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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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