Robin Hagy

MPA: Why do you love photography?

RH:  I have always admired seeing extraordinary images captured of everyday life.  Wondering, how was that achieved?  And, how can I do that? I have a deep love  for my animals, and when one of my dogs was diagnosed with cancer, and only short time left, wanted to make sure I had some images  to remember her by.  After an unfortunate experience with the photographer I hired, I chose to see what I could do on my own.  The instant I picked up my first camera 4 years ago, I was hooked.  I researched cameras and lenses.  I couldn’t take in the information fast enough to learn how to take the perfect photos of my dogs.  From there I spent my hours after work reading and researching like crazy what it takes to create and capture that special moment of any and all animals.  How can I paint the picture to share the incredible movement and expressions of these amazing creatures?

With the passion I felt for animals, and wanting to help out in the community I approached my local shelter to help out taking images, and from there my passion only grew stronger.  It is through this path that I have found an endless yearning to capture the personalities of people and their pets.  Through this journey I have also discovered a deep desire to help with the animals/shelters/rescues in my area through my photography. Hoping that I can show the true wonderful personalities of these beautiful souls, and hoping that it helps them find their forever homes.

MPA: Your favorite thing about MPA?

RH:   I have enjoyed learning from David and Alley McKay and Adam Furtado.  They have been open books as far as what it takes to be successful in photography.  Sharing their secrets of what is important in order to make a living in this industry. Even most importantly how to see the world through my camera and lens, and how can I create special images.  They have taken complex information and helped break it down for even someone like myself who isn’t technically capable naturally.  That is why I have returned time and time again for workshops and safaris.  They make learning enjoyable, and is evident in their own passion with photography.

MPA: Your favorite trip or course with MPA?

RH:   One of the most enjoyable experiences was the amazing adventure in Yosemite.  I am not comfortable with landscape photography, but Ally and David have such incredible vision and artistry with landscapes that I was able to walk away with some wonderful knowledge that I have carried into my normal portraiture photography.  I loved the 3 day business workshop as well. It was packed with lots of great insight to driving my portraiture business, as well as understanding better technically studio and natural light settings.  Ally and David are open books with what has made them successful.  Very refreshing in this competitive industry.

MPA: Your aspirations as a photographer / artist?

RH:   My hope is to continue to grow my portraiture business. My focus is to create unique imagery for owners and their pets.  I am continuing to learn and grow with my pet photography with dogs and horses.  I have also ventured into the fashion side of photography and having fun with creating conceptual shoots in order to have fun with a more artistic vision.  Somehow I would love to bring these two worlds together of conceptual and pet photography and take my work to the next level.

MPA: Any info you want to share about yourself and work?

RH:

I can only hope to continue to learn and grow.  Photography is ever changing and as I am still so new to it all hope that I can hope to provide a positive experience for those have interested me to capture those special moments.

You can find out more about me and my work at https://www.facebook.com/RobinHagyPhotography

Ritesh Shah

MPA: Why you love photography?

RS: I have always been drawn by natural beauty and besides physically visiting the place, photography is the only thing that can take you there.  As a matter of fact,  a beautifully captured and composed picture can emotionally put you inside the landscape.  That is what has I love the most about photography.  It is this aspect of photography that has drawn me towards it.

MPA: Your favorite thing about MPA?

RS: I took my beginning digital photography class with MPA and have not looked back.  That one class was an eye-opener.  The expensive digital camera was no longer intimidating.  The quality of teaching by MPA professionals is something that I have never seen in any other photography academy.  At MPA, the instructors not only interested in teaching but are also very open to sharing tricks to help the student get the best experience.  Nothing is held back.  I’m not surprised that they are one of the very best if not the best.

MPA: Your favorite trip or course with MPA?

RS: My best trip with MPA has been the San Francisco Day Safari.  It was my first and I got a chance to learn so many new and different techniques while photographing one of the most iconic landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge, in the world.  That one trip and the techniques I learnt gave me the confidence to go out on my own, experiment and become a better photographer.

MPA: Your aspirations as a photographer/artist-

RS: I want to continue experimenting and learning to become a better photographer.  I don’t plan on becoming a professional photographer but I would love to take pictures that can make someone say “Wow!, how did he take that picture”.

MPA: Any info you want to share about yourself and work.

RS: I am an avid backpacker and have hiked extensively in US and India.  California’s Lost Coast and the Indian side of the Himalayas are my favorite destinations.  I have hiked all the way up to 18,000 ft and hope to have at least 20,000 ft summit under my belt.  I am hoping I can combine my two hobbies to capture stunning images from places not easily accessible to most.

Steve Scurich

MPA: Why do you love photography?

SS:  When I was a kid, I never really enjoyed team sports with formal rules/plays…I liked skateboarding.  It was a natural artistic expression, a fun culture, and relied on really cool equipment.  I also enjoyed competing against myself to push to new levels.  To me, photography is so similar.  It feels natural, as if my whole life has been spent taking snap-shots of what I see and developing a story in my head.  The culture is diverse and has very few rules, it’s not confined by a physical place or corporation.  And let’s face it, photography allows us to play around with some pretty cool stuff!  Processing photos is my digital canvas, where I come alive sharing what I want to say when words fail…  My faith is extremely important to me and I never feel closer to God, than when I am immersed in shooting a beautiful scene or developing a story from a photograph.

MPA: Your favorite thing about MPA?

SS:  Where do I start…?  First of all, the people.  David, Ally, Adam, Nick etc. are some of the most inspirational people (not just artists) I have met.  They take their work seriously and don’t put up with a mediocre product, but they have a blast along the way!  After spending decades in the corporate world, it is refreshing to see people share their talent with others, instead of creating barriers for new artists.  In a large part, it is because of MPA that I had the support and confidence to step away from corporate life, and do what I truly love…become a full-time photographer.

MPA: Your favorite trip with MPA?

SS:  I recently took the MPA Pro Academy Course and it was hands down, the best money I have ever spent on any education.  I’m signed up for next year’s Iceland Safari and have already started counting the days to departure – literally like a kid looking forward to Christmas!

MPA: Your aspirations as a photographer / artist?

SS:  If I have my way, in a few years I’d like to be traveling the world photographing landscapes, local culture and events.  I see this not only as my work, but part of my legacy.  I’m excited to never stop learning or trying new techniques, while staying focused (no pun intended) on always creating a product that stirs an emotional response from the viewer.  Whether documenting a moment, creating a print to hang in a home, teaching students or encouraging it as a hobby….I’d like photography to be the main conduit through which I serve others.

MPA: Any info you want to share about yourself and work?

SS: You can find out more about me and my work at www.barnabasphotography.com.  Also, please “Like” my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/barnabasphotos.

Let’s connect on: Twitter Facebook YouTube

Kevin Denton

MPA: Why do you love photography?

KD: Since High School, photography has been a form of artistic expression and meditation for me. In solitude and through the lens of the camera I find a sense of calm that brings me inner peace.

MPA: Your favorite thing about MPA?

KD: Unlike other Photography schools I have taken classes/safaris with, the MPA staff teaches the fundamentals of why to use certain camera settings as well as the importance of having proper composition and how to create that.

They have the talent for explaining the technical aspects of Photography in a way that is very simple and easy to understand.  I also appreciate the low student to instructor ratio, which provides more one on one instruction.

MPA: Your favorite trip with MPA?

KD: The 2014 Iceland safari by far, from covering the whole island and seeing most of if not all the amazing sites to be seen, all my travel plans were taken care of and I was able to enjoy my passion without any concerns.  An absolute gem and look forward to my next safari with MPA!!

MPA: Your aspirations as a photographer / artist?

KD: My aspiration would be to spend most of my days living my passion of traveling and picturing the world through my lens.

Steve Brazis

MPA: Why do you love photography?

SB:  I have always loved the outdoors and most especially the Sierra Nevada Mountains, where my family used to vacation every year starting when I was just a baby. As I grew older, I began to take to the rocks and climb on my own. I found awe inspiring views and my own connection to the spirituality of the mountains. As I grew older my appreciation grew to include nature in all settings, including landscapes, plant life and wildlife. I was given my first camera in dental school by a friend who was upgrading his own camera. It was a Nikon film SLR camera that I knew nothing about. I used it for years still knowing nothing about the camera or photography. It often frustrated me that I couldn’t translate the feelings I had when out taking the pictures to the medium of the slides I was producing. It was hard for me to learn more on my own because of the expense of film and the time gap between shooting and seeing the results. I never took any classes or read any books on photography, so I just tried to place the needle in the center of the light meter and shot whatever I saw. Many years later, along came the digital era and I finally bought my own digital SLR. I took a class from the McKay’s through which I learned more about my camera’s settings. I enrolled in an online photography course to learn more about the basics of photography. I began to get back out into nature and practice, with immediate feedback available and found that I loved taking pictures that more and more began to allow people to feel something beyond just the picture, their own connection to the spirituality of nature.

MPA: Your favorite thing about MPA?

SB:  I find MPA to be a combination of three ingredients. David and Ally McKay are the founders and the core of MPA for me. Their staff of helpers and instructors are the second tier and provide more opportunity for input, feedback and learning. The other students are the third and really equal ingredient. I sometimes learn just as much from talking to one of the students or from watching an instructor show something to another student as I do from the one on one time with myself and David, Ally or one of the instructors. I think my favorite thing about MPA is this synergy between everyone involved all working together in some of the great photographic settings that David and Ally take us to. It’s not just listening to someone talk about photography and then trying to figure out how that applies to me, it’s the opportunity to interact in all these different ways that really accelerates learning and amplifies the fun of any shoot.

MPA: Your favorite trip with MPA?

SB:  I had to think about this for awhile. I really enjoyed my first outing with MPA in Old Sac. I was having such a good time that I didn’t realize how much I had learned until later when I was on my own. Then I went on the Alcatraz safari and had a great time there. I began to get familiar with some of the other instructors as well on this trip. Then I went to Yosemite and learned even more and had more fun than ever. San Francisco urban safari was again a whole new level of seeing the familiar in a new way. Currently I am so excited to be heading with MPA to Iceland next month. My answer to the question, which trip is my favorite…it has to be “The Next Trip”.

MPA: Your aspirations as a photographer / artist?

SB:  I would ultimately love to be able to find a way to market enough nature pictures to finance my desire to travel to increasingly exotic locations to get these pictures. That’s sort of the financial aspect of my aspiration, but I think in order to achieve that, my goal is actually to be able to take a camera and produce pictures that elicit the same feeling in people who see them that I have when I am taking them: namely, “I am so glad to be right here right now to see this”.

MPA: Any info you want to share about yourself and work?

SB: I am 68 years old this year and soon maybe I’ll be a grown-up. I’m not sure this is a good thing. My body seems to be getting older while I seem to be getting younger all the time. I have been a general dentist for most of my adult life and enjoy that as well as it allows an entirely different expression of creativity. I have been blessed with a patient clientele and staff that have been very supportive throughout my career and who allow me to feel like I am always at home with family. Sounds a bit corny to write it down but that has actually always been the way I feel about going to work. I am now beginning to feel that same way about going on photo safaris with MPA, as well as with other photographer friends I have. I have three grandsons ranging from 11 down to three. The eleven year old has taken to photography and knows how to handle and care for my camera gear and has an excellent eye for the pictures he takes on his own. The best times I have are taking him out somewhere like the Effie Yaw Nature Center and tagging along after him as he chases down pictures I would never have thought to take.