We are proudly announcing this week's "IbyB's WEEKLY Artist Spotlight!" Each of our participating Care Givers will choose an artist to interview and highlight. The artist will have the option to showcase two of their personal favorite images from their photostream in the " IbyB's WEEKLY Artist Spotlight" Interview, and their favorite image will be showcased on the front page of IbyB.
I'm pleased to introduce you all to this weeks talent pick, JLM Photo.
#1 Backlit Chicks
I posted this image to Flickr on New Year's Day of this year and have been amazed at the attention it has received. I was actually shooting other birds when I noticed these feeding egrets behind me, mostly backlit but with deep shade behind them. I spun my camera around and got two shots off before the light changed. I used my first digital SLR, a Nikon D70, with my then-new Nikon 80-400mm VR zoom lens, shooting in RAW format, to take the shot.
#2 Reflection at Maligne Lake
This is one of my favorite landscape images, taken at Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park -- one of those perfect but infrequent moments late in the afternoon when there was no wind to disturb the reflection. I took this with my old Nikon F100 on Fuji Velvia slide film and scanned it to convert it to digital format.
And these are the questions...
1) How did you get first get interested in photography? Are you a self taught photographer or do you have any formal training?
I have been a weekend hobbyist for about 18 years. I have taken a few photography classes or one-day seminars over the years, but consider myself largely self taught. I learned photography in the dark ages of "film" -- some of you may actually remember that! -- primarily using Fuji Velvia slide film. I think using slide film made me a better photographer because one really had to know the fundamentals of exposure given the unforgiving nature and limited exposure latitude of slide film. The other great thing about shooting slide film was that once you pressed the shutter, you were essentially done. You either got the shot or you didn’t. Digital has a lot of advantages over film, but I still struggle with storage, organization and post processing, and I don’t like that I am spending more time in front of a computer screen these days and less behind a camera viewfinder.
2) Do you have a favorite walk around lens? If so what is it?
My favorite and most used lens is my 10-year old Nikon 80-200 f2.8 zoom. It autofocuses relatively slowly, has no vibration reduction technology and is heavy to carry but it is tack sharp and built like a tank. I've often thought of upgrading to the newer version, but I just can't bring myself to do it.
3) What equipment and software do you use?
I use exclusively Nikon equipment, but I'm not rabid about it! I currently shoot with a Nikon D300 body and use my D80 as a back up. I have a half-dozen or so Nikon lenses, including a 12-24mm wide angle zoom, a 24-70 f2.8 zoom, my trusty 80-200 f2.8 zoom, an 80-400 VR zoom and a 105mm macro. On the software side, I pretty much use Lightroom and Photoshop CS3 for all my post-processing but I still have a long way to go on that front. I would characterize most of my images as being minimally processed, not because I object to "computer enhanced" photographs, but because I'm just not very proficient at it.
4) Which one item of equipment would you say is the most important to you?
Aside from a good camera body and quality lenses, I would say my tripod is the one piece of equipment that is most important to me. I don't think there is a single image in my photostream, with the exception of two aerial shots taken out of an airplane window, that was not taken with a tripod. Aside from allowing you to achieve sharper images, tripods tend to make you slow down and think more about how you are composing your photographs. If you are shooting a stationary subject, such as a landscape, you can take the time to examine everything in your viewfinder to make sure that no extraneous objects are going to detract from the shot. My current tripod of choice is a 6X carbon fiber Gitzo 3530LSV with an Arca Swiss B-1 ballhead. A good tripod and ballhead can be expensive, but they will last a lifetime and are worth every penny you pay for them. I use a P&S camera for snapshots, but I don't take my DSLRs anywhere without my tripod.
5) How do you decide on locations & subjects?
I enjoy traveling to national parks and other "target rich"
environments, or to foreign countries where you see everything from a new perspective. I also tend to do a lot of research before going anywhere to maximize the photo ops. I'm not the most creative person in the world, so I tend to focus on trying to be in the right place at the right time. I'm also a big believer in previsualizing -- knowing the shot I want to get long before I even bother to set up my camera. Not being an early morning person (see below), I also tend to look for subjects that are best photographed in late afternoon light.
6) What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
Nature and wildlife. And just about anything other than people. I often tell folks I'd rather shoot a photo of dead tree than a live person. I have a lot of respect for good "people photographers," especially documentary photographers, but I'm just not any good at it. The only people you'll find in my photographs are ones included to provide a sense of scale in a landscape, but even then they are never recognizable. I also have a small set of images in my photostream taken at various Shaker villages that don't get a lot of views but are among my favorites. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/20973954@N07/sets/72157603833814774/) Clean lines, symmetry and simplicity of design are hallmarks of Shaker design, and I try to incorporate those elements in my photography whenever possible.
7) What continues to inspire you as a photographic artist?
Everything! There are just so many places I want to see and photograph. I'm also inspired by the incredible photographers and photographs I see every day on Flickr. I joined Flickr so I would have a place to share my photos, but I have gotten so much more out of it than I ever imagined possible. I don't think I've ever logged on without seeing at least one photograph that just astounded me. The technical and artistic skills of Flickrites are very, very humbling indeed!
8) What is the one thing that you have not captured on camera and you feel you still need to express?
If only there was just one thing! I have thousands of photographs I
still hope to take, places I hope to visit. I am also not much of an early morning person, which is not a good trait for a nature photographer. I love that golden hour immediately before and after sunset, but I've missed an awful lot of sunrises. I need to work on that. I probably also need to take advantage of more of my camera’s advanced functions. I almost never shoot in any mode other than manual.
9) What other artists have influenced your work?
There are many, but one nature photographer whose work I have always admired is John Shaw. His instructional books on field techniques and nature photography are now classics, and although they have not been updated for digital photography they contain a lot of useful information and some truly amazing photographs. I love his simple, uncluttered photographs with strong subjects and sharp details. I can also honestly say I have many contacts on Flickr whose work has inspired me and hopefully improved my photographic skills.
10) What other talents do you possess besides photography? And is there another area of talent you wish to explore that you haven't yet?
Frankly, I'm not sure I really possess all that much talent as a
photographer -- I think I get lucky as often as not if I manage to capture a decent image. The real secret is not showing anyone the ten lousy shots you take to get one good one! I don't really have any other creative talents. I sometimes think it would be fun and interesting to be a travel writer, but there are almost as many wannabe travel writers out there as photographers!
11) Have you met other Flickrites in person, and how was that experience?
I have not had an opportunity to meet other Flickrites in person (other
than those I already knew before they jointed Flickr), but I've made some great friends on Flickr and I would love to have the opportunity to meet and photograph with them in the future.
12) Any words of advice for those who would like to dig deeper into photography?
I always encourage folks to take a basic photography course to learn the fundamentals of photography. Taking one-day seminars or a photo workshop can also be helpful both in providing substantive training and inspiration. I sometimes think newer photographers become too reliant on the technology side of photography, i.e., letting the camera do all the work, without really understanding the fundamentals of photography. I’m a big believer in doing everything possible to get the shot right in the camera rather than thinking "I can fix that in Photoshop." Post processing allows for a lot of creativity, but only those who are really proficient can pull it off well.
Any closing thoughts?
I think photography really helps us develop our sense of observation. Even when I don’t have my camera with me, I notice things that I would never have seen before I became interested in photography. It definitely has heightened my awareness of the nuances of light. By the same token, I think it is also important to sometimes set the camera aside and just appreciate your surroundings without the pressure and anxiety of trying to take a great photograph. I’ve seen lots of people jump out of their car for five seconds, take a picture of a sunset or mountain range, and then jump right back in and drive off. Get the picture if you must, but take a few minutes to savor the moment and appreciate what you have been privileged to witness – in the end, your memory may prove more satisfying than the photograph.
We would now like to thank our featured Artist in the Spotlight, and please stop by and visit JLMPhoto to view his wonderful talent on Flickr! Please, a round of *APPLAUSE* for JLMPhoto's contribution, thanks so much for sharing your beautiful photostream with us this week!
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Originally posted at 5:20AM, 28 October 2008 PDT
[Christine] edited this topic 56 months ago.