares his hopes for underrated games in the gaming community. It is notable to highlight that Josh has shared the most photos from indie games on Picashot and this is no easy feat.

We have been spotlighting indie games you would enjoy playing for the whole of May. Catch up on our socials - X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram.

Let's get into the conversation with Josh and we hope his passion shines enough for you to be inspired by his gaming/virtual photography journey and also pick up an indie game or two.

What is your name and where are you from?

Hi. I’m Josh and I am from the state of Vermont in the U.S.

How did you get into gaming and virtual photography?

It must have started either when I found my parents' Atari in a closet or when I would go to one of my friends and we would play the NES together. That was so long ago. I eventually got my own NES, which I primarily played until we got a PC. Once the PS1 came out I moved away from the Nintendo and gamed either on that or the PC. I’ve now been through every generation of PlayStation and that’s all I game on now.

The Red Bull Capture Point contest introduced me to virtual photography in 2021. Before then, I’d seen photo modes in games but never really knew anything about them or took the time to see what it was about. This was the time when the new consoles were hard to get, so I decided to check out the photo mode in Horizon Zero Dawn and enter the contest. I enjoyed taking photos so much that I decided to stick with it.

Do you play games on PC, Playstation, or Xbox?

Currently, I only play on the PlayStation. Maybe one day I’ll get a gaming PC and play on both.

Do you have a favorite game to play? If yes, why is it your favorite game?

I like so many different styles and genres of games that I can’t say that I have a favorite game. There are certain games I like more than others depending on the genre. For instance, Gran Turismo 7 is my go-to for racing. I’ve been a fan of that series since the beginning. For horror, I would have to say Silent Hill would be at the top of my list. That was the one game that really freaked me out as a kid.

Is there a backstory behind your username? Can you share it with us?

I have a couple of different usernames I use. Defalt368 is the main username I go by. I also use A Shot of Jack/Shot O'Jack. Both these names started back in the early 2000s when I was in the military. There would be a group of us that would play the Medal of Honor on a LAN at the MWR on base. Depending on the day we would all name ourselves after a liquor or go by our normal gaming names. I’m horrible at coming up with a good name so I was just going to leave default as a name except I went ahead and left u out. The 368 were just some random numbers I had to add when I moved to online gaming.

That’s cool. Let’s talk about indie games…

Do you enjoy playing indie games? If so, which one is your favorite?

Yes, I enjoy playing indie games quite a bit. There are so many good ones out, such as Little Nightmares, Deliver Us The Moon, Journey, and Abzu, just to name a few. I just started Never Alone and find hearing about the Iñupiat people really interesting.

Which game would you recommend to first-time indie gamers?

An indie game I would recommend to a first-time indie player is Shady Part of Me. I enjoy the artistic style and the way light and shadow work together in this game.

What would you like to see more of when it comes to underrated games?

I would like to indie games featured more in the VP community, even if it’s just screenshots of your gameplay. This way more people might discover a game they would not have known about. There are quite a few games I would like to try out because of what others have posted. I’ve been as supportive as I can towards indie games from the time I started the Women in Games VP community page on X/Twitter where I hosted the Indie Monday theme, which now has merged with the more recently created #IndieMondayVP on my personal account in hopes to help spread the word for these games.

Awesome! Do you have a set photography style? If you do, what is the inspiration behind it?

I can’t say I have a set photography style. I like to take all kinds of shots, from portraits to landscapes to action shots, and whatever else I may find worth shooting. If there’s something that I see that captures my eye, I’ll try and take a shot of it.

Do you have any favorite virtual photos that you've taken? If so, what makes them special to you?

There are so many shots that I’ve taken that could be top picks for me.

The Phoenix for a Plague Tale Requiem was a favorite subject to shoot. He is such a beautiful and mystical creature. In this photo, the phoenix is perched with his head looking over his shoulder keeping a watchful eye on you.

This is probably one of my favorite shots of Ellie that I’ve taken. This scene is when she first entered the hotel. The way she’s sitting in the window with the ray of light shining down on her looks like a piece of art.

When it comes to sunrises and sunsets, the Horizon games probably have the most beautiful ones. One of the first things I do when taking a shot is change the time of day to see how the shot will look during these two times of day. This particular shot came from Zero Dawn.

Do you edit your virtual photos after capturing them, and if so, what software or tools do you use?

I do very minimal editing outside of the photo mode. This is usually just to clean up the shot by adjusting the sharpness, contrast, and shadows mostly. I do all my editing on my phone using the editing tools from Google Photos. If the photo still looks a bit on the dark side then I’ll further adjust the brightness through Lightroom.

Can you share any tips or tricks you use for capturing stunning virtual photos?

I would say start by capturing the things you enjoy. I feel like these shots will be the ones that come naturally to you. Also, take the time to look at your subject from all sides. You could come up with two very different shots from one setup. Finally, go through all the settings the photo mode has to offer. There could be that one filter or a certain amount of DoF that can make your photo pop.

Are there any game developers or virtual photographers who inspire your art?

There are a couple of people who inspire me to challenge myself with their weekly/monthly themes. @CaptureControl is one with his weekly theme for Control called The Oldest House Tuesday. Another one is @AnnaWhiteVP with her AWChallenges. Both of them have challenged me to create something that I haven’t done in the past.

How has virtual photography enhanced your gaming experience?

Before VP, I would power through a game just to complete it. Since I’ve started VP, I’ve slowed way down and now appreciate all the hard work and detail that’s put into the development of the games I play.

What is the most challenging aspect of virtual photography for you?

The biggest challenge in VP for me is capturing a good action shot. These shots are all about timing and if you don’t get it quite right, the shot just doesn’t work. I’ve put my characters through hell many times trying to get the timing just right.

Hahaha! Can just imagine!

If you were to be a game character, who would you be?

If I were a character from a game, it would have to be Crash Bandicoot. He seems like a chill guy. Kind of like the way I am.

What would you rather choose? — the ability to play indie games forever but you wouldn’t be able to play AAA games or being able to play AAA games but no indie games forever.

Indie games all the way. There is such a variety of them out there and some have the quality to be a AAA game. Not to mention all the hidden gems you’ll come across that you may not have considered otherwise.

If you could become an official capture artist for a game studio, which studio would you choose and why?

I would go with Focus Entertainment on this one. They have a nice variety of the type of games they publish and every game of theirs I played, I’ve really enjoyed.

Can you share a gaming/virtual photography experience that had an emotional impact on you?

The one that comes to mind didn’t really have a great impact on me the first time around when the game first came out on the PS3. About 6 or so years later the second time playing that scene all that changed. The scene I’m talking about is the end of the opening scene of The Last of Us when Sarah gets shot. I now have kids of my own this time around and all I could think about was them. This totally changed my perspective and gave me strong feelings thinking about “what if something bad happened to them”. Even thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes. I can’t imagine life without them.

Awww. Thanks for sharing.

What's your favorite feature on Picashot?

I like the fact that I can share my photo without the hashtags that I would use on X. This way the focus can be more on the shot itself without all the clutter. Also, although I have had the chance to listen in, I like the Idea of the game show as a way to get the community together.

Are there any features you'd like to see on Picashot?

I would like to see the weekly highlights come back. I miss seeing photos that I missed throughout the week.

Any advice for aspiring virtual photographers?

My advice would be to do VP because you like to do it. Like many other VPers will say, don’t do it for the likes or followers. You may find yourself discouraged if you're not receiving the higher numbers you may want. Take part in the different themes that are out there and share with the VP community sites as a way to get your work out there. You’ll find the VP community to be quite supportive of each other, especially those new to VP. I like to support the smaller accounts whenever possible. It just takes that one person to give you the boost you may need.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us, Josh! We appreciate the work you do on the indie part of the gaming community and we wish you the very best.

Check out Josh @defalt368 on Picashot

Read about other VP artists