Monday, June 28, 2010



Baobabs at Night by pdxsafariguy
I don't think I can leave out this shot of baobab trees in our safari camp in Tarangire National Park. It was quite an adventure to shoot: a group effort that required running around in the brush with a flash, backlighting those massive old trees. Little did we know that lions would wander into the camp soon after.

Sakura & Himeji Castle at Blue Hour by pdxsafariguy
I had a difficult time selecting an overall second favorite so I have selected one of several favorites from a recent trip to Japan, a blue hour shot of Japan's Himeji Castle. We visited Himeji Castle to discover that the grounds, normally closed at 4pm, would be open after dark for a special display of lit-up cherry blossoms. To wander about and photograph a real Japanese garden and castle during the cherry blossom season (a BIG deal in Japan), all while listening to a live concert of traditional Japanese music - that was hard to beat!

1: How long have you been involved in photography?

I started playing with photography back in high school, but then college, work, and life got in the way. I started picking it up again about 4 years ago when I decided to get a D70. Within the past year I have gotten some work published and made a conscious effort to devote more time to my photography.

2: Equipment you use?

Nikon D300 and an assortment of lenses from 12mm to 400mm, my favorite being the 24-70mm f2.8. It is heavy but the sharpness is hard to beat! I've become a faithful user of my carbon fiber tripod in the past year and it goes pretty much everywhere I intend to do any serious shooting. And I have a collection of filters – a must for landscapes – that I am slowly learning to use properly.

3: Mac or PC?

An old old PC. I really need to get something better.

4: What inspires you?

Travel. The outdoors. Different places, different cultures, the diversity of the natural and man-made world we live in. Anywhere away from the daily pressures and "daily grind" where I can capture something I do not normally see. Seeing the amazing stuff folks post on flickr gives me lots of ideas.

5: Preferred subject matter?

Landscapes, travel, wildlife, anything taken during blue hour or after dark, sunrises and sunsets. I've been slowly appreciating how difficult some of this subject matter is to capture well - often most of the elements of the scene are completely out of your control - so there is an element of patience and luck. But, when you do get lucky and happen to be in the right place at the right time, it can't be beat!

6: Name one thing you haven't caught with the camera that you REALLY want to capture.

There are so many! How can I name just one? A few that interest me: penguins in Antarctica, the Aurora Borealis or Aurora Australis, lightning during a thunderstorm...

7: When in doubt about your art, who do you confide in?

Being a bit of a perfectionist, I am always seeking to improve and always in doubt about my art. Rarely, if ever, do I take a shot I am completely satisfied with. Maybe I am just my own harshest critic but I believe that photography is a continual learning process. Flickr has so many talented folks with amazing photostreams to draw inspiration from, and I love it when someone provides me with honest constructive feedback. Sometimes I feel like folks are afraid to do that because it might not be taken so well. Of course when something sells, that's a good feeling and erases a bit of doubt.

8: Qualifications/training in anything? ie: Photoshop

Mostly self taught from experimentation, making lots of mistakes, and observing others. I've taken a few informal workshops and seminars, and have a few more on tap for this summer. In school, long ago, I took a few darkroom classes with a fully manual film SLR. I've been meaning to take a class on photoshop or photo processing but never seem to find the time.

9: Plans for the future?

Travel, travel, travel! I've still got two continents left to visit and am hoping to cross them off soon. Along the way, I hope to dedicate some serious time to capturing some amazing places with my camera. If I could make a living at it and quit my day job I would, but for now the 9-5 desk job will have to stay.

10: In one word, describe your photography.
Evolving. Hopefully for the better!

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