The Inspirational Photos of Victoria Bennett Beyer

Victoria Bennett Beyer
~ Photostream
Wheatland, Wyoming, though I am originally from the Lowcountry of South Carolina and have also lived in Jacksonville, NC and Pittsburgh, PA.
A Mile A Minute ~ Blog
Shop ~ Milemarker

equipment ~
Nikon D-80, with three lenses:
Nikkor 18-135mm
Micro Nikkor 105mm
Nikkor 70-300mm

Dandelion Sails

Why do you photograph?
I try my best to live in the present and to see the beauty in every day. To me, this focus is vivid and clear and full of glorious detail. I think in their aesthetic, my photographs reflect these values.
That said, I understand every photograph is of the past.
Not every moment makes for a ‘good’ photo, but because their fleeting nature is always in my mind, I am vigilantly looking for them. I ache to think of these moments as gone, even before they have passed. I want to be able to save them.
I take these photos for myself, in a vain attempt to record these moments so I can savor them later. I share them because what I see around me is painfully beautiful. What else can I do but share? In sharing, somehow, the hopelessness of never being able to seal every sight, touch, and emotion away for later in my inadequate brain, dissipates. All I can save is stored in my photographs. That will have to be enough.

Lone Horseman by Victoria Bennett Beyer.

Is there a particular photographer you admire? What is it about their work that you enjoy?
I don’t have a favorite, though I read many blogs each morning and usually let myself follow a labyrinth of links that lead me to a nearly overwhelming amount of amazing images. I am particularly loving images of people in nature right now. You know the kind - they never look like they are worried a bear will jump out of the woods or that a snake might be wriggling nearby in the grass. They leave me with such a sense of adventure, joy and peace – not a worry in sight.

If you process your images at all, what software do you use and how much processing do you do?
I look over my images in Photoshop to check for dust and scratches. I sometimes adjust darkness and lightness and color. I don’t do much, though, as my journalistic background is always on my mind, making sure I stay true to the image. I used to do photo correction for newspaper, and in that world, the slightest bit too much manipulation can get you fired.

Leaf Patterns by Victoria Bennett Beyer.

How did you learn your skills - are you self-taught?
I am self taught, for the most part. I began in photography with a camera my parents gave me when we went on a road trip across the country when I was ten. I still have blurry shots of the Grand Canyon and the buffalo in Yellowstone. I continued using a camera often, for fun and through yearbook in high school. My journalism courses in college gave me a few opportunities to hone these skills, but the one photography course I took through the art school gave me a good foundation. I always wanted to take more photography classes, but a slot never opened up.

What is the next piece of equipment/software on your wish list?
I don’t have a wish list, believe it or not. I am quite happy with the results I get from the three lenses I have. And while I appreciate the qualities of other assorted cameras, I love the crispness and the vivid color of my Nikon. As soon as I switched to it, I wondered why I hadn’t done it before.

Wheat on Red

What inspires your photos?
Beauty, obvious or otherwise. The things that make me happy. Locations that are dear to my heart. The chance to capture memories and feelings so that I can relive them later.

Wide Open

What is your favourite subject or theme to photograph?
Flowers. The idea of flowers can be a bit boring, as they are the favorite subject for many people, but with my macro lens I frequently discover new little universes within a bloom that I couldn’t see with my naked eye. When I get a shot like that, I am awed every time.

Tulip by Victoria Bennett Beyer.

Do you self-portrait?
Last year I photographed myself in the mirror, late at night, on a whim, and decided I should do it every year. But day to day I rarely do it. It makes me a bit uncomfortable, and trying to get myself in focus frustrates me to no end. But I have liked the results the two or three times I have fought through it to get a good shot. I will be trying it a bit more, I think, in the future.

What is your biggest challenge?
I know nothing about artificial indoor lighting. Some days I wish I did, but really, my ignorance keeps things simple. I shoot with sunlight only.

I like to shoot macros with a very shallow depth of field, so I end up taking hundreds of shots when I photograph this way, because even the slightest movement can make everything blurry. Sometimes I really put off comparing so many shots that are so similar, as it can be a chore. But, I’m grateful that digital allows me to make sure I get the shot.

Daisy Petals by Victoria Bennett Beyer.

What advice do you have for new photographers?
Shoot as much as possible. It’s like anything else – practice makes perfect.

You can learn from your failures, so don’t let them get you down.

Back up your files. And then back them up again.

Be selective. If you have two nearly identical images, pick one. If you find it hard to filter yourself, then step away and try narrowing it down again later. It doesn’t matter how many blurry or poorly lit photos you have from a shoot, if people only see the one or two excellent ones, they will think you are excellent.

Thanks so much for the opportunity to be on this great blog. I love the positive, friendly feeling I get from FlickHer!

Thank you so much Victoria! Your work is breathtaking!
~ Andrea & Kari


Hello Everyone!
I am editing a wonderful, inspiring interview with someone who's work I adore...
Be here next Thursday!
~ Andrea


She is Shelley

spazberryjam ~ Photostream
Etobicoke, Ontario, which is at the extreme west end of Toronto.
i go by Shellbell on my blog
Shop ~ spazberryjam
~ i have not yet begun listing my photos as prints for sale, but i will hopefully be doing that soon! in the meantime i'm selling my original paintings and illustrations, and some vintage fine china.
Equipment ~ this is where i get bashful... i wish i could say i'm using some spectacular equipment, but at the moment i have to work within my modest means. so... i'm shooting with a little Nikon L20 digital camera the majority of the time. i use a small joby gorillapod thingy to keep my camera steady, and i shoot without a flash and in natural light as much as possible. when i can get my hands on film, i also shoot with a polaroid coolcam (600 film) and a spectra 2 (1200/image film). and i started getting into the toy camera craze a little while back so i have several rolls of 35mm film shot with my Holga 135 and Diana Mini - but i haven't had them processed yet.

light my fire

i grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and from the time i was born up until university you rarely found me without a crayon, pencil or paintbrush in my hand. i hate to say it but university kind of killed my creativity in terms of the visual arts, and i went off to pursue a career in writing. eventually, i found myself called back to the visual arts though, and when i began blogging, i found myself constantly gobsmacked by really inspiring images from everywhere in the world in all kinds of media, and that's when i discovered photography as a truly artistic medium, rather than simply a means of capturing good times with family and friends.

i had always thought i was a mediocre photographer at best, but when i started to view it as an creative medium rather than a documentative one, i found that i actually had a knack for composing interesting and artful shots. positive comments from friends, family, fellow bloggers and flickrers have fuelled my confidence and desire to learn and grow as a creative photographer.

Why do you photograph?
i photograph because it helps me to see the world in new, beautiful, wonderful ways - even when i don't have a camera in my hands.

storybook tree at blarney

Is there a particular photographer you admire? What is it about their work that you enjoy?
i admire anyone who is trying to capture their unique perspective through the lens of a camera. it is impossible for me to choose any one photographer - there are so many whose work i follow on blogs and on flickr, and in the real world. i think if i had to choose a couple of people i know in my real life whose work has inspired me, they would be my mother, and my friend Rob Gubiani.

my mother was an amateur film photographer for many years - especially during my early childhood. she really has a unique view of the people in her world - and the photos she takes today with the little camera in her mobile phone are heads and shoulders above what i'm doing with my nikon!

i met Rob when i was backpacking in Scotland - and i had never seen nature and travel photography like his before. he had been interested for years, but was really just beginning his journey in terms of self-teaching, and his work was so professional looking so early on - i continue to be blown away by his talent. he has since taken his love of photography to the next level and is now entering (and winning) competitions, as well as exhibiting in galleries in Australia, his home.

If you process your images at all, what software do you use and how much processing do you do?
i process my images using Picasa. but the more i learn and practice, the less and less i'm processing my images. i'll load them up into Picasa and start looking at them, and suddenly get this rush when i see that an image has actually turned out the way i wanted it, without editing! more and more, the images i'm uploading on my blog and flickr photostream are those that are shot out of camera, with the exception of a bit of creative cropping. it is so exciting to see how far i've come since i began! to the point where i'm looking at some of my earlier shots and wondering if i maybe over-processed them, just because i had the tools at my disposal, and less confidence in my vision and ability back then.

admittedly, i have never tried Photoshop. it terrifies me! i sort of like the limitations of the Picasa program - it means i have to work harder to get what i want when i'm photographing, and i think it may be why i've come this far so quickly.

as a rule, i do not edit my polaroids, not ever. i'm kind of a purist that way, i guess!

How did you learn your skills - are you self-taught?
for the most part i am self-taught. i picked up a few things here and there... back in high school we did a unit in my grad year art class on pinhole photography and processing our own images. i loved it, but i think i kind of thought that i had discovered it too late - i was committed to becoming a writer at that point.
everything i have learned since the ignition of my digital and instant film photography obsession has been on my own, through seeing what other people have done, experimenting, trial and error.

i would very much love to take a course through the GTA Photography Classes group. a friend of mine did a course with them, and it is astounding how much she learned in a short period of time! as soon as i have access to a dslr and some extra money to burn, i will definitely take a course with them.

red bokeh

What is the next piece of equipment/software on your wish list?
first off - a good quality photo printer. i haven't nailed a brand or model down yet, still doing my research.

as soon as i get the money together, i'm going to be picking up the Nikon D3000. i think it is the next step in my development and learning process as a photographer. i've done everything i can with my current camera, and i'm so ready to graduate! i tend to get intimidated by the really top-of-the-line cameras... i will get there, but at the moment i need to work within my means.

oh, and i want to see if i can get my hands on a polaroid sx70 camera - i'm itching to try the new PX100 film developed by the Impossible Project!

What inspires your photos?
i love watching the changes of seasons in my neighbourhood, and in the city. i'm inspired by simple things, nothing too contrived - i'm just focusing on getting good, beautiful shots of everyday things, with my own creative twist. i'm inspired by vibrant natural colour and light, the contrasts and textures and patterns that occur in nature... or in things, the way they just are. i LOVE images that incorporate a great depth of field, and i like it when odd things just happen... like when i'm walking down the street and i see that someone has randomly draped a string of party beads over the branch of a tree... or someone has put a toque on a fire hydrant! randomly occurring oddities are what i'm always on the lookout for.

What is your favourite subject or theme to photograph?
i have a great affection for trees. i don't know much about them from a science perspective... but they are a constant source of inspiration for me, in every season, in every light. lately, i'm photographing my mismatched china collection. old things are so visually interesting. and my cat.

i really want to learn to become a good portrait photographer. in my youth i used to draw portraits in graphite, that was my thing. i have found i'm not so naturally inclined as far as portraiture with the camera, and i really want to develop that skill.

Do you self-portrait?
only the hand-held, snapshot kind. i have to take like 200 shots to get one i'm okay with. i have thought about using the timer feature and composing self-portraits "properly" but i'm really critical of the way i look in photos. i would rather focus on taking portraits of other people.

What is your biggest challenge?
my biggest challenge is definitely continuing to learn and grow while making due with what little i have.

What advice do you have for new photographers?
follow your intuition. take as many photos as you can. expose yourself to work that inspires you and helps you to see things new, exciting ways. try not to worry about not having the best equipment... i read somewhere that it isn't the camera, it's what you do with it that is important - i try to remember that and it helps! take a class if you can, but if you can't, learn by experimenting. if you have vision and curiosity and drive, the technical stuff can always be learned later when you have the means - and don't let it get in the way of your creativity! sometimes rules are meant to be broken.

Thank you so much Shelley. We love to see your work in our group. Good luck with your progression as photographer!
~Andrea and Kari


Hi Everyone!
Editing a new interview!
It is with a blog friend who is multi-talented (a painter, writer, blogger, photographer...) her words inspire as much as her photos.
Come and see on Thursday!
p.s. 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!


Just Watch Me!

After being directed to this video by Inna I thought it would be wonderful to share it with you...
I absolutely loved it...TED is a wonderful to place to find all sorts of inspiration.

Hope you love it as much as I did!
~ Andrea