I never thought that I should do a Blog

January 07, 2014  •  1 Comment

My photography is a passion, I truly love capturing the beauty that I encounter and sharing it with others. I explore often, looking for waterfalls, mountain views, fall colors and just beautiful scenery. I never thought that I should do a blog and talk about my adventures. However every tailgate market and art or craft fair I sell at, I find myself telling the stories that go along with my most popular and best selling shots. So at the encouragement of a friend, here I am with my first entry. 

What better way to start than how I got my start in photography.

 

Let's travel back in time about 16 years ago, circa 1998. I was in Graduate School at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia working as a Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer. One of the amazing perks of being an Athletic Trainer was the free travel. This time the trip was extra special, we were playing in a basketball tournament on the Big Island of Hawai'i.  Yes, they are that tall and I am that short.

Yes, they are that tall and I am that short. Two seven footers and the other was 6-9.

Old School Selfie, I set the timer and ran down to the rocks for this shot.

Since this was my first trip there, I was eager to take photos with my old Canon Sure Shot 35mm point and shoot camera. Keep in mind these photos are scanned prints from 16 years ago so the resolution is not epic by any means. We had a great trip and I shot a couple of rolls of film, nothing really special but not bad for snap shots. Many of the coaches and players asked for copies of my prints because they turned out better than theirs and complimented me on how much they liked my photos. 

I look back at them now and they certainly are not much to write about but their interest in my work inspired me to play around more. One of my roommates was also a Graduate Assistant in the Athletic Department in Marketing and was also a photographer. He had a 35mm SLR and would let me use it from time to time at some of our games. He was offered a job elsewhere and moved but forgot to take his camera. I asked if I could use it while he was gone and started taking photos of all of the games I worked. Unfortunately, I have not scanned many of the baseball photos that I shot but late that spring I covered the Women's Golf Conference Championship.

The coach had hired a professional and was more impressed with my shots than his. Again, these are scanned prints on a low res scanner from 15 years ago but not bad for someone who knew nothing about exposure and composition (or that you should not take photos in a golfer's back swing). 

At this point, I was hooked. I loved being behind a camera and wanted to learn everything I could. I got my first 35mm SLR (a Canon Rebel G) and was headed back to Hawai'i on my honeymoon in the fall of 2001. On the flight I read three books, one on exposure, one on composition and the other was my camera's owner's manual. I had come a long way from the point and shoot days but now had a passion, a little bit of knowledge and an eye for composition. 

This is Hanuama Bay, and was on my first roll shot on our first day on Oahu. Not bad for a beginner especially considering I started out shooting in Manual Mode.

I know it is hard to take bad photos in Hawai'i but I was quite proud of myself when I developed all of my film. I shot 14 rolls of 36 exposure film on our honeymoon which in a digital age does not seem like a lot of images but developing film was not cheap for a newlywed couple. But that did not slow me down, at one point I think I had 30 rolls of unprocessed film in our refrigerator, I was a bit obsessed with shooting. 

I call this shot "Crooked Tree." It is still one of my favorites from my Hawai'i experience. The one below was a tree in our condo parking lot. I set up my tripod and pointed the camera up to capture the moon coming through the palm. That was a thirty second exposure and the clouds are Volcanic Fog, called Vog, coming off of Mauna Loa. 

Once back home I decided to take advantage of the beautiful mountains that I had neglected growing up. I bought a Waterfall Guide Book and began searching and exploring Western North Carolina to find as many waterfalls as I could. I started with Linville Falls and Crabtree Falls 

Linville FallsLinville Falls

Then ventured down to Brevard and went to Looking Glass, and Moore Cove Falls, and on and on and on.

Over the next 3 years I would visit close to 100 waterfalls. I look back at those images on film and occasionally find some that I still like but realize that I have come a long way since then. In 2004 I bought my first digital SLR, a Canon 10D. Not only did I need to learn white balance and ISO but I had to learn how to properly edit my images. I wish that someone had told me in 2004 to shoot RAW and keep the files because I could fix all of my mistakes from back then, live and learn. 

I ventured into weddings, and models, and commercial photography but find myself back at my true passion, nature. I love falling water, fall colors, flowers, animals, mountain ranges, sunrises and sunsets, beaches and beautiful views. I am thankful to live in such an amazing place and that I get to explore these mountains and find such beautiful scenes to share with you.

DS_090516_CO_1045DS_090516_CO_1045

 

I have stories that accompany most of my images and will start telling them to all of you here. I hope that knowing the story behind the photo you purchase will help you to enjoy it even more, maybe even as much as I enjoy sharing my experiences with you.

 

 


Comments

Melanie Kuykendall(non-registered)
Love the idea of the blog. Enjoyed reading it! Looking forward to the next entry!
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