What's it all about? ... Capturing subjects in a unique and alluring way in order to communicate and illuminate the beauty of our diverse world.
Capturing the world around me has been one of my biggest fascinations in life. As a child, I was the documentary photographer especially on our family vacations. From the Grand Canyon to the Epcot Center in Florida – the Kodak Instamatic was always at my side.
In high school, the arts and math courses captured my attention and I took as many photography classes as I could. I still remember developing my first black and white print in the darkroom as the image appeared in the developer bath – it was truly magical and amazing how the image formed on the blank white sheet. At that time, the Pentax K1000 manual film camera introduced me to the basic concepts of photography, aperture, shutter speed, and film ASA. My brother in law, Nils, helped introduce me to the notion of composition on one of my early classroom assignments - flippers on the back porch carpet as the porch swing cast a pleasant patterned shadow as sunlight fell through the slats. This idea of making pleasing images that went beyond just documentation really struck me.
At the University of Kansas, I studied Graphic Design and again took several courses in black and white photography as well as color slide photography classes.
It wasn’t until 2003 that I entered the digital world of photography with Canon’s s40. What a phenomenal advance the digital age has brought. The ability to once again be back in the (digital) darkroom, controlling the color and composition of the captured image. It’s truly again a magical experience.
Over time I upgraded to the Canon s70 and G9 point-and-shoot cameras, but the real breakthrough came again when I purchased my first digital SLR - the Canon Rebel XTi. It quickly became apparent that the quality of lens directly correlates to the sharpness and true color of the images captured. Knowing this, I’ve purchased only pro level “glass” in Canon’s L series line, including the 24-70mm, 70-200mm, and 500mm prime lenses. I have had good success in macro photography using the Tamron 90mm as well.
Recently I purchased a new camera body, Canon’s EOS 7D. It features an 18 Megapixel sensor with very fast processing allowing 8 frames per second. It also captures full HD video with striking ease.
For better composition and sharper focus, the use of a tripod is invaluable. I recommend the Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod for studio work as it has the ability to turn the center column horizontally for all angles of shooting. I use a Manfrotto 484RC2 ball head, which works quite well. For the 8.5 pound 500mm F4 L IS lens, the tripod of choice is the Gitzo GT 3530 carbon fiber tripod with the Wimberley Gimbal Tripod Head II WH-200.
Throughout the years, graphic design projects have required me to better understand the use of lighting in a studio setting. There’s a lot of information on the web about lighting, but nothing quite as good as strobist.blogspot.com for a true education on inexpensive studio lighting.