Presenting Nancy Hawkins

Nancy Hawkins
Calgary, Alberta
Nancy Hawkins ~ Photostream
Nancy's Photo Journal blog
Equipment ~ Sony a 350 , a 18-70 mm lens ( my walking around lens) and a 55-200 mm zoom lens. Also use UV filters and a circular polarizer on bright sunny days.

Born and raised in Newfoundland, photography has always been an interest for me. I remember my first camera was the Kodak 110, think I used hundreds of rolls of film, it was the best Christmas gift ever! Upgraded to a Canon elf about 9 years ago, then upgraded to a newer version about two years ago. Just over a year ago, my husband surprised me with a Sony a 350, and my love of dSLR was born! Photography is a hobby that I am totally passionate about!! I currently live in Calgary, AB with my husband and two kids.

Why do you photograph?

I photograph to try to capture the world as I see it. To freeze a moment in time. I try to present my images as realistic as possible, though sometimes I tweak an image so much it looks surreal!

Is there a particular photographer you admire?
That’s a tough one. Professional photographers, I very much enjoy the work of John Marriott and Darwin Wiggett. But there are many wonderful photographers on Flickr that just make my jaw drop when I see their photos. I simply enjoy the beauty of their work; how they capture the Canadian landscape is just inspiring to me.

If you process your images at all, what software do you use and how much processing do you do?
I only recently started using Photoshop CS3, before that , a few click using Picassa was all I’d use.. to crop and do minor tweaking with contrast or saturation. Now I’m learning layering, and having fun with a few plug ins.

How did you learn your skills - are you self-taught?

Yes, self taught, I’ve never done a photography class, even though I keep telling myself I will. I’ve read many books, and asked questions to some of my flickr friends.

What is the next piece of equipment/software on your wish list?
That’s a long list, I think a wireless flash, or a longer zoom lens (400mm or 500mm)

What inspires your photos?

My surroundings inspire me, I see something I like, I try to capture it with the camera the way I see it.

What is your favorite subject or theme to photograph?
My favorite has to be nature photography, either landscapes or still life. I just LOVE shooting flower macros; they seem to get the biggest response on flickr.

Do you self-portrait?

NO, I don’t do self portraits.. I’m not comfortable with taking my own picture, then putting it out there for people to look at and criticize. I admire people who do the selfies, but I think I would be too self conscious. Although if I do get a new flash, and start shooting more people, I’ll probably use myself as a guinea pig.

What is your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge for me is remembering the settings of the camera!! I’m a forgetful person and really have to think about what I’m doing behind the camera. Second to that, I’d have to say time. I can spend hours shooting, and hours more going through the photos I’ve taken to process my images, if I’m not careful, a whole day can slip away from me!

What advice do you have for new photographers?

This is an easy question to answer, my advice is to shoot shoot and shoot some more. Get to know you camera, read all you can about the particular style of photography that you enjoy, and if you’re serious about it, learn the processing side of photography. The shot isn’t done when you take your finger off the shutter release. A whole other world opens up when you download your photos. And lastly, don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially on a forum such a flickr. I have a handful of contacts, which I consider friends, who I bounce questions off, or ask for an opinion, and they give it to me straight up, and I really appreciate that.

Thank you so much Nancy. We love to see your photos in the flickHERist group and are looking forward to seeing more with the summer scenes!
~ Andrea and Kari


Hi Photogr-o-philes, (is there a real -phile word for us?)
I've just received a new interview from Kari and the newest flickHERist to be featured is from my home province! I am excited to share this interview and her photos with you...On Thursday.
If any of you followers and/or readers would like to be featured please let me know, my email address is in the sidebar. You need to be a member of flickr and of our group flickHER (a little post of what it's about..."rules")...I want female photographers of every level using all different ages/makes/types of cameras...Contact me if you'd like to be seen here!
I hope you've had a wonderful weekend!


A Geneil Breeze...

Geneil Breeze

Indianapolis, Indiana

team.breeze ~ Photostream

Project 365 blog

Breeze Words blog

Equipment ~ Canon Rebel XTi, Canon 50mm 1.4 lens, Canon Speedlite 430 EXII (for taking pictures during winter inside my dark house!)

81:365 Daffodils

I am a freelance editor, writer, wife, and mother. My three children—ages 21, 17, and 12—have grown up way too fast. I’ve always had an interest in photography and got my first little simple Kodak film camera in high school. But at that time and in my small town I just didn’t have the resources available to pursue it. There were no camera shops in my town, no classes at the high school, no photography books in the library, and definitely no digital cameras or Internet with its online classes, websites, and tutorials.

I’ve had various cameras over the years and mostly used them to document my children’s lives, but about a year and a half ago, I picked up what was then my husband’s digital Rebel XTi and determined to learn how to use it. I’ve learned a lot, but have only scratched the surface of all there is to learn about photography.

50:365 Ballet Flats

Why do you photograph?

I love it. I often will see an image in my head and set out to try to reproduce it in a photograph. When it happens it is such a good feeling. I also love the idea of freezing a moment in time. Photographs play a big part in documenting our lives and preserving our memories. There are not many pictures of me as a child, but it seems that the events that I have pictures of are the events I remember most clearly. Life is fleeting. There’s something about capturing a moment that appeals to me and I think that’s important.

Is there a particular photographer you admire?

I admit I’m not as well-versed in photographers as I am more traditional artists. There are the ones who have achieved commercial success such as Ansel Adams and Anne Geddes, of course. But having been involved with some online photography websites and forums I’m constantly amazed at how many good photographers there are.

90:365 Out Like a Lamb

If you process your images at all what software do you use and how much processing do you do?

I’m new to processing. After trying all the free photo editing tools, I recently purchased Photoshop Elements 8, and I really like it. I’m feeling my way as I go here. There is a place for all kinds of processing—textures, actions, other manipulations—but I’m not confident that I have found what works best for me or that I know when I’ve done enough processing. I try to follow that old rule “less is more,” and recently I’ve noticed I am framing my shots better and don’t have to do as much cropping after the fact.

How did you learn your skills—are you self-taught?

So far, yes, I am self-taught. There are really a lot of great and informative photography sources online. I would like to take a class, though, and hope to this summer. I’m currently doing a 365 project where I am taking (at least) a picture a day, and so for now I am just practicing taking a lot of shots.

70:365 Central Canal

What is your next piece of equipment/software on your wish list?

I have the Canon Rebel XTi but my only good lens is the 50mm 1.4. I love it, but I as I shoot more I have realized it would be nice to have something that lets me shoot a little wider. But I’m not sure exactly what the best choice would be. Suggestions? Also I really want one of those camera bags that look like a purse. I don’t like lugging a big camera bag around, and I’m scared to put my camera in my real purse for fear I’ll ruin it! (the camera not the purse!:) )

What inspires your photos?

Real life inspires me. There’s so much beauty in the world at all levels—from stunning landscapes to closeups of a leaf or flower to pair of shoes left out in the middle of the floor. As I mentioned before, it’s important to just document the existence of a life, a family, a moment or place in time.

62:365 Daisy

What is your favorite subject or theme to photograph?

I love to photograph people, especially my children. I so wish I had had a digital camera when they were little. But my children are not home much and often don’t want to be photographed so I have to look for other subjects. I have several friends with little children and so sometimes I will ask them if I can photograph their little ones. I’ve recently discovered the beauty of portraits that do not show the face. I love profile shots and shots of hands, feet, and back of the head. When no people at all are available I love to photograph nature and I really enjoy food photography.

82:365 Guitar

Do you self-portrait?

I do not like self-portraits. I’ve only tried it a few times. I’ve heard many people say how important it is and maybe someday I will become comfortable with it. But for now I’m not into it.

64:365 Pink

What is your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge is probably the same as everyone else’s—time—or lack of it. With work, family, church, and other responsibilities, it’s difficult to spend time on photography. The 365 project this year has been very good because it forces me to spend some time each day with my camera. It is often very difficult to justify that time I spent with my camera though. Another challenge is my impatience when I fail. I become frustrated when the image I see in my head does not match the image I actually produced. I have to remind myself I am an amateur and that everyone has to start somewhere.

What advice do you have for new photographers?

Read and reread the manual that comes with your camera. You really have to become familiar with your camera. I refer to mine a lot and I always learn something new—usually it’s something I wasn’t ready to learn the last time I read the manual but now it makes sense. Take a lot of pictures, try new things, and pay attention to how you achieved the look you got—love the EXIF data for this. And take advantage of online resources. So many are available that it can be overwhelming. Choose two or three websites that you like and follow them regularly.

Thank you so much Geneil. It's been such a pleasure to read about you and to view these photos. Perhaps a camera purse for Mother's Day? Best of luck with your future shots!

~ Andrea and Kari


This is What Marty Sees...

what_marty_sees ~ Phototstream

A short Biography..
Wow, this seemed so straightforward when I first received the questionnaire but I'm sort of stumped on how to begin. So I'll just jump in and introduce myself.

My name is Marty and I'm the person behind the Flickr stream what_marty_sees.

I'm a Christian...a well loved wife...and the mother of five beautiful children. All three of those things have a huge impact on who I am as a photographer. I blog about my life and those three things at Sam's Family.

On my 30th birthday my husband and family surprised me with my first real camera. By real I mean something other than a point and shoot. It was the Canon Rebel and it wasn't long before my husband was telling people he was picking up extra jobs to support my film habit. I learned very quickly that I could take a roll of film and only get about three or four real keepers. The solution? Take lots and lots of pictures. His mother surprised me two years ago with the digital version of my Rebel...the XTi. I think I took over 1700 pictures the first month I had it! I use the kit lens that came with them both (the 35-80mm and 18-55 mm.) For an anniversary one year Rob bought me the 80-200 zoom and I do have a macro filter that I enjoy using for close up detail shots. I'd eventually love to upgrade my camera body but for the most part I really would just like some nicer glass. I have my eye on the 50 1.4 or 1.8. Also a wide angle lens...it would be nice to have a little more space to work with doing group pictures. And with five kids...I do a lot of group pictures :-)

Carried Away by what_marty_sees.

My husband is the pastor of a church in Milton, a town just outside of Pensacola, Florida. Most people know us because of our beaches...and it is one of my favorite places to photograph. It's also my happy place. No matter how stressed out I am I can go sit and listen to the gulf, smell the salt air and the waves just pull all the tension right out of me.

Why do you photograph?
Because I cannot not photograph.
In the almost 10 years since I got that first camera it has become a part of me...of who I am. Sometimes I use it to document and share the tangible world around me...sometimes to give voice to the intangible of what I see and feel. This can be a dangerous way to view the world though if you aren't careful. A couple of years ago I had to put my camera down for a few weeks. I was getting to caught up in trying to perfectly express what in reality is really imperfect. Life is imperfect and messy and you don't always have the best light or you miss a detail or whatever. But there is still beauty in this messy life and I needed to see it for what it is. I think the hiatus made me a better photographer.

Is there a particular photographer you admire?
Okay, it might be trite but I love Ansel Adams. He was one of the first famous photographers I was exposed to and he is still my favorite. He could work black and white like I only dream of doing. And for portrait work I really enjoy Annie Leivobitz.
But honestly, there is so much talent and skill found of Flickr. Those are the photographers I really admire. Normal people like me. It's one of the reasons I was so excited about the flickHer group and this flickHERist blog. I'm not kidding when I say that some of the stuff I see here just takes my breath away.

If you process your images at all, what software do you use and how much processing do you do?
I don't do a lot of processing to my images...mainly due to lack of knowledge and skill. I use Picasa or Picnik and I'm just learning how to add layers or textures well. Some of my first attempts make me shutter now. I am philosophically opposed to heavily processed and manipulated portraits. I saw some where all the life had been stripped away from a woman's portrait...everyone was raving about how beautiful it was but to me she looked like a lifeless doll. Maybe it's because I have four daughters but I want them to have a different idea of beauty than what most of our society says. I want them happy and confident in who they are...not in how perfect they look.

How did you learn your skills - are you self-taught?
I am self-taught in the sense that I just keep taking pictures and playing with the controls on my camera. I have a few books that I'm trying to read but I am a real hands on learner. I'd love to spend a day with some one that would just walk me through exposure, shutter speed and aperture. I also have a bunch of free how to sites bookmarked on the web.

What inspires your photos?
Oh, my! I guess the long and short of it is everything! It may just be the beauty of the ordinary, or how I feel when I see something. A lot of times it's just the desire to reflect something of the one true Creator. My faith affects the way I view the world and my photography hopefully points to that.

Whole Heart by what_

What is your favourite subject or theme to photograph?
This is hard. My kids obviously rank pretty high on the list. I photograph a lot of nature. Flowers are a cheap but great way to practice and hone your skills. But, I'd have to say people...I love photographing people. I joined a Flickr group for people starting out in wedding photography and quickly discovered that it is not my niche. Some people are just incredibly gifted for that kind of work but not me. I really love doing maternity and newborn pictures. It's such an amazing and happy time. That is where I'd eventually like to go professionally. But that's a bit down the road for now. I do it mostly for friends just to practice.

Do you self-portrait?
Only if I cannot get out of it :-) I'm horribly uncomfortable in front of the camera but I think it's good to do every so often. For someone who enjoys taking portraits of people it helps me know some of the emotions that are part of the process. I tend to come in tight and focus on a feature rather than the whole. Or, like the one in the beginning of the post, I try and get creative about hiding from the camera.

What is your biggest challenge?
Myself probably. And time. I'd like to learn more but time can be a real issue. So I work at what I can knowing that life comes in seasons. I don't want to miss enjoying my life now because I'm not paying attention and only thinking of the 'if only' moments. A second answer to this question...I had a friend give me her studio lights so this summer I hope to spend some time practicing and mastering them. I prefer natural light but I think it's could to understand how indoor lighting works.

What advice do you have for new photographers?
Take pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. Don't be afraid. Get comfortable with your camera no matter what kind it is. Value your work. Be open to constructive criticism...everything little thing you learn opens the door to a new world.

Wow. Thank you so much Marty. A wonderful choice of photos and words.
~ Andrea and Kari