Q: When did you start with photography?
A: I guess it depends on the definition of “start”. Since before my teenage years, my dad always used to put the video and still camera in my hands and let me roam free. In high school, I had a passing interest in photography, which led me to join a few after school sessions. The interest did not stick at the time — the output of those sessions is a single roll of undeveloped film.
During my junior year of college, I bought a point and shoot to use during my study abroad travels. Within small journeys within Western Europe, I developed an interest in shooting landscapes with manmade and natural scenery. Of course, this was the same amount of interest any college student would have outside of hanging out with friends and going out 🙂
I bought my first dSLR (a Canon Digital Rebel XT) about a year after I graduated from college. While I was happy with the fun shots I had been taking over the years, I thought that a new camera would make my pictures like the pros. While it didn’t quite happen like I thought it would, buying that camera eventually took me down the path I am on today.
I dabbled with my camera over the next two and a half years or so. I bought a couple lenses, some filters, some pocket sized tripods, etc., and passively learned slightly more about photography than I knew in the past. It was not until about March or April of 2009 when I decided to reign myself in, learn, and build myself into a true photographer.
A couple years later, I still don’t have all of the answers. But I am confident of my abilities to capture my vision of a single moment and share it with the world.
Q: What type of photographer are you?
A: I would mostly call myself a landscape photographer. That definition has a few wrinkles so I’ll explain.
I enjoy mostly natural scenes that project the subtle or grand beauty of the Earth and space. I find my most serene moments reflecting on the awe-inspiring intricacies of God’s work: weather patterns, geological structures, celestial beings, and life. Most of my photography will include at least one of those elements.
However, I understand that our world is forever affected by a human presence. For some, that human presence is the most important thing to reflect in art and/or photography. For me, I prefer to add evidence of human influence mostly as a complement to a natural scene. Maybe that’s a reflection of my own philosophy of the equality of all life and beings in the Universe.
That said, Humans ARE natural and one could argue that our creations are also natural. For those reasons, I continue to add human elements to my shots.
Although I would call myself mostly a landscape photographer, I also enjoy and actively practice other forms of photography (all of which you will find on this site), including: architectural, portrait, and travel photography. I am not a regular event photographer.
Q: Do you photoshop your pictures?
A: The simple answer is yes. No “RAW” image coming out of a dSLR is complete: every single one of them requires finishing within a program like photoshop.
Why? When you choose to shoot at the highest digitial quality in your camera, it leaves finishing decisions normally regulated to the camera to you. It’s the same idea as to if you want to shoot (i.e., choose shutter speed, aperture, ISO) in automatic or manual mode. Finishing actions include color temperature, contrast, brightness, and sharpness among others.
That said, do I apply simple finishing techniques? For the most part, no. I compare the RAW image to what I saw when I took the photo, and often, some time consuming adjustments are required. Common adjustments I make include localized changes in contrast, exposure blending (for high dynamic range scenes), healing and cloning of dust specks or distracting objects, and color saturation or desaturation.
The end product is meant to closely resemble the in-person scene, but also include my own artistic vision. For example, I may add more contrast to a ray of light than what I had witnessed, just so your attention is drawn towards it. In this way, I consider my photos to be more art rather than a medium of journalism.
However, unless explicitly noted, I never “photoshop” a scene that never existed. For example, I will not move the position of the sun or moon to a more photogenic place just because I can. For me, the beauty of the Universe is in witnessing, and manipulating a photo in that way would completely contradict my purpose.
Q: What sort of equipment do you use?
A: It would probably be best to leave you with this: the artist makes the photographs, not the camera. In all honesty, my equipment is a reflection of meticulousness and gluttony, and is NOT required to make moving imagery! That said, I know you do want to know what I do carry, and rest assured I do carry professional equipment: Nikon D800, Nikon 14-24mm 2.8, Nikon 24-70mm 2.0, Nikon 70-200mm 2.8, and a F-Stop Loka camera bag.
Q: Do you sell your pictures?
A: Yes. I sell gallery quality prints and canvases for corporate artwork and for home decor, and offer licenses for hi-res images. Please see the “Prints and Services” section.
Q: Do you offer photography services?
A: Yes. I have extensive experience in shooting commercial venues and portrait sessions. I also offer private and group photo workshops so you can learn how to capture your own moments. Please see the “Prints and Services” section.
Q: Do you do wedding photography?
A: I currently do not actively offer wedding or other event photography, but will consider opportunities on a case-by-case basis.
Q: What sort of advice would you give a novice photographer?
A: Shoot, shoot, shoot. Take your camera with you wherever you go. Take pictures of everything. Download your pictures and see how each one of them came out versus how you wanted them to come out. If it is not apparent to you, search the internet and figure out why your photo didn’t come out how you liked. Photography is much more about technique (versus lenses) than people know. Follow photographers who you admire and study their shots. Never stop trying to get better.