“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” -Ansel Adams

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July 2012 Featured Photographer

Kenji Gunderson
Flickr Member Since June 2006

dog wagon1. What's the most important thing you've learned about photography? 

I'm still learning, I really haven't studied formally. I started out by shooting a lot of photos. I thought it was a numbers game with maybe 2 percent of my photos coming out. I thought if I shot 100 photos maybe 2 may come out to be "Nice photos" that were worthy of sharing with other people. I think if I had more time to study, ( work gets in the way of my photography) I would have learned earlier about lighting and composition. I find that it is great to meet up and socialize with other photographers. It really helps to have a community to learn from and inspire each other.

2. Which of your own photos is your favorite and why?

 I really like this photo that I took in Amsterdam. 

I was practicing my panning shots on people riding their bicycles. When this Gem came across my path. At first I was like what is this guy wearing. I shot about 8 shots of him and he was gone. Later on when I looked at my photos, I got really excited. You just never know when the "Shot' will come along.

Detroit hoops
3. What's the most "cringe worthy" photo you've uploaded?

I uploaded a photo along time ago it was titled Detroit Hoops. It was selected for FLICKR EXPLORE. I was shocked!! But I did a really bad quickie photoshop job on it. Then It got a bunch of hits, I then became embarrassed by the shabby photoshop job I did. The photo was a buried in my archives for a couple of years. It was taken with a point and shoot before I got my first DSLR. I dusted it off, cropped it, took out some telephone poles then posted it. I can't believe it got so much exposure. I didn't know what Explore was at that time.

4. Who inspires you? 

There is an AMAZING portrait photographer from the U.K. that I found via flickr Lee Jefferies. He does portraits of homeless people, I think that he finds the "Typically not so beautiful" and makes them really appealing, in the sense that when we see the Pretty people in all of the magazines and T.V. they don't appear to be special anymore. The portraits he captures are so full of character. He is truly inspiring, with his choice of subjects.

I am consistently blown away by his work.


5. What mode do you shoot in?

 I usually start in aperture priority then into manual. I just recently started to really understand and experiment with the other modes.

6. What hobbies or interests do you have outside of photography?

I play in a Blues/ Classic Rock/ Old R N B band. It's a nice release from my day job.

7. What is your favorite thing to photograph?

 I recently started to get into portrait photography.

8. Is there anything you don't like about photography? 

I don't like getting sucked into the.....ooh I gotta have this or need that but I have definitely have fallen into that trap.

I want to ride my bicycle
9. Why does photography appeal to you?

 I really like being able to capture the times in our life. A few years from now I can look back and pull out memories and remember things that would have otherwise been long forgotten. It also helps to have somebody around who can take great photos, I look back at the change and difference in the style of my photography from my point and shoot days. 

10. If you could photograph anything you wanted, what would it be?

 I think I would like to photograph some Big live bands. I do on occasion photograph my band and some of my friends bands. 

Thanks for checking out my work.

Dev and Bodhi

Friday, June 8, 2012

June 2012 Featured Photographer

Flickr member since August 2010

pkHyperFocal - View my most interesting photos on Flickriver

1. How did you "find" photography?

My first exposure (pun intended) to photography was from my father, he used to shoot with a Rollei he picked up in Germany when he was stationed there. But, my interest was really piqued in High School. My best friend, Ziggy, took a class in photography (B&W) and I spent as much time in the darkroom after school as he did! I was hooked. With the first paycheck I received from a "real" job, I bought a SLR (a Fujica AZ-1).

2. What inspires you to stop and take a picture?

Tough question. For me, it's more instinctual than inspirational, I think. I have an artistic background; my Mother was a commercial artist and I studied art, metal smithing and illustration in college. I'm attracted to certain forms, colors and spaces unconsciously. I've also had a great interest in science and nature since I was a kid, so I enjoy photographing animals, plants and natural scenes ... and of course, bugs (I love Macro work).

3. How do you grow, as a photographer?

I think the best way to grow in any artistic medium is to study other artists work. Not to duplicate it (although that can be a great teacher too) , but to see the breadth of what is possible. You also need to really understand your tools. Study your camera and all its "fiddly bits". Try everything! Digital is really great for that; take all the pictures you want!

pkHyperFocal - View my recent photos on Flickriver 4. Is any part of the photographic process a "chore" for you?

Cataloging. Hate it. Nuff said.

5. Do you make money off of your work?

Here and there, but it's not been my focus (more photo puns, sorry). I've shot a few events, sold a few prints and even had one of my pictures turned into a Christmas Ornament. I usually just shoot for my personal edification, but I'm certainly not opposed to making money. Make me an offer, I'll cut you a deal ... ;-)

6. How did you learn about photography?

Like I said, it was all around me from early on. Besides my Father and Ziggy, I had another good friend who's father had a full color darkroom in his basement. He was an excellent amateur photographer and I used to page through his albums for hours.

7. Which of your own images is your favorite?

That's like trying to pick your favorite child! "The Beauty of My Nemesis", "Science To Do", "Dancing at the DIA" and "Ready for Prom", are probably my favorites ... this week.

8. Do you have any photographs that YOU dont particularly like, but they seem to be fan favorites?

Heck, I don't have many that are fan favorites!

9. What's the toughest thing to photograph?

Right now, its a barn swallow in flight! They are all over the place where I work and I've been trying to get an in-focus shot for a couple of weeks. Those little guys are faster than blue blazes!

As a general class, I'd have to say people. Especially flash photography of people. I'm not great with a flash, but I'm learning.

pkHyperFocal - Flickriver 10. What camera do you use, and why?

Hard to say, I'm using a couple right now! For the last few years, I've been shooting a Canon 40D. Great camera; a real work horse. Recently, however, I purchased a lightly used Canon 7D at a great price ... and then, almost immediately, fell into a Canon 5DmkII for a really, REALLY great price. I've sold the 40D, so I'm down to two (plus my Canon G11) and I'm learning them both. The 5DmkII shoots a lot like the 40D, but the 7D is a different beast altogether. Fortunately all Canons have a very similar control layout.

Obvioulsy, I shoot Canon, but its not a religion. I think both Canon and Nikon have great cameras and great lenses. When I got into digital, I started out with a Canon XT probably because my brother had one of the original Digital Rebel's that I borrowed all the time. Once you start acquiring glass, its pretty hard to switch, not that I've had a desire to. I've had great luck with my Canons.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

March 2012 Featured Photographer


Flickr Member since December 2010

Visit Tom's photostream: Tfinn123442

tfinn123442 - View my most interesting photos on Flickriver

1. How long have you been taking pictues?

When I was a boy of 8 or 9 I had a Kodak Hawkeye camera that
used 127 size film (whatever that was) and flashbulbs. I loved 
that camera. I would shoot a roll and then mail it in to a company 
for development. Then I would wait a week or so to see the result.
There was many a day I raced out to the mailbox hoping to see 
that yellow envelope with my pictures in it. 

In my early 20s I had a Minolta 35 mm film camera and enjoyed
getting out with it often. Then "other" stuff took over and it wasn't 
until last year when I bought a digital camera that I really got back 
to photography.

2. Do you have hobbies besides photography? Bicycling. History.
Things with a history to be found interest me a lot and lead me to 
many of my photographs. I have really enjoyed stopping at farms
and asking if I can photograph a particular building. People like to
talk about the history of the farm....even those with the oldest
buildings that may be a bit weathered. 
tfinn123442 - Flickriver
3. Is there a style of photography that appeals to you more than others?
Not really. I take a lot of landscapes and shots of old buildings, 
particularly farm buildings. Weathered wood & weathere structures 
appeal to me. There is a history to them that you can feel while you
line up your shot and hopefully can see when the shot is done.

4. Do you primarily shoot alone, or with other people? 

Mostly alone, sometimes with my wife. 

5. Which of your own photographs is your favorite, and why?

Recently I was out on a morning there was a thick hoarfrost. It was the 
perfect day. I wandered about in awe of the beauty and took a lot of
pictures....a few captured the essence of the morning. I can still see 
the landscape of that day in my mind's eye. Also, photos of an 
abandoned schoolhouse on a bright day with giant white cottonballs 
of clouds overhead. I love that building. 

6. What's your biggest insecurity with your work? 

I learned by doing as opposed to being taught. I'm drawn to the subject more than 
anything else. I know there is a world of technical skills and training
that I haven't pursued that would improve my shots. But, even 
though I am aware of that I just like to be out doing it. 

7. If you could choose one type of photography to specialize in for profit, what would you pick (portraiture, architecture, nature, abstract, etc)? 

Landscapes and nature because they take me outdoors and on 
what I like to think of as mini-adventures. 

8. What makes a good photographer? 

A passion for the shot and an 
interest in the subject. I love old barns, they come in every 
age, condition and shape. They have a history that is right there 
in front of you. I find I take better pictures when I am excited about 
the subject.

9. So far, what has been the most significant technique, trick or piece
of equipment that has impacted your work? 

Digital revolutionized photography for me by freeing me of the expense of
 film and developing. Using a tripod improved my pictures significantly.
Lately I have been shooting without a filter, not even a neutral or
UV filter. Doing so changes the colors in interesting ways. I also
shoot a lot with a polarizing filter. I like what it does to colors.

10. Who is your favorite photographer, and why? 

Ansel Adams. Perfection in the shots I like. He found such wonderful detail in 
everything he shot. There are so many on Flickr whose work I 
love, I hate to mention just a couple names.

tfinn123442 - View my most interesting photos on Flickriver

A note from the interviewer:

Tom was also awarded the Members Choice Photographer award from his peers at SEMIDP.   The detail he captures in his subjects is amazing.  Congrats, Tom!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February 2012 Featured Photographer


Flickr Member since October 2006

Visit Sally's photostream: Wessysmom

wessysmom - View my most interesting photos on Flickriver

Do you remember buying your first camera? What did you get, and why?

I bought a Pentax 35mm in college, for my photography courses. That was my only SLR for many years. Many years of point-and-shoot in between!

My first DSLR was a Canon Rebel Xti, per the suggestion of my sister. At the time, I needed it only for taking reference photos of artwork I was doing for a previous business. I used it only on auto for several months.

Has photography changed you?
Learning about light, and composition, and how to apply the various elements of design in the photographic medium, has helped me to appreciate what is around me and see beauty almost anywhere. Colors seem more vibrant after the rain, cloudy days reveal a soft, soothing light I never appreciated before. Snow is a wonderful reflector and can produce stunning images. Photography has also strengthened my ability to establish and recognize human connection, especially with children.

What was the most challenging thing for you to learn, when you were just starting out?
Learning how to master post-processing has been a major undertaking and will continue to pose new (good, but difficult) challenges. In the beginning, especially, it was especially difficult to keep a running mental checklist in my head when out shooting human subjects - check background, check composition, don’t chop joints, where is the light?, check your exposure, eye contact, pose, is there any distortion, etc, etc. It seemed overwhelming to have to think of so many things before taking an intentional portrait, as opposed to a snapshot.

Has anyone ever said anything that helped you take better pictures? 

All the time! I belong to multiple critique groups and rely on their input to help me grow. The most consistent criticism I’ve received is that I too often neglect the details of a picture. I like “real” and “lifestyle” portraiture, but just because the posing is relaxed, doesn’t mean that that unnecessary element in the background is not distracting to the viewer, for instance. I am becoming more conscious of the “big picture” before I start snapping now, and do my best to avoid adding things in the frame which do not add to the story or the strength of the image.

Why do you think portraiture appeals to you, over other forms of photography? 

I am a people person, and have always been drawn to faces, to emotions and connections, and I am addicted to the rush I get when I feel like I got a sneak peek into the essence of the families I’m with. I feel honored to be welcomed into those lives. I’m kind of addicted to seeking out the core of a person. 

Do you have any photographs that you feel lucky to have captured a fleeting moment? 

IMG_4678bwI have a couple. 

I love how the teenage siblings in the first picture are genuinely enjoying and connecting to one other through their music. 

circle kiss
In the second, I felt honored to be a part of this shoot, because this young family’s life had been scarred with a lot of pain and struggle, and yet they loved their pictures because when they saw them, they forgot their sorrow and saw only a happy, loving threesome without a care in the world, just as it should be.

Have you ever shot film?

I shot and developed black and white film with my Pentax in college, and I really liked it, 
but there were so many years in between when I wasn’t focused on photography. I jumped back in after digital was well established, so it made sense to stick with digital.

Do you have any "tricks" or tips for people just starting out?

It’s a lot of information. Take it slowly. But the first things you should learn are: 1- exposure. Know how to expose properly in all sorts of different scenarios. 2 - learn how to read light. Read books, take webinars, workshops, anything. The better you understand light, the easier it will be to rock an image and the less time you will spend in the editing process. Proper exposure and good light makes the post-processing of an image surprisingly easy.

If you had to pick one of your own images that you are most proud of, which would it be, and why?

sun kissed

Probably this one, because it was one of the rare moments when I actually planned a shot beforehand and executed it exactly as I saw it in my head. I wanted glitter, and didn’t have any, so I used wheat bran to pull it off, which makes me feel more proud, ha ha.

If you had the opportunity to go anywhere and photograph anything, what would you choose?

Somewhere like Greece would be awesome. I love the architecture there. Tuscany would work, too, but I would love to do seaside work. Of course, any location would involve human subjects in some spectacular setting.

wessysmom - View my recent photos on FlickriverA note from the interviewer:

Sally was also awarded the Members Choice Photographer award from her peers at SEMIDP.  It was well deserved; her portraits capture essential emotion, and her use of natural light is outstanding.  Congratulations, Sally!

Be sure to check back for news regarding the Southeast Michigan Digital Photography Group and their monthly featured photographers.